Xbox Series X tech details, iPhone 9 details, and more

Good morning, and happy St. Patrick's Day. No doubt celebrations are a little different for many this year.

Something short but notable: I saw that LG is finally trying to do better launch pricing, unveiling the new LG V60 ThinQ for $799 outright ($899 with the Dual Screen Case), with carriers having deals too. No word on other regions yet.

The technical detail behind the coming Xbox Series X was unveiled in detail by Microsoft yesterday, and it’s a big unit with loads to dig into. 
  • To bring yourself up to speed, start at the Xbox homepage announcement and then move on to Digital Foundry’s in-depth look at the array of interesting and impressive tech for the next flagship console. 
  • The topline specs include custom CPU and GPU: the AMD Zen 2 CPU with eight cores clocked at 3.8GHz each, a custom AMD RDNA 2-class GPU with 12 teraflops and 52 compute units clocked at 1.825GHz each, built on a 7nm process.
  • “Xbox Series X is the biggest generational leap of SOC [System on a Chip] and API design that we’ve done with Microsoft, and it’s really an honor for AMD to be a trusted Microsoft partner for this endeavor,” said Sebastien Nussbaum, VP of semi-custom products and technologies​ at AMD.
  • That will offer hardware-accelerated DirectX ray-tracing, and Microsoft posted some compelling looks at how Minecraft will become more immersive with ray-tracing.
More specs:
  • Also In the box comes 16GB of GDDR6 RAM with a 1TB custom NVME SSD storage drive, plus a 1TB expansion card.
  • This proprietary removable/expansion storage is a fairly hot discussion point.
  • Proprietary anything isn’t ideal given the standards around storage that exist. 
  • But it is designed with Seagate for faster load times and gaming performance, and as long as it isn’t priced at ridiculous levels for consumers it might be ok? 
  • More on that here: how Xbox Series X removable storage will work (The Verge). 
  • There’s talk about almost-complete Xbox One compatibility for accessories, game saves, and progression.
  • As we’ve previously known, the new console will support 8K gaming and frame rates of up to 120fps in games
  • It’s all cooled by a 130mm fan.
  • Also, the new Xbox is not as big as a fridge, despite previous jokes/reports (Twitter).
  • None of the hardware matters without games and hype - with E3 canceled that’ll move to digital unveils and online shows.
  • No price either - but the specs seem like $500+ given that many components are PC hardware.
  • In other news, still not much out of Sony for the PlayStation 5.

Round Up:

🍎 iOS 14 code detail reveals Apple is set to ship the 4.7-inch display iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus with the A13 Bionic chip, the processor used in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. Plus four iPad Pro variants, as it approaches its fourth generation (9to5Mac).
🍏 Apple explains how returns and repairs will work while its retail stores are closed: longer return periods (The Verge). On that note, Apple’s website now says retail stores are closed ‘until further notice’ after initially saying they’d re-open March 27 (9to5Mac).
🆕 Samsung now producing UFS 3.1 memory storage, expected in smartphone flagships later this year (Android Authority).
📺 Coronavirus outbreak causes Universal to release movies in theaters and at home on the same day (Android Authority).
🎶 Coronavirus ruining your music-making plans? These two synth apps are now free (Android Authority).
🔋 Tesla surprises everyone by delivering the Model Y six-months ahead of schedule (Ars Technica).
🎁 Here’s what is new in Tesla’s EV crossover (TechCrunch).
📦 Amazon plans to hire 100,000 more US workers to handle coronavirus demand, will also pay $2 more per hour (and 2 euros more in Europe and £2 in Britain.) (CNET).
COVID-19: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube say they're working with each other and government healthcare agencies to reduce misinformation (Twitter). Internet moderation is rapidly evolving right now.
😬 TikTok told moderators to suppress posts by “ugly” people and the poor to attract new users (The Intercept).
📖 Microsoft and GitHub strengthen their hold on open source (Wired).
🛒 Grocery delivery apps see record downloads (TechCrunch).
🕵️‍♂️ Virtually tour 500+ museums and galleries while self-isolating (
💉 First human trial for coronavirus vaccine begins (CNBC).
🔭 “I spent 2 years and 18 hours of exposure time to capture the Crescent Nebula,” and it’s epic! (r/damnthatsinteresting).
🧬 “Why do viruses mostly affect only one species?” (r/askscience).
🐈 “Is it actually okay to let my cat have a little salami, as a treat?” (r/nostupidquestions).