#Apple Entering into the Gaming Industry. [INFO]


Apple entering the gaming industry  has been a topic of discussion for a long time. Some people think they already made their move and it’s still playing out. Some people think they are yet to drop the bomb. Most oversimply the issue.

There’s a funny thing, though, about the way proponents of Apple (I say this without denigration) cheer-lead their champion. In a lot of ways, there’s already an Apple in the games industry: it’s the Games Industry. Apple is filling the position in the games industry that Android fills in the mobile world.

Part of what makes it problematic to discuss is that is that it’s really difficult to disentangle content from platform these days, both in mobile and gaming (and mobile gaming, for that matter). The complex network of relationships, channels, and emerging methods for distribution make practically every comparison apples to oranges.

I’m not going to unravel that knot just now. I’ll get to the nut of the issue instead of dancing around it.

One of Apple’s greatest strengths, something that it understood early and has exploited continuously, is the value of the premium platform — including hardware, of course. They were always, and remain, the premium choice in consumer tech. As others have put it, this moots certain comparisons: you can’t, they say, compare a Ferrari to a Toyota. And that idea is not without legitimacy.

So it’s funny when the opposite seems to apply for the games industry. There’s already a premium product out there: the triple-A games produced by huge studios like Ubisoft, EA, Valve, and so on. The Xbox 360 and PS3, and soon the Xbox 720 and PS4, or whatever they’re called, have always been and will continue to be the premium platform — something that has worked well for Apple elsewhere, and something they’ll never be in the games space.

Why? Here’s that content-platform thing again. Apple simply isn’t a triple-A platform for games. Sure, there are great games on it, good-looking games, expensive games. And millions of people play them. But let’s not kid ourselves.

Notice that almost everything relating to the success of games on iOS is in terms of numbers downloaded and hours played. In like wise, one could say that YouTube is far more of a success than Hollywood, based on viewer hours. In a way, it’s true! But what is iOS’s Godfather? What is its Shadow of the Colossus? Angry Birds and Infinity Blade are arguably is the closest thing to either. Talk about comparing a Ferrari to a Toyota.

In the other corner is a premium platform with exclusive, popular content — the very thing Apple was when Android entered the scene. And now Apple is playing the scrappy underdog, eating up all the low-end users, winning on volume instead of quality. It’s the same strategy that provokes such venom against Android! Thousands of options, barely differentiated, priced to sell, with wildly varying quality, except for a few high-end flagship items – am I talking about Android handsets or the games in the App Store? Hard to tell, isn’t it?

And of course, that’s a recipe for success, as either Apple or Google can tell you. But again, as either can tell you, it’s hardly a recipe for total domination. For that, one must control the vertical and the horizontal.

All the same, it’s funny to see the bottom-up strategy of the App Store and Android reviled one moment and then praised the next.


So far, so obvious. But the unknown creeps in when you consider how platforms may evolve over the next five years — which is about what we can realistically expect for the life of the next consoles, with increased entropy due to changing markets.

The platform/content thing enters again, bringing with it quite a bit of uncertainty. How long is Call of Duty and its ilk going to remain a console exclusive? It’s practical now, and I’m willing to speculate that it will be practical two years from now. After that, things get more hazy.

The way people acquire and play games is changing in a serious way. Will the next consoles have huge hard drives to store downloaded games? Will they stream them over high-speed internet? Will they integrate with smartphones? Will they use discs? Will they allow used games? Will they replace your set-top box? Will they be open to hacking? The answers to the questions are maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, and that’s hilarious. And there are a lot of other questions that will need to be answered before we can really start making predictions.

What about Microsoft, whose long-term three-screen plan is in serious jeopardy? What about Sony, which is in many ways falling to pieces (not in all cases a bad thing)? What about Google, which is a total wildcard? What about the publishers, who know which way the wind is blowing but can’t abandon ship yet?

There are too many variables to say with any kind of assurance how things will be in a few years. Apple will continue to make its play for the living room, but supplanting the consoles is out of the question (not that many have advanced this notion). But it isn’t going to enter the space in a way that requires them to abandon the last five years of app and device development, and they’re not going to compete directly against an opponent that offers a product they can’t hope to match. They may like to lead the charge, but they’re no Leeroy Jenkins.

