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iPad Pro packs in 12.9 inches

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Apple has introduced the iPad Pro, featuring a 12.9” Retina display with 5.6 million pixels.

The new larger iPad Pro is thin and light and provides all-day battery life. There are more than 850,000 apps in the App Store designed specifically for iPad, and the new iPad Pro will enable a new generation of advanced apps ranging from productivity, design, illustration, engineering and medical, to education, gaming and entertainment.

Apple also introduced Apple Pencil for iPad Pro, a precision input device available for purchase separately, which makes drawing and sketching feel fluid and natural. The touch subsystem of the Multi-Touch display in iPad Pro has been redesigned to work with Apple Pencil to reduce latency and deliver accuracy for activities like fine art illustration and detailed 3D design. Advanced sensors in Apple Pencil measure both pressure and tilt for a fast and fluid drawing experience, while a built-in Lightning connector makes for quick pairing and charging. Apple Pencil also works with apps like Mail, Notes, Procreate and Office 365 for iPad.

Apple’s new Smart Keyboard further extends the utility of iPad Pro, offering a full-sized keyboard in a thin, durable design. The Smart Keyboard, available for purchase separately, attaches to iPad Pro’s innovative Smart Connector port, eliminating the need for a separate battery, on/off switch or Bluetooth pairing. The Smart Keyboard is covered in custom woven fabric and features keys that provide the accuracy, stability and key feel of standard keyboards, but is also easily foldable and can transform into a Smart Cover. The Smart Keyboard also works seamlessly with new QuickType features in iOS 9.

Apple-iPad-Pro

“iPad Pro is the most advanced and powerful iPad we have ever made. Its beautiful and large 12.9-inch Retina display has 5.6 million pixels and provides an immersive experience for content and apps. The iPad Pro is far and away the fastest iOS device we have ever made — its A9X chip beats most portable PCs in both CPU and graphics tasks, but is thin and light enough to hold all day,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The innovative Apple Pencil and new Smart Keyboard enable users to customise their iPad Pro experience to the particular apps they use and the work they do, making iPad Pro ideal for everything from professional productivity to advanced 3D design.”

Apple provided the following information:

iPad Pro’s 12.9-inch Retina display, with 5.6 million pixels and refined Multi-Touch technology, is the most advanced and highest resolution display ever in an iOS device. It delivers greater contrast, more uniform brightness and improved energy efficiency through photo alignment technology, oxide TFT and variable refresh rate. A new four-speaker audio design provides powerful, clear and rich stereo sound, and a refined unibody enclosure of anodised aluminium gives iPad Pro a sturdy feel with a thin and light design that is easy to hold.

Powerful Technology

iPad Pro delivers groundbreaking performance and energy efficiency, so you can tackle the most demanding tasks. Apple’s powerful new 64-bit A9X chip, with third-generation 64-bit architecture, provides desktop-class CPU performance and console-class graphics. Ultra-fast wireless connectivity keeps you connected wherever you go with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO technology, support for a wide range of LTE bands and other fast cellular network technologies (DC-HSDPA, HSPA+).* All-day 10-hour battery life** delivers the efficiency that users have come to expect from iPad.

iOS 9

iOS 9, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, brings more intelligence to iPad with proactive assistance, powerful search and improved Siri features, all while protecting users’ privacy. New multitasking features designed specifically for iPad allow users to do more at the same time, while built-in apps become more powerful with a redesigned Notes app, detailed transit information in Maps and an all-new News app*** for the best news reading experience on any mobile device. The foundation of iOS is even stronger with software updates that require less space to install and advanced security features to further protect your device.

Pricing & Availability

iPad Pro comes in three gorgeous metallic finishes including silver, gold and space grey and will be available starting in November from Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores, through select carriers and Apple Authorised Resellers. For more information, please visit www.apple.com/ipad.

Smart Keyboard will be available in charcoal grey. New polyurethane iPad Pro Smart Covers will be available in charcoal gray and white. New iPad Pro Silicone Cases will be available in charcoal grey and white. iPad Pro accessories including Apple Pencil will be available starting in November. Pricing will be announced at availability.

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UN calls for electronics overhaul to beat e-waste

Seven UN entities have come together at the World Economic Forum to tackle the escalating scourge of electronic waste.

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Seven UN entities have come together, supported by the World Economic Forum, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to call for an overhaul of the current electronics system, with the aim of supporting international efforts to address e-waste challenges. 

The report calls for a systematic collaboration with major brands, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academia, trade unions, civil society and associations in a deliberative process to reorient the system and reduce the waste of resources each year with a value greater than the GDP of most countries. 

Each year, approximately 50 million tonnes of electronic and electrical waste (e-waste) are discarded — the weight of more than all commercial airliners ever made. In terms of material value, this is worth 62.5 billion dollars– more than the GDP of most countries.  

Less than 20% of this is recycled formally. Informally, millions of people worldwide (over 600,000 in China alone) work to dispose of e-waste, much of it done in working conditions harmful to both health and the environment. 

