Soundbyte 318 – August 2021

ChristopherNews, SoundByte

Hi-Res Audio

Welcome to Soundbyte! In this issue:

  • August meeting: Moving to an M1 Mac
  • Update your Apple devices now!
  • High res audio – worth the bother?
  • ARMs race latest
  • New life for old Macs
  • Adding fibre to our diet
  • Get ready for ULEZ
  • Offers for members

August Meeting: Moving to an M1 Mac

Join us tomorrow at 7pm on Zoom for our monthly meeting. The invite is in the email sent to members with this newsletter. This month we will consider the pros and cons of upgrading to a new Mac with the M1 processor. Tune in, to hear the tips and tricks to make sure you’re ready. We will start as usual with a round-up of this month’s Apple news in Newsbyte.

Don’t forget to follow LMUG on twitter and in our podcast Brew & Byte. The latest podcast episode considers automation and scripting with a very special guest!

Update your Apple devices now!

The days (if they ever really existed – ED) of your Mac or iOS device being immune to the viruses and threats common on PCs running Windows are long gone. Apple has released an emergency update to fix a serious bug that could lead to an attacker gaining control of your device. You should find the update in Software Update (e.g. iOS 14.7.1 and macOS 11.5.1). Don’t delay installing these if your Mac has information on it you want to protect! Read more about this threat from Sophos.

High-res audio – worth the bother?

Sony’s logo for Hi-Res audio

As you’ll have heard from previous Soundbytes, Apple now offers lossless audio to Apple Music (paying) subscribers. You can turn this on in the Music settings. For example, on an iPhone, it is under audio quality, in Music in Settings.

But lossless isn’t the same as High-res audio, which Apple now offers as part of its lossless offering.

24Khzup to 192Kkz

16-bit is CD quality and 24-bit is…more than CD quality. Neither are compressed, unlike the regular AAC music we are used to. So do you need to get it? Well here is a direct quote from Apple: “the difference between AAC and lossless audio is virtually indistinguishable”. If Apple themselves are saying this, perhaps we should relax. The reasons for AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) compression are still very relevant. They make the audio small enough to stream over 4G without using up your month’s mobile data allowance in one afternoon. It is also small enough to be transmitted over a Bluetooth connection…which means none of your Bluetooth headphones or speakers can handle lossless anyway…

John Darko makes a great video here explaining why Hi-res might not take off with most people.

But what if you want it? You can listen over WiFi from the built-in speakers on a recent iPad or iPhone. But to really hear the difference (if your ears are young or sharp enough to hear a difference) you will need high-end wired headphones (which can get expensive) and a Digital Audio Converter to connect the headphones to your Mac or iPhone, some of which Darko demonstrates below.

ARMs race latest

Nvidia, who used to make graphics card for Macs, and are the dominant video card maker in the Intel PC market (particularly with PC gamers) are in the process of buying ARM, who makes computer chip architectures of which Apple is a licensee for the M1 chip. What does this have to do with an ARMs race (between Apple’s new M1 chip and Intel chips). Well, Nvidia has bypassed Intel and just demonstrated its video cards working with an ARM chip (from MediaTek) using some of the latest gaming techniques and technologies. Is this a warning shot to Intel or Apple? You decide!

New life for old Macs

Old Mac Book with Chrome OS

Apple supports Macs for many years. The upcoming Monterey supports Macs as old as 8 years old. But once past that, you may lose access to updates for not only Mac OS, but also to critical apps like your web browser. Before recycling your old Mac, think about if you or someone you know can re-use it. Perhaps it would remain useful with just a modern updated web browser and some web apps? If so, you might want to consider Chrome OS. Have a look at this article on 9to5 Mac to learn why and how.

If, instead, you just want some of the old macOS back in your current Mac running Big Sur, have a look at this mod to bring back the boring old menu bar

Adding fibre to our diet

Fibre Optic cable

Both the main political parties want to spread high-speed fibre-optic broadband across the country. But did you know that there is also a ‘switch-off’ looming on the horizon for your regular copper phone line? There is even a (elastic? – ED) deadline of late 2025. Read about what this means, on the TTNC blog.

Get ready for ULEZ

Ultra Low Emissions Zone (entry) sign

ULEZ or the ultra low emissions zone is being expanded out to the north and south circular roads this autumn. Older polluting cars will be charged to enter and it is expected that London’s air quality will improve as a result. But what if your sat nav sends you in without warning you about being charged £12.50! Help is on the way from Google who have now added the London’s ULEZ into Google Maps along with similar schemes in other cities. Read more from the BBC.

Offers for members

Please find below the special discounts and offers for our paying members. Members can access these through the members section of the website:

  • Free Lessons for Apple User Groups from Dan’s Tutorials
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  • TechTool Pro: 50% Discount
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