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Apple Music update packs new features

From live lyrics to Chromecast support, Apple Music’s latest update adds features to amplify the user experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.



Apple’s music streaming service, Apple Music, has received a facelift on the various platforms. The company says it has amassed around 60-million subscriptions to its paid-only service, which comes preloaded on most Apple devices. From smartphones to TV, we took a deep dive into the service to shell out the best new features from the platform.

1. Sing along to the music – with the right words

With its latest update, Apple has introduced a lyric scrolling mode which highlights the line in the song where the artist is singing or speaking. It features the lyrics on a dynamic background, that’s based on the album art of the song and pulses or moves around to the music. The coolest part about this one can scroll through the lyrics and tap a lyric to be taken to that part of the song. This feature can be activated by tapping the quotation bubble in the bottom left corner of the Now Playing page.

2. Your music taste is split from what Apple thinks your music taste is

There is a clear distinction between what you like and what others think you like. That’s why the Apple Music app makes a clear distinction between what you have and what you like. Under the Library tab is where the music one has saved lives, while next door, the For You tab holds a daily update of one’s music tastes and listening habits. This includes personalised weekly mixes, what friends are listening to, what’s happening in spaces from genres the user listens to, and new releases from artists that the user listens to.

Apple has also confirmed that the personalised mixes aren’t simply thrown together, but rather crafted by how the songs go together based on how editors have selected songs to go together.

3. Radio stations are a tap away

Apple hosts many radio shows on its platforms, with hosts like DJ Khaled, Nicki Minaj, and The Weeknd. One of the most popular radio stations on the platform, Beats 1 Radio, frequently features prominent guest artists like Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, and Tame Impala.

This is a hidden gem if you like hearing your favourite artist discuss the latest topics in between songs. If those artists aren’t to your taste, try making your own station by starting a song you like, tapping the three dots next to the song title and selecting Create Station.

Local radio stations like 947, Jacaranda FM, and East Coast Radio are also available to those who prefer a more traditional radio sound. Keep in mind that this is streamed over the Internet, so charges may apply.

4. Find that song – even after it’s done

Hearing a new hit that resonates with you is special. But what if you don’t have the Shazam app? Just ask Siri. Apple acquired Shazam just over a year ago, and has since integrated the functionality into iOS. Now, users can either open the Shazam app to identify the song, or say “Hey Siri, what’s this song?” to identify songs without the app. For all platforms, one can type in a line from the lyrics of the song into the search bar of the Apple Music app to find the song.

5. Works beyond Apple products

The Apple Music product transcends the Apple ecosystem and works with Android Auto, Chromecast, and in any web browser. Users of Apple Music for Android can enjoy a similar ‘plug n play’ experience when connecting to their Android Auto enabled cars. Catering to those outside of the Apple ecosystem, Apple Music for Android can also cast to Chromecast to play music to their TV and/or sound system, wirelessly. Those who can’t install additional software to their computers can still use Apple Music through the web by pointing their browser to

With all these additional new platforms, Apple Music is quickly becoming ubiquitous among devices on the market.


Meet the accountant of the future

The accountant of the future will need a new set of skills, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK, as he meets both the local users and the global creators of Xero accounting software



Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca get a highrise view of London. Pic by Arthur Goldstuck

Meet Buchule and Sivenathi Sibaca. They are not only partners in marriage, but also in a thriving accounting business. Buchule and Sivenathi are, respectively, chief executive officer and chief financial officer of SMTAX, which focuses on tax and accounting services for small businesses in the Western Cape, but includes the likes of Absa and Old Mutual among its clients. It employs 18 people and has 4,500 individual and business customers.

That’s not what makes the outfit remarkable. The startling feature of this business is that it has been structured to be a model accounting firm of the next decade. Even more remarkable is the fact that the couple both hail from rural areas where thoughts of the future tend to be about survival rather than blazing new trails.

Last week, they made their first trip out of the country, to attend Xerocon London 2019. This 2-day conference, hosted by the world’s fastest growing accounting software maker, Xero, attracted more than 3,000 delegates from the United Kingdom, Europe Middle East and Africa. A total of 57 Xero partners and users, mostly from accounting practices or suppliers to accountants, made the trek from South Africa.

