Is Intel planning a mighty 12-core CPU to battle AMD’s Ryzen chips?

AMD’s launch of Ryzen processors has made some big waves, with the new range boasting affordable 8-core models which promise blazing performance levels and have already broken world records in benchmarks – but it seems Intel could fight back with a mammoth 12-core processor.

The rumor from Italian tech site Bitsandchips is that Intel is working on commercializing a 12-core (24-thread) beast of a Skylake-X processor as a response to the new Ryzen models. This would be in addition to 10-core processors at the high-end of Intel’s range.

Essentially, it would be Intel flexing its muscles and playing the ‘more cores’ card – a strategy AMD isn’t unfamiliar with itself, of course.

That would certainly seem to indicate Intel is worried about how competitive Ryzen is, and rightly so given what we’ve seen thus far, and in particular AMD’s pricing.

Naturally, a 12-core enthusiast CPU would doubtless be very expensive, but the introduction of beefier models like this could have a trickle-down effect on prices, making 6/8-core processors more affordable. Which is what Intel surely must do in the face of AMD’s new chips.

Processor predictions

Granted, the source of this rumor isn’t one we’re particularly familiar with in the world of hardware leaks, but as, which spotted the news, observes, the Italian site has apparently made some reliable processor predictions in the past.

So yes, the usual condiment-related caveats apply – plenty of salt, in other words – but the fact is that Intel does need to make some sort of response, and a bit of core-count posturing (and possibly also a resulting domino effect on prices) is not an unbelievable prospect.

In case you somehow missed all the Ryzen news, this is how competitive the new range is: AMD’s 8-core flagship CPU (1800X) beats Intel’s Core i7-6900K in Cinebench R15 multi-threaded by a score of 1,601 to 1,474. And the former is priced at $499 (about £400, AU$650), less than half the price of the 6900K.

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iPad Air 3 price, specs and release date rumours UK

iPad Air 3 price, specs and release date rumours UK

It’s been over two years since the iPad Air 2 launched. Here are the rumours about the iPad Air 3 price, specs and release date in the UK.

Three new iPads are predicted for 2017, along with new iPhone SE


When is the iPad Air 3 coming out? Apple launched the excellent iPad Pro 9.7, reviewed back in March 2016 which brought the 10-inch iPad bang up to date, but this put a question mark over the iPad Air range. And given that there have been no leaks about a new 7.9in iPad, there are also doubts about the iPad mini range. Will Apple only launch iPad Pros from now on? That seems very unlikely, but here we round up all the rumours about the iPad Air 3 price, specs and release date in the UK. See also: Best tablet 2017.

Update 27 February: A recent report by Mac Otakara says the firm will stick with the rumoured schedule and announce four new iPad Pro models: 7.9-in, 9.7-in, 10.5-in and 12.9-in models. The 10.5-inch model may not ship until May, while other sizes are said to ship at the end of March. The 9.7in is very likely to be the iPad Air 3, but whether or not this report’s source is credible is another matter. We’ll have to wait and see.

Some US stores are said to be out of stock of certain iPad Air 2 models, leading to more rumours that Apple will indeed launch an Air 3 in March. However, this could be simply a co-incidence and is not enough to persuade us that the purported delays (read more below) aren’t believable.

Back in August 2016, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted three new iPads, and has recently revised those predictions slightly. Below a summary of what he expects Apple to launch in 2017.

  • A 9.7in ‘low-cost’ iPad with an A9 processor – possibly the Air 3
  • A 10-10.5in iPad with ultra-thin bezels – a completely new iPad Pro with a new A10X chip
  • A follow up to the first iPad Pro 12.9 with upgraded specs including the new A10X chip

Could the 9.7in model be the iPad Air 3? The report, posted by MacRumours, says that the ‘low-cost’ model will use the A9 chip. This makes sense: use the previous generation chip from the current iPad Pro models (or even the iPhone 6S) but drop the price (and probably some other features). 

iPad Air 3 release date rumours: When is the next iPad coming out?

iPad range

iPad range

The big question is ‘has Apple has killed off the iPad Air range?’. Is the iPad Pro 9.7 effectively the iPad Air 3? That’s a difficult question to answer but Apple certainly hasn’t said anything to suggest that the Pro is the Air’s replacement.

Although lots of rumours suggest new iPad models would arrive in March, that might not be the case. A report by DigiTimes suggests that components for the new iPads are still in a planning stage so the release date will be delayed until the second half of the year. The source backed up other rumours suggesting that Apple will replace the 9.7in sized iPad with a 10.5in size alongside a new budget friendly 9.7in model.

