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Reactions to WWDC: What Was Announced and Is It Good News for Accessibility?

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, often shortened to WWDC, took place from Monday 6 – 10th June, with the keynote lasting for nearly 2 hours.

Many videos were released throughout the days following the conference, but in today’s blog, I’m going to outline everything that Apple announced, and give my thoughts on how accessible the next version of iOS is going to be.

iOS 16

The next instalment of iOS will include a redesigned, customisable Lock Screen, as well as improvements to the Messages, Maps and Home apps, new sharing and personalisation capabilities, and more.

The Lock Screen, Notifications, and Focus

The new, fully customisable Lock Screen allows users to edit numerous design elements, including type styles, colours, and whether or not you want to include emojis. As well as this, you’re also able to create multiple Lock Screens, which you can easily switch between by swiping.

The Notifications in the next version of iOS will roll up from the bottom of the screen, but they also come with another new feature. To make room for your new customised Lock Screen, Apple now allows its users to hide their notifications, allowing more space for further customisations.

Focus has been a big hit since it was released by Apple in 2021, and I’ve personally found it useful when working.

In iOS 16, Apple plans to enhance Focus even more, with users now able to tie specific Focus modes to your customised Lock Screens, as well as applying Focus filters to get less notifications from distracting apps, such as Messages, Twitter and Calendar.

New Features for Messages

The new version of Messages will now include the ability to edit or delete sent messages, as well as allowing users to mark a message as unread.

As well as this, you’ll also be able to send SharePlay sessions (put simply, links that let you watch / listen to the same content as friends in different locations), directly in the Messages app, which will be activated right away.

Dictation, Siri, and Live Text

The new dictation experience keeps the keyboard open when speaking, allowing those who use it to use a combination of speech and typing, while also automatically adding punctuation and emojis into your messages, which you can also use with Siri.

IOS 16 will also see Live Text expanding to video, allowing users to select the text in playing videos. And as well that, Live Text will also be making its way to the Apple Watch, so all the WatchOS users will have an extra way of calling numbers if they need to.

There’s also been improvements made in relation to Visual Lookup, with users now able to pull out subjects and to drag them elsewhere.

Apple Pay and Wallet

Numerous features have been added to the Apple Pay and Wallet app, starting with the ability for you to share virtual keys via message.

As well as this, Apple also announced their Apple Pay Later service, which allows users to pay for purchases in four instalments over six weeks, with zero interest and no fees.

And we’re also getting an Apple Pay Order Tracking feature, making it easier to track purchases from retailers.

Enhanced Changes to Apple Maps

More and more countries and cities have already been added into the Maps app in recent years, which has seen a 2D and 3D design being added, and even more are to be added in the coming months.

But adding to Apple’s support for multitasking, they’re now adding Multistop Routing, which will allow users to plan up to fifteen stops ahead of time. You can start your plans on Mac and continue it across other iOS devices, as well as having the option to add other stops using Siri.

The included Transit feature also allows Apple users to see the costs of a journey while you are planning, with Transit Cards being even heavily integrated into the Wallet app.

Sports

Sports fans will be in for a treat, because the Apple TV app can now display information about sport games via live activities.

Family Sharing

Although Apple has made Family Sharing and kids accounts easy to manage in the past, they will be introducing a couple of new features.

The next version of iOS will include quicker ways to set age appropriate restrictions, from Quick Start, to Screen Time requests in messages, a Family Checklist feature and more.

Safety Check

The new Safety Check feature will be available in settings, and allows its users to quickly turn off the access that others have to your location and information, which will be a welcomed feature for many people.

Home App

The Home App has been completely redesigned in the next version of iOS, with a new main tab view to see your entire home in one place.

As well this, we’re also getting access to new dedicated categories such as Climate, security and more, and distinctions tiles which will make accessories more recognisable.

Other Announcements

Apple also announced improvements for Spatial Audio with AirPods, QuickNote coming to the iPhone, new Mail features, Rapid Security Response, Spotlight in the dock, additional Memoji customisations, the Fitness App coming to iPhone without the need for an Apple Watch, MacOS Ventura, and more.

