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Apple

It certainly took long enough, but iPhone users have finally caught up with their Nintendo DS-loving friends on the mobile learning front, thanks to the recent release of Brain Exercises with Dr. Kawashima.

The good doctor behind the wildly popular Brain Age series delivers a number of brain boosting activities, including a full-fledged Sudoku game, quick play and daily training modes, four-player local multiplayer support, and unlockable levels. Plus, if you’re the kind of person who can’t help rubbing their intellectual superiority in the face of friends and family, then you’ll love having the ability to posting your high scores directly to Facebook, as well as track your progress on the worldwide leader board.

 


Brain Exercises is available now for $5.99 on the Apple Store.

What’s your brain age?

The ESA Is On Board For iPhone Game Rating System

You might not know this, but Apple’s iPhone is quite the popular gaming platform these days. Despite the fact that most app developers aren't going all Scrooge McDuck in mountains of glorious app coinage, that hasn’t stopped the App Store from bursting at the seams with new content. Some of those games/apps are brilliant and deserve far more attention than they receive, while others should probably never have made it past the drunken conversation phase.

And while Apple does have a review process in place to prevent highly offensive or intentionally malicious apps from getting through, it’s far from perfect, as that now infamously approved baby-shaker app shows. But what alternative does Apple have when it comes to managing the vast numbers of games that it allows onto the App Store?

Treating iPhone games/apps like any game that appears on a console or handheld device and assigning them ratings is a logical solution, however as CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, Michael Gallagher, told Kotaku:

“That doesn’t mean that every entrepreneur, every software engine that is able to write code and put up an app on the App Store is going to go through this process. It simply says that if a game is rated it needs to pass through and be filtered appropriately by the controls that are on the iPhone.”

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Halo Wars Lead Designer Now Working For Apple's iPhone GroupRemember Ensemble Studios, the Microsoft-owned development studio behind the Age of Empires series and, most recently, Halo Wars? Well, you should considering it was only closed down a few months ago. Anyway, it turns out that Ensemble Studios' lead designer and lead writer on Halo Wars, Graeme Devine, has recently been working over at Apples iPhone group. I hope you have some aloe handy Microsoft, because it looks like you just got burned.

Now, Devine hasn't revealed what exactly he's working on, other than some general comments regarding coding. But as Kotaku points out, Devine has been a hot gaming commodity since his 7th Guest and 11th Hour days, so it's hard to imagine him working on a new weather app. It was expected that some more news about Devine's current project would come out during WWDC today, but so far, nothing has been released. Of course, that could change at any minute, so stay tuned.

Personally, I'd love to see tightened up versions of 7th Guest and 11th Hour for the iPhone. I can still remember being scared to death by that skeleton in the bathtub from 11th Hour, and while you obviously can't see, you should know that I just shuttered at that memory. Yeesh.

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Steve Jobs G4 SpecialApple's Worldwide Developers Conference has become an event to look forward to, year after year, and today's 2009 edition was no exception. Join us as we take a look at all things Apple, with a special focus on the man who made it all possible, Steve Jobs, with a one-hour look at this genius's legacy.

First, we'll have a special Attack of the Show tonight at 7PM ET, which will look at Jobs's life and legacy, and report on the results of today's WWDC, which included the announcement of a new iPhone, the 3GS. Then, at 7:30PM ET, we present G4 Special Report: Steve Jobs, which will focus on the man himself, from the Lisa to the iPhone, and all points in-between.

It's a very special hour of Apple-based television, and it's only on G4.

Tags: Apple, G4, iPhone, TV

In case you didn't know, Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developer Conference today in San Francisco. TheFeed crew has posted numerous stories from Phil Schiller's keynote address. You don't want to miss these exciting announcements, as well as some disappointing news on AT&T. Feed on this, if you will.


The WWDC 2009 goodness doesn't stop here! Be sure to tune into G4tv for a special Apple-themed episode of Attack of the Show, tonight at 7PM EST. This will be followed by a special on the life and times of Steve Jobs at 7:30PM EST.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech
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iPhone Social Networking Apps

Rick Strom, an iPhone developer with three apps on the Top 100 chart for games, is calling shenanigans on the iPhone app market. He claims that these games aren't performing as well as Apple's hype would have you believe. His apps place at:

Social Networking - #34 - Zen Jar Social (paid) -- #59 at time of writing.

Board Games - #36 - Spirit Board #36 (free) -- #57 at time of writing.

Board Games - #95 - Spirit Board Pro (paid) -- Out of Top 100 at time of writing.

Now, first, let me go ahead and halt the track to explain something here. Rick's apps appear on the genre specific lists of "Board Games" and "Social Networking". He is not ranking on the overall list for all apps. While I don't think Rick's specific examples have much merit it is interesting to find out how many downloads equate to #36 on a genre chart:

"In order to place #34 on the social networking charts, you need 30-35 downloads a day.  At the standard app store pricing of .99, and after Apple takes its cut, that means your app needs to bring in a little over $20 a day to chart at that position.  And social networking is a popular category."

