Apple's first TV ad for the iPhone 5s shows off the gold version of the phone, but fails to mention the existence of the space gray and silver models. Backed with Goldfrapp's Ooh La La, the commercial seems to draw inspiration from the liquid metal effects seen in Terminator 2. There have already been ads for the cheaper iPhone 5c but this is the first time the premium version of the iPhone has been showcased on television.
In the ad, ribbons of liquid gold swirl and intertwine before converging and melding together to form the body of the iPhone. Shortly after airing, the advertisement was also uploaded to Apple's YouTube channel. As is the norm with Apple, comments are disabled, but it's likely that views and shares will rocket over the coming day.
Microsoft's big release of the day may be Windows 8.1, but it doesn't end there. The desktop operating system may have stolen the headlines today, but Microsoft also recognizes the importance of mobile devices. The company is not only concerned with its own devices, realizing that Apple and Android still dominate the mobile arena. But this does not mean that mobile users do not need access to Windows PCs -- hence the release of Microsoft Remote Desktop for iOS and Android.
The prospect of running Windows on an Android or iOS device may be a little way off yet, but it can be achieved via remote access -- which has the handy side effects of making it possible to access files, apps and anything else that might be needed whilst away from your computer. There is no shortage of remote desktop apps in the App Store, but Microsoft's offering aims to keep things simple. As you would expect, this is an app -- free of course -- that can be used to control a Windows PC from an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Android device.
Fans of smartphones with larger displays have a new reason to celebrate as HTC takes the wraps off the gigantically-screened HTC One max. The new 5.9-inch device joins the HTC One and HTC One Mini, creating quite a family of choice.
The One max is without a doubt the daddy of the group, and in addition to the larger screen it also features HTC Sense 5.5. Just like the One, the One max has an all-metal (well, mostly) body.
When it comes to fire, you can never be too safe. Sadly, I know all too well. You see, I once lived through a fire that destroyed my apartment and all of my belongings. While it was a devastating event, I came out of it uninjured and with a new respect for fire safety.
Today, Nest announces a new product that combines technology with not only fire safety but carbon monoxide protection too.
When thinking of personal radio, services such as Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and others come to mind. Windows Azure is not a part of this word association game, but the Microsoft service is capable of powering such apps for mobile platforms, and works with Windows Phone, iPhone and Android.
Now Long Zheng, formerly of the ChevronWP7 team, has announced his startup 121Cast is releasing Omny -- which the company hopes will change the way people use their mobile devices for music, email, news and more. "I know the word 'revolutionize' is very much a cliché for tech startups but I do think we've come up with an easier, more interactive, and all around better way for the busy mobile individual to listen to news, entertainment, music and important updates on the go", Zheng states. "Omny expands on that idea [SoundGecko] to provide a more diverse range of content such as professional radio shows, podcasts and music through Spotify, Rdio, Songl and iTunes", he continues.
Just last week, I wrote an article based on a report by Pfeiffer Consulting which suggested that Windows Phone 8 is, in its current state, the least user-friendly mobile operating system available. The article stirred up some feelings, and there were some quite heated exchanges in the comments.
For this follow-up piece, I spoke with Andreas Pfeiffer, the author of the report, to address some of the points, complaints and concerns you raised.
Today, third quarter ends, and in about three weeks Apple will reveal during its earnings call smartphone shipments. The data is a lens for truly assessing what iPhone 5s and 5c sales could be during the holidays. Already, complaints are loud and obnoxious across the InterWeb that the fruit-logo company offers little true innovation in either device -- that the magic is gone. I disagree. CEO Tim Cook is smarter than many critics think.
The smartphone market in late 2013 resembles portable music players seven years ago: Rapidly saturating, particularly in mature markets like Europe and the United States and among wealthier purchasers in countries like China, India and Russia. This release is very much about preserving and extending the Apple brand in a slowing sales segment, while preparing for what comes next. That's absolutely the right approach.
Microsoft held an event in NYC to launch the Surface 2 and Brian was live-blogging. The full video of the launch is available to view online as are advertisements that show off the tablets' versatility. Microsoft is pinning a lot on the updated product after the first generation suffered from poor sales. There were no great new features, but there is a redesigned kickstand, a healthy speed boost, new dock and updated covers -- Brian was particularly impressed by the Blades.
Anyone buying a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 earns themselves a SkyDrive upgrade. Purchase a new device and your online storage gets upgraded to 200GB, but the same amount of space is available for $100 per year. Moving away from Surface-related news, Microsoft turned its guns on Google Docs, highlighting user complaints to demonstrate the superiority of Office 365.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is calling on the games industry to avoid pressuring children into making in-app purchases in games and potentially running up large bills. Back in April, an investigation began into the ways in which children are pressured into making in-app purchases. 38 web and app-based games thought to appeal to children were looked at, and the results of the investigation are available in the Children's Online Games report.
The OFT aimed to determine whether the way in-app purchases were presented could be considered "misleading, aggressive or otherwise unfair". As a result of the investigation, the OFT has drawn up a set of eight proposed principles that apps and games should follow. The principles include clearly and prominently informing app users about the potential for costs to be incurred through the app. It is suggested that users should be able to fully understand the current and future costs associated with any app they download.
Some habits are hard to kick. Even though the world is trending towards a digital lifestyle, many business users still use Post-it Notes. I am guilty of using these low-tech pieces of paper daily. Sometimes, I need to quickly jot-down a note or phone number; a piece of paper can be faster than unlocking my smartphone or workstation. However, at the end of the day, I find my desk littered with these things. I have often wished for an easy way to transfer them to my computer.
Apparently, I am not alone as today, Evernote announces a partnership with Post-it which aims at organizing these notes. The company says, "for us at Evernote, Post-it Notes are a Hero Product. We strive for the sort of flexible, instantly-understandable usefulness that draws hundreds of millions of people to purchase Post-it brand products. There is one drawback. As ubiquitous as they are, they’re also, well, attached to stuff. That’s where Evernote comes in. Evernote is giving Post-it Notes a digital life and whole new set of tricks".
Following Samsung's Galaxy Gear, another smartwatch enters AT&T's portfolio. The US mobile operator has announced that its customers will be able to pick up the Pebble, one of the most popular devices of its kind. It will be available starting tomorrow, September 27, from AT&T's online store and "select" retail locations.
Unlike the Galaxy Gear which costs $299, AT&T will sell the Pebble for $150 which is the same amount that users would have to pay when buying it from the official website. For the money, buyers get a smartwatch which works in conjunction with Android and iOS handsets via a Bluetooth connection. As one of the first devices to gain traction on the market, the Pebble has an attractive ecosystem developed around it: there are various apps and ways to customize it.
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.