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The whole tech press has been getting excited over the past couple of days over yet more alleged iPhone 6 leaks - this time, it is photos purported to be from the Chinese factory where the phone will be made showing the mould in which the phone's case will be moulded from. Yes, this is a big deal, apparently.

The images surfaced over the weekend on Weibo, which is a Chinese social network that has similarities to Twitter - and apparently show sketches and moulds from Foxconn's plant.

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The images are (perhaps) interesting because they show what shape the iPhone 6 will be - these are essentially the cookie cutters.

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What's amusing with this image is that it appears to show that software running on Windows XP is an integral part of the production process for the iPhone 6. Who'd have thought it?

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...And above we have the finished mould.

Why this is (arguably) significant is because of the endless rumours flying around about the iPhone 6 coming in two different sizes: one 'normal' phone, that will have a screen of similar stature to the 5S - about 4.7", and one larger 'phablet' screen clocking in at 5.5".

If you can deduce anything from the above images and the dimensions of the phone then you're a better person than I am - though I do think that, assuming these images are legitimate, that we can say with confidence that the iPhone 6 will be broadly rectangular.

Want to make your iPhone photos look better? Then it might be worth picking up the Oloclip - a four-in-one lens device that just clips on to the corner of your phone.

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The latest version is the 4-in-1 lens, which is available in versions for both iPhone 4/4S and 5/5S. Lenses include a macro lens, for close-up shots (with zoom distances of 10x and 15x), a wide-angel lens to increase the rather limited field of vision, and a fish-eye lens for capturing up to 180 degrees.

Here's a video of me speaking to their spokesperson at Gadget Show Live yesterday:

Having seen it in action, I can vouch for it being an impressive bit of kit - on the stand they had some sand, and it was possible to pick out individual grains in detail, rather than experience a blurry mess as you would with the normal camera lens.

What's great is the app will work with any app that can shoot photos or video - because it is only a hardware intervention, meaning your Instagrams are going to look a whole lot more exciting.

The Olloclip retails for about £60 - so whilst perhaps a little pricey for the casual user, if you're looking to do some serious iPhone photography, this could be a good option.

Apple is slowly working on bringing the iPhone experience to the car dashboard - and some screenshots of what it might look like have surfaced on Twitter, thanks to developer Steven Stroughton-Smith.

"iOS in the car", as it is being called has been in development for some time - though until now information has been somewhat limited. The idea is that when you get into your car, your iPhone will hook up to your in-car display - enabling you to access phone-powered GPS and other apps and services.

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Above is what looks like a home screen - with only the Apple Maps app available on it. As you might expect, things are being kept simple so that drivers can keep their eyes on the road - so the only other stuff is the time, a wifi indicator to confirm there's a connection and a virtual "home" button.

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Here's Apple Maps running in car mode - again, with slightly stripped back controls and operating in landscape mode. The buttons appear to be a bit chunkier than on normal iPhone apps, because when driving its easier to mash your fingers on to roughly the right place than be precise.

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Be careful! Here's a friendly reminder that what Apple Maps tells you to do maybe inaccurate. I think this is the closest we're going to get to an official apology for Apple Maps being beyond terrible.

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And finally, here's another maps screenshot showing how you can access bookmarked locations.

So it is clearly early days for iOS in the Car - but here's hoping Apple making it just as open as the main iOS platform - not least so we can get Google Maps, but also also because it will be interesting to see how developers take to building in-car functionality.

As you might expect, there's no details on release dates yet.

matchday.pngO2 have rolled out an update to the contents of their Matchday app ahead of Saturday's England vs Argentina QBE Rugby International at Twickenham.

The updated app looks set to feature lots of video content, to take advantage of O2's recently launched 4G services. This includes access to a live video stream of Stuart Lancaster's post-match press conference, and up to ten replays of action on the pitch.

There's also going to be free behind the scenes video featurettes showing what happened in the run-up to the match, as well as textual match reports and the ability to browse team line-ups.

Perhaps most intriguingly is the return of Reflink, which was used earlier this year for the 6Nations. Reflink gives the app user a live stream of the referee's microphone - allowing them to listen in on exactly what the ref is saying, and why he's making the decisions that way. If anything, it will enable the verbal abuse shouted at him to at least be more accurate.

