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https://killexams.com/exam_list/AppleKillexams : 'Call To The Wild' Apple Watch Ultra ad leans into extreme adventure
Apple Watch Ultra handles freezing temperatures
The new Apple Watch Ultra ad highlights not just durability, but also the one of the most extreme adventures mankind has ever undertaken.
Apple's ad for the Apple Watch Ultra, called "Call To The Wild," showcases some of the model's features. Some of the device's capabilities are water resistance, dust resistance, and a red night vision watch face called Wayfinder.
The titanium Apple Watch Ultra features a 49mm display, dual-band GPS, and an Action button that can be programmed for various functions. It can act as a depth gauge, and the device certified to EN13319, an internationally recognized standard for dive computers and gauges.
The Ultra also meets the MIL-STD 810H certification standard. Apple's tests for the watch involved altitude, high temperature, low temperature, temperature shock, immersion, freeze/thaw, shock, and vibration.
Nevertheless, both the advertisement and Shackleton's expedition captured the public's imagination throughout the nineteenth century, all the way to Apple in 2022.
Fri, 14 Oct 2022 01:32:00 -0500entext/htmlhttps://appleinsider.com/articles/22/10/14/call-to-the-wild-apple-watch-ultra-ad-leans-into-extreme-adventureKillexams : Apple-Books-Top-10
The top 10 books on the Apple Store for week ending 10/02/2022
ByThe Associated Press
October 4, 2022, 12:52 PM
US Bestseller List - Paid Books
Book Title by Author Name - ISBN - (Publisher)
1. Treasure State by C. J. Box - 9781250768032 - (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)
2. Verity by Colleen Hoover - 9781538724743 - (Grand Central Publishing)
3. It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover - 9781501110375 - (Atria Books)
4. Oath of Loyalty by Kyle Mills & Vince Flynn - 9781982164935 - (AtriaEmily Bestler Books)
5. Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco - 9780316342087 - (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
6. Live Wire by Kelly Ripa - 9780063073319 - (Dey Street Books)
7. Fairy Tale by Stephen King - 9781668002186 - (Scribner)
8. The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik - 9780593158364 - (Random House Worlds)
9. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover - 9781476753195 - (Atria Books)
10. Suspect by Scott Turow - 9781538706350 - (Grand Central Publishing)
Tue, 04 Oct 2022 05:57:00 -0500entext/htmlhttps://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/apple-books-top-10-90985639Killexams : Why Goldman Sachs + Apple + Mastercard Didn't Work Perfectly
Manole Capital Management
How Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) + Apple (AAPL) + Mastercard (MA) Didn't Work
Some of the fundamentals and metrics we like to follow are monthly retail spending trends. Mastercard provides monthly data in their SpendingPulsereport, and they also provide estimates for the upcoming holiday shopping season. We like these Mastercard metrics, as they capture in-store and online retail sales, across all forms of payment (not just those on MA).
Before we look ahead to the important holiday season, let’s examine the last two months of spending trends. In August 2022, Mastercard SpendingPulse reported US retail sales grew +11.7% YoY and +20.4% compared to 2019. eCommerce sales in August grew +8.9% and +100.2% compared to the same period during Covid. The sectors showing strong double-digit growth were restaurants, airlines, and lodging. In September 2022, Mastercard SpendingPulse reported US retail sales accelerated sequentially and grew +11.0% YoY and +24.6% compared to 2019. eCommerce sales in September also accelerated sequentially and grew +10.7% and were +90.3% higher versus the same period during Covid. In-store sales remained strong at 11.1% YoY too. The sectors showing strong double-digit growth were electronics, as well as last month’s restaurants, airlines, and lodging, while retail sectors contracting or slowing were luxury and hardware / housing related spending.
During this upcoming holiday season (which covers November 1st through December 24th), Mastercard is estimating that US retail sales will increase +7.1% YoY. Last year, US retail sales grew +8.5% YoY, as there was pandemic-induced spending and pent-up demand. Also, this was impressive growth off of a low +0.4% in 2020, which was clearly Covid-19 impacted.
Retailers are planning for certain in-store experiences, in an attempt to draw shoppers into their stores. Mastercard expects holiday door-busters to boost traffic and drive consumers to increase spending by +7.9% YoY. eCommerce continues to grow, especially due to its convenience, and grow +4.2% YoY (up 70% pre-Covid).
Clearly, spending trends remain quite robust, despite all of the market worries. As Visa’s (V) CEO Al Kelly just said at a business conference, “the consumer still feels quite strong, and we are just not seeing these negative impacts in our numbers.” Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America (BAC), echoed those bullish sentiments when he said, “US consumers are in good shape and will continue to spend at an elevated clip.”
