Amidst all the excitement about the new Apple announcements yesterday (Penryn Macbooks and MacBook Pros, plus iPhone 1.1.4 firmware), many were left wondering just where the heck the promised iPhone SDK had gone. After all, we’d been promised by Steve Jobs himself that it would appear in late February. As it turns out, Apple will be holding another of their Town Hall-type events on March 6, which will specifically deal with both the iPhone SDK as well as “some exciting new enterprise features.” On the invitation itself, you see a Software Update sign, an SDK sign, and an Enterprise sign. Yeah, fairly vague, we know. Still, it is a promising sign. Now we just wait for March 6.
Looks like we have new iPhone firmware as well this morning! In addition to refreshing their MacBook and MacBook Pro lines to Penryn processors, Apple has also released the new iPhone 1.1.4 firmware. Go ahead and check for a new update after connecting your iPhone to iTunes. Of course, if you are
unlocked, you may want to wait for a bit while everything gets figured out. Apple is saying this release is all about bug fixes - but we are hoping there is also some iPhone SDK magic in there somewhere.
EDIT: Okay, if you are jailbroken, go ahead and update. ZiPhone still works, and will jailbreak the just-released 1.1.4 firmware update…although the developer recommends waiting until he can fully test. Your call.
Ever since Penryn chips started making their way into mobile computers, we all knew it was just a matter of time before Apple bumped their mobiles to the latest chips from Intel as well. This morning, in their Tuesday update, they did just that. Both the MacBook and MacBook Pro are now rocking the Penryn Core 2 Duo chipset. If you are eyeing the MacBook Pro, those have the added bonus of a 6 MB L2 cache if you choose a 2.5 or 2.6 GHz chip, and Multi-Touch trackpads are now standard . That’s hot.
For the MacBook, pricing starts at $1099 for the base model, which includes a Combo drive instead of a SuperDrive, a 2.1 GHz chip, a 120GB hard drive, and 1 GB of RAM. For $200 more, you get a 2.4 GHz chip, an additional gig of RAM, a SuperDrive, and a 160 GB drive. If you need more hard drive space than that, you can get the Black MacBook, which hooks you up with 250 GB of storage.
Over on the MacBook Pro side of things, $1,999 gets you a 2.4 GHz chip, 2 GB of RAM, a 200 GB hard drive, double-layer SuperDrive, and a 256 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. If you move up to the $2,499 model, you are bumped up to a 2.5 GHz chip (with 6 MB L2 cache!), a 250 GB hard drive, and a 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT. For $2,799, you get all the same specs, but you are bumped up to a 17-inch screen, if that’s your thing.
All in all, we’d say this is a worthy upgrade if your mobile computer is looking a bit long in the tooth.
Read More | Apple Press Release
Well, with the news that HD DVD had been killed by Toshiba, you knew that it was only a matter of time before the Xbox 360 HD DVD player was eliminated as well, right? Well, the time has come, as Microsoft sent us the following update:
As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD. Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market. As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace. HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.
Okay, well, shouldn’t that be “HD DVD was one of the several ways…”? So, now that we know that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player add-on will no longer be manufactured, if you really really want one, they can now be had for $49.99. That is 75% off of it’s original price, for those of you keeping track. So if you want a piece of recently outdated technology, now is your chance.
Read More | Bloomberg
Have you ever wanted to play your Wii without having to have that pesky Wiimote in your hand? Reactrix hopes that their WAVEscape product might come close to providing that experience. We got a look at it during CES.
The WAVEscape contains a camera that can track the motion of multiple people, distinguishing each person individually. Everyone can use “natural” motion to interact with different things on the screen, including games.
Now, we aren’t sure when, if ever, the WAVEscape technology will be available in the home. It is more designed as a cool diversion that can be used commercially. It’s all about the “engaging advertising experience” - you know, punch the panda and maybe get a coupon?
