Normally movie tie-ins are free on the App Store, but Marvel Entertainment has decided to charge $4.99 for Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon. The game has zero in-app purchases and there is no internet connection required to play. This is nice change of pace from the shoddy, free endless runners that movie studios normally try to pass off as worthwhile iOS games.
In case you have been hiding under a rock for the past few weeks, Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Entertainment's newest movie featuring a team of misfits, including a talking Raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper. There is also a talking tree named Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel, plus Lee Pace stars as the villain, Ronan the Accuser. The movie hits theaters on August 1, 2014.
Satellite TV provider DirecTV will be offering the NFL Sunday Ticket for the 2014 season, and you will not need a subscription to DirecTV in order to live stream games on your iPad, iPhone, iPod or Mac. The service will be available through NFLSundayTicket.tv, but that hasn't launched yet. A promotional page is up with all the details.
No official announcement has been made yet, and it looks as though eligibility may be limited to certain areas, judging by some of the FAQs at the bottom of the page. Viewing will be limited to out of market games only, but the Red Zone channel is included, as well as a new "DirecTV Fantasy Zone" channel that will highlight the big fantasy news of the day and show real-time fantasy stats.
Paul McCartney has released five of his albums as iPad apps. The albums include: Band on the Run, RAM, Wings over America, McCartney and McCartney II. Each app is $7.99 and includes all the tracks remastered from the original albums, video clips, artwork and rare photographs. The apps are actually cheaper than buying the full album from iTunes. For example, McCartney II (Deluxe Version) is $12.99 to download, and you do not get any of the bonuses,such as rehearsal footage for "Coming Up".
McCartney is not the first musician to release an album as an interactive app. Bjork did it in 2011 with Biophilia and Lady Gaga released ARTPOP as a universal app in 2013. Bjork's iOS album included extras like music scores with karaoke playback. Gaga's app is described as "a musical and visual engineering system that combines art, fashion, and technology".
According to a report in the The Daily Mail, British fuel cell firm, Intelligent Energy, is working with Apple on new battery technology that could allow mobile devices to go days, if not weeks, before they need to be charged.
According to the paper, Intelligent Energy revealed that it, in collusion with "an international electronics company," had purchased a number of patents related to fuel cell technology. Though the tabloid publication is far from the pinnacle of accuracy, it does get some things right, and in this particular case it claims that it was told by "senior sources in the US" that Apple and Intelligent Energy hoped to have new fuel cells on the market within the next few years. It also claimed to have another source "who has knowledge of the partnership, [and] confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm."
Next-generation iPad rumors have been kind of nonexistent this year, mostly because the rumor mill has been heavily focused on reports that claim Apple is preparing to launch two larger iPhone 6 models and an iWatch this fall. However, according to the Economic Daily, a "12.9-inch iPad is still on the table". The rumored 12.9-inch tablet, dubbed the iPad Pro, will reportedly be announced before the end of the year.
The Chinese publication also said that the iWatch would be launched in three different models and two sizes: 1.6 and 1.8 inches. The 1.8-inch models will feature sapphire glass displays.
Microsoft COO Kevin Turner announced today a line of new HP laptops called "Stream". The Windows-enabled laptops will be priced at $99 for the 7- and 8-inch versions. There will also be a $199 version to directly compete with Google's affordable Chromebooks, which also start at around $200. Turner did not reveal much about the new laptops, but he did note that Acer and Toshiba will also be releasing their own low-cost laptops for around $249. The Acer will ship with a 15.6-inch screen and a 2.16GHz Intel Celeron processor, and Toshiba’s will sport a 11.6-inch display, according to The Verge.
As a comparison, Apple's entry-level 11-inch MacBook Air is $899, but comparing a MacBook Air and a Chromebook is like comparing apples and oranges. The Chromebook is a decent device for surfing the web, but it is not designed for storing media, playing games and it requires an internet connection to work. Microsoft is banking on the fact that Chromebooks are limited in functionality and that Apple laptops are on the more expensive side of things.
Apple's iPad may be "increasing nickel exposure in children," according to a report released on Monday in Pediatrics. According to the report (via The Washington Post) an 11-year-old boy was treated at a San Diego hospital for an itchy body rash possibly caused by the nickel contained in his iPad.
The boy, treated at a San Diego hospital, had a history of skin issues, but a different rash developed all over his body and wouldn’t respond to typical treatment. His skin tested positive for nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals, and doctors traced it back to an iPad he had used with increasing frequency the past six months. The iPad tested positive for nickel as well, according to the report.
With the iPhone 6 launch date quickly approaching, there has been much talk of Apple's new A8 processor, which analysts across the board expect to inhabit the new handset. If that is the case, then we can expect the next generation of iPads, including the iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and new iPad mini, to be equipped with it as well. This is no small detail, as the A8 apparently blows the A7 out of the water when it comes to speed.
According to Chinese site cnBeta, the A8 will surpass 2.0 GHz, perhaps reaching 2.6 GHz. Currently, the iPhone 5s and iPad mini with Retina display run at 1.3 GHz, while the iPad Air runs at 1.4 GHz. All three have the 64 bit A7 processor with the M7 motion coprocessor. If the A8 truly can reacha 2.6 GHz clock rate, the iPad Air 2 will be nearly twice as fast as the current generation.
It was a busy week for the App Store and iOS gaming news, Gameloft finally announced a release date for Modern Combat 5: Blackout. The first-person shooter will be available for both iOS and Android devices on July 24, 2014. The game will cost $6.99 and feature no in-app purchases, but it will require a Wi-Fi connection. In other gaming news, Angry Birds Star Wars II is now free on the App Store for the first time, Minecraft received its biggest iOS update ever (see below for complete list of improvements), and The Wolf Among Us finale "Cry Wolf" was released this week.
Here are this week's games and apps released for the iPad through 07/06/14 to 07/12/14. Apple's Free App of the Week is Assassin's Creed Pirates. The game app will be free on the Apple App Store until 07/17/14.
Minecraft Pocket Edition for iOS has been upgraded to version 0.9.0. The upgrade brings several improvements including infinite worlds and a new interaction button so you "never accidentally punch a sheep again". Players can also now explore caves, abandoned mineshafts / villages and tame wild wolves. Other new features include new flowers, new blocks including Monster Eggs, new mobs, and new biomes from the PC version.
Minecraft Pocket Edition version 0.9.0 is available for $6.99 on the App Store, or as a free OTA update for existing customers. The iOS version includes Survival and Creative modes and Wi-Fi multiplayer mode. The game supports all devices running iOS 5.0 or later.