What's also cool is that the app has finally launched on non-iOS platforms - so Android and Blackberry 10 users can also get in on the action. Sounds like it'll make a good companion to the game.

Personally I'm hoping that Reflink technology will be extended to other sports - so we can listen in to umpires in Tennis, coxswaines in rowing, or backbench MPs during Prime Minister's Questions.

Significant Vine update adds two new functions

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vinethumb.pngThe Twitter owned video app Vine, which enables users to share short looped videos lasting up to 6 seconds, has just added two significant new functions in a new update to the app, which was pushed out late last night.

The new features will come as a welcome surprise to any hardcore Vine users. The first is Sessions, that enables the user to have up to 10 on-going "sessions" simultaneously.

What this means is that if you shoot a video, you don't have to upload it immediately (great if you're Vining somewhere that doesn't have any phone signal), and more significantly, you can have 10 "work in progress" Vines at any one time - switching between which one you're recording to. Great if you want to take your time putting something together.

The other new feature is what they're calling Time Travel. This allows you to re-order the individual clips in a given Vine. Whilst you can't add in clips from elsewhere, it does mean that you can finesse what you've shot to optimise how it appears.

This should be of particular interest to many of Vine's "creatives", who against all 6-second odds have managed to turn it into a fascinating creative platform. Check out some of the Vines in the compilation below to see some of the clever and funny things people have been making (in addition to depressing videos of people being horrible to each other and hurting themselves):

You can grab the latest update on your phone's App Store now.

Bored by Instagram? A new photo-based networking app launches today that makes your photos more social than ever.

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Dubble's premise is fairly simple: you take a photo, and it is uploaded to the Dubble servers, where it is randomly paired with another uploader's photo - to create "double exposed" images - like one image laid on top of another.

The resulting mash-ups can then be posted on to the user's Facebook and Twitter pages.

The potential for this app is certainly interesting, and could create some intriguing new art.

The press release describes some of the "dubbles" so far:

"This summer, dubble began developing its community with 40 friends and family, across 18 countries -- taking photographs and uploading to the dubble community. The random dubbling has already created wonderful images that see Spanish music festivals dubbled with family pets; fairground carousels dubbled with French holiday beach scenes; flamingos with cityscapes."

So, er, if that appeals to you then you can grab Dubble on the iPhone App store (it's free!).

Streaming giant Netflix have added a couple of new features to their iOS apps that should excite iPhone-touting film.

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The new update that was released earlier today brings the app up to compatibility with the new iOS7. Visually not much has happened (it was already pretty flat) - but what is interesting is that they've added support for Airplay. This means that if you have an Apple TV, or similarly compatible device, rather than be restricted to your phone's tiny screen, you can watch it on your TV.. whilst using your phone as a remote. Nifty.

They've also added full HD support - which is crucial if you want to enjoy some of Netflix's, er, B-list film catalogue, like Taffin, without compromising on picture quality.

Go to the app store now and get updating!

10 best new free iPhone games

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The iPhone is chock-full of games available for download - but what's been happening lately? What games should we be getting excited about on the platform?

Warning: This feature could seriously eat up a lot of your time - not directly, but eventually. If you're a known procrastinator, please treat these recommendations with the utmost care.

5 other things you didn't know that iOS7 did

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Now everyone knows that iOS7 makes your phone waterproof... right? Or at least, that's what some realistic adverts created by the lovable trolls at 4Chan would make you think. Over the last few days some rather unfortunate internet users have been testing this new functionality out - with some fishy results.

So the jury is still out on waterproofing - but did you know iOS7 can do a whole lot more than that? Here's five other things that you didn't know iOS7 can do.

iphone-5s-r-2.jpgProving that Apple malaise hasn't fully kicked in yet, the Cupertino tech giants have just announced that a record-breaking nine million of the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets were sold over their launch weekend.

That's a substantially larger number than the five million sold during the iPhone 5's launch weekend, though it obviously wasn't being propped up by the newly-introduced, cheaper 5C last year.

Though US retailers are claiming that the iPhone 5S (now sold out in the majority of shops) sold in quantities three times as many as that of the iPhone 5C, the large nine million overall sales figure suggests that the colourful 5C did at least hold its own. That's contrary to UK reports suggesting pre-order figures for the handset were dire. Perhaps those hunting an elusive iPhone 5S handset eventually caved and went for the cheaper iPhone 5C instead.

