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Why Amazon And AT&T Should Fear The Apple Tablet (And New iPod Touch)

The Apple tablet has gone from a rumored device to a probably reality. Now that it's almost certainly going to arrive (though when is another matter), there are two companies that should be extremely concerned with the product: Amazon and A&T.

Apple is supposedly talking to book publishers about electronic books that would sold via iTunes. This would slaughter Amazon's line of Kindle readers. Technically, the Kindle offers a superior reading experience thanks to e-ink technology, but Apple and iPhone are much stronger brands when it comes to consumer electronics. Even though the Kindle has a significant head start, Amazon can't match Apple's experience at marketing consumer electronics. Similar to how there were plenty of MP3 players before the iPod and plenty of smartphones before the iPhone, the Apple tablet has a strong chance at leaving other e-readers in the dust.

The less obvious threat is AT&T. The Apple tablet and the rumored iPod Touch update should have the company concerned for two reasons. The first is a smaller, short-term concern; there's a small subsection of iPhone users that would gladly drop the iPhone with AT&T for an Apple tablet and a phone that excels at making phone calls (a crazy concept, I know). These are mostly customers in real highly-populated cities -- places where WiFi can be found ever couple of yards and AT&T's service is the weakest. Using Skype with an Apple tablet or a new iPod Touch is enough for these people's communication needs. (Heck, in the last month I spoke with two gaming executives that use Skype on their iPhones over AT&T, simply because the call quality is much better.) Throw in a svelte handset and these customers are totally covered.

As for the larger threat to AT&T....

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Apple Tablet Coming In Q4? 

The rumors of an Apple tablet are continuing to swirl. In addition to the talk of Verizon fast tracking its LTE network for an Apple tablet, Financial Times has reported that the company is rushing to get a tablet device out before the holiday shopping season:

"Apple is racing to offer a portable tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution.

It will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch -- probably without phone capability but with access to the web, and to Apple’s online stores for software and entertainment."

Many pundits see this device as a more entertainment-friendly competitor to netbooks. While the lack of a keyboard limits this rumored device's functionality as an office-productivity tool, it should be as good or superior to netbooks for web browsing, checking email, listening to music, and watching videos. Plus, it just has that "Apple chic" thing going for it, which will cause millions to buy it without thought.

Would you buy an Apple tablet if it came out before the end of the year? Depending on the price, I'd love a large-screen device running iPhone OS (as long as Skype isn't blocked). I'm not as big an Apple fanboy as some of my coworkers (stares at Leahy), but I love a lot of the company's products. I was, after all, a proud Newton user, so an Apple tablet would bring back fond memories for me.

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

 

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Ultimate Sith Edition Trailer »


 

Star Wars fans (and I'm talking about fans of the real Star Wars movies) will totally mark out at the this trailer for The Force Unleashed: UltimateSith Edition. If appearances by Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Luke Skywalker aren't enough to raise your midichlorian levels, then how about dispatching some Gammoreans and Rancors?!? It's an awesome trailer that asks, "What if the dark side won?"

Verizon Starts Subscription-Based Gaming ServiceThe dream of many an iPhone user of one day being able to enjoy the incredible technological power of Apple’s glorious handheld device while being able to make calls on a wireless network that does slip into a coma every time more than seven people try to make a call in a particular area could be closer to reality than ever before.

A while back, rumors cropped up regarding a possible iPhone partnership deal between Apple and Verizon. The crux of the argument was that because Verizon was ramping up its research into LTE technology (aka 4G), and if Verizon could get to market with LTE support around the same time as AT&T, then both companies would be able to support the iPhone (and by that time, AT&T exclusivity deal with Apple will have expired).
 
Well, things are heating up once again in this tech-love triangle, with TechCrunch reporting that Verizon is expecting to roll out its LTE network in 20-30 markets by the second half of 2010, well ahead of when AT&T expects to have its LTE network up and running. In the meantime though, it seems that Apple could still be looking to strike a deal with Verizon for its recently revealed iPod Touch-like tablet device.

Because the tablet doesn’t have a microphone, and therefore can’t make or receive calls, the AT&T deal wouldn’t apply, and Apple would then be free to formulate some kind of data service plan with Verizon for the new device. Between the promises of 60 MBPS speeds, and AT&T’s notoriously unreliable network, it’s not hard to imagine an Apple/Verizon deal being reached sooner rather later.

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech





Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition Trailer »


At the Comic-Con 09 Star Wars Spectacular panel, it was revealed that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed would be getting downloadable content for both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The DLC will be set in Tatooine and feature...wait for it...Boba Fett!

But wait, there's more! A new compilation pack called The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition is in the works for PC and Mac (!!!). This package features all the DLC and a level set on Hoth, where The Secret Apprentice will be at Darth Vader's side!

If you're not excited for these new Star Wars goodies then you're either dead or an overzealous Star Trek fan.

Check out the trailer (above) and screenshots of the new goodies that are on the way.