The payments industry has always been a staple of our portfolio. Why are these spending metrics so resilient, despite so many economic uncertainties? We believe it has a lot to do with the slow and steady migration away from paper cash, but also due to materially growing the card acceptance footprint. In 2012, Visa had roughly 25 million acceptance points around the world. Now, Visa has 80 million and the number exceeds 100 million, if one includes payment facilitators like Square, Adyen and Stripe. In the last decade, the number of global card acceptance points has increased by 4x. This occurs because the payment networks are leveraging technology and focusing their attention on new categories like rent, parking lots, vending machines, etc.
As we continue to highlight, global card penetration is still fairly low. While it is estimated to be at 60% to 70% in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, it is only 53% in Ireland, 46% in Chile, 34% in Spain, 29% in Poland, 23% in Germany, and 21% in Mexico. Because of these factors, we are confident that we’re still in the early innings of this payment secular growth tailwind.
Nobody should forget that consumer spending accounts for about 2/3rd’s of US economic activity. The US Bureau of Economic Analysis highlights PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) growth and it is a beautiful chart (up and to the right, except for a little Covid blip). PCE has been one of the key growth components of our economy and thank goodness that Americans love to shop and spend their hard-earned money.
Before we dive into GS and their Apple Card, we thought it would be helpful to review typical payment economics. Credit card interchange rates are set by the payment networks (Visa, Mastercard and American Express (AXP)) and are then re-priced by merchant acquirers and payment processors, at a slight mark-up to merchants. This all-in cost to transact is called the MDR (merchant discount rate). The interchange rates range from a low of 1.3% (grocery stores or gas stations) all the way up to 2.9% (pornography, tobacco, alcohol, etc.) of the sale. This wide range is dependent upon the network used, the type of merchant, the size of the transaction and a whole host of other factors. We created this pie chart to display how these fees get re-distributed to each party, so one can easily understand the economics of a typical $100 credit card transaction. As you can see, the vast majority of the economics go to the card issuers and banks, for taking the vast majority of the risk while the smallest component of these fees goes towards the payment networks.
Delinquencies Ultimately Matter
As we just mentioned, spending trends remain quite healthy. One of the reasons we don’t like to invest in the card issuing sector is that they are the entities that take the most risk in the payment ecosystem. As our earlier pie chart shows, card issuers earn roughly 70% of the MDR, but they are taking the most risk in each transaction. Making matters worse, there is no collateral to these lines of credit, unlike a house or car that could be foreclosed upon or re-possessed. In addition, they are enticing customers with loyalty and rewards programs, that ultimately have significant costs.
While our payment networks, merchant acquirers and payment processors do not have the same level of credit risk, we like to monitor credit delinquency trends. We analyze monthly master trust loan data to get an understanding of how consumers are spending and if they are paying back those charges. Firms like American Express, Bank of America, Citigroup (C), Discover (DFS), JPMorgan (JPM), Synchrony (SYF) all publish monthly data on payment rates, excess spreads, cash flow and delinquencies. As consumers fail to make minimum payments, balances can balloon higher, especially when one considers that the average (according to Bankrate) US credit card interest rate is 17.96%. This is the highest interest rate on record since 1996. Analysts can track 30-day, 60-day and then 90-day delinquency rates, which unfortunately then leads to card issuers writing-off accounts at a loss.
What are accurate delinquency trends? American Express has a higher-end customer and its delinquency rates are quite low at 0.8% (August 2022). Discover typically runs in the middle-of-the-pack and has a delinquency rate in August of 1.96%. This was higher by 57 basis points YoY or an increase of 40%. Both JP Morgan and Bank of America just released 3 rd quarter results and reported healthy consumer spending trends and below Covid levels of delinquencies.
In addition to the monthly master trust data, TransUnion provides an annual update each year on card delinquency rates. TransUnion estimates there were about 500 million bank-issued credit cards in circulation this summer, up +7.5% YoY. That was a larger than expected increase in credit cards in circulation, as some card issuers seemed to be aggressively granting lines of credit to American consumers. On those half a billion credit cards, TransUnion states the delinquency rates averaged 1.57% with an average balance per consumer of $5,270.
While these are still below Covid levels, both metrics showed a noticeable increase versus last year. Many of these card issuers are working with consumers that are facing economic uncertainty and are providing some with financial assistance. Unfortunately, more and more consumers are experiencing stress, leading to higher delinquencies and loss rates for issuers. Speaking of credit losses, we will now discuss the “most successful” new credit card launched in the industry over the last couple of years.
The Apple + Goldman Sachs + Mastercard:
How could one product that combines these three fantastic companies not be a total homerun, right? Well, it comes down to focus. Apple focuses on building its iPhone, while Mastercard is a scalable network for billions of payment transactions. We aren't necessarily sure that GS brought card issuing expertise to this partnership.
