After months of rumors today we finally get some solid information coming directly from rap overlords Kanye West and Kay-Z concerning their upcoming collab album. If you head over to Kanye and Jay’s blogs you’ll be presented with the album artwork for Watch the Throne; the gold metallic cover is designed by Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci and it’s pasted above. Clicking the album art at either site brings you to www.WatchTheThrone.com, a site designed by label Island Def Jam. There you can preorder the album in a variety of formats: Deluxe CD ($16.99), Standard CD ($13.99), Deluxe MP3 ($14.99), and Standard MP3 ($11.99). After completing your order an email receipt lists an August 2 drop date, but this information has not been confirmed. Sources say that the standard version will pack ten tracks, and the deluxe will add four bonus songs on top of that. West, Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, No ID, and Lex Luger are all expected to receive production credits. And finally, it’s rumored that Beyonce and Bruno Mars will lend their voices to a track called “Lift Off.” Expect the followup to H.A.M. to drop within the next few weeks. According to fellow G.O.O.D. Music artist Cyhi Da Prynce the album is near completion–the songs are recorded, and ‘Ye is adding his final touches before the final master ships. Happy fourth of July!
Gamers, listen here! Today the house that built Mario formally announced the Wii successor. Sure details are sparse, but at least we’ve got confirmation that something new and exciting is on the way, and it’s coming sooner than you might think. In a press statement out of Japan, Nintendo refers to their next-gen console as the “Wii’s Successor System” and they say a “playable model” will be shown off at E3 in early June, followed by a launch in 2012.
What can gamers expect from the next-gen Wii? The only official word to come out of Nintendo (besides the aforementioned press release which is sitting after the break) is provided by company president Satoru Iwata: “We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles. It’s difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.” They’ve managed to bring glasses-free 3D to their portable 3DS, but the technology to make the magic work on larger scale just isn’t there yet. So what then might Iwata be referring to when he hints at a “new approach” to video games?
Late last week Kotaku reported that, according to undisclosed sources, the next-gen Wii will utilize an entirely new breed of controller. In addition to housing eight buttons and two analog sticks, the new controller is rumored to also boast a 6.2 inch screen and a camera. They say: “The 6.2-inch screen will receive data wirelessly from the Nintendo console and presents an array of options, from putting the player’s inventory or map on the controller screen, to allowing players to combine it with the controller’s camera to snap photos that could be imported into a game or even turning it into some sort of glorified viewfinder (we’re unclear about whether the camera on the controller points at the player or can be outward-facing; we’ve heard both — maybe it swivels?).” Then they propose: “You could think of the new Nintendo console as turning your living room into a glorified mega-DS…. your TV is the upper-screen; your controller is the lower touchscreen.”
Other Wii 2 rumors to chew on… The new controller will not replace existing Wii-motes, as the system is said to be backwards compatible with all current Wii games. The often labeled Wii HD will be capable of running games at HD resolutions (up to 1080p) and it will be more powerful than current-gen systems (read: Xbox 360, PS3). And finally, the next-gen Wii is internally referred to by its codename “Project Cafe,” so go around saying that to your friends if you want to act all cool like you know everything. Though these rumors are certainly intriguing, let’s all anticipate the E3 reveal where Ninty will formally lay out the specifications, controller scheme(s), and perhaps a launch lineup.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is “developing a new iPhone to debut this summer.” This bit of news isn’t too surprising if you look at Apple’s track record; since the inception of the iPhone, new handsets have been announced each and every summer. But wait–there’s more! Apple is also “working on another model for US mobile phone operator Verizon Wireless.” In other words, the best smartphone is coming to the best network. We’ve heard these rumors before, but hearing it come from the WSJ make it sound that much sweeter.
Some manufacturing details have surfaced as well. According to “people briefed on the matter” and relayed by the WSJ, the “next iPhone is being manufactured by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry” (the same company behind all previous iPhones) and the first CDMA iPhone (purported to go to VZW) will be manufactured by Pegatron Technology. Mass production of the CDMA iPhone could start as early as this September.
Engadget was tipped about a June 22 unveiling for the next-gen iPhone, dubbed the iPhone HD. Long-time Apple product seer John Gruber added his latest predictions to the mix. He claims the next-gen iPhone will feature the A4-class system-on-a-chip, a 960×640 display, a front-facing camera, and third-party mulititasking support with iPhone OS 4.0.
