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Getting a little bored with adding endless selfies to your Facebook page? Pining for the days when you were little bit more imaginative on social media? Then it sounds like new iOS app Ku (as it short for Haiku) is for you.

The app tries to stretch your creativity a little by encouraging you to produce more interesting and some might say flowery, social media updates.

It does this by using questions to inspire its users to come up with their own mini Haikus though you can pretty much write what you want. Once this is done you get the option of adding a little doodle or even a photo.

You then share your genius posts on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else. I am not sure that Instagram has too much to worry about but this little app could become a cult hit.

feeling_skin.jpgWe thought we couldn't know any more about what our friends are doing at any given moment, thanks to the world of social media, but The Feeling Skin has now created a social network based on emotion, complete with a smartphone case that lights up to tell you what mood your friends are in.

The case, which works alongside an app, glows different colours depending on your friends' mood, thanks to a built-in LED. You can also ask your friends how they're doing throughout the day, just by touching a 'pulse' button on the back of the case. The app works by letting you record short Vine-style videos, to which you can add either a "Mood Up" or a "Mood Down" emotion. These videos can then be posted to the app's network, along with Twitter and Facebook, for your friends to see.

The case, designed for the iPhone 5s and 5c, also works as a battery recharger - with a 1450 mAh battery built in, which gives your iPhone an extra energy boost between full charges.

Paris, France-based developers Twelve Monkeys Company claim they have a patent pending design which allows you to sync your iPhone to your computer without having to take it out of the case first, which has already passed Apple's MFi (Made for iPhone) certification process.

The Kickstarter project is aiming for a total amount of $40,000, and with 25 days left they've raised $13,810. The anticipated shipping date for the first batch of cases is in July.

While this is an interesting idea, we're not sure if it will catch on, but we'll just have to wait and see.

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While no one knows exactly what the new Apple iPhone 6 will look like, this new mock up that's been released by 86Digi, has apparently been made by the official iPhone 6 schematics.

Rumoured to be unveiled between now and the autumn, the new phone looks even sleeker than the iPhone 5, with a 4.7-inch screen, a slim 6mm design and curved edges. You'll also notice the power button is now found on the side, along with the volume buttons.

If this is the new design, we really like the look of it. However, looking a lot more like an Android handset, we're sure there'll be plenty of Apple fans who aren't convinced by the changes.

What do you think? Would you love to see this design realised, or is it too different to its predecessors? Let us know in the comments below.

Related: iPhone 6 rumour round-up: two models, a HUGE screen and sapphire glass

ultravisual.jpgInstagram looks like it's got big competition in the form of newly improved Ultravisual, another photo and video sharing app for the iPhone.

Version 2.0 of the photo app has a Find Your Friend feature, allowing users to locate, invite and collaborate with friends from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as their phone contacts.

The user collaboration aspect of Ultravisual is one of the main differences between it and Instagram. Another contrast is that Ultravisual lets you rearrange images in the order you want them published, and stack them on top of each other to create animations.

The updated version also means that you can ask to join collections from within the app and invite non-users to join your own collections, as well as removing posts from your collections.

Other features of the update include a new media editor letting you edit, filter, crop, and combine different media formats regardless of whether they were imported or taken with the in-app camera, along with new and improved filters.

Ultravisual is available for iOS devices from the iTunes store for free.


Apple has entered into a voluntary agreement that means it may add a new anti-theft "kill switch" to its iPhones from next year, meaning if anyone steals your handset you can wipe everything off it unless it's returned later.

Cult of Mac reports that Google, HTC, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and Apple all agreed to make global changes to the way they help facilitate security measures.

Apple's commitment is hardly surprising given it already has an Activation Lock built into iOS 7, making it hard for thieves to use iOS devices they've stolen.

No one knows for sure what the newest iphone - rumoured to be unveiled in a few months - will look like, but there are plenty of design concepts already online and these from iCulture are our favourites so far.

Teaming up with Martin Hajeck, iCulture has published a series of photos showing off a handset that looks a little like a beefed up iPad Nano. It has curved edges, a narrow bezel, a larger screen and a much slimmer body.

Let us know what you think of the concept in the comments below.





lowbatt.pngIt's astonishing to think that only a few years ago we used to live without having around the clock access to our e-mails, social networks and Wikipedia (which is always important when arguing in the pub). The trouble is that unlike the old Nokia 3310 bricks of old, batteries don't seem to last as long as they used to - rather than charge once every few days. If you're an iPhone user you'll eventually find yourself plugging in to charge whenever you're near a socket, worrying that you won't ever find power again.

So is there anything you can do to make the battery anxiety better?

