Editorial

More on a 5-inch iPhone and scaling the interface

Just over a week ago I ran the numbers on a bigger screen iPhone, and presented several ways Apple could go, including just taking the current screen and stretching it out to almost 5-inches, which would give it the same 264ppi pixel density as the Retina iPad 4 screen. Since Apple used the iPhone density to make the iPad mini, using the iPad density to make the iPhone maxi has a certain symmetry to it.

But would stretching out the icons, buttons, text and other interface elements just make them look bigger, or would it make them look silly? Let's find out...

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Imagining an all-aluminium themed iOS 7

Skeuomorphism -- the use of real world design in a digital context -- has been a target lately. It's also been lumped together with heavy design, elaborate themes, or highly textured skins, to the point of being completely misunderstood. At the extreme, this "skeuomorphic" melange has been held up as an example of iOS being boring, outdated, and bereft of innovation. In more reasonably terms, it's looked at as something that can be useful, but has perhaps been overused.

Personally I think there are far more important things Apple needs to do in iOS 7 than wiping the world clean of textures, gradients, and curves, both, but the argument persists so it's worthwhile giving it some form. but let's imagine for a moment it is on the agenda. That Apple's new head of all design, hardware and software, Jony Ive, was set to impose a new, unified, Aluminium theme. That, just like the Scarlet Witch in House of M, he whispered "No more themes."

Instead of arguing in the abstract about how much better or worse it would be, let's mock it up and see what could that look like...

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Apple, smart homes, and the connected future

Some of the more interesting things, at least conceptually, I saw at CES 2013 were the smart appliances shown off by the likes of Samsung and LG. They're not anywhere near the sci-fi of Tony Stark's house, never mind Star Trek or the Jetsons, but they're a beginning. As a geek and fan of futurism, that's exciting. And it's an area Apple isn't playing in publicly yet, at least beyond the living room.

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Never mind iPhone 6 and iPads next, in 2013 it's all about iOS 7 and iCloud

There'll be an iPhone 5s and iPhone 6. There'll be a Retina iPad mini. There'll be a thinner, lighter iPad 5. There'll be an Apple A7 system-on-a-chip. There'll be an LTE radio that can do simultaneous voice and data, and eventually voice over LTE. There may be curved displays, biometric sensors and security, 4K AirPlay, onboard voice parsing, in-air gesture and face recognition, and much, much more. Apple's hardware will continue to tick tock its way towards the future, but for mainstream users, most of the time, the devices we hold in our hands today are more than good enough. And it's the stuff inside and around them that's become far, far more important.

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Editor's desk: CES 2013 wrap-up

CES is a strange show. Apple's never been there. Google stopped going a couple of years ago. Microsoft stopped last year. BlackBerry didn't even have a booth this year. Sure, the mega corporations that also happen to make Android and Windows Phones, Samsung and LG and Sony have massive booths, but they're filled with televisions, home appliances, and technology prototypes than new, hero-class phones and tablets.

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The less expensive iPhone

Rumors of a less expensive iPhone, in one form or another, certainly aren't new. Rumors follow want. We want iPhones, the less expensive iPhones are the more of them we can have an more often we can have them. Apple knows that too. The original iPhone was Ballmer-laugh inducing expensive, and Apple and Steve Jobs adjusted the price down, and then changed course to a subsidized model for the iPhone 3G starting at only $199. The next year, when Apple introduced the the iPhone 3GS, they kept a lower-capacity version of the iPhone 3G around, starting at only $99. In 2010, when Apple introduced the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS went to $99. And in 2011, when Apple introduced the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 became the $99 iPhone, and the iPhone 3GS was positioned at $0 on contract. With the 2012 introduction of the iPhone 5, the iPhone 4 has become to $0 iPhone.

It's not difficult to imagine a second line of thinking at Apple, one where they also tossed around the idea of secondary line of iPhones, designed to be less expensive from the start. Rumors of that "budget iPhone" or "iPhone nano" have been around every bit as long. But if that was the case, if Apple has such a device in the planning stages for 2010 or even earlier, they chose not to go that way, not to introduce more than one new model a year. At least not then...

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Security oversight in some apps could leave you vulnerable to hacking, data theft

Usually when sensitive information is being transferred over a network, the application will open an encrypted connection with the server using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). iOS ships with a list of Certificate Authorities whose SSL certificates should be trusted, helping to ensure traffic is only sent to trusted servers and not intercepted by a malicious third party using their own self-signed SSL certificate.

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The iPhone is once again one of the best Google phones on the planet

With Google's latest generation of better designed iOS apps, including Google+, Gmail, YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps, Chrome, and more, the iPhone 5 is once again among the very best Google phones on the planet. iOS may not enjoy the deep integration into everything Google that Android does, but for most things, the overall performance of the iPhone, and the ability to use the best of Google alongside the best of Apple, all on one device, makes for an incredibly compelling experience.

And it's been a while since any Apple or Google user could attest to that with anything approaching conviction.

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2012 iMore hall of fame

I've always been of the mindset that halls of fame should matter. It should take time to qualify, so impact and importance can be weighed with the full context and clarity of history. It should also be limited, so that those who change the way we think and feel, who inspire and innovate, who challenge and redefine, get the recognition they deserve, rather than simply getting lost in yet another list.

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Christmas Day customer activity showing Apple is crushing it, Android strong, Microsoft toast.

Christmas Day is a huge day for mobile device activations, obviously. Once we finish unwrapping our gifts and scarfing down a big breakfast, we all become children and want to immediately play with our gifts. For smartphones and tablets, that means activating your device on a network, and downloading a slew of apps. Once we install these apps (like Twitter), we start telling followers about our new device. Two pieces of research hit my radar today. They’re both quite fascinating and paint a picture of Apple dominating the scene.

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