Back in 2019, Goldman Sachs made a splash in the card industry by working with Apple and Mastercard on a credit card. The real card is fairly sleek (as you can see below), as customers names are etched into an Apple titanium card. The no-fee card generated a lot of hype, as many early users were quick to post their latest card on various social media sites.
The initial goal of Marcus (back in 2016) was to leverage Goldman’s wonderful name brand and build a full-service digital bank. This card was a large piece of GS’s ambitions to grow its retail banking franchise called Marcus. After 5 years, Marcus now has 14 million customers and $16 billion in loan balances. Surprisingly, Marcus now represents nearly 20% of the firm’s total revenue.
We thought it would be interesting to look how the Apple Card is doing in terms of loans and exposures. With over $100 billion in assets, this has been a successful source of cheap deposits for GS. Despite having an institutional / “white shoe” brand in the investment banking and trading world, GS’s Apple Card has been a disappointment.
The original plan was to roll-out checking accounts to the masses, but this hasn’t been the windfall that some executives projected. After rolling out its simple checking accounts, Marcus wanted to then offer easy-to-use consumer lending products. This was the initial thesis GS likely had with its Apple Card. With the disappointing results in this card partnership, GS management must now be viewing this as a questionable move.
It has been widely written that GS’s consumer division is on track to lose $1.2 billion this year, and it will likely have to set aside more in reserves to cover future loan losses. A accurate Bloomberg article (on Marcus) stated that cumulative losses for Marcus exceed $4 billion and that’s before one accounts for the $2.2 billion deal for GreenSky (loan provider) last year. This division has encountered significant management turnover, costly overruns, and missed most of its internal profitability targets. Inside of GS, there are divisions and legions of employees that question why the company took this questionable tact. David Solomon, GS’s CEO, has steadfastly supported Marcus, but many institutional shareholders are disappointed that he continues to throw more money at this struggling entity.
How do GS’s results compare to some other card issuers? Competitors like Bank of America are enjoying record high repayment rates, while GS’s loss rate on credit card loans hit 2.93% in the second quarter. This is one of the highest levels of delinquencies of any of the major US card issuers. American Express indicated that its trends “remain strong”, especially in the SMB and premium consumer segments. Discover cited strong consumer spending and healthy credit quality. With GS ranking at the bottom of the card issuer table, one has to wonder if it is second guessing whether or not its retail ambitions in 2016 were misguided.
The early results have not been positive, largely because of selecting and granting the wrong customers with lines of credit. Roughly a quarter of its customers (and those lines of credit) went to customers with FICO scores less than 660 (defined as “fair to poor”). While we are not a believer that FICO scores are the only credit metric to monitor, it does pay to understand how certain card issuers are bypassing understanding the risks of adding new accounts. The whole purpose of a credit score is to risk rank your consumers. One can use the score at the initial acquisition of an account, or you can measure it through the entire credit cycle. We believe it is better to constantly monitor this information, but that is often viewed as overkill and un-necessary (like a belt and suspenders approach). Did GS properly assess the risk in its initial Apple Card underwriting?
When the credit cycle turns (and it always eventually does), adding some of those higher risk accounts could prove costly. Adding new accounts requires that credit card issuers calibrate their loan approval models to the underlying risk. Did GS take on lower quality clients to appease their new partner – Apple? Were these some of the conditions that GS had to agree to, that others like JP Morgan felt were too onerous? We weren’t a party to those behind-the-scenes negotiations, but we’d be surprised if Apple didn’t look for and ask for credit waivers.
These are unfortunately the decisions that become quite costly, as these are the first customers to turn delinquent in an economic downturn. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York does a survey about the mean probability of consumers being able to make their minimum debt payments. Unfortunately, this survey found that 12.2% of consumers will not be able to make their minimum debt payments (up from 10.8% last month).
We don’t point out these Marcus flaws to act as a bearish note on GS. We are simply trying to get across a couple of key investment themes. One is “stick to your knitting”. In our opinion, GS has a wonderful brand and is known around the world as one of the best institutional broker dealers. It dominates investment banking, advisory work, and trading. Why did it need to branch out into checking accounts and card issuing? This endeavor hasn’t helped GS’s valuation, as it is now trading below book value.
The second point we are making is truly understanding the business you are in. When it comes to advisory work or banking or trading, GS serves its clients and acts as a valuable partner. Helping clients solve their financial issues is exactly what GS has done for decades, and what they should be doing for years to come. How does offering a $2,000 line of credit to a Gen-Z student build on GS’s brand? Maybe that consumer becomes a customer of GS’s in 10 or 15 years, but we’re not sure this venture was true to its culture and long-term aspirations. The card issuing business comes with tremendous balance sheet risk and further exposes GS to cyclical businesses. We simply believe it was a business venture that didn’t need to occur and should be viewed as a mistake.
