Xbox and PlayStation at Gamescom 2014

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 13th, 2014

Gamescom is a video games trade show–like E3, except for the that fact that it takes place in Europe (in Cologne, Germany to be precise) and it attracts a much, much larger crowd of attendees including members of the press and game developers. And just like they did at Los Angeles’ E3 in June, console makers Microsoft and Sony held press events revealing new titles, providing updates on previously announced ones, and showing off new system features. For the latest on the games, I recommend you visit Joystiq. This post will mostly focus on software updates coming to the Xbox One and PS4, as well as new hardware options revealed. For the full scoop, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)

Comic Con: Ridley Scott debuts ‘Halo: Nightfall’ first look

Posted in Technology,Video,Web Series by Scott Meisner on July 29th, 2014

Here’s a first look at Ridley Scott’s original live-action digital series Halo: Nightfall. Though Master Chief is nowhere to be found in this debut trailer, the scene is set for a Prometheus-like adventure into the gritty unknown. Here’s the scoop:

Taking place between the events of Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians, Halo: Nightfall follows the origin story of legendary manhunter Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) and his team as they are caught in a horrific terrorist attack while investigating terrorist activity on the distant colony world of Sedra. Led by Locke, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents are forced to coordinate with a Sedran commander with a remarkable history and deep-rooted mistrust of ONI. As the plot unravels, they’re drawn to an ancient, hellish artifact where they’re forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives. Agent Locke is a new character in the Halo universe poised to play a major role in Halo 5: Guardians releasing on Xbox One in 2015.

Halo developer 343 Industries and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions premiered the trailer at Comic Con announcing the series’ director Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Battlestar Galactica, Pillars of the Earth, Heroes) writer Paul Scheuring (Prison Break), and cast led by Mike Colter (The Good Wife).

“In science fiction, we’re always searching for new frontiers. We’re drawn to the unknown,” said Scott. “With Halo: Nightfall, we’re pioneering a new medium in terms of interactive storytelling on Xbox.  It’s going to be fun for long-time fans to see how the worlds come together with an ambition to attract new fans along the way with what we’ve created.”

Halo: Nightfall will come packed inside Halo: The Master Chief Collection and it will be made available to all Xbox Live subscribers beginning on November 11.

[Via Xbox Wire]

The Big Three are all about the games at E3 2014

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 14th, 2014

The 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo came and went this week and The Big Three–Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo–were all about games, games, and games. The Xbox maker’s show was literally a lineup of upcoming titles for Xbox One. Sony managed to squeeze some hardware and PSN news into theirs but like MSFT they mainly showcased games for PS4. And Nintendo did what they do best: stand out from the pack with a highly entertaining (not live) “digital event” featuring a fun lineup of games starring their famous mascots.

Jump after the break for the full rundown of games unveiled by The Big Three at this year’s E3. (Click here for more…)

WWDC ’14 at a glance: Apple unveils iOS 8 & OS X Yosemite

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on June 7th, 2014

On Monday Apple held their annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco introducing to the world the next versions of its mobile and desktop operating systems. Jump after the break for glimpses at iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite. (Click here for more…)

Microsoft announces ‘Halo 5: Guardians’ for Xbox One

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on May 18th, 2014

On Friday Microsoft announced the next game in the Halo franchise and it’s called Halo 5: Guardians. Despite the subtitle (read: ODSTReach) and the introduction of a new hero in the game artwork (see above), Guardians is in fact a direct followup to Halo 4 and it is “the next installment in the legendary saga of the Master Chief.” Guardians, from Halo 4 developers 343 Industries, is coming exclusively to Xbox One running at “60 frames per second, on dedicated servers, with the scope, features and scale [Microsoft has] been dreaming of for more than a decade.” The Xbox maker said the following in a press statement regarding the highly anticipated title:

“Halo 5: Guardians” is a bigger effort than “Halo 4.”  That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine.  Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.

