Farewell felt-green card table, adieu spiral notepad: Apple revamps the furniture for iOS7

The old and the new: Older versions of iOS featured faux textures (left), while the new version – iOS7 – features applications with much flatter, cleaner designs.iPhone 5s hands-oniOS 7 security flaws
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It’s the software equivalent of ripping the wood panelling, fireplace, leather couches and card tables from an olde worlde pub and replacing them with concrete, glass and acres of wipe-down tiling.

Welcome to the world of iOS 7. If you get past the slight download hiccups, prepare to say farewell to skeuomorphism.

Skeuo-what? Pronounced “skuomorphism”, the Greek word takes its meaning from the ancient practice of making clay pots look like they were made out of silver, and similar ornamental tricks.

But the world of software has given the word a whole new lease of life.

Steve Jobs and sidekick Scott Forstall were great proponents of visual design cues that mimic the real world. Take the ornamental flourishes of iOS6’s lined, spiral-edged yellow notepad, felt-green game centre, faux leather-bound calendar and wooden bookshelves for news stand: cute, but, to some, outdated.

At their best, such visual clues trigger mental shortcuts and “should help users quickly grasp an interface”, says Lauren Watson, graphic designer and long-term iOS user. “But it sometimes looks cheesy and relies on outdated metaphors – who really has a leather-bound diary on their desks any more?”

Skeuopmorphism lingered on Apple products thanks to Jobs’ fondness for what has been termed “visual masturbation”.

Jony Ive may well agree. Apple’s senior vice-president of design has moved from hardware design – the Londoner was responsible for the iPod, iPhone and MacBook – into software. And with him comes an operating system without sentiment.

Flat design, without texture and gradient and with an instantly modern veneer, characterises the well-timed iOS 7.

Gone are the shadows on buttons, shelves that can be “stacked” with books and pages that flip on a notepad. In their place are tile-like icons, clutter-free space, bright colours on clean, white squares.

For experts and users alike, the jury is still out. While the move is seen as bringing Apple more into line with its hardware pedigree and the bells-and-whistles of other operating systems, flat design has its limitations, not least knowing when an element is clickable (or functional), as opposed to static.

The new Safari app works better in flat design than the calendar, Watson says, while buttons without frames have won few admirers.

Watson highlights the inconsistencies of iOS 7 – the new camera app, if anything, goes towards skeuomorphism, she says. “They’ve borrowed ideas and fonts that are reminiscent of real cameras, that’s something they didn’t do before.”

Being software, nothing is undoable – and, in the spirit of Jobs, the company is not afraid to be bold and make mistakes along the way.

Marc Edwards, founder of Bjango, an iOS software-maker, says helpful cues can always be reintegrated into iOS. “It’s quite possible that Apple may have overshot the mark, but they can step back and add additional details where they need to.”

And, in a case of constant improvement, as with other operating systems, the more use it has, the more developers will pinpoint what works best.

One thing we can be sure of is that we haven’t said goodbye to skeuomorphism altogether. “Right now it’s seen as being old-fashioned, but give it a couple of years and it’ll come back in,” Edwards says. “It’s exactly like fashion.”

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Hands-on review: iPhone 5s

iOS 7 security flawsiPhone plans releasediOS 7 revamps furniture
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There are few noticeable differences when you place the existing iPhone 5 and new iPhone 5s next to each other.

But when you start comparing their technical specifications, that’s when things start to become a little clearer.

The iPhone 5s, released alongside the cheaper iPhone 5c on Friday, has a fingerprint scanner, a faster A7 processor and a dual-flash for truer-to-life colours.

The fingerprint scanner lets you unlock your phone or pay for apps and music with just a tap of your thumb. The faster processor means the phone can process information twice as fast as the 5 and 5c.

Inside the 5s, it also has a motion co-processor. This will allow fitness apps to determine whether you’re running, cycling, driving, walking or going up stairs – all without you having to manually tell your device what you’re doing.

But are such features really worth the upgrade, especially if you’re an iPhone 5 user 13 months into a 24-month contract like me? In my opinion, no.

In my case, I’d have to pay my telco $229.50 – remaining handset repayments plus an early termination fee – to upgrade. For others on the iPhone 4s, who are likely outside a 24-month contract, upgrading makes a lot more sense.