 

Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ to get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.


Did Google just out the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus as the first device to get Jelly Bean (which is apparently coming “soon”), confirm that it will indeed by Android 4.1 (not 5.0) and give us a small, blurry look at what to expect with the next major update? Yes, yes and it looks like yes.


Thanks to the checkout page for the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus sold on Google Play, we now know that the next major release of Android, Jelly Bean, will be 4.1.

Below is the screenshot showing Jelly Bean in association with Android 4.1. We confirmed the HSPA+ when purchasing the Galaxy Nexus, the final confirmation page lists the device as, “the latest smartphone from Google, soon the first phone with Android 4.1 Jell…”

I was able to view a new icon for the Galaxy Nexus showing a modified Google search bar (the same one featured in the listing for the I/O 2012 app), assumed to be a part of Jelly Bean, lending even more credibility the the accuracy of today’s discovery.

At this point, we had already assumed that Jelly Bean would end up being Android 4.1, and that the HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus would be the first device to receive the update. If anything, this is just a little bit of confirmation that we were thinking in the right direction.

Will we see Android 4.1, Jelly Bean unveiled at Google I/O next week? I think we can confidently say yes. As for when the update will actually reach HSPA+ handsets, “soon” could mean anything. Could be during the announcement, could be a month from now. Verizon and Sprint users, who knows how long it could take for your device to finally get the update. Hopefully it won’t be another six months like last time, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the wait extend into the 4th quarter of the year. Either way, we should know more in just a couple more days now.

More on Google’s Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ :

The phone showed up briefly on Google Play before Google took it down. The blog Droid Life took a screen snap  of the listing, which placed the price at $409.

The listing in Google Play also may confirm reports that Google plans to sell the next Nexus directly, a la Apple. That was also the game plan for the Nexus One in 2010, but Google eventually pulled the plug on that effort because of lack of demand for the $529 model.

Microsoft Announces The New ‘Surface’, a 10.6″ Tablet, Based on Windows 8


Windows 8, “Surface

Los AngelesMicrosoft today unveiled a major tablet initiative to compete with Apple’s iPad, Google’s Android, and its own PC hardware partners. After days of speculation and rumors, Microsoft’s major announcement has just been unveiled at a press event in Los Angeles: a Surface tablet. We suspected the company might be working on its own tablet, and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed the device on stage at Milk Studios in Los Angeles today. Discussing Microsoft’s history with Windows, Xbox, and Kinect, Ballmer introduced a video of the company’s hardware products over the years before unveiling Windows 8‘s companion, the Microsoft Surface.

Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky took to the stage to describe the hardware of Microsoft’s Surface tablet. There will be two options for Microsoft’s Surface PC, one powered by Intel’s 22nm Ivy Bridge chips running Windows 8, and another Surface powered by an ARM chipset and Windows RT. The Windows RT version is just 9.3mm thin, weighs 1.5lbs, includes a built-in kickstand, and is the first PC with a vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case, according to Microsoft. It will ship in 32GB or 64GB versions, complete with a 10.6-inch ClearType HD display (of unknown resolution).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Microsoft’s Intel-based Surface tablet will run Windows 8 Pro, with a thickness of 13.5mm, a weight of 1.9lbs, and USB 3.0 support. This particular version will also include magnesium casing and a built-in kickstand, but will ship with either 64GB or 128GB storage. Additionally, the Intel version will include additional digital ink support through a pen that magnetizes to the body of the tablet, and a 10.6-inch ClearType “Full HD” display. Both of Microsoft’s Surface tablets feature optional Touch and Type keyboard covers.

Microsoft says suggested retail pricing will be announced closer to availability and is expected to be competitive with a comparable ARM tablet or Intel Ultrabook-class PC. The Windows RT tablet will ship around the same time that Microsoft releases Windows 8 (expected in October), while the Intel-based Pro tablet will arrive about three months later.

World’s Thinnest Ultrabook by Acer Revealed.


