Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Final Fantasy VII comes to iOS

Final Fantasy VII, the legendary Japanese RPG that debuted on the original PlayStation back in 1997, has finally reached the App Store.

The game is currently available as a universal app for iPhone and the iPad for $15.99.

As the developer, Square Enix, stated, the iOS version of Final Fantasy VII is a port of the PC version, with no changes or additions to the storyline.

The iOS version of the title brings a virtual on-screen controller that’s “designed not to obscure the action.” It features virtual analog or fixed 4-way digital control pad options and the opacity of the on-screen controls is adjustable. In addition, the iOS game offers an option to turn off foe encounters in area maps and a Max Stats command to “become all-powerful in the blink of an eye.” 

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It took a few years for the company to bring Final Fantasy VII to the iOS App Store. In 2013, Square Enix producer Takashi Tokita said that a release of Final Fantasy VII was years away because of space limitations. “It’s that currently, space will be an issue,” he said. “Phones won’t be able to contain the space it takes. It’s over a gigabyte. People are probably going to have to wait for a few years.” 

Earlier this year, Apple expanded the size limitation on apps from 2GB to 4GB. According to the App Store description of the game, it takes 1.66GB of storage space, but needs more than 4GB of free space to download. 

Final Fantasy VII can be played on the iPhone 5s or later, the third-generation iPad or later, and the iPad mini 2 or later.

News/Rumors

Apple debuts new Apple Music ads featuring artists

Apple has shared three new video ads for Apple Music on its YouTube channel.

The ads focus on how the service helps users discover artists. These three brand new ads center around its streaming service, the service’s Connect social network, and the effect music can have on those who “live and breathe” it. The videos all demonstrate that Apple Music has “All the artists you love and are about to love, all in one place.”

The first ad features Kygo, known as a popular Norwegian DJ and record producer. The video shows Kygo playing at a piano and then highlights Apple Music Connect and the ability to learn more about an artist via their Connect profile.

The second ad features James Bay, a popular British musician who performed his songs “Let it Go” and “Hold Back The River.” In the video, the singer plays an acoustic version of his song “Craving” as Apple again highlights Connect and the discovery features it supports.

The third video offers a variety of different artists, including James Bay, Kygo, Leon Bridges, Flo Morrissey, and others. This ad, named “Discovery,” also has a Trent Reznor as the narrator.

The new videos debuted two weeks after the company began an Apple Music ad campaign in several public spaces around the world, including billboards, signage at bus shelters and subway stations, and more.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple TV service pushed back to 2016

Apple has to delay the announcement of its long-rumored streaming TV service to sometime in 2016.

While the company has revealed its plans to announce its long-rumored streaming TV service at its upcoming September 9 event,  its rumored internet TV service will not make an appearance at that event according to a new report out of Bloomberg. 

The company wanted to introduce this year a live TV service delivered via the Internet, but is now aiming for 2016”, said people familiar with Apple’s plans.

The talks with major TV networks such as CBS and 21st Century Fox are progressing, but at a very slow place. The company reportedly doesn’t have the computer network capacity in place to provide a good viewing experience—a common complaint among users of Dish’s Sling TV and other streaming services.

Apple-TV-2015

Apple plans to offer its TV service, which will feature a package of popular channels, for $40 a month. However, TV programmers hope to get more money from the company’s new web TV service than they do from existing cable and satellite TV partners because the service is new to the market and is attempting to gain share.

A new Apple TV set top box, however, is still expected to be ready for release. The new Apple TV is rumored to come with a touch-based remote control and full app store.

News/Rumors

iPad Mini 4 may support Split View Multitasking

The upcoming iPad mini 4 will reportedly support the Split View multitasking feature in iOS 9. According to the file found by developer Hamza Sood in the upcoming OS X El Capitan’s Safari 9 browser, there is support for a split-screen view of Safari on the iPad mini.

Responsive design mode, which allows developers to test various layouts in Safari 9, also makes it possible to simulate a Split View layout on an iPad mini 3. The iPad mini 3 doesn’t have support for Split View, giving further proof that the iPad mini 4 is probably to be the tablet that uses Split View multitasking.

iOS 9 offers multitasking for the iPad, and while two of the features, Picture-in-Picture and Slide Over, are available on the iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 2, and iPad mini 3, the true Split View multitasking feature is only available on the iPad Air 2 because it has 2GB of RAM and a robust A8X processor.

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In order to support Split View, the upcoming iPad mini 4 will require internal specs that match or exceed those of the iPad Air 2. The device is expected to come with Apple’s A8X processor or the A9 processor that’s being used in its 2015 iOS devices, with 2GB of RAM also being a strong possibility.

There was no confirmation for specs for the iPad mini 4, however, the device is believed to look like a smaller version of the iPad Air 2, wich has a much slimmer 6.1mm body and iPad Air 2-style design features.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple uploads a new “If it’s not an iPhone” ad focused on photos and videos

Apple has finally posted its latest advertisement as part of its new “if it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone” marketing series. 

Like in previous TV ad, Apple appears to be promoting images and videos taken by actual iPhone customers. The new video focuses on the iPhone’s camera, photo taking capabilities, and video recording features.

The ad shows an assortment of artfully arranged iPhones that display photos and videos in an assortment of different patterns. A narrator speaks about the iPhone’s popularity as a camera and its ease of use. 

Every day, millions of amazing photos and videos are shot with iPhone. That’s because the iPhone makes it easy—for everyone—to shoot amazing photos and video. If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.”