Looking back a few years, GS certainly was enamored with the idea of launching a FINTECH business. With its strong presence in Silicon Valley, many GS executives thought it would be simple to migrate from an institutional and corporate business, to one that could dominate an average US consumer franchise. Is launching a new high-yield savings account truly novel and inspirational? After 5 years, maybe GS management will re-assess whether or not Marcus and its “world’s greatest” consumer checking account fits into its long-term business plans.
We strive to never get “married to an idea” or be too stubborn to admit when we are wrong. One of the legends of investing is Charlie Munger, the 98-yr old sidekick of Warren Buffett. We agree with Mr. Munger who said "We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side."
Warren Fisher, CFA
Founder and CEO
Manole Capital Management
Firm: Manole Capital Management LLC is a registered investment adviser. The firm is defined to include all accounts managed by Manole Capital Management LLC. In general: This disclaimer applies to this document and the verbal or written comments of any person representing it. The information presented is available for client or potential client use only. This summary, which has been furnished on a confidential basis to the recipient, does not constitute an offer of any securities or investment advisory services, which may be made only by means of a private placement memorandum or similar materials which contain a description of material terms and risks. This summary is intended exclusively for the use of the person it has been delivered to by Warren Fisher and it is not to be reproduced or redistributed to any other person without the prior consent of Warren Fisher. Past Performance: Past performance generally is not, and should not be construed as, an indication of future results. The information provided should not be relied upon as the basis for making any investment decisions or for selecting The Firm. Past portfolio characteristics are not necessarily indicative of future portfolio characteristics and can be changed. Past strategy allocations are not necessarily indicative of future allocations. Strategy allocations are based on the capital used for the strategy mentioned. This document may contain forward-looking statements and projections that are based on current beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available. Risk of Loss: An investment involves a high degree of risk, including the possibility of a total loss thereof. Any investment or strategy managed by The Firm is speculative in nature and there can be no assurance that the investment objective(s) will be achieved. Investors must be prepared to bear the risk of a total loss of their investment. Distribution: Manole Capital expressly prohibits any reproduction, in hard copy, electronic or any other form, or any re-distribution of this presentation to any third party without the prior written consent of Manole. This presentation is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use is contrary to local law or regulation. Additional information: Prospective investors are urged to carefully read the applicable memorandums in its entirety. All information is believed to be reasonable, but involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions and prospective investors may not put undue reliance on any of these statements. Information provided herein is presented as of the date in the header (unless otherwise noted) and is derived from sources Warren Fisher considers reliable, but it cannot ensure its complete accuracy. Any information may be changed or updated without notice to the recipient. Tax, legal or accounting advice: This presentation is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal or tax advice or investment recommendations. Any statements of the US federal tax consequences contained in this presentation were not intended to be used and cannot be used to avoid penalties under the US Internal Revenue Code or to promote, market or recommend to another party any tax related matters addressed herein.
The holidays are quickly approaching. If someone on your list needs a new laptop, we've got you covered. Keep studying our laptop holiday gift guide to find the perfect laptop to provide this Hanukkah or Christmas.
Laptops are a generous yet practical holiday gift. A new laptop makes a versatile gift that students, gamers, creatives and streaming enthusiasts will all enjoy.
If someone on your list this year needs a new laptop, you may want to start shopping now. Due to the ongoing chip shortages, many laptop manufacturers and retailers have been struggling to keep up with demand. If you wait until the last minute, you may find that the perfect laptop for your loved one has already sold out.
Thankfully, there are plenty of great laptops from popular brands like Lenovo, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft in stock right now. You can also find laptops that double as tablets for any recipients with both items on their holiday lists. There are some deep discounts available on these laptops at Amazon and Walmart, even before Black Friday 2022.
Keep studying to find the best laptops for Hanukkah and Christmas 2022-- and the best deals on laptops.
Best Apple MacBooks of 2022
If the gift recipient is an Apple user, they'll likely prefer a MacBook. MacBook laptops seamlessly sync up with other Apple products like iPhones and iPads to provide an integrated experience.
A step up from the MacBook Air, the slightly weightier (3.0 pound) 14-inch MacBook Pro boasts a powerful active cooling system, which helps keep the 8-core CPU running fast. It delivers up to 21 hours of battery life on a single charge, and features a Retina display that's brighter than the MacBook Air.
Is the 14-inch MacBook Pro not powerful, or big enough for you? Then try its sibling, the 16-inch MacBook Pro. On Amazon, you can get a deal on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a 10-core CPU, as well as 16GB of unified memory, and 512GB of storage. All of that is more than enough for you to be able to edit 8K videos on the machine. You also get four Thunderbolt ports, an HDMI port and a SDXC card slot.
With its size and more powerful guts, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is aimed at professionals who need a seriously powerful laptop for graphics-intensive applications, such as video-rendering and design. Just keep in mind, this is a machine that comes with a professional-level price tag.