I’m not going to be able to cover all of these in this blog, but tell me if you’ll like me to do some posts about any of them in future, and I’ll see what I can do.

M2 Macs

Along with all the features in iOS 16, Apple also announced the move from the Mac’s M1 Chip to the M2 Chip.

The M2 Chip features an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, and a 40% Neural Engine compared to the M1 Chip.

Supporting up to 24GB of LPDDR5 Unified Memory, and featuring four performance and four efficiency cores, it also supports 100GB of unified memory bandwidth, which is up by 50% compared to the M1.

As well as all these features, the M2s come with 10-core GPU, with two more cores compared to the M1. The peak performance is 87% of what you get from a 12-core PC, and you’ll also get an improved media engine that supports 8K, a ProRes video engine to playback streams of 4K and 8K video, Apple’s newest security technology, and a new image signal processor that delivers better image noise reduction.

The models of M2 Macs that were announced was the new 13-inch MacBook Air and a 13-inch MacBook Pro. You’ll be able to Preorder them starting tomorrow.

Final Thoughts

So what are my final thoughts on what Apple Announced at WWDC, and is iOS 16 the most accessible yet, or do the developers at Apple need to try harder?

While I find the customisable Lock Screen an interesting new feature, Apple will have to make sure that moving the elements you want to add around is easy for everyone to do, even if they are disabled and can only use one finger.

Likewise, I feel that the new Dictation features were a good thought on paper, but it does raise questions over whether or not physically disabled people could use it as well. But I don’t really use dictation for everything I do anyway, so I can’t really comment any further.

But as far as all the other features go, I think the next version of iOS is going to be incredibly useful, although it would be useful if Apple could bring back the ability to talk to Siri via a voice command for those who can’t double click the side buttons on the iPhone and iPad, and the same should apply for paying for and downloading apps, as the older ‘Confirm Using Face ID or Passcode’ option was just a lot more accessible, compared to the ‘Confirm Using Assistive Touch’ feature.

Turning to the M2 MacBooks, however, I think the MacBook Air is going to be extremely popular for production, but I have to admit, I would have preferred seeing it released in a bigger model, like the rumoured 15-inch.

As far as built-in cameras go, I just don’t see how the MacBook Pro on offer comes anywhere close to the M2 MacBook Air, although I’d be interested to see what happens as more of them come out.

Still, at least it’s good that Apple has continued to keep the M1 MacBook Air on the market, as it might be a good option for students and anyone struggling under the current Economic Crises around the world.

16. Reactions to WWDC22: Is iOS16 Accessible Enough and What Are My Thoughts About Apple’s M2 Macs? The Phoebs Lyle Podcast

Apple's Worldwide Developers' Conference – often referred to as WWDC – took place from 6th until the 10th of June 2022, and which featured sneak peaks of iOS 16, as well as the first M2 Macs.But what are my thoughts, and is the next version of iOS the most accessible? And are the new M2 Macs really worth upgrading?TO FOLLOWMy Technology Reviews Website: https://technologyreviews.co.ukMy Journalism / Film Production Website: https://phoebelyle.comMy Personal Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhoebslyleMy Personal Instagram: https://Instagram.com/therealphoebslyle/The PL Tech Reviews YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/channel/UCN3KXB2-z8iisuS1PspjwIAThe Phoebs Lyle Journalism YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/channel/UCbPQAzDKcmFLwg_m9BAlwgASupport this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-phoebs-lyle-podcast1645/donations
  1. 16. Reactions to WWDC22: Is iOS16 Accessible Enough and What Are My Thoughts About Apple’s M2 Macs?
  2. 15. Should E-Games Be Considered as an Equivalent for Disabled Sport?
  3. 14. Blue Badges Removed as Acceptable Voting ID / Anlan Neck Massager Review
  4. 13. Politics Made Simple Part 8: What are the Top Issues People Will Be Voting for in Northern Ireland’s #AE22?
  5. 12: What is the Difference Between Loyalism, Unionism, Republicanism, Nationalism and Neither?

Should E-Gaming Be Considered as an Equivalent for Disabled Sports?

Before you start reading this blog, I just want to say that this was an article that I had in the County Down Spectator last week, and I have been given permission to publish it on here, to showcase more of the articles I’ve done.

THE Commonwealth Games will run from July 28th – August 8th in Birmingham, making it the fourth time that England has hosted the games. Having first been held in 1930, the Games has changed its name over the years, reflecting the change from Empire to Commonwealth.

Its format has also changed a lot as well, with 2002 marking the first year disabled sport was included.

But since the beginning of this year, there have been discussions around the possibility of E-sports being added into the Commonwealth Games — which has also been discussed as a possibility for other sporting tournaments as well, such as the Olympics.

I would like to add my voice into the debate, suggesting how it might be a good idea to consider adding the platform into disabled sports.

While there are many points around the debate concerning whether or not video games should be included in the Commonwealth Games, the one point people against it would make is that it isn’t actually a sport. However, for people like myself who are very severely disabled (I am paralysed from the neck down, meaning I can’t move anything other than my head) you could make a case for Para Sports in general to include them, if we consider how many disabled people could take part if the right technology was provided, but can’t at the minute because their disability is too high.

The UK has the biggest video game market in all of Europe (though let’s admit it, our relationship with Europe is set at the ‘it’s complicated’ status), and we are also the sixth-largest gaming market worldwide. In recent years, gaming has become an increasingly enjoyable pastime — especially for the 16-45 age bracket — and was known for being a big mental health helper throughout the pandemic, when we all had to find ways of communicating with each other through remote means.

AbleGaming has also become a massive phenomenon in the last few years — with releases such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex for the Nintendo Switch and PCs — meaning disabled people can now play games with their peers.

So how could all of these technological advances apply to disabled sport, and why would some argue that e-games should at least be considered as a way of including more disabled people?

There are 14.6 million disabled people in the UK, and although representation has got a lot better for disabled people across the media — thanks to the nearly 10 years since the 2012 Paralympics coverage — there are still problems that will need to be overcome by the gaming and disabled sports industry before any decision is made.


One of the sports that this applies to is racing, but also the likes of wheelchair basketball, wheelchair football and wheelchair rugby, where the disabled person in question has to move around a lot. But what about disabled people with higher level disabilities — some who are unable to move their hands and legs, and others unable to breathe without the help of a ventilator and tracheotomy tube, which would raise a health risk for anyone who wanted to take part in the sport.

Electric / Powered wheelchair technology also isn’t fast enough, so disabled people taking part in any of these games would still be disadvantaged, without even adding in the fact that they might have to pull over every time their ventilator comes off, and might require their carers coming round with them.

There may, however, be a solution for more severely disabled people to take part in a version of disabled sports if the concept of e-gaming was adopted.

Yes, video game developers and designers would have to brainstorm ways to create games that let you play all the games that I’ve previously mentioned, and whether or not they should include options for what they can choose their avatar to be, even to the point of adding in accessories such as a tracheostomy tube and ventilator.

This would also apply to other sports such as wheelchair archery and others, where it wouldn’t realistically be safe enough for someone to fire an arrow using their mouth, but with the use of accessible technology and game design, there would be a way for people with higher level disabilities to take part in such a sport, even through the likes of touch screens and AI.

So overall, the technology does exist that will allow severely disabled people to get involved with the Commonwealth Games and other famous sporting tournaments, but there needs to be massive discussions about how things will be run as well. We’ll need to discuss how sporting tournaments find out if an actual person with a severe disability is behind an avatar, as well as ways that different disabilities are showcased in avatar form, and how this should translate to the actual sport.

But I wholeheartedly believe that if e-games are to be considered to be part of any sport in the near future, disabled sports are a good starting point, so that disabled people of even higher injuries can still feel like they are part of the wider superhuman message in sport that continues to go on.

