Apple introduced new versions of its iPod Touch media players last week. In addition to models available with higher storage capacities, the new iPods are nearly 50 percent faster than their predecessors. MacWorld ran a series of benchmarks that support this claim. The site's Dan Frakes wrote:

"For gamers, the more exciting improvement is that the 32GB and 64GB models are allegedly 50 percent faster than the second-generation models and include support forOpenGL ES 2.0, which provides advanced graphics capabilities to mobile devices.

Just as the iPhone 3GS was faster than the iPhone 3G at everything, the new iPod touch feels much faster at any task you throw at it: applications launch (and quit) faster, Web pages load more quickly, processor-intensive games and programs perform better -- you name it."

The improved performance will be even more apparent as more OpenGL ES 2.0 games come out. Even though the iPod Touch's improvements should keep it reigning as the king of all media players, stiff competition has arrived in Microsoft's Zune HD. Personally, I'm extremely disappointed that the new models do not have camera functionality. I'm happy that a deactivated iPhone 3GS is my current media player.

Any of you picking up a new iPod Touch?


Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Apple iPod Press Conference Wrap Up

Today started off with a bang, as Apple held its annual iPod-related press conference in San Francisco and unveiled a series of new upgrades for line of music players, not to mention a seriously needed serious of tweaks for the iTunes service and even a little update for the iPhone, too.

Want to know more? Here's G4tv.com's complete online coverage of the event:

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Madden NFL 10 Now Available For iPhone And iPod Touch

Hopefully, Madden fans have found a way to add a few more hours to the day, because Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL 10 for the iPhone and iPod Touch is now available on Apple’s App Store. The mobile version of the perennial king of the gridiron features all of the authenticity fans have come to expect from a Madden game including some 2,000 players from all 32 teams, commentary from John Madden, Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth, and more.

One of the coolest new features is the ability to draw your own passing routes on screen. You can also go into slow-motion using Action Control Time and pick the best move for that situation. And don’t worry about losing your progress in a game if someone calls or texts you. The game will auto-save and then reload right where you left off, which is always a much appreciated feature. EA also plans to add multiplayer support, roster updates and throwback jerseys sometime in the near future.

Currently, the game is available for $7.99, but that will only last until 8:30PM EST Thursday, when it jumps to the standard $9.99.

Anyone checked out mobile Madden? Impressions?

Apple Drops iTunes 9, Adds Home Sharing, iTunes LP, Movie Extras, More

In addition to dropping welcomed upgrades to the iPod Nano hardware, Apple introduced the latest evolution of its music sharing, selling and organization software, iTunes. The latest update, iTunes 9, isn't a revolution, but it does introduce some welcomed tweaks. You can download iTunes 9 for yourself right now, but here are the biggest changes:

  • iTunes LP -- Essentially, bringing the album experience to a digital format with downloadable photos, behind-the-scenes videos, liner notes, etc.
  • Improved Home Sharing -- Share music and videos via iTunes among the select authorized computers on your home network
  • Re-Designed iTunes Store -- Enough said
  • iTunes Extras -- It's the iTunes equivalent of DVD extras
  • Genius Mixes -- The previously introduced Genius feature is now on the iPhone App Organization -- You can now reorganize your iPhone home screens from your computer (finally!)
  • Facebook/Twitter Integration -- It's basic right now, but it's there

Keep reading for screen shots of these new features in action

Read More »

Tags: Apple, Tech

iPod Nano Receives Major Upgrades -- Video Camera, FM Tuner, Mic, Speaker

Apple hasn't forgotten about the iPod Nano. In fact, of every device highlighted at Apple's press conference in San Francisco today, the iPod Nano probably received the most loving upgrades. The new iPod Nano now features a video camera, an FM tuner, a microphone to record voice memos and a speaker to play back music and videos.

Oddly enough, the iPod Nano was the device no one really expected to come equipped with a camera upgrade. All signs pointed to the iPod Touch, but last-minute rumors about a delay related to a hardware issue appear to have been true. The iPod Nano's camera captures VGA quality (640 x 480) H.264 video, with up to 30fps and AAC audio.

The new iPod Nano also features a slightly larger 2.2 inch screen and Live Pause for the FM tuner. When you're listening to a radio station, the iPod Nano is constantly buffering the station. If you need to take a quick break, you can actually pause the radio station and pick up where you left off. You can rewind as far back as 15 minutes.