After a few hours of using the 5s, I found some of its features incredibly useful, but not useful enough to convince me to upgrade my 5 until the iPhone 6 comes out, which is likely to occur around the time my contract finishes.

For the time being, I think most will be pleasantly surprised with what their iPhone can now do with the latest iOS 7 software update, which adds a bunch of new features and makes your iPhone feel like new again.

Besides the fingerprint scanner – which I was impressed with when it still worked with my greasy banana bread fingers – I found a number of the camera features in the 5s that would help me take better photos and videos.

But they weren’t enough to make me want to upgrade.

The Slo-Mo video feature, which shoots 120 frames-per-second in 720p HD, was particularly impressive. If you’re the competitive type, backyard cricket will never be the same again when it comes to umpiring.

Another welcome camera feature is burst mode, which allows you to take 10 photos a second, ensuring you never miss a Kodak moment.

The cheaper 5c doesn’t have these advanced photo and video features, and is much like the existing iPhone 5, but with a polycarbonate casing that comes in five bright colours.

Overall, the two new iPhones – like their predecessors – are simple to use and will appeal to the masses. But there’s no amazing feature I can point to that wows me.

Yes the fingerprint scanner is cool and will save me time entering my complex password, but I can live without it. I can also live without the processor speed increase, motion co-processor and flash.

What I can’t live without is a phone that receives calls, makes use of the internet and can access apps. And because my phone is still able to do this, I see no need to upgrade to make use of the features in the 5s or 5c.

The smartphone market appears to have reached its peak in terms of innovating, and is now all about the fashion and which one you want to be seen with.

Apple has made this clear by offering their 5s in gold, “space grey” and silver; and the 5c in white, pink, yellow, blue and green.

Being a person who is not big on fashion and is more into huge technological advances, I say “meh” to the new iPhones. I’m happy with the 5 and can wait until the 6.

The 5c starts at $739 outright and the 5s $869. Both are also available on subsidised mobile phone contracts with all major telcos.

Correction:This article initially stated it would cost the author $916.65 to upgrade to the iPhone 5s from the iPhone 5. The telco store employee who gave the author this information was asked to give the upgrade fee but instead gave the cancellation fee. The story has been amended to reflect the upgrade fee, which is $229.50.

 This reporter is on Facebook: /bengrubb

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Who will be Mr Crowley’s next victim?

Ryan Crowley has unfinished business with Dan Hannebery (above). Photo: Sebastian CostanzoThere are many admirable reasons why Fremantle is playing off for a place in the AFL grand final. The appointment of Ross Lyon as senior coach at the end of the 2010 season would be foremost among them. The man is a coach who just knows how to win.
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It may not be in the manner that the football purists would prefer, but he gets results.

There were St Kilda supporters who were happy to see him go. For them, the chore of watching a side play dour football overshadowed the fact that he took them to three grand finals. I wonder if they share the same sentiment now?

Among the other key factors that can be pointed to for the ascension of the Dockers, Ryan Crowley stands out as my favourite. For Lyon, having Crowley in his 22 each week must provide the most intense feeling of comfort.

The simple fact is, that at a time when the competition is overrun with elite, superstar midfielders who have the capacity to run all day and amass outrageous numbers of possessions, Crowley stands out as the ultimate “extinguisher”.

And there has not been a better illustration as to Crowley’s importance and influence on the fortunes of the Dockers than his last game against Geelong, two weeks ago.

If there is a bigger confidence player in the competition than Stevie Johnson of the Cats, I would like to meet him. Johnson is a subliminal act in full flight. He sees the game unfold seconds before most players on the ground and he is calculating in his mind what he will do with the football before it even enters his hands.

And if there was a choice to be made between the conservative route and the one that no one thinks is possible, Stevie’s preference is always going to be the latter.

And if he gets away to a flying start in a game, then look out – the party tricks will come out, and when one comes off early, the trick bag spills over. As was the case in the opening 20 minutes of the first final against the Dockers at Simonds Stadium. In front of his adoring fans, Johnson was in full flight. Urban legend, or not, it doesn’t matter, but Stevie J is said to have asked opposition players how they would like to pay. When asked what he was talking about, he would reply something along the lines of, ‘‘to the front-row tickets you’ve got to the Stevie J Show’’.

On this day, tickets would have sold for a premium. He had nine possessions in the first 20 minutes to set the crowd alight. It appeared to allay fears that this was going to be anything other than another glorious home-town victory for the Cats, and ensure them a week’s rest before the preliminary final.