WAVEscape is the brainchild of Reactriz and TYZX. They plan on having over 100 of these out and about by the end of the year.
Finally, after a long period of silence, Nintendo has finally made release dates public for a few of their more anticipated products: Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit, and the WiiWare channel. First up is Mario Kart Wii, which will launch in Japan on April 10th, and Europe the following day on April 11th. No word yet on the US launch date.
The WiiWare channel, which will be a portal to downloading original games to the Wii, will be available on North American Wii units on May 12th. No word on Japan or European launches for WiiWare just yet.
Lastly, Wii Fit, which has been flying off of shelves over in Japan since it’s release back in December, will launch in North America on May 19th. If you are in Europe, Wii Fit will be available in your neck of the woods on April 25th.
It was just announced this morning by Microsoft during their GDC keynote - Gears of War 2 will be hitting Xbox 360 consoles this November. That’s right kids - November 2008. You ready for this? Here is the word from Microsoft:
Providing a dramatic close to Microsoft’s GDC keynote address, Epic Games Inc.’s lead designer Cliff Bleszinski announced that the epic saga of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad continues exclusively on the Xbox 360 this fall with “Gears of War 2.” This highly anticipated sequel to the 4.5 million-selling blockbuster “Gears of War” delves deeper into humanity’s struggle for survival against the nightmarish Locust Horde, and promises to take high-definition visuals to a whole new level.
Check out the trailer, at the top of this post.
Read More | Gears of War product page
While overly-thick wallets are not an oft discussed problem in our modern world, having a big fat wad of a wallet in your pocket can lead to back strain and unsightly bulging of the pants. The folks over at Big Skinny have an ingenious (although blindingly obvious) solution: a line of thin, lightweight wallets.
We got our hands on two of their most popular models and took them for a spin. Check out our review after the jump, as well as our Big Skinny wallet image gallery.
Gallery: The Big Skinny Wallet review
First things first - the MacBook Air took no one by surprise. We all knew, based on the reports churning out of the rumor mill, that Apple had a subnotebook up their sleeve, and all signs were pointing at MacWorld 2008 for it’s introduction to the world. Heck, even the name of the product got out there before Steve got a chance to announce it at the event. Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that leaked before MacWorld 2008, as we got our hands on the iPhone 1.1.3 firmware weeks before it was officially announced.
What we didn’t know was how the Air would look. When Steve pulled the computer out of manila envelope, everyone was wowed. The MacBook Air is thin. T-H-I-N. At it’s smallest point, the Air is just 0.16 inches thin. That is thinner than both the iPhone and iPod touch. The larger side is just 0.76 inches. Again, tiny. See for yourself in our MacBook Air unboxing gallery.
As for the rest of the specs, the Air is the same brushed aluminum color that you will find on the MacBook Pro line, and is available in 1.6GHz and 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo speeds. Both models come with 2GB of non-upgradable RAM, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, a 13.3-inch widescreen LED-backlit display, and Bluetooth 2.1. As far as ports go, you will only find one micro-DVI, one USB, and one audio out jack. That’s it. As for storage, this is where the major choice comes in. You can choose between an 80 GB 4200 RPM ATA hard drive, or a 64 GB SSD (solid-state flash drive). We got our hands on the SSD version of the MacBook Air.
We give you our thoughts on the SSD-based MacBook Air in our full review.
It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I have a deep appreciation for games in quirky, niche, genres, and also intelligent stories. Frankly, it is rare that I get to find both of these needs met in a single game, but Lost Odyssey manages to do it.
But wait! I thought Lost Odyssey was a Japanese-RPG and thus not really niche? Sadly (in my opinion), the gaming landscape has changed so profoundly over the years that the once thriving JRPG is now increasingly a rarity; One with high-production values, so much the more. Several early reviews would have you believe that Lost Odyssey does something fundamentally wrong simply for being true to its genre. Mercifully, you are reading this review so at the very least let me try to paint a slightly different picture of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s latest opus.
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