Any idea what skeuomorphic means? Neither did we, until news started to leak out about the Sir Jonny Ive inspired design for the new Apple operating system, iOS 7.

Well, it means something designed to look like something else. So, for example, an alarm clock app on your iPhone designed to look like a real word alarm clock, or a calendar app designed to look like a paper calendar. Warming to the idea? Well, that's probably because your iPhone or iPad is choc full of skeuomorphisms.  But all that is set to change (or so we hear) with the launch of iOS 7.

We've heard before that the new design is likely to be flat and minimalist, and this is confirmed by recent reports.  So where graphics on your iPhone, iPod or iPad look 3D and shiny - with real world metallic or leather effects - expect them to become flatter, blacker and whiter, which will be more in keeping with the design of the devices that display those graphics. iOS 7 is set to launch is just a few weeks, so we'll find out if Apple is really binning skeuomorphism then.

Whilst we're on the subject of Apple, this week has seen some more rumours regarding the new iPad and iPad Mini. The former - the 5th generation model - looks like it's going to be a real step change from its predecessor when it comes to weight with reports that it will be up to 1/3 lighter. The word is the new lightweight iPad will go on sale in September. As regards the iPad Mini, you can look forward to an improved Retina display with 2048 x 1536 resolution, a faster  dual-core A6X processor as well as upgraded cameras (8-megapixels on the back and a 2-megapixels on the front) and a larger battery.  It's likely the 2nd generation iPad Mini will be out sometime this autumn.

Are your the outdoorsy type - always out canoeing, abseiling or biking? Well, Samsung might just have the phone for you.  It's going to be called the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active and it's going to be both dustproof and waterproof.  As you can see from the pictures below, it's also going to 3 physical buttons on the front (because buttons are more 'rugged'?) and a reinforced rear shell, to make it more impact proof - perfect for the action man or woman around town (or those who have a habit of dropping their phone in the bath...).  We're expecting the S4 Active handset to be available soon.


Do you like your smartphone screens BIG? Well, you're not alone because so called 'phablets', larger screen phones that are a cross between a phone and a tablet, are becoming ever more fashionable. So it's not surprising that more manufacturers are looking to enter the phablet market. Nokia are apparently looking at launching one next year with a 6 inch screen (1.5 inches bigger than their Nokia Lumia 920). And Huawei, already firmly established in the phablet market, are apparently looking to launch a monster 6.5 inch phablet to replace the Ascend Mate next year.  When does a phablet become a tablet?  We're about to find out, no doubt.

Got any rich friends?  You're going to need them if you're going to get your hands on the new collaboration between Blackberry and Porsche - the Porsche Design BlackBerry P9981. 


This limited edition phone (only 25 will be made) will feature a stainless steel case with a gold titanium coating finished with a layer of 24-carat gold. If that wasn't luxurious enough for you, you'll be leased to learn the back of the phone will be hand-wrapped in leather. If you do have one of those rich friends, you can start dropping hints from next month, but they'll need somewhere in the region of £1,300 burning a hole in their pockets.