The new-for-2022 Apple MacBook Air will definitely make an impressive gift. Right now, you can also save some money by shopping early and getting it on sale. The laptop features a 13.6-inch Retina display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and a backlit keyboard. Designed for portability, it weighs just 2.7 pounds and lasts for up to 18 hours on a single charge thanks to the Apple M2 chip.
Give them the power and features of the Samsung Galaxy Book2 combined with the convenience of a tablet. The Samsung Galaxy Book2 Pro 360 has a 360-degree hinge that flips the device between laptop mode and tablet mode. It also has a AMOLED touchscreen, an Intel Core i7 processor and Samsung's longest-lasting battery.
Lenovo makes excellent Windows 11 laptops that are popular with CBS Essentials readers. One great thing about giving a Lenovo laptop as a gift is that many of the brand's top models also function as tablets. (A 2-in-1 device counts as 2 gifts, right?)
The Lenovo ThinkPad E14 is a great gift choice this holiday -- and it's on sale right now. The ThinkPad E14 runs on Windows 11 Pro. It features Dolby Audio, a 1080p HD camera and 8GB of memory. The ThinkPad also includes biometric sign-on with fingerprint or facial recognition.
If you're looking for a lightweight, affordable laptop, consider a Chromebook. The Lenovo Chromebook 5i features a 13.3-inch full HD display, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of SSD storage. The Chromebook 5i comes with a Waves Audio-certified sound system, so that you can enjoy music, podcasts, and movies with clear, crisp sound. Battery life is estimated at 10 hours.
If you're planning to use your new laptop for virtual classes or work calls, you'll want to check out the Lenovo ThinkBook 14. With AI-powered background noise reduction and improved audio and video capabilities, this laptop is perfect for Zoom meetings. It also features a 14-inch HD display and an advanced Intel graphics card, plus 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
Looking for a new 2-in-1 to gift for the holidays? You won't have to pay a lot for a new hybrid laptop with the well-received Lenovo Flex 5.
Rated 4.5 stars (out of 5) by Amazon users, this touchscreen notebook from Lenovo is praised for its combination of strong performance and features such as Dolby Audio speakers, responsive keyboard and up to 14 hours of battery life. It features 16GB of RAM and 256 of SSD storage.
This Windows 11 upgradable Lenovo model features a powerful Intel i7 quad-core processor. It has 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage. This laptop is also great for streaming: You can view shows or movies in up to 4K resolution on the laptop's OLED screen.
The ultra-slim Microsoft Surface Pro X is a compact yet powerful laptop with a reasonable price tag. The Surface Pro X is built with a 13-inch screen with a virtually end-to-end display. It offers Wi-Fi and LTE connectivity. It is powered by Microsoft's new custom SQ1 processor for high-powered laptop performance in an ultra-thin, tablet-like device.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the latest model in the lineup and another great gift option. It is the first Microsoft Surface device built on the Intel Evo platform, providing improved graphics, performance and battery life. Score this 2-in-1 device for $300 off now on Amazon.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ can operate as a laptop or tablet for work, streaming, creating digital art and more. It runs on Windows 11 and a powerful Intel Core processor. It features a USB-A port, USB-C port, headphone jack, and a dedicated charging port for flexible connectivity.
Tue, 04 Oct 2022 04:24:00 -0500en-UStext/htmlhttps://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/shopping/best-laptops-for-christmas-2022-apple-macbook-samsung-galaxy-book2-microsoft-surface-and-more/ar-AA12AUv4Killexams : The 2021 Apple iPad Is at Its Lowest Price Ever for Amazon Prime Day
"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through the links below."
HAS A new iPad been on your tech wish list since the new and improved 2021 iPad launched last September? Get ready to upgrade, because the 2021 iPad is currently at its lowest price ever, even lower than its original release price, as part of Amazon's Prime Early Access Sale.
If you're the tech user who likes to wait until the reviews rolls in and any bugs are worked out, now's the time to buy. The 2021 Apple iPad has over 25,000 glowing reviews on Amazon, coming in at 4.8 stars. Users love how easy it is to use, the camera quality (including a 12MP ultra-wide front-facing camera for clear video calls), and how seamlessly it integrates with other Apple devices.
Available with both Wifi or Wifi + Cellular capability, you can have access to plenty of storage when you choose between the 64GB or 256 GB models. Its 10.2-inch Retina display makes graphics vibrantly clear, whether you're watching a movie, studying a book or editing a document. With up to 10 hours of battery life, the 2021 iPad is great for taking on the go to meetings or in your airplane carry-on.
Even better, you no longer have to buy directly from Apple to get access to AppleCare+. Simply select the AppleCare+ option when adding the iPad to your Amazon cart to keep your new tech protected wherever you take it.