Not so fast, Rick. Yes, social networking is a popular category, but one dominated by free applications for established social networking services. Rick's app is interesting, but I'm not sure how many people are shelling out money for indie social apps. In fact, the first paid app to chart is Tweetie, an exceptional Twitter client, at # 23.

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Mass Effect iPhone game

With iPhone OS 3.0 hitting on June 17th, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at how the new feature set will improve mobile gaming. With games regularly topping the sales charts on the App Store, iPhone gaming is a serious platform, but will it compete with the DS and PSP? It could with 3.0.

There are a couple key features they will be added with iPhone OS 3.0, but the biggest one for gaming is peer-to-peer networking. Previously, to conduct a local multiplayer game, each iPhone would have to be on the same wireless network. This made it almost impossible to play games like Texas Hold'em or Scrabble when not in an area with guaranteed wireless. Now, iPhones will just have to be in the same place to connect.

Push notification will allow certain types of games, specifically play-by-turn or multiplayer games, to maintain a sort of faux "always-on" presence. One of my favorite games is UniWar, a turn-based, Advance Wars-esque game. I currently have to log in to see if any of my games require action, but with push notification, the game would be able to notify me if it was time to take a turn. As ngmoco showed off, this feature could also be used for game invites and friend list functionality.

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Apple Announces New iPhone 3GS, Old iPhone 3G Reduced To $99

The new iPhone is here! As I mentioned in my pre-WWDC 2009 rumor report, the new model is called the iPhone 3GS. The design is the same as the iPhone 3G, but this baby has been supercharged with a new processor and HSDPA 7.2Mbps support, making it the fastest iPhone yet. In most cases, the 3GS will be around two times faster than its predecessor, though in some cases it will simple trounce the 3G.

Another new feature of the iPhone 3GS is a three-megapixel camera with autofocus. Apple did not say if the camera uses mechanical or software autofocus. 3GS users will be able to shoot VGA videos at 30 frames per second. On the software side, the camera supports "tap focus" so that users can simply touch the screen to pick a focus point (this feature is super cool!).

Voice Control on the iPhone 3GS allows for more than just dialing (a feature that has been around for years). Users can speak into the phone to control iTunes -- not a huge deal, but kind of cool.

Battery life has also been improved, allowing the iPhone 3GS to get up to 33 percent more time in some cases. More speed plus longer battery life is always welcomed.

As for the price and availability....

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Apple iPhone

Apple is currently rushing through the million and a half new features being implemented into the hotly-anticipated iPhone 3.0 operating system update (releasing June 17), and I'm right there with everyone online who's clamoring for the update to go live. We've been hearing about these updates for months -- give them to us! That said, seeing Apple run down the list reminded me of three additions I'm looking forward to the most (and one feature that's had me grinding my teeth for the last 20 minutes).

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

AT&T Not Supporting iPhone 3.0 Tethering And MMS At This TimeOne of the most exciting features about Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 is tethering -- the ability to connect an iPhone to a PC and use it as a modem. At Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2009, the company announced that 22 of its mobile-carrier partners in 44 countries will support this feature. Conspicuous in its absence was AT&T. At this time, it looks like American customers rocking the iPhone on AT&T will not be able to take advantage of this excellent feature.

In related news, Apple also announced that 29 carriers will be supporting the MMS (multimedia messaging service) capabilities of iPhone 3.0 at launch (June 17). AT&T, on the other, will be supporting MMS by the end of this summer.

So tell me iPhone customers that are on AT&T: how does this info make you feel? Are you angry? Are you sad? Do you need a hug? If you fall into the third category, I'll send TheFeed's Brian Leahy to your house.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Apple Shows Off New Snow Leopard Features Of Mac OS X At WWDC 2009

Apple unveiled a slew of additions to its Snow Leopard update for Mac OS X at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). The goodies include:

  • Microsoft Exchange support built in
  • Expose -- a Dock feature that allows users to manage desktop clutter
  • 45 percent faster installs
  • Half the footprint of the previous OS, allowing users to reclaim 6GB of hard drive space
  • Improved text selection (seems minor, but this can really speed up workflow)
  • Handwriting recognition for the trackpad
  • Safari 4 -- Improved speed, 100 out of 100 in the Acid3 compatibility test (IE8 gets 21 out of 100), plug-in crash resistance, http streaming, Cover Flow-style view of history
  • All major system apps running at 64-bit
  • Central Dispatch, to take advantage of multi-core CPUs
  • OpenCL standard to speed up graphics performance

Snow Leopard will be available in September as a $29 upgrade for Leopard users, with a $49 family pack. The standalone price is $129.

Any of these features excite you?  

