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iPhone 11 range ramps up cameras

At Apple’s big launch event this week, it reshuffled its iPhone lineup, adding stronger processors and a better camera system, but with one notable feature missing, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Apple announced three new iPhones during its annual September device launch event this week, namely the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. These devices replace the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, respectively.

This year, one more camera has been added to every Apple device: the iPhone 11 has two cameras, upgraded from the single camera in the iPhone XR, while the iPhone 11 Pro has three cameras, upgraded from the dual camera setup on the iPhone XS Max. Apple says this upgrade is not only for better photo quality, but assists in its industry leading video recording, calling it the “highest quality video in a smartphone”.

Each camera in the triple-camera system of the iPhone 11 Pro records 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilisation. Users can also zoom between each of the three cameras, while Apple’s new “Audio Zoom” feature matches the audio to the video framing for more dynamic sound. 

It also upgraded its A-series chipset to the A13 Bionic, which Apple reports is faster than the latest Huawei P30 Pro and Galaxy S10+. In the announcement, the company made clear that its previous generation A12 Bionic chipsets were stronger than the latest flagship devices from Huawei and Samsung. This shows Apple’s focus on computation-intensive tasks, like augmented reality and advanced image processing.

The iPhone 11’s display technology remains LCD, which allows the iPhone to significantly cut the cost of an OLED display. The iPhone 11 Pro, however, uses this OLED technology, and is a factor for its much higher price tag. 

These iPhones are missing something: 5G.

Daniel Ives from Wedbush told The Barron that China is on the verge of another major smartphone upgrade cycle. As a result, the absence of features like 5G will cause many customers to seek smartphones elsewhere. This does not only apply to the Chinese market. Savvier smartphone buyers are looking for 5G devices, in order to have the latest technology for longer and to avoid an unnecessary upgrade later on.

Lynnette Luna, principal analyst at data and analytics firm GlobalData, says: “The question with this new range of iPhones is whether consumers will find enough value to upgrade to a new phone or wait until 2020, when Apple is expected to introduce 5G-enabled smartphones, which will be capable of transmitting faster data speeds.”

While it doesn’t feature 5G, it does feature Wi-Fi 6, which sets it on par with many other flagships on the market that utilise this faster, more reliable form of Wi-Fi connectivity.

The entry price for the iPhone 11 has dropped by $50 compared to its predecessor, while the iPhone 11 Pro’s pricing has remained the same. This shows Apple is returning to being price competitive in the highly competitive smartphone market. The price drop may also signal better sales in more markets and optimism for other Apple products in its ecosystem.

Vaibhav Khera, Director at GlobalData, says: “The optimism for Apple can be attributed to the sales growth in product categories outside of iPhone and, in particular, the strong performance of its services and wearables businesses. The company has strategically invested in these two areas over the last several years and now the two businesses collectively make for the size of a Fortune 50 company.”

The company continues to expand its services and wearable business, with the launch of the Apple TV+ video streaming subscription, the Apple Arcade gaming subscription, and the latest Apple Watch Series 5.

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Showmax launches half-price mobile streaming service

A new streaming product designed specifically for Africa, featuring TV series as well as African content and live sport, is aimed at filling the gap in subscription video on demand services

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The subscription video on demand (SVoD) model, which originated in the USA, spread rapidly in countries where uncapped broadband is affordable and widely available. However, because the model also relies on consumers being comfortable with transacting online and having ready access to credit cards, it has barely scratched the surface across Africa.

On top of that, smartphones are often the only only form of Internet access across Africa, and none of the popular SVoD services have been designed for the format.

Showmax says it plans to change this with the launch of a new mobile plan that costs 50% of the standard Showmax package but still features 100% of the same video content. Showmax is set apart by a combination of four pillars: hit African content, exclusive international series, topkids’ shows, and live sport, including weekly matches from the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, and Spain’s La Liga.

Showmax says the new plan is aimed at consumers who only use smartphones and tablets to watch video content. Video resolution peaks at standard definition to help reduce data consumption. As it is a product aimed at individuals, only one concurrent stream is included in the plan. As with the regular service, it is also available for a 14-day free trial.

“This is all about an African service developing a solution that meets the needs of African consumers,” saus Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice. “Customer feedback consistently points to local content and sport as some of the things that people value most from Showmax. That’s of course on top of the international series, movies, and kids’ shows that are our bread and butter. With all of that content now available in a product designed specifically for mobile usage, we’re doing something no other service can offer.

“On top of that, with groundbreaking deals like our new offer with Vodacom in South Africa, we solve the credit card issue through add-to-bill payment and the data issue by including data directly in the package. We’re looking to launch similar offers in Kenya and Nigeria soon.”

Both the standard and mobile plans include live sport, sport magazine shows and sport documentaries. The 2019 Rugby World Cup Final was streamed live on Showmax earlier this month, and the following is a selection of some of the football due to be live-streamed in November:

22 November: Levante vs Mallorca (La Liga)

23 November: Arsenal vs Southampton (Premier League)

24 November: Bologna vs Parma (Serie A)

25 November: Aston Villa vs Newcastle United (Premier League)

29 November: Celta Vigo vs Valladolid (La Liga)

30 November: Fiorentina vs Lecce (Serie A)

30 November: Chelsea vs West Ham United (Premier League)

Showmax’s mobile plan is currently available in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. 

Comparison of Showmax plans:

Mobile Standard
Price per monthR49 / N1450 / KSh 375R99 / N2900 / KSh 750
Watch on smartphone or tabletYesYes
Watch on smart TV and computerNoYes
HD streamingNoYes
TV series, movies, kids’ showsYesYes
SportYesYes
Concurrent streams12
Cancel anytimeYesYes
14-day free trialYesYes
Chromecast and AirPlayNoYes
Number of devicesOne registered device5 devices can be registered, with 2 able to stream at the same time

For a 14-day free trial, visit www.showmax.com

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Online series wins SA’s Journalist of the Year award

A series of stories on gang warfare in Hanover Park earned Tammy Petersen of News24 the ultimate prize in South African journalism. Here are all the winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards.

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At the 18th edition of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held at Vodacom World earlier tonight, News24’s Tammy Petersen took top honours and the R100,000 grand prize as national winner for her body of work on a gang war series entitled When you live in Hanover Park, you know death. Petersen’s submission was one of over 1,000 entries received from around the country across 12 categories – Investigative, Opinion, Lifestyle, Photography, Sport, Economics, Politics, CSI, Live reporting/ breaking news, Data Journalism, Multi-platform and the Young Journalist of the Year Award. This year’s theme – Connect the Dots – pays tribute to the best-of-the-best of those entries.

Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at Vodacom Group says: “This year has seen extraordinary entries to the 18th Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards. Not all the stories that are national winners were about huge events but also showed the importance of telling the stories of ordinary people. In line with our theme, the dots were indeed connected, and we congratulate all the winners.”

Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “The quality of entries has convinced the judges once again that our industry is in good hands, as far as journalism is concerned, despite the many problems that have beset the industry in recent times. Judging from the entries, South African journalists are determined to fly the flag high for a free, independent, and vigorous media, which augurs well for our democracy. As judges, we can only salute all the entrants for the great work that they submitted. In the end, our industry is probably the biggest winner.”

Judges for this year’s awards are: Ryland Fisher (convenor), Jermaine Craig, Arthur Goldstuck, Albe Grobbelaar, Franz Kruger, Patricia McCracken, Mapi Mhlangu, Collin Nxumalo, Mary Papayya, and Obed Zilwa.

Visit the next page for the full list of winners and their citations.

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