Then Lyon played his trump card. He had deployed his No.1 shutdown man to Mathew Stokes at the start of the game, when most had expected him to go to Geelong’s inspirational skipper Joel Selwood, who Crowley had kept to an unthinkable 14 possessions in their last outing.

I watched Crowley closely as he responded to the demand of the Dockers’ runner. You could almost see the gears in his brain switch focus from Stokes, and then call up the ‘‘Johnson file’’ from some recess in his mind, and zero in on the Geelong champion. Attempting to stop a rampaging Steve Johnson in a big final, in front of a sell-out home crowd, with a massive TV audience tuning in, is like being asked to put out a bushfire with a hessian bag.

Stevie J has a unique self-awareness when it comes to the big occasion. This is a man who, at three-quarter-time of the 2007 grand final, tongue in cheek, refused to answer assistant coach Ken Hinkley, until Hinkley referred to him as “Norm”. Five minutes after the final siren he, indeed, had the Norm Smith Medal hanging around his neck.

Johnson had nine possessions and a goal when Crowley jogged to his side. He ended up with 20 for the game and didn’t add to his goal tally. For me, Crowley was the most influential player on the ground, and the main reason the Dockers produced one of the biggest upsets of the year. He extinguished the scorching fire.

And I say that out of total respect for the type of player that Johnson is, and the impact on the game he was threatening to have. Until Crowley arrived. Yes, the fact that he was able to deny him the football and dry up his scoring was vitally important.

But it was more than that. In a game where the stakes are so high, someone with Johnson’s huge, irrepressible personality has an intangible impact on the playing groups that can determine the outcome of a game. He was sending a clear message to members of both teams that he would take the Cats to the promised land, and that nothing was going to deny him, or his team.

When you have someone like that wearing the same jumper as you, the ‘‘superman’’ mindset can become contagious among the group. Which is why Crowley’s ability to produce the kryptonite turned the fortunes of the game.

As uplifting as it is to see one of your champions producing his best, it can be equally as deflating when one of the opposition is able to stop him in his tracks. All of a sudden, those invisible players, ‘‘belief’’ and ‘‘momentum’’, switch sides. As it was on this day. It was a previously quiet Michael Barlow, David Mundy and Nat Fyfe who took their lead from Crowley and began to dominate from the middle of the ground.

Ultimately, Johnson was moved from the heat of the battle, trying to exploit Crowley out of the goal square. It didn’t work, and when he returned to the centre square,Geelong fans were in unfamiliar  territory – contemplating a home-ground loss, and a   difficult road to the grand final.

You would have to be out in the middle to truly appreciate how Crowley has so effectively been able to quell the influence of our game’s very best. The post-game ‘‘handshake’’ with Johnson was seen as evidence that he pushes beyond what is acceptable. Certainly North Melbourne’s Brent Harvey continues to maintain that.

It is an argument that midfield stars have been bleating about since I followed the game. Some of them, long retired, still do, despite the fact that there are three umpires officiating, and countless cameras providing opportunity for review.

Crowley is a star, playing a role that remains under-appreciated and undervalued. How he was not in the top 40 players considered for All-Australian is a question that should be asked of half of the players that made the All-Australian team. Players whose scalps hang from Crowley’s belt.

Today he is desperate to confront one of those that did get the better of him. The fact that Dan Hannebery kicked four first-half goals on him in their round-eight draw would sit very uncomfortably with him. They say that Crowley’s homework on potential opponents is as fastidious and thorough as has been seen in the game.

I would suggest that he would know more about Hannebery and the way he likes to play than most of Hannebery’s Sydney teammates. Whether he gets another crack at him remains to be seen.

Jarrad McVeigh amassed 20 possessions in a quarter last week. Had Mick Malthouse had Crowley in a Carlton jumper, one doubts that would have taken place. He may find Crowley for company, or he may  go to Kieren Jack, another of the Swan’s barometers.

I would send him to Hannebery. Isaac Smith eventually ran him into the ground two weeks earlier, with the Swan No.4 having little influence. The Hawks ended up belting the Swans by nine goals.

Regardless of who he runs to at the start of the game, you know that player will take a very deep breath as he steels himself for one of the great challenges of the game: trying to get a kick on Ryan Crowley. To do so just might ensure your team makes it through to a grand final.