For more on Guardians, pop over to Halo Waypoint where you’ll find a blog post written by 343 Industries Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor and a piece of concept art from the game. Obviously there’s a lot more where this came from and you can expect Microsoft to push next Halo at E3 next month. Rewatch the “Halo on Xbox One” teaser here, for now.

Guardians is slated to release in fall 2015 and in that same year Microsoft will launch the Steven Spielberg produced live-action Halo TV series. It’s being billed as “a series that will stand alone, as well as complement and enrich the game experience.”

[Via Xbox Wire]

Twitter previews new profile design layout

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on April 12th, 2014

Twitter is rolling out a new design layout for web profiles. The most prominent visual changes are larger profile photos and customized headers that mimic Facebook’s profile and cover photos. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll see that the update allows users to pin a tweet to the top of their feed; this locked-at-the-top tweet serves as an extension to a user’s bio and provides followers and potential followers alike another window into seeing what you’re all about. You may also notice magnified tweets that appear larger in your feed; these are called your “Best Tweets” and they appear larger because they’ve received the most engagement such as being Favorited or Retweeted a lot. Also, when you check out other people’s profiles you can filter between all Tweets, Tweets with photos/video, or Tweets and replies–a new way to quickly search a person’s feed by content type.

The new profile layout is slowly rolling out to all users “in the coming weeks.” If you’re new to Twitter and sign up today you’ll automatically see it. For everyone else, you can preview the new layout today by flocking over to certain celeb accounts such as @ChanningTatum and @KerryWashington.

[Via Twitter]

Amazon gets into the media streaming hardware business with Fire TV

Posted in Images,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on April 12th, 2014

On April 2 Amazon unveiled their latest foray into the hardware space. After making ebooks and tablets the online retailer is directly competing with Apple TV and Roku with their very own media streamer called Amazon Fire TV. The $99 box comes packed with myriad subscription-based and streaming services including Netflix, Hulu Plus, and of course Amazon Instant Video with Prime benefits to Amazon’s catalog of exclusive content.

There really are three things that set the Fire TV apart from the competition. First is its raw power. The box is powered by a quad-core processor, a dedicated GPU, 2GB of RAM, and it supports 1080p video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. The company is claiming it has 3x the processing power and 4x the memory of Apple TV and Roku. These specs allow for a fast and fluid experience navigating the UI and media playback. Such generous guts support Amazon’s anti-buffering initiative they’re calling ASAP, or Advanced Streaming and Prediction; instead of waiting 10+ seconds for a video to buffer and stream, the Fire TV will smartly predict the movies and shows you will watch and get them ready for streaming so when you hit play it will immediately begin playback. More specs: ’round back you’ll find a port for power, HDMI, optical audio, Ethernet, and USB. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also inside.

Amazon’s Fire TV also supports voice search. The included media remote sports a mic that listens to your audible search queries. Simply tap the voice button and speak into the remote to instantly search TV shows, movies, actors, directors, and genres. Of course, an on-screen keyboard is provided in case the software can’t pick up on what you’re saying for whatever reason. Note that the remote is paired to the streamer via Bluetooth so direct line-of-sight for control is not necessary.

Additionally, the box is being billed as a gaming machine. Does it compete with heavy hitters like the Xbox One and PS4–no way, but that doesn’t mean it won’t fight to become an affordable way to access easy-to-pickup titles like world-builder Minecraft and racer Asphalt. In fact, Amazon is so dedicated to making Fire TV a gaming destination that it is also selling a separately sold Amazon Fire Game Controller for $39.99 that is very reminiscent of Xbox’s pad featuring dual analog sticks, a d-pad, and ABXY buttons, as well as media controls. And on top of that, the company has formed Amazon Game Studios to develop games exclusively for the Fire TV such as third-person sci-fi shooter Sev Zero. Press the GameCircle button the Game Controller to view leaderboards and achievements across the Internet. Many games are offered today (a bunch of them are free) with “thousands” more on the way. Check out the Fire TV’s games and apps catalog here. Note that most games do not require the separately sold Game Controller for use, however some do.

