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Apple brings Retina displays to iMac family

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Apple has updated the entire iMac family, bringing a new Retina 4K display to the 21.5-inch iMac for the first time and the Retina 5K display to every 27-inch iMac.

The new Retina displays make photos and videos more immersive and true-to-life thanks to a wider colour gamut and spectacular image quality. The updated iMacs also feature more powerful processors and graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and new storage options that make the high-performance Fusion Drive more affordable.

Apple this week also introduced a new lineup of wireless accessories including the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. The Magic devices have been redesigned to feel more comfortable than ever, and feature rechargeable batteries that eliminate the need for disposable batteries. The new Magic Trackpad 2 also brings Apple’s Force Touch interface to the desktop, adding a new dimension to the iMac experience.

“From the first iMac to today, the spirit of iMac has never wavered — deliver the ultimate desktop experience with the latest technologies, gorgeous displays and cutting-edge designs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “These are the most stunning iMacs we’ve ever made. With our gorgeous new Retina displays, more powerful processors and graphics and all-new Magic accessories, the new iMac continues to redefine the ultimate desktop experience.”

Apple provided the following information:

With Retina display, text appears sharper than ever, videos are unbelievably lifelike and you can see new levels of detail in your photos. The 21.5-inch iMac is available with the all-new Retina 4K display featuring an amazing 4096 x 2304 resolution and 9.4 million pixels, 4.5 times more than the standard 21.5-inch iMac display. Every 27-inch iMac features a Retina 5K display, the world’s highest resolution all-in-one display with a stunning 14.7 million pixels, 7 times more pixels than an HD display. With a Retina display now on the 21.5-inch iMac and every 27-inch iMac, iMac with Retina display is more affordable than ever.

The new Retina displays feature a wider colour gamut that brings more brilliant and true-to-life colours to your desktop. With standard sRGB-based displays, many of the colours you see in real life never make it to your screen. The new Retina 5K and 4K displays feature a wider P3-based colour gamut that provides a 25 percent larger colour space, and with more available colours, images are more vivid, reveal even greater detail and appear more lifelike than ever.

Faster and more powerful than ever, the new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display now comes with sixth-generation Intel Core processors and the latest AMD high-performance graphics that deliver up to 3.7 teraflops of compute power. The new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display features a fifth-generation Intel Core processor and enhanced Intel Iris Pro Graphics. Two Thunderbolt 2 ports now come standard on all iMacs and deliver up to 20Gbps data transfer speeds for external drives and high-performance peripherals. And three stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi allows iMac to support up to 1.3Gbps wireless networking.

Fusion Drive combines the large storage capacity of a hard drive with the high performance of flash to deliver shorter boot times and faster access to apps and files. Fusion Drive works in conjunction with OS X to adapt to the way you use your iMac and automatically moves the files and apps you use most often to flash storage. The incredible performance of Fusion Drive is now more affordable with a new, lower-priced configuration that pairs a 1TB hard drive with 24GB of fast flash. Fusion Drive is also available with 2TB and 3TB configurations with 128GB of fast flash for more demanding workloads. For the ultimate in storage performance, optional all flash storage is available up to 1TB and is now up to 2.5 times faster.

The all-new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 are more comfortable, capable and environmentally friendly. Designed around a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, all three accessories eliminate the need for disposable batteries and feature a noticeably more solid internal structure and quality feel. The new Magic Keyboard features a full-size keyboard in a sleek new design that takes up 13 percent less space on your desktop. With a new scissor mechanism and lower profile, the Magic Keyboard provides an incredibly stable, precise and comfortable typing experience. The new Magic Mouse 2 is lighter, sturdier and features an optimised foot design for a smoother glide. The new Magic Trackpad 2 features a 29 percent larger surface and brings Force Touch to the desktop for the first time. Force Touch enables a range of new ways to interact with your Mac, including the new Force click to quickly look up a word, preview a file or bring up a map from an address. The new Magic devices pair instantly with your Mac as soon as they are plugged in via the Lightning-to-USB charging cable, and can last about a month or more on a full charge.

Every new Mac comes with OS X El Capitan, the latest version of OS X that refines the Mac experience and improves system performance. El Capitan builds on the groundbreaking features and beautiful design of OS X Yosemite, with updates to window management, built-in apps and Spotlight search, and performance improvements to make everyday activities — like launching and switching apps, opening PDFs and accessing email — faster and more responsive. El Capitan was specifically designed for the Retina display and features a new system font called San Francisco that has been fine-tuned for optimal readability on a Retina display.

iMovie, GarageBand and the suite of iWork apps come free with every new iMac. iMovie, updated today to support 4K video, lets you easily create beautiful movies, and you can use GarageBand to make new music or learn to play piano or guitar. The iWork suite of Pages, Numbers and Keynote makes it easy to create, edit and share stunning documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Pages, Numbers and Keynote for iCloud let you create a document on iPhone or iPad, edit it on your Mac and collaborate with friends, even if they are on a PC.

