Here are the top tech stories (chosen by me) that made the news the past week which I have discussed on  @SAFMRadio with  @AshrafGarda during Tech Media today:

1) Instagram gets time-lapse videos moving with the Hyperlapse app.  Available at the moment for iOS  only, Instagram is letting iPhone users take time-lapse videos on the go with the new Hyperlapse app.

This is the second standalone app from Instagram; in July they released their Snapshot competitor, Bolt, a self-destructing photo and video-messaging app that is currently only available in few selected countries.

The key feature of this app (which was released last Tuesday) is a stabilization engine that takes advantage of the iPhone’s built-in gyroscope to keep images from shaking, so unlike traditional time-lapse videos, which are taken at a fixed location and angle over an extended period of time, Hyperlapse users are free to move around.

Unlike Instagram, Hyperlapse is intended to be a tool for creating videos rather than a social sharing app. You don’t have to log in with your Facebook or Instagram account to use Hyperlapse but there is an option to post clips to the two social networks when you are done. The app does not have any filters but they can be added through Instagram,  however the videos will need to be cut down to 15 seconds.

2. Amazon is buying Twitch for about $1.1 billion, including  $970 million in cash.  Twitch, founded in 2011, is not exactly a household name but is a leading video platform and community for gamers worldwide with more than 55 million visitors per month. “Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. This deal represent a a potential setback for Google’s YouTube as earlier in the year there were reports indicating a potential deal for about $1 billion.  An acquisition by Amazon and the high price tag would seem to validate the rise of gaming as a spectator sport and advertisers are willing to send masses amount of money to reach audiences lured by live sporting events.

3. Apple’s iPhone 6 event is officially set for the 09.09.2014. Invitations  from the Californian tech giant  went out last Tuesday, giving almost no hints , saying “wish we could say more.” But the general consensus is that Apple will unveil its next smartphone and something related to Siri.  Rumours also indicated the company could also show off a wearable at the event.  The event will come a year after Apple introduced the  iPhone 5S and 5C.  Apple has added a new iPhone every year since former CEO Steve Jobs introduced the smartphone line in 2007, and new iPhones have been unveiled in the fall since 2011.

Many market watchers (and FanBoys /FanGirls) expect Apple to introduce two new iPhone6 models with display sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches, though some recent reports speculate one device could be released at a later date. Analysts expect the iPhone 6 to be one of the largest product launches in Apple’s history — both in terms of device screen size and total sales. The company reportedly has asked manufacturing partners to produce about 30 percent to 40 percent more iPhones by the end of this year than it ordered for its initial run of last year’s iPhone 5S and 5C.

For Apple, having a successful iPhone 6 launch is vital. Apple hosts only one phone event a year, and it generates more than half its revenue from its smartphone line. The iPhone serves as the hub to Apple’s overall growth, particularly as the market awaits the widely speculated iWatch and as the iPad competes against lower-cost rivals and larger phones.


4)    RIP MSN Messenger, Microsoft finally kills old-school chat app.  In news that is sure to make you feel old, Microsoft is officially killing its 15-year-old instant messaging program. Windows Live Messenger  or formerly MSN Messenger— will soon go the way of Friendster, Google Reader and Facebook Poke. Microsoft first announced it would be closing Windows Live and pushing users over to Skype in 2012 but the service had stuck around in China — until now. Microsoft began alerting Chinese users of Windows Live’s imminent shutdown Thursday, and told users they would need to switch to Skype by October 31. According to the BBC,  the tech giant also promised free Skype credit to those who did.  MSN Messenger first launched in 1999 as Microsoft’s answer to the then-popular AOL Instant Messenger. Like so many messaging apps before and since, it started off simple, with basic IM functionality — but soon expanded with new features such as photo messaging, video chatting, games and much-loved emoji. Following news of the closure, MSN Messenger alums took to Twitter to eulogise the instant messaging client that once ruled dial-up Internet with many users giving their final respects  as although the messaging platform currently has relatively few users, its official closure marks the end of an era, of sorts, for many users who made their debut using IM.

5) Seagate Launches World’s First 8TB Hard Drive.

The first 8TB hard drives in existence were sent out to early-bird buyers last Tuesday, data storage company Seagate confirmed.  The drives have the largest storage space of any single hard-disk drive on the market. The need for a more efficient hard drive corresponds with the rising amount of data being created, shared and stored. The goal of the 8TB drive is to provide these necessities while also keeping consumer costs low.  “As our world becomes more mobile, the number of devices we use to create and consume data is driving an explosive growth in unstructured data. This places increased pressure on cloud builders to look for innovative ways to build cost-effective, high capacity storage for both private and cloud-based data centers,” Seagate’s Vice President of Marketing Scott Horn said in a statement.  Seagate has been upgrading its hard drives gradually over the years using a technology known as shingled magnetic recording. This technique pushes drive tracks closer together, maximising the amount of space available on a drive. The drive is currently in a trial period and is only being delivered to a select few, but it will be able to be available to the masses over the next few months. The price has not been disclosed.

App of the week : –Painless Project Planning with OmniPlan2 for the iPad and Mac from the Omni-Group (leaders in productivity software)

OmniPlan is a project management tool that offers a streamlined, intuitive interface for both basic planning  and more in-depth functionality. From customisable views to fast data entry, OmniPlan helps you manage complex projects without requiring you to learn a complex software program. The main features of Omniplan.

  • Timelines can be easily visualised
  •  Simplified for anyone to read
  •  Allow team members to be added and plans always stay current

Gadget of the Week  : –SAMSUNG NX30 Camera 

Samsung as,  the pioneer of Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, and its ‘smart camera’ lineup is now in its third generation. Notably, if you’re using a compatible smartphones, you’ll be able to take advantage of the NX30’s NFC feature, which allows you tap the devices together to share photos.

Key features include:

  • 20.3 megapixel CMOS SENSOR with support for on-chip phase detection AF
  • Hybrid AF system has 105 phase-detect points and 247 contrast-detect points
  • DRIMeIV image processor
  • Tilting, XGA electronic viewfinder pulls away from the camera and tilts upward by 80 degrees
  • Improved fully-articulating 3-inch Super AMOLED display
  • More customizable buttons, plus dedicated drive mode dial
  • 9 fps burst mode
  • 1080/60p video recording with ‘dual IS’, mic input, and audio level adjustment
  • Uncompressed HDMI output at 30 fps
  • Wi-Fi with NFC
  • ‘Smart Camera 3.0’ features include improved remote shooting, ‘Group Share’, and baby monitor
  • Includes Adobe Lightroom 5

Other features include AutoShare (which transmits photos to mobile devices as they are taken),  MobileLink (sends a photo to four devices at once), and tighter Dropbox integration. The NX30 can also serve as a baby monitor – something not seen before.