Close apps properly

If it isn't absolutely essential then consider closing your apps. Some apps that you've opened will often run in the background to carry out non-essential tasks will can use up power.

To close an app properly, double-press the home button and your iPhone will show you currently running apps. In iOS7 simply swipe up on the screenshot of the app to close it fully. If you haven't upgraded yet, press and hold on the app's icon and a small cross will appear on the icon - press this to stop the app.

Switch off Background App Refresh

If you have iOS7 then it might also be worth switching off "Background App Refresh" - which enables apps to refresh their content even when not being used. To do this head into Settings, then General, and then you'll see the controls for Background App Refresh. You can either switch this off for all apps, or switch off individual apps, if you know they're particularly draining.

Watch out for GPS usage!

Perhaps the biggest single drain on your battery is likely to be location-based services. If you spot the little arrow in the corner of the screen then be aware - your phone is connected to the GPS satellites and is rapidly wasting all of that battery. So try not to use Google Maps too much, and if an app asks if you'd like to enable location services for a given app, definitely give it some thought.

Switch off 3G

If you're really worried, consider switching off 3G and stick with the slower but less consuming GPRS instead. If you live in a rural area with patchy signal, you may not even notice the difference anyway. Heck, you could even switch off all data if you want to pretend it's 1997 again (perhaps watch some videos of Tony Blair and Friends before you do, to get in the mood).

Switch off Bluetooth and Wifi

If you're not using bluetooth and wifi - switch 'em off. I can't stress this enough. If they're not being used, the radios inside the phone are still on, still constantly searching out for networks and devices to connect to, which will use more power completely pointlessly.

Turn down the brightness!

Arguably the biggest drain on a smartphone's battery life isn't the 3G, or the music playing - but is in fact the screen. Making that panel glow brightly all day is hard work for your phone, so why not do it a favour and decrease the brightness of the screen?

Switch off notifications

Do you really need to know every time someone likes your post on Facebook? Or do you really need to play your turn in Words With Friends immediately? Every time your phone receives a notification it will vibrate, play a sound and the screen will light up for a few seconds - each eating a tiny little bit of power each time. You can manage which apps can send you notifications by going into Settings and then Notification Centre.

Similarly, if your phone automatically checks your email every few minutes, consider switching this off or decreasing the regularity. Do you really need your emails refreshed every two minutes on a sleepy Sunday afternoon?

Airplane Mode

Finally, if worst comes to the worst, then it might be time to switch to airplane mode. Sure, no one will be able to contact you (which might defeat the point of a phone), but it will mean your phone lasts that little bit longer, and if emergency strikes, you'll still have some battery left.

iPhone5s-firstpic.jpgFancy an iPhone, but put off but its rather titchy (when compared with its rivals) four inch screen? Well the evidence is mounting that the next generation of iPhone is very likely to have a much bigger screen.

The latest person to claim that an Apple Phablet is on the cards is Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek. Now Misek has been quite a good source of Apple info in recent times so it is worth taking what he says seriously.

His latest note to investors contained the following...

"Despite still seeing risk to CQ4 and FY13 revs, we now believe better [gross margins] will allow Apple to skate by until iPhone 6 launches with its 4.8″ screen."

He goes on to add that he thinks that the large screen will spark a significant upgrade as Apple owners surge to buy the bigger model. He also thinks that the brand has just about enough to keep consumers onside with the iPhone 5s and 5c too.

Misek isn't the first to claim that Apple is working on a bigger screen iPhone. The WSJ has also run a story about it and quite frankly it would be surprising if the next iPhone didn't have a bigger screen considering the way most of Apple's rival have moved.
We'll just have to wait and see.

There are now lots of options if you're looking for a video chat app for your iPhone or iPad. Spin, which launched only days ago is already looking set to shake up the industry with it's promise of high quality video and sound - as well as sharing functionality. Sadly it is US-only at the moment, but we are expecting a UK launch soon. Until then who are the more established players, and what are they offering?

Spin_Gathering_2_iPad.jpgThese days it takes quite a lot to get me excited about an iOS app. However I can realy see the potential of Spin a brand new app for both iPad and iPhone that has launched this week. It is an app that might just take video communication via phones and tablets to a new level.

On one level it is a video chatting app that enables the user to chat to a group of people. The difference between Spin and say Skype is that the unlike other video-chatting apps such as Skype, is that Spin presents each person in the conversation in a square which can be moved around the screen. It works superbly on the iPad, less well on the titchy screen of the iPhone. However the smart bit is that it lets the users do so much more such as sharing video or image content.

