There were any number of reasons to be excited for Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, which launched earlier this week. For myself and many others, it was the Nemesis system--which promises unique enemies and emergent gameplay--that was the most exciting aspect of all. And while it's certainly an intriguing feature, I can't help but feel I've been missing out on it for basically being too good at the game.
Until reviews started to hit the web, I was very cautious in being optimistic about Monolith's first-ever Lord of the Rings game. For being such a major franchise, quality games based on it have been few and far between--something that's especially surprising considering its renewed popularity following the release of Peter Jackson's movies. Once I heard the almost-unanimous praise from the reviewers I trust, I was onboard. I was ready to finally play a LotR game that was a genuinely good game, not another passable one that I accepted because it happened to make use of one of my favorite franchises.
Today, Microsoft officially announced the next version of Windows: Windows 10. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. The currently-available version of Windows is 8.1, which means that Microsoft has inexplicably decided to forego version 9 altogether. Rumors that the next version would be called Windows TH, Windows One, or Windows 9 have now been dashed—Windows 10 is the future of Microsoft’s desktop operating system. It’s also still technically the 9th release of Windows.
At an unveiling event earlier today, the company called Windows 10 the “most comprehensive platform ever,” as it will run on all displays, from 4-inches and up. That means Windows 10 will run on phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers, and high definition television screens. “Windows 10 will deliver the right experience on the right device at the right time," said Microsoft's Terry Myerson. "Windows 10 will run on the broadest types of devices ever."
Optimists will say that Microsoft is listening to all of the negative backlash that was met with the release of Windows 8, taking in that feedback, and reverting a bunch of changes to give customers what they want. Others will point out that Windows 10 looks like a mashup of the beloved Windows 7 and the polarizing Windows 8, with a bunch of Mac OS X features (like Expose and Mission Control) thrown in, and is an obvious step backwards. We see both sides of the argument, but it’s also very early to tell, as Windows 10 won’t ship until late 2015.
Today in the Gear Live Deals Shop you can enter our iPhone 6 giveaway! The device is hard to come by in stores, is backordered online, and is the most popular smartphone on the market right now. And we're giving one away.
Here's how this is gonna go down: The grand prize winner will walk away with a $650 Apple Store gift card, which will allow you to select the iPhone 6 of your choice. Ready to enter? Go get it:
Apple has release iOS 8 to the world, bringing with it a host of new features for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Users will find improvements to just about every stock iOS app, as well as new additions like Health, Continuity, and Handoff. We published our full iOS 8 review this morning, which you can read for a full rundown of what to expect. Here’s a list of the compatible devices:
- iPhone 5s
- iPhone 5c
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 4s
- iPod touch 5th generation
- iPad Air
- iPad mini with Retina display
- iPad mini
- iPad with Retina display
- iPad 2
You can update to iOS 8 now, either through an over-the-air update, or by plugging in to iTunes and having it perform the update for you. Of course, iOS 8 will ship on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus this Friday.
iOS 8 is the follow-up to last years radical redesign of Apple’s mobile operating system. After the visual overhaul, the company went to work on adding a bunch of features that would make its devices more open with features like extensions and third-party keyboards, yet more secure with improved permissions and more widespread Touch ID integration. With iOS 8, Apple looks to refine the experience that was introduced last year, while allowing features for the power users of the world to shine.
It’s been shown that Apple follows a two-step release process with its iOS device hardware and software. For example, one year the company will release a new design for the iPhone, and the following year it’ll keep that design and refine the device, releasing it as an “S” class upgrade. iOS seems to follow a similar pattern, especially this year, which follows last year’s big redesign. With iOS 8, Apple has introduced a layer of polish on top of its mobile operating system, bringing with it a bevy of new features. The question remains, do all the changes come together in a meaningful way? Join us for our full iOS 8 review as we explore the answer.
We've received a few emails over the last few days from readers asking about switching to AT&T Next so that they can get the new iPhone 6 on Friday for no money down. AT&T has been notifying some customers who are mid-contract that they can switch to a Next plan at no charge, doing away with contracts going forward. Of course, there are those who are still under AT&T's grandfathered "unlimited" data plan, but others simply want to know if programs like AT&T Next and Verizon Edge are worth it, or if they're rip-offs. The thing is, early upgrade plans like Next and Edge basically allow you to divorce the act of owning and paying for a phone, from paying for cellular service. If you play your cards right, you'll actually come out ahead financially, and you'll be able to upgrade to a new device whenever you want. Let's walk through a scenario of buying a phone with AT&T Next.