"This is our best iPhone launch yet - more than nine million new iPhones sold - a new record for first weekend sales," says Apple's CEO, Tim Cook.

"The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone's patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone."

Click here for a full run down on the iPhone 5S, and here for the low-down on the iPhone 5C.

nokiaappletweet.jpgA simple tweet from Nokia having a knock at Apple's new iPhone 5C handset has become a certified Twitter viral smash.

On the night of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S launch, Nokia's official Twitter account posted the message "Thanks, #Apple ;)", alongside a picture of the company's colourful Lumia range with the tagline "Imitation is the best form of flattery". It seems as if the Finnish smartphone manufacturers believe Apple took more than a little inspiration from the look of the Lumia's when it comes to the new colourful plastic casing found on the iPhone 5C line-up.

And, even if Lumia sales pale in comparison to iPhones, Twitter users retweeted the hell out of the post. Twitter have revealed that the post was shared and retweeted over 38,000 times since the iPhone's unveiling.

Turn those retweets into some Lumia sales and Nokia/Microsoft would be truly smiling.

iPhone-5s-r-1.jpgIt's only been on sale for three days, but the Apple iPhone 5S's headlining security feature, the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, has already been hacked.

It took just a weekend for German security group Chaos Computer Club (CCC) to break the new Apple security measure.

"A fingerprint of the phone user, photographed from a glass surface, was enough to create a fake finger that could unlock an iPhone 5s secured with Touch ID," the group wrote on their blog.

It wasn't exactly a straightforward process though. Anyone trying to replicate the group's process would first have to find a full and clean fingerprint belonging to the iPhone's owner, then photograph it at 2,400 dpi resolution. After that, the image would then need to be inverted and laser printed on a transparent sheet in 1,200 dpi using a thick toner setting. Next, the would-be hacker would have to use latex milk or white wood-glue to create a mould, spreading it onto the transparent sheet, breathing onto the mould to add moisture before pulling off the completed fake fingerprint.

It's all a bit like something out Mission Impossible, but according to the CCC, it was a relatively easy process to pull, especially considering the potential criminal rewards that could be acquired by hacking an iPhone 5S.

"We hope that this finally puts to rest the illusions people have about fingerprint biometrics," said Chaos Computer Club's Frank Rieger.

"It is plain stupid to use something that you can´t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token,"

Scroll down to check out the hack being carried out.

ios-7-logo.pngiOS 7 finally finished downloading to your Apple device of choice? Great, then you'll be delighted to hear that Apple already have iOS 7.0.1 ready to download and update your device too!

The update's a fair bit smaller than the sizeable iOS 7 overhaul that launched this week and was masterminded by Apple's Jony Ive, weighing in at just 13.8MB. Hopefully that'll go some way towards easing the server strain that saw many iOS users wait hours to complete their initial iOS 7 upgrades.

Seemingly only rolling out to iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C owners initially (our iPad Mini still hasn't got the iOS 7.0.1 download prompt), the upgrade promises a number of "bug fixes and improvements", top of the list of which is better support for the Touch ID fingerprint scanner in the App Store.

We'll keep you posted as to any new findings the update brings, and when to expect to see it roll out to older devices.

ifixit-5s.jpgIf you fancy yourself as a bit of a whizz with a screwdriver, you may have your work cut out for you with the newly-released iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C smartphones from Apple. According to DIY gadget repair experts over at iFixit, the latest phones from the Cupertino firm are even more difficult to fix at home than their predecessor the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5S seems to be the trickier of the two to fix, thanks in part to its new integrated Touch ID fingerprint scanner. A weak connection between the sensor and the phone's Lightning port area adds a "small element of danger" to the repair process, according to iFixit.

That's not the only concern with the Touch ID module, with the team worried about its overall durability.

"We worry about how well the sapphire crystal covering can protect it from degrading over time, like most CMOS fingerprint sensors. It could become a ticking time bomb."

Lastly, the battery unit in the 5S is glued into the casing, unlike the pull-out battery buried under the iPhone 5 chassis, adding yet another difficult element to the repair process.

Similar problems were found with the iPhone 5C, which also suffered from a glued-in battery, a screen that could be damaged if a removal was attempted, and a finicky antenna.

Interestingly, iFixit's teardown saw the team unable to identify the new M7 co-motion processor (the newly-added feature which will help lead to improved fitness and motion-tracking apps),leading them to speculate that it is part of the new A7 processor rather than a discrete chip.

Overall, the new iPhones both got a repairability score of six out of 10. While not a shocking result, it does see both drop a point to predecessor the iPhone 5 which scored a seven out of 10, while competitor Samsung's flagship the Samsung Galaxy S4 managed a very respectable eight out of 10.

apple-ios-7-apps-2.jpgApple's lead designer Sir Jony Ive has given a rare interview with USA Today, in which he revealed the speedy turnaround of the company's latest mobile operating system revamp, iOS 7.

Work began on iOS 7 just back in November 2012, said Ive, an incredibly quick development cycle considering it was ready to show to the world by June 2013, and the fact that it is a considerable revamp for the OS.

The Brit-born knight of the realm's decision to remove elements of skeuomorphism from the iOS look has been widely praised. Ive explained that, in a world now accustomed to touchscreens, references back to real-world objects in the design now seemed anachronistic.

"When we sat down last November [to work on iOS 7], we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn't need physical buttons, they understood the benefits," said Ive.

"So there was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way."

"I think a lot of people see simplicity as the lack of clutter. And that's not the case at all," continued Ive.

"True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, 'Yeah, well, of course.' Where there's no rational alternative."

While Ive gave no indication as to what was coming next from Apple ("I'd lose my job" claimed Ive, should he momentarily become loose-lipped) he did state the new iPhone 5S Touch ID fingerprint scanner was exactly what he loved about working for the Cupertino company; the way they can integrate complicated features in a way consumers will see as seamless.

"This right here is what I love about Apple, this incredibly sophisticated powerful technology that you're almost not aware of, it absolutely blows me away," said Ive.

"You can't get this without working cross-functionally."

iPhone 5S UK launch tainted by stock shortages

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iphone-5s-r-3.jpgThis morning's launch of Apple's latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, has been marred by stock shortages, with both Apple's own retail stores and those of the UK networks struggling to meet demand.

iPhone hunters took to Twitter to state that many of Apple's brick and mortar stores sold out of the handset within an hour of going on sale, including the Regent's Street, Cambridge and Cardiff stores. Those hoping to pick up the gold-coloured version of the handset were likely to have even less luck, with the variant said to be available in extremely limited numbers from the offset, selling out first.

O2 customers however seem the unluckiest of all. Speaking to Tech Radar, a spokesperson for the network stated that there was no in-store stock of the 5S, and that a pre-order wait could last as long as a month and a half

"We won't have iPhone 5S stock in stores to sell but customers will be able to place their order with us in-store. They can also order online or over the phone," said the O2 spokesperson. "If customers are in store they'll be able to get a demo of the phone and place their order with the help of one of our store advisors.

A similar situation was found at EE, with limited numbers of handsets being held back to primarily satisfy 4G customers, while those on the Orange and T-Mobile networks (under the EE umbrella) were straight out of luck.

Vodafone stock levels were said to be slightly better with some stock in stores available on a "first come, first served basis", while Three also confirmed that their customers could "go in store or buy online" if they were on the prowl for the 5S.

While the fingerprint-scanning 5S is in short supply then (and will likely fly onto eBay at extortionate prices any minute now), there are still plenty of the iPhone 5C handsets to go around, which appear to have performed very badly at the pre-order stage.

iphone-5c-official-top.jpgThe annual hysteria that surrounds Apple's mobile phone launches seems to be waning, if the latest iPhone 5C pre-order figures from UK network sources are to be believed.

Speaking to The Guardian, an anonymous network source said that the iPhone 5C had managed just a tenth of pre-order numbers previous generations had hit:

"It's been a big disappointment. We are seeing a decline in the number of pre-orders. They are 60% to 70% less than we were expecting, and we didn't expect them to be massively high given it's not the flagship model."

Given that the most successful iPhone launches have racked up between 75,000 and 100,000 pre-orders, it's a very slow start for the new handset. "This is one tenth of those numbers," said the source.