Wed, 12 Oct 2022 07:11:00 -0500en-UStext/htmlhttps://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/2021-apple-ipad-lowest-price-191100739.htmlKillexams : Shantaram, Apple TV+, review: An outdated, white saviour take on 80s Bombay
Every airport bookshop in the world has a copy of Shantaram. It’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t recognise its distinctive rust-coloured front cover. Gregory David Roberts’ quasi-autobiographical novel about a fugitive who travels to India to pursue a new life, published in 2003, is a certified global hit, and according to many, a literary masterpiece. Why, then, has it taken so long for it to arrive on our screens?
The answer is quite boring, with reasons ranging from a failed film adaptation to Mumbai’s monsoon season putting off filming to the inevitable Covid-19 filming restrictions. But never mind that, all that matters is that it is finally here. Was it worth the wait? Not really.
Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) plays main character Dale, though for most of the series we’ll know him as Lindsey “Lin” Ford, a new identity to evade questioning authorities. We first meet him in a dingy, stifling Australian prison, where he’s plotting to escape. Eventually he does, in broad daylight, a part of the story that remarkably makes up the autobiographical side of Roberts’ novel. Now on the run, he secures a fake passport and heads to a place he can hide in a crowd: Mumbai (though since Shantaram is set in the 80s, the city is still called Bombay).
Once off his bus, his new life is immediately populated by a selection of rich characters, such as Prabhu (Shubham Saraf), a cheeky con-artist who offers a tour of the city — for a price. He hangs out at a bar, where he meets a group of expats. Among them is Karla (Antonia Desplat, The French Dispatch), a self-assured and smart businesswoman who happens to be caught up in Bombay’s shady criminal underworld. Despite running away from danger for a fresh start, Lin is immediately pulled into her orbit and can’t help falling in love.
The show, filmed in India until rising Covid numbers forced the shoot to Thailand, is visually stunning and its portrait of a heady, busy Bombay is the jewel in Shantaram’s crown. But the rest of the series falls flat.
Hunnam is decent as Lin (if you can get past his dodgy accent, which is more Peaky Blinders than Crocodile Dundee — the actor is from Newcastle). But his character regularly provides a soppy, overly reflective voiceover, which gives his journey to redemption an incongruous student gap year vibe. The action also jumps back into Lin’s past regularly, drip feeding information about the crimes that landed him in prison in the first place, undoing all the work the show does to make us root for him in an instant. That we’re supposed to believe he is a good man who got in with the wrong crowd doesn’t quite wash.
But Shantaram’s biggest problem is its outdated point of view. A story set in the 80s, from a book published in 2003, doesn’t adopt any 2022 sensibilities and often wanders dangerously close to a tired, problematic white saviour narrative. In the third episode, after accidentally setting fire to the slum where Prabhu lives, Lin becomes a doctor for the local residents, claiming “it had to be me … I couldn’t leave”. To follow the book to the letter, giving us only Lin’s sympathetic but nonetheless narrow view on Bombay, is lazy.
The first three episodes, released this Friday, are by no means bad TV. For the most part, the characters are complex, the story is interesting and, if you haven’t read the book, sometimes unexpected. But there are plenty more nuanced, modern takes on adventure stories based in India — the BBC’s A Suitable Boy is a good place to start.
A Shantaram adaptation has been in development in one guise or another for the last two decades. In that time, it seems that no one realised that just because they could, doesn’t mean they should.
Shantaram streams on Apple TV+ from Friday 14 October
Wed, 12 Oct 2022 02:26:00 -0500entext/htmlhttps://inews.co.uk/culture/television/shantaram-apple-tv-plus-review-outdated-white-saviour-bombay-1907204Killexams : Review: Apple's New AirPods Pro Have the Same Old Look, But Add New Features
Apple's top-of-the-line earbuds promise better sound, but a new noise-canceling mode raises questions
Apple has updated its top-of-the-line earbuds. While the name remains the same, the new $249 AirPods Pro are distinctly different.
They’re more water-resistant, and the harder-to-lose case can be powered up with a MagSafe or Qi-certified wireless charger. The sound quality, according to Apple, is significantly better, too, thanks to the addition of a new amplifier and long-excursion driver, the element that actually delivers the sound to your ear. And the company further claims the new model’s enhanced active noise canceling mode can be twice as effective as that on the first-gen Pros.
So should you run out to buy them? That depends on a few things.
All of those features more or less delivered on their promises during my evaluation. On the other hand, a new variable noise canceling mode called Adaptive Transparency, which is supposed to attenuate the volume of loud noises, didn’t quite work as expected.
I requested a press demo from Apple to get an early look at the earbuds’ new features. As always, Consumer Reports will be buying a pair of AirPods Pro through normal retail channels for the testing done in our labs and this story will be updated with our testing results. The model is now available at Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, Target, and other retailers nationwide.
