Yesterday evening, Apple announced the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Both devices feature a 12MP rear camera and the Apple A10 Fusion CPU, designed to offer a better battery life and improved performance.
In what was probably Apple’s most predictable new iPhone launch yet, the company this week introduced the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Equally predictably, it called them “the best, most advanced iPhone ever”.
“The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus dramatically improve every aspect of the iPhone experience, reaching a new level of innovation and precision to make this the best iPhone we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The completely redesigned cameras shoot incredible photos and videos day or night, the A10 Fusion chip is the most powerful chip on any smartphone while delivering the best battery life ever in an iPhone, and an entirely new stereo speaker system provides twice the sound, all within the first water and dust resistant iPhone.”
Apple provided the following information on the features of the new phones:
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus take the world’s most popular camera and make it even better with entirely new camera systems. The 12-megapixel camera includes optical image stabilization on both iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and a larger ƒ/1.8 aperture and 6-element lens enable brighter, more detailed photos and videos, and a wide colour capture allows for more vibrant colors with more detail. iPhone 7 Plus features the same 12-megapixel wide angle camera as iPhone 7 and adds a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that together offer optical zoom at two times and up to 10 times digital zoom for photos.
Coming later this year, the dual 12-megapixel cameras also enable a new depth-of-field effect, using both cameras on iPhone 7 Plus to capture images, while sophisticated technology including Machine Learning separates the background from the foreground to achieve amazing portraits once possible only with DSLR cameras.
Additional Camera Advancements Include:
• New Apple-designed Image Signal Processor, which processes over 100 billion operations on a single photo in as little as 25 milliseconds, resulting in incredible photos and videos;
• New 7-megapixel FaceTime HD camera with wide colour capture, advanced pixel technology and auto image stabilisation for even better selfies; and
• New Quad-LED True Tone flash that is 50 per cent brighter than iPhone 6s including an innovative sensor that detects the flickering in lights and compensates for it in videos and photos.
More Performance & Battery Life
The new custom-designed Apple A10 Fusion chip features a new architecture that powers these innovations, making it the most powerful chip ever in a smartphone, while also getting more time between charges with the longest battery life ever in an iPhone. The A10 Fusion’s CPU now has four cores, seamlessly integrating two high-performance cores that run up to two times faster than iPhone 6, and two high-efficiency cores that are capable of running at just one-fifth the power of the high-performance cores. Graphics performance is also more powerful, running up to three times faster than iPhone 6 at as little as half the power, enabling a new level of gaming and professional apps.
Both phones include support for up to 25 LTE bands, for the best worldwide roaming in the industry, and LTE Advanced for three times faster data rates than iPhone 6 at up to 450 Mbps. ¹For customers in Japan, iPhone will now support the leading FeliCa contactless technology, bringing the ability to use credit and prepaid cards, including on iD and QuicPay domestic networks, and Suica, Japan’s dominant transit card issued by JR East, the world’s largest transit operator.
An Amazing Audio Experience
New stereo speakers offer amazing and immersive sound that is two times louder than iPhone 6s, offering increased dynamic range of sound and a higher quality speakerphone. The new iPhone comes with EarPods with Lightning connector to deliver incredible sound, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter that allows customers to use old headphones and accessories.
New AirPods, Apple’s innovative new wireless headphones, weave simplicity and technology together to reinvent the wireless experience making headphones easy to use. Featuring the new Apple W1 chip, AirPods have extremely efficient wireless communication for a better connection, improved sound and industry-leading battery life. AirPods harness the power of Siri, allowing you to access your favourite personal assistant with just a double tap.
Design That Makes a Splash
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come in a gorgeous design in silver, gold and rose gold finishes and introduce two all-new black finishes, a beautiful black finish that has an anodised matte appearance, and an innovative jet black finish that has a deep, high-gloss look. The new jet black finish is accomplished through an innovative nine-step process of anodisation and polish for a uniform, glossy finish. An entirely reengineered enclosure results in a water resistant iPhone offering protection like never before against spills, splashes and dust.²
The new iPhone features the brightest, most colorful Retina HD display ever in an iPhone, now with a wide colour gamut for cinema-standard colours, greater colour saturation and the best colour management in the smartphone industry. An all-new, advanced, solid-state Home button on iPhone 7 is designed to be durable and responsive, and working in tandem with the new Taptic Engine, provides more precise and customisable tactile feedback.
Featuring iOS 10, the Biggest iOS Release Ever
iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come with iOS 10, the biggest release ever of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. iOS 10 introduces a huge update to Messages that delivers more expressive and animated ways to message friends and family, the ability for Siri to do more by working with apps, new ways to interact with apps and even more places to use 3D Touch, beautifully redesigned Maps, Photos, Apple Music and News apps, and the Home app, delivering a simple and secure way to manage home automation products in one place. iOS 10 also opens up incredible opportunities for developers with Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages APIs, allowing customers to do more than ever with the apps they love to use.
Pricing & Availability
• iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available in silver, gold, rose gold and the new black finish in 32GB, 128GB and 256GB models starting at $649, and the new jet black finish will be offered exclusively on the 128GB and 256GB models from Apple.com, Apple Stores, Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers.
VoD cuts the cord in SA
Some 20% of South Africans who sign up for a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service such as Netflix or Showmax do so with the intention of cancelling their pay television subscription.
That’s according to GfK’s international ViewScape survey*, which this year covers Africa (South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) for the first time.
The study—which surveyed 1,250 people representative of urban South African adults with Internet access—shows that 90% of the country’s online adults today use at least one online video service and that just over half are paying to view digital online content. The average user spends around 7 hours and two minutes a day consuming video content, with broadcast television accounting for just 42% of the time South Africans spend in front of a screen.
