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Portal Designer Kim Swift Leaves Valve, Joins Dark Void Developer

Oh, Valve. In celebration of launching their digital distribution service for games, Steam, on the Mac platform, Valve's offering their much-lauded Portal for free on PC and Mac until May 24.

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Valve Teasing Mac-Related Announcement -- Is Steam Coming To Macs?

Mac lovers will finally get the chance to experience the glories of Valve’s beloved Steam distribution service this Wednesday. And to get Applelites in the mood, Valve has announced details about how it plans to roll out content for Steam on Macs.

Valve says it plans to release collections of Mac titles every Wednesday that are designed to “highlight specific functionalities of Steam on the Mac.” The first batch of games will be used to show off “Steam Play,” which lets users transfer Steam-bought games across PCs and Macs.

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Tags: Apple, PC Gaming

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iPad

Bolstered by the launch of the 3G-enabled iPad, Apple's announced they've sold one million iPads.

The sales milestone comes 28 days after the original April 3 launch. When the iPad originally released, Apple only made a Wi-Fi model available. Now, it can also access data via AT&T's network.

I'm actually in the middle of reading Game Change, a 484-page book covering the background antics of our most recent Presidential election, on my iPad. Other than being a phenomenally interesting read, I'm acutely impressed with the reading experience -- no eye-strain yet and I'm halfway done. I also finished the first episode of Telltale's new Sam & Max season, The Penal Zone, on the iPad, and I fully intend to finish the series through the iPad, too. Touch-based adventure games just feel...right.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Tags: Apple, iPad, Tech

Valve Teasing Mac-Related Announcement -- Is Steam Coming To Macs?

Mac gamers will be able to enjoy all that Valve’s digital distribution platform Steam has to offer starting on May 12.

Valve had previously mentioned that Steam would be launching for Macs in April, but obviously, that isn't happening. Why the release was bumped isn’t clear, but we’re standing by for more details, so when we know, so will you.

Mac gamers: congrats!

Should the need arise, feel free to E-Mail me your tips, suggestions, and/or personal philosophies, or follow me on Twitter.

Tags: Apple, PC Gaming

Apple Plans iPhone OS 4.0 Event For April 8

Apple has announced that their 2010 Worldwide Developer Conference will take place on June 7 in San Francisco. The event will run through June 11.

A certain tech blog may have already spilled the beans on Apple's plans for the next iPhone, but no doubt Apple has a few more tricks up its sleeves. Apple's annual Worldwide Developer Conference is likely where the company will choose to make those details finally official.

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Tags: Apple, iPad, iPhone, Tech
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Apple iPhone

Yesterday, we reported on the fact that Gizmodo published a story detailing the next iPhone. It was apparently found in a bar, and then made its way to Gizmodo, who, of course, published all the details and specs of the device.  Later in the day, Gizmodo told the story of the guy who lost the device: A young Apple employee named Gray Powell.  But that got me thinking about another player in the story: The unnamed person who apparently found and presented the cell phone to Gizmodo. The assumption is money changed hand, and that's how the blog got its hands on the handset.

Personally, if I found a phone in a bar, and I realized it was the new iPhone, I'd be tempted to "go public" with the info and see if I could get paid, but I'd also realize that leaking it to the press would likely get the guy who lost it in very bad at his (awesome) job at Apple. So I would have quietly gotten the phone back to him, and no one would ever have found out.

What about you? If you found an awesome, unreleased tech device on a bar floor, what would you do?

The Daily Reacharound: New iPhone Reveal Staged?The big tech news today is that Apple’s next generation iPhone has been revealed, but not in a way befitting of the iPhone and Apple's status. And while the official story (so far) is that the prototype iPhone just happened to be found in a bar, supposedly after the entrusted owner left it behind, some people are questioning the whole ordeal. Like ShaggyMetalHead:

“It might just be a marketing ploy to raise hype for the phone. It will get alot more of a response if there is a ‘lost phone recovered’ by some random person than Apple just releasing a press statement with the specs. Consumers feel as if they got one by on Apple by thinking that they got the information by luck.”

