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Americans are still reeling from the explosions that rattled the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, which all but consumed social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook almost immediately after they took place. As a result, you might have paid far less attention to tech-related announcements (and who could blame you?), but thankfully we've assembled a handful to get you up to speed.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Foxconn Technology Group is once again enlisting new factory workers for its Chinese assembly lines following a hiring freeze after the holiday season. The move is viewed as a good indication that Apple will be ramping up production of the next iPhone soon, with the Taiwanese company reportedly adding 10,000 workers per week in its Zhengzhou location alone over the last several weeks. We have been very busy recently as we will start mass-producing the new iPhone soon," a Foxconn executive remarked. The Zhengzhou factory alone employed roughly 300,000 people last year alone.
Google released version 1.3 of its official YouTube app for iOS on Monday, finally adding the ability to watch live streams on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The update also brings faster access to the latest uploads in the "My Subscriptions" feed, the ability to queue up videos for TV playback, "One Channel" branding for the company's original content channels and the usual battery of stability and performance improvements. YouTube 1.3 is a universal app now available on the App Store.
The Verge reported Monday that Microsoft also intends to throw its hat into the "touch-enabled smart watch" market, with sources telling The Wall Street Journal that Redmond has already enlisted Asian suppliers for component shipments. With Apple, Samsung, Google and actual watch markers already rumored to also throw their hat into the ring, it's getting easier to name which companies won't be making a smart watch. However, the report notes that Microsoft has been down this road before with SPOT, a 2004 effort that crashed and burned four years later.
The saga of Apple removing AppGratis from the App Store appears to be far from over, with the company launching a page on its website enlisting its more than 12 million users around the globe to rally behind the company's efforts to get the app discovery service restored. "Today we believe it's you, Apple's customers, who should have the final word," the page reads. "Today, you can speak up. Tell Apple that you think different." The website encourages AppGratis fans to participate with emails or tweets, with nearly 800,000 thus far voicing their support at this writing.
Clock, weather and RSS feed reader apps have been done to death on the App Store, but how many developers actually bring all three into one title? That's exactly what Clock Weather News does, featuring a retro flip clock design with localized weather images and yes, the ability to scroll headlines using a Google Reader-powered RSS feed -- but fear not, the developer already has an update ready to replace this functionality when Google pulls the plug in July. The best news is that the app is free, although users have the option to remove iAds from the bottom of the screen with a one-time in-app purchase of 99 cents, which also adds an alarm clock capable of waking users up to their favorite songs.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter