Rumours have been flying around newsrooms and chatrooms with avengeance over the last few weeks about the latest, best and weirdest product or gadget to be released. Wholesome, meaty technology news has been a little sparse and has been replaced with bitty speculation. For this very reason we have decided to round up for you the latest mini news stories from the world of technology into one tasty, substantial chunk.
Brand New Apple Releases
When does speculation around the mighty, juicy Apple not exist? Hardly ever, right!? But it has been even more apparent than usual in the last few weeks. Despite the fact that they announced record profits in the last quarter of 2012, there has been a slight air of dissatisfaction wafting around Apple over the past few months, as they saw their share price fall and only ‘constrained’ sales on their handsets. Complaints around the company’s now out-dated OS and lack of innovation have also been doing the rounds.
All of this has not gone unnoticed by Apple however, who have leaked rumours around a few upcoming products. Let’s begin with the iPhone 5S which is planned to be released in August. Rumour has it that the new flagship iPhone will have the same classic design as its predecessors (why fix something that ain’t broke), but with a more advanced processor and an improved rear-camera. The new iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 are also expected to debut in April. No news or info on them at the moment, just this mock-up pic:
Ok, so this is exciting but not exactly innovative, is it? Enter the budget iPhone 5. Budget! iPhone! The world must have gone mad; or sane, come to think of it. Priced at £220 (half the price of the standard iPhone), the new handset has been brought onto the market in order to appeal to the young, middle class consumers in China and India (and we’re pretty sure Europe, too). Jeremy Horwitz, of iLounge wrote: "One of our sources claims that Apple’s iPhone prices remain too high for most mainland Chinese customers — the iPhone 5 hardware alone starts at $849 there, versus the iPhone 4 at $500, in a country where the average annual salary is around $3,000 per person. The source has said that mainland Chinese iPhone 5 sales are already tapering off as a result of the pricing.. A budget iPhone model would help sales in populous but underdeveloped countries to grow."
And we’re glad Apple has taken heed, as this new handset sounds like a great option. The standard aluminium chassis will be replaced by a cheaper plastic one, but it will still have a retina display feature and Apple’s new lightening connector for charging and syncing. Not too shabby. And Apple won’t be the only ones making this move; as industry experts predict a shifting emphasis on budget smartphones in the coming year. Watch this space.
An earnings report from the technology giant also indicates that there has been a 32% increase in their research and development budget; spending having increased by $252million from the same quarter of the previous year. And this is a good job too, according to Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, who said: "Apple need to innovate. For Apple to renew growth they need to come up with new devices”.
And some of the first solid indications of this research can be found in the prolific iWatch rumours. Reports have emerged indicating that a team of 100 product designers are working on a watch like device, while the firm have filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word ‘wrist’; one of which includes tale of a flexible screen. How very exciting. Along with the many photographic speculations, some of the features rumoured include calling abilities, caller ID, a map, pedometer and sensors for monitoring health related data – like heart rate.
Commentators have discussed how success in the watch business would help provide Apple with some relief from the gross margin pressure forced by their slowing iPhone sales (the gross margin of which is a whopping 55%, which is twice that of the iPads and Macs). We’re certainly keeping our fingers and toes crossed for Apple.
Innovative Samsung Features
Apple isn’t the only smartphone firm who are thinking outside the rectangle (ahem). The brand new Samsung Galaxy SIV which is being released later this month in Times Square, is said to have some pretty innovative features; including an eye tracking device.
The new feature will allow the phone to follow the path of your eyes down the screen, automatically scrolling to the next or previous paragraph when you are ready. You won’t even have to lift a finger.
Earlier this year the South Korean firm made trademark applications for the name ‘Eye Series’, provoking more speculation around the feature.
Eye tracking devices aren’t entirely new; the Galaxy SIII had the ‘Smart Stay’ feature which used the camera to monitor when the user was looking at the screen; if not it would dim the display. However, the brand new feature and the release of the SpaceTop 3D suggest that eye tracking technology will definitely be something to watch out for - ‘scuse the pun.
Polaroid Instagram Camera
And it’s certainly not just the phone companies who are doing a bit of blue sky thinking (I wonder how many more disgusting office phrases I can squeeze in). The photo-sharing app Instagram which launched in October 2010 have released details of a new digital camera that allows you to add Instagram filters before printing out photos old-school style (or alternatively uploading them to the internet using the built in WiFi capability).
The team have partnered up with Polaroid to create the retro device which will carry the Polaroid brand. Chief Executive of partnership Socialmatic Antonio De Rosa said of the innovation: “We were strongly motivated to reach an agreement to create a small revolution in digital photography This mix of hardware and software together with our brand new social network will fill the gap between virtuality and reality”. Fancy.
The images released so far show a slim square camera that is strikingly similar to the Instagram app icon. However apparently these are only ‘concept’ pictures and could vary from the final article, which is expected out next year.
So, there you go dear reader. Our Rumour Round-Up draws to a close. But only for the time being. We will of course keep our eyes peeled for the latest news and reviews from the world of technology and update you accordingly.
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