Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Blizzard ships a major content patch for Diablo 3, Valve reveals its Steam Sale changes greatly benefited developers, mobile game Sorcery! is heading to Mac and PC, and Desert Bus may soon be revived as a VR game.
Shortly before Apple introduced a new feature (seen in the latest betas of iOS 9.3) called Night Shift that reduces blue light emissions as the evening wears on to help fight eye fatigue and help with sleep, makers of a program that performs this function on Macs saw the iPhone maker reject a similar app for iOS. The OS X app is called f.lux, and was turned down because it used private APIs to manipulate the iPhone hardware, which is forbidden under the tighter rules for iOS.
A new shareholder proposal has surfaced from an investment bank, claiming that Apple must hit a net-zero deadline of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and suggesting both a feasibility study and policy recommendations by June 30 to measure the company's ability to meet the deadline, which the investment firm claims is "crucial for both the safety of the environment and for shareholder value." Apple has recommended against the proposal, saying it is "duplicative" of its own current efforts.
The Universal movie Steve Jobs, a fictionalized account of the co-founder of Apple loosely based on his biography but centered around three key product launches, has been nominated in two categories for the 88th annual Academy Awards ceremony. While the film has already received wide critical praise and two Golden Globe awards (for Best Screenplay and Best Actress in a Supporting Role), the Oscar nominations again recognize Kate Winslet for Best Supporting Actress, while offering Michael Fassbender a nod for Best Actor.
[Updated at 4:45PM ET with more deals] What a day, huh? As the week winds down, and payday approaches, maybe you've got a few extra bucks. Good news, faithful readers! We've got a way to stretch those few extra dollars out, if you're looking to buy tech! Today, like every day, the MacNN crew has the deals you're looking for. Featured today are the HP 23xw White 23-inch 1080p Monitor for $120, the Belkin QODE Ultimate Keyboard Case for the iPad Air 2 for $55, and warning that Razer is holding a 24-hour half-price sale tonight.
App development has taken off in the last few years, making it increasingly difficult to stay on top of all the latest versions. To help all of you out, we here at MacNN are dedicated to sorting through new update releases, and highlighting some of the important ones, as well as showcasing apps that we find to be interesting. Today, we offer a great deal on NetSpot Pro in our own Deal Store, as well as cover recent updates to file finder HoundaSpot, quick launcher Alfred, e-mail utility SerialMailer, productivity tool OneFocus, simple timer Nice Timer, and icon creator IconFly.
Following Monday's release of first betas for OS X 10.11.4 and iOS 9.3 to developers (along with updated betas for watchOS 2.2 and tvOS 9.2), versions are now available for pre-registered public beta testers. In addition, Apple has taken the rare step of updating its beta for iOS 9.3 to "version 1.1" -- an emergency fix that plugged a few critical bugs, chiefly regarding an installation issue with the original beta -- the new updated build number is build 13E5181f. While both releases focus on the usual bug fixes and enhancements, iOS 9.3 introduces some additional new features.
Samsung is looking to invest 9 trillion won ($7.47 billion) into its production facilities, so it can create more screens for future versions of the iPhone, according to a report. It is claimed Samsung and Apple have decided on the terms of a contact that would allow Samsung to create flexible OLED panels for upcoming iPhone releases, with the first order for panels apparently arriving as soon as the end of the first quarter.
It is spectacularly easy to regard politicians as idiots, but they are not. They are arguably too focused on party lines, and they are dangerously concentrated on only what is immediately popular, and what will keep them in power at elections. As much as we want to think they are, they're not idiots. So when Tim Cook told them this week that backdoors won't work, there are two things you can be sure of: they already knew that, and it's election season.
Apple's current iOS line up is as strong as its ever been, which is why how it has managed to continue raking in record profits across 2015. However, it has only managed to get into this position by continually innovating with both its software and hardware. While none of us here at MacNN claim to be able to predict the future, we have some ideas about what we'd like to see Apple bring to the table in 2016. Read on to see what is on our wish list.
Apple Music experienced a rare downtime earlier today, with some listeners finding they aren't able to listen to music on the streaming service for a brief period. The issue, which affected a number of users of the iOS app, asked existing subscribers to sign up for the service for a second time, with those accessing Apple Music via iTunes on the Mac also receiving error messages when listening to tracks via the desktop.
The gaming segment in Apple's App Store enjoyed an expected expansion for the month of December, with analysts claiming downloads in the store increased by more than 20 percent compared to November. Figures from Sensor Tower's Store Intelligence service claims there was a month-on-month increase of almost 104 million game installations, in turn increasing game revenue from $847 million in November to almost $1 billion in December.
A third-party app store that was recently discovered to offer apps to iOS users without jailbreaking their devices beforehand is still in operation. The rogue store, vShare, is using the known enterprise certificate abuse exploit to provide downloads for its own app catalog, using a technique researchers have termed the "DarkSideLoader." As the apps are not provided or vetted through Apple, the downloaded apps are a security risk for unsuspecting users.
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's selection consist of drones of varying shapes and sizes, ranging from quadcopters that can fit in the palm of your hand to larger flying machines with cameras, giving you a bird's eye view of your local area.
Prepare for a clash of continents and vowel sounds as North American travelling man Charles Martin meets stay-at-home UK type William Gallagher. It could get rough –– except for how the pair of them are full of how their new MacNN book is a best seller. They do shut up about that but it takes some effort.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE