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Apple has released the Apple TV 5.4 beta to developers. The latest beta software for Apple's setup box adds support for several new features, notes iDownloadBlog. The first up is iTunes Radio, which Apple announced at WWDC would be coming to Apple TV in the fall. iTunes Radio functions much as it will over iOS 7: users can access the Apple TV's built-in Music app to stream songs over the Internet.
Perhaps the coolest new feature is called Conference Room Display. As the name suggests, this mode is aimed at Apple TVs in the workplace. Users can set the Apple TV's home screen with a custom image, like a corporate or event logo, and a custom message. Viewers will see the custom image and message and also an overlay telling them how to connect their devices to the Apple TV.
Finally, Apple has added increased subtitle features to the Apple TV. Users can now choose between closed captioning or subtitles and also alter the way subtitles look. Users will be able to set the font color and size and also the background color of subtitles.
It is presumed that Apple will release the Apple TV 5.4 software to users when iOS 7 ships in the fall.
Apple TV 5.4 beta adds iTunes Radio, Conference Room Display originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Adobe has announced the release of 15 all new Creative Cloud apps. Adobe's Creative Cloud apps allow files to be stored in the cloud and opened on devices running multiple platforms including desktop, mobile, and web. In addition to feature updates to Adobe's apps, they all now feature Behance integration. Behance is the world's largest social network aimed at allowing designers to share their work.
Adobe has spotlighted some of the new features available, including:
- Photoshop CC ships with new sharpening technologies and designer workflow enhancements. Camera Shake Reduction deblurs images that would have otherwise been lost due to camera movement. All-new Smart Sharpen makes texture and detail pop, and Adobe Camera Raw 8 adds even more powerful photographic controls to straighten and perfect images. Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC are the first Adobe desktop applications to include the ability to post files directly to Behance, showcasing work immediately and integrating peer feedback into the creative process.
- For designers, the Touch Type tool in Illustrator CC offers a new level of creativity with type. Move, scale, and rotate text characters knowing that it remains editable. This feature works with a mouse, stylus or multi-touch device. Illustrator also enables painting with a brush made from a photo. Art, Pattern, and Scatter brushes can contain raster images, so designers can create complex organic designs quickly, with simple brush strokes. And Illustrator CC features integration with Behance, so work can be shared directly to Behance to get feedback and showcase projects. A new, modern architecture for InDesign CC turbocharges performance, and in-browser editing in Adobe MuseTM CC -- a tool for designers to create and publish HTML websites without writing code -- allows clients to make edits to a published website, which can then be reviewed, approved, and updated by the designer.
- For video customers Adobe Premiere Pro CC includes dramatic new editing features, customisations and improvements to help editors work efficiently. Premiere Pro CC integrates powerful colour workflows, with the addition of the LumetriTM Deep Colour Engine to easily apply rich colour grading looks. A high-impact version of Adobe After Effects(R) CC brings motion graphics and visual effects artists more creative possibilities and allows them to work more easily in 3D with the new Live 3D Pipeline with Maxon Cinema4D integration. There are also all-new versions of Adobe SpeedGrade CC, Audition(R) CC, PreludeTM CC and Adobe Story CC Plus.
Access to the full Creative Cloud suite is only available via subscription. Monthly subscription rates are US$50, with discounts available to current owners of Creative Suite software.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
When it comes to getting music from your iOS device to a good speaker, there are a lot of different methods. There's the tried and true dock method, which can fall to pieces when Apple comes out with a new connector design as they did last year with Lightning. Some manufacturers have the mistaken hope that people will just use an adapter and a pair of wires to run to a speaker or two, while the vast majority have gone the route of Bluetooth. Wren Sound Systems has changed all that with a Wi-Fi connected AirPlay speaker called the V5AP (US$399) that is provides excellent sound reproduction in a beautiful design.Design
The unique design of the Wren Sound Systems V5AP speaker is an eye-catcher. Whether you're using the V5AP in a crowded, dirty dorm room or a mansion, the gently curving lines and wood surfaces immediately draw your eyes to the speaker. The case is finished in either a light finished bamboo or in deep, rich rosewood. Along the front of the speaker is a silvery grille that is backed with a diamond (shaped) matrix so that music is pumped through without distortion.
On one end of the speaker is a vertical array of controls. Unlike the confusing mess that many speakers clutter up the control panel with, this simply has four buttons: a power button, a set of volume buttons, and a button for selecting input (Wi-Fi, USB, or AUX). LEDs glow unobtrusively on the speaker case and don't tend to glare or attract undue attention.
There are a pair of 19 mm edge-driven soft dome tweeters, one at each end of the speaker, to produce a nice, open sound. On the bass end are two long-throw drivers with 4-layer voice coils. The bottom of the case is covered with a 4 mm silicone pad to absorb transmitted vibration when you really have the volume cranked up.