Now that’s some sort of compliment. One Ryan Crowley thoroughly deserves.

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NSW Waratahs announce squad for 2014 and target top two finish

Tolu Latu barges over for a try in Sydney University’s victory over Eastwood in the Sydney club rugby grand final. Photo: www.seiserphotography南京夜网NSW coach Michael Cheika is targeting the top two in Super Rugby for the Waratahs next season and thinks a forklift driver from Flemington Markets can help get them there.
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Sydney University hooker Tolu Latu, who has worked the graveyard shift at Flemington to support his family for the past 18 months, was unveiled as the newest member of the Waratahs squad for next year.

Latu, a 2012 Australian under 20s representative, fills a yawning gap behind Waratahs’ regular starting hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau after John Ulugia and Damien Fitzpatrick left the franchise.

Cheika said he believed Lotu would give his 44-Test teammate a run for his money.

“I’d say [Polota-Nau] will have his hands full to be honest, he’s going to have a competitor right on his tail from day one,” he said.

“He’s shown right from day one in the time he’s spent with us already this season … and also on the tour and in his club rugby, that he can be a very dominant player when he puts his mind to it.”

Latu joins back rower Tala Gray, former Australia A back Matt Carraro and South African second rower Jacques Potgieter as new faces in the squad announced on Friday.

Centre Jono Lance will also join the Waratahs from the Reds, along with Wallabies Nick Phipps and Kurtley Beale from the Rebels.

Cheika said he was pleased with the foundations the team laid last year but would require a huge step up next season.

“I think that like all the teams we need to be targeting the top two, because it’s pretty clear that you need to finish top two if you want to envisage winning the thing,” he said.

“Realistically, [in 2012] the Sharks did it from outside that [top two] and the Brumbies were able to do it this year, they travelled over there [to South Africa and New Zealand]. All of them came up short in the end. Obviously that more ambitious approach from us has to be there.”

Defence and finishing scoring opportunities are the main areas Cheika wants the squad to improve on, he said.

“We were okay, we were competent, but I think we can put a bit more sting in to our tail,” Cheika said.

“I’ve always loved the more rugged part of the game and [we want] to become a bit of a benchmark in the contact part of the game, get more into the physical nature of the game, because that will allow us to play running footy.”

The Waratahs finished ninth on the ladder this year in their first season under Cheika, who replaced Michael Foley last year.

They finished with eight wins and eight losses with mental steeliness and belief proving stumbling blocks for a team crammed with big names and bright young things.

The pressure will be on next year, from their supporters at the very least. Cheika said he believed his players were up to the challenge.

This isn’t saying ‘this is where we’re going to finish’, it’s saying ‘this is where we want to finish’,” he said.

“I’m still not convinced about this whole pressure thing. If you’re not playing the game to win it, why else are you playing? That’s my attitude around things.

“The reality is we’ve never won [a Super Rugby title] and for our supporters and for our organisation and province, we have to target going out there to become the top two teams because if we can finish top two then we’re a chance of winning it.

“We’re going to have a few bad moments or low moments and some hard times, but that’s what we’ve got to do.”NSW Waratahs 2014 squad

Forwards (senior club, age)Mitchell Chapman (Eastern Suburbs, 30)Dave Dennis (Sydney University, 27)Kane Douglas (Southern Districts, 24)Tala Gray (Eastern Suburbs, 23)*Jed Holloway (Southern Districts, 20)Michael Hooper (Manly, 21)Sekope Kepu (Randwick, 27)Pat McCutcheon (Sydney University, 26)Tolu Latu (Sydney University, 20)*Wycliff Palu (Manly, 31)Tatafu Polota Nau (Parramatta, 28)Jacques Potgieter (27)*Benn Robinson (Eastwood, 29)Paddy Ryan (Sydney University, 25)Will Skelton (Sydney University, 21)Jeremy Tilse (Sydney University, 27) BacksAdam Ashley-Cooper (Northern Suburbs, 29)Matt Carraro (29)*Kurtley Beale (24)*Peter Betham (Sydney University, 24)Cam Crawford (Northern Suburbs, 24)Bernard Foley (Sydney University, 24)Israel Folau (Sydney University, 24)Michael Hodge (Sydney University, 24)Rob Horne (Southern Districts, 24)Jono Lance (23)*Brendan McKibbin (Eastern Suburbs, 28)Nick Phipps (Sydney University, 24)Ben Volavola (Southern Districts, 22) *New Arrivals (former club)Kurtley Beale (Rebels)Matt Carraro (Montpellier, France)Tala Gray (Biarritz, France)Nick Phipps (Rebels)Jacques Potgieter (Bulls)Jono Lance (Reds)Tolu Latu (Sydney University)

