Twitter announces details of its new Twitter Alerts service which will make it possible to disseminate information when other methods fail or when large groups of people need to be notified about something. What does this mean? In times of national emergency, crisis or natural disaster, Twitter Alerts could be used to provide details about what is happening and what steps are being taken by authorities.
In times of emergency, it is very common for people to turn to the internet. But as we know all too well, the internet is home to a wealth of misinformation so this could end up to be less helpful than it should be. A number of international organizations have already signed up to be part of Twitter Alerts including the American Red Cross, FEMA, the World Health Organization, and various police and fire departments. Other interested organizations are invited to take part.
Michael has recorded a video demonstrating a few proofs of concept which leaves iPad and iPhone users open to potential attack. His example scenarios are purposefully harmless -- he has opted to show how opening an email could lead to an app being opened without permission or instigate a tweet or SMS (although it is not sent without confirmation) -- but the security hole is going to make many users feel uneasy.
The release of iOS 7 seems like as good a time as any to reassess the mobile operating system market, and this is precisely the thinking of Pfeiffer Consulting. The firm pitted Android, Blackberry 10, iOS 7, iOS 6 and Windows Phone 8 head to head (to head to head to head), comparing the aspects of the OS that have direct impact on user experience. Rated in four key areas, Windows Phone 8 came bottom of the list in terms of overall usability.
The results are quite damning. Looking at what the report terms "cognitive load" (how easy it is to pick up the OS), Windows Phone 8 actually fared well, receiving the same rating as iOS 7 and being praised for its "streamlined user interface". However the OS is criticized for reducing the overall user experience and efficiency.
Now here's a blast from the past. RealNetworks (remember it?) is launching RealPlayer Cloud, a new service that aims to make it easier than ever to share videos between devices and across platforms. The service has been developed to help avoid the need to transfer videos from one device to another or upload them to an online storage repository ready to download elsewhere.
The idea is that users do not have to worry about the platform videos will be viewed on, or the format they are saved in. There are a huge number of video codecs in use, so the appeal of something that helps to overcome compatibility issues is understandable. There are plenty of services that already make it possible to stream video wirelessly from a PC to an iPad or other device. This is nothing new, nor is the ability to pick up from where you left off watching when you switch devices.
If we are to believe all the comments posted on the Interwebs by Microsoft fanboys, then the Surface lineup should have delivered two of the most popular tablets on the market and Apple and Android OEMs should have gone out of business by now. But, once reality sets in and we overlook the silly one-sided comments, people just don't care enough about Microsoft's slates -- the 4.5 percent Windows market share, from IDC's Q2 2013 report, coupled with the $0.9 billion write-off speak for themselves.
Now there's a second-generation Surface lineup which was unveiled yesterday, comprised of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, that quietly wants to change people's perception about Windows-based slates and their preference towards Android tablets and iPads. On paper, the new Surfaces look great. Microsoft appears to have gotten the hint -- more power, more battery life, more versatile kickstand, more accessories. The new Surface lineup is simply "more" than its predecessor. Yet I don't think many people will notice that and rush to pre-order now or buy on sales day.
The number of people who are running iOS 7, either by buying a new iPhone or by downloading the update from Apple, is high. Very high. But shortly after the excitement of the new operating system, a security flaw with Siri emerges -- and it's not one to be taken lightly. Security firm Cenzic reveals details of a vulnerability that enables anyone to bypass the lock screen of an iPhone using Siri.
The voice activated assistant is better known for providing answers to questions and allowing for hands-free operation of iPhones. But Cenzic researchers show that it can also be used for more sinister purposes. You would think that when your phone is locked it should not be possible to do anything, besides answering calls, until you unlock it.
Two days ago Apple rolled out its latest mobile operating system offering, iOS 7. To compliment this new release, Microsoft is making sure to keep up with the latest version of the OS, by pushing out a brand new version of the Bing app. The company is hitting Apple hard with integration right into the heart of the platform.
"With the release of iOS 7 this week, you can now experience Bing search results in Siri", the software giant announces. The Bing search within Siri aims to deliver various types of results, keeping you from going to the web browser to view the same list of results. Microsoft explains, "for example, when you ask Siri a question, you will either see a specific answer or search results from Bing, including web links, related searches, images and video".
Like my colleague Mark Wilson, I was excited about the launch of iOS 7 yesterday, but the update to the new mobile operating system took hours and hours to complete. Starting, failing, doing nothing… When the upgrade finally began -- for real -- it did so at a glacial pace. I have a 100Mbps connection, but the iOS 7 download was at dial-up speeds.
