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Apple releases 16″ MacBook – with normal keyboard

In a surprise announcement, Apple has unveiled a new MacBook Pro that finally drops the problematic butterfly keyboard in favour of the more traditional scissor keyboard.

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Without an event, or even a big announcement, Apple has released a 16-inch MacBook Pro, that’s one inch larger than its predecessor.

The new MacBook Pro features the company’s largest Retina Display at 16 inches, the latest 8-core processors, up to 64GB of memory, next-generation graphics with up to 8GB of VRAM, and a new advanced thermal design.

Featuring a new Magic Keyboard with a redesigned scissor mechanism and 1mm travel for a more satisfying key feel, the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers a better typing experience compared to previous models of Mac notebooks. The 16-inch MacBook Pro also includes a six-speaker sound system, longer battery life, Touch Bar, Touch ID, the Force Touch trackpad and the Apple T2 Security Chip.

Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad Product Marketing, says: “Our pro customers tell us they want their next MacBook Pro to have a larger display, blazing-fast performance, the biggest battery possible, the best notebook keyboard ever, awesome speakers and massive amounts of storage, and the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers all of that and more. With its brilliant 16-inch Retina display, 8-core processors, next-gen pro graphics, even better thermal design, new Magic Keyboard, six-speaker sound system, 100Wh battery, up to 8TB of storage and 64GB of fast memory, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is the world’s best pro notebook.”

It features a brilliant 500 nit, P3 wide colour gamut retina display, with a resolution of 3072×1920 and a higher pixel density of 226 ppi, delivering nearly 6 million pixels. Each display is individually calibrated in the factory for accurate gamma, white point and primary colours.

A new Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism delivers 1mm of key travel, while an Apple-designed rubber dome stores more potential energy for a responsive key press. Incorporating extensive research and user studies focused on human factors and key design, it features a physical Escape key and an inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID.

It also uses new thermal architecture to enable the system to run at higher power for sustained periods of time. The sophisticated fan design features a larger impeller with extended blades, along with bigger vents, resulting in a 28 percent increase in airflow, while the heat sink is 35 percent larger, enabling significantly more heat dissipation than before. Together, these advancements in cooling capacity allow the notebook to sustain up to 12 more watts than the previous design, during intensive workloads.

For pros with massive asset libraries and large projects that need more storage in a notebook, the laptop doubles the SSD storage to 512GB and 1TB on standard configurations. And, for the first time, MacBook Pro can be configured with a staggering 8TB of storage — the largest SSD ever in a notebook.

The machine features the latest 6- and 8-core 9th-generation processors with Turbo Boost speeds up to 5.0 GHz, which deliver up to 2.1 times faster performance than the quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro. Its powerful CPUs are combined with faster memory – up to 64GB for the first time.

The laptop also introduces a redesigned six-speaker, high-fidelity sound system designed to bring musicians, podcasters and video editors better audio quality. New Apple-patented force-cancelling woofers use dual opposed speaker drivers to reduce unwanted vibrations that distort sound. As a result, music sounds more clear and natural than ever before, and the bass can go half an octave deeper. An upgraded high-performance mic array delivers a 40% reduction in hiss and an improved signal-to-noise ratio that is claimed to rival that of popular professional-grade digital microphones.

To power all this performance, it features a 100Wh battery — the largest battery to feature in a Mac notebook, as well as the absolute maximum one can bring onboard an aeroplane in the US. It offers an additional hour of battery life of up to 11 hours of wireless web browsing or Apple TV video playback.

Starting at $2,399, the 16-inch MacBook Pro is available today through apple.com and the Apple Store app in the US. No local pricing or availability has been announced yet.

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DStv Now adds free education to ‘lockdown channels’

In its response to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa, DStv is offering 16 free channels on its streaming app

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Two new channels have been added to a free service being provided on DStv Now, the online version of DStv. 

In response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, DStv owner MultiChoice worked with local and international news channels in mid-March to add 24-hour news coverage to the DStv Now free service.

The company says the intent was to help all South Africans stay up to date with announcements and developments, and the results so far are encouraging. Usage of the service has increased 20% since the lockdown began, and peak usage is up 80% compared to pre-crisis peaks. 

 Now, in another step to help families through the lockdown period, MultiChoice has added additional educational content to the free service with the Mindset PoP channel. This channel features educational programming covering the entire General Education and Training (GET) phase, including Early Childhood Development (ECD), as well as a key focus on the Grade 4 – 9 curriculum. 

The channel aims to prepare children for when schools reopen. Mindset PoP will deliver live lessons daily, with six fresh hours every day. A website is available for parents to download worksheets and information sheets to work through with expert teachers. Lessons are based on the South African Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and are also aligned to the Cambridge curriculum.

“We’re extremely grateful to all of the channel providers for being so willing to work with us to help all South Africans through this unprecedented lockdown period,” said Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. 

“Thanks to their support we’re able to keep people informed, keep kids’ educations going, and keep people entertained.”

The full list of channels available to non-DStv customers on the DStv Now free service is:

100 – DStv

180 – People’s Weather

238 – SuperSport Play

313 – PBS Kids

317 – Mindset PoP

320 – Channel O

343 – TBN

400 – BBC World News

401 – CNN

402 – Sky News

403 – eNCA

404 – SABC News

405 – Newzroom Afrika

405 – AlJazeera

414 – Euronews Now

417 – africanews

To sign up for the DStv Now free service, go to http://now.dstv.com 

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FNB Connect cuts data price by 55%, offers 1GB free

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FNB Connect has reduce its data prices by up to 55%. It is also doubling customers’ data on Lifestyle plans without any price increase.

This weekend, FNB Connect will also give all its customers 1GB of free data during the national lockdown, with a validity period of 30 days. This lockdown data allocation is in addition to the Free Connect allocations that customers with qualifying transactional accounts receive monthly.

“This will enable our customers to save on telco spend, which is a regular feature in household budgets,” says Raj Makanjee, CEO of FNB Retail. “Access to affordable and free data goes a long way in assisting our customers navigate difficult times and is also aligned to our ethos of offering real help when it’s needed the most.”

Shadrack Palmer, FNB Connect product head, says: “In our efforts to provide our customers with more value for their money, we’ve reduced our mobile data prices and doubled the data bundles on most of our Lifestyle plans, to give our customers more reason to connect anywhere and anytime. This is needed now more than even, as South Africans are observing the 21-day national lockdown, with many strapped for cash during these challenging times.”

The new data prices and doubling of the Lifestyle plans are to be repriced as follows:

“Since the launch of our Free Connect offering in July 2019, we’ve tried to remain consistent to see how best we can incentivise our customers when they need it most,” says Palmer.  “As FNB Connect, we understand the pressures customers are facing financially and are committed to providing better value at every opportunity.”

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