Apple needs a new tablet to sit in the £300-£400 price range. This will provide customers with a cheaper option to the 9.7in iPad Pro (which starts at £499) and offer a more reasonably priced upgrade for those using the iPad Air 2, or an older 9.7in iPad.

The tablet market has slowed over the past couple of years so we’re not overly surprised to see Apple waiting longer before bringing a new iPad out.

The iPad Air 2 was unveiled on 16 October 2014, and was released later the same month, while the first iPad Air was announced on 22 October 2013 before a November release.

iPad Air 3 price rumours: How much will iPad Air 3 cost in the UK?

Going on the basis that Apple will launch the iPad Air 3 this year, we expect it to cost £399 for the Wi-Fi-only 32GB base model – Apple’s standard price for the full-size iPad.

As mentioned already, this would give new or upgrading customers the familiar £399 option without having to spend £499 or having to opt for the smaller iPad mini 4. See also: iPad mini 5 release date, price and spec rumours

iPad Air 3 rumours: Design

We didn’t expect Apple to change the design of the iPad when it launched the iPad Air 2, but the company surprised us by making the already thin and light device even slimmer. It’s 6.1mm thick compared with the 7.5mm of the original iPad Air.

We think 6.1mm is thin enough, but don’t be surprised to see Apple shave even more off of the iPad Air’s profile with the next model. Apple is rumoured to be building it from even stronger aluminium than before, so it’s certainly plausible.

We expect the same Gold, Silver and Space Grey colour options, with the likely addition of a Rose Gold model.

iPad Air 3 specs rumours: Hardware upgrades

The previously leaked information about the iPad Air 3 all turned out to be the new iPad Pro – the Apple Pencil support, A9X chip, four-speaker audio system and more. That means it’s back to square one when it comes to the possible iPad Air 3 specs.

What we can say for almost certain is that it will follow the Apple formula of a 9.7in screen with a 2048×1536 resolution, meaning a 264ppi pixel density. The question is whether Apple will use the same True Tone screen found on the new iPad Pro and we think not otherwise it’s one less reason to pay more for the Pro model.

Improvements are more likely to include better cameras but Apple will tread a fine line between differentiating between the iPad Air 3 and iPad Pro 9.7in while making the new tablet a worthwhile upgrade from the iPad Air 2.

It’s all very much up in the air so we’ll continue to watch out for rumours and leaked details over the coming weeks and months. We’ll update this article with anything we find.

iPad Pro 9.7: podcast discussion

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Sony MWC 2017 launch: as it happened

Sony Xperia XZ Premium release date, price and specs, plus XZs, XA1 & XA1 Ultra

At MWC 2017 Sony has launched four new phones including the Xperia XZ Premium with its 4K HDR screen. We’ve also got release dates and specs for the XZs, XA1 and XA1 Ultra.

We’ve got all the info on Sony’s new Xperia phones for 2017


Sony has announced a horde of new phones at MWC 2017 in Barcelona. It launched new flagship Xperia XZ Premium alongside the XZs, XA1 and XA1 Ultra. Here we have all the news and details including release date, price and specs. Also see: Best new phones coming in 2017.

It seems Sony is back to s six-month cycle for some devices, with the Xperia XZ only on the market for a few short months since IFA 2016. Nevertheless, we have four new handsets from Sony mobile – some of which will have to compete with the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 for the best phone of 2017 title.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium release date and price

As is common with a new smartphone launch, there isn’t an exact release date for the XZ Premium just yet. However, Sony has confirmed it will arrive in ‘spring’ so it won’t be too long before the phone goes on sale.

We also don’t have any pricing yet but as the original XZ launched at £539 and this model has higher specs, we can expect it to be a reasonable amount more. We’re guessing at least £599 but won’t be surprised if it’s more.

Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra release date

Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra release date

Sony Xperia XZs, XA1 and XA1 Ultra release dates

At MWC 2017, Sony announced three other phones with a slightly confusing naming system. There’s the smaller mid-range Xperia XZs (this is one of the confusing names – it’s not plural but the actual product name). In any case, this model is not coming to Europe.

The other new phones are the XA1 and XA1 Ultra – both follow-ups to the XA and XA Ultra but we have the addition of the number one somewhat confusing. These both have a release date of ‘spring’, too.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium specs and features

Much about the XZ Premium is the same as the last year’s model but Sony is flaunting some new features including world firsts. For starters, it’s got Qualcomm’s new flagship Snapdragon 835 processor which was thought to be exclusive to the yet-to-be-announced Galaxy S8.

The top feature Sony is promoting is the large 5.5in screen which is the first in a smartphone to feature 4K HDR. This sort of makes it a successor to the Z5 Premium, the first 4K phone. However, you’ll be limited to certain titles on Amazon Prime Video to watch 4K in HDR for supposedly improved colour, contrast and detail.

Xperia XA Premium HDR

Xperia XA Premium HDR

Sony is known for some of the best phone cameras and it thinks the XZ Premium has one of the best ever put in a mobile. The resolution has dropped to 19Mp but the pixels are 19 percent bigger and the camera can shoot in a jaw dropping 960fps super slow motion.

See below for full Sony Xperia XZ Premium specs:

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5in 4K HDR touchscreen
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage, Micro-SD card slot
  • 19Mp Motion Eye camera
  • 13MP front camera
  • NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, 11ac Wi-Fi, USB-C 3.0
  • 5mm headphone jack
  • 3230 mAh battery, Qnovo Adaptive charging
  • IP65/68
  • 9mm
  • 195g
  • Luminous Chrome, Deepsea Black

Sony Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra

Sony Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra

Sony Xperia XA1 and XA1 Ultra specs and features

When it comes to the oddly named XA1 and XA1 Ultra you’ve got a choice of regular size or very larger in terms of screen size: 5- and 6in respectively. The devices have a similar design to the XZ Premium but come with a less shiny finish and more colours.

They both come with a MediaTek Helio P20 processor, 32GB and a Micro-SD card slot. They don’t have features like a fingerprint scanner and waterproofing. They do get the camera from previous generation Xperia phones. 

Sony Xperia XA1 specs

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5in 720p touchscreen
  • MediaTek Helio P20 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB storage, Micro-SD card slot
  • 23Mp camera
  • 8MP front camera
  • NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, 11a Wi-Fi
  • 5mm headphone jack
  • 2300mAh battery, Qnovo Adaptive charging
  • Black, White, Rose and Gold

Sony Xperia XA1 Ultra specs

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 6in touchscreen
  • MediaTek Helio P20 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage, Micro-SD card slot
  • 23Mp camera
  • 16MP front camera
  • NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, 11a Wi-Fi, USB-C
  • 5mm headphone jack
  • 2700mAh battery, Qnovo Adaptive charging
  • Black, White, Pink and Gold

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MWC 2017: Sony launches slow-mo Xperia XZ Premium phone

Sony’s latest smartphone is capable of filming smooth slow-motion footage at four times the rate possible on Apple and Samsung’s top-end models.

The Xperia XZ Premium captures video at up to 960 frames per second (fps).

The achievement was made possible by a new type of image sensor that has built-in memory of its own.

Sony’s smartphone market share is small, but it usually makes its sensors available to rivals about six to 12 months after they debut.

Apple, Samsung, LG and Xiaomi are among those to have used its technology in recent handsets.

The new phone was unveiled alongside several lower specification devices on the first day of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

“Despite this being one of the best devices at MWC, I don’t see it changing Sony’s fortunes,” commented Francisco Jeronimo, from the market research firm IDC.

“If you go through Sony’s financial statements you can see it now makes more money from selling phone cameras to its competitors than selling its own smartphones, which is quite remarkable

“So, its phones are a way to show off its capabilities, and the new camera is outstanding – not just the slow-mo but also the picture quality.”

Sony shipped about half as many smartphones in 2016 as the previous year and has about 1% share of the market, according to IDC, putting it in 17th place.

More from MWC 2017:

Nokia 3310 mobile phone resurrected

Samsung unveils tablets but no phones

LG G6 phone is made for split-screen apps

Huawei P10 has smarter selfie camera

Google brings Assistant to more Android phones

Blackberry revives classic keyboard phone

Sony calls the new technology Motion Eye.

It uses a three-layer stacked sensor fitted with one gigabit of dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). Doing so lets the component temporarily store a rapid burst of video data locally before it is transferred to other memory components, which takes more time.

When the firm first announced the sensor earlier this month it said it was capable of 1,000 fps in 1080p “full high definition”.

However, on the Xperia XZ Premium it has been restricted to slightly fewer frames per second at 720p resolution.