To sum up: A new iPhone (possibly the “iPhone HD”) will be announced this summer; said iPhone will boast a high-res display and front facing camera (among other predictions); and a CDMA version of the iPhone is headed to Verizon Wireless, with manufacturing to commence as early as September, ending AT&T’s death grip on what is arguablly the world’s best smartphone. Sounds about right to me. Now it’s time to start the waiting game. Summer isn’t that far away, is it?
The next iteration of the Nintendo DSi, the DSi XL, has yet to release in the States and already there’s word of an entirely new DS system. Let’s refer to it as the DS2, shall we? According to the latest rumors, the DS2 will continue the dual-screen tradition, but this time it will allow for gameplay to occupy a single screen or bleed onto the second screen, serving as one giant display. The two screens will be bigger and boast a higher resolution. Unfortunately the letters HD were not included in the mix. Playing off past rumors, the DS2 will contain an accelerometer and an advanced graphics chip, possibly the NVIDIA Tegra 2. Based on the hardware dev kit, the DS2′s graphics are comparable to Gamecube and even the Wii. Lastly many developers have spilled a late 2010 launch window–that’s when they plan on having their DS2 games ready for showtime. And what does that suggest? Nintendo will likely reveal the next significant upgrade to the DS hardware line at this year’s E3 in June. Remember, all of this is unofficial pieces of information being thrown into the rumor mill. But boy doesn’t it sound tasty?
Remember when Gizmodo first picked up this story back in September about a Microsoft hardware-and-software-designed booklet of sorts? Since then I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground, picking up on anything concerning the secret device. Today new details emerged about what’s being called the Microsoft Courier. According to the latest sources (as relayed by Engadget) the device will be smaller than expected, not much bigger than a 5×7 photo when closed and will be under one inch thick and weigh a slightly over a pound. The operating system will be powered by NVIDIA Tegra 2 hardware and based on the same OS as Windows Phone 7 Series and Zune HD. The device will also include a built-in camera, headphone jack for media playback, and a stylus for writing and drawing. The source pegs a release date of “Q3 / Q4″ of this year.
The Courier is being dubbed a “digital journal” whose sleek user interface will revolve around pen-based interaction with the help of handwriting recognition software. If you take a look at the latest videos (look after the break for another) and images (see below) you can tell the developers behind this device have really come a long way in the design process. The overall UI experience looks tighter, more defined, and user friendly. The demos feature many touch-based actions like dragging, flicking, copy & pasting, and “pocket”-ing. At its core, Courier is an “infinite,” highly customizable journal; it’s a place to discover and collect things of interest locally and over the Internet and use them to create. Or as Microsoft says, it’s about “bringing ideas to life.” I smell a worthy iPad contender. Tickle me highly intrigued.
We’ve been here before, so let’s do it again. According to an Oppenheimer research note from analyst Yair Reiner, who apparently has no real connection to Apple, the oft-rumored Apple tablet will release around March or April with production starting as soon as February. Reiner says that the tablet will feature a multitouch 10.1 inch screen, it will look similar to the iPhone, and will sell for $1,000. He also says that Apple has approached book publishers in hopes of forming “a very attractive proposal” to distribute their content digitally. Reiner: “As innovative as it is, we believe the [Amazon] Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue. The tablet is set to change that.” According to Reiner, Apple has offered the publishers a revenue cut of 70% without requiring exclusivity. Sure, this is interesting and all, but there has still been no word at all from Apple about this tablet device and Reiner’s information is not entirely substantiated with proper evidence. Folks, take all of this with a grain of salt, would you?
In related Apple news, analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray says that the Verizon network with be “the next big feature” of the iPhone. Munster: “We continue to believe there is a 70% chance that Apple will launch the iPhone with Verizon in mid-CY10.” He also mentions that the next-gen iPhone may feature hardware support to read RFID chips, enabling swipe payments. ”The iPhone could feasibly become a full digital wallet,” says Munster. News of a new iPhone comes from another direction with Eldar Murtazin, editor in chief of Mobile Review. Murtazin tweeted ”Foxconn received order for next generation iphone.” Engadget calls him “the ultimate insider” when it comes to mobile news, so maybe you can take his word of a manufacturer ramping production for a new iPhone with a smaller pinch of salt.
Whether these rumors about the tablet and next-gen iPhone are true or not, sompthin’ is a brewin’ at Apple and we can all smell it.