So what's caused the pre-order decline? A number of factors - for starters, this is the first time in iPhone history that two new models have launched simultaneously, so there will inevitably be cannibalization of sales. Keep in mind that the iPhone 5S, not the 5C is the premium device, and yet the price difference is less than £100. With Apple not opening pre-orders for the 5S, and the 5C landing at such an unexpectedly high price, it's likely many would-be iPhone buyers are holding out until this Friday, when the 5S makes its debut in stores.

Thumbnail image for man using iphone.jpgAre the young deserting Apple? Thats the question that's being posed by mobile phone comparison site, www.mobilephonechecker.co.uk. It has carried out a study aimed at uncovering the age of the average iPhone in the UK and found out that the average age of an iPhone owner has risen by a decade in the last two years.

The study polled a group of 2,083 adult iPhone owners aged 18-65 and asked them to state when they had purchased their first iPhone handset.

A surprisingly high 37% had purchased their first iPhone handset in the past 6 months; with the average age of respondents who'd purchased their phone in the past 6 months revealed to be '34.4 years.'

Contrast this with the 52% of respondents who had been an iPhone owner for two years or more, where the average age of making their purchase was '24.8 years.

Interestingly when asked if they were planning on extending their iPhone contracts after their existing ones had expired, 66% of people aged 35 and over said 'yes'; while just 42% of those aged 18-34 said the same.

Of the younger group 42% of respondents said they were going to swap the iPhone for a Samsung while 26%, claimed 'It's too expensive to keep up the payments on my iPhone contract.'

Adam Cable, Director of MobilePhoneChecker.co.uk, made the following comments on the results of the study:

"I am not particularly surprised at the rise in the average age of the iPhone owner over the past two years. I have even noticed that my parents and many of their friends are now proud iPhone owners, obsessed with downloading iTunes and apps, and engaging in social media more than ever."

"This, along with the expense of keeping an iPhone, may explain why many of the younger iPhone owners polled in our study are considering switching to another make of mobile phone once their current contracts run out, despite the recent announcements surrounding the release of the more economical upcoming iPhone 5C."

So what do you think?

I am guessing that this survey was undertaken before the launch of the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C, which will certainly attract some younger buyers. It will be interesting to monitor those iPhone sales figures in the next few months.

Originally published on Shiny Shiny

iphone-5c-official-mid.jpgO2 staff may have a headache on their hands come the launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C handsets. Despite both phones supporting 4G bands, and O2's 4G network launching late last month, it appears the latest smartphone hardware coming out of Cupertino will not work on O2's 4G network, at least not at first.

"The iPhone 5C and 5S will ultimately work on O2′s 4G network, but we are currently waiting for Apple to enable the carrier bundle for our network. We've been advised this will be in the coming weeks," said O2.

Essentially, this looks to mean that, though you'll be able to buy the new iPhones on a 4G contract from O2, you won't actually benefit from the superfast speed.

It's all sounding like a bit of a kerfuffle then, and to slow the tide of complaints sure to flood its way, O2 will be offering £5 off the first month of new iPhone 4G contracts.

"We want to be transparent about this with customers, so we are giving £5 off, and clearly they'll still have 3G connectivity until the carrier bundle is enabled to allow 4G on our network," it states.

O2 will also be offering the new iPhones through their O2 Refresh deals, letting current contract customers upgrade to the new handsets before their current contracts run out. A £120 upfront fee using O2 Refresh would bag you the iPhone 5S on a £37 a month tariff, with 1GB of data and more minutes and texts than any human would/should be able to get through.

Talk-show prankster Jimmy Kimmel is at it again. This time he's taken his crew to Hollywood Boulevard, where he's pulling the wool over the eyes of shoppers, leading them to believe that last year's iPad Mini is in fact the new iPhone 5S, revealed last night.

As a fellow gullible prank victim (long story, my brother once convinced me he was going to be the Foo Fighter's new guitarist) I can't be one to point fingers. But when you've got people licking tablets as you've tricked them into thinking they each come in a different flavour, that's a whole new level of stupid.

Following Jimmy Kimmel's "Twerkgate" prank scandal however, there's a good chance that everyone in this video is a paid actor, so grab that pinch of salt you were saving for tonight's chips.

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