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Apple unveils iOS 10, takes on Messenger

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Apple today previewed iOS 10, featuring a huge update to Messages that delivers more expressive and animated ways to message friends and family, like stickers and full-screen effects.

iOS 10 introduces the ability for Siri to do more by working with apps, 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 opens up incredible opportunities to developers with Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages.

“iOS 10 is our biggest release ever, with delightful new ways to express yourself in Messages, a native app for Home automation and beautifully redesigned apps for Music, Maps, and News that are more intuitive and more powerful, making everything you love about your iPhone and iPad even better,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iOS 10 adds Siri intelligence into QuickType and Photos, automates your home with the new Home app and opens up Siri, Maps, Phone and Messages to developers — while increasing security and privacy with powerful technologies like Differential Privacy.”

Personal & Expressive Messages

Messages is the most frequently used iOS app, and with iOS 10 it is more expressive and fun with animated and personalized ways to message friends and family.

Messages includes powerful animations, such as balloons, confetti or fireworks that can take over an entire screen to celebrate a special occasion, invisible ink to send a message only revealed after a friend swipes over it, and for added personalization, handwritten notes. Automatic suggestions make it easy to replace words with emoji, Tapback creates a quick and simple way to respond with just a tap and rich links let you see content inline and play media without ever leaving your conversation.

iOS 10 brings the power of the App Store to Messages, opening up new opportunities for developers to create fun new ways for users to communicate in a thread, including stickers to be peeled and pasted into conversations, the ability to quickly personalize GIFs or edit photos, send payments or schedule dinner or a movie, all from within Messages.

Siri Opens to Developers

In iOS 10, Siri can be extended into major new areas and do more than ever by working with the apps you love to use. For the first time, developers can build on the intelligence Siri offers and let users interact directly with apps using just their voice. SiriKit helps developers easily design their apps to work with Siri for messaging, phone calls, photo search, ride booking, personal payments and workouts, or use Siri to control CarPlay apps, access climate controls or adjust radio settings within automakers’ apps.

Beautifully Redesigned Maps

Maps in iOS 10 gets a beautiful redesign that makes it even simpler and more intuitive to use. Now open to developers with new extensions, apps like OpenTable can integrate bookings right into Maps, and services like Uber and Lyft can make it easier for users to book a ride, without ever leaving the Maps app. Maps is even smarter with new intelligence that proactively delivers directions to where you most likely want to go next, based on your routine or appointments on your calendar. Once a route is planned, Maps can search along the route for gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops and more and provides an estimate of how the stop impacts the length of your trip.

Rediscover Memories in Photos

Photos in iOS 10 helps you rediscover favorite and forgotten occasions from your photo library by automatically surfacing them in Memories. Memories scans all your photos and videos and finds favorite and forgotten events, trips, and people, and presents them in a beautiful collection. A Memory also contains the Memory Movie, an automatically edited movie with theme music, titles and cinematic transitions.

Memories uses advanced computer vision to group the people, places and things inside your images into albums with on-device facial, object and scene recognition. This intelligence brings Memories and Related photos to life in a way that’s personal and meaningful to you, while maintaining your privacy.

Home App for Simpler Home Automation

The Home app is deeply integrated into iOS, delivering a simple and secure way to set up, manage and control your home in one place. Accessories can be managed individually or grouped into scenes so they work together with a single command and can be controlled by using Siri. They can be managed remotely or set up for home automation with Apple TV, and can respond with automatic triggers set by time of day, location or action.

Support for HomeKit continues to expand globally with nearly 100 home automation products adopting HomeKit this year, bringing support for thermostats, lights, window shades, door locks, video cameras and more to the Home app. Later this year, leading home builders, including Brookfield Residential, KB Home, Lennar Homes and R&F Properties, will begin integrating many of these HomeKit devices into new homes.

All-New Design for Apple Music & News

Apple Music has an all-new design, bringing greater clarity and simplicity to every aspect of the experience. It uses a new design language that allows the music to become the hero and a new structure that makes it easy to navigate and discover new music. The Library, For You, Browse and Radio tabs have been completely redesigned to provide an even greater sense of place, and we’ve added a Search tab to make finding music even easier. All of these changes come together to create a design that is clear and intuitive. iOS 10 features a redesigned News app with a new For You, organized into distinct sections that make it easier to find stories, support for breaking news notifications and paid subscriptions.

iOS Experience

In iOS 10, accessing the information you need is easier and quicker than ever. Raise to Wake automatically wakes the screen as you raise your iPhone, making it easier to view all your notifications at a glance, right from the Lock screen. Notifications, Today view and Control Center are accessible with just a swipe or a press, and deeper 3D Touch integration with iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus makes interacting with apps even easier.