Anlan Neck Massager Review

The Anlan Neck Massager is a massager by the company, Anlan. This was another one of the Christmas presents I got last year, which I was hoping to review quicker than now, but for various reasons between work and other coverage I’ve wanted to get out elsewhere, I haven’t been able to get it out until now, so apologies for the lateness of this review.

The Anlan neck massager comes with 5 massaging modes, 16 levels of intensity, 2 heating modes, and a 15 minute timer mode.

In the box, you get the neck massager, the user manual, and a charging cable.

The massager is made out of ABS, it is about 154 x 149 x 37mm, and the weight is approximately 146g. It has the Rated Power of 1.85 Watts, and the battery power is 700 Milliamps.

And for those who care about economics with geography, it is made in China.

But when it comes to what I think of it (I tried using it at some point in February when I was hoping to get this out), I have to admit that I wasn’t overly impressed.

For those who don’t know, I’ve had a very bad pain in one side of my neck for years, which everyone has put down to being caused by how much I use my head as a hand. For a couple of years now, I’ve taken advantage of the Physio vest I was given to help get my secretions up – even though it has actually made my muscles feel better as well. Compared to that, this massager doesn’t feel like it helps my muscles as much, which will make more sense to everyone once you see the vlog version of this blog.

So overall, I would give the Anlan Neck Massager three stars, based on how it doesn’t give as strong of a massage in comparison to my physio vest. The heat level is also relaxing, for anyone who loves heat, and it’s also small enough that you should be able to take it everywhere. However, there isn’t anything else that would mean I could bring it up to five stars, especially giving how good the Libra Physio Vest is.

This review will also be available on my https://phoebelyle.com website, and will be available on The Phoebs Lyle Podcast. If you like news that covers a wee bit of everything, including Film Reviews, TV Reviews, Theatre Reviews, Accessible Tourism Stories, Politics, and of course, Technology Discussions, you can follow it now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible / Amazon Music, Stitcher and Google Podcasts. Furthermore, if you would like to subscribe to my new website and podcast, you’ll be able to access Exclusive Content such as interviews and video / audio tutorials, all for the low price of £15 monthly. I plan on uploading a load of discussion / interview episodes soon, where I have discussions about what accessibility features should be included in the rumoured Apple VR Headset and AR Glasses, how accessible people are finding XCloud and what could make it more accessible, as well as other episodes as well, so if you would like to see any of that, please consider subscribing, and comment as well anything you would also like me to discuss.

I will see you all again for another blog about this year’s WWDC conference as well. See you later!

Apple’s iPhone 13 Review: How Accessible is the Newest iPhone?

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another review here on Technology Reviews!

Apple released the iPhone 13 in 2021, with its advanced features being the one thing that was promoted. Coming with their most advanced camera system ever, durability that is front and centre, the a 15 chip with lightning fast functions that leaves competition behind, and a much larger battery, it has been described by Apple as being their most powerful yet.

But how accessible is the iPhone 13 for disabled users? In this blog, I’m going to go through all of its features, as well as the box it comes in, and make time to share my thoughts on its accessibility features as well.

So as mentioned, the iPhone 13 line up comes with an upgraded True Depth camera system, and a much bigger battery size, by an hour or more. For those who don’t like the notch, you’ll be glad to hear it has been reduced in size, and the rear camera module now sits at a diagonal. Adding the A15 chip, it helps bring more speed and efficiency to every task, a plus for anyone who wants to use their phone as a computer.

As well as adding speed, the A15 Bionic chip also improves photo processing. Although the camera uses the same f/1.6 aperture and 12MP sensor that it always has, the new wide lens has sensor-shift optical image stabilisation, which — according to Apple — captures 47% more light than before.

Another camera update that has been added, however, is the ultra-wide angle camera, with much improved low-light performance. It also shoots highly impressive night mode photos, as these photos shot on my iPhone 13 show.

The i13 also let’s its users take advantage of Apple’s advanced photography pipeline, by letting you create preset rules for the camera to capture a style of photo while shooting.

Other camera features that our new with the iPhone 13 is the new ‘Cinematic Mode’, which filmmakers will no doubt find interesting. It allows you to track a subject who is important in your film, as well as tracking when they turn away, and can even be adjusted after recording.

