Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look back at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Blizzard ships the latest expansion for Hearthstone, Zen Studios releases three pinball tables based on the Aliens franchise, more movies will become available to watch on Steam in the future, and the head of World of Warcraft at Blizzard reveals the publisher has been seriously considering creating 'vanilla' realms.
Every so often, people browse the Internet and the Mac App Store to try and find useful things to add to their app arsenal, but sometimes it's hard to find discounted apps that you really want to get. For App Deals for OS X, the MacNN staff has compiled a list of apps for your Mac that are either a great bargain, or even free for a short while.
The App Store is a constantly-changing place, with new apps joining the catalog, while others adjust their prices to encourage some new sales. App Deals for iOS aims to point you in the direction of apps for your iPhone or iPad that have been reduced in price, making them an essential purchase, or in some cases, even free.
Apple is drawing a "huge number" of Android users over to iOS, the company has revealed during its investor conference call about its latest quarterly results. During the call, CEO Tim Cook noted the number of Android switchers buying Android devices in the first half of this year is the highest of any six-month period in Apple's history. However, financial metrics for the company will continue to decline in the next quarter, such as the iPhone's average selling price -- among other figures raised by Cook as well as CFO Luca Maestri to an audience of investors, analysts, and the media.
Apple revenues fell by $11 billion year-over-year to $50.6 billion in its second 2016 fiscal quarter, reporting its first drop in quarterly revenue since 2003, the company has announced. The results missed consensus analyst estimates of $52.2 billion in revenue, though they fell within Apple's guidance of between $50 billion and $53 billion. Profits were $13.6 billion, while earnings per share was reported as $2.32, above estimates. Gross margin fell incrementally, from 40.1 percent to 39.4 percent over the same quarter last year.
Apple's second-quarter financial information will be published today, with seemingly no analysts agreeing on what they're going to see. While some compelling new products were revealed last quarter, Apple will only benefit from a very brief sale period in the quarter. So, to get caught up on all the drama, check out the main news page for the financial information as it becomes available, and if you want a recap of the information as it came in, hit our live page archive for coverage and commentary!
Later today, Apple will posting its revenue and earnings for the company's fiscal second quarter of 2016, which ended on March 31. Following warnings from analysts and the company alike that 2016 would be a "tough compare" year following the iPhone 6 (since it was the first "phablet-sized" iPhone line, releasing much pent-up demand), the iPhone maker is expected to report its first year-over-year drop in revenues since 2003. Sales of the iPod, and later iPhone, buoyed the company's fortunes and pushed it to new quarterly records for the past 13 years.
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN scour online retailers to find bargains, discounts, sales, and offers for our readers. Old deals have been scrubbed from the list, with the new batch including a Kingston HyperX Cloud II headset for $88, a Panasonic 65-inch 4K Smart TV for just under $1,000, and the GoPro Hero4 Session action camera for $179.
On Tuesday, one week after the last one, Apple has issued a third developer betas of iOS 9.3.2 for testing. The main obvious change in iOS 9.3.2 over previous versions is the fixing of a frequent Game Center bug that would cause some games to go to a white screen and become unplayable, and which has been a frequently-reported issue for months. The latest iOS beta also re-introduces the ability to use the Night Shift screen-coloring feature in Low Power Mode.
Dropbox is planning to alter the way its customers use its services, by reducing the amount of data stored on desktops and notebooks. At its core, Project Infinite will effectively allow users to see all files stored on the Dropbox account from within their desktops, but rather than have files stored locally and synchronized with those on cloud storage, users will instead be able to see that they have a file or folder available to access, but without taking up local storage.
In response to a growing rape problem in India, the country is finally setting up a centralized "911"-type emergency-response system over the next few months, prompting the country's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to mandate that by the first day of 2017, all mobile phones (even non-smartphones) sold in the country have a "panic button" type feature to initiate an emergency call without requiring a passcode, as Apple's iPhone does now. In addition, the ministry is now also requiring all mobile phones to have built-in GPS so as to be able to share location information alongside any "panic button" call. The latter requirement will be enforced beginning in 2018.
Now on sale: a new MacNN Pointers e-book devoted to getting you writing more and better on your Mac, iPad and iPhone. Every Pointers book aims to speed up your work, show you the inside tips, and make using your Apple gear more fun -- but this one is personal. MacNN Pointers: Macs and iOS for Writers is writer-to-writer talk. You've already found that Macs and iOS transform your writing life, but we're going to transform it again.
Alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available from our own MacNN Deals store. Today's selections are all things you can use with your Mac and iOS devices to improve your life, from making more free space on your iPhone to managing your checking account, helping keep you fit, and even checking on the status of your car's health.
Apple is in the process of restructuring its recruiting efforts, reports VentureBeat. According to sources, the company has laid of all of its contract recruiters, and is in the process of laying off some of its full-time recruiters. The changes could affect up to 100 staff, while Apple's job postings do not currently show any recruitment positions currently being advertised. The news comes ahead of Apple's quarterly earnings call today, where it is expected to report a downturn in sales and profits.
Nokia is attempting to get back into producing consumer-grade devices and jumpstarting its wearables product catalog, by acquiring health company Withings. The French wearable device and fitness tracker producer is being bought by the former smartphone producer for €170 million ($191 million), subject to regulatory approval, with the cash deal expected to close early in the third quarter of this year.
A new OS X security tool has been developed and released by Mac security researcher Patrick Wardle. The new "RansomWhere?" tool monitors a user's Mac file system for untrusted processes that attempt to encrypt any files. Once an unusual process is detected, the tool stops the process after the encryption of a small handful of files, and alerts the user. The user can then choose whether to allow the process, or terminate it.
An iPhone 6, thought to belong to a Florida teenager lost at sea in 2015, has been recovered from the vessel the youth and his companion were in when they disappeared. Both Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen were just 14 when they embarked on a small fishing trip off the coast of Jupiter, Florida. Mystery surrounds what happened to the pair, after a large-scale air and sea search failed to find the teenagers, but did locate their empty 19-foot boat some two days after they were reported missing on July 24, 2015.
Alongside our regular MacNN Deals and Daily Deals posts, the writers of MacNN occasionally find offers that are interesting or major enough to warrant their own Big Deals post. Today's selection is a collection of apps from the MacNN Deals store called the Pay What You Want: Spring 2016 Mac Bundle, providing you with up to 13 productivity and creativity-focused apps.
The iPad Pro line of Apple tablets now has a dock that takes advantage of the range's Smart Connector, courtesy of Logitech. The Logi Base is a stand for both the 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch versions of the iPad Pro, one that takes advantage of the Smart Connector's power transfer capabilities by using it to charge the iPad Pro's battery, giving users an alternative to the usual method of attaching a cable to the iPad Pro's Lightning connector.
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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