This thought crossed my mind as well (I especially like the idea that it would make people feel like they “got one by on Apple”), but then I realized that Apple doesn’t need any help from a fake controversy to get people’s attention, especially when it comes to something like the next generation iPhone. Having said that, I have zero connections to the situation, so I could be totally wrong. What do you think?

New iPhone Model Revealed, Prototype Found Lost In A  Bar

In “boy, am I glad I’m not the person who made that mistake” news, a prototype for Apple’s next iteration of the iPhone was evidently “found” in a bar in Redwood City, California last week, and Gizmodo has loads of pictures and videos to prove it.

The specifics of who exactly found the iPhone and how it ended up in Gizmodo’s hands isn’t clear at this time, but the specs of the iPhone sure as hell are, as Gizmodo performed a battery of tests and breakdowns of it, all of which led them to assert that the device is in fact the 2010 iPhone. This, coupled with reports that Apple has admitted to having lost said prototype and desperately want it recovered, seems like evidence enough to believe this to in fact be the real deal.

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Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech

Did you know the Apple iPad is good for more than just impressing hipsters at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf? You can play games with it too.

In the video below, X-Play's Blair Herter and Morgan Webb compare iPad notes, and talk about about how the computer works in terms of gaming.

Blair Herter and Morgan Webb's iPad Hands On »


OpenFeint Wasn't Briefed On Apple's Game Center Announcement, But Expected It

The developers of the many existing social game networks on iPhone and iPod Touch got a surprise during Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 unveiling yesterday: Apple's entering their territory. Apple announced Game Center, a cross-platform, cross-game service not unlike Xbox Live and PlayStation Network that incorporates achievements, leaderboards, matchmaking -- services that companies like ngmoco with Plus+ and Aurora Feint with OpenFent have been pushing themselves for months.

Apple is secretive about its reveals, even to its developers. OpenFeint found out about Apple's Game Center plans, effectively destroying the usefulness of many like services, with the rest of us.

"We were not aware of the [Apple Game Center] announcement but, like many in our space, we've been anticipating it for quite some time," said OpenFeint VP of marketing and developer relations Eros Resmini to me over e-mail yesterday. "We view it as a validation of what we've been working so hard to support: a fantastic mobile gaming experience."

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iPhone And iPod Touch Surpass 45 Million Units

Apple did a great job of guiding iPhone users through all the great updates coming to iPhone OS 4.0 sometime this summer, all the while neglecting to mention the biggest addition -- multitasking -- won't be available on iPhone 3G. It also won't work on the original iPhone, and the first two releases of the iPod Touch. Count me in the camp with a still-kicking iPhone 3G.

Am I alone here? How many of you decided to make the upgrade to the iPhone 3GS? I decided to hold off, since my contract wasn't up yet. Video recording functionality and the ability to boot Peggle faster wasn't enough to convince me to upgrade out of contract, but now that I'm able to subsidize a new phone, I'm game. The problem, of course, is Apple hasn't announced a new phone yet.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Tech
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iPhone's Plus+ Developer, ngmoco, Excited For Apple's Game Center Plans

UPDATE 4:09 PM: Aurora Feint, creators of OpenFeint, have taken a similar stance as ngmoco. From a just released statement:

“OpenFeint X is currently built on top of OpenFeint and in the future it will also sit on Apple’s Game Center social graph, achievements and leaderboards so developers and gamers don’t miss a step,” said CEO Jason Citron. “Apple is a key partner and we are delighted that they have validated the first half of the OpenFeint vision and we can now fulfill the second half: OpenFeint X and Virtual Goods based Social Games. Our developers can be 100 percent assured that we will continue to invest in OpenFeint so our 1500 live games, 2000 games in development and 19M players have a flawless experience with OpenFeint and Game Center.”

Like ngmoco, Aurora Feint will adapt their current social infrastructure to better manage microtransactions and virtual goods.

ORIGINAL STORY: Apple announced plans today to roll out their own system-wide social gaming network across iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad called Game Center. Several of these networks already exist -- i.e. Plus+, OpenFeint -- each vying for the attention of developers and consumers, hoping their network catches on and becomes the de facto platform standard. Instead, it looks like Apple will take that spot.

