Innovate

hr-iphone7_34l_matblk_2up_pr-printWhat to expect from the cutting edge of consumer electronics this season

Apple news: iPhone 7
Apple’s back with two new iPhones, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Though both models look much like the 6S (and 2014’s iPhone 6 before it) lots has changed underneath their aluminium exteriors. For a start, there’s a refined 12 megapixel camera on board, with a wider colour gamut for more accurate photos and both models are now IP67 certified for water resistance – so although you still won’t be able to go swimming with them they’re not going to be fazed when you accidentally drop them in the washing-up bowl.

The biggest change, however, is what Apple has taken out, rather than added. Both phones are missing a standard 3.5mm headphone jack; you’ll need to plug your buds in via a supplied adaptor, or buy a new pair that works specifically with the new iPhones. It’s a bold move by Apple, but in the smartphone arms race, the decades old headphone jack was holding them back; expect other manufacturers to follow. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are out now, starting at US$649.

Wireless headphones
Apple has caused controversy by removing the standard headphone jack on its new iPhones, but along with other gadget manufacturers, Apple is hoping to convince you to switch to wireless audio at long last. Apple’s new AirPod headphones (pictured above) look just like the standard buds that come in the box, but minus the wires. They come in a clever carry case that also doubles up as a charger so their tiny batteries don’t run out on you. Not to be outdone, Motorola has launched a similar pair of wireless earphones, the VerveOnes+ (pictured below), which provide a four-hour battery life. Expect more companies to get on board with the cable-free revolution soon – just try not to lose these ones, as at US$150 Apple’s AirPods come small, but they don’t come cheap.

Battle of the consoles: PlayStation 4 Pro vs Xbox One S

Sony and Microsoft both have new consoles on sale this Christmas. But which video games machine is right for you? Let’s take a look…

Raw horsepower
Sony’s PS4 Pro is meant for gamers with a super sharp 4K TV, promising better visuals and frame-rates (even on existing titles) thanks to an upgraded graphics processor. The Xbox One S provides slightly better colour on some games but Microsoft is promising true 4K gaming with another model, dubbed Project Scorpio, coming in late 2017.
Winner: PS4 Pro

Must play games
Both PlayStation and Xbox are tied for amazing blockbuster, indie and exclusive games. But Sony’s platform gets the edge simply through its install base; more PS4s out there mean more of your friends to play with online.
Winner: PS4 Pro

Best for 4K video
While both new consoles can stream super sharp 4K video (that’s four times sharper than HD) from apps like Netflix, curiously, the more powerful PS4 Pro lacks the Xbox One S’s 4K Blu-ray player.
Winner: Xbox One S

Space saving
The PS4 Pro is about power, not profile. Microsoft has done a much better job shrinking down the Xbox One – the One S is a whopping 40% smaller, so it’ll sit neatly and discreetly under your TV.
Winner: Xbox One S

Easy on the wallet
The Xbox One S is the clear winner here – starting at US$299.99, it’s a full US$100 less than the PS4 Pro, which starts at US$399.99 for the base model and bundle.
Winner: Xbox One S

Overall winner: PlayStation 4 Pro
The new PS4 Pro isn’t without its problems, but as a future-proofed games machine, it’s better equipped than the compact Xbox One S. Just watch out for Microsoft’s true PS4 Pro competitor console, coming late next year.

App of the month: Kalido
LinkedIn is the world’s go-to social network for professionals, but new South African start-up Kalido is looking to change that. It lets you post for jobs via a simple app, and matches suitable people by location and your contacts. It’s a smart idea and only stands to get better the more people join. The app, which is out now on both iPhone and Android, has already raised almost US$5 million from investors. Launching in India and Australia next.    www.kalido.com