Are you itching to know what Apple has in store in its next iteration of the iPhone? Would it be sporting a newer form factor? Would there be a new processor or more RAM? Would it have a bigger screen than before?
Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right. Does this seem familiar?
If it does, well surely, you are one of the lucky ones who were able to play Contra back in the 90s. The NES classic was developed by Konami and is an alien and human shooting side-scroller game that is highly addictive and entertaining. I know, because I was really hooked to the game back then.
Anyway, iOS developer CocoaChina/Chukong will be bringing the good old days as they were able to obtain a licensing agreement for the game that will enable them to remake the classic game on iOS. The new game, called Contra Evolution, will be first fully licensed mobile version of the Konami classic.
Already launched in Chine, it will be landing to the US App Store (and hopefully, to other geographies as well) on June 27. The iPhone version is priced at $0.99 while the iPad one is at $2.99.
With the nationwide blockbuster showing of the Man of Steel in theaters starting few days ago, it is but timely that Warner Bros has finally released the iOS game that complements the movie. On the said game, you play the role of, who else, Superman as you battle against adversaries with the ultimate goal of facing and eliminating Zod. From the game’s official App Store page:
***THE OFFICIAL GAME OF THE MAN OF STEEL MOVIE!***
General Zod has begun the invasion of Earth and only the Man of Steel can stop him. Utilize the powers of Superman to fight your way to victory and save the planet from certain destruction.
RELIVE THE EVENTS OF THE MAN OF STEEL MOVIE!
-Attack, dodge, block, and utilize various super powers including flight, super speed, and heat vision to defeat Zod and his evil forces.
-Play through an in-depth Story Mode or set a personal high score in the intense Survival Mode.
-Battle a challenging cast of mini-bosses and technologically advanced foes featured in the film.
BECOME SUPERMAN LIKE NEVER BEFORE
-Unlock and purchase up to 6 different suits from the Man of Steel movie.
-Upgrade your suits to become a truly unstoppable force!
-Customize your experience by upgrading the specific abilities YOU want to use.
-Embrace the true strength of Superman with bone-crunching combos, all with the swipe of a finger.
-Delivers next-gen graphics on your phone or tablet with beautifully detailed animations and cinematic sequences.
-Fight in a variety of detailed and interactive 3D environments including Smallville, the Kent Farm, and more.
Requires iOS 5 and later
Aside from iOS 7, the new MacBook Air, the redesigned Mac Pro and Anki’s amazingly fun AI-powered iOS game, Apple also announced the Mac OS X Mavericks at last Monday’s WWDC 2013. And from the looks of it, there are a lot to be excited about the company’s new desktop operating system that is set to be released later this year alongside iOS 7. For a quick rundown of the software’s specifications and features, see the official marketing material below taken from Apple’s website.
Last Monday, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, a five-year-old startup company called Anki delivered a keynote address about their new app Anki Drive. It is a racing game that pits real cars against players and each other with your iOS device serving as a controller. Although seemingly amusing and innocent at first, most of us would probably miss the bigger picture of such innovation: the company is bridging the gap between artificial intelligence (AI) and real life. As Anki’s Boris Sofman puts it,
“We’re passionate about AI and robotics, and we know these advanced technologies are more than just science fiction. We want to harness them, to interact with them, to be entertained by them, and use them to do things that have simply never been done before. We believe the time is right to bring AI out of robotics labs and research institutions and into life.”
According to the company’s official blog, Anki Drive is the first video game that actually runs in the real world. Each toy car is said to be equipped with sensors and intelligent software that makes thousands of decisions every second — similar to the algorithmic calculations a human being does while driving. Sofman adds,
“When we look at Anki Drive, we see the first steps of the future of robotics and artificial intelligence being realized. We see an entertainment experience transformed today, and we see countless possibilities in the future.”
Anki Drive will be available this Fall exclusively on iOS.Before its release, the app is available for download on the App Store for users wishing to better understand the technology behind the game. Everybody is also welcome to sign up for a spot on the game’s beta program.
About the company:
This morning, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and during the said event, a handful of design improvements and innovation in both software and hardware products of the company were introduced. And probably, of all the announcements made on the two-hour long event, the most notable of them all is Apple’s announcement of the next iteration of its mobile operating system: the iOS 7.