Acer Aspire S5

Acer revealed details on Thursday about its razor-thin, elegantly-designed Aspire S5 ultrabook device, which will become the world’s thinnest ultrabook computer.

Weighing in at just 2.65 pounds, the Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook is just 0.44 inches at its thinnest spot and 0.59 at the thickest. Ultrabooks — which are ultra-slim laptops typically under 0.8 inches thick – have become increasingly popular among manufacturers and consumers, giving on-the-go users a lightweight, full-computer alternative.

 it’s only 15mm at its thickest point. It’s a black, magnesium-alloy and brushed-metal 13.3-inch laptop, weighing 1.35kg (2.97 pounds) and featuring Acer’s Instant On technology that brings the computer back from sleep in 1.5 seconds. It also uses Acer Always Connect, which lets users manage data on their computers even when the machine is asleep — the S5 can be woken up from a smartphone, and will immediately log into email and social network accounts. There’s a Thunderbolt port inside, capable of 20Gbps speeds, along with USB 3.0 and HDMI ports — all are hidden below the S5’s hinge, and can be accessed by pressing Acer’s new MagicFlip key. The computer is powered by an Intel Core processor (though Acer didn’t reveal which one), has SSD storage, uses Dolby Home Theater audio, and has a PowerSmart battery pack that Acer says will have a life cycle three times longer than normal batteries.

The Aspire S5 may be super thin, but it touts a series of powerful specs, including a super-responsive third-generation Intel Core i7 processor and a 256GB solid state drive. With a 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit display (1366 x 768) and a 1.3 megapixel HD webcam, the device makes viewing and taking pictures and videos a visually-rich experience.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The S5 will start shipping in the second quarter of this year, though pricing was not announced. Its Thunderbolt support means this must be an Ivy Bridge machine, meaning we won’t be seeing it until at least May or June.

Now Microsoft Office for Apple iPad, may launch by Nov 10.


The much awaited Microsoft Office productivity suite for Apple iPad will launch on November 10 this year, according to a report of The Daily.

So far, Apple iPad users have been using the Apple’s iLife set of apps which are equivalent solution for the Microsoft Office suite. However, folks who require using MS Office day in and out, heavily demanded the MS Office apps for the iPad tablet.

The Office apps for the iPad tablet are being tested internally and expected to release in early November. Apparently, the app will feature Metro UI despite of being on iPad tablet to keep the visual connect between the app and the Windows 8.

Image courtesy: The Daily.

Alongside the MS Office for iPad, the company is also expected to release MS Office for Android. Currently the iPad users have to use the alternative apps that cost about $10 each.

More Detailed on it :

The date was reported on Thursday by The Daily, which said that the development team at Microsoft finished work on the project last month. The design team responsible for Office on iPad was also said to have wrapped their work soon after.

“The app is now in the hands of a usability team that appraises software that utilizes the Metro design language for ‘Metro compliance’ and suggests changes as needed,” reporter Matt Hickey wrote. “When approved by the team, the app likely will go to Apple for app store approval, which could take a couple of weeks.”

While development of the application is apparently near finished, Thursday’s report did not give any indication as to why Microsoft will wait more than five months to release the application on Nov. 10. The story corroborates with a report from last week that claimed Microsoft’s industry leading productivity suite will be coming to the iPad and Android-based tablets in November.

Word first surfaced late last year that Microsoft was working on an iOS version of its Office suite. It was also said that the Redmond, Wash., software company planned to release an updated version of Office for Mac on Apple’s digital distribution Mac App Store.

The Daily first shared what was said to be a picture of Office for iPad in action in February. However, Microsoft quickly responded to the report and portrayed it as “based on inaccurate rumors and speculation.”

Microsoft is also working on a new native iOS application for Outlook Web App, called “OWA Mobile Client for iOS,” that will offer compatibility with Exchange 2012 mailboxes. It, along with a new version of the Lync application for iOS, will reportedly feature Microsoft’s Metro interface, just like Office for iPad is expected to do.

Earlier reports claimed that Office for iPad will allow users to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. We were told last week that Office for iPad will not include dedicated Outlook functionality, as that ability will apparently be restricted to the forthcoming OWA Mobile Client application.

