Gaming on the iOS platform was, arguably, one of Steve Jobs greatest business decisions. Some of us are old enough to remember the Apple game console that never was (Pippin). The Pippin (released in 1995) was not a great success; it made the shortlist for one of the worst tech products ever, coming 22nd in PC World Magazine‘s list back in 2006. However, despite this initial failure, Steve Jobs always knew that gaming would be important to Apple’s future.
Once the iPod came out Apple was finally able to go mainstream with gaming. Even though games had been available on the Mac from the beginning and before (anyone remember Sneakers on the Apple II?), it wasn’t until the iPod and especially the iPod Touch became popular that gaming really took off. Gaming took off to an even greater extent once the App Store was established, making it easier and cheaper to get into gaming.
The iOS user interface makes playing games accessible but what would make it even more so is a hardware controller, just like Nintendo and Sony have for their gaming consoles. Many gamers are familiar with the likes of the Wii and the XBox so it wouldn’t be awkward for them to use a controller with their iPod/iPhone/iPad.
So, the rumour that Apple is indeed working on such a hardware controller can only be good news.
Most people thought that when Apple introduced its concept of iTunes Match and a digital locker in the iCloud, that meant that users would be able to stream music from their digital locker to their device (iPod, iPhone etc). However, in recent announcements Apple denied this was the case.
On further investigation by various bloggers it seems that its a case of semantics and users will indeed be able to stream to their devices, but not in the way we all perhaps expected. Good news is though that it’s looking as Apple’s way of doing things is actually better!
It seems that any track will in fact be downloaded to a local cache and be available for replay even when the connection the iCloud isn’t available. It will remain available as long as the cache isn’t cleared, which seems to happen whenever the user changes settings (such as to Airplane Mode).
Users will apparently also have the option to download tracks directly by tapping on the iCloud icon associated with each track.
According to various reports (including the Financial Times) Apple is due to announce the Mac Tablet device sooner than any of us thought…. in just a few weeks time! Although its reported that Apple will announce the device in January, its thought by many that it won’t become available to buy until later in the year. The report in the FT says that mass production will commence in February, so when it will exactly become available online and in the Apple Store is anyone’s guess.
eWeek is also reporting that the launch event will be on January 26th at Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco.
Speculation is rife that the device will have a mobile data feature included, though who would provide the 3G service is unclear. There is also the suggestion that whoever it is will subsidise the device to bring the upfront cost down.
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