Additional iOS 10 Features

  • Siri intelligence brings new QuickType features, including contextual predictions to surface relevant information based on location, calendar availability or contacts; and predictive typing supports multiple languages without switching keyboards.
  • Phone adds integration for third-party VoIP calls, voicemail transcription and a new caller ID extension for spam alerts.
  • Built-in app updates include Safari split-view for iPad, Notes collaboration and Live Photos editing.
  • Apple Pay can now be used to make easy, secure, and private purchases on participating websites using Safari, in addition to paying in-stores and within apps.
  • Bedtime Alarm in the Clock app lets you set a regular sleep schedule and receive bedtime reminders.

Privacy in iOS 10

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. iMessage, FaceTime and HomeKit use end-to-end encryption to protect your data by making it unreadable by Apple and others. iOS 10 uses on-device intelligence to identify the people, objects and scenes in Photos, and power QuickType suggestions. Services like Siri, Maps and News send data to Apple’s servers, but this data is not used to build user profiles.

Starting with iOS 10, Apple is using technology called Differential Privacy to help discover the usage patterns of a large number of users without compromising individual privacy. In iOS 10, this technology will help improve QuickType and emoji suggestions, Spotlight deep link suggestions and Lookup Hints in Notes.

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Acer gaming beast escapes

Acer this week unveiled two notebooks that take portable gaming to new extremes.

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Acer  unveiled two new Predator Helios gaming notebooks this week at the next@acer global press conference in New York. They include the powerful Predator Helios 500, featuring up to 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors, and the Predator Helios 300 Special Edition that includes upgraded specs from its predecessor and a distinctive white chassis. Both feature VR-Ready performance, advanced thermal technologies, and blazing-fast connectivity.

“We’ve expanded our Predator Helios gaming notebook line in response to popular demand from gamers seeking extreme performance on the go,” said Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, Acer. “The Predator Helios 500 and Helios 300 gaming notebooks feature Acer’s proprietary thermal technologies and powerful components that, coupled with our award-winning software, deliver unparalleled gaming experiences.”

“The 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processor for gaming and creation laptops is the highest performance Intel has ever delivered for this class of devices; purpose built for enthusiasts who demand premium gaming experiences whether at home or on the go,” said Steve Long, Vice President and General Manager, Client Computing Group Sales and Marketing, Intel. “Intel and Acer’s long relationship has produced amazing products over the years, and the new Acer Predator Helios gaming notebooks are powerful examples of what’s possible with this unprecedented level of performance.”

Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast featuring overclocking, 4K 144 Hz panels

Designed for extreme gamers, the Predator Helios 500 is a gaming beast. It features up to overclockable 8th Gen Intel Core i9+ processors and overclockable GeForce GTX 1070 graphics. Intel Optane memory increases responsiveness and load times, while ultra-fast NVMePCIe SSDs, Killer DoubleShot Pro networking, and up to 64GB of memory keep the action going, making the Helios 500 the ideal gaming notebook for graphic-intensive AAA titles and live streaming.

Top-notch visuals are delivered on bright, vibrant 4K UHD or FHD IPS 17.3-inch displays with 144Hz refresh rates for blur- and tear-free gameplay. NVIDIA G-SYNC technology is supported on both the built-in display and external monitors, allowing for buttery-smooth imagery without tearing or stuttering. For those looking for maximum gaming immersion, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, and display and HDMI 2.0 ports support up to three external monitors. Two speakers, a subwoofer, and Acer TrueHarmony and Waves MAXXAudio technology deliver incredible sound and hyper-realistic 3D audio using Waves Nx.

The Helios 500 stays cool with two of Acer’s proprietary AeroBlade 3D metal fans, and five heat pipes that distribute cool air to the machine’s key components while simultaneously releasing hot air. Fan speed can be controlled and customized through the PredatorSense app.

A backlit RGB keyboard offers four lighting zones with support for up to 16.8 million colors. Anti-ghosting technology provides the ultimate control for executing complex commands and combos, which can be set up via five dedicated programmable keys.

Acer’s PredatorSense app can be used to control and monitor the notebook’s vitals from one central interface, including overclocking, lighting, hotkeys, temperature, and fan control.

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition brings a sophisticated design twist to gaming notebooks

Acer’s budget-friendly Helios 300 gaming line sees the addition of a Special Edition model featuring an all-white aluminum chassis accented with gold trim, an unusually chic design for gaming notebooks.

The Helios 300 Special Edition (PH315-51) allows for ultra-smooth gameplay via its 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with an upgraded 144Hz refresh rate. The rapid refresh rate shortens frame rendering time and lowers input lag to give gamers an excellent in-game experience. It’s powered by up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7+ processor, overclockable GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, up to a 512 GB PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state drive, and up to a 2 TB hard disk drive.

The Helios 300 Special Edition also comes equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory, and is upgradable to 32GB. Intel Optane memory speeds up load times of games and applications, access to information and improves overall system responsiveness. In addition, Gigabit Ethernet provides fast wired connections, while Gigabit Wi-Fi is provided by the latest Intel Wireless-AC 9560 that delivers up to 1.73Gbps throughput when using 160 MHz channels (2×2 802.11ac, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz).