-(via CNNIBN, AppleInsider)

iPhone SJ: Fabulous Mockup Inspired by Steve Jobs


Will The Next Generation iPhone Look As Good As This Mockup?

Over the last few days there has been plenty of talk regarding the next generation iPad, but there seem to be only whispers about the next generation iPhone. As far as the design of the next iPhone, we don’t have much more than leaked “iPhone 5″ cases that appeared online prior to the iPhone 4S launch. While the leaked iPhone 5 cases seem to resemble the iPad 2, some people have a much different idea of what the next generation iPhone could look like.

Designer Antonio De Rosa has created this beautiful “iPhone SJ” mockup, which he states is “inspired by Steve Jobs.”

Totally glass capacitive screen on a polycarbonate lightweight body.
New design inspired by Steve Jobs, new core with A6 dual core processor, new camera 10 Mpx (sic).
A classic reinvented. Again.

Untitled

Untitled2

Untitled3

 

I think this is a gorgeous vision of what the next iPhone could look like, but it seems unlikely to me. If Apple’s launch-redesign-upgrade-redesign-upgrade way of dishing out iDevices has taught us anything, it’s pretty much a given that the next iPhone will feature a new quad-core processor (A6?) and if we’re lucky, a 10 megapixel camera. The polycarbonate back in De Rosa’s design just looks too similar to the current iPhone models to be considered a redesign, in my opinion. Departing from the glass back of the iPhone 4/4S would be a necessary change to be considered “new” (think: iPhone 3GS to iPhone 4) and would give the iPhone a look like that of the iPad 2. Other than that, there isn’t much to fuel the fire of speculation.

-(via appadvice.com)

What do you think of this design? Would you like the next iPhone to be even thinner than the iPhone 4S? Do you think glass or metal would be better for the back? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

Apple Realeses List of Suppliers:


 Apple released an extensive list of its suppliers for the first time ever on Friday along with its annual report on labor conditions at contract manufacturers around the world. The move reflects an apparent sensitivity to increased public criticism of the company’s level of accountability and transparency regarding where and how its gadgets are manufactured.

The data depicts a company that is moving toward better working conditions, but that still makes many of its high-cost products in environments that would likely be considered untenable in many of the places where those gadgets are used.

For example, the portion of suppliers in compliance with Apple’s regulations on working hours climbed to 38% in 2011 from 32% the year before. But a success rate of less than 40% would be considered a failure in, say, Cupertino — especially with the maximum manufacturing workweek set by Apple at 60 hours.

The 2012 report says that more than half of workers at 93 of the audited facilities exceeded the 60-hour limit at least once during a 12-week sample period. Apple says that it addressed the issue by beginning weekly tracking of hours at “facilities where excessive work hours were commonplace,” requiring facilities to “make changes to their work shifts,” and hiring outside consultants to provide training “on factory planning to avoid excessive work hours.”

The audits also found 67 facilities that used pay deductions as a disciplinary measure and 108 facilities that neglected laws regulating overtime pay.

The 2012 report says that more than half of workers at 93 of the audited facilities exceeded the 60-hour limit at least once during a 12-week sample period. Apple says that it addressed the issue by beginning weekly tracking of hours at “facilities where excessive work hours were commonplace,” requiring facilities to “make changes to their work shifts,” and hiring outside consultants to provide training “on factory planning to avoid excessive work hours.”

The audits also found 67 facilities that used pay deductions as a disciplinary measure and 108 facilities that neglected laws regulating overtime pay.

Explosions fueled by aluminum particles injured employees at two plants in 2011, according to the report. An explosion at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu killed four employees and injured 18 more, while a blast at a Pegatron factory in Shanghai injured 59 workers. Apple says that in response it enacted new requirements for handling combustible dust that include regular airflow and ventilation testing, better fire extinguisher availability and more thorough inspections of ductwork.

In other findings, Apple reported that 72 facilities lacked management procedures for labeling hazardous waste, 74 facilities lacked procedures for disposing of hazardous waste and 125 facilities lacked procedures for the handling, movement or storage of hazardous chemicals.

Also on Friday, Apple released a list of suppliers representing 97% of its procurement costs, its most extensive disclosure in history. The list of more than 150 partners includes major companies such as Intel, Samsung and Seagate, the embattled Foxconn, and a host more obscure names.

Lastly, Apple announced that it will become the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association. The Fair Labor Association is a non-profit network that monitors working conditions around the world. It was co-founded by Nike after the athletic company endured a wave of criticism and boycotts over its sweatshop manufacturing centers in the ’90s.

For Apple’s complete list of suppliers, click here. To read Apple’s entire 2012 supplier responsibility report, click here.

(via mashable)

Have your Opinions?? Please do comment.

Cydia Tweaks Of Year 2011


2011 is has come to an end, and it was a year that saw Apple maintain its dominance over the smartphone market. In October, iOS was bumped to iOS 5, which brought many long-awaited features to Apple’s mobile platform. In addition to that, iPhone 4S was launched, which has been termed as the most successful iPhone yet, with Siri being the apple of many people’s eyes.

On the jailbreak front, Cydialovers had to spend the last quarter of the year on a tethered jailbreak for iOS 5, but with the holiday season came an untethered jailbreak. iOS 5 brought a fully functional Notification Center, and many completely different features to the iOS mix, and that made way for a whole new genre of Cydia tweaks. Here is a list of some of the best Cydia tweaks for iOS 5.

Almost all of the following tweaks are free. The few that aren’t free have their price mentioned within their descriptions.

1. Spire (First legal Siri port for pre-A5 devices)

Siri iPod touch

2. OpenBackup (Create a backup of your Cydia tweaks and their chosen preferences)

OpenBackupFiles

3. Fbspot (Control your Facebook account from the Spotlight search area via custom commands)

Fbspot Custom Command

4. Autocorrection Bar (Get Android-like autocorrect bar above iOS keyboard)

Autocorrection Bar

5. SwitcherLoader (Add or remove options from the App Switcher tray)

SwitcherLoader Settings

6. App Stat (Track your app usage by seeing the number of times each app has been opened)

App Stat List

7. xCon (Run apps which don’t normally allow jailbroken devices to use them)

xCon BeforexCon After

8. Zephyr (N9 & Blackberry Playbook style multitasking bezel gestures – $2.99)

Zephyr

9. CleverPin (Disables passcode lock when on a particular Wi-Fi network – $1.99)

IMG_0630 IMG_0628

10. SwitcherCleaner (Kills all apps automatically except the recent ones)

SwitcherCleaner

11. LockScreen Multitasking (Access App Switcher from the lock screen)

Lock Screen Multitasking

12. Firebreak (Enables panorama view in stock iOS camera)

IMG_0542 IMG_0544

13. SMSConfirmation (Get confirmation notification every time an SMS is delivered successfully)

SMSConfirmation Notification

14. WeeSpaces (Multitasking for iOS 5 Notification Center)

IMG_0340

15. AnyLockApp (Replace the camera icon on lock screen with the shortcut to any app)

IMG_0333

16. WeeFlashlight (A flashlight usable from the notification center)

WeeFlashlight-Cydia-Tweak---Flashlight-toggle-in-Notification-Center

17. SwitcherPages (Add page dots to the app switcher tray)

Dots In Task Switcher

18. FolderIcons (Customize the appearance of folders and icons)

Modified Folders

19. Swype (Get a Swype keyboard for your iOS device)

Swype-Beta-For-iOS1

20. Notification Center widgets (a collection the best Big Boss Notification Center tweaks)

iOS 5 Notification Center Widgets

So that concludes the list of the tweaks that really made 2011 a successful year for the jailbreak community, and reminded everyone why Cydia remains important in the iOS environment. With the untethered jailbreak for iOS 5 out now, users of jailbreak are sure to increase in numbers exponentially. Apple has been taking leads from the jailbreak community for a while (and even developers), and we hope to see the trend continue in years to come. Have a wonderful and successful 2012!

-(via addictivetips)

Apple distributes $400million to the Executives in shares:


Apple has awarded seven of its key executives with massive stock grants worth approximately $400 million in total.

