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Apple’s Siri Gets A Major Redesign For iOS 14

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Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020 is underway. The keynote for the event was concluded a few hours ago, where Tim Cook and his trusted lieutenants made some major announcements about Apple’s biggest software offerings.

While the attention of the world understandably fixed on the big-ticket announcements involving new features coming to iPhones, iPads and Macs, announcements such as the one about a major redesign to Apple’s AI assistant, Siri, have rather gone unnoticed.

Apple has announced that the voice-based assistant is being given a major redesign. The updated version of Siri will be available with iOS 14, which for now has been unveiled as a beta for developers. The redesign for Siri sees new features being added to it. However, the biggest change is arguably a cosmetic one. With the new update, Siri now simply pops up at the bottom of the user’s current page, instead of actually taking over the whole screen once you invoke it.

Apple claims that Siri has become more sophisticated than before, and has grown on to handle 25 billion requests per month. This has also helped it gain twenty-times more facts than it did only three years ago. Siri’s growth has also enabled Apple to add new features that could help it take the fight to Google Assistant, which over the years has gone on to become more powerful than Apple’s offering.

The most interesting of these features is Translate, a Siri backed standalone app that can translate written and spoken word in real-time. The heavy lifting for this is done by Apple’s Neural Engine present on the user’s phone, thereby making this a completely on-device process and one that does not require an internet connection. The move to make Translate an on-device solution also makes this a more private affair as no data is transferred to the company. Apart from this, Apple claims that Siri can now also send audio messages to users. It can also now run voice dictation on device to help users.

This latest update to Siri comes after Apple has been gradually updating the voice-based assistant over the last few years. Siri, which was launched almost 8 years ago, has since then seen a number of features being added to it to make it one of the better AI assistants available right now.

– www.indiatoday.in

Arts & Culture

Wife Of Ghanaian Street Dancer, Jeffery Frimpong, Dies Along With Her Unborn Son

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Pregnant YouTube star Nicole Thea has died along with her unborn son Reign in unknown circumstances.

A statement to the dancer’s Instagram account this morning broke the news that Miss Thea, 24, who was eight months pregnant with her son, had passed away on Saturday morning.

The statement read: ‘To all Nicole’s friends and supporters it is with great sadness that I have to inform you that Nicole and her son she and Boga named Reign sadly passed away on Saturday morning.’ 

The street dancer turned influencer, who lived in London with her partner, was nearing her due date and had been sharing her pregnancy journey with her 123k Instagram followers and her YouTube channel.

Her partner, street dancer Global Boga, 20, whose real name is Jeffery Frimpong, posted a video of himself dancing with a pram early on Saturday and had shared in a post the week before that he believed his son was arriving ‘on a Monday’.  

Miss Thea’s cause of death is not yet known. She had previously stated in a video that she was having a ‘good pregnancy’.

A statement on her Instagram account said this morning: 'Nicole and her son she and Boga named Reign sadly passed away on Saturday morning'
A statement on her Instagram account said this morning: ‘Nicole and her son she and Boga named Reign sadly passed away on Saturday morning’

The statement posted to her Instagram page also added that her partner Boga had made the decision to publish pre-recorded Youtube videos she had filmed for her channel.

It read: ‘Nicole pre-scheduled a few YouTube videos and Boga has made the decision to allow them to be aired.

‘As a family we ask that you give us privacy because our hearts are truly broken and we are struggling to cope with what has happened.’

‘Thank you her mum RIP My beautiful baby girl Nicnac and my grandson Reign, I will miss you for the rest of my life until we meet again in eternal heaven. Xxx’

YouTube star Miss Thea along with her partner street dancer Global Boga, 20, whose real name is Jeffery Frimpong
YouTube star Miss Thea along with her partner street dancer Global Boga, 20, whose real name is Jeffery Frimpong
The last video posted to Miss Thea's Youtube featured her sharing a behind the scenes look at a pregnancy shoot in a bath full of milk - it was posted the hour before news of her death
The last video posted to Miss Thea’s Youtube featured her sharing a behind the scenes look at a pregnancy shoot in a bath full of milk – it was posted the hour before news of her death

A video on July 8 showed Miss Thea’s boyfriend and brothers rating her maternity outfits.

