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Apple brings back
the iPad Mini

Seeing the error of its ways, Apple has refreshed its iPad mini range after three years of no updates, and added Apple Pencil support.

Apple has announced refreshed versions of the iPad Mini and iPad Air, a week before an official event where it’s expected to launch its much-anticipated streaming service. 

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The new 7.9-inch iPad mini offers a major upgrade for tablet users who want a compact, ultra-portable form factor. The tablet uses the A12 Bionic chip. This means the device will deliver three times faster performance and nine times faster graphics, compared to its predecessor. The A12 Bionic chip is also found in the latest iPhone range.
The tablet sports a Retina Display with True Tone technology, which has wider colojr support and is 25 percent brighter than the previous iPad mini. The device also has the highest pixel density of any iPad, which Apple claims makes it more visually immersive. The tablet supports the Apple Pencil (first generation), making it possible to take notes, draw sketches, and capture ideas on the go.  

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The new 10.5-inch iPad Air offers Apple’s high-end technology in a mid-range product, including Apple Pencil (first generation) support and strong graphical performance.  As with the iPad Mini, the A12 Bionic chip with Apple’s Neural Engine boosts the tablet’s performance by 70 percent and offers twice the graphics capability of its predecessor. 

The display features the latest Retina Display technology with True Tone colour support, and is 20 percent larger with over half a million more pixels, compared to the previous iPad Air. The Apple-designed Neural Engine of the A12 Bionic chip powers the next generation of apps and iPad work flows, using advanced machine learning (ML) and Core ML for AR experiences, photo-realistic effects in 3D games, and better graphics performance within apps.

Connectivity is faster with the latest iPads, which feature the same Wi-Fi performance and Gigabit‑class LTE connectivity built into the latest iPad Pro model. With eSIM technology built in, users can connect to wireless data plans from the iPad when travelling around the world, without swapping SIM cards – where networks support it.

With sharper front- and back-facing cameras, iPad mini and iPad Air capture clear and stable 1080p HD videos. The upgraded cameras offer better low-light performance and HD video recording, which are great for document scanning and connecting on video calls. The iPads capture high-resolution photos and video and make editing 4K films faster and smoother.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said: “The iPad continues to provide magical new experiences for a growing range of uses where it is the absolute best device, from playing games in augmented reality to note-taking and drawing with Apple Pencil, from streaming HD movies and editing 4K films to learning to develop apps with Swift Playgrounds. The iPad family takes two big leaps forward with an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Air that brings high-end size, features and performance at a breakthrough price, and a major upgrade to the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which also brings Apple Pencil, Retina display and the A12 Bionic chip to the many customers that love its compact size.”

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Eugene Kaspersky posts from 2050

In his imagined blog entry from the year 2050, the Kaspersky Lab founder imagines an era of digital immunity

In recent years, digital systems have moved up to a whole new level. No longer assistants making life easier for us mere mortals, they’ve become the basis of civilisation — the very framework keeping the world functioning properly in 2050.

This quantum leap forward has generated new requirements for the reliability and stability of artificial intelligence. Although some cyberthreats still haven’t become extinct since the romantic era around the turn of the century, they’re now dangerous only to outliers who for some reason reject modern standards of digital immunity.

The situation in many ways resembles the fight against human diseases. Thanks to the success of vaccines, the terrible epidemics that once devastated entire cities in the twentieth century are a thing of the past.

However, that’s where the resemblance ends. For humans, diseases like the plague or smallpox have been replaced by new, highly resistant “post-vaccination” diseases; but for the machines, things have turned out much better. This is largely because the initial designers of digital immunity made all the right preparations for it in advance. In doing so, what helped them in particular was borrowing the systemic approaches of living systems and humans.

One of the pillars of cyber-immunity today is digital intuition, the ability of AI systems to make the right decisions in conditions where the source data are clearly insufficient to make a rational choice.

But there’s no mysticism here: Digital intuition is merely the logical continuation of the idea of machine learning. When the number and complexity of related self-learning systems exceeds a certain threshold, the quality of decision-making rises to a whole new level — a level that’s completely elusive to rational understanding. An “intuitive solution” results fromthe superimposition of the experience of a huge number of machine-learning models, much like the result of the calculations of a quantum computer.

So, as you can see, it has been digital intuition, with its ability to instantly, correctly respond to unknown challenges that has helped build the digital security standards of this new era.  

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M-Net to film Deon Meyer novel

A television adaptation of Deon Meyer’s crime novel Trackers is to be co-produced by M-Net, Germany’s public broadcaster ZDF, and HBO subsidiary Cinemax, which will also distribute the drama series worldwide. 

Trackers is an unprecedented scripted television venture and MultiChoice and M-Net are proud to chart out new territory … allowing local and international talent to combine their world-class story-telling and production skills,” says MultiChoice CEO of General Entertainment, Yolisa Phahle.

HBO, Cinemax, and M-Net also launched a Producers Apprenticeship programme last year when the Cinemax series Warrior, coming to M-Net in July, was filmed in South Africa. Some other Cinemax originals screened on M-Net include Banshee, The Knick and Strike Back. 

“Cinemax is delighted to partner with M-Net and ZDF in bringing Deon Meyer’s unforgettable characters and storytelling—all so richly rooted in the people and spectacular geography of South Africa—to screens around the world,” says Len Amato, President, HBO Films, Miniseries, and Cinemax.    

Filming for Trackers has already started in  locations across South Africa and the co-production partners have been working together on all aspects of production 

Deon Meyer, whose award-winning crime novels have been translated into more than 20 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide, serves as a supervising screenwriter and co-producer; British writer Robert Thorogood (Death in Paradise) is the showrunner. The team of South African writers on the project includes the Mitchell’s Plain playwright, screenwriter and director Amy Jephta (Die Ellen Pakkies Story) and local writer/directors Kelsey Egen and Jozua Malherbe. 

The cast for the six-part miniseries includes Ed Stoppard, Rolanda Marais, James Alexander and Thapelo Mokoena. 

Trackers will make its debut on M-Net 101 in October 2019 and will also be available on MultiChoice’s on-demand service, Showmax. The six-part drama series is produced by UK production company Three River Studios as well as South Africa’s Scene 23. 

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