I don’t have experience using ‘Cinematic Mode’ at the minute, but I’m writing a short film for which I might use it later this year. If you would be interested in seeing that in a future review, please tell me in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

Other capabilities which the iPhone 13 comes with is that it’s MagSafe compatible — which I don’t have time to go into today but I will write about in future — as well as being capable of reaching 5G. I haven’t been able to use 5G when out yet, so I’ll give my thoughts on this at some point, but this is all there is to say about this section for now.

The sound system — when you have your headphones off — is also brilliant.

But even then, there are a few bad things. One of these is that the Micro Photography feature is limited to the iPhone 13 Pro, so if you want to get into that style of photography, you’ll have to get the dearest model. Something else that is disappointing is that the accessibility features included in iOS Monterey has taken away the ability to enter your passcode if Face ID doesn’t work, and instead requires you to double click the side button, and your only other option is to change it to Assistive Touch, which I haven’t been able to change or to use.

It would be nice if the Micro Photography style wasn’t limited to the most expensive model, and equally it would be nice to have the option for Face ID from previous software upgrades — which didn’t have any problems — to come back.

So what do I think about the iPhone 13 overall? While the phone itself is brilliantly high tech and the top phone for anyone in the creative industry, the features included in the present iOS Software lets it down. Sometimes you don’t want to let other people know that you’re buying something, which — if you have a disability — is no different. If the option for the old Face ID option in previous updates was included in the more recent update, it would make the newest iPhone highly accessible. This problem also showed up on my iPhone X — so it isn’t just limited to just the 13 — but until Monterey is sorted out — it can’t be counted as completely accessible.

What I Got for My 24th Birthday

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for blog 2 O of 2022’s technology coverage here on Technology Reviews. Today, I’m going to be telling you what all I got for my 24th birthday, which will also give insight into some of the coverage that will be coming out this year.

So starting off with my big present, I got an iPhone 13, which I’m hoping to do a lot of blogs / vlogs on this year, and which I’m extremely happy with. The first of these will hopefully come out at the beginning of next month, but I’ll be doing more with it than just the accessibility review, so please look out for more of these reviews on YouTube and on the blog in the next few months.

As well as this, I also got the paperback version of ’Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline, which I’ve wanted to read for a very long time. I won’t be reviewing this on either of my sites though — because book reviews just honestly aren’t my thing — but if you do like that sort of thing, you’ll be able to get many of them elsewhere online.

But other than that, the only other things I got were money — which I used on my birthday night out and which will be put towards a few online film courses otherwise — art pens, and the Sim card for my new phone. One of the blogs that will come out eventually is a comparison between my old phone — the iPhone X — which I’m still going to hold onto — and my new iPhone 13 — but this one is a big while away.

Hope you enjoyed this blog anyhow, and I will be posting another review on here either by the end of January, or at some point in February.

Technology Reviews Belated Christmas Special: What I Got for Christmas 2021

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for another blog here on Technology Reviews! First of all, a Happy New Year to all of you, and today, I’m going to do a run down on what all I got for Christmas, with a couple of spoilers on a couple of things I’ll be doing throughout the year.

Starting off on the technology side, the one bit of technology I got was a neck massager by Anklan, which I will probably get around to reviewing some point in February. I wanted this to help with a wee bit of the muscle strain I’ve been feeling in my neck recently, but I’ll give you more info on it when I get that particular review out later in the year.

As well as that, I also got tickets to go and see ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’ at the Grand Opera House in March, and tickets to go and see ‘Chicago’ in June. If you’d like to see a review of them, make sure to check out my new site, http://phoebelyle.com, around that time because I’ll aim to have both up, as well as a lot more.

I also got a book on Documentary Making, which I hope will help me in sharing a wee bit of news with you at some point this year, as well as a book on writing jokes for Comedy Filmmaking, for a few projects I’m also hoping to get working on this year. I also got a couple of colouring books, as I sometimes use colouring as a form of relaxation when getting ready for bed, a Disney Vilians calendar (you have to love a bad guy), and a Disney quiz book.