Miss Thea had 73,300 followers on Youtube with videos about her life, pregnancy and boyfriend.

In a recent video the star said that she had been having ‘a good pregnancy’ and spoke about how her partner Boga had stayed ‘so calm’ throughout her morning sickness.

She added: ‘The worst thing about my pregnancy is i’m so out of breath 24/7.

The pair announced the pregnancy in April with an Instagram post captioned: 'We can’t hide this any longer, secrets out..'
The pair announced the pregnancy in April with an Instagram post captioned: ‘We can’t hide this any longer, secrets out..’
A video on July 8 showed Miss Thea's boyfriend and brothers rating her maternity outfits
A video on July 8 showed Miss Thea’s boyfriend and brothers rating her maternity outfits

‘I could walk from here to the end of the room and I feel like i’m dying. I went to my midwife and I was like oh my god is this normal? She was like “yeah you’re carrying a child”‘. 

The pair announced the pregnancy in April with an Instagram post captioned: ‘We can’t hide this any longer, secrets out.. GOD gave us the biggest blessing yet. I’m finally creating a beautiful little human inside of me.

‘Can’t believe this bubba will be half of me and half of the loml. Honestly, has been the best support EVER and GOD made no mistakes making him the father.

‘We are already obsessed with you our little miracle baby. Thank you for choosing us to be your parents and best friends.’

The last video posted to Miss Thea’s Youtube featured her sharing a behind the scenes look at a pregnancy shoot in a bath full of milk – it was posted the hour before news of her death was announced on her Instagram account.

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Music

Audiomack Partners With ACRCloud On Content-filtering System

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In November 2018, YouTube said it had spent $100m developing its Content ID system for detecting copyrighted music in uploads and giving rightsholders options to remove, leave or monetise those videos.

That level of investment is beyond many music startups, but there are partnerships to be done. The latest example is with US streaming service Audiomack, which is working with ACRCloud’s copyright protection technology.

The tech uses audio fingerprinting to scan all newly uploaded music to Audiomack, with the press release claiming that it currently gets “thousands” of user-generated uploads to its platform every day.

Audiomack has traditionally focused on direct artist uploads, but in August 2019 it signed its first major-label licensing deal, with Warner Music Group. At that point, its service had eight million monthly users.

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Music

SoundCloud Integrate Insights On The Mobile App And Desktop Version

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SoundCloud now offers Insights for creators, allowing smaller musicians to know who’s listening to their music, what music they’re listening to and where they’re from — data they may not otherwise have. The feature is rolling out today and over the next few weeks on the SoundCloud app, according to the SoundCloud blog.

As a creator, Insights allows you to see your top listener, top city, top country and top 50 tracks. A $144 annual Pro Unlimited subscription gives you access to your top 50 listeners, cities, countries and tracks, plus other audience analytics tools. Previously, audience data was available only in the SoundCloud creator app, Pulse app and web. The Insights feature means audience data is now all available in one main app. So if, for example, you have been using the Pulse app to view your stats, you no longer need to navigate away from the main app to access this data.

A gif showing SoundCloud's new Insights feature.

Insights can be accessed from your Profile, Library or More menu by tapping the Insights bar graph icon. Scroll to see an overview, or data on specific tracks or your audience. SoundCloud plans to replace the Stats feature on desktop with Insights in the coming months.

– engadget.com

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Business

Canon Takes On Sony’s A7 Series With The Full-frame EOS R6 Camera

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Canon has unveiled the 20.1-megapixel EOS R6, the little brother to the gobsmacking 8K EOS R5 camera it unveiled at the same event today. At $2,499, the R6 is everything we hoped the EOS R would be (and more) and a much better rival to the Sony A7 III, Nikon Z6 and Panasonic S1. Canon is finally playing to its strengths (the RF mount and Dual Pixel autofocus) and like the $3,899 EOS R5, it has few weaknesses on paper.

