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Facebook Removing Facial Recognition, Apple’s iOS 6 and Maps Controversy, Fresh HTC Lineup

Facebook heeding privacy needs? With all the information Facebook has, as well as power over our social strata, people fearing Facebook’s wield of power may not be in error. We’ve seen Facebook take similar steps before, and now the social networking giant is removing the facial recognition we associate with tagging our friends in photos–at least in Europe. Privacy regulators in Ireland say that the feature isn’t coming back until they agree with Facebook on the “most appropriate means” of collecting user data. Facebook is deleting all data collected on European users which was used for the service. The question in many people’s minds may be: ‘Are worries about Facebook privacy protecting freedoms or removing features?’

This week has been full of more Apple headlines. This week alone, Apple has enticed lines of customers to stores everywhere, and this week has upgraded the software on their devices everywhere. Just this week, iOS 6 came to fourth-generation iPods, iPhone 4 and 4S, as well as third-generation iPad. The news OS brings with it better integration with Facebook and Twitter, as well as new apps like Passbook and the revamped Maps app, the second of which has caused much controversy. In short, Apple has brought great turn-by-turn directions to their built-in app, but the accuracy and usefulness of the landmarks and POIs are in question. For instance, can Apple really have made the mistake of putting the Golden Gate Bridge four miles from its true location? In fairness, this is one of few falters in the new iPhone’s design, and the device reviews have also come out this week, pointing to a fantastic consumer device and hardware, if not slightly too similar software. Controversy aside, Apple has had another great week for stocks and publicity. See iPhone 5 review, iOS 6 reviewnew Maps app.

 
The glamor of iOS 6 is diluted by the similarities, but nothing to scoff at. (Left)

Siri on iPad with iOS 6

 
There are two possibilities here: 1. Apple may have made a slight mistake with the Maps app. 2. Apple predicts an apocalypse in NYC. The popular choice is the second. (Right)

HTC is shifting design and strategy. With the announcement of two new Windows Phones, HTC has also declared their confidence in their new devices. Despite many similar devices in the past, HTC has proven their ability to step out of the box with design with their new higher-end 8X and mid-range 8S. The devices feature curved glass, simplistic design, and a broad variety of colors. Along with refreshed design, CEO Peter Chou personally declared in an interview that while continuing to support Android, he is “super confident” in the new devices, as well as declaring that we can expect to see Microsoft and HTC put a new marketing focus on this design. See more of the phones.

 
This 8S has an original design like its 8X brother, and you have to give credit to HTC.

The Windows Phone 8 8S from HTC.

Sources: BBC, The Verge, UPI.com, LATimes, Mashable

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Tech This Week: iPhone 5 and more Apple, Wii U gets detailed

All the greatest things in the world of technology for Thursday, September 13th.

The moment we all we all wondered, watched, and waited for: Apple’s iPhone 5 event. Only yesterday, Apple showed the world its sixth generation iPhone. This new iPhone catches up on some hardware specifications, but brings in a new design which is certainly fresh. While announcing the iPhone 5, Apple also unveiled a new line of iPod Touch and iPod Nano devices. The iPod Touch has a better camera, and not comes with Siri as well. The iPod Nano has a larger, touch-enabled screen. But now to the iPhone. The new 4″ screen has the width of a widescreen TV, and has an improved 720p Retina Display screen. The device is also lighter, despite its new dimensions. While it currently runs iOS 5, the iPhone 5 is formidable, given improved battery life (8 hours talk time on 3G) and the faster A6 processor. The device is expected to get iOS 6 very soon. Lastly, the new Apple devices will feature a new “Lightning” docking port which is slimmer and faster. Overall, the device is a certain step up from the iPhone 4S, but in my opinion is most improved in design. Original design has seemed scarce in the mobile world, and Apple has always been able to break that trend. Recently though, new devices like the Lumia 920 or Galaxy S III have challenged Apple’s title for originality. For $199 on contract, you will be able to pick up an 16 GB model on September 21st, for $299 a 32 GB and for $399 a 64 GB. Read and see more.

 
Coming now in black and silver, the iPhone 5 focuses on a new design with a taller screen and thinner body.

iPhone 5s in two colors

After all the wait, we finally get a date and price on the Wii U. It seems to have been a long time coming, but Nintendo has recently announced that their new console would be released on November 18th (November 30th in Europe), just in time for the holiday season. Each console will come with the Wii GamePad, a tablet controller which gives players even more ways to interact with a video game, including touch, voice, and a second screen for inventory, power-ups, or other game-enhancers. The GamePad can even play some games while the TV is in use. The 8 GB model will run you $299, while the 32 GB model is $349, including a charger, a stand, and a copy of one of the launch titles, Nintendo Land. The Wii U will bring with it a variety of other games including New Super Mario Brother Wii 2, the sequel to a previous multiplayer Mario game on the Wii. The console is most importantly now supporting HD resolution gaming, so you can now enjoy all of your favorite Nintendo characters in high-definition. In the U.S. and Canada, all major cable and TV providers are said to support the Wii U’s TVii software on the GamePad, giving consumers access to DVR and TiVO options for your television. Read more.

 
The Wii U’s design is similar to its predecessor, but actually quite refreshing. It’s also equipped with a new HDMI.

Nintendo's new console.