Inside that enclosure you'll also find an Intersil D2 50 Watt DSP-controlled digital amplifier to drive all of the speakers, along with the other fun electronics. There's a tuned acoustic port on the back to help the bass along, and the back is also where you'll find a setup button, USB port and AC adapter connection. By the way, if there's one thing I have to say is a failing of the V5AP is that it comes with a rather generic AC adapter and power brick. Fortunately, it has a nice long cable so you can increase the distance between power outlet and speaker.
Last but not least, the box includes a remote control that I frankly never touched, preferring to use the controls on my iOS devices. Note that the V5 speaker also comes in a Google Play-Fi version (V5PF), and a Bluetooth version is in the works.Functionality
Setup of the Wren Sound Systems V5AP is very simple. The company actually provides two methods; I chose to use my iPhone to set it up. Basically, you plug in the speaker, turn it on, make sure that USB is selected for connectivity, and then plug your iPhone or other iOS device into the speaker. Almost immediately, a dialog appears on the iOS screen asking if you wish to share your Wi-Fi settings with the speaker. Tap OK, and a few moments later your V5AP is joined to your Wi-Fi network. You can unplug the iPhone at this point, although I kept mine plugged in for a while to give it a charge!
Next, it's just a matter of selecting the speaker from the AirPlay controls on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. You'll want to make sure that the speaker has good Wi-Fi connectivity, but once you're connected you can begin playing music...
...and that's where the joy of this product comes in. The sound is full, crisp, and just plain amazing. The V5AP sounds better than any other AirPlay speaker, Bluetooth speaker, or dock that I've reviewed. I was able to crank this speaker up to the point that the floor was shaking and the sound was still undistorted.
Regarding my comment about needing good Wi-Fi connectivity: I moved the speaker to several locations, one that's a known "dead spot" on my Wi-Fi network. While I still had connectivity, traffic from the MyFi card in the camera I was using for photographs actually caused the connection to drop momentarily. Bringing the speaker back into an area with better Wi-Fi coverage resolved this issue.Conclusion
Many AirPlay or Bluetooth speakers on the market are plagued with either boring design, bad sound, or complicated setup. Wren's V5AP is simple to set up, pleasant to look at, and boasts audiophile sound quality.
- Beautiful case design
- Easy to use controls
- Simple and fast setup
- Best-in-class sound quality
- Uninspired use of a generic AC adapter that Steve Jobs would hate
Who is it for?
- The connoisseur of good design and excellent sound quality -- in other words, the V5AP is perfect for any Apple customer
Wren Sound Systems V5AP AirPlay speaker: Stunning design, incredible sound originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Well it's official now. With iOS 7 now out of the bag, Jony Ive's title at Apple has recently been changed to reflect his added responsibilities and increased influence across Apple's product line. Whereas he used bear the title of Senior Vice President of Industrial Design (as recently as June 9), he now holds a more comprehensive title -- Senior Vice President of Design.
Ive originally made a name for himself as the man behind Apple's gorgeous and often innovative hardware designs. With the October ouster of Scott Forstall, however, Ive began applying his design aesthetic to Apple's software as well, an aesthetic which first became apparent last week when Apple unveiled a complete revamp of iOS.
Apple shortens Jony Ive's title to "Senior Vice President, Design" originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
At this year's WWDC Apple previewed the latest version of OS X 10.9 named Mavericks. The name was a departure from its previous scheme of naming OS X after cats. As Phil Schiller noted in the keynote, Mavericks is a popular surfing spot in California that many Apple employees like to go to to catch a wave - and as we've noted, it's close to where Phil Schiller lives.
An interesting little factoid about Mavericks (courtesy of keen eye reader Tyler G) is that this is not the first time Apple has used the name.
Way back in 2005 the company spotlighted the Mavericks surfing spot in promo material for its then-newly released Aperture software. Surfing images from Mavericks, along with the locale's name, can be found as elements of custom-made Aperture books and also as contact sheets on the original web page announcing the features of Aperture.
Apple's love of 'Mavericks' has been around for a while originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 04:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Eddy Cue: Steve Jobs picked 'Winnie the Pooh' as the iBooks freebie, also came up with the idea for 'page curls'
While testifying in court last week, Apple executive Eddy Cue had a number of interesting tidbits regarding the origins of the iBookstore, namely that Jobs was initially opposed to the idea but quickly hopped on board after Cue convinced him that the iPad would make the perfect e-reader.
Today, Cue took the stand once again where he divulged some more interesting tidbits regarding Apple's foray into the e-book space.
At one point during today's proceeding, an Apple attorney asked Cue a number of questions about Steve Jobs and his involvement in Apple's iBooks initiative.
Once again, All Things D was there covering the trial and relayed the following nuggets of information.
The "page curls" in the iBook app, which show up when you flip an iBook's page? That's Steve Jobs's idea.
It was Jobs's idea to pick ""Winnie-the-Pooh" as the freebie book that came with every iBook app. Not just because Jobs liked the book, Cue said, but because it showed off iBook's capabilities: "It had beautiful color drawings, that had never been seen before in a digital book."
Jobs was also specific about the book he used to show off the iBook during his initial iPad demo in January 2010. He picked Ted Kennedy's "True Compass" memoir, because the Kennedy family "meant a lot to him," Cue said.
