Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, London launches a new program to encourage game development, New features for the Xbox One are revealed, Zelda players may have to buy an Amiibo to play all available content in an upcoming remake, and Iron Maiden makes a move into mobile gaming.
Chip manufacturer AMD continues to lose money. In its latest round of quarterly results, the company announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 at $958 million, with an operating loss of $49 million, and net loss of $102 million, or $0.13 per share. The company's reported revenue of $958 million is down 10 percent sequentially, primarily driven by seasonally lower sales of semi-custom system on a chip sets (SoC), and down 23 percent year-over-year, because of weak PC sales industry-wide.
Supporting rumors that Apple was at one time hoping to offer its own low-priced package of TV channels that would not require a cable TV subscription, ESPN President John Skipper has revealed that his network is still working with Apple on trying to create "a great television experience" but has been "frustrated" by its inability to secure deals with networks and content creators. He told the Wall Street Journal that he did not expect to see an Apple package being offered in 2016.
Apple may be considering using a new communications technology in a future iPhone or iPad, if a discovery found in recent versions of iOS is to be believed. The iOS library cache file is found to include references to "LiFiCapability" along with a number of capability declarations related to the technology, additions which strongly suggest Apple is exploring the possibility of adding Li-Fi connectivity to a future iOS device.
[Updated 7:15PM ET with more deals] Welcome to another edition of Daily Deals, the post where the eager staff of MacNN trawl through online retailers to try and find decent offers and sales that you, the glorious reader, may be interested in acquiring. Today's crop of bargains include the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock for $100, a 48-inch TCL Roku Smart TV for $350, and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege for $35.
Debuting at CES 2015, the Braven Fuse was claimed to be a portable, party-starting music mixer. As an entry-level product, just about anyone can pick it up and use it. Add a rechargeable battery to the mix as well as both Bluetooth inputs and outputs, and it looks on paper to be a pretty solid product. We got our hands on the Braven Fuse just about a year after it was announced, and put it through its paces. Check our full review to see what we thought about it.
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 highlight a deal on graphics utility Astropad, and also address recent updates to system utility Cocktail, e-book manger Calibre, scanning software VueScan, phone storage manager PhoneClean, media processor Pro Media Tools, and diagrammer Shapes.
On Tuesday, Apple released a final version of 10.11.3, the third free update to OS X El Capitan. The focus of the update, which has no noticeable interface changes or new features, is said to be on the "stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac," according to Apple's release notes. The latest update was in beta since last month, and briefly shared beta status with the next update, 10.11.4, which is currently being tested by developers. The 10.11.3 update is available exclusively through the software update section of the Mac App Store.
Netflix doesn't hang about with updates to its iOS software, but it also doesn't add a great deal: the new Netflix 7.2.5 app for iPhone and iPad is a bug-fix release. We were hoping it would improve how the service looks on iPad Pro, and we were half-expecting it to support iOS 9's picture-in-picture feature, but neither has happened. Nonetheless, it's a good app with access to a ridiculously great number of films and TV shows to watch.
After a relatively short beta period, Apple has released iOS 9.2.1 to the public. As indicated by the version number, the update is primarily intended for bug fixes to the existing iOS 9.2 without addition of new features, which are being currently being tested on the recent beta of iOS 9.3.
We all use apps, we all buy an awful lot of them, but not many people actually make them. Developer Insight is a new MacNN series that asks the makers of prominent software about their apps. It's a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the software that so many of us run our lives on, and it's also a chance to get the developers' view of what's happening with Apple and computing. These are the people who are doing the real work, and whose livelihoods depend on surviving in a difficult and complex market.
Perhaps you read last week's survey results from some Apple store shoppers, and perhaps you didn't. It did shed some light on the current "average" Apple product user -- some results we were expecting, and some we weren't. We're going to do it again soon, and we want your input, MacNN readers.
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's collection is made up of items to help you with your photography, including a light field camera, an action camera, a handy tool for your Mac, and a pay-what-you-want bundle teaching you everything you wanted to know about furthering your existing image-taking skills.
Apple is saying that a "misunderstanding" caused it to briefly advise a Victoria, British Columbia woman seeking to transfer her late husband's digital account to her own name that she would need a court order, rather than the usual proof of death. Peggy Bush, 72, and her daughter Donna sought to have the Apple ID password of her deceased husband's account transferred to Mrs. Bush, in part because she wished to continue playing a freemium card game (and presumably access other data) on his iPad.
Joining AT&T and T-Mobile, wireless provider Verizon has launched its own sponsored streaming data exception program. FreeBee Data 360, one of the pair of programs launched today, allows providers to sign up to provide consumers some or all of their mobile content -- whether in an app or mobile website -- without using consumers' data plans, with the sponsor being billed on a per-GB pricing model.
Microsoft is expanding its Minecraft-related holdings, by offering a version of the open world construction game for educational users. After acquiring the existing MinecraftEdu project that offered a version of Minecraft aimed at the classroom, Microsoft is launching a new version called Minecraft: Education Edition this summer, a variant which is said to offer an "expanded set of features" compared to MinecraftEdu.
Apple has been granted a motion for a permanent injunction against a number of Samsung mobile devices, as the patent battle between the manufacturers continues. Issued by California District Judge Lucy Koh, the injunction effectively prevents Samsung from selling a range of smartphones ruled to be infringing on three Apple-owned patents within the United States, though the list of items affected by the sales ban consists of legacy devices not typically sold or sought after by customers.
Apple's massive run of success over the past decade has been built on the success of its iOS mobile devices, and we've already taken an in-depth look at what we expect to see from Apple in that space in 2016. However, its Mac lineup continues to make a strong contribution to both Apple's bottom line, as well as a towards Apple's wider overall eco-system. As 2015's 12-inch Retina MacBook shows, the company still produces innovative and beautifully designed Macs. Most of Apple's Mac line up got a refresh in 2015, but some models have now been around for a while in their current form. Read on to see what we would like to see from the Mac side of Apple in 2016.
Every so often, MacNN finds a deal that is too good to go into our usual deal lists, and is deserving enough to be highlighted in its own Big Deals post. If you do a lot of designing or image editing, but don't want to pay a hefty monthly subscription for Adobe's productivity suite, consider this Autodesk Pixlr Pro & SketchBook Pro: 1-Year Subscription bundle from MacNN Deals.
Recently, we ran a new story about the folding of iTunes Radio into the paid Apple Music service that caused confusion among some readers, and in hindsight its easy to guess why -- there is widespread confusion (particularly outside the two countries that ever had iTunes Radio, the US and Australia) about that it actually is, and what it isn't. This Pointers column will thus take a look at the various different audio services under the iTunes roof, what's free, what's not, what's changing, and what isn't -- and most importantly, what features are being seriously underused.
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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