Apple’s AirPods earbuds have been a commercial success from the very beginning, and with good reason. The design is sleek—the downward-facing white stems quickly became something of a fashion icon—and Apple eliminated the pain point of some early wireless headphones with easy pairing, especially with iPhones and other Apple devices.
But in our labs, the early AirPods fared less well. Our testers didn’t provide the original Air Pods a recommendation, for example, summing up the sound as "a bit boomy, grainy, and dry." The first-generation AirPods Pro fared better, earning a Very Good rating for sound quality on top of an overall recommendation, though the model doesn’t rank among the very top scorers in our ratings of noise-canceling wireless earbuds.
Do the new Pros perform even better than their predecessors? Here’s what we learned after spending a few days with them.
Splashproof and Easier to Find
When I removed the second-gen Pros from Apple’s ubiquitous compact white box, they looked quite similar to the previous-gen Pros. The earbuds and charger are about the same size, and the earbuds even use the same silicone tips. If you and someone else in your house keep a pair of the previous-gen AirPods Pro on the kitchen counter, you might take advantage of Apple’s free emoji engraving service to help make it clear whose case is whose.
Ultimately, the similarities are a good thing, because the previous-gen Pros are a well-designed product. The earbuds themselves are quite lightweight and comfortable enough that I found it easy to forget I was wearing them, though your experience may vary. Apple also added new extra small ear tips so the second-gen Pros will fit more consumers.
While the white hard plastic charger—which looks a lot like the case for the base AirPods on steroids—feels a little utilitarian for a high-end product, it is compact and easy to use. And whatever it lacks in style, it adds in some smart functionality. It now has a tiny speaker in the bottom so that you can ping it with the Find Me function that has helped to find countless iPhones. The case is now also splashproof and sweatproof like the earbuds themselves. And along with the option of wireless charging, Apple claims the next-gen Pros have a longer battery life, including a full 30 hours with Active Noise Canceling on, which is 6 hours better than their predecessor.
The case for the new AirPods Pro is now water-resistant and adds a speaker for a Find Me function.
The expanded Touch Control feature lets you not only advance to the next track, cycle through the various noise canceling modes, and access Apple’s Siri digital assistant by swiping or squeezing the stem, but also adjust the volume. While I prefer real buttons for these kinds of controls, the new volume control is a useful upgrade over the Siri-controlled volume on the previous-gen Pros.
Noise Canceling vs. My Lawnmower
On the sonic front, the model receives a new H2 chip, an upgraded amplifier, and larger, high-excursion drivers. Our testers will soon put the buds through the paces in our audio lab and report back on the results. But even though my ears have been spoiled with some very-high end headphones like my own Audeze LCD-3s, I enjoyed listening with the AirPods Pro. While my untrained ear detected a distinct family resemblance to the older model, the differences—like a quieter background and fuller bass—seemed like improvements.
The latest-generation AirPods Pro (right) have new drivers and electronics that promise better sound than the original Pros (left).
The thing that truly differentiates the Pros from the base model AirPods is the noise canceling tech, and like the previous-gen Pros, the new model has three distinct modes. The first is passive noise canceling. That’s the surprising amount of isolation provided by the silicone ear tips even without an electronic assist. (Note that while the eartips on the regular AirPods do offer some level of noise reduction, they don’t seal the same way as the Pros.)
The second is active noise canceling, which produces an out-of-phase sound pattern that essentially cancels out sound waves from the world beyond the buds. Apple says the noise canceling in the new earbuds is up to twice as effective as that in the previous generation, which received an Excellent rating from our testers.
We will certainly test that claim, but informally, I heard a real difference. The noise canceling in the previous gen Pros made the room feel noticeably quieter, as if you had turned off an air conditioner, but the new Pros take that up a notch. I find them to be almost eerily quiet, evoking the spooky, hear-your-own-heartbeat silence of a university reference library during finals week.
While that profound silence is refreshing on its own, it also enhances music, especially delicate acoustic tracks. When I cued up "Mining for Gold" by Cowboy Junkies, hearing the reverberations in the big old Toronto church where "The Trinity Session" album was recorded, complete with its noisy heating system, gave me you-are-there goosebumps. Note that unlike some other earbuds, there’s no way to adjust the level of active noise canceling on the Pros, so you’re stuck with that dead quiet if you keep the feature turned on.
Next, I tried the new Pros out while mowing the lawn. My red mulching Toro provided a good test for how the earbuds handle sustained loud noises. I used the decibel meter function on an Apple Watch Series 8, which uses its microphone to measure outside noise as well as how much the AirPods are attenuating that noise. My mower measured around 86 decibels (dB), which is unpleasantly loud (and reason enough to wear foam earplugs). It’s also somewhat above the 80 dB level where Apple (through warnings on the Apple Watch and the company website) suggests you use hearing protection or move to a quieter place.
