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The impact of blockchain

Blockchain is revolutionising the world as we know it today. While it was originally designed to facilitate the transfer of cryptocurrencies, it is no longer solely connected to fintech. Nearly every industry is benefiting from the technology, from the public sector to healthcare and the travel industry. With World Blockchain Forum hosted in London two weeks ago, and Blockchain Live coming up later this month, September has proven to be the month of the fintech. Not just in the UK, but all over the world. We have been seeing more and more blockchain based conferences and forums hosted, while the technology’s influence is an increasingly hot topic in international media. Investoo Group, one of the largest financial lead generation companies in the world, has therefore decided to share insights into 5 ways blockchain technology is impacting society. 
We’ve also highlighted five markets that blockchain will transform
1. Multinational corporations adopting blockchain
As influential multinational corporations such as EY and IBM adapt digital currency payment networks, they solidify the fact that blockchain is not going anywhere in the near future.  Leading businesses are no longer able to ignore its crucial benefits, especially within the financial sector. With some companies still experimenting with the technology through program testing, others have proudly integrated it into their systems including JPMorgan and Microsoft. 
2. The growth of global acceptance
We have also seen more sceptical nations including China and Iran beginning to be more open towards the technology.  Even though China has expressed previous reservations on cryptocurrency,  The People’s Bank of China has now adopted the testing phase of their trade finance blockchain platform. Iran has also accepted crypto mining as an industry earlier this month. 
3. Impacting the UN’s sustainable goals
Proving it’s crucial global impact, blockchain is helping leading organisation the United Nations, reach their sustainable development goals by 2020.  Influential UN programmes are experiencing hugely beneficial advancements in their technology including the World Food Programme’s Building Block. 100,000 Syrian refugees in Pakistan and Jordan have successfully received assistance through the programme as of January 2018 according to the Forbes Technology Council.  
4. Revolutionizing healthcare 
Blockchain provides major advantages for the healthcare sector, which has actively integrated it in their data record systems. Thanks to such advancements, a higher standard of healthcare could be developed within the sector. From enhancing the ability to collect and analyse medical data, to ensuring the secure privacy of individuals’ records, the technology provides critical improvements and developments. 
5. Influencing the travel industry
Blockchain has successfully advanced into the global travel industry.  Many airlines and hotel companies, including Lufthansa and citizenM hotels, have incorporated its technology while dealing with customer transactions. Luggage may be tracked in a more simplified way thanks to blockchain, while rapidly speeding up identification services, saving time and increasing efficiency. 
Based on the above, we expect the technology’s global influence to continue to grow and expand as the innovation becomes an authoritative figure in problem-solving processes across all industries. David Merry, CEO of Investoo Group 
Interested in blockchain? Check out the HTC Exodus, the world’s first blockchain smartphone

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New Mac Pro release date, news and rumors

We haven’t seen much in the way of Mac Pro updates or upgrades in a long time. However, nearly a year ago, in April 2017, Apple recognized the public outcry for Mac Pro support by hinting that it’s working on a ‘modular’ and ‘upgradeable’ Mac Pro.It doesn’t stop there – Apple has come out and professed its support of the Mac Pro in a press release for the iMac Pro sale date back in December 2017. So, a new Mac Pro is going to happen, we’ll just have to wait a while to get it. The bigger question is ‘when will we see the new Mac Pro?’ Well, Apple is reportedly getting ready to refresh its Mac lineup with a new Mac Mini alongside several new MacBooks, according to Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo, so we could see the new Mac Pro in the very near future.However, if the new Mac Pro is going to be modular like Apple suggests, what will that look like? What will be upgradeable? Will it look like a juiced up HomePod? Before we dive into all of the boundless speculation, we need to lay out the basics.
Cut to the chase
What is it? Apple’s first dedicated desktop since 2013When is it out? Early 2019 at the earliest most likelyWhat will it cost? Likely as much as – if not more than – current models

