In Depth

CES 2019 tech round-up: Intel, Apple, Samsung and more

From 8K smart TVs to robots – the highlights from this year’s tech show

The first major tech event of the year, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is now officially under way. 

Though the show doesn’t open its doors to the public until tomorrow, gadget makers have been busy showing the press and early attendees some of their cutting-edge products. 

Most of the major press conferences took place yesterday evening, so here are some of the highlights to come from the tech show so far:

Apple opens up AirPlay and iTunes to third parties

Apple’s AirPlay wireless connection technology and iTunes music app will no longer be exclusive to the company’s own devices, it has been announced.

Rivals including Samsung and LG have taken to the stage at the CES tech show in Las Vegas to unveil smart TVs that will support Apple’s music service and bespoke wireless connection.

Although iTunes is available to download on Microsoft PCs, the software has never been available as a built-in app on third-party devices.

But that is set to change, as Apple aims to “bring its content to more living rooms” ahead of the launch of its video streaming service, expected within months, says CNet

Samsung senior executive Dave Das said the Korean tech firm has made a deal with Apple to integrate iTunes movies and TV shows, as well as AirPlay 2 support - a move that he described as a “true first”, the BBC reports.

Samsung debuts 98in 8K QLED TV

CES is quickly becoming a battleground for tech giants fighting to pack the most cutting-edge screen technology into massive smart TVs. 

At a press conference last night, Samsung showcased a new 98in TV that will join its range-topping QLED line-up. 

The 8K TV is equipped with the company’s Quantum Processor, which uses machine learning to upscale lower-resolution content to “the best quality possible”, What Hi-Fi? reports.

An official launch date and pricing has yet to be announced, but the new TV “won't be cheap”, given that the 85in version costs £14,999, adds the tech site.

Intel launches Ice Lake processor

Intel processors underpin many of today’s leading laptops, computers and tablets. The chipmaker consistently manages to squeeze more performance from its processors, while also shrinking them to fit into ultra-thin portable devices. 

This year at CES the company has unveiled its new “Ice Lake” processor, expected to feature in consumer products from early next year, says The Verge

The new processor is the tech giant’s first 10nm chip, meaning it boasts a more compact design than its predecessors and offers a higher level of performance. 

Intel claims that computers equipped with Ice Lake processors can search for images at double the average speed of today’s machines, as well as powering 4K displays more easily and supporting ultra-fast Thunderbolt 3 connections as standard, says TechRadar.

LG unveils 8K ‘monster’

South Korean tech giant LG is well known for showcasing extravagant prototypes at CES. This year is no exception, with the company taking the covers off an 88in 8K smart TV with a cutting-edge sound system. 

Unlike conventional flat-screen TVs, where sound emits from speakers tucked either underneath or behind the display, LG’s prototype projects audio through the screen itself, says tech news site Tom’s Guide

The in-screen surround-sound system also supports Dolby Atmos, the website says, a service that enhances the audio of movies and games for an experience akin to that in a cinema.

As for the display itself, LG has equipped the TV with an 88in OLED panel with an 8K resolution, double that of almost all other TVs on sale.

The “monster” TV, along with a range of other LG products, is set to be announced at the company’s press conference at 4pm UK time, says Metro

Robot invasion

We’re well aware that robots are no longer a thing of science fiction, though the technology isn’t quite ready for Star Wars fans to have their own R2D2 at home just yet.

Nevertheless, CES is the go-to event for those wanting to see the latest tech from the robot world. 

One of the stand-out models so far has been Coral, a robot vacuum cleaner with a detachable handheld unit built-in, the BBC reports. There’s also Cowarobot, a droid that alerts shoppers to special deals and offers to charge their phones for them.

Meanwhile, the Lovot droid is a small “chick-like” robot with “large expressive eyes” and a “wardrobe of clothes to cover its soft shell”, the broadcaster says. It’s primarily a toy, but it can also map the room and help act as a child monitor. 

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