iOS 6 and Apple Maps-gate
After months of anticipation, we finally got our hands on Apple's latest mobile operating system this week. Released a day before the launch of the iPhone 5 - which, unsurprisingly, saw eager fans camping out and lining up in front of Apple stores around the world - iOS 6 brings new features such as the rewards card and coupon management app Passbook and improvements to existing functions like social integration and voice-activated digital assistant Siri.
But the new software has left some disappointed critics in its wake - Edward Oswald describes it as a fail (opens in new tab), writing that "while some of the enhancements are wonderful and much needed (Siri especially), there's a lot wrong with iOS 6."
When the dust settles, iOS 6 will likely be remembered for the disappointment that is Apple's new mapping app, which was introduced as replacement to Google Maps as the operating system's default navigation app. The software, developed using technology from Dutch sat-nav firm TomTom, has been panned to the point of ridicule by journalists and customers alike (opens in new tab). From its wildly inaccurate data to its lack of public transport navigation, Apple Maps has proved to be a dark spot on the company's perfectionist reputation. Though a spokesperson has promised the software will "improve" over time (opens in new tab), it might be too little, too late.
Though the iPhone 5 will almost certainly be the year's biggest mobile launch - unlikely to be rivalled by any device other than Samsung's Galaxy S3 - the impending arrival of Windows Phone 8 will herald more announcements in the mobile sphere over the next few months.
The latest company to throw its hat into the ring is Taiwan-headquartered HTC. The mobile giant on Wednesday unveiled two brand-new phones that will run on Windows Phone 8 following its arrival later this fall: the higher-end Windows Phone 8X and the more budget-friendly Windows Phone 8S. Though Alex Colon's hands-on review of the pair found them to be impressive contenders, it will be interesting to see how they fare against previously announced handsets by Nokia and Samsung that will also run on Microsoft's next-generation mobile OS. The competition between the big three - iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 - will surely continue to ramp up over the next few months, but will HTC's 'quiet brilliance' be a boon for Microsoft?
UK leads Internet attacks as cyber threats mount
The week has been flush with mobile news, but there have also been developments in the security world. New research from web security firm Incapsula, which will henceforth be issuing a monthly report on the origins of Internet attacks by country, has found the UK to be the world leader in cyber attacks per capita (opens in new tab). Though the US and China are responsible for the greatest volume of Internet hacks, more are originating from the UK as a percentage of online usage.
Meanwhile, security firms Kaspersky and Symantec have independently discovered three more instances of a Flame-like virus (opens in new tab), which are expected to "bolster a growing view that the US government is using cyber technology more widely than previously believed to further its interests in the Middle East," Reuters said. Though still in their early stages, the threats are likely be designed for sabotage or espionage purposes, lending more credibility to the claim that they are politically motivated. Cyber attacks are widely believed to be the next frontier in geopolitical conflict, and with more nationally linked data available, we could be watching a global security phenomenon as it begins to unfurl.