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Apple Watch, part 2

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Apple this week embarked on the second phase of its quest to dominate the world of watches, by introducing Apple Watch Series 2.

Apple Watch Series 2 is equipped with a ange of fitness and health capabilities, including a water resistance 50 meter rating for swimming, and built-in GPS so users can run without an iPhone. Apple Watch Series 2 also features a brighter display and a dual-core processor. Combined with the performance enhancements of watchOS 3, Apple Watch Series 2 makes it easier to access third-party apps, receive and respond to notifications and use Apple Pay.

Apple Watch Series 2 will be available in more than 25 countries beginning Friday, September 16.

“We’re thrilled with the response to Apple Watch and how it’s changed people’s lives. We are committed to fitness and health and think our customers will love the new capabilities of Apple Watch Series 2,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “With a powerful new dual-core processor, water resistance 50 meters and built-in GPS, Apple Watch Series 2 is packed with features to help our customers live a healthy life.”

Apple provided the following information: 

Apple Watch Series 2 is rated water resistant 50 meters for swimming, surfing or just playing in the pool. For swimmers, Apple developed all-new algorithms after hundreds of hours of research for two new workout options, pool and open water. Apple Watch Series 2 can count laps, track average lap pace and auto-detect stroke type to accurately measure active calorie burn.

With built-in GPS, Apple Watch Series 2 records precise distance, pace and speed for outdoor workouts such as walking, running or cycling, without needing to take an iPhone. Users can begin an outdoor workout immediately as Apple Watch Series 2 uses Wi-Fi, GPS and locally stored satellite data to quickly identify their location. On completion of an outdoor workout, view a route map that shows variations in speed in the Activity app on iPhone. Whether running, going for a swim or walking between meetings, the Activity app on Apple Watch Series 2 counts all daily activity towards the Stand, Move and Exercise rings.

Advanced Technology

Apple pioneered the custom designed System in Package (SiP) for Apple Watch, and continues to develop this breakthrough technology with the second generation S2 chip. With a dual-core processor, the S2 chip takes performance to a new level, making Apple Watch up to 50 percent faster. In addition, a new GPU has been added, which delivers up to two-times-greater graphics performance. Apple Watch Series 2 also features a dramatically brighter display — at 1,000 nits, it’s more than two times brighter— making this the brightest display Apple has ever shipped, so it’s even easier to see important information at a glance when outside on a sunny day.

watchOS 3

watchOS 3 features significantly improved performance that makes it even simpler to launch favourite apps instantly, either from the watch face or with the new Dock, which displays the latest information already updated in the background. New fitness and health capabilities include the breakthrough Breathe app, designed to encourage users to take a moment in their day to do deep breathing exercises for relaxation and stress reduction. The Activity app now includes the ability to share, compare and compete, keeping friends and family motivated. There is also a customised experience for wheelchair users to close their Activity rings, in addition to dedicated workouts.

Apple Watch is even more personal with new watch faces including Minnie Mouse, Activity and Numerals. Simply swipe edge-to-edge to swap out a new watch face and with the new Face Gallery in the Apple Watch app on iPhone, it’s even easier to customise watch faces and discover third-party apps.

Apple Watch Lineup

Apple Watch Series 2 is available with all the new fitness and health capabilities in lightweight aluminium or stainless steel cases, paired with a wide variety of gorgeous new band colours.

Apple Watch Series 1 is available in lightweight aluminium and combines the new powerful dual-core processor and GPU with all the incredible features of the original Apple Watch, making it up to 50 percent faster and available to even more customers, starting at just $269 (US).

Apple Watch Edition now comes in a beautiful ceramic, that embodies craftsmanship with a lustrous white case and all the incredible features of Apple Watch Series 2. Ceramic is one of the hardest materials in the world — more than four times harder than stainless steel — with a beautiful, white, pearl-like finish, making Apple Watch Edition extremely scratch-resistant.

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Huawei Mate 20 unveils ‘higher intelligence’

The new Mate 20 series, launching in South Africa today, includes a 7.2″ handset, and promises improved AI.

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Huawei Consumer Business Group today launches the Huawei Mate 20 Series in South Africa.

The phones are powered by Huawei’s densest and highest performing system on chip (SoC) to date, the Kirin 980. Manufactured with the 7nm process, incorporating the Cortex-A76-based CPU and Mali-G76 GPU, the SoC offers improved performance and, according to Huawei, “an unprecedented smooth user experience”.

The new 40W Huawei SuperCharge, 15W Huawei Wireless Quick Charge, and large batteries work in tandem to provide users with improved battery life. A Matrix Camera System includes a  Leica Ultra Wide Angle Lens that lets users see both wider and closer, with a new macro distance capability. The camera system adopts a Four-Point Design that gives the device a distinct visual identity.

The Mate 20 Series is available in 6.53-inch, 6.39-inch and 7.2-inch sizes, across four devices: Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Mate 20 X and Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS. They ship with the customisable Android P-based EMUI 9 operating system.

“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG, at the global launch in London last week. “The Huawei Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery lives and powerful camera performance.”

The SoC fits 6.9 billion transistors within a die the size of a fingernail. Compared to Kirin 970, the latest chipset is equipped with a CPU that is claimed to be 75 percent more powerful, a GPU that is 46 percent more powerful and an NPU (neural processing unit) that is 226 percent more powerful. The efficiency of the components has also been elevated: the CPU is claimed to be 58 percent more efficient, the GPU 178 percent more efficient, and the NPU 182 percent more efficient. The Kirin 980 is the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei has designed a three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This allows the CPU to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for greater efficiency, improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing battery life. The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, giving it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support AI applications.

Read more about the Mate 20 Pro’s connectivity, battery and camera on the next page. 

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Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android

Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone. 

In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.

While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms. 

The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company. 

The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware. 

Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution. 

That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed. 

This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.

From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.

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