Apple’s new Macs have been well-covered in recent press. They’re an undeniable paradigm shift in computing. After using my M1 MacBook for a month, here are 5 less-discussed things I’ve learnt about Apple’s new computers.

1: The battery life is next-level, but Chrome and Spotify are still drains

The battery life in these new M1 MacBooks is nothing short of unbelievable, there’s simply no reason to keep them constantly tethered to the wall as you may have done with your old computer.

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When using this MacBook Air, I expected a seismic shift in battery life. While this laptop certainly didn’t disappoint, you can still tell that Chrome and Spotify are not as optimised as Apple’s native apps.

Ok, granted, Spotify is still an old x86 app running through Apple’s translation app, Rosetta, so there’s scope to improve. However, as it runs on Chromium, the same as the similarly named browser, judging by the performance of the M1 optimised version of Google Chrome, there’s still significantly more power drain than a Safari workflow. …

Is this thing really the future of the smartphone?

I, like the rest of the tech community, have been eagerly anticipating the launch of the Galaxy Fold. Samsung’s $2000 folding powerhouse that is purportedly a game changer for the smartphone industry.

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This excitement is justified, the folding arrangement of the phone is the first update to the ‘rectangle with a slab of glass’ design ethos we’ve seen become hegemonic with smartphone manufacturers for the past decade.

In his review, Jon Rettinger compares the Galaxy Fold to the Galaxy Note. detailing how the Note challenged the design language of the time with its ginormous size, ‘It was so different from the mobile status quo that people didn’t know what to think of it. It seemed silly, it seemed ridiculous. But, retrospectively, I think we’ll look back on the Fold in the same way as the Note. …

How television continues to live on in a highly convoluted media world.

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You know what’s funny about Instagram’s IGTV? I wrote an unpublished essay considering post TV discourses a few months back. It acknowledged many of the ideas Instagram has drawn on to craft this new mobile experience.

There’s a hell of a lot of content online today. And, often times, it can be difficult to navigate through all of that, to find the good stuff. This is something television was always good at, if it was on TV, it was likely to be good content!

Instagram’s implementation and faith in the television model clearly shows a desire to move back to a time of curated, passive content forms, just on a wholly new platform. …

I’m a fan of The Verge, I enjoy the way they report, it’s more transparent, and emphasises personality. Where other sites favour a degree of anonymity, The Verge highlight the importance of feel in their style, and allow their reporters to express this; feel is important in tech.

One established segment on The Verge is the ‘What’s in your bag?’ feature, wherein we are able to explore the contents of a Verge reporter’s bag. Whilst this may be considered a hyper-real representation of a mundane reality, I appreciate the consideration of once unconsidered elements.

So, I’m going to do my own, in the style of The Verge. What’s in your bag, Alex Firth?

A first look at the Props token and the Rize app.

We already live in a time of democratised media. Creators, for the most part, can produce and upload whatever they like online. However, conventional platforms fall short in their misaligned concentration of value. Users are creating value for platforms, but not seeing proportional financial compensation for their output.

Props aims to fix this. Props is a new cryptocurrency from live streaming app, YouNow. It’s effectively a token that has fiduciary value. Creators will have the opportunity to earn Props tokens on any platform that uses them, rewarding them for creating value for the platform.

For many, Props may be their first encounter with Cryptocurrency. By nature, all blockchain technologies are highly complex. Props intends to be accessible to all users. The app has been designed to ensure that all users, no matter of their previous experiences with cryptocurrency, can access the platform. …

I have an interesting wallet.

My wallet is not an ordinary wallet, it can’t be purchased in a store, and it’s certainly not designer.

My wallet is an elastic band, that surrounds my cards. It’s that simple. It’s not an original idea, I think it came from a lifehacker article a few years ago, but I’ve used it for around 18 months now, and I have no intentions of turning back.

Having a wallet like this makes you think essentially; cutting the unessential crap you may carry around for years, and never use.

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The main reason for having such a wallet is determinism. One day our phones will entirely replace our wallets. I already pay for things using my phone, I keep most of my loyalty cards there, and even the DVLA is flirting with the idea of letting you keep your driving licence on your phone. Boarding passes, mobile banking apps and ID cards are all going digital. …

Alex Firth

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