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iOS 9 lands next week

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Apple has announced that iOS 9, the new version of its mobile operating system, will be available on Wednesday, September 16, as a free update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. 

Apple provided the following information:

The way you interact with iPad gets even better with iOS 9, thanks to new multitasking features that let users view and interact with two apps at once, side by side. With Picture-in-Picture, users can play video while browsing the web, composing email or using other apps. Built-in apps become more powerful with a redesigned Notes app offering new ways to capture ideas, detailed transit information in Maps, and an all-new News app for the best news reading experience on any mobile device.

“iOS 9 is packed with intelligence that makes every experience with iPhone and iPad even more powerful — Siri can do more than ever and new proactive assistance helps you get more done before you ask, all while protecting users’ privacy,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With iOS 9 we focused on strengthening the foundation of iOS with a deep focus on quality, and with the help of more than one million users who participated in our first ever public beta program, we’re excited to release the best version of iOS yet.”

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Intelligence

In iOS 9, every experience with iPhone gets even better, with new intelligence that works behind the scenes to present the right information at the right time. Proactive assistance presents the most relevant information at a given time of day and suggests actions at that particular moment based on the apps you use frequently and the time of day you use them. Siri features an all-new design, contextual reminders based on time and location, and new ways to search photos and videos. Search queries deliver more relevant results from more categories, including sports scores and schedules, simple math calculations, weather conditions and stock prices.

iPad Experience

iOS 9 delivers new multitasking features designed specifically for iPad that allow you to do even more:

Slide Over lets you simultaneously work in a second app without leaving the one you’re in and easily switch between your apps.

Split View allows you to view and interact with two apps at the same time, side by side, and resize your view to prioritise one app over another.

Picture-in-Picture lets you continue a video or FaceTime call while using your favourite apps.

Typing is faster and easier with an all-new Shortcut Bar that displays convenient editing tools, and new Multi-Touch gestures make it even easier to select, edit and move text.

Built-In Apps

The powerful built-in apps on iPhone and iPad are designed for all your essential, everyday tasks. In iOS 9, we’re delivering a completely redesigned Notes app, support for transit in Maps, an all-new News app and new capabilities in Apple Pay.

The completely redesigned Notes app includes the ability to draw a quick sketch using your finger, easily create checklists to keep track of your to-dos or snap a photo directly in a note. Important items can be saved directly to the Notes app from other apps and are kept in sync across all your enabled devices with iCloud.

Maps adds support for metropolitan transit systems and schedules, and subway station entrances and exits are precisely mapped. When you plan your trip, Maps can offer a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, and presents you with what’s nearby, delivering options for local food, drinks, shopping and more.

News delivers a reading experience that combines the rich, immersive design of a print magazine with the interactivity of digital media. News can learn your interests and suggest relevant content that’s easily shareable or saved for later, and delivers the best articles from more than 50 publishers, representing hundreds of titles from the world’s most influential news, sports, business and magazine brands, covering over one million topics.**

Apple Pay adds support for Discover, merchant rewards programs and participating store-issued credit and debit cards. Shoppers will be able to manage their cards in the new Wallet app.

Foundation

This latest release makes the foundation of iOS even stronger with refinements including battery optimisation that provides a typical user with an additional hour of battery life, and a low-power mode to further extend battery life. Software updates require less space to install and the Install Later feature can perform updates to your device when it’s not in use. Enhanced security features in iOS 9 keep your devices and Apple ID secure by strengthening the passcode that protects your devices and improving two-factor authentication by building it directly into iOS, making it harder for others to gain unauthorised access to your Apple ID. iOS 9 apps and the user interface now take advantage of Metal to deliver faster scrolling, smoother animation and better overall performance.

Availability

iOS 9 will be available beginning Wednesday, September 16 as a free software update for iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch 5th generation and later, iPad 2 and later and iPad mini and later. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages. For more information visit www.apple.com/ios.

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AppDate: Shedding light in our times of darkness

SEAN BACHER’S app roundup highlights two load-shedding apps, along with South AfriCAM, NBA 2K Mobile, Virgin Mobile’s Spot 3.0 and SwiftKey.

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Load Shedding Notifier

With all the uncertainty about when South Africans will next be plunged into darkness by Eskom, the Load Shedding Notifier tries its best to keep up with Eskom’s schedule. The app is very simple to use. Download it, type an area in and click the save button. The app automatically tells you what load shedding stage Eskom is on, the times you can expect to start lighting candles and for how long to burn them.

Multiple areas can be added and one can switch between the different stages to see how each one will affect a certain area.

A grid status is also displayed, showing how strained the country’s electrical network is.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

EskomSePush Load Shedding App

EskomSePush does much the same as the Load Shedding Notifier, but allows multiple cities to be tracked. However, they may just want to rethink the name of the app if they want wider respectability.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

South AfriCAM

South AfriCAM enables users to add branded stickers and frames from popular lifestyle magazine titles to their posts, including Huisgenoot, YOU, Drum, Move!, TRUE LOVE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health. 

In the process, they can earn JETPoints for their social influence: through the app’s built-in JET8 social currency, users are rewarded for their engagement. For every in-app like, comment, and share, users earn JETPoints, which can be used to redeem products online or over the counter across more than 2 500 retail stores in South Africa. Users are additionally awarded JETPoints for cross-posting onto external social media networks.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your device

Click here to read about console quality graphics on a mobile phone, Virgin Money payments made easier, and an app that redesigns the keyboard.

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Drones to drive
Western Cape agritech

Aerobotics is set to change how farmers treat their crops by using drones and machine learning, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Western Cape is poised to be a hotbed of innovation in the agritech sector, with drone piloting set to playing a major role in in the tech start-up scene.

This is the view of Tim Willis, chief operating officer of pioneering drone company Aerobotics, a Cape Town drone company recognised as a world leader in agritech.

“Drone piloting is a key skill that feeds into the value chain of the budding 4th Industrial Revolution,” said Willis. “Cape Town and the Western Cape is uniquely positioned to be the melting pot for innovation in the agritech sector, as a leading agricultural exporter and a hub for creative tech start-ups.”

He was speaking at AeroCon, a drone expo organised by Aerobotics and held in Johannesburg this week aimed at providing opportunities for drone pilots to apply their skills in South Africa, and to show how drones are being used to collect data on crops. 

The event was supported by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Wesgro, PROMMAC, MicaSense, and Rectron, among other

“We’re starting to sign up farmers across the country,” said Willis. “It’s exciting because farmers are starting to use drone technology on their farms. When a farmer wants a drone flown, they want it flown [now] so it’s important for us to capture that data as quickly as possible to show that drones are fast and effective.”

According to aerobotics, drone technology can help farmers reduce pesticide use on their crops by up to 30%. The result is environmentally friendly farming, reducing stressed crops and a healthier harvest. 

“We use aerial imagery from drones to recreate a 3D model of every single tree on a farmer’s orchard,” said Willis. “We’ve done this for millions of trees and it starts to give the farmers metrics of what they’re doing. We provide them with the health of the trees, the height, the volume, the canopy area, which enable the farms to make decisions on what to do next.”

Click here to read more about AeroCon and what it offers to those wanting to get into the drone industry.

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