Mac Pro 2019 release date
Now, while the new Mac Pro used to be the one Apple product we actually knew with absolute certainty could have been released in 2018, we were mistaken. It turns out the new Mac Pro has been confirmed for a 2019 release date.The current Mac Pro computer debuted at the June 2013 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), with a December 2013 final release date. Of course, many purchasers didn’t get their computers until April 2014 on account of backorders.
Given how long its been since the previous update to the Mac Pro, it would be unwise for Apple to drive the asking price any higher.
Before that, the original Mac Pro was revealed to the world during the August 2006 WWDC, getting into the public’s hands within the same month.However, the release of the MacBook Pro 2018 kind of throws all of our expectations off. Apple’s strategy for 2018 seems to be ‘wait until it’s ready and then just release it’. Whether that will extend beyond the 2018 iPad and MacBook Pro remains to be seen, but we could end up waiting until next year to see the new Mac Pro.However, if Apple is going to show the Mac Pro 2019 off at an event, we may see it at the iPhone reveal event next month. Apple could do a major hardware event where they cover Macs, iPhones and iPads – especially following the news that Apple has become the world’s first trillion dollar company. However, even if Apple did do a major hardware event that covered Macs as well as the new iPhones, it’s unlikely we’ll see the new Mac Pro there – we’ll likely see it when Apple is ready to release it. 

Mac Pro 2019 price
We have absolutely no Mac Pro 2019 pricing information from neither leaks nor Apple’s own remarks on the device. So, once again we’re left to speculate based on the pricing of previous Mac Pro models.The current Mac Pro, largely unchanged since its 2013 release, calls for a whopping $2,999, £2,999 or AU$4,899 to start. The only other model available hikes the price up by $1,000, £900 and AU$1,600, respectively, for some beefy component upgrades.
This Mac Pro could be one of the three Mac computers expected to launch this year with one of Apple’s new T series co-processors inside.
Given how long its been since the previous update to the Mac Pro, it would be unwise for Apple to drive the asking price any higher. However, if the new Mac Pro’s ‘modular, upgradeable’ nature turns out to be true, that could lead the firm to price the device accordingly, knowing that end users would no longer have to turn to it for upgrades.

Mac Pro 2019 specs
What will be inside the computer is, sadly, another unknown regarding the Mac Pro for 2019, save for a scant few details. For starters, we know that Apple is focused on issuing a Mac Pro with a modular and upgradeable design.“In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest performance, high-throughput system in a modular, upgradeable design,” Apple wrote in a December 2017 press release announcing the new iMac Pro, “as well as a new high-end pro display.”So, we know that Apple is intending to make at least some of the Mac Pro design easy to manage, upgrade and set up in different configurations. If true, the Mac Pro 2019 will have to work with a large variety of off-the-shelf parts – at least ‘off the shelf’ for business pros or IT managers.
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that needs to change in the 2019 model.
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that needs to change in the 2019 model.We also know that Apple has a display in the works, presumably one that was designed with the performance of the Mac Pro in mind. As of last September, reports circulated that an 8K (7,680 x 4,320) resolution display was in the works at Apple, and that it would compete with the 32-inch Dell UltraSharp monitor that we recently reviewed. It would come with either 10-bit dithering or native 10-bit colors as well, but not a touchscreen, which isn’t surprising given Apple’s aversion to adding touch to the Mac.The other sliver of information that we have is that the Mac Pro 2019 may launch with a co-processor, which would likely hint at the Mac Pro 2019 being an early part of Apple’s rumored Kalamata initiative, which will see the Cupertino giant replacing all Intel silicon with its own by 2020. The fact that we won’t see it in 2018 on top of Apple hiring a bunch of ex-Intel engineers to work on Apple chips gives this theory more credence.As far as the Co-processors go, we could see something like the T1 (which manages the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and Touch ID) and T2 (which manages the iMac Pro hardware security and allows for the automatic ‘Hey Siri’ command). Whichever role it fills, it will offload critical tasks from the Intel processors that will likely be inside the Mac Pro 2019.How will this manifest inside the Mac Pro for 2019? The most likely scenario is the latter one: implementing the very same T2 chip inside the iMac Pro into this device. That would bring pro-grade security and on-demand Siri to the Mac Pro, the former of which is crucial for getting traction in office environments.Beyond this, it’s difficult to forecast much of anything hardware-wise that will be found in the Mac Pro 2019, especially when factoring in conflicting reports that Apple won’t make any major changes to its Macs in 2018. 