Indeed, Cue's testimony serves to underscore that you'd be hard pressed to find another CEO in the annals of tech that was as product and detail oriented as Steve Jobs.
Apple's trial with the DOJ is slated to end this week.
Eddy Cue: Steve Jobs picked 'Winnie the Pooh' as the iBooks freebie, also came up with the idea for 'page curls' originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Chillingo, unfortunately, wasn't mentioned at all during EA's press conference last week. I thought the big publisher would at least give a little nod to its extremely successful mobile publishing arm, but no such luck. I did, however, go and see the team gathered in their annual suite near the LA Convention Center, and got a nice look at their upcoming slate for the next few months. Here's a quick title-by-title rundown of what Chillingo and parent company EA were showing off.
Plants vs. Zombies 2
This is technically not a Chillingo title, as it's being developed by Popcap and published by EA. But it was probably what will turn out to be the biggest title in the suite for sure. Plants vs. Zombies was a huge hit on mobile, and so Popcap is bringing it first to iOS later on this month. In addition to new plant types and lots of new stages, the title has a time traveling theme. Crazy Dave will take you and your plants back through time to fight zombies in Ancient Egypt, the Wild West, and the pirate-infested seas, with one more (probably a future) level coming soon after launch.
This time around, the game is based on that series of worlds, so each world will have its own core levels, challenge levels, and then endless levels to play through. Levels are unlocked as you open them up with keys that you collect, and you'll need to earn a certain number of stars to open up "star gates" and move to the next world. Gameplay is as colorful and fun as ever in the very popular Plants vs. Zombies series, though there are a few new elements, like the ability to drag across the screen and pick up sunlight, rather than having to tap on each sun separately.
There are also new touchscreen-based powerups to play with, and this is where the game's biggest issue comes in: It's a freemium title. The original Plants vs. Zombies was very much a premium game, in that you paid once and played forever. But Popcap has elected to go freemium with PvZ2, so it'll be free to download, and then various currencies and items will be available via in-app purchase. Popcap's reps were very clear to say that players would be able to see the whole game for free, and that's true, but even in my short playthrough, I saw no end of reminders that I could spend real money on in-game items. Powerups cost currency to use, which you can earn in-game, or you can spend real money on them if needed. And a special item called plant food provides your plants with a big boost, and can be collected from certain zombies or purchased directly.
The jury's out on this one for now -- we'll have to wait and see if the changes bother Popcap's audience at all. Popcap believes there's more money to be made with a freemium scheme, and that's almost certainly true. But the freemium elements may turn off a sizable part of the audience that doesn't want to be continuously bothered for cash, and could taint the series' otherwise sterling reputation for quality. Plants vs. Zombies 2 is due out very soon.
Fightback is a Chillingo-published title being developed by Ninja Theory, the talented folks behind the great Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and the recent DmC: Devil May Cry, both for traditional consoles. Fightback is a much simpler action game with an '80s feel, as you play a muscle-headed thug fighting through floor after floor of various towers, trying to save his oft-kidnapped sister. The game features a simple control scheme (tap to punch, swipe to kick or duck), and challenges the player to keep an attack combo going and defeat all of the baddies within a certain time limit.
Fightback seems simple but fun -- one level takes place in an arcade, and the neon signage and fictional arcade cabinets add a nice bit of fun to the fisticuffs happening in the foreground. It too is a freemium title, and in addition to upgrading weapons and equipment, the hero can also get tattoos, which provide special buffs and abilities. Fightback should be an excellent but simple action title, and a nice entry into iOS for the veterans at Ninja Theory. It's set to arrive sometime this summer.
Zya is the product of a company called Music Mastermind, and it has already picked up 300,000 users courtesy of a PC-based beta last year. It's a music creation app, though while most music creation tools are buried under complicated UIs and science, Zya instead goes with cute characters and flashy graphics, and turns the process of creating and mixing a song into a game, of sorts. You start by choosing a series of music tracks (including a bass line and a rhythm section), either picking from the original pieces provided, or using licensed music from artists like Kelly Clarkson or Madonna. You can then add a melody, again from a licensed piece, or simply by singing your own into the iPad or iPhone's microphone.
The game will then mix all of your tracks together (courtesy of a cute cartoony dog hitting a big green "Mix" button), and then reward you various points and achievements based on the mix you chose. You can then share that mix via YouTube or other social networks, with friends or online with the public.
Zya seems like a great idea -- it combines some really impressive music creation and mixdown tools with cute characters and a very clear interface. There are only 20 licensed songs to start, but of course the company is ready to add more, if the app sees the popularity it needs. Zya will be out later this year, on iOS first, with an Android version to follow.
Icycle was my favorite game at GDC this year, and we chatted with creator Reece Millidge just a while ago. The good news about Icycle is that it's just as beautiful, charming, and well-made as it was at GDC, and it's even closer to release (though obviously Chillingo is putting the time in to get it right).
