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Here’s How the New Apple and Twitter Updates Affect You

Photo by Flickr user Motorola Milestone Test, via Wikimedia Commons.

Are you reading this on a smartphone? Chances are pretty strong that you are.

So the word of the week is update, thanks to the iPhone5 and iOS6 from Apple, new Twitter, and more.

And if you have gadget envy, you're not alone.

Here's a cheat sheet for the new upgrades. (The real ones.)

What is iOS 6?

iOS is the iPhone's mobile operating system.

i = Apple's product prefix (iPod, iPad, iPhone ...)
OS = operating system

Basically, it's the program on which Apple smartphones and related products function.

Last year's version, iOS 5, brought the world the iPhone messenger, which allowed iPhone users to message each other without charges (similar to BlackBerry's BBM service).

iOS is popular - 37% of smartphones run on it. The Android OS beats it out, with more than 50% of the market.

iOS 6 started rolling out yesterday, and it's one of the biggest updates in OS history. The new features include a new map feature (no longer tied to Google Maps), and more streamlined Facebook and Twitter integration.

But it's got issues. Even fanboys are griping that Apple decided to ditch its transit directions, leaving bus and train passengers frustrated. Some eager users also found themselves unable to access the App Store. Luckily Apple Support Forum users found a quick fix.

Oh, and the new map animation looks like footage from the zombie apocalypse.

The good news is that you can switch back to Google Maps and get a commuting app.

See Business Insider's handy instructions for installing iOS 6 >>

What's with the new iPhone? Could Apple really have added more features?

Oh, they can and they did.

The new iPhone 5 has a lot of new physical features, including a taller and thinner design, a new charging connector, and an additional microphone. And that's just what's on the outside.

Check out CNet's great round-up of the iPhone's new features >>

On the inside, the iPhone 5 has a new SIM card and a slightly elevated battery life. This phone also has 4G capabilities, which means that when the phone is in a 4G zone, it will be much faster.

Oh, and there's a new connector.

So are people rushing out to buy this thing? And should I?

Well, can you spare at least 200 bucks? Or more? If you have an upgrade on your phone plan or are planning to get a new one, the iPhone 5 will cost $199 or $299, depending on how much space you want. If you don't have an upgrade, it will cost a lot more.

Still, price hasn't exactly deterred people from rushing out to buy their new toy. And, yeah, there was a hashtag for that.

Apple is saying that pre-orders topped $2 million in just 24 hours. In fact, there were so many pre-orders that their initial supply wasn't enough. On Sept. 16, five days before the phone hit store shelves, lines were already forming.

I'm not an Apple user. Are there any new phones on the market for me?

Yes! Here are a few of them:

  • The LG Optimus G, which boasts the Android OS and a zoom camera.
  • Windows Phone 8X/S has a pretty powerful processor and a new operating system that's received rave reviews.
  • The newest RAZR, from Motorola. (Ahh, this reminds me of the first phone I got in high school - it was a pink flip RAZR. Now, it's come back to life as a smart phone: with a huge screen and a supposedly great battery life.)

While we're talking tech, can you tell me about Twitter's new design, too?

Twitter's new look is more visual and more focused on profile pages.

What does this mean for you? Well, Twitter says users will be able to express themselves more. There's a greater emphasis on images. And a lot of potential for self-expression, creativity, and silliness.

Here's how to set it up:

Twitter also updated its iPad app. And it's got a lot of haters.

You might want to think twice before upgrading.

The Kicker

While you've got tech on the brain, here are a few things you can do.

Small

Download an app to change the world >>

See whether you might qualify as a smartphone addict >>

Medium

Send your parents a helpful TeachParentsTech video >>

Large

Donate your old cell phone >>

Images used under Creative Commons licensing.

Lily Altavena

Lily is currently a TV news producer in Dallas, Texas. Previously, she was a production assistant at MSNBC. She is also a recent NYU grad. She interned for Ann Curry’s team at NBC News, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and the education nonprofit She’s the First. Her interests range from politics to education to comedy. She is not actually a dinosaur. Follow: @lilyalta.

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  1. This is why I love my Android phone because it is very user-friendly and compatible with most apps in the market.

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