In this way Spin lets you easily access Facebook and Flickr photos or YouTube videos which you can then shares with up to nine other people. So for example you could share holiday snaps with you entire family or share your latest music video with a posse of your fans.

There's also some interactivity options too so you can throw paper aeroplanes at people or send them visual messages.

The company is also taking the high ground in terms of quality claiming its HD visuals and 44kHz audio are superior to its rivals.

The platforms works seamlessly on the iPad but does highlight the limitations of the small screen of the iPhone. Hopefully an Android version is imminent so we can see how it works on the Galaxy Note and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.

It is available for free from here, but sadly only if you have access to the US app store.

The best Apple iPhone 5S Cases for girls

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Well, after all the rumours about slow demand it turned out that the iPhone 5S is Apple's fastes selling mobile ever. Did you nab one? If so check out our list of the best female-friendly cases.

Eight stylish Apple iPhone 5C Cases

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Well that didn't take long. As soon as the wraps came off Apple's budget new iPhone the accessory mob piled in with new cases for the phone.

This time they do have a bit of competition with Apple's own take. But if you don't fancy that then here are some others that are worth taking a look at.

Apple sells nine million iPhones in three days

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Well so much for those reports that demand for the new iPhones was low. Apple has announced it has sold nine million new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models in three days.

The company added that demand for iPhone 5s has exceeded the initial supply, and many online orders are scheduled to be shipped in the coming weeks.

"This is our best iPhone launch yet--more than nine million new iPhones sold--a new record for first weekend sales," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we've sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5s, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly. We appreciate everyone's patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone."

Reading between the lines it seems that the growth has been powered by the iPhone 5s and that the iPhone 5c has been a slower burner. The interesting part is whether sales of the 5c creep up as times goes by. Apple diehards would want the higher specced 5s at launch, but it could be that the cheaper 5c attracts a wider audience as time goes by.

To put the figure in some kind of perspective Samsung sold around 20 million Galaxy S4s within a couple of months of its launch.

rhinoshield.jpgWe have all been there. Watched as a smartphone has tumbled from our bag or pocket only to land screen facing down on concrete. If you were unlucky you would have then been looking at a cracked screen and a replacement bill of around £50.

Which might make the £17.99 Rhino Shield, iPhone screen protector pretty good value. The .029cm thick uses self-adhesive silicone to stick to your screen and then apparently absorbs 5x the impact of the phone's Gorilla Glass.

The company says that is you stick it properly it keeps the slimline aesthetics of the phone and should be free from air bubbles.

Here's the Rhino in action.

More info here.

The Guardian today ran with the story that according to one network demand for the new iPhone 5C was only a tenth of what it has been for previous new Apple mobiles.

A source told the paper

"It's been a big disappointment," said a mobile network source. "We are seeing a decline in the number of pre-orders. They are 60% to 70% less than we were expecting, and we didn't expect them to be massively high given it's not the flagship model."

But is it just the iPhone 5C that hasn't been anywhere near as popular as previous models?

It appears that even the retailers think that unlike in previous years when the phones sold out quickly this time there will be plenty to go round.

Scott Hooton, Chief Commercial Officer at Phones 4u has said that his store intend to put 'five times more iPhone stock into store for launch, compared to any other year before.'

That either means that Phones 4u has got a special new arrangement with Apple or that demand for the phones is nowhere near what has been expected.

So is he putting a positive spin on the lack of demand, or is the opposite true and that the phones are still going to be hugely popular?

Here's what he said

"Apple mania has truly taken a firm grip on the nation this week, so we are extremely pleased to be putting five times more iPhone stock into store for launch, compared to any other year before, which will help enable us to meet this demand from our customers. We are also proud to announce that we anticipate to have iPhone stock available in every Phones 4u store across the UK at launch this Friday, as well as over the launch weekend. This is great news for all those iPhone fans who are wanting to get their hands on the latest smartphones from Apple!"

Are the young deserting Apple? Thats the question that's being posed by mobile phone comparison site, www.mobilephonechecker.co.uk. It has carried out a study aimed at uncovering the age of the average iPhone in the UK and found out that the average age of an iPhone owner has risen by a decade in the last two years.

The study polled a group of 2,083 adult iPhone owners aged 18-65 and asked them to state when they had purchased their first iPhone handset.

A surprisingly high 37% had purchased their first iPhone handset in the past 6 months; with the average age of respondents who'd purchased their phone in the past 6 months revealed to be '34.4 years.'

Contrast this with the 52% of respondents who had been an iPhone owner for two years or more, where the average age of making their purchase was '24.8 years.

Interestingly when asked if they were planning on extending their iPhone contracts after their existing ones had expired, 66% of people aged 35 and over said 'yes'; while just 42% of those aged 18-34 said the same.