The bad news, however, is that some freemium elements are creeping into the gorgeous gameplay. Now, when your character dies, you're presented with a button to retry right from where you started, with a small cost of currency to pay (undoubtedly available via in-app purchase). There are also various boosts and other items buy, and unfortunately the menus for those items just appear garish and commercial when overlaid on the spectacular game itself. Icycle has to make money, of course, but it's a little depressing to see commerce invade what should really be held up as pure art.
We'll have to see how that balance plays out -- it would be a shame for Chillingo to ruin such an excellent experience with a few overly crass sales pitches. Icycle is almost done, I'm told, and we should see it on the App Store soon.
Finally, Ultima Forever was on display yet again. I saw this in action at GDC for the first time, and it was and impressive retake on the old Ultima RPGs, made directly for iPhone. Unfortunately, it too suffers a little bit from the freemium focus that Chillingo has had lately, using a relatively annoying scheme of requiring keys of various qualities to do RPG-standard things like open chests and repair damaged equipment.
Fortunately, senior producer Carrie Gouskos seems particularly sensitive to the freemium concerns, especially after what sounds like a very enlightening Canadian beta. She told me that she's very dedicated to not only making sure there's a free-to-play path through the game that's fun and rewarding, but has also been lowering prices lately, trying to get the in-app purchases to a place where they're both profitable (for Chillingo's sake), and tolerable (for the audience's). We'll be able to see the game soon -- it's set for a worldwide release sometime in July.
Chillingo is one of my favorite publishers on the App Store -- the staff over there has made some terrific decisions in partnering up with quality developers, and all of these titles seem like great, well-polished experiences. Freemium is turning into a bad word with these titles, however, even when it doesn't have to be. We've seen in the past that audiences on iOS are more than willing to pay for high-quality experiences, and while the constant ask may make Chillingo more money in the end, it could sully the company's reputation, especially as there are more and more great experiences on the App Store that don't constantly pester for cash. Hopefully this company can find a good balance between profitable and fun, and keep publishing these great titles without having to cram them full of controversial freemium pitches.
EA/Chillingo's E3 2013 offerings: Plants vs Zombies 2, Fightback, and more originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
You may read this review of the Bracketron NanoTek Stand (US$29.95) and ask yourself "What's so exciting about a angled piece of aluminum with some sticky pads on it?" Well, many times smartphone stands are tied to a particular generation of a smartphone, so when the next big thing appears on the market, it's time to toss the stand for a newer model. The Bracketron NanoTek Stand is a design that works now and will keep your iPhone happy for the foreseeable future.Design
The NanoTek Stand began life as the SETA Smartphone Stand, a Kickstarter project by 1.0 Innovations that is still underway and has so far pulled in almost four times the funding goal. It appears that Bracketron saw just how successful the Kickstarter project was and they've now licensed the design. The Bracketron product is available now, and can be purchased online or from a number of retailers. For more information about the Kickstarter project, check out the video below:
The NanoTek Stand/SETA Smartphone Stand is a piece of aluminum weighing in at 2.2 ounces, bent so that there's a little "foot" on the bottom to allow it to stand up on a desk and adorned with a t-shaped slot cut through the lower part for a charging cable to snake through. On the bottom of the "foot" there's a NanoSuction[TM] pad so that your phone and the stand aren't going to topple if you happen to bump it. Another NanoSuction pad is on the front of the stand, and that's what you slap your iPhone onto.
As noted, the t-slot in the front of the stand is perfect for feeding through a 30-pin Dock or Lightning connector for charging. The NanoTek is currently being sold in either white or silver.Functionality
NanoSuction pads are amazing; they work well for sticking items to flat surfaces, and then letting you remove them without damaging either surface. That material is not sticky to the touch, and it doesn't pick up a lot of dust or grime The 1.0 Innovations folks who set up the original Kickstarter project for this stand even have the idea of selling some super-sized NanoSuction pads for attaching iPads to surfaces like walls, refrigerators or windows.
With a naked iPhone or -- believe it or not -- iPad mini, the device stuck right to the stand and stayed in one place. Especially with the iPad mini, it's a great way to have access to the device on a desktop without taking up a lot of space.
Well, there appears to be one material that isn't NanoSuction-friendly, and that's the material that Mophie juice pack battery packs are made out of. That's what I use to keep my iPhone 5 charged up, and it just won't stick to the stand. Pull off the case and the iPhone sticks like glue, put it back onto the stand and it falls off.
Bracketron does include a second pad that's supposed to work better with silicone or textured cases. I tried to remove the original pad to place the second pad onto the stand, and that was nigh impossible considering the adhesive used. I ended up placing the new pad on top of the old, and it didn't work with the Mophie case either. Note to Bracketron and 1.0 Innovations: apparently Mophie uses Kryptonite to make its cases...Conclusion
The modern miracle of nano-suction pads strikes again in this minimalist smartphone stand from the design team at 1.0 Innovations. Buyer beware, though -- this stand doesn't work with every case on the market.