According to the latest round of rumors the reveal and shipping date of the Apple tablet device will be delayed until the second half of 2010 due to component switches.
The source says Apple will ship two versions of the tablet; one with a 9.7 inch LG OLED display that may cost around $2,000 and one with a larger 10.6 inch TFT LCD display costing between $800-$1,000.
…gotta love rumors.
Here’s the scoop, Coop. Details surrounding the anticipatory launch of Microsoft’s codenamed Project Natal has apparently been leaked from a “behind-closed-door meetings in the UK between Microsoft and third party developers.” According to the leak source, Natal will launch in November 2010 from a low, low price anywhere between $50-$80, thus making it quite the “impulse buy.” Natal will come packaged with an initial set of 14 games. Microsoft will manufacture 5 million units (that includes standalone and bundled-with-Xb0x 360s units) for a worldwide launch. Pretty sweet if you ask me.
In addition to this revealing video picked up at Gizmodo, ZDNet’s Mary Jo-Foley reported on new speculation from a “more verifiable source” that sheds some more light on the still unannounced Microsoft Courier booklet device. Her source claims that the Courier is currently running on top of the Windows 7 operating system. However, the consumer will not be able to install Windows 7 apps on the device: Microsoft tablets of the past “failed because the applications were not tailored to a tablet form factor – that is, Word still had toolbars and menus and scollbars. So, a tablet needs to be like an iPhone – a UX that is specific for the form factor.” The source mentions that the development team at Microsoft is creating this device like they did the Xbox video game console; Microsoft will handle the hardware and software so as to speed up the development process. The source also says that the Courier is on track for a “mid-2010″ release.
Very interesting tidbits of information, yes. As Apple is currently in the process of manufacturing their own tablet, I am excited to see how all of this will play out. Will it be the MS Courier vs. the Apple tablet in the near future? Only time (and potential surfacing FCC filings) will tell.
Let’s do this, bullet-point style.
- New iPods: It is very likely that new iPod touches and nanos will be announced. This is a “music event,” afterall. Both the touch and the nano will have 3.2MP cameras, and the touch will receive a built-in mic. Also, both devices will receive a storage upgrade, possibly to 64GB or higher. Overall design should remain the same. Due to the recent rumor that claims Apple is having technical difficultieswith the camera mechanisms with the iPod touch there is a chance the product release may not be instantaneous with the announcement. Also, the death of the iPod classic may be imminent.
- iTunes 9: Last we heard about iTunes 9 was a BGR source stirring up the rumor mill with these claims: Blu-Ray support; Facebook, Twitter, last.fm integration; and the ability to organize purchases apps. Blu-Ray support only makes sense if Apple plans on releasing iMacs and Macbooks with Blu-Ray drives. Also on the table is “Project Cocktail.” Sources say that albums sold in the iTunes Store will not only come with digital PDF booklets; they will also come with “interactive album material.” The point of this is to entice customers to purchase entire albums instead of only the 99 cent singles.
- THE BEATLES: According to Yoko Ono herself the entire Beatles collection will finally be digitally distributed on the iTunes Store. EMI, the record company, told The Financial Times that this will not be announced tomorrow, though. [Via Engadget]
- Apple TV: Ah yes, the “hobby” that is the Apple TV. Jobs announced this product three years ago, and not much has changed since its release (besides a UI upgrade via a software upgrade). The latest rumors predict a new Apple TV device that supports DVR and CableCARD functionality. Today, though, these exact rumors were shot down by Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. He said such capability does not match Apple’s service scheme. And this makes sense; why would Apple allow its customers to freely record TV shows or movies when they have the iTunes Store for those needs. I do not see an upgrade to the aging Apple TV at this event. [Via Engadget]
- Apple tablet: The tablet will not be announced at this event. The most recent rumors point to a 2010 (or beyond) release.
- Steve Jobs appearance: It has been way too long since we’ve seen Jobs appear on stage at the helm of an Apple event. Now that his health has rebounded and he is back at work on the Apple campus in Cupertino, I expect him to at least make an appearence if not host the event.
Be sure to check back here for all the Apple news once it is announced. It takes place tomorrow at 10AM PDT (1PM ET). Get pumped!
Today Barrons is reporting that one lucky analyst has actually seen and handled the hyped and rumored forthcoming Apple tablet device. From the article…
One veteran analyst who has seen first-hand a prototype slate-style computer from Apple says the device could be announced in September for release in November.