At the end of the 30-second spot, dozens of iPhones are placed in a collage layout with different videos and images on screen.

As with previous videos, Apple ends the “Photos & Videos” ad with the tagline “If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.” 

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple Music gathered 11 million trial users after five weeks

Since Apple Music launched five weeks ago, the service has gathered an impressive 11 million trial users, two million of whom chose the more expensive multi-user family plan, that will cost $14.99 per month once the trial ends, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue said. 

“We’re thrilled with the numbers so far,” says Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, adding that of that sum 2 million have opted for the more lucrative family plan at $14.99 a month for up to six people,”-Cue added.

Cue stated the company is “releasing updates as fast as we can” to fix bugs and other problems with Apple Music amid duplication and mislabeling complaints. Shortly after debut, several users started complaining of deleted playlists caused by syncing problems with iCloud Music Library, a feature required offline caching of Apple Music songs.

Jimmy Iovine also shared his thoughts, highlighting a number of the challenges of reaching users in certain countries and age demographics while adding the company hopes it can use its leverage to bring many of those users on board for a subscription music service. 1

Finally, Cue revealed some new App Store numbers, saying that July set a record with $1.7 billion in App Store transactions thanks to strong performance in China. The company has now paid out $33 billion to developers since the App Store debuted in 2008.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Telstra offers 12 months free of Apple Music

The largest Australian carrier Telstra shared a new exclusive plan that provides iPhone 6 and 6 Plus customers a one-year Apple Music subscription for free when they sign up for post paid Go Mobile services.  This deal is the first of its kind for Apple Music.

According to an announcement on the company’s website, the free Apple Music offer applies to new 12- or 24-month Go Mobile plans for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Telstra syas data charges apply, which means the offer covers only Apple fees, not contract bandwidth.

When customer sign up and agree to the terms and conditions Apple Music’s payment will be made via the Telstra rather than Apple directly. This means that users have to renew or cancel their trial through their carrier bill.

“If you sign up and agree to T&Cs to put Apple Music on your Telstra account this will roll on to a paying subscription at the end of the trial / free period unless you cancel it. You will receive an SMS 3 days prior to rolling over to a paid subscription.”

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After Apple Music debuted in June, several carriers have adopted the streaming music service to incentivize their respective mobile plans. Last week, T-Mobile stated that it would add Apple Music to its Music Unlimited service, allowing Simple Choice customers to listen to the streaming music service without it counting against their data allotments.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

New Apple TV rumored to debut in September

Apple is planning to debut its much-expected next-generation Apple TV in September, according to a new report from BuzzFeed News.

The Apple’s new set-top box is also said to debut at the same event where the company will announce the next-generation iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

The company had previously planned to present the new product at WWDC this summer, but scrapped it from the event at the last minute.

Hardware is rumored to be thinner than the company’s existing TV models and features refreshed internal components, including a faster A8 system on chip, additional storage and a revamped operating system with support for Apple’s Siri virtual assistant. In addition, the new Apple TV will support Apple Music, as well. 

Finally, the Apple TV is also expected to receive Siri voice search support in its update this fall.

New Apple TV rumored to debut in September

Some sources suggest Apple’s television offering will bundle approximately 25 channels and will be available for between $30 to $40 per month. 

Apple has not demonstrated a new version of its Apple TV since 2012, so an updated set-top box with App Store support and other features will be an important change from the platform that we have today.

News/Rumors

Nokia reveals Ozo, camera for professional filmmakers

Nokia Technologies debuted camera for professional filmmakers. Dubbed OZO, the new product is expected to be available later in the year.

Ozo is a spherical high-end 360-degree camera equipped with eight image sensors and several microphones capable of recording 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D views of the world. 

Unlike other current VR camera systems, Nokia’s platform targets at professional filmmaker. An important feature is that the new camera allows a director or DP to have instant feedback on scene composition, lighting and more through a VR headset. In addition, the new device features rapid playback.

“OZO aims to advance the next wave of innovation in VR by putting powerful tools in the hands of professionals who will create amazing experiences for people around the world,” explained Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies. “We expect that virtual reality experiences will soon radically enhance the way people communicate and connect to stories, entertainment, world events and each other. With OZO, we plan to be at the heart of this new world.”

nokia-ozo-vr-camera-rig

After filming and post-production, the result can be made available for consumption on commercially available headsets, including Oculus Rift. Jaunt, a VR production company based in Palo Alto, Calif., pledged initial support for Ozo, adding it will give the camera at its studios and offer post-production services.

Final Ozo pricing will be unveiled this fall when the camera is scheduled to ship. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple Watch to be available at Best Buy on Aug. 7

Best Buy announced it will become the first national retailer, aside from Apple, to sell the Apple Watch in some its U.S. retail stores and online on August 7.

The company stated that the device will be available in more than 100 stores next month.  Best Buy plans to expand to over 300 outlet before the lucrative holiday shopping season.

Best Buy will offer 16 models from the aluminum Apple Watch Sport and stainless steel Apple Watch collections, including 50 accessories such as bands, screen protectors, stands, and chargers.

Best Buy currently sells a number of competing wearables from the companies of Samsung and Pebble.

Jason Bonfig, a senior category office at Best Buy says:

“The Apple Watch is an important addition to an emerging product category, and we know our customers want it. We are excited to bring Apple Watch to more consumers, especially with the holidays coming up.”1

The Apple Watch is now sold in 19 countries with the company gradually expanding availability as supplies have allowed, and an additional three countries — New Zealand, Russia, and Turkey — will be added to the list this coming Friday.