- Unobtrusive design that looks at home anywhere
- NanoSuction pads work well to grip tightly to most flat surfaces and "naked" smartphones, and it's easy to remove the devices or move the stand
- The cable management system (i.e., t-slot) built into the stand is a stroke of genius
- Price is reasonable
- NanoSuction pads do not stick to some case materials
Who is it for?
- Anyone who wants to support an iPhone in a slightly angle vertical position on their desk or desktop
Bracketron NanoTek Stand: minimalistic design by 1.0 Innovations, functional standout originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
I first got to see Solstice Arena, Zynga's latest iOS entry, at GDC earlier this year, and then had a short meeting again last week with the publisher at E3. But you no longer have to take my word on what it's like: The game arrived on iOS worldwide last week, so you can grab the free-to-download title at your leisure.
And I recommend you do. Zynga has a reputation for pushy freemium elements in goofy casual titles, but I can confirm this game has none of that. This is a true mobile MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) title, similar to League of Legends, but very iOS-centric in its delivery. The game has been simplified in a lot of very smart ways, producing a high-quality title that's very impressive. In my own play, I've found some minor balance issues (the healer character, for example, seems awfully overpowered, especially when teamed up with a burly bruiser), but I am sure those will get evened out as the game gets periodic updates and tweaks.
And while yes, this is a freemium title, that part is also done very intelligently. The freemium elements are mostly confined to customization and convenience. Just like League of Legends, the game opens up a number of free heroes to play every week, so there's ongoing variety even if you never spend a dime. And if you do, real money can only buy you custom skins for the heroes you own, or can pay for boosts in your own XP, so spending money doesn't affect the gameplay at all. Prices are a bit high (which is something else I expect will likely be tweaked in a future update), but all in all, the freemium elements almost never get in the way of the gameplay, which is very respectable on Zynga's part.
In short, Solstice Arena is exactly the kind of game Zynga needs to help cleanse its reputation as a money-grabbing casual publisher. I would hesitate to call it truly hardcore (I think the game needs about double the heroes and maybe another map or mode to really start comparing its depth to a standard PC MOBA), but it's definitely a "mid-core" experience that delivers a lot of fun. If you're a MOBA fan or just want to see what Zynga is doing right lately, give it a download and a try on iPhone or iPad.
Daily iPhone App: Solstice Arena is Zynga's shot at multiplayer online battle arenas originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
For the Mac faithful, it won't do to share space on just any server -- you want to use a Mac server. Likewise, we like to have our own Mac servers colocated at a place that specializes in Macs. That's why hosting providers like MacStadium are so popular. Now MacStadium has announced that as soon as the new Mac Pros arrive, they'll be ready to rack 'em and stack 'em in their hosting and colocation center.
The company expects to be able to fit 270 Mac Pro servers per POD on only 12 square feet of floor space in their datacenter. That's what that Lego-like image above represents, with Mac Pros sitting on their sides stacked 15 tall, nine wide and two deep. That MacStadium facility provides redundant cooling, power and security systems, and each of those Mac Pros will be connected to the world with Gigabit Ethernet through a 50 GB/s network backbone.
The existing Mac Pro, according to MacStadium, has never been popular in the hosting and colocation world because of their huge physical footprint and high power draw.
MacStadium will be able to provide Mac Pros as a monthly rental or purchase, or you can send in your configured Mac Pro for collocation.
MacStadium to provide new Mac Pro hosting and colocation originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Automattic, the company behind Wordpress, has purchased the iOS Wordpress client Poster. Developer Tom Witkin is joining Wordpress' mobile team with the aim of bringing his app's unique features to Wordpress' own app.
Sadly, progress for Wordpress means Poster is no longer available in the app store, but there's a bright spot for those who've already picked it up. Users who already own the app will be able to re-download it from their accounts and Witkin has announced that he will continue to provide support.
Poster brought a number of features not found in the company's own apps to Wordpress users, including Dropbox integration for importing articles from the cloud, support for Markdown and the ability to choose your own URL slug for posts. While it's sad to see Poster leave the App Store, it's nice to know Wordpress' own apps will most likely be seeing these improvements in the future.
Automattic buys third-party Wordpress app Poster to improve its own mobile apps originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
With the impending doom of Google Reader just around the corner on July 1, RSS fans have been searching for an alternative to their beloved feed. Digg has heard their cries, and will be launching the first public beta of its new Reader replacement, called Digg Reader, next week.
The beta will slowly roll out at first, but Digg promises it will be available to everyone by June 26. Digg has made it clear the service will become a freemium product, akin to services like Evernote which provide free services with extra paid options available to those willing to pay. However, all of the features available during the free beta will remain part of the free version of the reader in the future.
Digg Reader will come with migration tools to help you move your feeds from Google Reader. In addition, Digg promises the core product will feature mobile apps that sync with your Reader web page, a clean layout that focuses on article content and support for subscribing, sharing, saving and organizing.
The mobile beta will launch on Digg's iOS app, with Android support coming in the 60 days following launch. Other upcoming features include integration of third-party services like Buffer and Evernote and improved sorting and filtering of feeds, notifications and search.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You'll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what's happening in the Apple world.
