Anki today announced the debut of two new cars and two new tracks for its iPhone-compatible Anki Drive slot car racing game. Joining the existing four cars are Hadion and Corax, new characters that focus on speed and weaponry, respectively.
Designed by Anki and Hollywood legend Harald Belker, Corax and Hadion are the newest characters available for Anki DRIVE. Hadion is built for speed and is the only car that can access Turbo Boost, which enables you to fly incredibly fast down the track. Corax is the ultimate warrior, with the option to mount multiple weapons. Watch out, he’s an aggressive one!
First introduced in 2013 during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Anki Drive is a unique racing game that Anki describes as a “video game in the real world.” Similar to slot car racing, Anki Drive incorporates artificial intelligence, machine learning, and smartphone-based controls, allowing two players to shoot at one another while their cars autonomously race down a vinyl track.
Each of Anki’s cars have their own unique name, personality, look, and statistics. While some of them offer greater acceleration speeds, others have more energy or better weaponry. The two released today expand on the abilities of the existing cars, offering Turbo Boost (Hadrion) and multiple mounted weapons (Corax).
Along with the new cars, Anki is also introducing two new tracks: Crossroads and Bottleneck. Crossroads offers hard corners and a challenging intersection that requires solid timing and maneuvering skills, while Bottleneck introduces a bottleneck shape that must be overcome.
There’s also a brand new Race Mode in the Anki Drive app, which joins the existing Battle Mode. Weaponry is still available and the goal is to make it to the finish line first, beating out other players or AI-controlled cars.
Anki’s new cars can both be purchased today from the Anki website for $69.99 each, and the new tracks will be available on May 6 for $99. The original Anki starter kit can also be purchased from the Anki website for $199.
Technology problem? Easy, just hit the Mayday button (if you have one) or sign up for Google Helpouts and within a few minutes, you’ll instantly connect to an expert. Compare that with selecting a healthcare plan, or making trips to the clinic, and medicine can seem a little old-fashioned. Better is looking to change that with an iOS app that offers both a concierge to help you navigate your HMO’s bureaucracy, but also to offer instant access to the physicians at the Mayo Clinic when you’re feeling unwell. The app is launching from today, setting you back $49 a month, and while it’s currently not covered by any insurance plans, there are some incentives to help soften the blow.
Hyundai today announced that it will bring Apple’s CarPlay technology to its Sonata automobile lineup starting next year. This introduction makes Hyundai the first volume automobile manufacturer to bring CarPlay to the market.
The first Hyundai automobiles to offer the voice-driven system will be the company’s popular Sonata line. Models that are equipped with the CarPlay-compatible navigation systems will debut later in the 2015 model year.
Hyundai’s latest Audio Video Navigation (AVN) systems are already recognized for their beautiful, yet intuitive interface and advanced feature set. Our engineers took advantage of the vivid eight-inch touchscreen to integrate CarPlay for an experience that iPhone users will instantly recognize.
CarPlay allows an iPhone to integrate into the car’s infotainment system, providing Siri voice-controlled access to messaging, voice calls, Maps and music. The technology initially debuted as a factory-installed option in new 2014 luxury models from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo and will be added to existing 2014 Pioneer receivers as an aftermarket add-on.
New photos showing what appears to be another case for Apple’s larger-screen iPhone 6 have been posted by Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate]. While details about the case’s exact length are unknown, the images are said to have come from a Chinese accessory maker and show a case designed for the next-generation iPhone, similar to cases pictured last week and those on display at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair yesterday.
The case feature slightly rounded edges, similar to the design of the iPhone 5c and consistent with design drawings said to be for the iPhone 6. Like other cases and in line with a claim from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the case also includes a hole for a button along the upper right side of the device, which may be the new location of the power button. Rectangular volume control buttons similar to the fifth-generation iPod Touch are also notably present.
Rectangular volume (1) and right side power (2) cutouts (Annotated by Nowhereelse.fr)
Apple’s iPhone 6 is expected to launch in two sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is reportedly on track for a release this fall. Apple is said to have been running into production issues with the 5.5-inch version, with that model likely seeing a release later this year or early next year.
Along with a larger screen, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is expected to include a thinner profile, upgraded A8 processor, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and an improved camera featuring optical image stabilization. A report earlier this week from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also claimed that Apple is negotiating with carriers to increase the price of the iPhone 6 by $100.
Following a brief maintenance period worldwide, Apple’s Online Stores in the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, and the Czech Republic are now selling the 8 GB iPhone 5c. The device was spotted in these online stores by 9to5Mac.
The 8 GB version of the phone was launched last month in a few of Apple’s Online Stores alongside the relaunched 16 GB iPad 4. Apple revealed in a statement to Re/code that its strategy with the 8 GB iPhone 5c is to offer a low-cost option that is compatible with the growing number of developing LTE networks in certain countries. The report also noted that Apple prefers not to sell the lower-cost model in the United States because of the popularity of subsidized phones.
The 8GB iPhone 5c is available now through select Apple Online Stores as well as through various Apple Retail locations.
Apple and Samsung are duking it out in court yet again, but there’s at least one thing they (and a host of their smartphone making rivals) agree on: users shouldn’t be helpless when their phones are stolen. That’s why, starting in July 2015, all of the smartphones those companies sell in the United States will come with an anti-theft tool meant to help keep your data out of the wrong hands. The full list of backers includes the usual heavyweights: besides Apple and Samsung, there’s Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, along with the country’s biggest wireless carriers. Those parties in total represent a tremendous chunk of the American wireless industry, so your next (or next next) smartphone will almost certainly let you stick it to the sticky-fingered.
And what, pray tell, would such tools do? According to the CTIA, users will be able to remotely wipe and restore their devices (say, from a cloud backup), and prevent them from being reactivated or used by unsavory types. That seemingly simple move wouldn’t just save us all anguish, it could save us a collective total of $2.5 billion a year in replacement costs and insurance fees. It sure sounds like a win for consumers, but some — like Senator Mark Leno, who sponsored a bill to create a kill-switch for connected gadgets in the Golden State — think such tools should be on by default rather than requiring users to opt-in. He’s probably on to something, but at least all these companies have a few months to iron out the details.
Filed under: Mobile
Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Motorola, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung have announced a voluntary agreement to include anti-theft technology on all smartphones beginning next year, according to a report by Re/code.
The pledge has device makers agreeing that all devices going on sale after July of 2015 will have capabilities to remotely wipe data and to prevent the device from being reactivated without the owner’s permission.
A number of state and local lawmakers praised the agreement, though it was panned as inadequate by California state Sen. Mark Leno, who has proposed a mandatory kill-switch law.
“The wireless industry today has taken an incremental yet inadequate step to address the epidemic of smartphone theft,” Leno said in a statement. “Only weeks ago, they claimed that the approach they are taking today was infeasible and counterproductive. While I am encouraged they are moving off of that position so quickly, today’s ‘opt-in’ proposal misses the mark if the ultimate goal is to combat street crime and violent thefts involving smartphones and tablets.”
The senator pointed out that all smartphones must have similar kill switch features, or violent street crime and thefts will continue to occur as at least some of the device thefts will still be profitable.
It is likely that Apple’s Activation Lock, introduced alongside iOS 7, satisfies the requirements of the agreement already. Activation Lock effectively disables a stolen smartphone by preventing it from being wiped and reactivated without an Apple ID and password. Apple’s Find My iPhone also allows for devices to be remotely wiped and locked.
The beta is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store as well as through the Mac Dev Center.
Apple continues to ask developers to focus on Graphics Drivers and Audio, and Safari. As was discovered with the first beta, 10.9.3 adds new support for 4K displays, offering “Retina” resolutions that improve readability along with support for 60Hz output from the Retina MacBook Pro.
As we progress further into 2014, iPhone 6 rumors have begun to pick up, with case designs, schematics, molds, and alleged iPhone parts surfacing over the past few weeks to give hints at what Apple’s larger iPhone might look like.
Today Japanese site Mac Otakara [Google Translation] (via 9to5Mac) has shared some additional images of iPhone 6 mockups and accessories being displayed in several different booths at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair.
One image shows a physical iPhone 6 mockup that has allegedly been used to create cases for the next version of the iPhone next to an iPhone case made using the dummy version.
While few details can be gleaned from the model, it does appear to be larger in size with rectangular volume buttons and a sleep/wake power button on the right hand side of the device, which is in line with some previous rumors. It also possesses a round camera flash, as was described in schematics that leaked in March.
The site has also published a video displaying some lightning cables aimed at the iPhone 6 as well as a close-up look at the iPhone 6 mockup.
It is unclear whether the mockups and the cases are representative of the actual iPhone 6, but thus far, the iPhone 6 leaks coming out of Asia have all shared many of the same design similarities outlined above.
Apple’s iPhone 6 is expected to come in two sizes, at 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The majority of leaks we have seen so far have depicted the 4.7-inch version, as it is said to be in production for a September or October release. The 5.5 version has seen some production delays, which could see it being released later in 2014 or in early 2015.
In addition to two display sizes, the iPhone 6 is expected to include an upgraded A8 processor, camera improvements in the form of optical image stabilization, slimmer bezels, a thinner chassis, and Touch ID support.
Microsoft today started selling its Office 365 Personal subscription, a less expensive version of Office 365 that targets individual users. The cloud-based subscription service provides access to online versions of Microsoft’s Office productivity suite, online storage in OneDrive and a block of Skype calling minutes.
The new personal option allows subscribers to connect one PC or Mac desktop computer and one tablet, including the iPad, to the online service. It will cost $69 per year or $6.99 per month. Customers who require more connections can sign up for the Office 365 Home plan, which is geared towards families with support for up to five desktops and five tablets.
The new Office 365 Personal plan is available for purchase at Office365.com. It also is available at Microsoft Stores and through Microsoft’s online and retail partners. Microsoft also offers Office 365 business plans, which are priced by the number of users and are designed for real-time, online collaboration using the Office 365 suite.