But everything else I got was chocolate related, a few more pyjamas, fashion items, earrings and clothes (although some of them will have to wait until it warms up). The only last things I got were Cider and Champagne (don’t judge me, disability isn’t a crime that outlaws drinking), but there’s nothing else to talk about.

So I hope you enjoyed this blog, and I will be back here with another blog next week on what — by then — I will have been given for my birthday.

Samsung 7 Series 43” Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TV Review

The Samsung Series 7 4K Ultra HD tv, with HDR and LED technology is a smart tv sold by Samsung, and which is available in 43”, 50”, 55”, 65”, and 75”. It can be bought through Samsung’s website, on Amazon, or through Curry’s, and the one I have is 43”, which I bought around April. But how accessible is the tv overall, and is it the right tv for disabled people who want more control?

The box that the tv comes in has the word ’Samsung’ at the top of it, alongside some bits of smaller writing, outlining some things about the 4K, including on other features the tv comes with. Further down the box, we also see the words ’Cristal UHD’ in larger letters, beside some information on how much energy the television uses, in the space beside it. The only thing I think could be improved with the box is that some features could be written in larger letters, so people who struggle with reading could find it easier to see what the box says, but you can get all of the information online as well.

Inside the box you get the tv, the remote, and the stands for the tv to sit on, although it’s up to you whether you want to use the stands or not. I have mine up on the wall, and your wires and cables.

Getting all the nerd stuff out of the way, this tv comes with a crystal display for long-lasting colour and sharp contrast, 4K Crystal Processors for the best picture and sound, picture quality of 2000 PQI, HDR, along with offering catch up tv and 4K streaming.

With the SmartThings app, you can connect your tv to your phone, allowing people with physical disabilities to set up the tv themselves, completely from the app.

To set up your tv from your phone, you will need to start by creating a Samsung account, and allow the Samsung and SmartThings account access to your network. After that, you’ll have to log in giving access to your date of birth, your name etc, and you can also save your password so there’s no need to try and remember it each time. After that, an email will be sent to you to finish off the process, and you also have the option to set up two-step verification, which will let you get login reminders to your phone. Once you’ve created your account, you’re ready to set up your tv. The way you do this is by going to the my home page, and clicking on the option that currently reads ’Living Room’. That will take you to a page that gives you various options, and the one you’re wanting to hit is ’Device’. From here, you’re wanting to hit TV, and then you’ll hit the brand. This will bring you to a page where you’ll want to hit ’Supported Devices’ , and you’ll have to change your location settings to always on, but you can change this later. From there, you can get started actually setting up your tv, from assigning a specific room to it, to setting a wallpaper, etc etc. For using it with a smart speaker or with voice control, you should allow SmartThings to have access to your microphone, but this will take a bit of time to complete. Once you are able to select your tv, you’ll be asked to go to your wifi settings on your phone, and to enter the password you’re given. After you enter your password, your phone will connect to your tv, and you’ll be asked to enter a pin that will show up on your tv. The last thing you’ll have to do is connect your tv to the internet, but after it connects, you’ll just have to agree to stuff, and it will be all sorted.

Controlling the Samsung Series 7 Smart TV with SmartThings on Apple’s iPhone X © Technology Reviews / Phoebs Does Technology Reviews.

After everything is connected, getting around it should look like this. SmartThings will give you other optional apps you can download, but honestly, most of the other apps they give I’ve never heard of.

This remote feature works with iOS and Android Devices.

As well as the better colour quality — which is amazingly better compared to my old tv — this tv gives you access to all the top streaming apps, including Apple TV, Netflix and Disney+. As well as these ones, you also get Amazon Prime, YouTube, and TickTock, so there’s something for everyone, and you can even connect it to your Apple Music and Spotify!

This tv also makes it easy for you to enjoy your favourite game consoles, with picture and sounds that adapts as fast as your game. Although I still have my Xbox One S, the 4K picture quality is still extremely good, and it’s much easier to play games with dark scenes than it was when I played them on my old tv.