 

Via: Engadget, USA Today

iPhone 5, Finally

The date is out that the iPhone 5 will be announced on September 12th. We’re looking at an entirely new phone this time, as we move away from the 4S, we are secretly relieved to not realize the horror of something along the lines of an iPhone 4SX. As usual, Apple isn’t set to disappoint. Surprisingly, it appears as if some reliable leaks have come out showing that the new iPhone (don’t worry, as far as we know, it’s not called that) will have some unforeseen and compelling new features.

The Short

This is the reader-friendly version of what we allegedly know about Apple’s next-gen phone:

  • taller, thinner, crisper screen even more gorgeous than Retina Display
  • new screen will be more efficient to improve battery life
  • new screen is as wide as the 4S screen, but taller so that movies and media can be viewed without black bars
  • front facing camera is now oddly centered
  • less black/white space for the button and camera areas on the front because of the long screen
  • Siri-enhancements
  • No built-in YouTube app

We also expect to see various hardware improvements, as well as LTE, but that’s currently not backed up by any strict evidence.

The Details

I’m not one for rumors, but I’ll give you the quick-take. It appears as if the parts supplier ETradeSupply has leaked photos, and a video, of a portion of the iPhone 5’s body, as well as the front glass panel. Japanese Mac website Macotakara has released detailed videos as well. While it’s not the whole phone, the details seem fully plausible. What we can gather is that the screen will move from the 4S’s 3:2 aspect ratio to a 16:9 ratio, the standard for widescreen movies, televisions, and more. This makes viewing any media in HD easier, especially when the screen’s pixel density is supposed to be far more impressive, as well.

The iPhone 4S has a retina display pixel density of 960 x 640, while the new iPhone will likely have a pixel density of WXGA 1280 x 720. I would be shocked to see it, but it is possible Apple will blow us all away and show us a 1600 x 900 resolution phone . Forbes writer Susan Kalla noted ETrade Supply’s claim that the new screen will allegedly use new LCD technology which allows for better battery life and, of course, a better screen. Anyway, it’s not set in stone yet, but of all the rumors so far, these appear the most believable.The back of the iPhone 5The front of the iPhone 5.

While it’s not backed up by evidence, let alone being confirmed, it’s only logical for Apple’s iPhone 5 to include LTE functionality as well as 1 GB of RAM. Various other hardware improvements are plausible, but these two seem like logical steps for the iDevice to keep up with the pack.

While the some of the above details may be uncertain (as Apple likes it), we are nearly certain that Apple’s iPhone 5 event will be on September 12th, and will most likely be for sale on September 21st.

Via: ZDNet, Forbes, Huffington Post, BGR, 9 to 5 Mac

Source: ETrade Supply Blog, Macotakara (Youtube)

Fall Update Overload: iPhone 5, Windows 8, Jelly Bean, And More

There’s a lot of stuff happening this fall. The updates, news, hardware, and tantalizing prospects of the future in consumer technology we’re all looking for are going to come “en masse” this late summer and fall. There are a number of updates and promises and rumors that we should see coming all around this time. Software from Apple, Microsoft, and Google–the big three, of course–are all launching new versions of their mobile OSs. This means not only devices to current phones we love and behold, but a whole new fresh round of devices. From everyone, hopefully. This unified release could lead to some serious competition. When everyone has their latest and greatest on the field, it will be even more crucial to get the public eye, to compete, and to win the individual’s checkbook. Here’s a look at a few of the things which we’re heading into.

  • iPhone 5. This phone may have been the most rumored device in history. This extremely-long-awaited phone could have some difficulty in competing in hardware to some Android devices like the HTC One X or Galaxy S III. The amount of time that Apple has made consumers wait for this phone will also mean the expectations will be extremely high. Larger screen? LTE? 1 GB RAM? Quad-core? Full HD screen? 20 MP camera? Built-in keyboard projector? … Apple released the iPhone 4 in June of 2010, but rumors do seem to be pointing to later fall. We’re just going to have to wait.
  • Windows 8.The only computer OS which is getting a major update is getting the most major update it’s seen in years. Microsoft is bringing its revamped and reinspired OS to tablets, PCs, and everything in-between. The shear number of products that should come with this release will probably be overwhelming.
  • Jelly Bean. The next iteration of Android is rumored to be coming this fall, but hasn’t truly been confirmed. (We should get more details this summer.) Supposedly, we’ll be looking at more tablet-friendly interfaces and some potential Jelly Bean notebooks. There was also word of a dual-operating system feature with Chrome, allegedly allowing you to dual-boot without having to reboot. Stay a little hesitant there.
  • Windows Phone 8. Windows Phone 7.5 “Tango” should be just around the corner for many users, if their carrier is willing to give it to them. New devices, however, have been limited by the hardware limitations of the current Windows Phone version. Windows Phone 8 is rumored to be a complete rebuilding of the OS, and will likely unify the experience with Windows 8 even futher, while allowing for more impressive hardware specifications.
  • iOS 6. If Apple continues to follow their pattern of releases, it is likely we’ll see a new version of Apple’s operating system, which should make way for the iPad following the 3rd generation iPad, and likely also the iPhone 5. Given that Apple has waited so long for the iPhone 5, it’s possible we’ll see something big with this update. The OS has been around for a long time now, looking practically the same. The features of iOS 5 enliven the experience, but a whole new homescreen redesign may be in order. Surprise us, Apple.

We’ve got a lot coming to us, but we should get peeks and leaks before we get our hands on anything. It’s going to be a wild ride this fall. Stay tuned.

via: AndroidCentral, Technorati

Also: Windows 8 Overview , Windows 8 Gallery

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