Weekend news roundup: Apple iPhone 5 targets superfast LTE, Spotify’s software overhaul

10 Sep 2012

In our roundup of some of the top tech stories from the weekend, it looks like Apple’s iPhone 5 will be oriented to work on 4G networks (where available) around the world; Spotify is planning a new browser-based service; Nokia snatches defeat from the jaws of victory with Lumia 920; and blueprints for the new Apple Campus 2 ‘spaceship’ building are revealed.

iPhone 5 will work on the world’s fastest wireless networks

The Wall Street Journal reported that the new iPhone 5 due to be unveiled this week by Apple will work with LTE networks in the US, Europe and Asia.

However, on launch not every carrier – particularly in the UK and Ireland – will be compatible with the new LTE capability because as of yet each country has yet to hold wireless spectrum auctions before any network upgrade can happen.

LTE technology is much more fragmented than the previous third-generation wireless technology, making it more difficult to make LTE phones that work seamlessly around the world.

The paper reported that there are 36 different bands for LTE compared with 22 for the most popular version of 3G technology.

New Spotify browser software and mobile app in the works?

TechCrunch reported over the weekend that Spotify is planning to launch a completely overhauled browser-based version of its streaming music service.

Along with moving to the web, the redesign will focus more on discovery, including following the listening habits of friends.

It was also reported that a lower subscription price for its mobile app could also be in the works.

Nokia’s right royal screw-up

Nokia last week succeeded in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pandodaily opined. As the Finnish mobile giant endeavours to recapture lost market share from rivals like Apple and Samsung, all the good omens were lined up for a strong launch of its Lumia 920 but instead the tech press has been left reeling in confusion and disbelief.

It wasn’t the embarrassing revelation that a video showing off the PureView camera capabilities of the new device was in fact partly faked with a handheld camera used to capture vivid scenes of a hipster couple larking about on a bike that raised the eyebrows of the most cynical of reporters.

What raised the ire the most was the impression that the Windows Phone 8 device isn’t ready. Well, the software anyway. Reporters were allowed to look, not touch – again reinforcing doubt.

Then it emerged Friday that the phone won’t be going on sale until November – a lifetime in the mobile business as new devices from Apple and Samsung will no doubt launch in the meantime.

New president at PayPal works to alleviate customer concerns

AllThingsD reported on the battle faced by PayPal’s new president David Marcus to alleviate user concerns after a customer famously blogged about his funds being frozen.

In a blog post aimed at countering the negative publicity, Marcus revealed there is a culture change under way at PayPal. “If we suck at something, we now face it, and we do something about it,” Marcus said.

The meaning behind Marcus’ words can be underlined by a major desire by the company to be innovative again and regain its position as one of Silicon Valley’s innovative darlings. The company is plotting a move into the world of offline payments and mobile commerce is beginning to boom.

PayPal’s senior director of user interface engineering Bill Scott blogged that a major transformation is under way at PayPal.

Inside the Apple spaceship building

9to5Mac got its hands on the blueprints for the Apple Campus 2 building, a spaceship-like development spearheaded by the late Steve Jobs. The report, which came with confidential images, shows a confection of towering tall glass windows, shimmering pillars and native California redwood and apricot trees.

The futuristic building’s rooftop will be covered entirely in solar panels. The building will sit on land Apple bought from HP and other Cupertino, California, neighbours for US$300m.

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