What we want to see in Mac Pro 2019
All of these rumors swirling around a potential Mac Pro 2019 release puts us in prime position for a well-crafted wishlist. So, here’s what we hope to see Apple upgrade within the Mac Pro for 2019.More internal expansion
Simply put, there wasn’t enough room in the last Mac Pro for storage expansion, and that needs to change in the 2019 model. Good thing, then, that words like ‘modular’ make us confident that this will, indeed, be the case. Hot swappable storage bays, anyone?Dual-processor options
We criticized Apple in our Mac Pro review for not offering a dual-processor option. Surely, there are a ton of video editors out there that would relish the opportunity for speedy rendering and encoding power. And, because we don’t see Apple including the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, a dual processor option might be the best way to get 32-cores of processing power in the new Mac Pro. A keyboard and mouse included
The 2013 Mac Pro shipped without any Magic Keyboard or Magic Mouse included. Simply put, we’d like to see this change with the 2019 version. Shipping an Apple computer without proper inputs is like trying to sell a car without the steering wheel.iOS apps on Mac Pro
Now that it has been bandied about for so long, the idea of iOS apps on a Mac computer has grown on us. We’d love to see our favorite iPhone and iPad apps make their way to the desktop. After WWDC 2018, though, we now know exactly how Apple is going to handle this. Instead of just opening the App Store on macOS, we’ll be getting a limited selection of key iOS apps ported over. MacOS 10.14 will have access to News, Stocks, Voice Memos and Home, with more eventually coming over in 2019. These apps will be redesigned to feel natural on macOS – so, no touchscreen necessary. 
These are the best Macs that 2018 has to offer so far
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this report

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Google Nocturne Chromebook release date, news and rumors

Following a spate of leaks and rumors, the world of technology fans is humming with talk of a 2-in-1 Google Chromebook product in works known internally at the company as ‘Nocturne’. The subject of many a blurry video and marketing image, it seems pretty solid that Google is working on a 2-in-1 tablet running Chrome OS.As said, leaked video has shown a possible Google-made tablet with a keyboard cover, while a more recently-leaked marketing image shows the purported tablet with a completely different-looking keyboard attached. Even renders of software updates showing preparations for biometric login on a Chrome tablet device have popped up.So, suffice it to say that Google is likely working on a 2-in-1 tablet running Chrome OS with support for keyboard covers. Here’s everything else we know about it so far.
Cut to the chase
What is it? A 2-in-1 tablet running Chrome OS from GoogleWhen is it out? Q3 2018 at the earliest, likely close to holidaysWhat will it cost? This is entirely up in the air
Image Credit: AboutChromebooks
Google Nocturne Chromebook release date
Sadly, there is little to nothing out there regarding when this device could see a release, assuming it’s even real. The only thing we have to go off of is an October 9 event that Google has scheduled in New York City to show off new hardware.It’s widely assumed that Google’s new Pixel 3 phones will be primarily featured at that event, but many outlets suspect the firm will out two new Chromebooks as well, this one included.If Google does debut the Nocturne on October 9, we can expect to see it on shelves before the end of the month or in early November. Either way, Google will likely make sure this product is an option when looking for gifts to put under the Christmas tree.
Google Nocturne Chromebook price
This is another aspect of this rumored product that we know little to nothing about. So, all we can do is wildly speculate based on what might be inside.It’s been reported that the Nocturne will have the same resolution display as the Pixelbook of today, though its screen size is unknown. Devices with super-sharp resolutions like that generally cost around $999 (about £759, AU$1,385).However, this device’s keyboard cover is potentially optional, like all other 2-in-1 tablets, which would reduce the price a bit as well. All told, we’re expecting a price similar to that of the Surface Pro or iPad Pro.
Google Nocturne Chromebook specs
Unfortunately, we don’t know much more about what the Nocturne tablet will be packing inside than we know about its price and release date. However, a scant few details have creeped through the rumor mill.First off, it’s been reported that the Nocturne will have the same display resolution as the Pixelbook of today: 2,400 x 1,600 pixels. However, we don’t know exactly what this device’s screen size will be, so there’s no pixel density number we can deduce yet.According to a now-dated XDA developer forum post, the device will also offer biometric secure login through a fingerprint sensor as well as an Intel Skylake generation processor. We fully expect that latter piece of information to change, as we’re now well into the Kaby Lake generation of mobile Intel processors.Also, we know now based off of a leaked image that the tablet will feature at least one USB-C port – a shocker, we know. Based on the leaked marketing image of the product it seems this tablet’s keyboard will latch on the bottom right and left corners of the screen. More than likely, these two parts will be able to come apart completely and still maintain an operating connection while separated if this Nocturne Chromebook is truly a spiritual successor to the Google Pixel C.Beyond this, there isn’t much more information about what might be inside the Nocturne. At the very least, October 9 isn’t all that far away.
These are the best laptops we’ve tested this past year