You can purchase the upgraded music device right now from Apple's store. The 8GB model will run you $149, with the 16GB model costing $179. It's available in silver, black, purple, blue, green, orange, yellow, red and pink.

Tags: Apple, Tech

iPod Touch Update 9.9.09

Today, Apple introduced new models in the iPod Touch family, bringing support for OpenGL|ES to the line along with a 64GB model, and a price cut for the 8GB entry-level device. The new line-up is 8GB ($199), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399). Apple has moved over 20 million iPod Touches and it's the fastest growing iPod line to date.

The $199 price-point is a big deal, especially with Apple's pushing of the platform as a gaming device. At $50 cheaper than the upcoming PSPgo and offering more than the DSi beyond gaming, it could make a serious dent in that market, but I'm not quite ready to give it up to the iPod Touch as a major gaming platform.

On that note, during the presentation of the new iPod Touch line, Apple's senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller took a shot at Sony's PSP and Nintendo's DS. Apple contends that the iPod Touch is a more powerful device because the other two:

  • Do Not Have A Multi-Touch Interface
  • Their Games Are Expensive
  • Have No App Store
  • Don't Have iPods

Those points are almost entirely true, but the DSi has an online store that sells downloadable games and the PSPgo will launch with PSP Minis, small apps and games available for purchase and download through the PlayStation Store. Regardless, Phil also notes the difference in the amount of games available on each platform, putting the PSP at 607 titles, the DS at 3,680, and iPhone OS at a whopping 21,178. It is unclear how many of those 21,178 apps make fart noises.

Apple also brought some developers on stage to show off new games including Assassin's Creed II, which will launch the same day as the console versions, Madden NFL 10, which is available today, and an impressive looking FPS game from Gameloft called Nova.

Available today, firmware 3.1 for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which will hook up with iTunes 9 and bring the new Genius Mixes feature to your portable device. The upgrade is free for iPod Touch 3.0 users, but will cost money if you haven't snagged 3.0 yet. The device did not get updated with a camera as rumored.


No Beatles Announcement At Apple's Press Conference

It seemed like the stars were finally aligned. Today, The Beatles: Rock Band lands on store shelves, the band's catalog has been remixed packaged in several ridiculously expensive box sets and Apple was holding a press conference dedicated to its annual updates to the iPod lineup, which usually includes some iTunes announcements, as well. Would The Beatles finally come to iTunes? No.

Apple king Steve Jobs surprised the crowd and appeared on stage to present and discuss the company's announcements, but the hour-plus event went without a single mention of Paul, John, George and Ringo. The Beatles may be coming to iTunes eventually (at this point, it's a question of when, not if), but it's not happening today, unfortunately.

Buzz over The Beatles coming to iTunes started to die down, until the Sky News fiasco. Sky News reportedly published a quote from Yoko Ono stating The Beatles were, in fact, coming to iTunes. Just as soon as the article was published, however, the article came down, the Google cache was erased and no one has issued official comment on what actually happened.

That's irrelevant, though. The event is over. No Beatles on iTunes. Yet.

Tags: Apple, Music, Tech

MMS (Finally) Coming To iPhones September 25Well, it’s finally happening. No, that crazy Duggar woman isn't getting her tubes tied. AT&T has announced that it is releasing support for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) for Apple’s iPhone 3G and 3GS starting September 25th.

Presumably part of the iPhone OS 3.1 update, the long-awaited feature will let iPhone users finally send audio, pictures and videos to other mobile devices like civilized human beings, rather than having to rely on sending primitive e-mail attachments.

Now, while this is certainly great news for most iPhone users, the new feature, as Apple revealed earlier in the year,  will not be available for first-generation iPhones. Although to be honest, I wonder how many people this will impact, since I'm assuming most early adopters have already traded up for a 3G or a 3Gs by now.

What’s the first thing you plan on sending via MMS? Nothing inappropriate I'm sure.


Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Gameloft Has Sold Over 6 Million Games On App Store

If you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, chances are you have, or have at least played, one game developed by Gameloft. (I have three that I play fairly regularly: Hero of Sparta, Let’s Golf! and Assassin’s Creed: Altair’s Chronicles). Given the amount of exposure enjoyed by the company, it’s hardly surprising to hear that the developer is doing pretty well for itself in the sales department as well.

The mobile game dev announced today that it has sold over 6 million games via Apple’s App Store. Not too shabby. Of Gameloft’s 35 titles, 18 have appeared on the worldwide Top 10 Paid Games list at one point or another. Some of the company’s 2009 hits include Gangstar: West Coast Hustle, NFL 2010, UNO, The Oregon Trail and Guitar Rock Tour 2.

Gameloft chairman and CEO, Michel Guillemot, said in a statement:

“From the distribution model to the types of games available, the App Store has completely revolutionized the way handheld games are played, perceived and received…Our strategy from the onset has been twofold. First, we deliver an aggressive line-up of high quality games, and then we adapt in real time to consumer needs. With over 6 million paid games sold, it has proven to be quite successful.”

And the future looks to be even busier for the developer, as it plans to release between 15 and 30 games on the App Store before the end of the year.

How many of those 6 million sales are you responsible for?

Tags: Apple, iPhone
Welcome to "Morning Hangover" -- an excellent way to start your day with the crew at TheFeed...no matter what you're recovering from. Every morning you'll hear musings from two of TheFeed's editors and have the chance to share your thoughts on what's going on in the gaming world. So buckle up, eat your Wheaties, and keep reading!
Morning Hangover #45: Raymond Wonders Where Is The Disney Love And Patrick Is Down Like Chinatown
Illustration by Roger Stern
Raymond Padilla: When news broke of Disney acquiring Marvel, TheFeed readers (mostly) reacted negatively. People left comments saying that Disney will sugarcoat Marvel's comics, ruin the company, force Marvel EIC Joe Quesada to wear a tie, and be the worst thing that ever happened to comics. What the f*&k is wrong with (most of) you?!? The majority of the reactions I read yesterday were idiotic. Disney is a smart and well-run company. Completely transforming Marvel into "family friendly" entertainment would be moronic. Do you really think that's what Disney will do? Really?!?
I guess it's like that time when Disney forced Donald and Goofy into every segment of ESPN's Sportscenter. Do you remember when it made ABC turn Desperate Housewives into a prim and proper show about a neighborhood knitting circle? Or that time it altered the season finale of Lost so that everyone lived happily ever after? So many readers (sadly) are focusing on stupid, imaginary scenarios of Disney softening characters like Deadpool, The Punisher, and Wolverine. Why don't you focus on all the money and resources Marvel will have at its disposal, now that it's part of a much larger company? Come on people!

Read More »

The Beatles

September is going to be a huge month for fans of The Beatles. In addition to remastered music and The Beatles: Rock Band, there just might be another goodie in the works: The Beatles on iTunes. You see, Apple has announced a special event on September 9 (the same day the new game and remastered music are out). While everyone knows that refreshes to the iPod and iPod Touch lines will be announced that day, some are speculating that Apple will announce The Beatles coming to iTunes. MacWorld postulates:

"The Fab Four have been missing so long from the iTunes Store and those expecting a Beatles announcement from Apple have been disappointed so many times that a Beatles-in-iTunes prediction is something a cautious pundit doesn't want on his or her resumé. Yet, the alignment of the dates makes it difficult to resist.

Apple is rumored to be working on a Cocktail initiative with the record companies. This is a scheme where interactive booklets are bundled with album downloads from the iTunes Store. The record companies would really like to see some attention brought to the album format and if Cocktail can help with that, they’re all over it. Could Apple launch this initiative in a more impressive way than pulling Paul and Ringo on stage and announcing, 'Today, at the iTunes Store, you can download the same music, the same liner notes, the same lyrics, the same photos, and the same documentaries that are bundled in the Beatles’ box set.'?"

There have been several "Beatles coming to iTunes" predictions made in the past, but perhaps this time it will all come true. As much as I love my iPod (a deactivated iPhone so I don't have to suffer through AT&T's "service") and The Beatles, the remastered music is something I'd want in a high-quality format. iTunes isn't going to cut it in this instance. So even if the rumor is true, there are a lot of fans, like me, that will opt for the CDs. Then again, there are millions of people that are just fine with iTunes files.

What do you think of the rumor? Are The Beatles finally coming to iTunes? Would you buy AAC over a CD?


Tags: Apple, iPhone, Music, Tech

Apple iPhone

Before I get to this article, riddle me this: What sound does an iPhone make when it explodes in France? The answer, of course, is "le boom!". Anyway, there have been numerous reports in France of exploding iPhones. The problem has prompted the French government to meet with Apple to discuss les explosions. The loungers at iLounge have reported:

"French consumer affairs minister Herve Novelli met with Michel Coulomb, commercial director of Apple France, earlier today to discuss the proliferation of 'exploding' iPhone reports in the country. Following the meeting,Novelli corroborated a statement from Apple claiming that none of the affected phones tested thus far exhibited battery problems, and instead show that the cracked screens were related to external pressure exerted on the devices. When asked about potential responsibility for the issues,Novelli said it was 'too early to blame anyone,' and said the two agreed to stay in contact, with Apple informing Novelli about the results of the other tests."

I'd love to hear a Frenchman starring in an English iPhone commercial saying, "We ave...ow you zay...an app for zat!" It would crack me up.

Have any of you had any problems with exploding iPhones? Or is this mostly a French problem, like Jerry Lewis?


Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

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Battle.net 2.0 StarCraft II

Blizzard Entertainment formally announced its plans for Battle.net 2.0 at BlizzCon 2009 along with the features the company hopes to include at and after the release of StarCraft II, which will be the first game to run the updated service. The service will remain free and integrate with World of WarCraft and future Blizzard games.

The major features of note and their purposes:

  • A "Real ID" system, tying CD-keys to specific accounts. This is being done to prevent "smurfing" where skilled players create new accounts to play against less experienced players in the matchmaking system.
  • A tiered ladder system, with levels of play for multiple skill levels. Players will be placed into different tiers on the ladder after playing enough games for the system to determine his or her skill level. Ladder seasons will play out for each tier, making ladder play applicable for all players, not just for skilled gamers.
  • Custom game publishing and filtering. Want to play something other than Defense of the Ancients? StarCraft II will allow map makers to "publish" their maps to a database, giving them control over their work and allowing users to search and download maps without having to join games. Premium maps can be offered for a cost with some of the revenue going to the author(s).

The first two planned features are major for keeping players that would otherwise grow tired of losing online. Blizzard's Rob Pardo explained during the presentation of B.net 2.0 that the goal with the tier system is to give every player the chance at winning 50 percent of their games by matching them up with opponents of similar skill levels. Combined with the Real ID system to prevent smurfing, this should ensure that the competition is fair and yields worthwhile games for every player. WarCraft III's auto-matchmaking system was actually fairly good at finding matches, but was plagued by smurfing.

Read More »

Blizzard Could Deliver Two Games In 2010, Not Necessarily Diablo III

After getting some hands-on time with Diablo III, including the recently revealed Monk class, I was able to sit down with game director Jay Wilson to talk about the Monk, itemization & player economies, and why you probably won’t be doing endless boss runs in the end game of Diablo III.

G4: In your vision for Diablo III, is the endgame going to be a lot like Diablo II, where players are doing Pindle runs and just repeating the same content over and over or will it explore a greater variety of content?

Jay Wilson, Diablo III Game Director: It’s definitely better if the players explore more of the game. It will be a lot more fun for them, but players will gravitate toward the route that is fastest for what they want. Even if that route makes them crazy… even if that route is not fun at all. It’s not their fault. It’s our fault as designers. It’s our job to make sure that the path of least resistance is also the path of most fun.

We do have specific systems planned for the late game and our goal for those systems is to make sure that players are experiencing as much of the content over again as possible.

The best example of where we feel we do this well in our other games, in World of WarCraft, is the quest system, which really gets you to move all over the world and do lots and lots of different things. The basic, core actions of the game are very repetitive. It’s not that they’re not fun, but the boredom with anything comes with repeating the same thing in the same way. If you could repeat the same thing in a different way it stays interesting a lot longer and that’s definitely going to be a goal for us.

Read the full interview for more on Diablo III.

If you've been under a Blizzard media blackout for some reason over the weekend, then you might of missed the awesome, new Diablo III Monk trailers that spawned out of BlizzCon 2009. Here they are below for the few of you left to see them.

If you like your dungeon crawling up close and personal, then the Monk might be for you. Hit the jump for the actual gameplay trailer.

Diablo III BlizzCon 2009 Monk Reveal Cinematic Trailer »

Read More »

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