“It was really about seeing how other accountants on other continents operate in terms of how they think and where their headspace is at,” Buchule told us during Xerocon. “Also, being our first time out of the country, it was to see the culture of other small businesses outside of South Africa. 

“London’s quite different in that regard, but it’s been a really a great learning curve, and we were pleasantly surprised to find elements that look like South Africa, where we can say, at least you’re doing something right. The banking environment is quite unique, as it’s been a really good learning curve in terms of where banking might go to in the future of South Africa if they follow the same trend.”

Buchule comes from the “dusty streets” of Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, while Sivenathi grew up on a farm in a deep rural area near Mthatha.

“I had no idea about technology or the rest of the world or how it could impact the economy in general,” she said. The two met at the University of Cape Town, where she was studying to be an actuary, and he completed a Masters degree in tax. She decided to put actuarial science behind her, however, when the opportunity arose to join Buchule’s business. But her skills helped transform the business.

Said Buchule: “When Sivenathi came on board we did the modeling of the business, and we said that in order to in order to automate the whole bookkeeping journey, we would need to turn closer and closer towards ‘x’, meaning fully automated bookkeeping. We looked at the journey of how long it will it take for us to get to time ‘x’. And then we said, OK, once we get there, what then?

“It was a big realization that when we do get to time ‘x’, the most important thing will be the human touch. That will be the differentiator. So we then spent our time developing that.”

Visit the next page to read more about the Xerocon 2019 event.

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Takealot reveals startling numbers for Black Friday



Takealot has revealed startling numbers for expected bumper sales this holiday season, beginning next week, and peaking with Black Friday.

South Africa’s leading ecommerce group expects to ship at least one order every second, with roughly 10,000 boxes leaving their warehouses every hour, this shopping season. 

Black Friday was first introduced to South Africa by Takealot in 2012, and has since become an important day in South Africa’s annual retail calendar. It has been a record-breaker for both retailers in the Takealot Group: Takealot and Superbalist. Takealot’s Black Friday gross merchandise value (GMV) grew 125% from 2017 to 2018, with orders up 127%. Superbalist’s Black Friday GMV has grown on average around 50%. This year, CEO Kim Reid is anticipating the biggest Black Friday yet, a culmination of months of tech and operational business-wide focus to prepare for increased predicted traffic and shopper volumes.

ABSA bank estimates that two out of three South Africans participated in Black Friday sales in 2018. And FNB reports in 2018, Black Friday transaction volumes grew by 16% compared with 2017 and anticipates a 15% increase in transactions over the sales period in 2019. 

Successfully meeting this massive growth in orders has been a key focus for the Takealot Group. CEO Kim Reid says throughout the year they have been working to scale operations across multiple areas within the business. “After expanding our Johannesburg distribution centre (DC), our warehouse storage space now stands at 75 000m2. We house over 3.7 million items at any given time, and have opened 47 Takealot Pickup Points in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga for order collections and returns, with more to open in the coming months.” 

Takealot Delivery Team delivers to more South African homes than any other courier company in the country. On a monthly basis, they carry out over 1.6-million deliveries,  with this number expected to increase to over 2-million during the shopping season. More than 4,500 drivers currently deliver for the Takealot Delivery Team; a number that is growing every month. The Takealot group anticipates they’ll travel over 4,000 000km from Black Friday until 24 December. “To put that in context, it is the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe over 100 times” says Reid.’s Blue Dot Sale is a five day sale period which starts on Black Friday (29 November) and sees a range of new deals throughout the weekend as well as on Cyber Monday (2 December) and Takealot Tuesday (3 December), with up to 60% off thousands of items. For the first time, will also be giving their shoppers early access to some of its Black Friday deals, starting on 24 November. Fresh new app-only deals will be added daily. 

The Superbalist Showdown will run from 29 November to 3 December, with up to 70% off more than 15 000+ items. Superbalist shoppers will also have early access to Black Friday deals on selected days throughout November, with Superbalist’s Black Friday Spoilers – 24 hours to shop deals that they say won’t be beaten on Black Friday. 

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