As mentioned before, the remote the Premium One Remote also connects to your phone — so it’s easy to use if you can’t physically use a remote but you want to control your tv — and you can also connect SmartThings to your Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Lastly, you can also screen mirror your iPad or phone screen to the tv, which I find really useful when attending online history conferences. Last year, I had to screen mirror them to my Apple TV 4K, which — while it was good, didn’t have the best internet connection. But each time I’ve mirrored my iPad screen to the Samsung TV, it’s offered a much more enjoyable experience, which — for anyone who’s interested in using it the way I do — is a big plus.

But what do I think about the Samsung Series 7 Smart TV overall? The 4K is brilliant, and you can definitely see a big difference between this tv and other older tvs. As someone who upgraded purely on the fact that I would be able to control my tv easier than my older smart tv, I love how easy it is to set up the tv on my phone, and how easy it is to control my tv using my phone and iPad, as well as how many apps you have access to on the tv and how easy they are to install.

But even then, there are a few problems. Although you can set up your tv using your phone, and use it as a remote thereafter, there are times when you have to either ask someone to turn the tv on with your physical remote, or you’d have to delete the app and re-download it, until the tv is readable. As well as this, there have been times when the internet has completely disconnected itself off the tv for a period of time, which is when I usually swap over to my Apple TV until it sorts itself, but this is only every now and again.

But overall, I’m really happy with what the tv allows me to do, and 90% of the time I’d say it works.

The Samsung Series 7 Smart tv costs £369.00 as an overall payment, but you can also buy it with a monthly payment. It is a really good buy, and it’s probably the best out there if you want to have everything it allows you access to.

Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Cancelling Headphones: Are These the Best Wireless Headphones Ever?

The Skullcandy Venue Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are Bluetooth Wireless Headphones developed and sold by Skullcandy Inc, and which did cost £100 on Amazon a couple of months ago, but now cost £79.99 on Amazon. I bought them with one of my pay checks while completing a couple of work experiences this year when they were selling at the more expensive price point, but were they worth the money?

The bag that the headphones came in said “Let today be the start of something new” and when I got the box out of the bag, you could really see how glossy the box was.

On top of the box you get the usual Skullcandy logo, along with the words: ‘All Music. No Noise.’ followed by the word ‘Venue’. Below that, you have some more information on what all the Skullcandy Venues offer, including on how much charge the headphones give you depending on how long they charge for, and to give you just an idea of how good these are, just 5 minutes of charging will give you five hours of usage.

The case that the headphones are very Beats-like, but probably bigger and in my opinion, better looking.

The case is easy to open, and inside it, you get the headphones, the charger, some more information about the headphones and how to set them up, and a couple of wires.

There is some more information about the headphones around the back, but there’s nothing more to say about them other than that.

It’s easy to connect your headphones to whatever phone you have, and as soon as I put them on, I couldn’t hear anything, not even anyone talking to me. The Active Noise Cancelation is extremely good, and I haven’t even found myself listening to stuff as high as I normally would with my Skullcandy Uproar Wireless, with which I had to put my volume up fully. The charge is amazing – especially given that my older headphones (which I had used every day) had started losing charge, but it works well at the minute when I use them side by side.

I haven’t been able to test the Tile feature yet, which lets you track where your headphones were are, but you also get a monitor mode, as well as the Activate Assistant mode. But as someone who has wanted these headphones for years and has just been able to buy them recently, I’m very happy with what I got.

Apple’s October Event: Are These MacBooks Accessible Enough for an Upgrade?

Apple’s October event took place near to a month ago, and to sum up what the event was about, it overwhelmingly concentrated on Macs. Yes; different colours of HomePod Minis were announced, as well as the Apple Music Voice Plan — which I’ll publish my views on in a few weeks — and as well as that, we also found out about the third generation AirPods. But as the title says, this blog is only concentrating on the new MacBook Pros — which come in 14inch and 16inch — and if they’re worth the upgrade from the tech and accessibility standpoint.