Eventually though, the install was complete, and after a few seconds of setting it up (choosing a PIN in case someone stole my iPad, etc.), I was good to go. By this time I’d read a lot of negative comments and was expecting the worst… but actually I really like iOS 7.
So… it's here. iOS 7 has lumbered its way onto hundreds of thousands of iPhone and iPads all over the world -- mine included. My iPad 2 may be slightly aging, but it still does the job for me. I've yet to find a compelling reason to upgrade to a more recent model, but the prospect of a major OS upgrade is always exciting.
I'd read great things about iOS 7 previously, but having never taken the step of jailbreaking my tablet, I had not been able to try it hands-on. The download from Apple's servers was going to be my first proper experience of the update.
Anyone who manages to get their hands on an iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s on Friday will find that it comes with iOS 7 pre-installed. But if you’re not planning on investing in new hardware, head over to Apple's update server right now and you can grab yourself an upgrade free of charge.
The OS revamp is available as of 10am PST / 6pm BST, and if you jump on the download straight away you may well find it a slow and frustrating experience as the world and its dog tries to do exactly the same. But hang on in there... it'll be worth the wait.
Just yesterday, Microsoft played its latest card in the music battle, announcing Linkin Park's latest song would stream exclusively on Xbox Music. In a battle with iTunes, Google, Spotify and others, today it's Pandora's turn to show its cards, and the first on the table is a new iPad app and a bit of a rebranding.
The company is rolling out Pandora 5.0 and with it a revamped logo, app icon, and a new visual design. "Our goal with the logo and app icon is to honor our past while looking to the future with a bolder, more modern identity. The visual design language, which we refer to simply as 'lights,' is meant to evoke the interplay of lights from a live show while symbolizing the flow of music from artists to listeners", says Simon Fleming-Wood.
Today is iOS 7 day! But there is more than just a new operating system for your iPhone, iPad and iPod to look forward to; Apple also has a redesigned iCloud website for you to use. Unsurprisingly the new design takes heavy inspiration from the look of iOS 7, mimicking the floaty, layered styling that graces the new mobile OS.
Log into your account and you'll immediately be greeted by a muted, blurry background, over the top of which various icons appear to float. Apps including Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders and Find My iPhone all now sport the iOS 7 look, but the beta editions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote retain their older design. It looks as though there might still be a little work to do -- not all icons have been redesigned, for instance.
Today Bump becomes the latest addition to Google's portfolio. In a blog post, Bump CEO David Lieb reveals that the company has been acquired by the search giant. Bump is known for two tools -- the eponymous Bump file transfer service, and Flock for sharing photos.
But it is the Bump transfer app that is most famous, making it possible to shift files from one device to another with a gimmicky bump together -- using "a matching algorithm" rather than NFC. The blog post assures users that "Bump and Flock will continue to work as they always have for now", and it is the "for now" part of this announcement that is intriguing. Google has yet to make an announcement of its own, so it is not yet clear whether Bump's tools will live on under the same name, get rebranded, or disappear into Google's fat folds.
There were so many leaks prior to today's announcements at Cupertino that we pretty much already knew what to expect. Apple has taken the wrapper off the latest version of the iPhone and the company has stuck to its recent release schedule of following up a major iPhone with an S edition -- the iPhone 5S. Visually, things are very much the same as before, but in addition to black and white models, there's also the light gold colored model -- colors we now know should be referred to as space gray, silver and gold.
The promise to "brighten everyone's day" seems to have meant not only an addition to the color options for the iPhone 5C and 5S, but also new features. While the 5C retains the same processor as in the 5, the 5S boasts a new A7 processor which is the world's only 64-bit chip in a smartphone. iOS 7 has been re-engineered as a 64-bit operating system, but the chip is capable of running 32-bit and 64-bit apps. Apple claims the processor is double the speed of the iPhone 5 according to the graph they showed. And the processor now supports OpenGL|ES 3.0, the same as Nexus 7.
As you’ll no doubt be aware Apple is currently hosting an iPhone event at its Cupertino, Calif.-based home. Like all Apple events, proceedings started with an impressive figure -- Apple will ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month -- and then after a brief look at the free iTunes Festival, we got a recap of what the next version of Apple's mobile operating system has to offer us.
The Jony Ive designed iOS 7 has a flatter, functional design and the skeumorphism -- faux wooden bookshelves, green felt and the like -- is no more. The icons have been redesigned, the typeface changed, and there’s new pallet of colors. Siri has been massively improved too. Apple also engineered iOS 7 to take full advantage of the advanced 64-bit technologies in the iPhone 5s, including the native 64-bit kernel, libraries and drivers. The built-in apps have been re-engineered for 64-bit as well.