What else? In addition to movies and TV, the Android-powered box also streams music (Pandora, Vevo, etc.) and it can wirelessly stream your photos and video saved in Amazon Cloud Drive. You can also mirror your Amazon tablet to your HDTV in the same way iOS devices can be paired with Apple TVs and your Amazon tablet can provide a second screen experience by pulling up content that’s related to what you’re watching on the big screen. Last, Amazon FreeTime allows parents to setup personalized profiles for their kids to access appropriate movies, TV shows, apps, and games.

Amazon Fire TV is available for purchase today. Get a closer look at the media streamer and its gaming controller in the gallery below, then jump after the break to see the UI in action, a sneak peek at Amazon-developed games, and the first commercial for it starring the insane Gary Busey.

(Click here for more…)

Google makes watches “smart” with Android Wear

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 29th, 2014

Google is making a big play when it comes to wearables. First, of course, there’s Google Glass, those high-tech spectacles still be tested in the field before being unleashed to the mass market. And while we wait for that, Google wants to get consumers hyped with another wearable powered by Android: the watch.

Smartwatches have been a thing for years; Samsung, in fact, has been working on their own “Galaxy Gear” watches recently and does anyone remember Motorola’s MOTOACTV? Anyway, those smartwatches failed to make it big and Google hopes to make a splash in the wearables market with their latest software initiative Android Wear.

Simply put, Google is developing a new version of Android suited for watches that various manufacturers–from big industry players like Motorola and Samsung to fashion brands like Fossil–can use to power their hardware. Like Android on Google Glass, Android Wear aims to make wearables like watches “understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.” In other words, a smartwatch powered by Android Wear will provide you with contextual updates depending on your location and daily schedule. For example, when you arrive at the airport your smartwatch will automatically recognize where you are and pull up relevant information such as flight details and even your boarding pass. Now of course, you’re smartphone can likely do the same thing (think Google Now or Apple’s PassBook app), but having this kind of quick, glance-and-go information on your wrist instead of inside your pocket makes things more convenient and efficient.

In addition to providing contextual information, Android timepieces can give you straight answers to spoken questions. Speak aloud “Ok Google” and pose a question to receive an answer on the fly. Want the score to the Knicks game? Ask your watch and it’ll bring to the surface the information you’re looking for. You can also use this spoken service to request things like taxis, make restaurant reservations, and even send a text. Android Wear also promises to serve as a helpful way to monitor your health and fitness, as well as stream content such as music and movies to your phone and TV.

Google hopes that developers will jump on the Android Wear bandwagon and start tailoring their apps for the wearable OS; a Developer Preview is available today. To date, Google is working with Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung, chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek, and Qualcomm, and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to create new and intuitive smartwatches. They’re not giving a very specific timeframe as to when consumers can expect to their hands on Android Wear watches, but they tease they’re coming “later this year.” In fact, Motorola and LG are already starting to show off what they’ve got up their sleeves with Moto 360 and G Watch, respectively.

Jump after the break to watch a couple clips showing off these new watches. And brace yourselves–Google says this is just the beginning for Android Wear: “we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology.” Glasses, watches, what’s next? Apple, ahem, your move.

[Via Google] (Click here for more…)

Sony reveals Project Morpheus, virtual reality for PS4 gamers

Posted in Image cache,News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 29th, 2014

From Virtual Boy to true Virtual Reality–[expletive] is about to get real.

This month at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony revealed the latest piece of hardware they’re working on. No, it’s not the PS5 but rather”Project Morpheus.” That’s the code name for their attempt at virtual reality hardware. It’s something that’s straight out of the future–a sophisticated-looking head-mounted unit gets strapped to your noggin and you peer into two LCD 1080p displays (that merge into one) with a 90 degree field of view. Simply put, Morpheus is going to fully immerse you in games like never before. Or in Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida words Morpheus promises “to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play.”

Morpheus, at its core, aims to “create experiences that deliver a sense of presence – where players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game.” Furthermore, “presence is like a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play.” I think you get the picture.