What does this mean for companies like Plus+ developer ngmoco (aka the studio behind your latest obsession, We Rule)? Besides games, ngmoco's been focused on pushing Plus+, one of the many social gaming networks that's popped up in a number of games, attempting to tie them together.

ngmoco chief publishing officer Simon Jeffery is actually applauding Apple's efforts to unify their platform.

"Game Center is an exciting first-party innovation for the ecosystem that reinforces much of what plus+ has already accomplished and proven out early in its life cycle," said Jeffery in a n e-mail statement released to me this afternoon. "It will effectively clean up the social space on the iPhone, which has become confusing and cluttered to consumers due to the number of social gaming networks vying for attention. ngmoco has anticipated this move from Apple for some time, and is happy to see a cleaner developer and consumer experience on the horizon.”

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Smarty-pants Kids Build iPhone AppUPDATE 12:09 PM: I didn't make it clear in the original article the update will be compatible with the most recent iPod Touch (aka 3rd gen). It will not work on previous iterations of the hardware, same as iPhone.

ORIGINAL STORY: iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch and iPod Touch 2nd Gen users, there's some bad news. According to Apple, the hardware isn't powerful enough: you aren't getting multitasking.

Apple sneaked this particularly important tidbit into the last minutes of their presentation this morning at the Apple campuses in Cupertino, California. Get ready to begin groaning loudly.

“For iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd gen, they will run many things, but not everything," said Jobs, before the bombshell. "They will not support multitasking, the hardware just can’t do it.”

iPad will also be receiving the iPhone OS 4.0 update, but it won't happen until sometime in the fall. Apple did not reveal a reason iPad users would have to wait several extra months for it.

iPhone OS 4.0 is scheduled to launch this summer. An updated iPhone to be sold later this year has been heavily rumored, but Apple made no mention of a new iPhone at any point today.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Tags: Apple, iPad, iPhone, Tech

iPhone And iPod Touch Surpass 45 Million Units

The addition of multitasking to iPhone OS 4.0 may be the feature most people are excited about, but it's not the only thing Apple CEO Steve Jobs decided to unveil on stage today.

You can view the details on multitasking right here.

iPhone OS 4.0 will also introduce the concept of Folders, allowing users to sort and categorize the potentially hundreds of applications currently filling up home screen after home screen on their iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Folders act like the Stacks feature in OS X. Each Folder is created by simply holding down on a single application and stacking them on top of each other. The device will attempt to automatically categorize them by application type (i.e. games), but users are free to change the naming on their own (for example: first-person shooter games). This should clean up some home screens!

Folders can appear on the home screen or be dragged onto the interace dock. The added customization of folders has also lifted the application limit from 180 to 2,160. That's, uh, a lot. I don't have that many!

Enhanced Mail is something iPhone and iPod Touch users have been waiting ages for.

iPad owners have been given a glimpse at what an improved version of the Mail application is like, but iPhone OS 4.0 introduces some major, long-needed changes to the service. For one, a unified inbox. Most users have a work and personal e-mail linked to their device and now the interface supports a single inbox, including threading e-mails, rather than having them separate. You can also switch between inboxes quickly, open attachments via outside applications and, if you need it, add multiple Exchange-based accounts onto one device.

The addition of iBooks is about what you'd expect: a smaller version of iBooks for iPhone and iPod Touch. Nothing too flashy there, but most agree Apple needs a much larger selection of books.

Today's demos were shown on an iPhone, but the features should come to iPad and iPod Touch, too.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Tags: Apple, iPad, iPhone

There are a variety of iPhone services linking various games to one another in an Xbox Live or PlayStation Network-like interface with linked friends, achievements, etc. Apple has thrown a wrench into those plans, however, with their own social gaming network, entitled Game Center.

Game Center was unveiled this morning as part of Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 event.

The social network includes everything you'd expect and want from a cross-game network, based on other network successes: achievements, matchmaking, friends lists and leaderboards.

iPhone OS 4.0 is scheduled to launch sometime this summer.

This could be huge for games. But what happens to existing networks like plus?

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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