Weekend news round-up: A terrifying vision of tomorrow; new iPhones out 10 September?

12 Aug 2013

The iPhone 5

In our round-up of the top tech stories from the weekend, we learn hackers will soon be able to invade your car, your home and possibly even your body. On a more positive note, 10 September is being hailed as the reveal data for Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, a premium and economy model of the smartphone respectively.

A terrifying vision of tomorrow

New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton presented a terrifying vision of tomorrow; a world where hackers can take over your car and your home with catastrophic implications.

“Hackers and security researchers are moving away from simply trying to break into – or protect – people’s e-mail accounts, stealing credit cards and other dirty digital deeds. Now they’re exploring vulnerabilities to break through the high-tech security of homes, cause car accidents or in some extreme cases, kill people who use implanted medical devices.”

10 September might be launch date of next iPhone(s)

The tech blogs blazed in delight at the weekend when the news emerged that 10 September is the likely date for the launch of Apple’s new iPhone or iPhones.

AllThingsD reported: “The launch comes at an important time for Apple, which continues to make a lot of money from the iPhone but has seen its global market share dip amid a growing wave of lower-cost Android devices, as well as an intense battle with arch rival Samsung.

“One of the key questions is whether Apple adopts a new tactic to address the mid-range of the smartphone market. Historically, Apple has gone after those customers by offering its year-old and two-year-old models for $100 and $200 less than a new iPhone. However, there has been a great deal of talk that the company will debut a new lower-cost iPhone alongside whatever update it has in store for the current iPhone 5.”

The new names of the iPhone family

9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman reported that the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C are to be the names of the premium and economy models of the respective forthcoming smartphones from Apple.

Based on an earlier report from Japan-based Macotakara, Gurman also reported that “the iconic app-icon symbol on the Home button will be removed from the 5S. Perhaps this may avoid user confusion, as the home button will no longer be for controlling apps: it may be for fingerprint scanning, as well. However, Apple has not demonstrated a tendency of removing iconic elements from the iPhone: the overall iPhone design has looked largely the same since its debut in 2007.”

A scary thought about email 

Forbes carried an insightful interview with Ladar Levison, founder of Lavabit, which he shut down last week in anticipation of heavy-handed surveillance tactics by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The frightening suggestion from Levison is that few email services can be considered safe from surveillance.

“I’m taking a break from email,” said Levison. “If you knew what I know about email, you might not use it either.”

The brains of Bezos

The Washington Post carried an inevitable profile of its new owner Jeff Bezos, and painted a picture of a brilliant mind, a curiosity about the world and an ease with numbers.

“What emerges from dozens of interviews with friends and colleagues from every stage of his life, combined with his own previous comments, is a portrait of a curious mind attracted to grand schemes. He is a tenacious businessman, too, tough on employees who don’t measure up, ruthless with competitors and willing to take risks.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years