Pricing & Availability

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is available today at Apple.com and select Apple Authorised Resellers. The 27-inch iMac comes in three models and additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/imac.

The 21.5-inch iMac is available today at Apple.com and select Apple Authorised Resellers. The 21.5-inch iMac is available in three models and with a Retina 4K display. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/imac.

Every new iMac comes standard with the new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2, and customers can order the new Magic Trackpad 2 as an option. The new Magic accessories are also available at Apple.com and select Apple Authorised Resellers.

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Prepare your cam to capture the Blood Moon

On 27 July 2018, South Africans can witness a total lunar eclipse, as the earth’s shadow completely covers the moon.

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Also known as a blood or red moon, a total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic of all lunar eclipses and presents an exciting photographic opportunity for any aspiring photographer or would-be astronomers.

“A lunar eclipse is a rare cosmic sight. For centuries these events have inspired wonder, interest and sometimes fear amongst observers. Of course, if you are lucky to be around when one occurs, you would want to capture it all on camera,” says Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive at Canon South Africa.

Canon ambassador and acclaimed landscape photographer David Noton has provided his top tips to keep in mind when photographing this occasion.   In South Africa, the eclipse will be visible from about 19h14 on Friday, 27 July until 01h28 on the Saturday morning. The lunar eclipse will see the light from the sun blocked by the earth as it passes in front of the moon. The moon will turn red because of an effect known as Rayleigh Scattering, where bands of green and violet light become filtered through the atmosphere.

A partial eclipse will begin at 20h24 when the moon will start to turn red. The total eclipse begins at about 21h30 when the moon is completely red. The eclipse reaches its maximum at 22h21 when the moon is closest to the centre of the shadow.

David Noton advises:

  1. Download the right apps to be in-the-know

The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle. The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky.  Armed with these two apps, I’m planning to shoot the Blood Moon rising in Dorset, England. I’m aiming to capture the moon within the first fifteen minutes of moonrise so I can catch it low in the sky and juxtapose it against an object on the horizon line for scale – this could be as simple as a tree on a hill.

 

  1. Invest in a lens with optimal zoom  

On the 27th July, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens.

  1. Use a tripod to capture the intimate details

As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly. As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it’s important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image. Although it will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.

  1. Integrate the moon into your landscape

Whilst images of the moon large in the frame can be beautifully detailed, they are essentially astronomical in their appeal. Personally, I’m far more drawn to using the lunar allure as an element in my landscapes, or using the moonlight as a light source. The latter is difficult, as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny, whilst the lunar surface is so bright by comparison. Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers.

  1. Master the shutter speed for your subject 

The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability.  By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.

 

On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!

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How Africa can embrace AI

Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast, says ZOAIB HOOSEN, Microsoft Managing Director.

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To play catch up, we must take advantage of our best and most powerful resource – our human capital. According to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), more than 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 25.

These are the people who are poised to create a future where humans and AI can work together for the good of society. In fact, the most recent WEF Global Shapers survey found that almost 80 percent of youth believe technology like AI is creating jobs rather than destroying them.

Staying ahead of the trends to stay employed

AI developments are expected to impact existing jobs, as AI can replicate certain activities at greater speed and scale. In some areas, AI could learn faster than humans, if not yet as deeply.

According to Gartner, while AI will improve the productivity of many jobs and create millions more new positions, it could impact many others. The simpler and less creative the job, the earlier, a bot for example, could replace it.

It’s important to stay ahead of the trends and find opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills while learning how to work more closely and symbiotically with technology.

Another global study by Accenture, found that the adoption of AI will create several new job categories requiring important and yet surprising skills. These include trainers, who are tasked with teaching AI systems how to perform; explainers, who bridge the gap between technologist and business leader; and sustainers, who ensure that AI systems are operating as designed.

It’s clear that successfully integrating human intelligence with AI, so they co-exist in a two-way learning relationship, will become more critical than ever.

Combining STEM with the arts

Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.

As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.

For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.

“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.

Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.

Revisiting laws and regulation

For this type of evolution to happen, the onus is on policy makers to revisit current laws and even bring in new regulations. Policy makers need to identify the groups most at risk of losing their jobs and create strategies to reintegrate them into the economy.

Simultaneously, though AI could be hugely beneficial in areas such as curbing poor access to healthcare and improving diagnoses for example, physicians may avoid using this technology for fear of malpractice. To avoid this, we need regulation that closes the gap between the pace of technological change and that of regulatory response. It will also become essential to develop a code of ethics for this new ecosystem.

Preparing for the future

With the recent convergence of a transformative set of technologies, economies are entering a period in which AI has the potential overcome physical limitations and open up new sources of value and growth.

To avoid missing out on this opportunity, policy makers and business leaders must prepare for, and work toward, a future with AI. We must do so not with the idea that AI is simply another productivity enhancer. Rather, we must see AI as the tool that can transform our thinking about how growth is created.

It comes down to a choice of our people and economies being part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.

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