Apple officially unveils the iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S with Touch ID, new colors and iOS 7 Kicks off September 18!

Apple has launched the iPhone 5C, a lower-cost device designed to appeal to buyers that want to get in on the iPhone action, but don’t want to shell out for a top-end model.

The 5C was announced today at Apple’s launch event in Cupertino, California.

The device will come with a polycarbonate shell and the option of a green, white, blue, pink, or yellow “soft-feel” silicon rubber surround.

Key hardware specs include a 4-inch Retina display, 8-megapixel camera and the same A6 processor found in the iPhone 5. There’s also an HD forward-facing Facetime camera too.

On contract, prices start from $99 in the US for the 16GB version and $199 for the 32GB model. The colored cases are an additional $29 each. Pre-orders start from September 13 and the handsets are due to go on sale from September 20 in the US, UK, Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Singapore.

While extending the range by adding in lower tier models is not traditionally a territory Apple has been willing to dabble in, the move to include a model with changeable, different colored shells reflects Apple’s desire to make a bigger impression in markets like China, as well as in Europe and domestically.

Apple announces the iPhone 5S

 

Apple has finally announced the next member of the iPhone family, known simply as the iPhone 5S .

The device was introduced today at a launch event in Cupertino, California. As well as coming in silver, gold and grey, the iPhone 5S comes running iOS 7, which brings a new look and new notifications to the platform, as well as features like AirDrop and a new 3D tabbed UI for Safari.

Under-the-bonnet, the device uses an all new A7 chip which Apple said is the first time a 64-bit chip in a smartphone; the end result is over “twice as fast” as the previous generation, Apple said.

As well as giving the processor a bump in perfomance, Apple has also introduced a “Motion coprocessor” so the device can tell if you’re stationary, walking or driving.

If your mind turns to battery life at this point, Apple claims the 5S has up to 250 hours of standby time and 10 hours of LTE browsing.

The camera on the device has also been overhauled for the new iteration to include an F2.2 aperture lens and a dual LED flash – one white and one amber for better color balance in the images. It also includes auto-image stabilization. As well as this, the camera has slow-motion capability too, thanks to the ability to capture 720p video at 120 frames-per-second (fps).

As well as focusing on beefing up the camera capabilities, Apple has also added a biometric finger print sensor (buried inside the ‘home’ button) called TouchID that is 170 microns thin and scans your sub-epidermal skin layers. All of which is to say, you can unlock your phone without needing a pass code or can even scan your fingerprint to carry out actions in apps, like authenticating iTunes purchases.

Pricing for the device, on a 2 year contract, is set at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for the 32GB model and $399 for the 64GB option. Pre-orders start from September 13 and the handsets are due to go on sale from September 20 in the US, UK, Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Singapore. By the end of the year, it should be available in more than 100 countries, Apple said.

Apple traditionally releases a more dramatic redesign of the iPhone hardware every other year, and the overall design of the iPhone 5S keeps true to this cadence, with minor tweaks here and there but the same overall look.

iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps to be free on all new iOS 7 devices

Apple iPhoto, iMovie and the iWork suite for iOS will be free for “all new iOS 7 devices”. That’s the exact wording Apple used so it’s unclear if existing iDevice users that qualify for an iOS 7 upgrade will be getting the same kind of treatment or if they will still have to pay for those apps.

Once you get a new iOS 7-running iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, the OS will automatically offer you to download those apps.

So, you will get the five apps (iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Keynote and Numbers) for free, saving you cool $42, which is what they used to cost so far.

Apple iOS 7 updates kick off September 18

Apple has just announced the iOS 7 update will become available on all compatible iGadgets on September 18. The update will be distributed for free, of course.

The iOS 7 is compatible with iPhone 4 and above, iPad 2 and above, iPad mini and iPod Touch 5th generation.

Apple has also announced it will supply all iOS 7 devices with iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps for free.

Facebook introduces new News Feed with larger images, choice of feeds and consistent mobile design!

IMG_7633

Today, Facebook revealed the latest update for its News Feed feature, something that CEO Mark Zuckeberg says that helps make you see and feel things that users will care about. He believes that it should be more like a personalized newspaper that allows you to not only give you the top stories in the news and also socially relevant and local content from friends and family around you.

The new design sets out to be focused on visual design. Zuckerber says it’s focusing on three things:

- Rich stories that are visually engaging

- Choice of different feeds and dig into any topic you want

- Mobile consistency that shares the same experience across different platforms.

