iFive: Facebook’s Face Recognition, Apple’s New Campus, AT&T’s $1B Refunds, Mobile Ads Rise, iPhone 5 Hints In iOS5

Wednesday: the middle of the week, named for the old-English phrase for Mercury’s day. For more midweek facts, read the early news in iFive.


A photo much imagined, but until just now never actually seen in the flesh–this is, oddly, the first time the ISS and Shuttle were snapped paired together, thanks to a departing crew member aboard a Soyuz capsule. Cherish it, space and science fans.

1. Facebook has just committed what Eric Schmidt may consider a privacy sin–it’s enabled face recognition in photos for global users (a tech Google has long had, but has not implemented). Facebook says it’s making “photo tagging easier” because “many” users said tagging manually was a chore. The code group-suggests images that may be IDd as a particular user, which is one protection, but expect much fuss in the press.

2. In what may go down as one of the most fascinating city council meetings ever, Steve Jobs has just spoken to Cupertino bureaucrats to lay out his planning application for a new Apple campus in the city on former HP land. Jobs spoke with his usual charisma, laying out the design of a 12,000-person “spaceship-shaped” building, heavy on use of curved glass, designed by world’s “best” architects, and with great green credentials.

3. AT&T is going to help its clients across the U.S. collect on nearly $1 billion in refunds on incorrectly paid taxes, originally collected as part of mobile Net access fees by AT&T despite a federal moratorium on taxing Net access until 2014. AT&T insists it did nothing wrong, merely passing the fees it thought it was obliged to acquire on to local authorities, but it will now have to spend untold millions of its own money on giving the cash back.

4. Proof that mobile ads are an increasingly hot business comes in this statistic: Mobile ads numbers have risen 128% over the last two years, according to research by Comscore. Most of this growth is driven by smartphones–first the iPhone, and now the growing Android presence–as Comscore notes 82% of smartphone owners use mobile Web browsers and 85% use apps, compared to 19% of feature phone users accessing the mobile web.

5. Enterprising hackers trawling through Apple’s developer release of its upcoming iOS refresh have already jailbroken it to release it from Apple’s lockdown, but they’ve also found evidence hidden in the code that refers to two new iPads, “iPad3,1” and “iPad3,2” and two new iPhone models “iPhone4,1” and “iPhone4,2.” That is, the iPad 3 and iPhone 5. Previously such handles have turned into real devices several months later. Interestingly there’s no reference to a new iPod Touch.


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