You can listen to today's Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.
No Flash? Click here to listen.Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments
The long-awaited iOS version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is almost here. 2K Games has announced that it will be available on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch Thursday at a premium price of US$19.99.
Firaxis' excellent remake of the old PC game arrived on consoles last year to critical acclaim, and now it's coming to iOS with all of the single player features of the main release. Multiplayer mode is coming later on, and will be added in an update a little further down the road.
That price might be the most notable thing about this one. Lots of developers are going with freemium on iOS lately, claiming that there's just not a big enough audience willing to pay a higher price to justify anything but giving games away for free. But XCOM is definitely a premium experience, and I think that there are plenty of gamers out there willing to pay $20 for a game worth the quality (XCOM is still selling in stores for $50 or $60 on consoles and PC). Firaxis apparently agrees, so if XCOM turns out to be a hit, we may see more developers and publishers trusting the premium price for their highest quality games.
A hit here could also kick off a trend of even more developers bringing out their AAA titles to iOS, possibly even closer to the same day and release date of consoles and PCs. We'll see how this all plays out. If nothing else, we're all set to get another excellent game on iPhone and iPad this coming Thursday.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown arrives on iOS on June 20 for $20 originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Skype is usually about communicating in real time, but today the Microsoft subsidiary added a new feature that works even in those cases when your recipient isn't going to be able to see you right now -- video messaging. Skype Video Messaging has been in beta for a while; today the free feature is becoming available to all users.
All video messages are sent and received free of charge, regardless of how often you wish to share video snippets with friends and family. Messages can be up to three minutes long. Although there are no editing tools built into the current incarnation of Skype video messaging, you can always go back and re-record your message until it's perfect.
Skype adds video messaging to Skype for Mac, iPhone and iPad originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Crytek is the company behind the Crysis series of games, as well as the CryEngine game engine that powers them, and it's released a game on iOS before. Now, it looks like the AAA developer is planning to make a return to Apple's touchscreen platform, with a new game called The Collectibles (or The Collectables, depending on who you hear about it from). Last week at WWDC, Crytek showed off the new game during a panel, and as you can see above, the game looks like a top-down action title, probably a shooter of some description.
The other interesting thing you'll notice about the game is that the developer demoing it was using a controller. iOS 7, you'll remember, adds official Apple support for "Made for iPhone" controllers, and we've already seen this hardware leaking out into the world. There have already been a number of third-party controllers available for iPhone and iOS devices, but it looks like Apple is finally supporting buttons officially, and Crytek's game might be one of the first titles to work with this new standard. The game also uses the touchscreen, however, so you probably won't absolutely need to have a controller just to play.
Of course, that probably also means we won't see The Collectibles in action until iOS 7 is out, which means sometime later on this year. Hopefully we'll get a chance to see the game in action sooner rather than later.
Crytek showed off a new iOS title called The Collectibles at WWDC originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
During last week's WWDC 2013 keynote address, support for MFi -- Made For iPhone / iPad / iPod -- game controllers at the iOS SDK level was quickly noted on one slide. Since that time, TUAW has discussed why this is so important to not only game developers, but Apple as a whole since a combination of an iOS device, a MFi controller and an Apple TV could easily make dedicated gaming consoles a thing of the past. Now 9to5Mac and several other websites are showing an image of a prototype MFi game controller from accessory manufacturer Logitech.
The rather blurry image showed a Logitech controller on top of a glass surface. Fortunately, 9to5Mac commenter "clstr0ud" had a much clearer image taken from a slide from the WWDC "Platforms State of the Union" session. As noted on that image (seen above), developers had an opportunity to test out these prototypes during lab sessions.
The fuzzier anonymous photo shows that the controller is designed to work with a newer, Lightning adapter-equipped iPhone or iPod touch. No date has been set for release of the device, nor is there any assurance that this is Logitech's final design for the controller.
Prototype Logitech MFi game controller pics surface on web originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Walter Isaacson's bestselling biography of the late Apple founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, will be hitting bookstores again late this summer. On September 10, the book will be released as a paperback featuring a much younger portrait of Jobs on the cover.
As you can see in the images at the top of this post, the two portraits are similar. The top portrait, from the Macintosh launch year of 1984, was taken by photographer Norman Steef, the same man who shot the iconic image of Jobs posing with a Mac that was used on the cover of Time magazine's commemorative issue in 2011. The newer image used on the hardback edition was taken by photographer Albert Watson.
Amazon is apparently taking pre-orders for the paperback edition at US$17.99, although the pre-order page shows a book title of "Untitled" by "Cathy Unknown" as placeholders. The hardcover is currently available for $17.74 and those desiring an electronic version can pick up the Kindle edition for just $13.60. The iBooks edition is available for $13.99.
When it was released shortly after Jobs' death in 2011, the book took just 45 days to become the year's top seller in the Amazon bookstore.
Steve Jobs bio appearing in paperback September 10 originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 17 Jun 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Most of my generational cohort should remember the first few times they actually saw or laid hands on a personal computer. I'm pretty sure I do; my childhood friend Bradley Konia was the guy who always had the most interesting gadgets, and he claimed both a Sinclair ZX80 and an Atari 800 in his collection. We stayed up way too late typing BASIC commands on the Sinclair's membrane keyboard, or watching Hollywood Medieval simulate tunnels and hallways on the Atari while listening to Tubular Bells. (It seemed like a good idea at the time, I can't explain it any other way.) A classmate owned an Apple II, and we did indeed play Oregon Trail on it for hours on end.
My elementary school was fortunate to have a legitimate computer lab in the late 1970s, and I was fascinated with the OSI unit (considered the "power option" at the time) and the three or four Commodore PETs across the room. My friends and I would take turns laboriously hunt-and-peck typing in programs from magazines, including the ever-popular Hunt The Wumpus game, and then saving those programs onto cassette tape. Forward-thinking teachers, including David Bloomfield and Marilyn Nelkin, helped us glimpse a future where these exotic, clunky machines would become so ubiquitous as to verge on invisibility.
My first computer? My folks brought home a Commodore VIC-20 from a school auction one night, and I could not have been more excited if they'd bought a pony. Some of the excitement may have been from the Colecovision that also made its way home with them, but the VIC-20 was my new little friend. I agitated for the graphics expansion pack (8K of RAM! 256 colors!) and game cartridges like Mars Lander. Although the VIC was barely functional by modern standards, I loved it dearly. I even used it to enter a graphics program competition in 8th grade, only to have my entry completely outclassed by a magnetic field simulation program written by a clever 7th grader who went on to some notoriety as a font designer.
Even before I got to junior high, I had already taken a two-month typing course at a local secretarial school -- my handwriting was so illegible that my teachers insisted I learn to type. That turned out to be a great leg up, as I found myself able to use the early word processing capabilities of my father's office equipment; first a Lanier dedicated workstation (a daisywheel printer was a thing of beauty, but having to swap boot floppy disks to repaginate was not) and later, an IBM PCjr (quite possibly the least satisfying personal computing experience of all time).
With the ability to put words into semi-professional-looking form, paired with easy access to copiers, I co-founded two 'zines at my high school covering RPGs ("The Hunter Hobbit") and videogaming ("Venture") with my friend and classmate Charles Ardai. Charles later went on to found the Juno internet service, but he has since returned to his editorial roots as the publisher of the Hard Case Crime series of pulp novels. Helping to create and write those simple black-and-white periodicals -- which, if memory serves, we sold for $0.50 each until our free photocopying ride hit some bumps -- was my first experience with putting my writing out where the public could see it.
In early 1984, my mother was starting up a new consulting business, and she needed a computer that could handle the basics without getting in her way. Thank goodness she bought a Mac: a 128K, later upgraded to 512K. I didn't care that it was slow and tiny; it was perfect. Eventually she got an SE (dual floppy drives), which allowed the 512K and the ImageWriter to become the primary machine for my brother and I to do schoolwork, MacPaint art and eventually full-page comics with Mike Saenz's astonishing ComicWorks. Between 1985 and 1987 we swapped the 512K for a Mac Plus, which is the machine I took with me to Carnegie Mellon in August of 1987.
Adding a 40 MB SCSI drive from Jasmine (yes, that's megabytes, not gigabytes) to the Mac Plus gave me plenty of expansion room during my first few semesters of college. Keeping the computer hand-me-down rotation going, my younger brother got the Plus in early 1989; I used my student discount to upgrade to the shiny new SE/30. Let's just put this down for the record: pound for pound, the best Mac ever made.
In college -- while the Mach project that would later spark NeXT's OS was underway -- I split my computing time between the Sun workstations that comprised CMU's Andrew network and the Macs that filled the offices of The Tartan, the campus newspaper. I clearly remember us getting our first Mac II at the office, and later the IIfx (soooo fast).
At The Tartan, we ran Aldus PageMaker and carried floppies full of PostScript files down to the Linotronic across campus. We waxed halftoned photos and pasted them down onto the page boards. We drank lots of coffee and talked way too loud. We had a lot of fun. I worked at the paper for my entire undergraduate tenure, serving as the entertainment section editor and managing editor, alongside great colleagues like Howdy Pierce, Judy Haraburda, Drue Miller, Karl Barnhart, Dustin Frazier, Grant Carmichael, Stephen Glicker, Bruce Kasrel, Nathan Fullerton and Javier Grillo-Marxuach. Most importantly, there was the proofreader and copy chief I started hanging out with back in 1989 -- we're coming up on our 14th wedding anniversary.
While I was learning on my feet on the student side of the desktop publishing revolution, the big leagues were beginning to recognize the changes coming to the editorial and publishing business. I got a summer internship at Time Inc., pulling film and making MatchPrint proofs in the middle of the night at the company's central imaging facility, but found myself helping explain and support these odd new computers that were sneaking in around the edges.
