June has finally arrived, and with it comes a tidal wave of tech news for what’s generally a pretty lazy last day of the work week. We can’t report on everything, but we’ve managed to distill the day down to the five coolest stories you won’t want to miss — so adjust your seats into a launch position and let’s dive right into this freaky Friday, June 1, 2012.
To the surprise of Nokia and partners Motorola and Research in Motion, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has officially chosen Apple’s new “nano-SIM” as the next generation SIM design. The new 4FF SIM card is 40 percent smaller than the current smallest design, that being the micro-SIM first introduced with the iPhone 4 in 2010. The decision comes after some heated debate, with Apple’s competitors proposing a much more radical design for the next generation SIM card, with Nokia even threatening to withhold licenses for essential patents should the ETSI vote go Apple’s way. According to The Verge, Nokia has backed off of their schoolyard threats, so it seems everything’s coming up roses for Apple today.
Now this is a curious move: According to 9to5Google, Google has announced an event to be held next Wednesday, June 6 at 9:30am PST which promises to reveal “the next dimension of Google Maps.” The move is curious because it comes less than a week before Apple’s WWDC 2012, where Cupertino is expected to roll out its own Google-free Maps application with swanky 3D maps. “At this invitation-only press gathering, Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Google Earth, will give you a behind-the-scenes look at Google Maps and share our vision,” the Google invite reads. “We’ll also demo some of the newest technology and provide a sneak peek at upcoming features that will help people get where they want to go — both physically and virtually. We hope to see you there.” Judging from the invite shown above, it certainly sounds like Google might be planning to beat Apple to the punch with 3D maps — especially when they are likely already aware they’re being left behind with iOS 6.
While there are some among us who believe that Kickstarter is surely the work of the devil himself, it’s making a whole new generation of tech devices a reality thanks to crowd funding. Among them is Simple.TV (PDF link), a tiny box first shown off at this year’s CES show back in January which takes over the air HD television or basic cable and pushes it to an iOS device, browser or connected TV device such as Roku or the Boxee Box. On Wednesday, the Simple.TV gang launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the 5,000 necessary to get the box into the market, racking up an impressive ,000 in just 48 hours — and the fundraising still has 27 days to go! Backers can pledge as little as a dollar, and the final product is predicted to cost 9 plus a .99 per month subscription fee when it launches. So dig into those couches and collect the spare change, folks!
TechCrunch is reporting that WWDC 2012 will unveil new Facebook integration for iOS 6, much like the Twitter integration included with iOS 5 last year. The move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to those who follow Apple rumors, since early builds of iOS 5 were spotted ahead of release which appeared to feature Facebook sharing at the OS level. Twitter lover, fear not: Facebook is not going to replace your beloved micro-blogging platform, but rather be added as another option in iOS 6, which is codenamed “Sundance.” We shouldn’t have to warn you (but we will anyway), things could change at the last minute — remember Facebook integration with Ping, which got yanked within hours of iTunes 10 being released? Also, the report claims Facebook integration will not (yet) come to OS X Mountain Lion, and anyone holding their breath for Google+ integration should go ahead and exhale — you’re more likely to see Bigfoot, we’d say.
FireCore LLC has announced a new version of aTV Flash (black), hot on the heels of the recent Seas0nPass release which finally allowed second-generation Apple TVs to run completely untethered with the latest firmware. Today’s version 1.6 adds a lengthy list of additions and tweaks, but the most noteworthy of them is the ability to download subtitles from OpenSubtitles.org with just a click. No more searching online for subtitle files — Apple TV users can simply choose the film they want to watch and choose “Get More” to immediately find subtitles over the internet. Support has also been added for playback of iTunes purchases with DRM, which requires a matching iTunes login. Other additions include a new video deinterlacing option, Wake-on-Lan and tons of little tweaks to make your life easier. Users can download the new version from the FireCore website, or simply head to the Maintenance > Manage Extras menu from their second-generation Apple TV.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of 9to5Google)