Coming with Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max chip, these new macs come with improved performance and better battery life. As well as the Liquid Retina XDR display, we also get the same camera and audio performance as we saw in the new iMacs earlier this year, which let you shoot in 1080p, and as well as that, we have ports.

So getting all of the nerd stuff out of the way, these MacBooks come with 3.7 times faster CPU performance, with up to 13 times faster graphics performance. As well as that, you also get up to 11 times faster machine learning, and up to 21 hours of battery life.

The chips these MacBooks come with make them extremely faster than anything else currently on the market, with the 14-inch coming with up to 10-core CPU, the same as the 16-inch. Moving on to graphics, the 14-inch comes with 16-core in GPU, while the 16-inch gives up to 32-core GPU. Lastly, the 13 inch comes with up to 32GB of unified memory, with the 16 inch coming with up to 64GB of unified memory, and the 14 inch getting up to 200GBs of memory bandwidth, with the 16 inch having up to 400GBs memory bandwidth.

This makes it possible for you to do things with Mac that it could never handle before.

To emphasise how much faster these MacBooks are, they offer a faster project build if you’re working with Xcode for us Logic Pro users, with up to 3.7 times better speed in the M1 Max in the 14-inch model, with the 16-inch model coming with 2.1 times better speed. For those of us who are interested in graphics, they offer faster 4K render speed when working with Final Cut Pro or Maxon Cinema 4D, with up to 13.4 times faster speed in the M1 Max chip in the 13-inch model, and up to 9.2 times faster with the M1 Pro Chip. We also get faster 8K render speed in the 16-inch model, with the M1 Max chip coming with 2.9 times better performance, while the M1 Pro chip will give less ay 1.7 times faster.

Some other features coming to this mac include ProMotion, making everything such as scrolling through a webpage or gaming super-fluid and responsive, while reducing power. With refresh rates up to 120 herts, the technology automatically adjusts to match the movement of the content. Apple also claims that ProMotion video editors can also choose a fixed refresh rate. The camera on the macs also uses a wider aperture that lets in more light, and mixed with the larger image sensor, it offers two time better low-light performance.

The new three studio-quality mics means your mac can capture even the subtlest of sound, and add in the three-mic array, and you get directional beamforming, meaning your voice always comes through nice and clear.

Add in the six-speaker sound system, and you’ll get sounds much deeper and filling the room with up to 80% more bass, along with much clearer, fuller vocals. This is also what’s making the Mac support spatial audio when playing music or videos with Dolby Atmos, creating a three-dimensional soundstage. But the only thing I don’t think I like about the way Apple is doing this, is that the connecting experience only works with Apple-based products, while other headphones like Skullcandy — which as you know, I’m a fan of — do connect, but you’ll have to connect them in a different way other than just putting them in front of your phone, iPad or Mac.

The ports you get with these macs is a 3.5mm headphone jack that automatically adjusts for high-independence headphones. You also get 3 Thunderbolt 4 ports, and as well as this, you’ll get a quick-releasing MagSafe 3 port. The other two ports you’ll get is one for a SDXC card, and one for an HDMI.

These Macs also let you connect up to three Pro XDR Displays, and a 4K Apple TV with M1 Max. Or you could connect any of your displays with an M1 Pro, if you have one.

The new keyboard brings a full-height functioning key row, with the same feel of mechanical keys we’ve fallen in love with over the last few years. It’s been updated with new keyboard shortcuts for Spotlight, Dictation and Do Not Disturb, with the Touch ID feature having a ring around it to guide your finger.

So is it worth updating to one of these new MacBooks, even if you currently have an older model? Well I would argue it is and it isn’t. Speaking as someone who still has a 2015 MacBook Pro, I saw myself getting one of the new iMacs earlier this year, as my 2015 MacBook just can’t put up with large film and audio files anymore, though it is ok for everything I do with writing. Although Apple has introduced Touch ID to their Mac Lineup, I can’t use it because I can’t use anything other than my head, and so I will be waiting until they introduce Face ID into Macs, to even consider upgrading my laptop.