Morpheus is PlayStation branded hardware that is still very much in the prototype stage. A handful of details, however, managed to trickle out from GDC as a number of units were in fact playable at the conference. The VR headset works in tandem with PS4; accelerometer and gyroscope sensors inside collaborate with the PlayStation Camera to deliver VR experiences. Also, the PlayStation Move controller as well as the PS4’s standard DualShock controller assist in said experiences. For example, future gamers will strap Morpheus on and be transported to a castle with a fire-breathing dragon. Tilt and move around your head as if you are actually there to view your landscape. Whip out your PS Move controller and suddenly you wield a sword to take down the otherworldly beast.

In addition to visuals, Sony is also making Morpheus an all-encompassing virtual reality experience by incorporating 3D audio technology. Gamers will be able to hear sounds coming from all around them in real-time depending on their head orientation. For example, sounds will barrage you from above you (think helicopters flying overhead) and even below you (the pitter-patter of footsteps rushing up a flight of stairs). A stereo headset jack on the unit allows you to plug in any kind of headphones you like to fully step into a virtual world with realistic visuals and 360-degree audio.

As made clear earlier, Project Morpheus is still in its infancy state in terms of final design and function. However, Sony is eager to share the hardware and SDK with developers so that early kinks can be fixed and exciting software can be developed. At GDC, Sony had a dogfighting shooter EVE Valkyrie and stealth actioner Thief playable inside Morpheus, as well as in-house demos “The Castle” and “The Deep” demonstrating the VR headset’s basic functions. In time, more games will be made for it. I think we know what Sony will be hyping when E3 rolls around this June.

Jump after the break to watch Project Morpheus in action.

[Via Sony] (Click here for more…)

Xbox One update brings social improvements, Twitch live broadcasting

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on March 9th, 2014

I told you it was coming and now it’s here: part 2 of Xbox One’s first major system update has arrived. As promised, the update provides improvements to the multiplayer and party systems. You can get to your friends list faster now that the Friends app shows you the list right off the bat when you open it up; to get to the activity feed simply swipe to the right. Also, party chat is turned on by default now so when you invite friends into a party you can get the conversation started immediately. The Friends app has also been updated to feature the missing “recent players” list. Another significant addition to the XB1 is live broadcasting. When the Twitch app gets updated this week, gamers will be able to say “Xbox, broadcast” to stream their gameplay live to other platforms. Twitch also allows you to watch stream from other Xbox One gamers as well as other platforms like PS4 and PCs. Though live broadcasting gameplay was a major feature that shipped with PS4 at its launch, Microsoft may have the upper hand now since their console extends the ability to share and view beyond their own system.

Just like the first update, this new one will automatically download while your console is “Instant On” enabled; if it isn’t you’ll be prompted to download and install it the next time you turn it on. Interestingly, and quite annoyingly, Microsoft is also issuing a firmware update for its Xbox One wireless controllers. Connect your pad to the system via micro-USB and hit start, go to settings, system, update controller. The update open the controller to accepting the Xbox One stereo headset adapter as well as support for 1st and 3rd party headsets.

Click after the break to view the full list of updates packed inside the latest Xbox One update. You’ll also spot a brief video tour of the new update, as well as a first look at Twitch live broadcasting. The Twitch app update enabling this anticipated new XB1 feature goes live this Tuesday, March 11 to coincide with the launch of the even more anticipated XB1 exclusive title Titanfall.

[Via Xbox 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Compare ‘Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes’ graphics on next and last-gen consoles

Posted in Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 23rd, 2014

Hideo Kojima’s next installment in the Metal Gear franchise arrives next month, so Kojima Productions is giving gamers a closer look at the new title that’s coming to next-gen consoles (namely Xbox One and PS4) as well as their predecessors (Xbox 360 and PS3). The video embedded above shows how Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will look on all four consoles. Graphics are stunning on the next-gen platforms, of course, but this clip is absolute proof that last-gen hardware still has much life left in it. Take a look for yourself.

