Apple solidifies Watch release date & pricing, unveils HBO standalone streaming service, HealthKit, plus a shiny new MacBook
On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook hosted the company’s latest keynote dubbed “Spring Forward” and it packed quite a punch. Everyone was expecting more details about the anticipated Apple Watch–release date and pricing was finally made known–but before getting to all that, Cook announced an exciting launch with HBO, he introduced a forward-thinking platform called HealthKit that aims to support the medical field in new and exciting ways, and a brand new MacBook packed with all kinds of cool technology made its debut. For all the details, skip after the break. (Click here for more…)
First up, a price drop. The Wii U is shedding $50 and will sell for $299.99 starting September 20. This is the black-coated 32GB “deluxe” Wii U that’s seeing the price decrease. The white 8GB “standard” version remains at $300 but I wouldn’t be surprised if Ninty decided to discontinue what used to be the cheaper model soon. With an even more competitive price tag and an onslaught of anticipated first-party titles coming soon (see below) perhaps the time is nigh to finally pull the trigger and pick up Nintendo’s next-gen entry.
Also hitting shelves on the 20th of September is a limited-edition Wii U bundle packed with the anticipated Gamecube remake The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. At the same $299.99 price point you get the deluxe console, a code to download a digital copy of the Zelda title from the Nintendo eShop (the physical disc doesn’t hit retail until October 4), one GamePad controller adorned with Zelda-inspired gold lettering, and a digital copy of Hyrule Historia, a book that details the chronology, history, and artwork of The Legend of Zelda series.
Next up: new hardware. The Nintendo 3DS is getting a new sibling and its name is 2DS. At $40 less than the 3DS, the 2DS eliminates the ability to play games in eye-popping 3D. Dual screens, cameras, and touch input remain intact, but the original hinge design is replaced with a flat look. The 2DS plays all 3DS games in 2D and it’s backwards compatible with all DS games. When it comes out October 12 for $129.99 it’ll be available in two hues: black/red and black/blue. Watch an introductory video after the break.
Lastly, the house that built Mario is pimping its upcoming games lineup as we near the holiday season. In addition to the aforementioned Zelda title, also in the Wii U pipeline are Wii Party U (10/25), Super Mario 3D World (11/22), Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (12/6), and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Coming soon to 3DS (and 2DS) are The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (11/22) and Mario Party: Island Tour (11/22). For a list of third party games coming soon to Ninty’s home console and handhelds, jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
With the $299 3DS casting its glasses-less spell on gamers, Nintendo is graciously dropping the prices of the handheld’s still prospering predecessors. Effective May 20 the DSi and DSi XL will see their prices slashed to $99 (from $149) and $129 (from $169), respectively. Not into the whole 3D craze that’s going on these days? Nintendo has now made the decision to jump on the DS bandwagon a heck of a lot smoother.
In related news, also on May 20 Nintendo is unleashing a new color variant of the 3DS: Midnight Purple. This joins Cosmo Black, Aqua Blue, Flame Red, and Pearl Pink in the fight against uniformity. Brief PR after the break.
Today at Gamescom Sony announced new low price points for the PlayStation 3. The two standalone models currently in the marketplace are receiving $50 price cuts effectively immediately. The 160GB PS3 now costs $249 and the 320GB model costs $299. All of the current console + game bundles (Call of Duty: Black Ops, Killzone 3, inFamous 2 (new)) remain at the $299 price point. The Sports Champion Move bundle is the priciest at $349.
In related PS news, Sony has introduced a new PSP model into the European market. The PSP E-1000 features a sleek new matte design and ditches WiFi functionality. The new low price is €99.00 and will hit European PAL territories this fall. See images at the second source link. No word on whether or not it’ll make its way into the States. But no matter; Vita is coming.
Since the Nintendo 3DS released in the US on March 27, more than 830,000 units have been sold nationwide. Apparently this number isn’t high enough for the house that built Mario, and so Ninty has plans to drop the 3D-capable handheld from a pricey $249.99 to a much more affordable $169.99 on August 12. To show their appreciation with those early adopters who paid more for the 3DS prior to the price cut, the company will inaugurate 3DS owners into the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. If you own a 3DS and connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59PM ET on August 11, you’ll automatically be registered into the program. Once you’re in, you’ll soon receive the opportunity to scoop up 20 Virtual Consoles for free! Nintendo explains:
Starting Sept. 1, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES Virtual Console games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.
By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.
You see that? Sometimes it is worth being an early adopter! In related 3DS news, the new Nintendo Video Service app is now available to download in the eShop. The app automatically delivers short 3D videos from the worlds of music, comedy, animation and Hollywood. Ninty promises exclusive 3D animation and videos from OK Go, Jason DeRulo, Foster the People, CollegeHumor, and Blue Man Group to start. Expect new content to be delivered to your device on a regular basis. To start, the app offers an intro video, two short films (Sunday Jog and Dinosaur Office), and a Captain America movie trailer–all in 3D.
Update: Nintendo confirmed to IGN that the Virtual Console games will not be upgraded to 3D; bummer. However, when the games become available to the general public later in the year some will be upgraded to feature multiplayer simultaneous play at no cost to the consumer; super!
The Nintendo DS Lite just got a tad cheaper. Effective June 5 the DSi predecessor will drop about $30 and sell for a low $99.99. Ninty boasts that “more than 48.9 million systems in the Nintendo DS family have sold in the United States alone.” The new price point will only force that number to increase in time. And if you think that’s impressive, check this: according to Nintendo “thirty-one Mario games have topped sales of more than 1 million units since 1995, more than any other franchise. Through the end of March 2011, more than 262 million games in the core Super Mario series have sold worldwide.” To celebrate Mario’s popularity, the company has hand-picked six Mario-themed DS games to receive new red packaging and they are New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart DS, Super Mario 64 DS, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! and Mario Party DS. Unfortunately there is no discount being applied to these games; the new coat of paint is simply there to “make it easier than ever for consumers to identify these hit titles in stores.” Full PR after the break.
After almost five years on the market, Nintendo has finally decided to drop the price of the Wii from $199.99 to $149.99, effective May 15. In addition, the Wii Sports + Wii Sports Resort bundle will no longer be available. The lower priced Wii, still available in black and white, will come packaged with Mario Kart Wii and matching colored Wiimote (with built-in Wii Remote Plus functionality), nunchuck, and Wii Wheel accessories. The new black Wii Wheel will also be made available for purchase separately for $9.99.
On that same May day, Ninty will launch the new Nintendo Selects collection of Wii games. The companies most popular Wii games such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers, and Wii Sports will sell for a low $19.99.
The post title pretty much says it all. AT&T, including brick and mortar stores and online, is now selling the iPhone 3GS for $49.99. This offer applies to both new and upgrade-eligible existing AT&T customers. Don’t have the cash to plunk down $199.99 for a beefier iPhone 4? Now you totally have a viable way into the cellular-enabled iOS universe. Full PR after the break.
Update: Apple’s gone ahead and matched AT&T’s low, low price of $49.99 for the 8GB iPhone 3GS. I smell a new product release…is that you, Verizon iPhone?
Hulu Plus has already been exhaustively detailed, so let’s get right to the good stuff. For the last four months Hulu has been testing the waters with the $9.99/month subscription based service in a preview period. Today the streaming service finally officially launched Hulu Plus to the masses. And at the same time they lowered the monthly fee to $7.99. Score! They say, “Any users who subscribed during the preview period will also receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price to be applied automatically to their next billing cycle.” So that’s been sorted out nicely. In tandem with the launch and price drop, Hulu Plus will now be accessible on Roku boxes. Check out the official PR after the break to see a list of all other Hulu Plus supported devices. All new subscribers to Hulu Plus receive a 1-week free trial–get started here.
On September 12, Nintendo will drop the prices of their two DSi handhelds by $20. The DSi will be $149.99 and DSi XL will be $169.99. The DS Lite model will remain at $129.99. Says Nintendo’s Cammie Dunaway: “We know shoppers want to get the maximum value out of every dollar they spend. Our new Nintendo DSi prices make it easier than ever for consumers to access the tremendous variety of games, applications and social tools on the Nintendo DSi and Nintendo DSi XL systems.” The press release announcing the price drop also shared this tremendous stat: According to the NDP Group, “through the end of July, total Nintendo DS family hardware sales are more than 42.3 million in the United States alone.” Wowzers. With the DSi lineup at a lower entry price and the 3DS readying for a launch (a release date is expected to be named soon), there really is no stopping the killer incentive to purchase a Nintendo handheld.
Microsoft is ready to go head-to-head with their arch-rival Sony in the video games business. The Xbox 360 Elite console will match the PS3 Slim costing $299.99 (from $399.99) this Friday. The Xbox 360 Pro console (now $249.99) will phase out after inventory gets flushed, making the Elite and Arcade ($199.99) the only Xbox 360 SKUs on the market. In somewhat related news, Microsoft has stated that the upcoming Project Natal accessory “will work with every Xbox 360 sold today and tomorrow.” Neat-0.