Coming along the new and redesigned iOS 7 is a slew of features and capabilities along with the overhaul of the operating system’s UI. And although the initial release of iOS 7 is still a few months away, Brian Rozen, an iOS developer, just uploaded a number of screenshots from the new beta that was released to the developer community today.
From the screenshots, you can see that indeed, similar to what Apple announced today, the new UI design features a flat and more simplified approach. This gives the OS a much more modern and clean look and feel compared to the current version of iOS.
With quite a long time before the consumer release of iOS 7, a lot can change on the operating system over a few months, although one could safely expect that the overall look and feel of it will be very much the same as the screenshots. What’s interesting, though, is how people would be reacting to the shift in design philosophy and functionality of iOS and whether these changes would bring about good or bad results to Apple. For now, all we could simply do is wait.
Source: Brian Rozen
Finally, after much speculations, anticipation and buildup, the WWDC 2013 launched today a number of great news and updates regarding Apple’s software and hardware products that would surely excite and energize the wide and loyal fanbase of the Cupertino-based company.
As expected, major updates to both iOS and OS X were announced at today’s press conference. Skeumorphism was almost nearly abandoned on both operating systems, with Apple executives joking about the felt, stitching and leather textures featured in the older versions of the operating systems. The latest OS X, steering away from the feline naming convention that we were accustomed to, is now dubbed Mavericks. In many ways, the company’s announcement of the many software tweaks of its operating systems further exemplifies Apple catching up to the industry design norms today. As far as hardware goes, a new line of cheaper MacBook Airs sporting Intel’s new Haswell processors were announced, as well as the long-anticipated redesign of the Mac Pro Desktop. However, there were no signs of the much rumored iWatch. Want more details on WWDC 2013? Read on to find out more!
With a number of laptops now sporting Intel’s new Haswell processors, the company also announced a refreshed line of MacBook Airs that will be using the said chip. Comes with the announcement are promises of dramatic battery improvements, with an 11-inch Air now expected to get 9hours of battery life, and the 13-inch with 12hours. A 40% boost on graphics processing power is also to be expected, says Apple. Shipping today starts for the new Airs, with SRPs of $999 for the 11-inch variant and $1,099 for the 13-inch one.
A newly redesigned Mac Pro was also announced in WWDC 2013. It now comes with dual AMD GPUs, claiming 7 teraflops of performance and supports Thunderbolt2 and 4K displays. The high-end desktop is also several inches shorter and thinner than the previous version. The machine is slated to come later this year and is being manufactured in the US.
Lastly, the AirPort Extreme router and Time Capsule backup, Apple’s pair of internet peripherals were also updated, with next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi (which is said to offer 1.3Gbps of throughput) being added to both. Airport Extreme is available now for $199, while 2TB and 3TB versions of the new Time Capsule will be available for $299 and $399, respectively.
iOS 7 got an overall interface overhaul from Jony Ive. Keeping the same basic structure of iOS, the new and improved operating system now features redesigned icons that have a flatter and more stylized look. Gradients were stripped out and the whole UI’s palette was given a brighter and simpler tone. Scrolling through the menus and apps also provides a subtle parallax feel. Fonts were also slimmed down, and a new version of the classic slide-to-unlock function of iOS was also introduced.
A translucent panel dubbed Control Center now slides up from the bottom for quick access to frequently used settings such as Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, flashlight, and rotation lock. You can also adjust brightness, manage music playback, and connect to AirPlay or AirDrop on the panel. Touch gestures will also be more utilized in iOS 7 with its reliance on more swiping and pinching. More so, folders are now capable of storing unlimited apps.
As far as multitasking goes for iOS 7, it is now similar to how webOS and Windows Phone behaves. Double-tapping the home button gives you large thumbnails of your apps with identifying icons underneath them. You can scroll horizontally through them, with three available on the screen at a time.