Note: The Xbox One version of the game runs at 720p while the PS4’s runs at 1080p; they both, however, run at 60 frames-per-second. As for last-gen hardware, the game runs at 720p and 30fps on both. View screenshot comparisons here.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes releases on all aforementioned platforms March 18.

Xbox One receives its first major update with another one on the way

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 16th, 2014

If you flipped on your Xbox One over the weekend then you were privy to the console very first significant update. Though the majority of new improvements are under-the-hood (namely stability and bug fixes), users will notice a few changes in appearance and functionality. A tiny yet welcome addition to the home screen is a battery indicator letting you know how much juice is left in your controller; if you don’t see it simply tap the Xbox button on your pad and it’ll reveal itself. Additionally, the My games & apps section has been updated and organized separating installed games and apps into respective folders. You can now “manage” games and apps; you can view how much space they take up and delete them from you console if you so choose. Also, users can see exactly how much space they have remaining on their HDDs. A download queue is also located inside the My games & apps section; you can pick the order in which you want your content to load from there. Lastly, the One now works with any USB keyboard–browsing with Internet Explorer just got a lot easier. Jump after the break for the full update breakdown.

The update rolled out to Xbox One owners over the weekend. If you have the “Instant On” feature enabled then your console will automatically download the update while it’s in sleep mode. If you turned that feature off then you’ll be prompted to download and install the update the next time you boot up.

Microsoft says this is phase one of a two part update coming to Xbox One. The next update will roll out in March and it promises improvements to the multiplayer and party systems. Stick it here to find out when it drops.

[Via Microsoft 1, 2] (Click here for more…)

Sonic & friends return in ‘Sonic Boom’ game, TV series & toy line

Posted in News,Technology,Television,Video by Scott Meisner on February 9th, 2014

Sonic the Hedgehog is racing back into the limelight with a new video game, animated TV series, and a fresh toy line. It’s all being introduced under a new Sonic brand called Sonic Boom.

The game is being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment and Sanzaru Games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, respectively, in collaboration with Team Sonic. According to a blog post, the game will “introduce exploration, combat and a new Enerbeam tether mechanic that will allow the Sonic Boom world to be discovered in totally unique ways.” A launch date for the title has not been announced yet.

The game serves as a prequel to the TV series which is also called Sonic Boom and is being co-produced by SEGA of America Inc. and OuiDO! Productions. The CG show is described as “an ensemble comedy consisting of 52 x 11-minute standalone episodes packed full of high-adrenaline action. Every episode starts from a small character-driven story and explodes into an epic tale of saving the world, robot battles and more.” Sonic Boom is schedule to premiere during the during the 2014/15 season on Cartoon Network.

The Sonic Boom franchise features classic characters like Tails, Knuckles, and Doctor Eggman but with a twist; their physical attributes have been updated–as you can see in the image above Knuckles has bulked up quite a bit and Sonic wears a brown scarf around his neck. Toy partner TOMY “will develop a comprehensive toy range across a broad number of categories including plush, action figures, RC, role play, vehicles and novelty.”

Sega’s John Cheng commented on the latest Sonic revival: “We want to ensure that the Sonic brand continues to evolve and appeal to new generations of Sonic fans and this different look introduces a fresh approach that will be at once both familiar and new to consumers. We are committed to supporting this initiative to provide great entertainment to fans for all aspects of their lives.”

Check out clips from the upcoming game and TV series after the break. The title looks extremely engaging and I’m excited to see how the development teams tap into the unique Wii U GamePad and 3DS’ functionality repertoire to control Sonic and friends. The show looks like a ton of fun. Scroll to the bottom of this page to view concept art from the game and the show.