In practice, users can only capture 0.18 seconds of footage at this speed, which produces six seconds of video when played back.

But they can do so in the middle of filming normal footage to create a slow-down-and-speed-back-up effect. The challenge is to press the button at the right moment.

“It’s only a very brief amount of time and you’ve got to be really on the ball to use it effectively,” commented Tim Coulling from the Canalys tech consultancy.

“But it’s a great feature.”

The built-in DRAM memory also lets users record action that happened a second before they pressed the record button.

This buffer function is intended to help them avoid missed moments, but only works if the device detects motion, which triggers the facility.

Other unusual features include:

  • a 5.5in (14cm) 4K resolution display that has four times as many pixels as 1080p equivalents. It also plays back Amazon Prime Video content in high dynamic range. HDR delivers more vibrant images that reveal extra detail compared to traditional footage
  • the choice of a mirrored body. This allows the back of the device to be used to help put on make-up or put in contact lenses. However, it also attracts fingerprint marks

Smart projector

Analysts were less positive about another of the Japanese firm’s announcements.

Sony confirmed its Xperia Touch projector would go on sale later “this Spring”.

The Android-powered device was first teased at last year’s MWC.

The machine uses ultrashort-throw projection technology to display apps on a nearby wall or table. The resulting 720p image can be configured to be between 23in to 80in (58.4cm to 203.2cm) in size.

Built-in sensors let the surface used act like a large touchscreen.

Sony says it expects families to “huddle” around the image when using it, and showed the BBC a multiplayer game where several players interacted with graphics projected onto a table at once.

The machine is designed to be used while connected to a power source, but can work for up to an hour unplugged.

A potential problem, however, is its price: Sony plans to charge €1,499 ($1,584; £1,269) when it goes on sale in Europe and Japan.

“I think Sony should be applauded for being bold enough to push into a new category, but unfortunately it’s out of reach to all but the most affluent gadget addicts,” commented Ben Wood from CCS Insight.

Mr Jeronimo was more harsh in his criticism.

“It’s a huge mistake,” he said.

“If Sony combined a projector with a device like the Amazon Echo or Google Home for a third of the price, that would be a very interesting.

“But asking for more than $1,500 – there’s no way they will sell them.”

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Sony Xperia XZ Premium hands-on review

MWC 2017 means new flagship phones and Sony is no exception. You might still be waiting for the Xperia Z6 but you might want to let that go and get to know the new Xperia XZ Premium. Here’s our Sony Xperia XZ Premium hands-on review. See also: Best phone 2017.

It might be less than six months since Sony launched the original Xperia XZ but we have a new one already. Whether you want to call it the second-generation model or not is up to you, but the XZ Premium is the firm’s new flagship smartphone for 2017. The firm also announced the XZs in Barcelona but this smaller and more mid-range model won’t be coming to Europe.

A key thing we don’t know at the moment is the Xperia XZ Premium price but we can tell you that it will arrive in ‘Spring’. The XZ launched at £539 so you can expect this phone to be more expensive, quite possibly over £600.

Note: The Xperia XZ Premium we saw ahead of MWC didn’t have final working software so we’re limited on what we can say.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: Design and build

Like the Z5 range, the XZ Premium is a bigger version of the XZ which some higher specs (see below). It uses a similar ‘Loop Surface’ design which aims to mimic a seamless tube of glass. The main thing is is the very rounded side which feel nice and we also like the bevelled metal top and bottom.

As if it makes any difference, the phone is a tiny 0.2mm thinner at 7.9mm but is a fair amount heavier at 195g – this is mainly due to a larger screen and bigger battery which might be a trade-off you’re fine with.

The XZ Premium is IP68 rated like many previous Sony phones which is necessary to compete with rival flagships and does include a 3.5mm headphone jack which is becoming less common.

Xperia XZ Premium design

Xperia XZ Premium design

Sony has decided, quite literally to mirror, the style of the Z5 Premium. Both colour options, Deepsea Black and Luminous Chrome, are highly reflective and get grubby as soon as you pick the device up. It’s shame there isn’t a matt version for those who aren’t keen on this look – in our experience with the Z5 Premium, that’s a lot of people.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review: Specs and features

One of the main things the XZ Premium borrows from the Z5 Premium is the large 5.5in screen with a 4K resolution. That means the device is bigger than the original as mentioned earlier. In our review of the Z5 Premium we concluded that you don’t really need a 4K screen on a phone, but the XZ Premium has an additional feature that might tempt you.