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Gadget insurance: compare cover for your laptop, smartphone, smartwatch and more

If you’ve never lost your smartphone, cracked the screen of your tablet, or chipped, scraped, smashed or drowned another high-value electronic item, then quite frankly, we salute you. We can see why you’d laugh in the face of gadget insurance.But the fact is the vast majority of us fall have at one time or another fallen foul of our own clumsiness. And with our devices becoming increasingly expensive – not to mention important to our everyday lives – it’s no wonder specialist gadget insurance is an ever-growing industry.Traditional home and travel insurance policies are becoming outdated and sometimes fail to cover our mobile devices; the very items that are most likely to get lost, stolen or damaged.That’s why it’s only natural to want to protect our gadgets with an additional insurance package, and you’re in the right place to find out what your gadget policy will cover, what it won’t cover, and who the best insurers are.
What gadgets can I get cover for?
Gadget insurance policies can cover a whole array of items – perhaps more than you’d think – encompassing emerging tech as well as old school essentials. The products covered can include smartphones, tablets (including iPads), laptops (including MacBooks), iMacs, smartwatches, sat navs, e-readers (including Kindles), digital cameras, MP3 players, portable games consoles, VR headsets, drones and more.
Specifically looking for smartphone cover? Head to our guide on mobile phone insurance
Why do I need gadget insurance?
If you’re prone to losing and damaging your devices, a good gadget insurance policy could save you a lot of time, money and hassle in getting a replacement.What your insurance covers depends on the insurer and the policy plan. Always take a careful note of exactly what your gadget insurance policy stipulates so you don’t get surprised on a technicality and prevented from redeeming your insurance when you need it.A typical gadget insurance policy will cover you for accidental damage to your devices, theft, loss and breakdown. Other circumstances you may be covered for (but not always) include liquid damage, the cost of unauthorised calls, texts and data when your phone has been stolen, and malicious damage if someone has taken their anger out on your poor device.

