Last week, it was all about the iPhone 5… the hype hasn’t quite died down, as the first round of reviews were published, the mocking ads hit YouTube and the queues started forming in front of iStores ahead of today’s release. But it was also a week for comical iOS 6 Maps problems, discussions around #muslimrage and envy about the free smartphone programme at Yahoo! Here are our picks for the best of the week.
Written by Maria Bustillos, this thoughtful piece discusses how the immediacy of smartphone photography has influenced society’s notion of ‘the truth’. She touches on subjects like citizen journalism, humankind’s obsession with recording everything and the power of a connected crowd in an world increasingly driven by immediacy. It’s an overview of some of the emerging ideas around sharing information in real time and how reality is becoming increasingly collaborative.
iFan? You may not want to read this (or you may just want to click on through already and start trolling the comments section). Adding to the debate surrounding the evolutionary (but not revolutionary) iPhone 5, Rahul Agarwal suggests that Apple may be headed down a dangerous path if it continues to place so much of its focus on a product which may or may not stand up to the competition and users’ increasing demands. Yes, the iPhone is still an amazing device: but Nokia and Samsung are stepping up their game and producing knock-out phones too.
Google News has been called everything from a “digital vampire” to a pirate by media owners and journalists, who accused the tech giant’s aggregation function of harvesting and making a profit from their content. But the power of Google is undeniable: around one-billion users see Google News every week, and publishers crave that traffic. They were building what their users needed before they realized they needed it. Then again, how does an algorithm understand and rank the minute distinctions in the news?
When was the last time you watched a TV show without picking up your phone? We’re increasingly using multiple devices simultaneously and making even previously individual experiences networked ones through social media. You can’t shout at your TV screen and tell the characters what they should do, but now you can tweet your suggestions. Some major TV shows are even altering their scripts and story lines to answer the questions raised by viewers on Twitter, but where is the line between listening to the audience and transforming scripted TV into a user-directed story where you can design your own ending?
As Apple continues in its quest to divorce from Google, the move is raising questions about whether it is the best strategy for the users. Apple’s native maps app has nowhere near the wealth of data or detail that Google has managed to amass over the years — so why the switch? The Guardian’s Charles Arthur considers Apple’s choice to stick with in-house apps in the context of its past design decisions (like its unwillingness to support Flash) and questions if this is yet another instance of Apple’s non-conformist philosophy or a major setback.