In passive mode (with the noise canceling off), the Pros reduced the noise level to a very tolerable 67 dB. Switching to full noise cancellation all but silenced the mower for me, reducing the roar of the engine to a quiet chug. However, according to the Apple Watch, it only reduced the sound pressure level to around 62 dB. In short, the well-fit silicone tips did most of the work of actually attenuating the noise, but the improved noise canceling reduced my perception of the lawnmower’s clatter.
The third and final noise-canceling setting is Adaptive Transparency and that’s where things get interesting. The previous-gen Pros have a Transparency mode that pipes in sounds from the outside world so that some background noise can still reach you. I found that the new Adaptive Transparency mode worked well when I popped into a store and wanted to have a quick interaction with the cashier without removing or muting the buds. It helped me stay safe while walking on a busy street, too; I played my Miles Davis playlist, while still remaining aware of traffic.
In the new AirPods Pro, the adaptive part of Adaptive Transparency is supposed to reduce the level of loud noises—like a passing siren—bringing them down to an 85 dB threshold set by Apple, which is slightly higher than the ceiling recommended on the Apple Watch. When I gave this mode a try, it didn’t work as well as I had expected. Since I couldn’t summon a siren on command, I used my dog, Rugby. When a stranger comes to the door, her bark can register over 100dB for a fraction of a second, according to the Apple Watch. The active noise canceling modes reduce those peaks to around 75dB. In Adaptive Transparency mode, however, the loudest peaks still registered 107dB, even though the Watch indicated the AirPods had reduced the level.
In a press briefing, Apple suggested that Adaptive Transparency mode can also be used to reduce the volume at, say, a live concert. To reproduce that situation at home, I played one of my favorite songs, "This Year" by The Mountain Goats, on my own Edifier S1000DB speakers much louder than I normally would, at about 90 dB. In the active noise canceling mode, the AirPods Pro attenuated the volume to as low as 58 dB. However, when I switched to Adaptive Transparency, I saw continuous readings as high as 91 dB. When I completed this brief evaluation, my ears were ringing.
Bottom line: The AirPods Pro earbuds are a consumer product, not one designed specifically for hearing protection, so don’t rely too heavily on the noise-canceling tech, even the relatively robust active and passive modes. On its website, Apple warns that long-term exposure to sounds over 80 dB "can lead to permanent damage."
When I asked Apple to comment on my experience, the company explained that it views 85 dB as a general threshold to ensure that environmental noise sounds natural when the noise-canceling tech is reducing noise spikes. When the external noise is at higher decibel levels, the AirPods Pro will see more attenuation, the company said.
For more context, I consulted Brian Fligor, a board-certified pediatric audiologist and president of Tobias and Battite Hearing Wellness in Boston, Massachusetts. The good news, he said, is that a few milliseconds of the dog barking or a few minutes of high-volume Mountain Goats music is unlikely to damage my hearing permanently.
"It’s a matter of the dose," he says. And while super-loud noises like jet engines and firearms can be dangerous even for super-short durations, our ears can withstand a very brief noise spike like a dog’s bark. The concern, he says, could come when a consumer listens to high-volume sounds for hours at a time, assuming that a device like the AirPods Pro offers more hearing protection than it actually does.
Should You Buy the AirPods Pro?
That’s a good question, especially when you may be able to save some money by choosing the first-gen model, which will likely go on sale in the days ahead.
I’ll come down in favor of the new ones, though it will be a qualified recommendation. The latest Pros are a little better in a lot of ways. The new case makes them easier to charge, harder to lose, and harder to damage if they get wet. The sound quality isn’t transformed but it does seem better, though we’ll leave the final verdict to our lab testers.
And the improved active noise canceling mode is worthwhile, not only for the way the deeper silence allows you to tune out the world, but the way it helps you tune in to your favorite music. All of that seems like it’s worth the extra $75 dollars over the previous-gen models.
But after my conversation with Dr. Fligor, I’d caution you to use AirPod Pros with care. I suggest starting with the Ear Tip Fit test on the iPhone app to make sure the buds are sealing properly. As for Adaptive Transparency mode, it’s fine for tamping down the sound of traffic on Fifth Avenue. But for hours at a loud concert? It makes sense to bypass the Adaptive Transparency mode in favor of the greater attenuation of passive noise-canceling mode. Or even just a set of foam earplugs from the drug store.
What about non-Apple options? If you’re entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, you’ll likely love the no-brainer pairing with an iPhone, a MacBook, or an Apple Watch. But if you’re into Android, you might check out other top-performing earbuds like our top-rated Sony WF-1000XM4, the budget-priced Sennheiser CX Plus, or the Beats Fit Pro.