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It was actually a busy weekend for tech news -- so much so that we had a hard time whittling it down to the best handful of stories to share with readers this morning! But that's exactly what we've done. No need to thank us -- we live to serve you, dear reader, so without further ado, let's get caught up on the weekend's happenings so you're ready to face the mid-October week ahead!
With all of the complaining about the iPhone 5's so-called problems -- Apple's new Maps, the purple haze when the camera is aimed straight into a bright light and how easily the aluminum back scratches -- it's nice to see a little levity on the situation. That's exactly what Saturday Night Live brought us over the weekend with a skit skewering fictional tech critics from Cnet, Wired and Gizmodo. In a skit called "Tech Talk" featuring last week's host Christina Applegate, Chinese laborers are brought in to humiliate the tech experts and their decidedly first-world problems, with hilarious results. Miss the skit? Check it out thanks to Hulu below.
BusinessInsider reported on Sunday that talks between Japanese carrier Softbank and third-place U.S. carrier Sprint have apparently bore fruit. While the full details are still being worked out, Softbank has apparently committed to pay $20 billion for a 70 percent stake in Sprint, a deal that the boards of both companies have already signed off on. $8 billion will be a purchase of shares directly from Sprint, with another $12 billion purchased from existing shareholders at an offer price of $7.30 per share. The deal is considered a gamble for Softbank, who is counting on its own success with LTE in Japan can be applied to Sprint's own efforts in this country.
With an October 23 media event reportedly looming on Apple's horizon, it's no surprise to find websites making bold claims about what else we might see introduced by Cupertino that day. The latest comes from 9to5Mac, who claims a "consistently reliable source at a high-profile U.S. retailer" has told them the rumored 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display is likely to debut alongside the mythical "iPad mini," sold in two configurations "with differing processors and storage, and will be available for purchase soon after introduction." This one seems more like a question of "when," so it's not the craziest thing we've ever heard...
The lack of a native Google Maps app for iOS has been making headlines since well before the iPhone 5 was actually released last month, with recent reports claiming it could be months before the search giant is able to release its own app. According to a blog post by iOS developer Ben Guild, the app may actually be closer than you think. On Sunday, Guild posted a trio of blurry images claiming to be a leaked alpha version of Google Maps for iOS, complete with a few tasty details about it. "It's vector-based. It's got two-finger rotation to any angle. It's super fast. Four-inch height of the iPhone 5 is supported!" Guild teased. The developer doesn't explain how he came to see the app, but according to him, it's coming -- but no idea how soon.
AndroidPolice have noted the release of an alpha version of Echofon for Android released late Friday afternoon. A popular Twitter client on both iOS and Mac, Echofon already has plenty of cross-platform cachet, also being offered on Windows as well as the Firefox browser. While Echofon for Android isn't quite as full-featured yet as the iOS version, it's off to quite a nice start. If the existing versions are any indication, this app is only going to get better with time. The best news is that anyone with an Android device can try it themselves right now by downloading it here -- we installed it on both a Nexus 7 and Samsung Galaxy Nexus and it worked like a champ.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter