This Tuesday Halo 4 releases for Xbox 360 and a new trilogy forges on. In the original trilogy developer Bungie introduced us to the iconic Master Chief and we controlled the super-solider as he discovered the Halo Array and the Ark, crippled the alien alliance known as the Covenant, and battled the parasitic Flood. After going on to release a prequel to Halo 3 designated ODST and a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved with Halo: Reach, Bungie handed the franchise’s reigns to a new developer, 343 Industries. Halo 4 brings us back into control of the Chief, and we find him just where we left him at the end of Halo 3 in 2007; he’s aboard the UNSC ship Forward Unto Dawn, floating in space drifting toward a mysterious Forerunner planet called Requiem. Chief’s last words were delivered to Cortana, his AI companion, and they were, “Wake me, when you need me.” Halo 4, in addition to providing addicting online multiplayer modes, will delve deeper into the franchise’s mythology as Master Chief inadvertently crash lands on a Forerunner planet infested with Covenant, Forerunner technology, and, according to the game’s marketing, “an ancient evil awakens.” And on top of that, there’s something wrong with Cortana; she is going “rampant” (or insane) because she is operating beyond her natural lifespan.
Excited yet? Let me give you a boost…
Leading up to the release of Halo 4, Microsoft Studios and 343 Industries developed a five-part live-action web series set in the Halo universe. Forward Unto Dawn follows a group of freshman cadets at the UNSC’s Corbulo Academy of Military Science and places particular focus on troubled cadet Thomas Lasky. The story takes fans to the beginning of the Human/Covenant war and it seamlessly weaves into where things kick off in Halo 4. The series is a bold journey into the Halo universe and it tells a compelling story worth investing your time in, especially if you’re a fan of the franchise. The acting and special effects are surprisingly effective, and in addition to amping you up for the new game it will also make you wish a Halo miniseries a la HBO’s Band of Brothers was made. Forward Unto Dawn can be viewed online at Machinima or on your console via the Halo Waypoint app.
Halo 4 is being sold in various forms; there’s the regular copy ($60), the limited edition copy ($100), it’s bundled in a Halo-themed 320GB console package ($350), and there’s a Halo-themed wireless controller ($60). Want a read more before jumping in? IGN gives a glowing review. Watch the launch trailer after the break. READ MORE ‘Halo 4’ releases Tuesday; prepare and watch ‘Forward Unto Dawn’ web series
Another iPad is about to be released into the wild that is the general public. Tomorrow, on Friday March 16, “the new iPad” will go on sale at Apple’s retail stores starting precisely at 8AM local time in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, the UK, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Want to avoid the mass hysteria that will likely ensue at the company’s retail bases? Apple confirms that US customers can also venture to Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target, and Walmart to pick up their “resolutionary” tablet. Don’t forget the new iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB WiFi model and climbs all the way up to $829 for the 64GB 4G + WiFi version; so don’t forget your fat wallet on your way out. Consequently, the iPad 2 drops to $399 and is only offered in the 16GB variant; $529 for the WiFi + 3G model. And don’t forget; also out tomorrow is the new, 1080p-capable Apple TV ($99) featuring a streamlined UI. The hockey puck and the slate, they were made for each other.
Today Apple announced that their latest and greatest desktop OS will become available tomorrow, July 20. Mac OS X Lion (v10.7) will strictly be available for purchase in the Mac App Store; to reiterate, you will not be able to pick up a physical install disc in stores. The 4GB download costs $29.99. What a steal!
Read all about the new features baked into Lion HERE & HERE.
Update: Lion is out now. Offical PR is after the break. Some bits you should know: Lion requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor and 2GB of RAM; Users who do not have broadband access can download Lion at Apple retail stores; and later this August, Lion will be made available on a USB thumb drive through the online Apple Store for $69. Also, Mac OS X Lion Server is now available for $69 through the Mac App Store. READ MORE Mac OS X Lion releases tomorrow [Update: out now]
After warring with his record label Atlantic Records, rapper Lupe Fiasco has finally managed to release his third studio album LASERS. The 12-track album features singles Words I Never Said and The Show Goes On. iTunes is selling the record for $10.99 and a $13.99 deluxe version which includes “I’m Beamin'”, the Matthew Santos assisted “Shining Down”, and two music videos (“I’m Beamin’” & “The Show Goes On“). John Legend, Trey Songz, and Skylar Grey are among the featured artists.
At long last, Kanye West’s latest and greatest album has released. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has been lauded as Ye’s best album to date; in fact, prestigious music review site Pitchfork awarded it a perfect 10 score. Ryan Dombal’s review in which he makes intelligible comparisons between Michael Jackson and Mr. West makes for a great read after you’ve listened to the album in full. Snag a copy of the album at the links provided below:
iTunes: standard / deluxe // Amazon: standard / deluxe (“See Me Now” is an iTunes bonus track available on both versions. The deluxe version comes with the Runaway film. And I recommend the physical copy; the packaging is aesthetically superb. If you want to learn more about the five interchangeable album covers read this insightful NYMag interview with artist George Condo.)
Upon listening to Twisted Fantasy all the way through without interruption I experienced a natural high; it’s hard to explain but you’ll see for yourself. It’s easy to be a Kanye West hater since the rapper producer often provides a basis from which things like this will grow. But in the end, it all comes down to the music. And I am happy to say with Twisted Fantasy Kanye West delivers on an unbelievably high level. The man is a perfectionist, and this album reflects that statement. From top to bottom, it’s a perfect record.
In early October HP spilled the beans on the Palm Pre successor, and this week they’ve made it so you can purchase it. Feel free to order the webOS 2.0-powered Pre 2 at HP’s online store for $449.99. Why so expensive? Because HP’s selling it GSM unlocked; in other words, it’s not tied to a single carrier.
The darker, more sinister sequel to Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon debut is out today. Support the talented and rising rapper and snag a copy.
iTunes: standard / deluxe // Amazon: standard / deluxe
The official Twitter application for iPhone (and iPod touch) is available for download today. It’s called Twitter for iPhone and it comes directly from Twitter, Inc. and aquired developer Atebits. Get it for free at the App Store.
I’m going on a hunch here and assuming you’ve seen Avatar in theatres. I mean, $737 million in domestic ticket sales doesn’t just spring out of no where. And I bet you can’t wait to get your mits on your own copy. Avatar is set to release on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 22 to coincide with Earth Day (how cute). The April DVD/Blu-Ray release will not include any bonus features. That means no deleted scenes, no behind-the-scenes featurettes, no nothing. Why, you ask? “Sources at Fox said the April disc will come without extra features so that all available storage space can be used for the best picture and sound possible.” So where’s all the extra features then? Apparently they will be packed into a second release (dubbed “The Ultimate Edition”) of the DVD/Blu-Ray packages in November. And what about the 3D version of the movie; when can we watch it at home the way it’s meant to be seen? That won’t come until sometime in 2011. Consumers likely won’t have 3D TVs to play it on until then anyway. So your safest bet is to wait until November to snag all the extras and play the rest by hear; who knows how fast 3D tech in the home will catch on.
Update: Sorry 3D fans, this update does not push forward the Avatar in 3D release. But it does fix the no bonus features ’til November fiasco. A fresh press release reveals The Avatar Program: “Connecting the two releases in April and November is “The Avatar Program,” an interactive consumer experience that offers an online hub for exclusive content, discounts and more.” The Avatar DVD/Blu-Ray release on April 22 will come with a unique code that can be used to access bonus features online and adopt a “virtual hometree.” Full PR after the break.
[Via Reuters; Gizmodo; BoxOfficeMojo; Engadget] READ MORE Avatar in 3D coming home to a 3DTV near you in 2011 [UPDATED]
And that’s an understatement. In fact, IGN calls it “the biggest launch in the history of all forms of entertainment.” And we’re talking about the video games industry here. Good stuff!
On November 10 games publisher Activision released the latest installment in the coveted Call of Duty franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. After very positive initial reviews and a garnered hype spread by word of mouth and Twitter (MW2 quickly became (and still is) a trending topic). In its first 24 hours on sale the game sold approximately 4.7 million copies in North America and the UK and made $310 million in sales. DAY-UM!
Mike Griffith, CEO of Activision: “The Call of Duty franchise has become a cultural phenomenon showing the power of video games as an entertainment medium.” “The shattering of these entertainment records is a testament to the compelling, cinematic and uniquely engaging experience that the Call of Duty brand delivers. Modern Warfare 2 has taken interactive experience to unprecedented heights setting a new standard for entertainment.”
Jump in on the action and get yourself a copy of MW2 today.
We already know all about the Droid by Motorola. Now you can pick it up (or order it online) for $199.99, after a $100 rebate and under the obligatory two-year commitment. Verizon has stated that tethering (connecting your phone to your computer to gain Internet access) will be made available for Droid customers in 2010 and will add an addtional $30 to the data plan.
If that price is too steep for you VZ is giving you the option to select a similar handset with the Droid Eris by HTC. Basically it’s a rebranded Sprint Hero (also by HTC) with a few aesthetic and UI changes. Compared to its older and more sophisicated brother, the Droid Eris runs Android 1.5 (not 2.0), it does not have a physical keyboard, it packs a slower processor (528MHz Qualcomm), and its screen size and resolution is lowered. It does, however, feature a 3.2-inch capacitive display, 5 megapixel camera, WiFi, 3.5mm headphone jack, 8GB microSDHC card (with expansion up to 16GB). It will be the first Verizon phone to run HTC’s personalized user interface called HTC Sense on top of Android 1.5. You can also pick up the Droid Eris now (or order it online) for $99.99, after a $100 rebate and under a two-year agreement. Take a look at the Droid Eris in the gallery below and peek after the break for the full press release.
Here’s the bottom line: The Droid by Motorola is the next best phone on the market after the iPhone. If you are in the market for a new cell phone and you are a Verizon Wireless customer, getting the Droid is a no-brainer. If the Droid’s price and fierce looks are too much for you, saving one hundred dollars and purchasing the Droid Eris by HTC is a worthy sacrifice that can be made. All in all, the new family of Droid phones is a win for all Verizon customers and finally brings some worthy competition to the current king of smartphones, the iPhone.
[Via Engadget, here & here; Gizmodo, here & here]
READ MORE Motorola Droid and HTC Droid Eris out now on Verizon Wireless
Ryan Leslie is an extremely talented producer-turned-musician. Check out his second album Transition on iTunes. The entire album is written, arranged, produced, and engineered by Leslie.
R.Les is a master of the keyboard and creates genius beats. If you like what you hear, make sure you also take a listen to his self-titled first studio album. Very good stuff.