AMD could drop support for Windows 10 with Zen 5 Strix Point CPUs – a cold, hard reminder the OS is on its way out

Windows 10’s days are numbered – well, we know that, as support runs out next year (with some potentially nasty consequences) – but it seems AMD is underlining that with its incoming Strix Point APUs, at least if a fresh rumor is right.

If a well-connected person posting on Weibo is correct – this is seemingly Lenovo’s China manager, as TechSpot reports – then the release of Zen 5-based Strix Point chips will witness Team Red drop support for Windows 10 drivers.

That means these incoming APUs – a fancy term for all-in-one processors, with integrated graphics and an NPU bundled up together – will only be good for Windows 11 PCs.

The manager also estimates that the IPC (Instructions per Clock) increase for Zen 5 CPUs will be around 10%, which is notably lower than some other estimates we’ve seen thus far (which are more in the 15% to 20% area, or even slightly higher).

Naturally, as this is a rumor from Weibo – not our most favored source for speculation – heap on the seasoning with this one.


Analysis: It’s all about AI

Windows 10 is, of course, still a lot more popular than Windows 11. Indeed, Microsoft’s newer OS has struggled to attract users since it was first released, and still Windows 11 only has 26% of Windows market share going by the latest statistics from Statcounter – with Windows 10 maintaining the lion’s share.

Even in gaming, Windows 11 might be doing much better than with everyday users, but it’s still behind Windows 10 (albeit the newer platform is closing on 50% finally, according to the latest Steam hardware survey).

So why would AMD look to abandon Windows 10 early – if, indeed, this is happening? Well, for starters, Windows 10 is on its way out of the door next year, as we already noted (support ends in October 2025).

Also, as TechSpot observes, Strix Point chips are at least partly about pushing hard with AI – and getting close to 80 TOPS (trillions of operations per second). And when it comes to AI, Windows 11 is very much where it’s at – the revolutionary piece of Microsoft’s puzzle, purportedly ‘AI Explorer,’ will be introduced with the 24H2 update, and this will need those faster chips capable of pushing further with TOPS to make AI functionality run swiftly enough.

In short, we need to remember that Strix Point will be powering AI PCs and new devices that’ll have Windows 11 anyway.

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Logic Pro 2 is a reminder that Apple’s AI ambitions aren’t just about chatbots

While the focus of Apple’s May 7 special event was mostly hardware — four new iPads, a new Apple Pencil, and a new Magic Keyboard — there were mentions of AI with the M2 and M4 chips as well as new versions of Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for the tablets. 

The latter is all about new AI-infused or powered features that let you create a drum beat or a piano riff or even add a warmer, more distorted feel to a recorded element. Even neater, Logic Pro for iPad 2 can now take a single recording and split it into individual tracks based on the instruments in a matter of seconds. 

It’s a look behind the curtain at the kind of AI features Apple sees the biggest appeal and affordance with. Notably, unlike some rollouts from Google or OpenAI, it’s not a chatbot or an image generator. With Logic Pro, you're getting features that can be genuinely helpful and further expand what you can do within an app.

A trio of AI-powered additions for Logic Pro for iPad

Stem Splitter in Logic Pro for iPad 2.

Stem Splitter can separate a single track into four individual ones split up by instrument.  (Image credit: Apple)

Arguably the most helpful feature for musicians will be Stem Splitter, which aims to solve the problem of separating out elements within a given track. Say you’re working through a track or giving an impromptu performance at a cafe; you might just hit record in Voice Memos on an iPhone or using a single microphone.

The result is one track that contains all the instruments mixed. Logic Pro 2 can now import that track, analyze it, and split it into four tracks: vocals, drums, bass and other instruments. It won’t change the sound but essentially puts each element on a separate track, allowing you to easily modify or edit it. You can even place plugins, something that Logic is known for, on iPad and the Mac.

The iPad Pro with M4 will likely be mighty speedy when tackling this thanks to its 16-core neural processing unit, but it will work on any iPad with Apple Silicon through a mixture of on-device AI and deep learning. For musicians big or small, it’s poised to be a simple, intuitive way to convert voice memos into workable and mixable tracks.