The report, “A New Circular Vision for Electronics – Time for a Global Reboot,” launched in Davos 24 January, says technologies such as cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), support gradual “dematerialization” of the electronics industry.  

Meanwhile, to capture the global value of materials in the e-waste and create global circular value chains, the report also points to the use of new technology to create service business models, better product tracking and manufacturer or retailer take-back programs.  

The report notes that material efficiency, recycling infrastructure and scaling up the volume and quality of recycled materials to meet the needs of electronics supply chains will all be essential for future production.  

And if the electronics sector is supported with the right policy mix and managed in the right way, it could lead to the creation of millions of decent jobs worldwide. 

The joint report calls for collaboration with multinationals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, academia, trade unions, civil society and associations to create a circular economy for electronics where waste is designed out, the environmental impact is reduced and decent work is created for millions. 

The new report supports the work of the E-waste Coalition, which includes: 

  • International Labour Organization (ILO); 
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU); 
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment); 
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); 
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); 
  • United Nations University (UNU), and 
  • Secretariats of the Basel and Stockholm Conventions (BRS). 

The Coalition is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Economic Forum and coordinated by the Secretariat of the Environment Management Group (EMG).  

Considerable work is being done on the ground. For example, in order to grasp the opportunity of the circular economy, today the Nigerian Government, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment announce a 2 million dollar investment to kick off the formal e-waste recycling industry in Nigeria. The new investment will leverage over 13 million dollars in additional financing from the private sector.   

According to the International Labour Organization, in Nigeria up 100,000 people work in the informal e-waste sector. This investment will help to create a system which formalizes these workers, giving them safe and decent employment while capturing the latent value in Nigeria’s 500,000 tonnes of e-waste. 

UNIDO collaborates with a large number of organizations on e-waste projects, including UNU, ILO, ITU, and WHO, as well as various other partners, such as Dell and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). In the Latin American and Caribbean region, a UNIDO e-waste project, co-funded by GEF, seeks to support sustainable economic and social growth in 13 countries. From upgrading e-waste recycling facilities, to helping to establish national e-waste management strategies, the initiative adopts a circular economy approach, whilst enhancing regional cooperation. 

Another Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) report launched today by the World Economic Forum, with support from Accenture Strategy, outlines a future in which Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies provide a tool to achieve a circular economy efficiently and effectively, and where all physical materials are accompanied by a digital dataset (like a passport or fingerprint for materials), creating an ‘internet of materials.’ PACE is a collaboration mechanism and project accelerator hosted by the World Economic Forum which brings together 50 leaders from business, government and international organizations to collaborate in moving towards the circular economy. 

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Matrics must prepare for AI

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students writing a test

By Vian Chinner, CEO and founder of Xineoh.

Many in the matric class of 2018 are currently weighing up their options for the future. With the country’s high unemployment rate casting a shadow on their opportunities, these future jobseekers have been encouraged to look into which skills are required by the market, tailoring their occupational training to align with demand and thereby improving their chances of finding a job, writes Vian Chinner – a South African innovator, data scientist and CEO of the machine learning company specialising in consumer behaviour prediction, Xineoh.

With rapid innovation and development in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), all careers – including high-demand professions like engineers, teachers and electricians – will look significantly different in the years to come.

Notably, the third wave of internet connectivity, whereby our physical world begins to merge with that of the internet, is upon us. This is evident in how widespread AI is being implemented across industries as well as in our homes with the use of automation solutions and bots like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. So much data is collected from the physical world every day and AI makes sense of it all.

Not only do new industries related to technology like AI open new career paths, such as those specialising in data science, but it will also modify those which already exist. 

So, what should matriculants be considering when deciding what route to take?

For highly academic individuals, who are exceptionally strong in mathematics, data science is definitely the way to go. There is, and will continue to be, massive demand internationally as well as locally, with Element-AI noting that there are only between 0 and 100 data scientists in South Africa, with the true number being closer to 0.

In terms of getting a foot in the door to become a successful data scientist, practical experience, working with an AI-focused business, is essential. Students should consider getting an internship while they are studying or going straight into an internship, learning on the job and taking specialist online courses from institutions like Stanford University and MIT as they go.

This career path is, however, limited to the highly academic and mathematically gifted, but the technology is inevitably going to overlap with all other professions and so, those who are looking to begin their careers should take note of which skills will be in demand in future, versus which will be made redundant by AI.

In the next few years, technicians who are able to install and maintain new technology will be highly sought after. On the other hand, many entry level jobs will likely be taken care of by AI – from the slicing and dicing currently done by assistant chefs, to the laying of bricks by labourers in the building sector.

As a rule, students should be looking at the skills required for the job one step up from an entry level position and working towards developing these. Those training to be journalists, for instance, should work towards the skill level of an editor and a bookkeeping trainee, the role of financial consultant.

This also means that new workforce entrants should be prepared to walk into a more demanding role, with more responsibility, than perhaps previously anticipated and that the country’s education and training system should adapt to the shift in required skills.

The matric classes of 2018 have completed their schooling in the information age and we should be equipping them, and future generations, for the future market – AI is central to this.

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