A curated selection of the day’s most newsworthy tech stories from all over the Web.
Apple released iOS 4.3 beta to developers and quickly enough, users found some rather interesting new features, chief among them: four and five finger-multitouch gesture support for the iPad. A five-finger pinch brings users back to the home screen, a four-finger swipe up or down shows or hides the multitasking bar, and four-finger swipes to the left or right lets users switch among apps. The new gestures do seem to support news coming out of Boy Genius Report that Apple reportedly plans to kill the physical Home button iPad and iPhone users are used to. Other new iOS features? Personal Hotspot, a tethering option which Verizon mentioned at its iPhone event earlier this week and which could arguably be available on AT&T if the carrier chooses to support it, camera support for the iPad 2, and “Find My Friends,” an as-of-yet unexplained bit that could be a location-based friend-finding service a la Google Latitude. (Gizmodo, Boy Genius Report, 9 to 5 Mac, Macrumors)
- An interview with Verizon Communications President Lowell McAdam revealed some of the challenges in bringing the iPhone 4 over to the carrier. Verizon put up cell towers at Apple headquarters for testing and troubleshooting purposes, and also to ensure the same troubles that plagued AT&T with regards to usage and capacity wouldn’t happen again. The two companies also agreed to exchange information about their products roadmaps. “We had to share with them where we were going with our network and they had to share with us what they were planning for devices,” said McAdam, 56. “That’s when we said, ‘Yes, this should work.’” (Bloomberg)
- Trying to capitalize on this supposed 3-D craze, Sony and two TV broadcasters intend to launch an all-3-D TV series in Japan entitled “Tokyo Control,” which could be a world first. The drama will focus on the staff of the Tokyo Air Traffic Control Center and starts airing later this month. (Wall Street Journal)
- No surprise, here: A day after MySpace laid off 47%, or 500, of its employees, comes news that News Corp. is now mulling over a spinoff, sale, or merger of the beleaguered social-network-turned-entertainment-hub, though internally, the spinoff is viewed as the most logical outcome. (Wall Street Journal)
- Sony may announce the next version of its gaming handheld device, unofficially dubbed the PSP2, on January 27. (VG247)
- Facebook business development vet Alison Rosenthal, who focused on mobile business development and overseeing the social champ’s relationships with 300 mobile operators around the world, is leaving at the end of the week. Rosenthal joined in February 2006, making her one of the company’s earliest employees. (AllThingsD)
- Google acquired eBook Technologies for an unspecified amount. Details are scant, but TechCrunch argues the Internet giant could be after the company’s distribution technology. (TechCrunch)
- Some fun, if somewhat random, Internet numbers for 2010: 107 trillion emails were sent out by 1.88 billion users around the world, who have 2.9 billion email accounts. There were 255 million web sites as of last December, with 21.4 million added last year alone. More than 175 Twitter users sent 25 billion Tweets, and 250 million new people joined Facebook last year for an overall total of 600 million users. (Royal Pingdom)
- UK music streaming service Spotify, which plans to come stateside some time next year, announced a partnership with popular song recognition app Shazam, whereby Shazam users will see a “Play in Spotify” feature for all discovered music. (Engadget)
- Firefox 4 officially goes live next month. (PC World.)
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