Weekend news round-up: Apple’s geek chic, Netflix goes short form

8 Sep 2014

In our round-up of the weekend’s tech news, Apple’s big reveal this week could be as much a fashion show as a tech unveiling, HP’s bitter war of words over Autonomy, and Netflix tailors short-form content for mobile.

Apple gets ready to storm the fashion world

By the end of this week we’ll all be sick of hearing about consumer tech giant Apple, iPhones and smartwatches. That is, of course, until their eventual arrival in various markets around the world and we’ll all get excited again. Same old, same old … 

The consensus is there will be two smartphones – a 4.7-inch model and a 5.5-inch model – along with a new wearable device that may or may not be known as the iWatch. 

It is widely agreed that not only will the tech world be watching what Apple unveils tomorrow, but the fashion world will be watching, too.

According to Reuters: “Apple is forging closer ties to the fashion world as it plots its foray into the fertile field of wearable technology, trying to win over a critical crowd that may prove crucial to the success of consumer gadgets worn around the body.

“A smartwatch would represent chief executive officer Tim Cook’s first real new product since taking the baton from Steve Jobs. Several fashion media editors told Reuters they received invitations for the first time to an annual September product launch, which they took as confirmation of a wristwatch in the wings.”

But it is the ecosystem around the new devices that will be also quite interesting.

“Apple’s upcoming wearable device, based on iOS, will run third-party applications and, furthermore, may come equipped with an App Store, according to two sources with knowledge of the new device,” according to 9to5Mac. “It is currently unclear if the App Store will be full-fledged, like on the iPhone and iPad, or if it will be a special section within the iPhone App Store for apps that play nicely with the new wearable device.”

Leaked images of devices purporting to be the 4.7-inch so-called iPhone 6 indicate the device will be a conduit for mobile commerce and NFC applications with Passbook in effect being the mobile wallet, according to MacRumors.

“Photos of the home screen reveal a different icon for Passbook, adding a fourth horizontal stripe to the current stripes showing an airplane, a movie camera, and a coffee cup. This new red stripe appears to include an image of a credit card, likely indicating support for mobile payments through Passbook.”

Intel gets its smartwatch on, too

Chip giant Intel has every intention of catching the wearable computing wave and according to Reuters it has joined forces with fashion brand Fossil to design a new range of smartwatches.

“The collaboration comes as Intel tries to expand beyond the personal computer industry into new markets, including tablets and a growing wave of ‘smart’ watches and other internet-connected garments.

“As well as co-operating on technology-oriented fashion products, Fossil will help Intel’s venture-capital arm look for investments to accelerate innovation in wearable computing.

“Intel has also been working with design company Opening Ceremony to launch a fashion bracelet with semi-precious gems, communications features and wireless charging.”

Netflix to tailor content for mobile users

In a move that makes infinite sense, Netflix is to start including short-form content in its library that would be more suitable for people using smartphones rather than attempting to watch a 90-minute movie, according to GigaOM.

“Netflix has always been all about TV shows and movies, but soon, it could feature a lot of shorter clips, as well: The company is considering adding two- to five-minute-long clips to its catalogue to give its growing number of mobile users some bite-sized content to watch.”

But rather than taking on YouTube with short webisodes, Netflix is more likely “serve up key scenes from TV shows, short snippets of movies and little bits from comedy stand-up specials, all taken out of the catalogue of shows and movies Netflix already has.”

HP’s battle over Autonomy steps up a gear

The bitter wrangling between tech giant HP and Mike Lynch over Autonomy, the company HP bought for US$11.7bn, continues, according to The Telegraph.

“Hewlett-Packard has made public an internal email from the former chief financial officer of Autonomy to its founder Mike Lynch warning of revenues falling away that had been ‘covered up’, and of sales staff chasing ‘imaginary deals’.

“HP claims the disclosure supports its allegations of fraud against Dr Lynch, who was then chief executive of Autonomy. It has today accused him in a Californian court of lying “to an extraordinary extent” about the performance of his company during the due diligence process that led to its US$11.7bn (£7.1bn) acquisition.

“The email was among documents filed today in support of a proposed settlement with HP shareholders over the disastrous takeover claim that accounting improprieties meant its non-hardware revenues were 26.4pc lower than reported in the six-month period before the deal.”

Smartwatch image via Shutterstock

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