Samsung, Amazon, Roku, Google, Sony, Apple and Microsoft have unveiled their fall lineups of new tech gear with one biggie awaiting a reveal: those new editions of the Apple iPhone, which is expected later this month.
Perhaps you missed the announcements. Or wondered when the products would be available. Good news, Talking Tech fans. We have our annual fall calendar for you, right here.
Several new ones products have already been released, including the updated Series 6 Apple Watch, Amazon’s Fire TV streaming players (some so bare-bones, they don’t have TV controls or 4K streaming support) and a faster, more powerful $329 iPad. What else is in store? Read on.
Oct. 5:Samsung Galaxy S20 FE ($699) offers many of the features seen in the top of the line $1,399 Galaxy S20 Ultra in a cheaper body with fewer of the high-end camera goodies. Remember Google Home, the speaker Google introduced in November 2016 to take on Amazon’s Echo and Alexa? It’s been discontinued and replaced with a new name, Nest Audio, as well as different shape and higher fidelity sound. The unit sells for $99, compared to the first price of the Home, which was $129.
Oct. 13: Oculus Quest 2 is the $299 sequel to last year’s virtual reality headset with better performance and higher resolution graphics, with a price tag that’s $100 cheaper than the original. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go is a lighter, less expensive alternative to more expensive Surface models at $549.
Oct. 15: Roku has new streaming player updates and a smaller soundbar with built-in Roku. The Roku Ultra ($99.99) is engineered for faster channel launches and has an improved antenna for 50% more wireless range, while the $129.99 Streambar offers improved TV sound in a smaller body, with built-in Roku.
Oct. 22: The old Amazon Echo speaker in the shape of a coffee can (original Echo) or like a hockey puck (Dots) get an all-new, spherical look for the fall. The redesigned Amazon Echo ($99) touts improved sound with smart home controls built in, while the Dot ($49.99), which is Amazon’s best-selling Echo speaker, also has improved sound, according to the company.
Oct. 23: Apple hasn’t officially announced it, but leading analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities predicts the new editions of the iPhone, which he says will be announced on Oct. 13, will hit store shelves. Apple has historically released new iPhones at the end of September, but with COVID-19 affecting manufacturing in Asia, Apple announced earlier this year that the iPhone would be delayed “several weeks” from the normal release. The new iPhones are expected to connect to the new, faster 5G wireless networks.
Oct. 29: Pixel 5, Google’s successor to last year’s Pixel 4 smartphone, has a lower starting price ($699 versus $799) and like most new phones for 2020, also connects to 5G. Marketing materials push the faster speed, camera features for photo buffs and a new “Hold for Me,” feature that has the Google Assistant listening to a prerecorded hold message so you don’t have to. When a live human comes on the line, Google contacts you.
October TBA: The Apple iPad Air. Apple doesn’t have specifics for the exact release beyond that it will be available this month. The redesigned Air has a new edge-to-edge display and uses Touch ID to unlock the screen from a side button and promises a more powerful processor. Prices start at $599, but if you really want to have a shock, order all the accessories Apple offers, and you’ll get a price tag of $1,376.
Nov. 5:Amazon’s small Echo Dot speaker with built-in clock gets the spherical makeover, and a new, more expensive price-tag of $59.
Nov. 10: Microsoft Xbox Series X. The upgraded unit, which Microsoft says is faster and more powerful, starts at $499.
Nov. 12: Sony PlayStation 5. The updated console will sell for $499.99. Sony says to expect “deeper immersion with support for haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and 3D Audio.”
Nov. 19: Google Pixel 4A (5G) The sequel to the summer Pixel 4A release, one of our favorite smartphone buys, at $349, gets the 5G upgrade, for $499 or $599, depending upon which carrier you subscribe to and which kind of 5G they have.
Extras: A new edition of the Amazon Echo Show, which brings a video display to the Echo system, has a 10-inch screen and a rotating platform for video chat. The body follows the speaker’s movement during the chat. Amazon says it is “coming soon.”
In other tech news this week
Amazon introduced a palm reader as an alternative to touch and facial ID, for allowing consumers a different way to pay for goods, and to sign in with their Amazon accounts. The E-tailer is testing a new digital palm reader system, called Amazon One, at stores in Seattle to gain entry and check out.
Facebook upgrades Instagram direct messages. Facebook, which owns Instagram, announced plans to update Instagram DMs by introducing experiences from Messenger to the app. The social media giant is also rolling out a suite of 10 new tools to make Instagram more engaging in the stay-at-home era.
Besides those new Pixel phones and Nest Audio, we’re intrigued by Google’s remake of the Chromecast streaming device, the product more consumers will probably end up using out of Google’s new portfolio. It sells for $49.95 and takes what was a niche product into the living room to compete with Amazon and Roku in streaming by adding a remote control, menu of content and personalized recommends for what to watch, based on your search history. We’re betting that since Google knows more about us, they can do a better job at this than Amazon or Roku.
This week’s Talking Tech podcasts
Swim at local pools with Daycation app. Matthew Boney tells about how to spend time at a fancy resort without staying overnight.
Roku can now connect to your iPhone. Beyond the new hardware, Roku also said it would now offer support for Apple consumers to beam programming from their devices directly to the TV.
Cheap TVs for under $300. There are many bargains out there. We help you explore them.
Google’s new phones. A guide to the new Pixel phones Google introduced.
Why we think Chromecast was the most interesting new product Google launched. Voicebot.AI’s Bret Kinsella joins to discuss Google’s Launch Night In event.
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter
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