Screen Shot 2013 03 07 at 1.11.10 PM1 730x412 Facebook introduces new News Feed with larger images, choice of feeds and consistent mobile design

Originally launched in 2006, the News Feed has become the central place where users find information about their friends.

 

Guessing about the future of News Feed

This news follows previous speculation regarding the future of Facebook’s News Feed — TechCrunch said that the social network would launch content-specific News Feeds, while also giving out bigger photos and ads. A clue to this stemmed from something Facebook CEO said during the company’s Q4 earnings call, as noted both by TechCrunch and Business Insider:

As our news feed design evolves to show richer kinds of stories, that opens up new opportunities to offer different kinds of ads as well…One of the product design principles that we’ve always had is we want the organic content to be of the same basic types of formats as paid content, right? So, historically, advertisers want really rich things like big pictures or videos and we haven’t provided those things historically. But, one of the things that we’ve done in the last year is you’ve seen the organic news feed product that consumers use moving towards bigger pictures, richer media and I think you’ll continue to see it go in that direction. And, I think that a lot of the success of products like Instagram is because of that. It’s a very immersive – even on a small screen, just – it’s a wonderful photo product.

Seeking to change

Last November, during one of Facebook’s periodic “whiteboarding” sessions, the company revealed some insights into why there are already two separate feeds for us to consume: the News Feed and the Pages Feed. The former is the place where users will go to find the most engaging content while the latter contains content that they may want to read from Pages that are liked or subscribed to. Expanding this line of thinking and revealing different News Feeds seems to be the natural progression for Facebook and its information.

Earlier this year, Facebook also tweaked the News Feed more by showing larger images and longer previews of links in an attempt to increase engagement.

Privacy concerns abound

It can probably go without saying that today’s announcement could rile up privacy advocates and there will be Facebook Groups and Pages popping up to rally users to quit Facebook over this privacy intrusion. Back in 2011 when the most recent News Feed changes were made, there were concerns that News Feed would give others access to the private posts of people users were not friends with, giving them the ability to Like a post or add comments to it.

Of course, Facebook has denied this claim, saying “Commenting or Liking a post doesn’t change its privacy setting. If you can’t see a post because of its privacy setting, it won’t show up to you anywhere on Facebook including in your News Feed or in your ticker.”

A new look for Facebook News Feed is coming next Thursday

Mark Zuckerberg (image 001)

Mark Zuckerberg & Co. on Friday issued invites to select members of the press to “Come see a new look for News Feed.” The media event takes place next Thursday, March 7, at 10am PST, at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. To our non-US readers: it’s an affluent town at the eastern edge of San Mateo County, in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, in the United States. This invite-only press conference comes less than two months after the company’s January 15 Graph Search launch event.

Facebook has some pretty rabid community so we’re expecting all sorts of backlash when the new News Feed goes live. The company recently updated its iOS client with in-app VoIP calling and a revamped News Feed, with the Like, Comment and Share buttons now found alongside the bottom of posts…

Here’s the invite graphics, via Business Insider.

Facebook presser (20130307, invitation)

Not much is known by way of detail except that a new look News Feed is coming.

Our guess?

The company wants to inject more ads into your News Feed.

A mockup by TechCrunch published on January 14, if true, depicts a Flipboard-like News Feed.

Next Facebook News Feed

Author Josh Constine swears he saw the updated software running on a smartphone with his own two eyes. The upcoming News Feed, he says, creates two separate feeds, each for a few different content types including news and photos.

Users navigate between them by swiping sideways on a photo that serves as a header tile filling the top quarter or so of a portrait layout iPhone screen. Below the header is a larger body tile that takes up most of the rest of the screen. From what I saw, it shows one story at a time, with text and who posted it laid on top of a full-screen image.

For example, instead of the screenshot above where most of the screen is taken up with white, blue, and gray chrome and empty space, the app looks like the mock-up below.

The mockup is Josh’s approximation from his memory so take it with a pinch of salt.

Facebook-owned Instagram earlier in the week announced it passed 100 million active users. The social networking giant also updated its iOS software development kit with better analytics, additional app usage metrics and improved APIs and has worked with carriers to roll out free or discounted Messenger access to 14 additional markets.

By the way, Facebook ranked 48th on Forbes’ Most Admired Companies list. Apple is #1 again and Twitter, which increasingly challenges Facebook, did not even make it into the top 50.