Apple event liveblog: 7.9″ iPad Mini, 13″ Retina MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini and iPad refreshes

Another month brings another Apple event, and this time we expect to see a whole plethora of new and updated devices, spearheaded by the iPad Mini. Rumoured to have a 7.85″ 1024 x 768 display and a design similar to that of the new iPod Touch, this device looks set to sport a low price tag to take on the Nexus 7 and company. Rumour also has it that the existing iPad will receive a minor update with a Lightning connector and 4G in more territories (such as with EE in the UK) and the Mac family will get minor updates across the board, with the highlight being a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro. We also expect to hear a bit more about iTunes 11 tonight, but whatever happens we will be around to liveblog proceedings on this very page. Enjoy!

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Apple ousts Google Maps with a home-grown system for iOS 6

Apple has announced that it will be removing Google Maps from its native application in iOS and will be replacing it with its own mapping system with the upcoming launch of iOS 6 this autumn for iPhone 3GS onwards, iPad 2, iPad (3rd generation) and iPod Touch (4th generation). It will include its own high quality 3D mode, and by all accounts it does pretty much exactly what Google Maps did, only in an interface that Apple think is far superior.

In the mean time, Google has been developing their own software on Android and both companies have been reported to have used fleets of planes that have ruffled the feathers of some privacy campaigners who complained having noticed an increase in airspace activity while tracking the movements of several large companies. Apple are set to create yet anouther easy to use and beautful app that will undoubtedly do its job very well. It is another example of Apple showing that making their products integratable with existing platforms is not the only field they are improving, but also the Apple universe that will one day probably be able to exist independently to every other system of computing there is. My concern is that Google has such a solid base, and with a single account you can connect all of Google’s existing services such as Gmail, Drive, YouTube and +, making them easier to use and more efficient for the user. That said Apple have added mapping support to Siri, the “eyes free” system which Apple is rumoured to have been working on with car manufacturers to develop add buttons for in new cars, allowing for a hands free, voice activated GPS and phone.

I think that Apple’s new mapping system will be good because things that come out of Apple are generally well received and the response by Google will probably improve on what they have now, which can only be a good thing for map users. If users wish to return to using Google Maps or use a different platform entirely, they should have the option to do it through the App Store, as there are a number of map apps available for the platform. Apple’s eyes free integration, however, is very promising, and it is very probable that it means Google Maps is on its way out for many Apple users. Apple’s initiative has yet again shown the company’s ability to remake everything in the image of their own minds.

April Fools: Google unveils 8-bit Maps for NES

In a video posted on YouTube, Google has unveiled an 8-bit version of its popular Maps service. In addition to a ‘Quest’ view on the web page, NES users will soon be able to purchase a cartridge with built-in dial-up internet support to access the service. Watch the video below.