This morning Apple announced a bunch of new hardware and software. They announced the new iPad Pro, the new iMac Pro, iOS 11, mac OS High Sierra, the new Mac lineup, HomePod and watchOS 4. I really like the updates that they announced for iOS. One of the more notable updates that they announced for iOS is the improved control center. All of its functionality can be customized to suit your personality. Everything will also be consolidated on one page. It was annoying to have the music controls on a second page.
Apple also talked about how Siri is more expressive, and natural with machine learning improvements. Siri can translate what you say from English to other languages. It will be interesting to see how Siri improves over time. HomePod is Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo and Google Home. It looks like it has more of a music focus, but it can still be used to control lights and answer questions.
Another announcement that I thought was exciting is the improved multitasking on iPad. Apple improved the dock so that it can hold more applications. The dock can also be opened in any screen. Overall, it should make the iPad a better productivity device.
I am also excited to see what Apple does with the new augment reality kit for developers. I hope Niantic takes advantages of the new the new augmented reality kit. What do you think of Apple’s announcements at WWDC 2017?
Last week Microsoft revealed more information about Project Scorpio. The system will have a 6 tearflop GPU, 12GB of GDDR5 memory and 1TB of HDD storage. It is the most powerful dedicated gaming system to date. The system plays games in 4K, and it can play 4K UHD Blu-rays. It will be compatible with Xbox One games, and accessories.
Project Scorpio definitely feels like a next gen system. Originally Microsoft said that it was just meant to be an upgrade like the PS4 Pro. However I think that may hold the system back. I think that they should brand Project Scorpio as next gen, but continue to release less powerful versions of games for the Xbox One. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does when Project Scorpio is released. The system is set to come out this holiday. Will you be getting Project Scorpio?
I got Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Wii U, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. The game is very wide open, more so than I expected. The game has the player start out by going to four shrines and collecting four orbs. These orbs can be used to increase the player’s stamina or increase the player’s heart count. Each shrine also gives the player new abilities. For example I gained the ability to move metal objects with magnesis, and I gained the ability to stop time with stasis. I really like the scope of the game and how it feels. One thing I don’t like about the game is that items only last so many times before they break. It is more realistic than any other Zelda to date. How was your first week with Zelda: Breath of the Wild?
Fire Emblem Heroes was released as a free to play game on February 2nd, 2017. It is my favorite mobile game to date. When Nintendo first entered the mobile market I was concerned, but they have done a fairly good job so far.
Fire Emblem Heroes has several modes that you can play. This includes story maps, training tower, special maps and arena duels. I have completed the story maps on normal mode and hard mode. However I am still working on completing Lunatic mode. There is quite a bit of strategy involved, however you do need a bit of luck. Each maps pits your team against 4 or 5 enemy’s. Every character has different abilities. This includes fire, water and grass. There are also characters that can cast spells, shoot bows and heal other characters. The luck comes into play when you summon new characters. Each character has between 1 and 5 stars. The characters with 3 or less stars are basically useless if you wish to complete the game. After you complete each mission you receive an orb that you can use to collect new characters. The game also allows for you to purchase orbs as well.
I like the variety of characters that the game has to offer. So far I have drawn three 5 star characters. This includes Chrom, Lucina, and Sheena, my highest level character at level 39. I also like how short the missions are. They allow for quick pick up and play scenarios. I think the only downfall of the game is having to wait for your stamina to replenish. Essentially stamina is used to play the different missions in the game. Overall the mobile game has convinced me to try the main series game. The game has a lot more to offer and I can’t wait to see what else they add to it. What do you think of Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android? 9/10
Last week Nintendo announced that it’s new game system the Nintendo Switch is coming out on March 3rd. It will retail at $299. The package will come with the Nintendo Switch Console, the Nintendo Switch Dock, 2 Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con Grip, 2 Joy-Con wrist straps, a high speed HDMI cable and the Nintendo Switch AC Adapter.
Nintendo also announced what games would launch with the system and the ones that would follow in the months to come. Some of the featured games include: The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Arms, Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey. It will be interesting to see what they do with the new 3d Mario game. I really liked what I saw from the intial trailer. Mario now uses his hat to get to new locations. In the trailer Mario visits a city, a desert and a forest. The game also has a variety of different art styles that it plays with.
The Nintendo Switch looks like it has a promising future ahead of it. I didn’t preorder it, but I am definetly interest in the tech and I can’t wait to try it out. What do you think about the Nintendo Switch and the launch games that are coming?
The YouTube app has VR capabilities built right into it. I was surprised to find that I could watch every video on YouTube using Google Cardboard. This doesn’t mean that every video is built for virtual reality. Most videos aren’t.
However, there are several channels that are dedicated to 360 videos. One channel that I took a look at is called Virtual Reality. This channel has a plethora of 360 videos to watch. For example, one video took me to several national parks. The video was created by Google, and it had tour guides take me around. Another video they had put me right next to a herd of elephants. Too bad I couldn’t ride them. IGN also has a virtual reality channel called IGN VR. I watched a really cool video that they made on the history of Mario games.
I recommend checking out YouTube in VR. I think it is better than the dedicated VR app Within. The only thing I didn’t like about the app was that I had to remove the phone from Google Cardboard to pick out a new video.
If you want to watch any video in VR select the three dots in the upper right hand corner, then tap the Google Cardboard icon to begin.
Have you ever wanted to walk on the moon or ride on a rollercoaster from the comfort of your home? Well now you can do both, kind of. Andrew Sasaki has developed some really interesting applications for Google Cardboard. I tried out the following applications: VR Moon, RollerCoaster, VR Flight Simulator for Google Cardboard, VR World for Google Cardboard, VR Horse Simulator for Google Cardboard, and Virtual Reality Vacation for Google Cardboard. Most of the applications were complete rubbish. However, several of the applications were better than I expected. The best application of the bunch was RollerCoaster. It puts you in a virtual roller coaster and it feels pretty awesome. I actually felt a little light headed after the ride. I can’t compare it to riding an actual roller coaster, because I have never been on one before. I also liked the VR Moon application. It gave me a really cool perspective of what it would feel like to walk on the moon. I definitely recommend trying these two apps out if you have Google Cardboard. The other apps were a bit of a mess, but they’re all free. If you want to check them out click here.