To make things clearer, Canon is now lining up the names of its full-frame mirrorless cameras with its DSLRs, with the R5 flagship corresponding to the 5D-series DSLR flagships, and the R6 model matching its more budget-oriented 6D-series DSLRs.

The R6 appears to have a similar sensor to its Canon’s flagship 1DX Mark III DSLR, so image quality should be on par. It should offer equally good low-light capabilities, with an ISO range from 100-102,400, expandable to ISO 204,800.

It has a nice large grip and fully articulating 1.62 million dot rear display that should make it an outstanding vlogger camera. It has mode-selection dial where the LCD display sits on the R5 and, thankfully, a joystick is used in place of EOS R’s not-well-liked touchbar. It looks very similar to the R5, but weighs quite a bit less at 680 grams compared to 735 grams.

Thankfully, the R6 has in-body stabilization (IBIS) that works for both photos and video. Canon has promised up to 8 stops of stabilization, provided you’re using a compatible RF lens with it — easily beating Sony’s A7 III, the Nikon Z7 and Panasonic S1. It has a decent 3.69 million dot OLED EVF, dual UHS II card slots and the same LP-E6NH battery found on the EOS R. Canon has yet to say how many shots per charge you’ll get, but if it’s not enough, it’s offering the BG-R10 camera grip as an option.

The R6 matches the R5’s shooting prowess with burst speeds of up to 12 fps with the mechanical shutter and 20 fps using the electronic shutter. That’s supplemented by Canon’s excellent Dual Pixel autofocus (AF) system with 100 percent coverage and 1,053 AF areas, that works in all photo and video resolutions. It has face and eye detection, along with “head detection” autofocus brought over from the 1DX Mark III — helping the camera keep a subject in focus even if they turn away. Like the R5, the R6 has Canon’s all new animal detection mode.

Canon EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless camera

Video is an area where the EOS R6 goes beyond what Sony can do. Like the 1DX Mark III, it can shoot 4K at 60 fps and 1080p at 120 fps. It can handle 10-bit video using Canon’s C-Log mode both internally and externally, though unlike the R5 or 1DX III, it has no RAW capability. Still, C-Log and 10-bit video will allow videographers to shoot HDR video and have plenty of options when color-correcting the footage in post.

Better yet, 4K video only cropped a little, using 93 percent of the width of the sensor, unlike the EOS R with a huge 1.7X crop. At the same time, video is demosaic-ed and then downsampled from a 5,130 x 2,886 size, which should result in very crisp video. On top of C-Log, Canon has introduced “HDR PQ” capture, letting you view footage that can be viewed directly on HDR TVs, with little color grading needed.

Canon EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless camera

All that should make the EOS R5 much better for video than Sony’s A7 III (albeit it at a higher price), and on par with the similarly priced Panasonic S1. However, Canon’s Dual Pixel system should outperform the contrast detect AF found on Panasonic’s cameras.

On top of the cameras, Canon unveiled a raft of new lenses for the R5 and R6. The two weirdest and most interesting models are the RF 600 f/11 and RF 800 f/11 models, priced at $699 and $899, respectively. While that f/11 number seems crazy slow, the lenses are incredibly light at 930 grams and 1,260 grams, respectively, and the prices are very cheap for lenses that long, too. Canon also revealed the $599 RF 85mm f/2 IS STM prime model, a $2,699 RF 100-500mm f/4-7.1L zoom and RF 1.4X and 2X extenders.

As for pricing, the EOS R6 will cost $2,499 without a lens, $2,899 with the RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1L IS lens or $3,599 with the RF 24-105mm F/4L IS USM lens. It’s expended to ship at the end of August, 2020.

– www.engadget.com

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