Is there anything my gadget insurance won’t cover?
As above, this will depend on your products, the insurer and the specific policy you sign up for, so make sure you read the wording carefully. Water damage and breakage through carelessness, for example, may be covered by some policies but not by others.Additional factors that could prevent you from being covered are the age of the product (a device you’ve had for two or three years may not fall into the policy), a cap on the pay-out for a single incident, and a limit on the number of incidents the insurer will pay out for each year.
Can I get gadget insurance for travelling?
Yes, you can. Aimed at backpackers and holidaymakers alike, there are insurance policies specifically made to cover gadgets while you travel.If you already have a travel insurance policy, don’t assume this will cover your gadgets on your trip as many don’t. What may be available, however, is an add-on which extends the travel policy to cover your electronic devices.You may find that these add-ons aren’t as extensive as a specialist travel insurance policy for gadgets, so if you carry a lot of devices while you travel or they’re of particularly high value, it may be worth shopping around for a separate policy.For those looking for gadget insurance while travelling, World Nomads are perhaps the major player in the market, but you may also want to get a quote from True Traveller who can offer you a policy even if you’ve already begun travelling. 
Doesn’t my home insurance cover gadgets like these?  
If you’re currently using your home insurance hoping that will cover your phone, think again. Home insurance only covers the device when in the house and even then it’s usually in the event of a burglary or a home fire only.  
Which gadget insurance providers should I compare?
Among the most popular and well-reviewed gadget insurance policies are Protect Your Bubble, Row.co.uk (covering liquid damage and unauthorised calls as well as the more typical issues) and Loveit Coverit Premium (including unlimited worldwide cover).If you’re pretty locked in to Apple’s ecosystem in terms of the devices you own, AppleCare+ may be the insurance policy for you, as this can provides specialist technical support and hardware coverage for iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, Apple TV, HomePods and iPods.Of course, the major mobile networks also offer their own insurance products (you’ve almost certainly had the sales pitch if you’ve bought a device in-store!). For smartphones, the annual cost of these range from £100 to £180, with Three, EE and Vodafone able to replace your phone the very next day. O2 takes 5-7 days with its policy.

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Google Nocturne 2-in-1 Chromebook seen in new leak

It’s widely expected at this point that Google will have not one, but two new Chrome OS devices for its October 9 Pixel 3 phone event. Now, yet another glimpse at one of these purported products, a 2-in-1 Chromebook reportedly called ‘Nocturne’, has appeared ahead of the event.An outlet known as AboutChromebooks discovered leaked product images of what it suspects to be ‘Nocturne’ via Brydge, a maker of keyboard covers for tablets. The images depict a 2-in-1 tablet with a blue shell, large speakers on either side of its display and a USB-C port on its bottom-left side.
Image Credit: AboutChromebooks
A second image shows a depression in the top left of the tablet, which is suspected to double as fingerprint sensor. This lines up with a previous leak of updated Chrome OS user interface imagery instructing users on how to use a device’s fingerprint sensor.The AboutChromebooks outlet is making a bit of a leap in pegging this leak as the Nocturne device, but it is indeed a Chrome OS tablet without overt branding (a possible tell of a Google product) and the dots seem to connect rather strongly. We could also easily see Google partnering up with accessory makers to bolster its would-be Chromebook tablet.Don’t forget, there’s supposedly a whole other Chrome OS device scheduled to debut at this October 9 event, and we’ve heard basically nothing about. Keep checking TechRadar for more about Nocturne as soon as we hear of it.
These are the best Chromebooks we’ve tested this past year
Via Tom’s Guide

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AMD: Our EPYC battle against Intel is only just starting

AMD has revealed more on its processor work as it gets up for the launch of its next-generation hardware.One year on from the launch of its first-generation EPYC server chips, the company updated media on how the platform is comparing against its great rival Intel. The company is due to reveal the second raft of its chips, codenamed Rome, later this year, with a public launch set for the middle of 2019.The launch plays a critical part of AMD’s ongoing campaign to take on Intel in the battle for market supremacy, and the company is increasingly bullish about its value proposition versus the competition.”EPYC is so severely superior to what the competition is building that we’re doubling down and focusing energy on winning market share in this space”, Daniel Bounds, senior director of AMD’s data centre and embedded solutions group, said at a media briefing in London today.

Bounds presented an update on the first year performance of EPYC, which launched last June as part of a high-end campaign to topple Intel’s dominance in the data centre space.He noted that EPYC has already been able to capture a significant proportion of several key markets, including 55 percent of the virtualisation and cloud space.Part of this is thanks to EPYC’s ability to reducing licensing costs and overall total cost of ownership (TCO), potentially saving companies hundreds of thousands.EPYC also offers sturdier security protection against threats such as Foreshadow, Bounds noted, unlike Intel’s offerings, which required signficiant patching to be secure.”Our view is you can either choose performance, or you can choose security – our view is that EPYC is the only choice, as you don’t need to choose,” he noted.“We’re in a constant state of expansion,” he added, “the broader ecosystem really matters to us…that’s how we win.”
The best processors of 2018: top CPUs for your PC

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