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The new Apple TV gets a 4K HDR upgrade

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The new Apple TV is here, and it offers 4K support. That’s the big reason to upgrade here, and given the growth of the 4K video content and TV hardware markets between now and the release of the last major Apple TV revision, it’s a very welcome improvement.

Apple’s new 4K streaming box also offers support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, which is a big improvement even for non 4K content. HDR makes for brighter images with better visibility throughout a range of lighting conditions and better color rendering, which helps makes movies and TV shows pop on the big screen (provided you have a screen that supports it).

Apple TV 4K will support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision profiles, which are industry standard for content makers. The entire UI is also redone in 4K, Apple announced on stage.

All of this new image technology on the new Apple TV is powered by dramatically improved internals, including an A10X Fusion processor (which also powers the new iPad Pro models) and 3GB of RAM. 4K video content, especially when streamed, requires a lot of memory to run smoothly, hence the need for the upgrade.

The new Apple TV will be improved in terms of gaming capabilities thanks to its improved specifications, too: 4K gaming could make the set-top box move even more towards its console competitors, provided developers and consumers show adequate interest in that side of things. It boasts 4x better graphics performance thanks to the A10X. Apple showed off a demo of Sky, a new exclusive gaming title coming to iOS and Apple TV this winter to demonstrate its capabilities.

Apple TV gaining 4K playback means it’s now able to match what competitors from Roku, Amazon and Nvidia can provide. But the availability of 4K movies on iTunes could be an advantage, depending on how its library compares to the 4K offerings on Google Play Movies, which are currently available for streaming.

The new Apple TV 4K will sell for $179 for a 32GB version, and a 64GB version for $199, with orders beginning September 15 and shipping starting on September 22.

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The new Apple Watch Series 3 has cellular built-in

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The new Apple Watch is now official, offering one big highlight upgrade over the previous version: Built-in cellular support. Wireless cellular LTE connectivity provided by a built-in chip means the new Apple Watch will be able to stay connected even when it’s not tethered to an iPhone, which is a huge step forward in terms of making it an independent mobile device.

Pricing for the Series 3 Cellular starts at $399, and a version without cellular starts at $329. Pre-orders begin on September 15, and they’ll be available on September 22. The cellular version can be used without an iPhone at all.

Basically, it means you can make and receive calls, as well as messages, while away from your iPhone using just the Apple Watch. The Watch will use a separate connection when away from the phone, but it will still use the same phone number so that messages and texts all get to you regardless of whether you have your phone or watch with you or not.

New cellular connectivity not only means you can take your Watch with you and use it on a run to track your stats, but it will also give access to all of Apple Music without a connected device, starting next month.

The new Apple Watch is visually quite similar to the existing version, with backwards compatibility with existing straps and bands. There’s a new Blush Gold color to match the new iPhone color option, and a new ceramic Dark Gray for the higher-end models that joins the existing white. Plus, the cellular version sports that red crown for an extra bit of visual flare. The non-cellular version doesn’t have the new red crown.

Inside, it has a new dual-core processor with 70 percent better performance, as well as a new W2 chip that improves Bluetooth and wireless connectivity and power efficiency. The cellular antenna is actually the display itself, and there’s an electronic SIM card inside for connectivity.

The device is the same physical size as the Series 2, despite adding everything needed for cellular and LTE connectivity – though the back crystal is extended 0.25 mm, which is incredibly thin. It’s still got GPS like Series 2, and it’s swimproof, plus it packs in all-day battery life still.

Tim Cook touted an ‘industry-leading’ customer satisfaction rate of 97 percent for the Apple Watch on stage at today’s event, and noted that it was the number one watch brand in the world now, based on worldwide sales, provided it’s using the same metric as last year.

Apple is also improving the heart rate app for Watch software with new features including a heart rate complication for the main watch face, new measurements including resting heart rate, and a recovering heart rate that shows how fast your rate drops after you complete a workout.

They’re also now notifying you when it detects that you have an elevated heart rate, but you aren’t actually being active. And they’ll alert you when you have an arrhythmia, or an irregular heart rate compared to your usual stats. That could help it spot health problems earlier, including strokes, before they become more serious.

To that end, it’s doing an ‘Apple Heart Study’ with Stanford, coming to the App sStore later this year.

There’s also a new band called the “Sport Loop” that’s designed for use in outdoor active situations. There are also new Hermes bands and new watchface styles, and new color options across the band lineup.

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Nintendo will revive the NES Classic and continue selling the SNES Classic in 2018

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Good news for old skool Nintendo enthusiasts — the company has said it will revive the NES Classic Edition next year, and it plans to continue selling the SNES Classic in 2018, too.

The company originally killed off the hit NES Classic Edition with an announcement in April and it had also said that the SNES version, which went up for pre-sale last month, would not live beyond this year. But an announcement made today — hat tip The Verge — reversed both stances.

The NES system was a surprise hit last year, but Nintendo confirmed that the SNES version has been even more popular — selling more on launch day in August than the NES sold in the whole of last year. As a result, more SNES Classics will be put up for sale this year.

That appetite for the retro systems is what has ultimately changed Nintendo’s mind, it seems.

“Fans have shown their unbridled enthusiasm for these Classic Edition systems, so Nintendo is working to put many more of them on store shelves,” the Japanese tech giant said.

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