Accessory maker FiftyThree has unlocked all the sketching tools for its iPad app Paper. The app has always been available as a free download on the Apple App Store, but additional tools were only available as $1.99 in-app purchases. Starting today, "all the original tools, including the Mixer, are now completely free," according to the official App Store changelog. FiftyThree says the free tools are a "thank you" to their "inspiring community of creators".
Paper is primarily a companion app to FiftyThree's iPad Stylus called Pencil. The Bluetooth drawing tool features the latest technology such as palm rejection and a 14kt gold plated tip for better accuracy. Users can also flip the stylus over and use the top end as an eraser just like a real pencil.
A team of Japanese writers, artists and composers who have worked on popular titles such as Final Fantasy and Castlevania have teamed up to create Nude Maker, a new video game studio led by veteran game director Hifumi Kono. The studio is mostly comprised of developers who created the first two Clock Tower games in the 1990s, and they have teamed up with Grudge director Takashi Shimizu to release a new point-and-click horror title called NightCry.
Nude Maker has already secured the funds to release the game to iOS, Android and PlayStation Vita, but now they need help to release it to other platforms. A Kickstarter campaign has been set up to raise the money for a PC release. The official Kickstarter description explains that "NightCry started from Kono-san’s desire to return to his roots and create a truly terrifying horror adventure game," but big studios are not interested in point-and-click titles these days. Nude Maker hopes that there are enough Clock Tower and J-horror fans out there to prove the studios wrong and help fund this game.
Old Man's War author John Scalzi has released a new interactive graphic novel to the Apple App Store. The science fiction tale, titled Midnight Rises, takes place 120 years in the future aboard the MSRV-Joplin as the crew of the research vessel prepare to investigate a mysterious alien signal from space.
Midnight Rises comes to life on Apple's touch screen devices by allowing readers to expand panels, read classified information and even earn rewards for the upcoming Midnight Star game being released this week. The comic also features a Choose Your Own Adventure-like element where readers can make decisions for the main character as they follow along.
Tinder Plus, a paid version of the popular dating app, is on track to launch next month, according to TechCrunch. The paid version will include at least two new features for users. An "Undo" button will allow you to "take back your last swipe," according to the app's Google Play description, and "Passport" will give users access to matches around the world.
Tinder announced plans to add an undo option back in November, saying it was one of the most requested features for the app. A future update will add a yellow "Undo" button to all user's Home screens, but they will need to upgrade to the paid service to be able to use it. The same goes for users who want to find a potential mate outside their current location by using the new Passport option.
While everyone anticipates the launch of the Apple Watch in April, Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky told The Verge that his company sold its one millionth smartwatch in December 2014. That's a lot more Pebble watches than the 400,000 sold back in March. Pebble plans to capitalize on its success by ignoring Apple's foray into the wearables market and launching a new software platform for smartwatches in 2015.
"We’ve found a new framework to use as an interaction model on the watch," Migicovsky said in an exclusive interview with The Verge. "It doesn't look like what we have today, and it doesn't look like what's on your smartphone," he added.
While Migicovsky didn't elaborate what Pebble had specifically planned for this year, Dan Seifert of The Verge says its new platform is "unlike anything else used on smartwatches to date."
This week was all about Apple's Q1 2015 earnings call which was made CEO Tim Cook on January 27, 2015. Here's what we learned:
From the press release:
Apple today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 first quarter ended December 27, 2014. The Company posted record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion and record quarterly net profit of $18 billion, or $3.06 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $57.6 billion and net profit of $13.1 billion, or $2.07 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.9 percent compared to 37.9 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.
Apple also announced that it sold 74.4 million iPhones, 21.4 million iPads, 5.5 million Macs and that iTunes brought in $4.7 billion. iPad sales were down 18% while iPhone and Mac sales reached an all-time record high, according to Cook.
“We’d like to thank our customers for an incredible quarter, which saw demand for Apple products soar to an all-time high,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Our revenue grew 30 percent over last year to $74.6 billion, and the execution by our teams to achieve these results was simply phenomenal.”
iPad users and strategy fans will want to keep an eye out for The Ember Conflict which just soft launched in Canada, New Zealand and several other territories outside the US. The game is a multiplayer fantasy title that allows players to command small 3 man armies in quick 5 minute battles. Each player also has 3 reserve units that they can deploy during a battle allowing gameplay to escalate into 6-on-6 death matches. The Ember Conflict is expected to launch worldwide in April.
Here are this week's most noteworthy iPad app releases for 01/25/15 to 01/31/15. Apple's Free App of the Week is ProCam 2. The photo editor will be free on the Apple App Store until 02/05/15. Also don't forget to check out our App Store recap every Saturday for all the weekly universal releases, jailbreak tweaks, App Store news and important app updates.
Ubisoft has released Heroes of Might & Magic III to the iPad after securing the rights to the franchise in 2002. The turn-based strategy game allows players to recruit and control an army of fantasy creatures. The game also features RPG elements where players can earn experience and use artifacts or spells to help their army gain an advantage in battle.
The third installment of the game follows Queen Catherine, who sets out to re-conquer the kingdom of Erathia after the disappearance of King Roland Ironfist and the assassination of her father King Gryphonheart. The iPad version of the game includes seven campaigns, 50 skirmish maps and multiplayer mode.
As expected iPad sales continue to slump as larger smartphones and laptops put the squeeze on the tablet market. That's why the iPad may have been left out of Apple's press release announcing the company's Q1 2015 earnings.
Apple attributed its $74.6 billion in revenue to "all-time record revenue from iPhone and Mac sales as well as record performance of the App Store," but failed to mention the iPad. The iPad wasn't a slouch in any sense, selling 21.4 million units, which was 18% less sold than the same period last year. Tim Cook did acknowledge on Tuesday during an investor conference call that the switch to larger iPhone displays may be eating up iPad sales.
"There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with the Mac on one side and the phone on the other."
Apple CEO Tim Cook today announced that the Apple Watch is on schedule to begin shipping in April, not March like previous rumors have suggested. The announcement came during the company's Q1 2015 earnings call. Cook did not give a specific date for the watch's release, or shed more light on pricing.
Apple announced its new wearable device on September 9, 2014 during its iPhone 6 keynote at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California. The watch will be available in two sizes and 34 models spread out through three collections, starting at $349 for the most basic model. It will support Apple Pay, iMessage, SMS Texts and Apple's Health app when it is paired with an iPhone. The Apple Watch will be compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.