Of the younger group 42% of respondents said they were going to swap the iPhone for a Samsung while 26%, claimed 'It's too expensive to keep up the payments on my iPhone contract.'

Adam Cable, Director of MobilePhoneChecker.co.uk, made the following comments on the results of the study:

"I am not particularly surprised at the rise in the average age of the iPhone owner over the past two years. I have even noticed that my parents and many of their friends are now proud iPhone owners, obsessed with downloading iTunes and apps, and engaging in social media more than ever."

"This, along with the expense of keeping an iPhone, may explain why many of the younger iPhone owners polled in our study are considering switching to another make of mobile phone once their current contracts run out, despite the recent announcements surrounding the release of the more economical upcoming iPhone 5C."

So what do you think?

I am guessing that this survey was undertaken before the launch of the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C, which will certainly attract some younger buyers. It will be interesting to monitor those iPhone sales figures in the next few months.

Apple has today confirmed that the worldwide - well US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK - launch of the iPhone 5S and 5C will be on Friday, September 20. That's this Friday folks.

That means Friday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. local time in Apple retail stores and at 12:01 a.m. BST at the Apple Online Store.

For more details on the iPhone 5S go here and 5C go here.

In the UK, the new iPhones will be available through EE, O2, Three, Carphone Warehouse, Phones4u and Apple Authorised Resellers.

Apple has also confirmed the pricing.

Here is what the manufacturer says...

iPhone 5s comes in gold, silver or space grey, and will be available in the UK for a suggested retail price of £549 (£457.50 ex VAT) for the 16GB model and £629 (£524.17 ex VAT) for the 32GB model and £709 (£590.83 ex VAT) for the 64GB model. iPhone 5c comes in blue, green, pink, yellow and white and will be available in the UK for a suggested retail price of £469 (£390.83 ex VAT) for the 16GB model and £549 (£457.50 ex VAT) for the 32GB model.

backtrack-breathalyser.jpgNeed to know how much alcohol is in your body after a bit of drinking session? Well there's an app that's admittedly paired with a device for that. Firefox has unveiled the BACtrack iPhone Breathalyser . which it claims is the first Blood Alcohol Content trackers that works with a mobile phone. It basically measures how inebriated our area from a single breath and then via Bluetooth sends the details to your IPhone or iPad.

So why do you need this? Well if you are driving anywhere you really ought not to go near the sauce, but I guess if you want to monitor your alcohol consumption and the impact that it is having on your body then this is a useful system. The app apparently not only gives you an insight into your alcohol levels it stores your readings allowing you to track you BAC levels over time and to view your habits throughout one particular night, or the past few weeks.

You can also let the world know you have been drinking via Facebook and Twitter, updates that I assume your boss will find fascinating should you be drinking on a 'school night'

It is yours for £150 from here.

Solar powered concept phones have been around for a while now, Nokia did some interesting work in this area a few years back and again more recently there is a strong selection of solar powered chargers for iPhones and other mobiles.

But might solar powered phones be about to hit the mainstream? That's the rumours following new reports that Apple is working on solar powered elements to its batteries to reduce the strain caused by brighter screens and faster processors,

A recent job listing confirmed that the company has a requirement for a solar power expert within the company's Mobile Devices group.

The company filed this patent for a solar panel earlier in the year.

Good news for Apple from the UK. It seems as if British consumers are impressed with both the new iPhones.

Scott Hooton, Chief Commercial Officer at Phones 4u has described demand for the new phones to be 'phenomenal' and easily outstrips that for the Apple iPhone 5.

He also points out that it is the young - 18-30 year olds who are keenest on the new mobiles, which hints that the 5C gamble might be about to deliver some pretty impressive returns.

Here's what he said

"The demand for the new iPhone 5c and 5s has been truly phenomenal in the first few days of pre-registration. We have already seen double digit growth in pre-registrations compared to the same period for iPhone 5 last year, and with the exceptional rate in which we are receiving these, we are predicting that the new handsets will set a record as generating the most pre-registrations ever at Phones 4u.

We know from looking at our pre-registrations that men are currently showing the most interest in the new Apple iPhones (65 per cent) and we have also seen a huge appetite for the new smartphones amongst 18-30 year olds, who have taken up almost two thirds of the pre-registrations. To date, this interest has also shown that 75 per cent are intending to purchase the new iPhone 5c or 5s on 4G, so not only are we expecting pre-orders of the iPhone 5c to go through the roof this weekend, we are gearing up for an exceptionally busy launch day on 20th September, when both officially go on-sale at Phones 4u stores across the country and online."

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