Six Apple SVPs have been awarded 150,000 shares of Apple for their services, according to recent SEC filings. This includes Scott Forstall (SVP, iOS), Robert Mansfield (SVP, Hardware Engineering), Peter Oppenheimer (CFO), Phil Schiller (SVP, Marketing), Jeffrey Williams (SVP, Operations) and Bruce Sewell (SVP, General Counsel). At Apple’s current stock price of $400.24, those shares are worth approximately $60 million.

Eddy Cue, the recently promoted SVP of Internet Software and Services, received 100,000 instead of 150,000 like Apple’s other SVPs. However, Cue received 100,000 shares when he was first promoted to SVP in September. Each 100,000 stock grant is worth $40 million.

Apple’s execs won’t be able to spend their new-found wealth immediately, though. Fifty percent of Forstall, Mansfield, Oppenheimer, Schiller, Williams and Sewell’s shares will vest in June 2012, while the other half will vest in March 2016. Cue is on a different vesting schedule: 25% of his shares will vest in September 2014, while the other 75% will vest in September 2016.

“Our executive team is incredibly talented and they are all dedicated to Apple’s continued success,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “These stock grants are meant to reward them down the road for their hard work in helping to keep Apple the most innovative company in the world.”

CEO Tim Cook was awarded 1 million shares of Apple after his promotion. At Apple’s current stock price, those shares are worth approximately $400 million. They will vest on a 10-year schedule.

Update:

Some readers have pointed out that Jony Ive, Apple’s SVP of Industrial Design, didn’t get a bonus. That is not necessarily the case. For various legal reasons, Jony Ive’s bonus wouldn’t have to be reported to the SEC. We believe he also received a bonus from Apple, but the company declined to report it to the government

Steve Jobs’ Secret Formula: How He Won Over Critics, Scored 317 Patents & Changed the World


I arrived at Apple’s headquarters a little before 9 a.m. after a beautiful drive down the 280 from San Francisco on a sunny July day. This wasn’t any ordinary trip to One Infinite Loop. Steve Jobs was on stage, but he wasn’t going to announce any products.

Just two days earlier, Apple hastily called for a press conference to address the growing rumors and complaints surrounding the company’s newest product, the iPhone 4. It was a terrible couple of weeks for Apple. You may remember it better as Antennagate.

As I listened to Jobs speak about the antenna issues of other smartphones during his press conference at Apple Town Hall, it was clear he was far from nervous, panicked or upset. Rather he was poignant, focused and even humorous as he took question after question from the press.

He took the whole controversy in stride. He even opened the press conference with the hilarious iPhone antenna song. In the end, Antennagate proved to be just a bump in the road; the iPhone 4 became the world’s best-selling smartphone.

What I remember the most from that press conference was something he said. I think it exemplified everything that made Steve Jobs who he is:

“We care about every user, and we’re not going to stop until every one of them is happy.”


The Many Faces of Steve Jobs


I have had the honor, on several occasions, to see Jobs captivate an audience with his showmanship and his passion for the products he was showing off to the world.

I’ve also had the chance to chat with many people who have seen him work his magic in person. In some cases, Jobs ripped them apart for not reaching his incredibly high standards. But every single person I’ve talked to was been impressed by his ability to see the future in his mind and launch innovations that would bring the world closer to it.

Steve Jobs was many things: an innovator of ideas, an inventor of products, an entrepreneur who knew how to build a multi-billion dollar business, and a rare individual with the capability to see the future.

SEE ALSO: Steve Jobs & Apple [THE JOURNEY]

Did you know that Steve Jobs has 317 patents to his name? His name appears on the patent for the first iPod design. His name is on the patents of various laptop designs. He even holds 13 different patents for the unique packaging of iPhones and iPods.

What made him excel in all of these areas wasn’t his genius or some magical formula. There were plenty of times he missed the mark.

What made him successful, and made up for any qualities he lacked, was that he kept trying. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance,” Jobs once said in an interview in 1995.

It’s that rare combination of passion and skill that changed the world and made Jobs a legend. It’s that rare combination that helped him change the world by making our lives easier and connecting us in ways we never knew was possible.

Here’s to Steve Jobs, the world-changer

-(via ben parr)