It is that time of year again when all eyes are on Apple's next-generation products, and rumors of iWatches and larger iPhones are running rampant. Several reliable and hit-or-miss sources have confirmed that Apple plans to release a slew of new products later this year. Here's a quick look at those rumors.
MacBook Air - Production of a 12-inch MacBook Air will begin in Q3 of 2013, according to the Digitimes. Upstream supply chain sources say Apple is releasing a 12-inch model because "its 11-inch model has a screen size similar to its iPad' and increasing sales of Apple's tablet "are impacting MacBook demand". Apple believes a 12-inch MacBook Air would create a boundary between its 9-inch tablet lineup, and MacBook Air products. The new MacBook will feature some internal redesigns but it will resemble its predecessors externally .
Microsoft is offering up to $650 in store credit for select MacBook Air models. The promotion is part of the company's marketing strategy to convince Apple users to buy a Surface Pro 3. To qualify, your MacBook Air must be in working condition. This means no water damage or cracked display, and the device must be able to power on. The deal is in-store only, and users are responsible for wiping their own data.
The trade-in value of your MacBook Air will be determined by Microsoft based on the condition of the device. You must put the store credit towards a Surface Pro 3 to receive the the maximum trade in amount. This deal will not stack with any other offers.
2K Games has announced that Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution 2 is coming to iOS devices on July 2nd. The sequel is the first Civilization game created solely for mobile devices. The original game was released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2008 before being ported to iOS in 2009 and Windows Phone devices in 2012.
In Civilization Revolution 2, players will be able to build a powerful empire starting from the dawn of man. The sequel will feature the 16 historical leaders from the original game plus new faces such as Churchill and Kennedy. Players will also be able to and go head-to-head with famous dictators like Napoleon, conduct diplomacy and discover new technologies as they usher their civilization to the modern age.
The official movie tie-in for Transformers: Age of Extinction is now available on the App Store. The game is another endless runner title. I'm not sure why all games based on movies go this route, but this seems to be current trend. Transformers: Age of Extinction is free and supports all iOS devices running iOS 7.0 or later.
Here are this week's games and apps released for the iPad through 06/15/14 to 06/21/14. Apple's Free App of the Week is Fish Out of Water. This is an odd choice by Apple, since Halfbrick Studios already made all their games, including this one, free on the App Store two days ago.
Gameloft's free RPG, Dungeon Gems, is now available on the App Store. The official App Store description calls it a "fast-paced puzzle" game with "strategic RPG-style party management". The game features a match-three battle system where players use their finger to link colored runes to unleash attacks. Matching three of the same colors results in a normal attack, while matching three differently-colored runes sparks a multi-element attack.
The game also features the ability to power up your characters so you can "evolve them into new legendary forms", 220 warriors for you to summon, and a multi-player option where you can team up with other players to defeat your enemies.
There is no shortage of Star Wars games for iOS devices, but that hasn't stopped Disney from releasing Star Wars Scene Maker to the App Store. The app allows users to create their own Star Wars scenes by choosing from a variety of 3D environments, characters and ships inspired by the hit franchise.
Users can even record their own voices with Darth Vader, Rebel Pilot, or Storm Trooper filters or use dialogue straight from the films. Other features include the ability to switch between three cameras for multiple scene angles, the option to use original musical from the films, and the ability to write your own title crawl and closing credits.
Wikipad has launched Gamevice.com for its new full spec MFi controller. The company originally announced that the portable controller would be available for Android and Windows 8 devices, but according to the website it only supports the iPad mini. This makes the Gamevice the first iPad mini-only controller released since Apple added MFi support in iOS 7.
The Gamevice features all the standard bells and whistles as other iOS controllers on the market. It is equipped with dual analog sticks, a D-pad, four action buttons and shoulder buttons. It comes in two separate pieces that cradle your iPad mini when attached.
Apple gave its iMac lineup a refresh this morning by adding an entry-level model for $1,099. The 21.5-inch iMac is powered by the same 1.4GHz Core i5 processor found in the MacBook Air. It also features a 500GB hard drive, 8GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 5000. The new iMac is available now on Apple's online store or through Apple Authorized Resellers. You can read the entire press release here.
Apple also recently reduced the price of its TV box top to €79 in the UK (previously €99) and €99 in other European markets (previously €109). The drop makes Apple TV the same price as the Roku 3 HD and only €50 more than Google's Chromecast in the UK.
Halfbrick Studios' entire iOS gaming library is now free on the Apple App Store. This includes popular titles like Fruit Ninja and Age of Zombies. It is unknown if this a limited time deal or if Halfbrick has decided that freemium is the way to go. Here's a list and quick description for each game.
- Fruit Ninja HD: (Fruit Ninja for the iPhone and iPod touch) This is one of the original App Store hits with millions of downloads. The simple game tasks you with destroying as much fruit as possible.
- Age of Zombies: Play as the "tough-as-nails" commando named Barry Steakfries as you blast zombies, ninjas, mummies and more...
- Jetpack Joyride: The 2012 Apple Design winner, Jetpack Joyride is a side-scrolling endless runner. The game was voted Best Action game of 2012 by Touch Arcade and Overall Game of the Year by Pocket Arcade.
If you're looking for a Wi-Fi speaker, and don't mind paring your iOS device with a Samsung device, PC Richard & Son is offering six months of Pandora One for free with the purchase of a Shape speaker. The Samsung Shape is a versatile Wi-Fi system that also supports Bluetooth and NFC, and it is compatible with streaming internet radio services such as Pandora and the newly announced Amazon Prime Music.
The Samsung Shape M7 has been getting good reviews from tech sites due to its easy set up, "multiroom" hub support and sound quality when using a Wi-Fi connection. There have been a few complaints about the Bluetooth sound quality, but the Shape is primarily a Wi-Fi device.