Consumers in South Africa spend nearly as much of their daily viewing time – 39% of the total – watching free digital video sources such as YouTube and Facebook as they do on linear television. People aged 18 to 24 years spend more than eight hours a day watching video content as they tend to spend more time with free digital video than people above their age.
Says Benjamin Ballensiefen, managing director for Sub Sahara Africa at GfK: “The media industry is experiencing a revolution as digital platforms transform viewers’ video consumption behaviour. The GfK ViewScape study is one of the first to not only examine broadcast television consumption in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, but also to quantify how linear and online forms of content distribution fit together in the dynamic world of video consumption.”
The study finds that just over a third of South African adults are using streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, with only 16% of SVOD users subscribing to multiple services. Around 23% use per-pay-view platforms such as DSTV Box Office, while about 10% download pirated content from the Internet. Around 82% still sometimes watch content on disc-based media.
“Linear and non-linear television both play significant roles in South Africa’s video landscape, though disruption from digital players poses a growing threat to the incumbents,” says Molemo Moahloli, general manager for media research & regional business development at GfK Sub Sahara Africa. “Among most demographics, usage of paid online content is incremental to consumption of linear television, but there are signs that younger consumers are beginning to substitute SVOD for pay-television subscriptions.”
New data rules raise business trust challenges
When the General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect on May 25th, financial services firms will face a new potential threat to their on-going challenges with building strong customer relationships, writes DARREL ORSMOND, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.
The regulation – dubbed GDPR for short – is aimed at giving European citizens control back over their personal data. Any firm that creates, stores, manages or transfers personal information of an EU citizen can be held liable under the new regulation. Non-compliance is not an option: the fines are steep, with a maximum penalty of €20-million – or nearly R300-million – for transgressors.
GDPR marks a step toward improved individual rights over large corporates and states that prevents the latter from using and abusing personal information at their discretion. Considering the prevailing trust deficit – one global EY survey found that 60% of global consumers worry about hacking of bank accounts or bank cards, and 58% worry about the amount of personal and private data organisations have about them – the new regulation comes at an opportune time. But it is almost certain to cause disruption to normal business practices when implemented, and therein lies both a threat and an opportunity.
The fundamentals of trust
GDPR is set to tamper with two fundamental factors that can have a detrimental effect on the implicit trust between financial services providers and their customers: firstly, customers will suddenly be challenged to validate that what they thought companies were already doing – storing and managing their personal data in a manner that is respectful of their privacy – is actually happening. Secondly, the outbreak of stories relating to companies mistreating customer data or exposing customers due to security breaches will increase the chances that customers now seek tangible reassurance from their providers that their data is stored correctly.
The recent news of Facebook’s indiscriminate sharing of 50 million of its members’ personal data to an outside firm has not only led to public outcry but could cost the company $2-trillion in fines should the Federal Trade Commission choose to pursue the matter to its fullest extent. The matter of trust also extends beyond personal data: in EY’s 2016 Global Consumer Banking Survey, less than a third of respondents had complete trust that their banks were being transparent about fees and charges.
This is forcing companies to reconsider their role in building and maintaining trust with its customers. In any customer relationship, much is done based on implicit trust. A personal banking customer will enjoy a measure of familiarity that often provides them with some latitude – for example when applying for access to a new service or an overdraft facility – that can save them a lot of time and energy. Under GDPR and South Africa’s POPI act, this process is drastically complicated: banks may now be obliged to obtain permission to share customer data between different business units (for example because they are part of different legal entities and have not expressly received permission). A customer may now allow banks to use their personal data in risk scoring models, but prevent them from determining whether they qualify for private banking services.
What used to happen naturally within standard banking processes may be suddenly constrained by regulation, directly affecting the bank’s relationship with its customers, as well as its ability to upsell to existing customers.
The risk of compliance
Are we moving to an overly bureaucratic world where even the simplest action is subject to a string of onerous processes? Compliance officers are already embedded within every function in a typical financial services institution, as well as at management level. Often the reporting of risk processes sits outside formal line functions and end up going straight to the board. This can have a stifling effect on innovation, with potentially negative consequences for customer service.
A typical banking environment is already creaking under the weight of close to 100 acts, which makes it difficult to take the calculated risks needed to develop and launch innovative new banking products. Entire new industries could now emerge, focusing purely on the matter of compliance and associated litigation. GDPR already requires the services of Data Protection Officers, but the growing complexity of regulatory compliance could add a swathe of new job functions and disciplines. None of this points to the type of innovation that the modern titans of business are renowned for.
A three-step plan of action
So how must banks and other financial services firms respond? I would argue there are three main elements to successfully navigating the immediate impact of the new regulations:
Firstly, ensuring that the technologies you use to secure, manage and store personal data is sufficiently robust. Modern financial services providers have a wealth of customer data at their disposal, including unstructured data from non-traditional sources such as social media. The tools they use to process and safeguard this data needs to be able to withstand the threats posed by potential data breaches and malicious attacks.
Secondly, rethinking the core organisational processes governing their interactions with customers. This includes the internal measures for setting terms and conditions, how customers are informed of their intention to use their data, and how risk is assessed. A customer applying for medical insurance will disclose deeply personal information about themselves to the insurance provider: it is imperative the insurer provides reassurance that the customer’s data will be treated respectfully and with discretion and with their express permission.
Thirdly, financial services firms need to define a core set of principles for how they treat customers and what constitutes fair treatment. This should be an extension of a broader organisational focus on treating customers fairly, and can go some way to repairing the trust deficit between the financial services industry and the customers they serve.