It supports 4K HDR like many TVs and lends technology from Sony’s Bravia range. Sony says HDR provides better colour, contrast and detail. However, you’ll only be able to take advantage of this with selected titles on Amazon Prime Video like The Grand Tour and The Man in the High Castle.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium 4K HDR screen

Sony Xperia XZ Premium 4K HDR screen

While the screen is certainly brighter and more colourful compared to the Z5 Premium, the display when utilising HDR can look a little bit over the top because of the intense colours. (note that it’s difficult to capture the difference in a photography).

Despite rumours of Qualcomm’s latest chip being reserved for the Samsung Galaxy S8, Sony has put it inside the Xperia XZ Premium. The Snapdragon 835 uses a 10nm process and should offer better performance and battery life. We haven’t been able to use the phone enough to comment on either yet but Sony only goes as far as to say ‘reliable all day battery life’.

It’s good to 64GB of storage as standard and Sony continues to offer a Micro-SD card slot so you can add more. The XZ Premium comes with a healthy 4GB of RAM.

Plenty of specs from its predecessor remain including the fingerprint scanner, USB-C (now v3.1), NFC, Bluetooth 4.2. The larger device means the battery capacity is higher at 3230mAh – not quite as big as the Z5 Premium though.

Xperia XZ Premium Motion Eye camera

Xperia XZ Premium Motion Eye camera

It’s the camera that Sony is really pushing here, aside from the 4K HDR screen. The resolution has dropped to 19Mp but the firm has some interesting innovations here in what it calls the ‘Motion Eye’ camera.

You might be surprised that the resolution has dropped but pixels are 19 percent larger compared to the XZ so that will help in low light. The XZ Premium is the world’s first phone to offer super slow motion video at a whopping 960fps. We tried this on the XZs and the effect is pretty spectacular but it can’t record for long so timing it right is extremely difficult.

Another handy feature is predictive capture where the phone detects motion and takes four photos before you’ve even hit the shutter button. We haven’t been able to try this yet and while it sounds great, we wonder how quickly it will fill the storage because of things like people getting into position for a photo etc.

We’ll put it through its paces when we get a final sample. The front camera remains at 13Mp with an f/2 aperture and 22mm lens.

There’s not much we can say about software at the moment but the entire 2017 range including the XZ Premium will come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box with Sony’s usual interface. We do know it will support PS4 Remote Play like previous phones.

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How to watch Sony MWC 2017 live stream | Sony press conference live stream

How to watch Sony MWC 2017 live stream | Sony press conference live stream

As MWC gets underway in Barcelona this weekend, many smartphone manufacturers are vying for the headlines. Sony is one of them, and we expect several new Xperia handsets. Here’s how to watch the Sony MWC 2017 live stream – Sony press conference live coverage.

Sony is launching new Xperia smartphones at MWC. Here’s how to tune in and watch live online


Each year at MWC we normally see new Sony Xperia smartphones, and this year does not appear to be any different. Sony has sent out invitations to its annual MWC press conference in Barcelona, Spain that will take place at 8.30am CET on Monday 27 February – that’s 7.30am UK time. 

You’ll also like:
LG G6 live coverage
Huawei P10 and Huawei Watch 2 live coverage
Nokia Android phones live coverage
Moto G5 & Moto G5 Plus live coverage
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 & TabPro S2 live coverage
What to expect at MWC 2017

How to watch Sony MWC 2017 live stream

Watch Sony’s latest Xperia phones launch below. We think we will see the new Xperia X2, an upper mid-range successor to the Xperia X

Therefore it’s reasonable to also expect the follow up to the slightly lower spec Xperia XA, which had an edge to edge display.

See also: Sony Xperia X2 release date, price, specification rumours.

What to expect from Sony at MWC 2017: Sony Xperia X2

As said, we expect Sony to announce a successor to the Xperia X, given that phone was unveiled at MWC 2016. Sony loves a six-month cycle, tick-tocking between different lines of smartphone. Therefore we don’t think we’ll see a flagship device at MWC – that will likely be saved for IFA 2017, a year on from the release of the Xperia XZ

What to expect from Sony at MWC 2017: More Xperia smartphones

We go into more detail in our article here, but we also think there will be more handsets – perhaps even five overall! Hopefully not as that will be overkill (and we won’t get any sleep trying to cover it all) but more phones is better than new phones.

Check out our full Sony Xperia rumours here, and bookmark this page for Monday 27 February.

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