Apple today refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup with three new 13-inch models and two new 15-inch models. All the new models have received updated processors and more memory. The 13-inch models now ship with a 2.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip and 8GB of memory. The new 15-inch models are now powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and come with 16GB of memory. All models are equipped with Apple's Retina display and feature up to 9 hours of battery life.
As for prices, the 13-inch lineup still starts at $1,299 and the 15-inch models start at $1,999. The pricier 15-inch model is the only unit that has received a price change and it is now only $2,499.
We missed Slitherine's new strategy game Commander the Great War in our iPad Games of the Week recap because it was released over the weekend, instead of on Wednesday or Thursday when most iOS titles are released to the App Store. The World War I simulation game features five different campaigns that take place during different periods of the great war. The game also includes 40 different real war events that players can alter based on their decisions, 18 different unit types, the ability to research and improve units and realistic combat scenarios.
Some gamers may be worried about shelling out $20 for another turn-based strategy title, especially if they were burned by Civilization 2 a few weeks earlier. Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of reviews for the game on the internet, but it does currently have a 4 1/2 star rating based on 17 App Store reviews, and it is also receiving positive remarks from the Touch Arcade community.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Unlocking Consumer Choice Act" on Saturday. The new bill will make it legal for customers to unlock their mobile devices and join any carrier they choose. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law and credits the "We the People" petition started in February 2013 as to why the bill was a success.
"I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act," said Obama. "Last year, in response to a 'We the People' petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose."
The consensus so far this year holds that Apple will be releasing the the iPad Air 2 and next generation iPad mini sometime before the end of the year. While this may still be true, the latest rumor claims that production of both devices has been delayed.
According to Chinese media, via G4Games, production of the two new iPads is being pushed back to September. It was previously thought that both would enter mass production in August. The phablet size 5.5" iPhone 6 is also being pushed back to September, which dispels rumors that it would launch alongside the 4.7" model in late September. The smaller model has reportedly already entered mass production. The delay supposedly comes due to "yield issues" within Apple's supply chain.
This was a big week for iPad releases and mobile gaming as a whole with San Diego Comic Con kicking off on Thursday. Here are some of the big stories that broke this week. On Tuesday, Blizzard Entertainment opened the first wing of the Curse of Naxxramas expansion for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The Arachnid Quarter is free to play, but the next four wings will cost 700 gold per wing or $6.99 per wing. There are also bundle packages available for those who want to open all five wings at once, but they do not give you early access to the remaining four wings which will be opening weekly for the next four weeks.
AMC and Next Games released a very brief teaser trailer (see below) for The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land. AMC will be previewing the game at Comic Con booth #4237.
Bandai Namco is unveiling three games in San Diego at booth #121. The games include a collectible card game called Outcast Odyssey, Pac-Man Friends and a mobile version of the 2010 Xbox Live title Pac-Man CEDX.
Apple TV isn't really known for video games, but app developer Rolocule has changed all that with a new title called Dance Party. The game is available as an iOS app that allows a player to use their iPod or iPhone as a motion controller to control the movement of a dancer on their television. The app uses AirPlay and Rolocule’s tracking technology called Rolomotion to make the magic happen.
As of right now, Dance Party only offers a limited number of songs, but it does allow you to track the amount of calories you burn while playing. The game also features a real time multiplayer mode for up to four people, and a "Global Fitness Battle" mode is coming soon.
In celebration of Comic-Con kicking off in San Diego, Marvel starting today is offering a special all-access pass to its digital library. Comic fans can now gain access to Marvel Unlimited for only $0.99. One-dollar will give you access to over 15,000 digital comics for one month. To take advantage of this deal, go to http://marvel.com/mu and use the promo code SDCC14 when purchasing a monthly subscription. The price will go to $9.99 after your first month is complete.
iOS users can use the free Marvel Unlimited app to read the digital comics on their iPad or iPhone. The service also works online with most browsers and on select Android devices. Users can save up to 12 comics on their device for offline reading. This means you're not getting 15,000 comics to keep for only $0.99, but you should be able to rip through big events such as the Age of Ultron, depending on how fast you read.
As Apple announced its third quarter earnings yesterday after the closing bell, it disclosed that iPad sales numbered 13.28 million for the June quarter, indicating a drop off of 9.2% year-over-year. Despite the disappointing numbers, Apple remains confident about the iPad's future.
During yesterday's earnings conference call, CEO Tim Cook said that iPad sales met Apple's internal expectations, but he realized they didn't meet many investors' expectations. He pointed to several factors - "our sales were gated in-part by a reduction in channel inventory and in-part by market softness in certain parts of the world. For example IDC’s latest estimate indicates a 5% overall decline in the U.S. tablet market, as well as a decline in the Western European tablet market in the June quarter."
Bandai Namco today announced a new collectible card game named Outcast Odyssey. The company will preview the game alongside two new Pac-Man titles at San Diego Comic Con on July 24th to July 27th. At launch, Outcast Odyssey will feature 600 cards created by comic book artists such Warren Louw and Chuck Pires. Bandai Namco said the game will feature both dungeon crawling and card battling elements. Players will be able to form guilds and evolve hundreds of cards to build unstoppable decks. Outcast Odyssey was announced a few weeks after Bandai Namco said they were pulling their RPG Tales of Phantasia from the App Store.
The collectible card game genre is becoming a crowded market on the App Store. Blizzard Entertainment recently released the first expansion for its Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft title, and Wizards of the Coast just released Magic 2015. It will be interesting to see if Outcast Odyssey will be able to draw players away from these two already popular franchises. Bandai Namco's card game will be free-to-play for both iOS and Android devices, and unlike Hearthstone and Magic which are only available for the iPad, Outcast Odyssey will also be available for the iPhone.
Griffin Technology today announced the Survivor Slim for iPad Air. The new Survivor case is a sleeker updated version that provides the same protection as its predecessor, according to Griffin. The Survivor Air features a shatter-resistant shell with silicone bumper and a "touch-through" screen protector to keep your iPad's display scratch free. It also includes a built-in kickstand and flexible button / port covers to fend against dust and other debris. The Survivor for iPad Air is available now for $79.99. It is available in black only.