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Dugan takes to Twitter

David Shillington. Photo: Melissa Adams David Shillington and Josh Dugan.
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Josh Dugan takes to Twitter to vent his frustration… and then quickly deletes them. Photo: John Veage

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David Shillington urges Ricky Stuart to fix culture

Sacked Raiders star Josh Dugan has launched a Twitter tirade on his former teammate David Shillington after Canberra fined their vice-captain for media comments criticising the NRL club’s previous management of Dugan and Blake Ferguson.

The Raiders fined Shillington an undisclosed amount on Friday for breaching the club’s media policy, also concerned by his comments that Raiders players had been pushing for the appointment of sacked assistant Andrew Dunemann ahead of the newly appointed coach, Ricky Stuart.

Shillington quit the Raiders senior leadership group earlier this year in frustration at the leniency that had been shown over the years to Dugan and Ferguson, who have both been sacked from the NRL club this season.

On Thursday, Shillington told Fairfax Media: “Depending on how the coach handles you or how the club handles you, sometimes you create the devil in players.

”If a player mucks up and you don’t drop him from the team or you don’t have some sort of serious consequences … I think that’s when you create the devil in players.

“It makes them bigger than the club, and I think we saw that at our club this year with a few players.”

Dugan, who infamously cost himself a multi-million contract at the Brisbane Broncos earlier this year for controversial comments on Twitter, could not refrain again on Friday.

The St George Illawarra Dragons fullback posted on Twitter:  ”I think Shillington forgets he went DUI twice lol he’s done some favours to get that Australian jersey. Well done mate.”

”Not saying I’m not lucky but he needs to move on and stop sledging me every chance he gets.”

Dugan’s outburst was retweeted by both Ferguson and another former sacked Raiders player Todd Carney, before Dugan deleted them from his Twitter account.

Shillington was banned from driving for 12 months in 2010 after being convicted of his second drink-driving offence, when he registered a blood-alcohol reading of 0.115 – more than twice the legal limit. It was his second disqualified for drink driving.

Shillington would not comment when contacted by Fairfax Media about Dugan’s tweets or the fine from the Raiders.

Shillington’s comments on the Canberra coaching appointment could also have a flow-on effect to his relationship with Stuart.

Shillington had stated in Friday media that Stuart’s hardline stance to discipline could be ”just what the doctor ordered”.

But it’s understood Raiders officials were disturbed by Shillington’s ongoing comments backing Dunemann, given it could be viewed as undermining the incoming coach.

There is already speculation Stuart and Shillington don’t see eye-to-eye, dating back to when they were at the Sydney Roosters.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner said Shillington had breached the club’s media policy.

”They should not comment on issues outside of their immediate responsibilities as a player without prior approval from senior management,” Furner said in a statement.

“David is an experienced senior player at this club and should have known better.

”He has been spoken to previously about errant comments he has made to the media and the negative impact they can have.

“I have spoken to David today and he acknowledged that some of his comments were not appropriate and he was sorry.”

Former Test halfback and now media commentator Greg Alexander said Shillington’s comments would only cause ”he possibility of another fracture in the club”.

Alexander said Shillington was within his rights to talk about the appointment of Stuart and changing the culture within the Raiders.

However, he believed statements about senior players wanting Dunemann served no purpose other than to force a wedge between the players and Stuart.

”I don’t mind his comments in regard to the culture, it’s obvious the senior players weren’t happy with some of the things,” Alexander said.

”If I was the Canberra club I’d be asking him what he was trying to get across when he mentioned the Dunemann thing, he needs a wake-up for that.

”By him commenting on it, it’s opened up a couple of wounds and gives the possibility of another fracture in the club.”

The 30-year-old Kangaroos and Queensland representative has had a mixed season.

He lost his place in the Maroons team after the opening game of the State of Origin series.

He made the media comments while in camp with the Prime Minister’s XIII, where he hopes to regain a place in the Australian team for the World Cup.

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