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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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Load-shedding leads
local searches

South Africans are searching in the dark, according to the latest Google Search trends.

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With more 1 million search queries generated in the space of 76 hours, load-shedding was by far the top trending search on Google South Africa this week.

Valentine’s Day came a distant second.

After news emerged last Sunday of the impending stage 3 load shedding, South Africans had generated more than 1-million load-shedding search queries by the time Tuesday came around:

  • “Loadshedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Eskom load shedding” – generated more than 100k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding Cape Town” – generated more than 50k searches on Sunday
  • “Load shedding schedule” – generated more than 400k on Monday
  • “Load shedding Johannesburg” – generated more than 20k searches on Monday
  • Load shedding schedule” generated more than 200k search queries on Tuesday

Leading up to Valentine’s Day, South Africans generated close to 300k search queries related to the romantic festival, including searches for quotes and gift ideas:

  • “Valentines Day” generated more than 100k search queries on Thursday
  • “Happy Valentines Day Images” and “Valentines Day Images” generated more than 10k search queries each on Thursday, with “Happy Valentines Day 2019” generating more than 20k search queries on Wednesday
  • “Valentines Day Specials 2019” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Love quotes” generated more than 5k search queries on Thursday
  • “Valentines Day quotes” generated more than 100k search queries and “Valentine messages” generated more than 50 000 search queries on Wednesday

Search trends information is gleaned from data collated by Google based on what South Africans have been searching for and asking Google. Google processes more than 40 000 search queries every second. This translates to more than a billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. Live Google search trends data is available at https://www.google.co.za/trends/hottrends#pn=p40

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Showmax invites
student films

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Thanks to the growing popularity of video-on-demand services, there’s a new opportunity to help kickstart the careers of local filmmakers.

Numerous Hollywood blockbusters (District 9Tomb Raider 2018, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron to name a few) have featured substantial shoots in Johannesburg and Cape Town. While providing great opportunities for SA’s production talent, aspiring writers and directors don’t get the same benefit.

So where can local creatives showcase their work? Broadcast TV isn’t a natural home for unknown short films, and while self-publishing platforms are readily available hosting options, it’s tough to get noticed and get traffic when competing with videos from across the planet.

But with the emergence of video-on-demand services into the mainstream, there’s now a solution. The African film school AFDA has teamed up with the streaming service Showmax to give local talent a much larger platform than ever before. From 18 February, eighteen of the best recent short films made by AFDA students from their Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth campuses will be live on Showmax. Drama, documentary, fantasy, and animation are all represented, in pieces running from under eight minutes to almost half-an-hour long. The full list of movies is included below.

Teresa Passchier, CEO of AFDA, said: “AFDA, Africa’s number-one school for the Creative Economy, is proud to kickstart this exciting and meaningful journey with Showmax and AFDA students, ensuring emerging young African filmmakers’ voices are heard and given a platform. It’s ground-breaking to share young, local, culturally relevant content on the same platform as Hollywood blockbusters. I am certain that this unique initiative will serve to boost and develop the African film industry and the careers of many young South African and African students alike.”

Included in the short films coming to Showmax are the award winners Junior and O-PunchaJunior, directed by Bert Dijkstra, picked up the Audience Award in the Made in South Africa Competition at the shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival Awards 2017. O-Puncha, directed by Adam Hansen, won two awards at the 5th annual Eldorado Film Festival: Best Student Made Short, and Best Editing – Alexander La Cock.

Another celebrated film is Sicela Amanzi directed by Mlu Godola, which talks to the subject of water shortage. The film’s heroine Zoleka is a mild-mannered young woman forced to go to extreme lengths when a small community’s only source of water unexpectedly collapses. The power of films like this is they shine a light on critical topical issues in new ways.

Speaking about working with the film school, Candice Fangueiro, Head of Content for Showmax, said: “There’s immense depth of filmmaking talent in Africa and it’s a privilege to be able to give that talent a home and a platform. Showmax is becoming part of the fabric of film and TV production in Africa, and importantly we’re doing this as a partner rather than just as a consumer. This is a key competitive advantage of being local and something we aim to continue to work on.”

AFDA is an Academy Award-winning institution, founded in 1994, and the first and only African film school to win an Oscar – for the Best Foreign Student film in 2006, the postgraduate film Elalini, directed by Tristan Holmes.

The full list of AFDA short films coming to Showmax is as follows:

Film titleDirectorGenre
Lullaby from the CryptKeenan Lott & Raven DavidsAnimation
Ko Ga CherenyaneSibonokuhle MyatazaDocumentary
IzilwaneKyllian RouxDrama
MallemeuleJaco Van BoschDrama
Canal StreetBrodie MuirheadDrama
On the FenceWarrick BewsDrama
The Righteous FewLindo LangaDrama
Hlogoma PeakLuke AhrensDrama
Frozen FlameCameron HeathmanAnimation
WolfBrett van DortFantasy
The Walk HomeSisanda DyantyiDrama
BearWesley RoodtDrama
JuniorBert DijkstraDrama
O-PunchaAdam HansenDrama
UmngenoSiphosethu NdungeDrama
DoreenLuvuyo Equiano NyawoseDrama
ForeverLindo LangaMusical
Sicela AmanziMlu GodolaDrama

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