Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes, a role-playing game released for mobile platforms last fall, initially struck me as a game I could skip without a second thought. It had the appearance of a cheap cash-in meant to capitalize on the launch of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Although I'm not generally not the sort of person to write off a game for being free-to-play (some of my favorite games don't cost a dime to start playing), there's something about the combination of that business model, mobile, and a major franchise that made me assume it was not worth so much as a download.
I was wrong.
Apple is reportedly working on launching a 4-inch iPhone model dubbed the iPhone SE. Similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone 5c version albeit, in this case, with upgraded specs that are akin to the iPhone 6; perhaps higher. This is great news for those that find the bigger smartphones a bit unwieldy but without sacrificing cutting edge specs.
The iPhone SE design is slated to look closer to the iPhone 5s but with tapered edges mimicking the iPhone 6 design. A hybrid of sorts. All the newer bells and whistles will be included such as Apple’s in-house designed silicon A9 processor, M9 co-processor, perhaps all-in-one chip, “Hey Siri”, full Live Photo support, and an improved 8-megapixal iSight camera. Also rumored is Touch ID/Apple Pay features and, of course, upgraded wireless capabilities. Storage will likely be 16GB and 64GB. I must say, you might as well pony up for the 64GB version because 16GB is so 2007.
Mark your calendars for March 21st because it’s that time of year again where Apple reveals all the new cool gear. There’s a high probability that iPhone SE might go on sale as quick as March 25th.
Read More | 9to5Mac
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2013, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2013!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
The Philips Hue Go personal wireless light might be the coolest lighting accessory I've ever used. As you can see in the video, it looks like a cereal bowl that's been filled with light that you can carry around with you. You can turn on the natural dynamic effects feature for a living light color show, or set it to one of 16 million different colors of light with a 300 lumen light output. It's controllable with the Hue Light app for iOS and Android, but also has a button on the back that allows you to cycle through a bunch of different colors without the need for a smartphone or tablet.
The only downside is that you do need to have a Philips Hue Starter Kit or Hue Bridge in order to use it to its full potential, so if you don't already have a Hue system set up, that will set you back an extra $50 or so. Still, it's a great lighting accessory.
You can pick up the Philips Hue Go now!
I bring you my Apple Pencil review in this episode. Apple designed the Apple Pencil alongside the new iPad Pro, to allow artist to draw and sketch on the tablet, but also for everything to be able to write and take notes as well. I am not an artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I was very impressed by what I could accomplish with the iPad Pro once I had the Apple Pencil in my hands.
It gives an immediate sense that you can do more with the iPad, and when you go into an app that is use for image editing or drawing, even someone like me all of a sudden feels capable. It's rare that I get that Apple feeling that a lot of people who aren't technically inclined get. I'm an expert, and know all the features and how they work. With the Apple Pencil though, I definitely felt it - I'd say that I suck at drawing and fail at Photoshop...but with the Apple Pencil, I was empowered to try those activities with surprising results.
I highly recommend the Apple Pencil to buyers of the iPad Pro!
You can pick up the iPad Pro now!
I bring you my full review of Apple's epic iPad Pro in this episode. It's the largest iPad to date, and the largest iOS device to date, with Apple hoping that this can be the tablet that will replace your laptop. How does it succeed? I talk to you about all the iPad Pro features that are meant to make this a premium tablet, including things like multitasking, the Smart Connector for using Apple's Smart Keyboard and third-party keyboard add-ons, and of course, the use of the Apple Pencil and how important it is to the iPad Pro experience. Of course, there's also the A9X processor, 4GB RAM, and greatly-improved speakers, and the gorgeous 12.9-inch Retina display.
The iPad Pro starts at $799 for 32GB Wi-Fi model, and also comes in a $949 128GB Wi-Fi model, and a $1079 128GB Wi-Fi + LTE version, which is the one we used in this review.
You can pick up the iPad Pro now!
iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. Having recently been completely revamped for the release of the fourth generation model, the new Apple TV is a nice little device in its own right. At the center of it all is the App Store, which now lets you download TV-optimized apps and games, all playable using the new Siri Remote, as well as favorites like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.
Honorable Mention: Amazon Fire TV
Read More | Apple TV
Thinking about picking up the Apple iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus? Make sure you check out my full review of both Apple 2015 flagship smartphones in this episode! I give you a rundown of all the new iPhone 6s features - things like 3D Touch, Live Photos, the new 12 megapixel iSight camera, 5 megapixel FaceTime HD camera, second generation Touch ID, Taptic Engine, 7000 series aluminum body, Retina Flash, 4K video recording, and so much more!
Join me as I walk you through each new feature, as well as specify the subtle differences between the iPhone 6s and the larger iPhone 6s Plus (spoiler: battery life and optical image stabilization!)
You can pick up the iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus now!
Apple has eliminated most of the fun from Apple Store iPhone launches! In this episode, I am waiting for the iPhone 6S to launch at the Alderwood Mall Apple Store. Typically, there are hundreds of people all camped out, waiting in line, and generally switching between having a great time and hating life depending on the temperature and the rain. This year? For the vase majority of the night it was 3 people. THREE PEOPLE! I was the third to arrive, getting there at 8:00PM the night before launch - last year by then there were 80 people in line. The next person didn't arrive until about 4:30am - 8.5 hours later. I do finally get my hands on the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, and bring you an unboxing of the device as well.
You can order the new Apple iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus now.
Apple hopes to fix the issue of distracted driving with CarPlay, Apple CarPlay is a smarter, safer way to use the features of your smartphone while you're in the car, giving you access to things like Apple Music, phone calls, text messages and iMessages, podcasts, Maps, audiobooks, and more. Once you plug your iPhone into a CarPlay equipped vehicle, you see the interface appear right on the dashboard. In this case, I am using the 2016 CHevy Colorado Z71 pickup truck, which ships with Apple CarPlay.
CarPlay features Siri voice control and is specially designed for driving scenarios. It also works with your car’s controls — knobs, buttons, or touchscreen. And the apps you want to use in the car have been reimagined, so you can use them while your eyes and hands stay where they belong.
You can get the Apple iPad mini 4 now!
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