Wednesday Morning News-retail-121216-3.jpg
If the rumours are to be believed, the next generation iPhone will be offered in three colours and at least two screen sizes. One analyst is claiming at least two screen sizes will be offered, after he was in a meeting with a company in Apple's supply chain. And Mac Otakara cites a trusted source who revealed the next iPhone will come in three colours, adding one more to Apple's usual black and white offerings.

But a bigger question is what to call the thing. You might expect Apple to continue the sequence of iPhone 5 to iPhone 5S, but there's a few problems with that. For one, it suggests minimal improvements to the product compared to the release of an entirely new design, not just internal improvements, and besides *the similarity between 5 and S this time around will make things awkward, as Marco Arment points out.

Apple has posted a message to say iMessage and FaceTime are having extended downtime this morning, with no ETA on restoration. Usually these blips in Apple online services come and go like a short summer shower, but this is the first time things haven't returned to normal. As usual, the Apple status page is the one you should be looking at before complaining on Twitter.

I was wondering why the removal of the AppGratis app was such a big deal when it hit me: apps such as AppShopper and AppGratis solve problems that exist within the App Store, specifically the ones of search and app discoverability. The AppGratis CEO has now explained why their app was rejected, and it was because of two App Store guidelines that led to the rejection of the AppGratis app. Now, neither AppGratis or AppShopper are available in the App Store.

Panic has a brand new app out this morning, and while it won't be for everyone, it's a new take on an old idea. They've shown off their status board before, and now they've made an iPad version that also features video out via AirPlay or that controversial HDMI adapter. The best part? You can hack together your own data sources for the app to use, meaning that if you've got the skills, you might be able to put together something that tells you whether your trains are on time in the morning. Status Board is $10.49 in the App Store and is available right now (link opens iTunes).

An update to Google Chrome for iOS brings fullscreen browsing to the iPhone and iPad, along with printing capabilities. But the most interesting feature, at least to me, is the ability to save a webpage as a PDF document to your Google Drive like you can do on the Mac, only on your iOS device. Neat!

G-Technology make external drives that don't look out of place next to your Apple product, and now they've announced a new lineup of Thunderbolt-equipped external drives, as well as Thunderbolt docks. The G-Drive Pro and Evolution series will be landing in a few months, and start at around $700 for the 2TB configuration G-Drive Pro.

With all the panic about Google shutting down Reader, people have turned to self-hosted alternatives. They're a lot more work and can take a little bit to setup and maintain, but the plus side is you get control of your own data and you decide when to sunset the product. AeroFS is a self-hosted Dropbox alternative that offers all the same features based on a peer-to-peer sync service.

An Apple patent could allow you to buy your music even when offline. The patent describes an iOS device that periodically downloads new recommendations and new releases, allowing you to "unlock" the content with credit stored on the device at a time of your choosing. Seems clunky, but hey, there it is.

Ron Johnson left his position at Apple as SVP of Apple Retail almost a year ago now to become the CEO of JC Penney, a retailer in the US. Now he's been fired there (due to his poor performance in turning around the discount clothing retailer), there's murmurs to say he could come back to Apple and lead the Retail division once more.