Tags: Apple, Tech
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While most people are waiting for Apple to make a slew of new iPhone-related announcements, the company appears to be responding aggressively to a downed economy by slashing the prices on laptop revisions for MacBook Pro, MacBook and MacBook Air, according to a Gizmodo liveblog of Apple's keynote for this year's Worldwide Developer Conference. All laptops start shipping with these revisions today.

Apple first introduced a new 15-inch MacBook Pro with a reported 7 hours of battery life -- 2 hours longer than before -- and will last roughly 1,000 charges (or at least 5 years). The laptop also comes equipped with a much-requested SD card slot for digital camera enthusiasts (previously, the laptops came equipped with ExpressCard slots, which are now only in the 17-inch version). The low-end 15-inch is priced at $1,699, or $300 less than before. The 17-inch MacBook Pro has now dropped to $2,499.

There are revisions in store for the regular 13-inch MacBook, too, including being rebranded as a low-end MacBook Pro, a battery promising 7 hours of use (a reported 40% increase), a new display, and the SD card slot previously announced for the MacBook Pro. Other tweaks include the addition of a Firewire port and a backlit keyboard. The best part? It's only $1,199. Not bad, Apple. Does this mean the standard "MacBook" is dead?

MacBook Air also received some updates. It's now $1,499 to purchase the base MacBook Air.

As mentioned before, all of these laptops will start shipping today. Look for Apple to refresh their online store once their keynote officially concludes this morning.

So, who's buying a new laptop?

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Tags: Apple, Tech

Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2009 Rumors: New iPhone, Jobs Returns?

Apple is holding its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) today in San Francisco. While lots of Macheads (didn't want to say Mactards...oops, I just did) are excited about the updates to OS X, most of the world is focused on two things: the return of the iconic Steve Jobs and the announcement of a new iPhone. Before the WWDC keynote kicks off at 10AM PST. Let's go through some of the rumors floating around:

Rumor: Steve Jobs will make a brief appearance at the show to announce that he's returning from medical leave, ready to lead the company to a new era of "insane greatness".
Raymond Says: It would be awesome if he made his return in a Jedi robe, similar to the one BioWare's Dr. Ray Muzyka wore at E3 2009. For Apple fans and Wall Street analysts, Jobs return is a huge boost to the company. He is -- by far -- the most charismatic executive in technology and the company's stock fluctuated due to rumors of his ailments.

Rumor: The new iPhone will have a better camera, extensive video capabilities (including video editing and possibly WiFi video conferencing), twice the RAM, and a significantly faster processor. It will come in 16GB and 32GB models.
Raymond Says: Considering how far ahead Apple is in the consumer smartphone market (in North America, anyway), it doesn't have to announce a major upgrade at this time. Still, these additions are welcomed and exciting for a lot of customers. Even though the Palm Pre has been getting positive reviews and Google promises several Android phones in 2009, the iPhone has a huge lead. If all these rumors are true then its dominance will surely continue. I'd even be tempted to switch to the craptacular (in the places I travel to) network that is AT&T.

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Starcraft 2 logo

Blizzard's Mike Morhaime revealed that StarCraft II is currently planned on being released at the end of 2009. The information came during Activision's pre-E3 conference call. "We're targeting an end of year release, this year, for StarCraft II," said Morhaime.

Wow. That's amazing news! Blizzard will surely stick to this release window... wait... what's that Mike? "But as always, we won't release it until it meets our standards and the expectations of our players," he continued. Oh, Blizzard. That's so like you guys. Giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

It's possible that the game will actually be released this year as the singleplayer component will only be the Terran campaign and the multiplayer beta should be kicking off sometime this summer.

Let's all hope that we'll be playing this highly-anticipated game this year.

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iPhone Version Of Doom Classic Due Out Next Month

It’s been a good day for id fans. This morning, it was revealed that the new Wolfenstein has an August 4 release date. And now, it looks as though the iPhone version of Doom Classic is coming along nicely, and should be in your demon-blasting hands sometime next month.

As Shacknews reports, Doom creator and tech-god John Carmack says that bringing his classic FPS to the iPhone has been a “more serious effort” than the “quickie project” that brought Wolfenstein 3D Classic to Apple’s handheld. Carmack goes on to reassure fans, saying:

“With the speed (a solid 30 fps, even in the more aggressive later levels), the audio, the resolution, and the rendering quality, it is Doom as you remember it, which is quite a bit better than it actually was.”

The iPhone version will also include WiFi multiplayer initially, followed later with Bluetooth support. Carmack explains that 3G multiplayer isn’t in the cards right now due to network limitations, and given that the game is expected to come in at over 10 megabytes, it looks like it's WiFi all the way for the short term.

So all in all, it looks and sounds as though id is sitting on yet another brilliant reissue of a classic.

Little change of pace: Who here isn't looking forward to Doom on the iPhone?

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