The Notification Center has also been overhauled in iOS 7. Now, the operating system allows you to access notifications from the lock screen. Notifications are now also synced between devices so there is no more need to dismiss the same update multiple times. The top of the new Notification Center features three tabs, “today,” “all,” and “missed.” The first is a bit reminiscent of Google Now: it gives you a heads-up on what’s coming up today, with calendar appointments, weather, birthday notifications, stock prices, and more. The pull-down menu is now transparent, and it features the new fonts and swipe interactions we’ve seen in the rest of the updated operating system.
Bringing the same feature from the Mac, AirDrop is a new way to share files over Wi-Fi on iOS. Initially available on the iPhone 5, it is a secure and encrypted means to transfer files from one iPhone to another. AirDrop could be configured to accept files from other people on the same network or just your contacts.
Taking design and functionality cues from other advanced apps, the Photos app on iOS automatically organizes photographs into categories called “moments”, which is based on where and when the images were taken. Photos will be then correspondingly labeled based on the moment they’re in. Increased emphasis on sharing is also evident on the redesigned app, with photos now possible to be automatically cropped into a square shape for Instagram uploads. Photostreams can also now be shared, which allows users to create streams that friends could add photos into.
The App Store, not to be left behind, is now hooked into the phone’s GPS to offer app suggestions based on your current location. More so, app updates are now made automatic similar to Android. Siri also got an overhaul, with the new version coming with male or female voice options that are both more natural-sounding than the previous one. Support for several languages is provided, as well as multiple data sources for Siri. Now, Wikipedia and Twitter could be searched for queries, with Bing coming in as Apple’s search partner for pulling web results.
Not to be outdone by other streaming music services, Apple also launched today the iTunes Radio, a free albeit ad-based streaming music service that offers radio stations similar to other competing services. However, what sets Apple’s version apart is that iTunes Radio is geared more toward song purchases rather than purely streaming music. The initial version of the service is integrated into the Music app and offers selected radio stations that can be shared with your friends.
Lastly, Apple today announced that its latest iOS version will be sporting turn-by-turn directions and expanded vehicle options. A new system, dubbed “iOS in the Car”, is set to mirror your iPhone on the display found on your car, which means maps, Siri, messages and the like will be directly available to you from the car’s dashboard. However, we would have to wait before fully benefitting from this, as manufacturers will begin adding the feature to their cars in 2014.
OS X 10.9 Mavericks
For OS X, a number of optimizations and revamps are incorporated to OS X 10.9. First, Navigation is a big focus in Mavericks. For the first time in OS X, Finder windows would not be cluttering your desktop as the new OS now supports browser-style tabs. Tags could also now be used to simplify search and organization of files.
The leather and felt interfaces of previous OS X versions have now been stripped away. The new Calendar features a flatter and softer feel, with the Game Center, phone and messaging apps undergoing the same aesthetic changes. iBooks, which was previously available only in iOS, is also coming to OS X.
Apple Maps, initially one of the more embarrassing pieces of Apple software, has gotten some attention with a desktop version for OS X and an SDK that lets developers add Apple Maps directly to their Mac apps. Desktop and mobile maps are integrated with the option to push directions to an iPhone.
Multiple display support has been fixed in Mavericks, with the Mission Control tool being redesigned to focus more on extra and extended displays. Now you can use two fullscreen apps at once, and if you have an Apple TV, the new features can extend to your television as well with AirPlay.
Notifications similar to iOS also come to OS X 10.9. Now, you can quickly reply directly from a notification without having to open the specific app. Push notifications from your iOS device can also be received directly on your Mac computer.
This year also marks dramatic changes Safari will be sporting. The redesigned browser features a new sidebar that will hold bookmarks, but it will also integrate reading lists as well as links shared by friends on Twitter and LinkedIn, turning it into a limited client for your social networks. In terms of sheer performance, Apple showed off a set of benchmarks putting Safari on top of its other competitors. More so, Macs and iOS devices will have access to a new feature called iCloud Keychain that can remember passwords and credit card information to auto-suggest them in Safari.
Editor’s Note: An article similar to this one also appears at TechGeeze.com, as only one writer contributed for both coverages. No copyright infringement intended.
Are you on the lookout for an alternative weather app for your iPhone? Yes, a number of capable and beautiful third party apps exist for this kind of task. However, Yahoo! just recently entered the game with their all-new weather app. With the aid of various photographers and the Flickr community, Yahoo! Weather screams simplicity and stunning beauty at the same time.