[Via Sega] (Click here for more…)

Microsoft names new CEO Satya Nadella

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on February 9th, 2014

Bill Gates. Steve Ballmer. Satya Nadella. On February 4 Microsoft appointed its third CEO in its 40+ year history. Under Ballmer’s management, Microsoft couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple and Google on the mobile front (Windows Phone is in a distant third place in terms of adoption rate behind Android and iOS) and Windows 8 could not surge the waning sales of PCs. Additionally, Microsoft’s tablet entry the Surface didn’t make waves when it hit the market; Apple’s iPad and the many Android powered slates continue to dominate the field. So this past summer the enthusiastic Ballmer announced his retirement from the company after 33 years and over a five-month period Microsoft vetted various industry players to take over the coveted top position and in the end Mr. Nadella was named company Chief Executive Officer.

Nadella is no stranger to Microsoft; in fact he’s been with the company since 1992. As Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group he oversaw the company’s move to the cloud and the development of massive cloud infrastructures supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services. Nadella, 46, was born in Hyderabad, India; like Bill Gates he has a background in computer science, and like Ballmer he also has a business background.

“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Gates in a press statement. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”

“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”

In addition to naming Nadella CEO, Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume “a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”

Jump after the break to watch Gates welcome Nadella as the new CEO and get to know Nadella in a brief interview clip. Click here to learn more about MSFT’s new CEO.

[Via Microsoft] (Click here for more…)

Macintosh turns 30

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 3rd, 2014

The Macintosh was introduced to the world on January 24, 1984. This year the Mac turns 30 years old and Apple is celebrating this major milestone with a special new portal on their website featuring an interactive, nostalgic and knowledgeable Mac Timeline. You can scrub through every year from 1984 to 2014 and discover how the Mac has made such a significant impact in the world. There’s also a section called My First Mac and you can share your story with the Apple community and learn what people did with their revolutionary computers.

And it wouldn’t be a proper Apple celebration without awe-inspiring video to go along with it. Embedded after the break are three. In “Thirty years of innovation” creative types like Moby and Hans Zimmer wax poetic about the Mac and how it changed their lives and even more so the world. The next video is even more powerful; on January 24, 2014–on the Mac’s 30 year anniversary–Apple sent 15 camera crews armed with iPhone 5s’ all around the world and the end result is pretty incredible. Over 70 hours of footage was edited down to a 1 minute 27 second clip that acknowledges the sheer power and capability of modern technology. Watch it–along with a behind-the-scenes video narrated by director Jake Scott (son of filmmaker Ridley Scott)–after the break.

Truly remarkable stuff. Happy Birthday, Mac. (Click here for more…)

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Apple reports 2014 Q1 earnings: $13.1b profit on $57.6b revenue

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on February 2nd, 2014

On January 27 Apple reported its 2014 first quarter financial results. Apple posted a record $13.1 billion profit on $57.6 billion in revenue. Compare this to one year ago, that’s the same $13.1 billion profit and up on $54.5 billion in revenue. Says CEO Tim Cook: “We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, Software and Services. We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their experiences with our products and services even better.”

Now let’s break it down by product category. Apple sold a record 51 million iPhones in the quarter (compared to 47.8 million in the year-ago quarter); a record 26 million iPads (compared to 22.9 million); and 4.8 million Macs (compared to 4.1 million). iPod sales continue to decline at a steady rate.

Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer expects revenue between $42 billion and $44 billion.

[Via Apple]

iTunes shares 2013’s top-selling albums, movies, TV shows, apps & more

Posted in Entertainment,Movies,Music,News,Technology,Television by Scott Meisner on December 30th, 2013

Apple’s iTunes, App, and iBooks Stores have truly become the destination on the Internet to discover and download the latest and greatest in music, movies, TV shows, apps, and books. And every year the house that Jobs built tallies the best-selling media, so let’s take a look.

In music, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience is crowned the top-selling album of 2013. Also landing in the top 15 are Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist, and Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. The top-selling song? M&R’s “Thrift Shop,” followed by Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” In addition to these top-selling lists, Apple has hand-picked Editor Choice awards; namely, JT is named Artist of the Year, M&R’s The Heist is Album of the Year, Lorde’s “Royals” is Song of the Year, and Kendrick Lamar (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City) is Breakthrough Artist.