I came back to the company after my sophomore year, and began working with the editorial technology management team across the magazine group, which continued into a full-time role after graduation. I took a job with Time's P.ink team (partnering with the German development house, including Andreas Poliza and Greg Rewis, that would later go on to produce Adobe's GoLive web editor), working on an edit solution for the Mac to supplant Kodak's legacy ATEX system. I was privileged to learn from smart, capable folk like Eileen Bradley, Gerard Lelievre, Chris Green, Anne Jackley, Tom Vincent, Harry Wilson and Ken Baierlein, but most of all from my mentor Dennis Chesnel and my colleague Jerry Sarnat. Dennis was a great boss, a wise teacher and a good friend; Jerry was a vivid demonstration of how someone could succeed in remarkably different areas (he had been a Broadway dancer and choreographer before he took up typography and systems integration). Both of them are gone now, and deeply missed.
After working on the P.Ink project -- we got a little bit sideswiped by the toolkit that eventually became the Quark Publishing System -- I moved over to an editorial technology role at Entertainment Weekly. Over the next few years, I helped expand the Mac footprint at the magazine, running QuickMail and Novell servers while deploying a truckload of Power Computing Mac clones, while also contributing to the review sections and special issues. For our Star Trek tribute edition, I had to track down a translator to tackle reverting Hamlet's soliloquy back to the original Klingon.
For a brief period, I took on a split-personality set of jobs (if you look closely at the EW mastheads from the summer of 1996, you'll see me listed twice) running both the edit tech and new media operations for the magazine. My team launched EW onto the web as part of Time Inc.'s Pathfinder supersite, and as one of the first few magazines to debut on the traditional AOL service. Little did I know that my early exposure to AOL would come around again years later when I arrived at AOL-owned TUAW -- or that I'd leave Time Inc. only weeks before the star-crossed AOL/Time Warner merger was finalized. Back then, had we known the term "content management system," we might have thought that was a clever nickname for the interns. All our HTML was artisanal, crafted by hand in SimpleText, and uploaded one story at a time.
Post-EW I moved over to LIFE magazine, where the photos told the story, and ran edit tech there as well as covering a similar suite of online responsibilities. It was an honor to work with some of the legends of American photojournalism, learn from fantastic colleagues (Dan Okrent, Bobbie Baker Burrows and more) and to be present for what turned out to be the twilight of a great brand. The monthly LIFE was folded in the spring of 2000, which I found out via a call from managing editor Isolde Motley -- while I was on my honeymoon. In New Zealand.
Given my sudden underemployment, I did what everyone should: I began freelancing. My brother, who had also spent several years in the Time Inc. editorial tech cycle, was the IT lead at a small events & training agency called MJM. I went to work for him for a bit, then I took a few months off coinciding with the birth of our first child in early 2001. When it was time to go back to looking for work, MJM called my number. I ended up spending almost 12 years in IT, operations and creative technology at the company, which was acquired by WPP in 2001. In my final role there, ending May of this year, I was helping other companies up their technology game for their events as the creative director of digital.
During my time at MJM, I got to work with hundreds of fantastic, talented professionals, including one of TUAW's founding bloggers, Laurie Duncan. When the site was on the hunt for additional talent, Laurie was kind enough to recommend me to top editor Scott McNulty and our producer (now editor-in-chief) Victor Agreda, Jr. After a few months of back-and-forth, I proudly joined the site in late 2006, and here I've been ever since. I was glad to sit virtually alongside several of our contributors who've gone on to additional Internet fame (looking at you, Chartier and Warren) and I remain delighted to work with our current team, which absolutely rocks.
As of late May 2013, I've transitioned over to a new "day job" role as a senior sales engineer at Salesforce.com. Working for a world-class technology organization is thrilling and a little bit daunting, but the good news is that I plan to continue on as a part of the TUAW family; you can't get rid of me so easily as that. I still find Apple technology just as exciting, fascinating and mysterious as I did the day that 128K Mac arrived, full of promise and potential.
PET image via Steve MaddisonSource | Permalink | Email this | Comments
E3 took the gaming world by storm last week, so it's fitting that we take a walk down memory lane today with this old Nintendo Entertainment System that is now an iPhone dock. Made by Pete Morris, the same guy who did the Atari speaker dock, the speaker system tightly integrates into the remnants of what once was Nintendo's crown jewel.
Housed inside the console is a speaker system with six EQ settings, FM radio and support for apps. The iPhone fits in the front of the console, and the open lid provides a convenient backrest for the device. The dock uses a 30-pin connector, but a Lightning adapter is available as an optional accessory.
Once plugged in, the NES controller lets you change the volume, control playback and power on the dock. The lighted display on the dock can show the volume, the frequency of the current radio station and even the time when the dock is off. It's a clever new use of old technology.
The NES speaker dock is available to purchase on Etsy for £185.00 (US$290). The dock is designed for the iPhone 3GS/4/4S, but you can convert it to support the iPhone 5 by purchasing a Lightning port adapter for £25.00 ($40).Source | Permalink | Email this | Comments