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Apple iPhone

Updated: 11:49 AM: Apple has responded to this story thusly to CNET:

"We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death...We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

When it comes to industrial espionage, they do not play over in China. An employee at Foxconn, the company that manufactures the iPhone for Apple, apparently lost a prototype iPhone at some point in the past, and his company interrogated him so harshly and frequently over the misplaced unit, that he ended up leaping off a 12-story building to his death. Damn, here in the U.S., you'd probably just lose your job or have Steve Wozniak sit on you or something.

The employee was Sun Danyong, and he was reportedly subjected to "unbearable interrogation techniques,"  including intense interrogations, harassment, and "laying hands" on the worker. Foxconn has seemingly corroborated the account by saying that it is investigating a section chief of the Central Security Division because he may have used "inappropriate interrogation methods" in his investigation, including home searches, solitary confinement and physical violence. But don't worry; in a statement, the manufacturing firm promises said:

"Regardless of the reason of Sun's suicide, it is to some extent a reflection of Foxconn's internal management deficiencies, especially in how to help young workers cope with the psychological pressures of working life at the company."

Gee, thanks, Foxconn, you guys are tops.

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Camera-Equipped iPods Incoming?

The rumors of an updated iPod Touch are getting hot! According to Wired's sources, Apple's Chinese factories are already building the new models, which include the updated camera of the iPhone 3Gs and microphone functionality. While the former is an obvious and welcomed upgrade, the latter has more implications. Coupling the built-in microphone with Skype makes this iPod a versatile communications tool. Wired noted:

"Rumors have swirled about Apple readying a new version of the iPod Touch with a camera and microphone, which, combined with a Skype account, would pretty much obviate the need for a home phone line once and for all. In addition to these voice-over-IP capabilities, which should have telephone providers quaking in their boots, the microphone (and camera) would enable the iPod Touch to understand voice commands, capture video and images, and work with a wider variety of programs in the App Store."

Supposedly, the new iPod Touch is coming out this fall. That's not good enough. I want this iPod. Like now. I love the iPhone from a hardware standpoint, but so many of my friends in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles complain about AT&T's network. This model would offer me users the capabilities of the 3Gs without the headaches that come with being an AT&T customer. If the updated iPod Touch comes in a 64GB model, it would be perfect for me.

Any of you interested in this rumored version of the iPod Touch? Which feature is more meaningful to you, the camera or the microphone?

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

NES Controller iPhone Case Is Completely Awesome

In Morning Hangover #14, I wrote about ways to give your phone the proper gamer-geek treatment. To me, ringers and wallpapers are the most important ingredients to geeking up your phone -- the inside is just more important than the outside. However, this NES controller iPhone case made by a pair of Brazilian product design students obliterates my general rule with its sheer awesomeness. It's just...wow.

My iPod sock seems positively lame compared to this case. Do any of you have any cool game-related cases for your phone?

Source via Geeky Gadgets

RIM Finally Releasing BlackBerry Desktop Software For Mac In September

While RIM's BlackBerry line of smartphones have been the dominant business handsets for the last few years (in America, anyway), the company has largely ignored the Mac audience. Instead of getting a full-fledged version of RIM's BlackBerry Desktop Software, Mac users have had to settled for the less capable PocketMac. This is all going to change in September, when the company will finally release a proper version of BlackBerry Desktop Software for Mac. According to RIM:

"With BlackBerry Desktop Software you'll be able sync your iTunes playlists and personal information like contacts, tasks and appointments; install new software, games, and more. BlackBerry Desktop Software will offer the best of both worlds by allowing you to manage aspects of your BlackBerry smartphone from your Mac."

More people and businesses are using Macs for work than ever before. Newer BlackBerry models like the Storm, Curve 8900, and Tour 9630 are great for business and consumer use. RIM needed to make this move. Even though it's overdue, it will certainly be welcomed by Mac users that have to use BlackBerry phones for work or simply like the latest berries.

Does TheFeed have any BlackBerry addicts that are also Mac users? Speak up and share your feelings on this news.

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Tags: Apple, Tech




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Earn A Spot In Guinness World Records 2010 Gaming Edition Via iPhone GameWant to find out how to secure your spot in the Guinness Book of World Records without ever having to get off your couch? (And I’m not talking about the world record for longest couch sit, either).

Guinness World Records and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution have partnered to offer iPhone and iPod Touch users the chance to secure a spot in GWR 2010 Gamer’s Edition. All you have to do is download the TT Games (LEGO Star Wars) developed Guinness World Records app ($4.99) from the iTunes Store, and play the 36 mini-games, all of which are based on actual world records (washing machine toss, turkey plucking, sheep shearing, etc.). Whoever racks up the highest amount of points by August 15 will become the “iPhone gaming champion.” It doesn't really get any easier than that.

In order to compete though, you’ll have to set up a GameSpy account, and then sync it up with your iPhone/iPod Touch via the app’s “Video Game Score” section, which can apparently be found in the Cape Canaveral area, wherever that might be. The app also happens to be the first to use GameSpy’s global stat tracking technology, which provides several unique features like regional leaderboards and buddy options.

Honestly, this is probably the least demanding way to attempt a world record ever, so I hope to hear that at least a few readers out there are planning to participate. Good luck!

Tags: Apple, iPhone

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Worms 2: Armageddon

The recently released Worms 2: Armageddon for Xbox Live Arcade is a timed-exclusive according to developer Team17. "Eventually it'll hit PlayStation Network, PC, Mac, iPhone," said studio director Martyn Brown in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz.

A version of Worms was just released for the iPhone, but users have been complaining about slowdowns on everything except the iPhone 3GS. Did you grab Worms on the iPhone?

I've put some time into Worms 2: Armageddon and it's a lot of fun. It's more of what you'd expect from a Worms title, but it's worth picking up if you're a fan of the series.

Additionally, Brown revealed an interesting fact about the original XBLA release of Worms and the new release: the first game broke even after a few hours of availability. Worms 2: Armageddon only took a few days to recoup its development costs. Quite a nice business model for Team17!

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Given EA’s wild success on the iPhone app front, it’s hardly surprising that the company has decided to start a new mobile games studio, 8lb Gorilla, to do one thing and one thing only: make the best damn 99¢ games possible.

TouchArcade
reports that the new studio expects to churn out a new game every month, starting with the zombie apocalypse-themed Zombies and Me (available now), which tasks players with attracting large swarms of the undead and directing them to areas targeted for air strikes. Bombs, zombies, and an ensuing apocalypse is always a winning combination, and it certainly has a slick design, but the lack of traditional weaponry could be a bit off-putting to those who’ve grown quite fond of personally blasting zombies to bits with big guns.


Like I said before, EA has had great success on the mobile gaming front, so it was just a matter of time before it established an official channel through which to deliver future mobile titles. However, it’s not hard to imagine that truly indie developers (you know, the ones that don’t have the multi-billion dollar backing of one of gaming’s biggest publishers?) might feel a bit annoyed that EA is setting up shop in their neighborhood. It’s too early to tell what kind of impact EA’s move will have on the indie games community, but I’m sure it won’t be long before some grumblings appear.
 
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Tags: Apple, iPhone


To answer some of your most pressing questions: Yes - an iPhone version of Capcom's Resident Evil 4 did show up briefly on the Japanese iTunes Store; Yes - it’s no longer available; No - I haven’t heard if/when the game will officially be released.

As TouchArcade reports, the game’s appearance on the iTunes Store was picked up by Japanese iPhone site AppBank, which then proceeded to post several screenshots and a brief gameplay video of the game. Judging from the interface and design, the game seems quite similar to the middle-of-the-road offering, Resident Evil: Degeneration, albeit with the recognizable production design of RE4.


I’m currently waiting to hear back from Capcom to see if someone over there can clarify what exactly happened here.

Anyone looking forward to Resident Evil 4: Mobile Edition? Any aspect of Degeneration that you hope is ditched/tweaked for RE4?

Source via TouchArcade

StarCraft II

Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at Sterne Agee, believes that StarCraft II will not be ready for a 2009 release, citing delays to the game's beta test as the reason for the slipping date. According to the Activision side of Activision Blizzard, StarCraft II is slated for an October 2009 release.

This is the part where I remind everyone how Blizzard works. It doesn't play the release date game. When the game is done, it will be released. It was already almost guaranteed that StarCraft II wouldn't be released until 2010, but maybe Blizzard will surprise us. I'd love for a release date reveal at BlizzCon in August.

A 2009 release is still feasible if the beta starts up within one or two weeks. As it stands, the multiplayer component is a separate beast from the title's singleplayer part. It won't be balanced at release regardless of how long the beta runs and Blizzard could feel that the competitive piece is in a good place near the end of the year.

Time will tell. I just want the beta!

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iPhone Games

I tried to think of a really clever way to work in the following joke, but really, there wasn't any way. It is with that preface that I decree: the iPhone's game power levels are over 13,000!!! In non-Dragonball Z terms, there are over 13,000 games available for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

How about some statistics? Even with that amount, games still only account for about 20% of all available applications putting the total number around 65,000. Puzzle games are at the top accounting for 16.4% of all games. Around 77% of all games are paid, with about 22% offered up for free.

In March, there were 6000 games on the App Store. As we start July, there are now more than double the amount of games there were four months ago. Does anyone still doubt the popularity of this platform? To give you an idea of how many this is... Sony puts the PS2's library "over 1700 games available."

However, numbers this high might not be a good thing. What about clutter? How do users find the best games among the trash? How do developers ensure that their work gets exposed to the masses? Some developers are even complaining that their apps aren't selling well despite decent placement on Apple's lists.

What are your favorite iPhone games?

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