The top three best-selling movies are SkyfallWreck-It Ralph, and Argo. Apple named Gravity Best Movie and Despicable Me 2 Best Animated Movie. On TVBreaking BadDownton Abbey, and The Walking Dead lead the top-selling series of 2013. Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece is TV Show of the Year, Scandal is Best Breakthrough, and Orphan Black is Best Discovery.

The best-selling paid app is Minecraft – Pocket Edition; also making that list is Heads Up!, Temple Run: Oz, and Angry Birds Star Wars. The best-selling freebie? Candy Crush Saga, of course, followed by Temple Run 2VineGoogle Maps, and Snapchat.

The most popular books (fiction) are Dan Brown’s Inferno, E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Apple quite liked Tenth of December by George Saunders.

Click here to browse Apple’s Best of 2013 charts across all the various forms of media.

Nintendo releases ‘NES Remix’ for Wii U featuring classic games with a twist

Posted in News,Technology,Video by Scott Meisner on December 21st, 2013

Still looking for a reason to pick up Nintendo’s Wii U? Well, here’s one: the house that built Mario is releasing a game collection called NES Remix that invokes gaming nostalgia with a twist. The collection includes 16 classic NES titles and each of them have been “remixed” with fun alterations; for example, a stage in Mario Bros. has been flipped and players must complete it backwards. Elsewhere, Link from The Legend of Zelda shows up in Donkey Kong with Mario and Pauline. In addition to the remixed stages, the collection also offers up “rapid fire” special challenges; in Mario Bros., for example, you can test how fast you can score 10 1-Ups in a row. The following NES titles come packed inside NES Remix:  Donkey Kong (featuring Link!), Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3ExcitebikeSuper Mario Bros., Mario Bros., The Legend of ZeldaClu Clu LandWrecking CrewPinballUrban ChampionBaseballTennisIce ClimberGolf and Balloon Fight. It’s out now exclusievlty on Wii U through the console’s eShop store for $16.32. Worth it? Worth it. Watch a trailer after the break.

[Via Nintendo] (Click here for more…)

Apple makes Mac Pro available to order, ships in February

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on December 21st, 2013

“The future of the pro desktop” is finally here. This week Apple made it possible for (wealthy) consumers to order the new and marginally improved Mac Pro through Apple.com. First announced at WWDC ’13, the Mac Pro comes configured in two ways: the base model, starting at $2,999, comes packed with a 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. The speedier $3,999 model sports a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. From there these models can be further upgraded before checking out. Apple says units will starting shipping in February. If you’re a heavy gamer or a professional creative in the TV and movie industries, this cylindrical powerhouse is just what the doctor prescribed.

Xbox One launches today

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on November 22nd, 2013

Exactly one week after Sony let loose PS4, Microsoft is replacing its aging console with Xbox One. And just like PS4’s release, gamers can expect a Day One patch to get the system working at full capacity and a brand new SmartGlass app for all your Xbox on-the-go and wireless slinging needs. Download the app today at iTunes and Google Play Store. Brush up on the hardware’s launch titles here.

The house that Bill Gates built is pimping their Xbox 360 successor to be the “one” stop destination for all your entertainment needs; for example, with its HDMI IN port you can run your cable box through the console and watch live TV while you’re gaming. It’s all exciting stuff but how will the new Xbox fare against the new PlayStation, a next-gen console that Sony built with hard-core gamers in mind first and entertainment needs later. Time, as they say, will tell.

So what are you waiting for? Jump ahead.

Update: Microsoft confirms that the Xbox One launch “was the biggest launch in Xbox history, with more than one million consoles sold through worldwide in less than 24 hours – surpassing day one Xbox 360 sales and setting a new record for Microsoft.”

“We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around the world,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at Xbox. “Seeing thousands of excited fans lined up to get their Xbox One and their love for gaming was truly a special moment for everyone on the Xbox team. We are working hard to create more Xbox One consoles and look forward to fulfilling holiday gift wishes this season.”