Whatever the exact dates, the computer industry is so anxious to see what Apple introduces that it has held off on competing designs until Apple CEO Steve Jobs gives the device his final blessing. “It’s close enough now to a final design that in Asia, there’s no other product in the waiting room or in the bullpen,” said the analyst. “There are dozens of ODMs [original device makers] making products for Lenovo and other PC makers that are all waiting to see what the Apple product is.”
The new device, which may retail for $699 to $799, could fulfill a variety of multimedia functions currently taken up by a gaggle of individual consumer electronics devices. It could be a home media center, somewhat like the current Apple TV, and it could be a gaming machine, opines Jon Peddie, head of Jon Peddie Research in Tiburon, Calif. “Gaming will be a big part of what this is about,” he adds.
The machine impresses with its display of hi-def video content, says the veteran analyst, who asked not to be identified. “It’s better than the average movie experience, when you hold this thing in your hands.”
A second source confirmed to me that news of the new device “is all over the supply chain in Asia.” The biggest question at this point, and the least understood by anyone outside Apple, is whether the company’s App Store will be the exclusive distribution point for software for this device.
As Steve Jobs says, it’s the software that defines these things.
So, what do we gather from this? A September announcement, a November release, a $699-$799 price point, media center and gaming capabilities, and computer manufacturers have put production on hold until official specs and other information is released. More rumors added to the spinning, gigantic rumor mill. What do you have up your sleeve, Mr. Jobs? September cannot come any sooner.
The Financial Times has joined the gang of rumors pointing to an Apple tablet device coming out in the near future. The FT is adding credibility to these rumors with the following information: the screen size “may be up to 10 inches diagonally;” it will run the iPhone OS; it will connect to the Interner via WiFi; it will have a book marketplace (think Amazon’s Kindle service). Here are some direct quotes taken from the article: “[The] tablet-sized computer [will ship] in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution.” “[The] touch-sensitive device… will have a screen that may be up to ten inches diagonally,” and while it will “connect to the internet like the iPod touch, it’ll probably [do so] without phone capabilities.” Apple is known is release updated iPods and Mac desktop/laptop revisions in September, after the back-to-school season. This tablet device could very well slip into the launch window between this time and the holiday season. According to the FT, Apple is apparently rushing to complete this device and have it on store shelves by Christmas.
In other Apple-related news, Apple has decided to join forces with major music label companies (namely EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group) to come up with a plan to make consumers want to buy entire albums rather than single tracks when shopping at the iTunes Music Store. In order to stimulate consumers to go beyond the single track and dive into the entire album of a particular artist, Apple and said music labels will soon include ”interactive booklets, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads.” Up to this point, users have only received PDF files with their album downloads that includes only album liner notes. According to an insider, “…it’s not just a bunch of PDFs; there’s real engagement with the ancillary stuff.” Executives commented on this new initiative code-named “Project Cocktail:” Apple wants to make bigger purchases more compelling by creating a new type of interactive album material, including photos, lyric sheets and liner notes that allow users to click through to items that they find most interesting. Consumers would be able to play songs directly from the interactive book without clicking back into Apple’s iTunes software. Would you be enticed to pay for entire albums instead of single tracks if these kinds of additions were tagged with your purchase of the album? Both the Apple tablet device and Project Cocktail are rumored to be released side-by-side as soon as this September. Let’s cross our fingers and hope these rumors come to fruition; sounds like really cool stuff is on the way.
Hot on the heels of Apple’s third quarter conference call comes yet another rumor concerning the third-gen iPod touch. According to Wired, ”a well-connected source tells us…that Apple’s factories in China are already manufacturing iPod Touch models with integrated cameras and microphones.” The source adds that these new models will be available to purchase “in two to three months.” That timeframe falls right after the back-to-school sales season when Apple usually drops its updates to its iPod and Mac desktop/laptop product lines. If these rumors are indeed true, the iPod touch will evolve even more into an iPhone clone device. In fact, with built-in Wi-Fi and a microphone, users will simply have to download an app like Skype to make phone calls. Also, suggested by Wired commentors, “one could combine a microphone-equipped iPod Touch with the Verizon MiFi personal hotspot creator to enable the iPhone experience on Verizon’s network! I can definitely see this heavily supported iPod rumor coming true. Only time will tell.