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Weekend Roundup: Apple loses faith with iPhone 5S and 5C, Intel chases mobile at IDF and Marissa Mayer makes startling admission

iPhone 5S and 5C: Worse than pointless

Without the faintest hint of a doubt, the biggest story of the week was Apple's launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The ITProPortal team was in the office late to cover the event live, and it didn't disappoint. For the most part, all the rumours in the big build-up came true – the 5S packs a nifty fingerprint scanner, the 5C is clad in a plastic case and both will ship on 20 September.

However, one big expectation failed to materialise, and has hogged the headlines ever since. While the world anticipated a cheap iPhone 5C to satisfy the mid-range market and ramp up Apple's market share in China, what we've been presented with is a downgraded version of the iPhone 5 with a stonking basic price of £469.

This has not gone down too well with consumers, analysts or even investors, and Apple recorded a telling 5.4 per cent drop in its share price midweek. HSBC analyst Jenny Lai summed things up well, saying, "If you look at the price, it's clearly a high-end phone, not a low- or even midrange phone."

The general consensus is that the 5S and 5C are disappointing additions to Apple's line-up, and simply highlight Tim Cook's shortcomings in the post-Steve Jobs era. While the fingerprint sensor has been praised and mocked in equal measure (will it include a direct line to the NSA?), surely the company could have cooked up something more innovative than what is essentially a gold-coloured iPhone 5.

Intel moves towards mobility

Meanwhile, over in San Francisco, Intel is holding its autumn developer event, and it's been busy so far. From the very outset, the chip maker announced its intention to step up its pursuit of the smartphone and tablet markets, with CEO Brian Krzanich using his opening keynote (titled "Mobilizing Intel") to say that the company plans to be a leader "in every segment of computing."

To back up the claims, the firm has made a number of launches. One of the first out of the bag was Quark, Intel's smallest chip to date. The tiny device is one-fifth the size of the Atom processor, uses one tenth of the power and is – of course – intended for use in wearable devices. Gossip has tipped an Intel-branded smartwatch for quite a while now.

Its other big announcements have revolved around the new 22nm Bay Trail chips (now formally the Atom Z3000 series) and its upcoming line-up of 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrids, which will become available in time for Christmas. On the hardware front, the Bay Trail processors were introduced as "the world's first 22-nanometer SoC for clients."

It will feature in thin and light laptops and hybrids (including 2-in-1s), delivering 10+ hours of battery life, twice the compote performance of the previous generation of Atom SoCs and three times the graphics performance, according to Intel.

Marissa Mayer ruffles some feathers

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has also featured prominently in the news this week, causing a stir in the world of tech security. Following Apple's announcement that the new iPhone 5S will feature a fingerprint scanner, Mayer revealed that she does not use a passcode to unlock her iPhone.

This, understandably, led to a few enraged rants from security experts, with Graham Cluley writing, "Sure, she's a really smart person in many ways ... but when it comes to her personal privacy and smartphone security, she's an airhead." We don't appreciate the name-calling, but it's difficult to argue that Mayer's admission – as head of a company responsible for protecting the privacy of its many millions of users - was anything other than naïve.

Similarly, it's tough to ignore the first part of Cluley's quote. Mayer has now increased the firm's number of monthly active users by 20 per cent, up to 800 million.

The Yahoo chief then took the stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference to express her disgust with the US government over its PRISM spying antics, reminding the world that the firm tried to sue the FISA court in 2007 to gain the right to reveal NSA request details. Yahoo this week published its first global law enforcement transparency report, confirming that it received 12,444 requests for data from US authorities in the first half of this year.

Bottom image credit: Flickr (startupamerica)