The app works by pulling the exact coordinates of your mobile phone, the time of the day and the general weather condition in the area. Yahoo! Weather then selects and displays an appropriate image taken in your town to match the forecast. Scrolling upwards allows you to see the hourly weather forecast, five-day forecast, “feels like” weather, wind and pressure, chance of precipitation, etc. A map mode is also available to provide a wider area of coverage. Turning your iPhone horizontally lets the app into full display mode.
From the app’s App Store page:
The forecast is beautiful.
See the weather like never before – only Yahoo! Weather combines stunning photos with the most accurate forecasts.
– Beautiful photos that match your location, time of day, and current weather condition
– Detailed weather information and forecasts
– Interactive radar, satellite, heat, and wind maps, plus sunrise/sunset times
– Swipe vertically for detailed weather information
– Swipe horizontally for favorite locations
– Submit photos to the app at Project Weather on Flickr
Download your copy now!
Quite recently, there have been news and rumors circulating all over the internet about PRISM. According to articles published by the Washington Post and the Guardian, PRISM is a covert collaboration between the NSA, FBI and the many tech companies we depend on daily. Fancy naming aside, it is actually a real US government program that is said to have started in 2007 to monitor potentially valuable foreign communications that could pass through US servers.
With the help of companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Apple and the like, the US government is able to access tremendous wealth of data and communications that passes through the companies’ servers. These information are then cascaded to the FBI’s Data Intercept Technology Unit which in turn reports to the NSA.
Documents describing the previously undisclosed program, obtained by the Washington Post, show the breadth of U.S. electronic surveillance capabilities in the wake of a widely publicized controversy over warrantless wiretapping of U.S. domestic telephone communications in 2005. See a handful of these documents in the screenshots below:
Which means, basically, PRISM has allowed the US government unprecedented access to each and everyone’s personal information for the last six years. That includes chats, emails, pictures, videos and calls. Everything that makes up our online identity. Scary, isn’t it?
Well, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, there is nothing to worry about PRISM. He writes:
The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.
Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.
Activities authorized by Section 702 are subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Executive Branch, and Congress. They involve extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about U.S. persons.
Section 702 was recently reauthorized by Congress after extensive hearings and debate.
Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.
The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.
From what he wrote above, Clapper basically assures everyone that the US government’s PRISM program is totally legal and very important to ensure protection of US citizens (and to some degree, the subscribers and users of all the tech companies they have been tapping the last 6 years) from a variety of threats.
Not contented? To further ease the tension caused by the news about PRISM, Apple, Google, Microsoft, and just recently, Facebook, have published their individual albeit seemingly rehearsed press releases regarding the matter. Says Mark Zuckerberg in his personal FB page:
I want to respond personally to the outrageous press reports about PRISM:
Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday.
When governments ask Facebook for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.
We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe. It’s the only way to protect everyone’s civil liberties and create the safe and free society we all want over the long term.
From all these recent developments, maybe there is just one thing we should take note: the world we live in today has become increasingly connected and social that privacy and security as concepts have evolved and taken a slightly different definition. With the continuous growth and development of computing, internet and telco technologies, it is naive of us to think that the government (and to some extent, other malicious or criminal organizations) cannot and will not access the “personal” and “private” information that we share amongst our friends and the community. Hence, we as citizens of the web should be more responsible and aware of the things that we do, say, hear and share. With the help of today’s technology, the world is more open than ever before, and it is simply up to us if we would not be vigilant and allow other groups or individuals to bypass our personal privacy.
Quietly, Apple has launched a new iPod touch into its online store product line. The new variant sports the same 4-inch Retina display available in the 5th generation iPod Touch, although the new one lacks a rear camera. This one replaces the 4th generation models and sports a dual-core A5 processor, a front-facing camera and only available with 16GB of memory. The device is also only available in silver and black variants.
The good news, however, is that this new iPod Touch is priced at P12,490, 24% cheaper than the 5th gen model.The device is already available for order in the country’s online Apple Store. It comes with free shipping and estimated to ship in 5-7weeks.