All currently available mainstream plans feature two components: a data charge, and a line charge. We will ignore the data charge aspect from here on out, because it's the same regardless of what plan you choose.
AT&T Next offers you a lower monthly line charge ($15 less for data plans under 10GB, $25 less for 10GB and over) in exchange for them not giving you a large subsidy when you buy your phone. Next plans never involve a contract, and you can get out of them at any time, penalty free, by paying off the balance you owe on your phone.
The iPhone 6 wasn’t the only larger smartphone that Apple announced today at the We Wish We Could Say More event—meet the iPhone 6 Plus. Featuring a 5.5-inch 1080p Retina HD display, the iPhone 6 Plus is the biggest smartphone that Apple has released to date. It’s got a display that’s a full 1.5-inches larger than that of the iPhone 5s. Be sure to check out the details on the iPhone 6, since the iPhone 6 Plus has a fairly similar feature set. However, there are a few key differences other than size.
The iPhone 6 Plus display has the same 16x9 aspect ratio as the iPhone 6, 5s, and 5c, but packs in more pixels due to the 1920x1080 resolution. The result is a 401 pixel-per-inch density, resulting in 185% more pixels than the iPhone 5s. That means it’ll be a lot sharper. It’s also thinner at 7.1 millimeters, compared to 7.6 for the iPhone 5s.
During it's We Wish We Could Say More event, Apple unveiled the iPhone 6. The updated smartphone sports a new 4.7-inch Retina HD display with a resolution of 1334 x 750, resulting in a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. Apple is calling this a Retina HD display, and aside from the increased size and ppi, it also has the full sRGB wide color gamut. On front is ion-stengthened cover glass that is curved at the edges--so, no sapphire crystal display after all. Apple has developed the new A8 processor to power the device, bringing with it a 25% speed bost. A new M8 coprocessor can now measure distance and steps climbed thanks, in part, to a barometer. It can also decipher between running and cycling to better track your movements. The iPhone 6 measure in as just 6.9mm thin, which makes it the thinnest device Apple has ever made.
LTE is updated to 150 Mbps, and it supports 20 LTE bands, which is the most in any smartphone. VoLTE is also built-in, which will allow voice call data over an LTE network. 802.11ac Wi-Fi finally comes to the iPhone 6, giving it a 3x faster wireless connection. Wi-Fi calling, allowing you to place calls when connected to a Wi-Fi network. The first networks to support VoLTE will be T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK.
After months of rumors, the iWatch has been made official, and it’s called the Apple Watch. For the first time since the death of Steve Jobs, Tim Cook mentioned that he had “One more thing…” to talk about after unveiling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Introducing the device as a precise and customizable timepiece that is also a comprehensive health and fitness device, the Apple Watch was unveiled with pride.
A video, narrated by Jony Ive, explained how the watch works. Users navigate using the touch display, as well as a Digital Crown on the side (similar to dials you find on analog watches) that allows you to navigate, zoom, and scroll without covering up the display with your fingers. The Apple Watch display can sense touch and swipes, as well as force.
Today, Apple will be holding its We Wish We Could Say More event where it’s expected to reveal the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iWatch, and a new mobile payment processing system. Some are also expecting an update to the iPad Air, and the Apple TV set-top box. This is shaping up to be one of the biggest Apple keynote events in company history—certainly the biggest yet for Steve Jobs successor, Tim Cook—and the company wants you to see it all go down, live as it happens. Here’s how you can watch today’s Apple Event:
- If you have an Apple TV, Apple has added a dedicated Apple Events channel. Fire it up at 10:00am PDT (1:00pm EDT), and you’ll be able to tune in. You need to have a second- or third-generation Apple TV running software version 6.2 or later.
- If you want to live stream the event from your desktop, you’ll need to be running OS X 10.6.8 or later and Safari 5.1.10. From there, just head to the Apple Live page.
- You can also stream the event in the Safari web browser on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as long as you are running iOS 6.0 or later.
Of course, if you’re somewhere that you aren’t able to live stream video, you can keep it locked right here to Gear Live, where we will be bringing you reports of all the announcements at breakneck speed. Additionally, you can also follow along at The Verge, Recode, and Engadget.
Once things are wrapped up, Apple will make the video of today’s presentation available for on-demand viewing and downloading later today.
So there you have it! How will you be following along?