AI-powered instruments to complete a track

Bass Session Player in Logic Pro for iPad 2

A look at the Bass Session Player within Logic Pro for iPad 2. (Image credit: Apple)

Building on Stem Splitter is a big expansion with Session Players. Logic Pro has long offered Dummer — both on Mac and iPad — as a way to easily add drums to a track via a virtual player that can be customized by style and even complexity. Logic Pro for iPad 2 adds a piano and bass player to the mix, which are extremely adjustable session players for any given track. With piano, in particular, you can customize the individual left or right hand’s playing style, pick between four types of piano, and use a plethora of other sliding tools. It's even smart enough to recognize where on a track it is, be it a chorus or a bridge. It only took a few seconds to come up with a decent-sized track as well on an iPad Pro.

If you’re only a singer or desperately need a bass line for your track, Logic Pro for iPad 2 aims to solve this with an output that plays with and complements any existing track.

Rounding out this AI expansion for Logic Pro on the iPad is a Chromaglow effect, which takes a common, expensive piece of hardware reserved for studios and places it on the iPad to add a bit more space, color, and even warmth to the track. Like other Logic plugins, you can pick between a few presets and further adjust them.

Interestingly enough, alongside these updates, Apple didn’t show off any new Apple Pencil integrations for Logic Pro for iPad 2. I’d have to imagine that we might see a customized experience with the palette tool at some point.

It’s clear that Apple’s approach to AI, like its other software, services, and hardware, is centered around crafting a meaningful experience for whoever uses it. In this case, for musicians, it’s solving pain points and opening doors for creativity further.

Stem Splitter, new session players, and Chromaglow feel right at home within Logic Pro, and I expect to see similar enhancements to other Apple apps announced at WWDC. Just imagine an easier way to edit photos or videos baked into the Photos app or a way to streamline or condense a presentation within Keynote.

Pricing and Availability

All of these features are bundled in with Logic Pro for iPad 2, which is set to roll out and launch on May 13, 2024. If you’re already subscribed at $ 4.99 a month or $ 49 for the year, you’ll get the update for free, and there is no price increase if you’re new to the app. Additionally, you can get a one-month free trial of first-time Logic Pro for iPad users.

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Friendly reminder: soon new ComiXology purchases will not be DRM-free

Here’s one of your last reminders that ComiXology’s digital store will soon be integrated with Amazon, at which point your new comic book purchases will no longer be DRM-free

ComiXology's plans to integrate more closely with its parent company’s store were announced back in September last year, with the change is expected to occur in “early 2022”. There’s no word yet on when exactly the change will be made; however, we suspect it will happen fairly swiftly after Amazon and Visa resolve their squabble in the UK.

Amazon and Visa are back in talks, which suggests they could be closer to an agreement, so it may be only a matter of weeks before the ComiXology store is no more.

Once the switch has been flipped (whenever it happens) ComiXology.com will start redirecting to Amazon.com’s “revamped digital comics shopping experience”, which is set to provide customers a more streamlined way to search for comics and manga on the site.

Unfortunately for comic book fans, though, the change also means that they’ll no longer be able to pick up new DRM-free downloads through ComiXology’s services,  with the new Amazon store not supporting DRM-free downloads either.

Thankfully your library of already purchased comics will remain DRM-free. When asked about changes to its services ComiXology told a user on Twitter “Your previous ComiXology purchases will still allow for DRM-free backups if the publisher allowed for them at the time of purchase.”

So you'll be able to save any comics you buy before the switch as PDFs that you can store independently of ComiXology’s own app.

With that in mind, if you’ve been holding out on buying certain issues in the series you love, you might want to take the plunge sooner rather than later; if they currently support DRM-free downloads you can buy it to secure the PDF download before it's too late.

The change to ComiXology isn’t all doom and gloom. The storefront change will also bring an update to the app, with better navigation tools including flexible filtering and sorting as well as the ability to read while downloading. 

ComiXology’s services will also be better integrated with the Kindle app, which has already added ComiXology’s panel-by-panel viewing experience.

These long-sought-after tools may not completely appease ComiXology fans disappointed by the DRM change, but they may at least soften the blow.

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