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Weekend Roundup: Apple iWatch rumours abound, Bitdefender crowned antivirus king, cloud market explored

Apple prepping iWatch?

In the fast-moving tech world the iPhone 5 launch seems a long time ago now, and with ‘iPhone 5S’ rumours still lacking substance in their embryonic state, we have been stuck in a bit of Apple limbo recently. So thank goodness we had some fresh ‘iWatch’ rumours to sink our teeth into this week.

The reports appear to be more than just flaky conjecture too, with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg all citing inside sources in their iWatch revelations. The Times says the the idea is in the “experimenting” stage, the WSJ goes one further claiming production plans are being discussed with manufacturing partner Foxconn, while Bloomberg tops the lot by reporting that a team of 100 designers are already hard at work on the device.

With the merits of wearable technology once again being debated in the tech press, James Plafke ponders whether an iWatch would be the product to reignite Apple fever among consumers, or if it actually represents a somewhat misguided plan. Not content with the possibility of one new Apple line, James Laird has gone on to round up all the possible 'i' innovations that could one day be emerging from Cupertino – including TVs, glasses, cameras, and of course, fridges.

We visit AV-Comparatives lab, scene of Bitdefender triumph

After Romanian security firm Bitdefender was awarded the coveted Product of the Year award for 2013 by independent test group AV-Comparatives, ITProPortal flew out to Austria last weekend to meet both the prize givers and receivers.

Alongside AV-Test, AV-Comparatives has become one of the most respected institutions in antivirus testing and it was fascinating to visit its lab in Innsbruck and see exactly how they put the market’s top AV products through their paces. There may have been a disappointing lack of long white coats, bottled malware samples and bubbling test tubes, but the nine month process that tests the security software is unquestionably thorough, as the newest, most lethal threats are thrown at the products throughout the year in a variety of scenarios.

Bitdefender had beaten off stiff competition from the likes of Kaspersky, Avast, ESET and Bullguard to claim the trophy, and company officials told me how they believed greater innovation and creativity has given it the edge over its rivals, despite other firms enjoying greater funding and man power. Follow the link for more on one of the security industry’s biggest players, and the testing group that heralded its recent success.

Comprehending the cloud

Cloud computing has seemingly been ‘on trend’ for an age, and as a result there is an absolute wealth of cloud-based products available to both businesses and home users. Handily simplifying what’s on the market in the first of a three part cloud series, James Morris this week provided a comprehensive run-down of the major cloud offerings, covering the likes of Gmail, Dropbox, Windows Live SkyDrive, iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive, and more.

Office favourites like Gmail and Microsoft Exchange now offer a whole host of tools and applications, so it is worth checking out how best to utilise their full capabilities and what kind of money can be saved from their services. The storage-focused cloud market has also seen rapid growth, but our guide neatly compares and contrasts the storage capacity and overall packages of the key players in this field, so you can see who you should be entrusting with your data. Not neglecting the industrial-strength cloud options for large organisations, Morris goes on to summarise services from IBM, CTERA and Memset, leaving all the bases covered in our guide.

With the very principals and methods behind cloud covered too, look no further than the link above if you’ve been struggling to keep track of developments in one of tech’s biggest sectors.