Apple is refreshing its entry-level iPad with an updated chip. The 8th-generation tablet includes the company’s A12 Bionic chipset, which Apple debuted with the iPhone XS in 2018. Apple says the chip delivers significantly improved graphical performance over the A10 processor that was in its previous entry-level iPad model. The move to the A12 also means Apple’s most affordable tablet will include a Neural Engine for the first time. The component powers features that leverage machine learning like Face ID and Animoji.
Besides the new silicon, there’s not much else different about the tablet compared to its predecessor. It still features a 10.2-inch display with ample bezels around the screen. As before, it includes support for the company’s first-generation Apple Pencil — that’s the one you have to awkwardly plug into a Lightning Port to charge. You can also use the tablet in conjunction with Apple’s Smart Keyboard thanks to the included Smart Connector port.
Microsoft Outlook is down worldwide
Microsoft’s Outlook service is down worldwide, affecting Outlook on the web, Outlook.com, and Outlook on desktop and mobile. The outage started at around 2AM ET, and Microsoft has confirmed it’s affecting users worldwide. Outlook users are currently unable to access their email, and Outlook.com is failing to load.
“We’re collecting additional data from the affected infrastructure to aid in our investigation to determine the cause of impact,” says a Microsoft support update. The outage appears to have been caused by a recent change on Microsoft’s end. “We’re reviewing recent changes to our service to further determine the cause of impact,” says Microsoft’s 365 status Twitter account.
This is the second major Microsoft services outage in less than a week. On Monday Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, Teams, and other services all experienced issues for hours. Unlike other companies like Cloudflare, Microsoft doesn’t fully detail the root cause of its outages so we might never know why its Outlook email service has experienced significant issues twice in a week.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment on the Outlook email issues, and we’ll update you accordingly.
Roland’s TR-6S recreates the classic sounds of its ’80s drum machines
The TR-06 Drumatix is what Roland calls a “detailed replica of the Roland TR-606 Drumatix from the ‘80s,” albeit with some modern upgrades. It retains the tone of the original, which was originally a commercial failure but became a cult item in the ‘90s, appearing on albums like Massive Attack’s Protection. However, it’s been updated with features like effects, an onboard compressor, tempo delay and the ability to control tuning, decay and pan for each instrument.
It also uses a step sequencers, but it’s been updated with sub-steps for ratcheted parts, step-loops and other advanced features. It has five trigger outputs and a trigger input, along with a high-quality USB audio interface and battery operation for mobile productions. The TR-06 also costs $400 and arrives in late October.
On top of the two drum machines, Roland also unveiled the TR-606 software rhythm composer. It works as a plug-in for DAW productions and has the same sound and behavior as the original, while adding features that allow for “more sound choices and faster, more fluid programming,” Roland said. It’s now available via Roland Cloud.
Astro’s $49.99 A03 is its first set of in-ear headphones made for gaming
Astro is debuting its first set of in-ear headphones, the A03. It’s an unexpected step for the company, which traditionally makes over-ear gaming headsets, like the new A20 Gen 2 and the mainstay A40. They’re $49.99, so while not the most affordable wired option, it’s a reasonable price considering they offer punchy sound, and a snug fit with three sets of silicon tips included, each of which provide quality sound isolation. And if you want to use them to listen to music, or stay on the phone, while you game with an over-ear headset, the A03 has a flat cable to sit comfortably between your skin and the ear cup.
The A03 plugs in via 3.5mm, so another perk is that it’s compatible with every current platform, like the PC, PS4, Xbox One, the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite, as well as Android and iOS devices — assuming you have a dongle to convert from USB-C or Lightning to 3.5mm. It’s also compatible with the Xbox Series X and S controllers, as well as the PS5’s DualSense controller. As for inline controls and microphone support, the A03’s plug is built for the CTIA standard. And while that means the microphone will work with mobile and on the likes of the Switch and first-party Xbox One and PS4 controllers, Astro says the inline buttons won’t be functional.
Astro says each of the A03’s earbuds houses two drivers: one focused on the bass and lows, and another targeting the mids and highs. The company says the dual driver setup in each bud “delivers a powerful audio experience with a rich soundscape, revealing every detail of game environments and clearly separating voice chat.”
Interestingly, these look very similar to Logitech’s $49.99 G333 in-ear headphones that are certified for use with the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. The aluminum housing that contains the drivers and the flat cable is a match. This is strange, but it’s not a complete shock since Logitech owns Astro.
In terms of differences, the A03 has an in-line microphone, a soft case for storage, and comes in two different colors; purple buds with a white cable or red buds with a navy-colored cable. Since the A03 wasn’t made expressly for VR, it doesn’t come with the Velcro ties to shorten the cable, like the G333 does, though there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use these.
It makes sense to offer something more compact like this to gamers, who normally have to leave their big headsets at home when it’s time to hit the road. If you’re looking for a new set of in-ear headphones that were made for making your games sound good, these might be worth considering.
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