The Helios 300 Special Edition also includes two of Acer’s ultrathin (0.1 mm) all-metal AeroBlade 3D fans designed with advanced aerodynamics and superior airflow to keep the system cool. They can be controlled with Acer’s PredatorSense app, which offers three usage modes:

1. Coolboost mode:

For heavy loading games, rendering, streaming, and extended video consumption

2. Normal mode:

For productivity tools like Microsoft Office

3. Silent mode:

For web browsing and online chatting

Price and Availability

Predator Helios 500 will be available in South Africa in June starting at R34 999.00

Helios 300 Special Edition will be available in South Africa in August 2018. Exact Price will be communicated closer to the time.

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LG G7 arrives in SA

LG this week introduced South Africa to its latest premium smartphone, the LG G7 ThinQ, focused on bringing useful and convenient AI features to the smartphone experience.

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Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, the LG G7 ThinQ offers 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage to run demanding tasks and apps with. It is equipped with a 6.1-inch Super Bright Display, but the LG G7 ThinQ remains compact enough to use with one hand.

Sporting a new design aesthetic for the G series, the polished metal rim gives the LG G7 ThinQ a sleeker, more refined look, complemented by Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and the back for enhanced durability. Rated IP68 for dust and water resistance, the LG G7 ThinQ is also awarded MIL-STD 810 c certification, having been subjected to a range of extreme temperature and environment tests designed by the United States military.

The LG G7 ThinQ has an 8MP camera up front, rendering clear and natural selfies, with two 16MP cameras at the back that deliver higher resolution photos with more detail, as well as a Super Wide Angle configuration.

As with other leading brands, LG has evolved its signature camera by including AI functionality. The AI CAM offers 19 shooting modes for intelligence-optimised shots. Users can also improve their photos by choosing from an additional three effect options should the AI CAM recommendation not suit their taste.

The new Super Bright Camera captures images that are up to four times brighter than typical photos shot in dim light. Through the combination of pixel binning and software processing, the AI algorithm adjusts the camera settings automatically when shooting in low light.

Live Photo Mode records one second before and after the shutter is pressed for snippets of unexpected moments or expressions that would normally be missed. Stickers uses face recognition to generate fun 2D and 3D overlays, such as sunglasses and headbands, that can be viewed directly on the display.

New to the G series is Portrait Mode, which generates professional-looking shots with out-of-focus backgrounds. This effect can be generated using both front and rear standard lenses as well as the rear Super Wide Angle lens.

LG G7 ThinQ offers further AI functionality with the inclusion of Google Lens features. Google Lens is a new way to search using the AI and computer vision. Google Assistant and Google Photos allow users to access more information on objects such as landmarks, plants, animals, and books. It can identify text or visit websites, add business cards to contacts, events to the calendar or look up an item on a restaurant menu.

A button just below the volume keys launches the AI functionality. A single tap of this button launches the Google Assistant, while two quick taps launches Google Lens. Users can also hold down the button to start talking to the Google Assistant without the repetition of the OK Google command.

With Super Far Field Voice Recognition (SFFVR) and the highly-sensitive G7ThinQ microphone, the Google Assistant can recognise voice commands from up to five meters away. SFFVR is able to separate commands from background noise, making the LG G7 ThinQ an alternative to a home AI speaker, even when the TV is on. Commands for the Google Assistant have been increased in the LG G7 ThinQ so users can get more done with their voice alone.

“The LG G7 ThinQ is strongly focused on the fundamentals and its launch marks a new chapter for our company,” said Deon Prinsloo, General Manager for Mobile Communication, LG Electronics S.A Pty Ltd. “Through the combination of personalised and useful AI functionalities with meaningful smartphone features, this is LG’s most convenient and in the moment smartphone yet.”

Key Specifications

  • Mobile Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform
  • Display: 6.1-inch QHD+ 19.5:9 FullVision Super Bright Display (3120 x 1440 / 564ppi)
  • Memory:
    • LG G7 ThinQ: 4GB LPDDR4x RAM / 64GB UFS 2.1 ROM / MicroSD (up to 2TB)
  • Camera:
    • Rear Dual: 16MP Super Wide Angle (F1.9 / 107°) / 16MP Standard Angle (F1.6 / 71°)
    • Front: 8MP Wide Angle (F1.9 / 80°)
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • OS: Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Size: 153.2 x 71.9 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 162g
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a, b, g, n, ac / Bluetooth 5.0 BLE / NFC / USB Type-C 2.0 (3.1 compatible)
  • Colours: New Aurora Black
  • Others: Super Bright Display / New Second Screen / AI CAM / Super Bright Camera / Super Far Field Voice Recognition / Boombox Speaker / Google Lens / AI Haptic / Hi-Fi Quad DAC / DTS:X 3D Surround Sound / IP68 Water and Dust Resistance / HDR10 / Google Assistant Key / Face Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Technology / Wireless Charging / MIL-STD 810G Compliant / FM Radio
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