Alongside the launch of iOS 9, Apple today introduced a new “Move to iOS” app for Android devices. The app, which is now available for download, is designed to help Android users transfer their content from an Android device to an iOS device.
With Move to iOS installed on an Android smartphone or tablet, the Move to iOS service is able to transfer almost all important data from the Android device to the new iOS device, including contacts, message history, photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail account information, calendars, wallpapers, DRM-free songs, and books.
Using Move to iOS also helps users transfer over their apps to rebuild their app libraries. On the Android device, the app will compile a list of all the apps that have been downloaded from the Google Play Store or other sources. All free apps that have iOS counterparts will be suggested as immediate downloads, while apps that have paid iOS counterparts will be automatically added to a user’s iTunes Wish List for purchase as needed.
Apple has created a support document that walks Android users through using the Move to iOS app. It requires Android 4.0 or later, a Wi-Fi connection, and enough available space on the iOS device receiving content.
First announced at WWDC, Move to iOS is Apple’s most aggressive move towards encouraging Android users to switch to iPhone. By making it easy to transfer content, Apple is removing a lot of the headache associated with changing platforms. Apple has had a support document and a microsite designed to help Android users switch to iOS for quite some time, but this new app is a more comprehensive, streamlined solution.
Apple News is an all-new app on iOS 9 that aggregates stories from several sources into one mobile-friendly format for reading on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The app is very similar to existing news apps such as Flipboard and Zine, displaying a list of news articles and personalized stories based on publications that interest you.
International readers should note that Apple News is currently available in the U.S. only.
Apple allows publishers of all sizes to sign up to be included on Apple News using News Publisher, ranging from traditional publications such as The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail and Slate to independent blogs such as MacRumors, TouchArcade and Daring Fireball.
Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.
During setup, you can choose news publications and topics that interest you, including business, technology, fashion, sports and more. You can also choose to have news stories emailed straight to your inbox.
News stories are displayed in a scrollable grid and have interactive layouts accompanied by photo galleries, videos and animations, and content can be shared for offline reading. Apple News Format is also coming soon, which integrates with a publisher’s existing content management system and provides access to a rich suite of tools to measure user engagement with published content.
Apple News is split into five sections:
- For You: A continuously updated feed of personalized stories based on your likes and interests
- Favorites: The latest news from your favorite publications, magazines and blogs
- Explore: Recommended topics and channels that you are not following yet
- Search: Enter keywords to discover and add specific topics and channels
- Saved: Save articles into a list that supports offline reading and syncs to your other iOS devices through iCloud
Be sure to add MacRumors to Apple News for the latest news and rumors delivered right to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
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Best Buy is a very well-known seller of electronics in the US. Anyone that has been to a Best Buy knows that the retail stores offer just about every bit of technology the average consumer would need. For a number of years the retailer has also been an authorized seller of phones for various cell providers. Including Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. They are also the retail location for Samsung Experience Shops, which are basically like mini Samsung stores inside the stores. Yesterday both Verizon and AT&T made an announcement that they will both be placing mini shops, or experience stores, inside 250 Best Buys across the nation.
Both announcements are very similar, stating that the mini shops will be staffed by carrier experts and that they are aiming for 250 in-store locations open by the end of the year.
“The Verizon Experience in Best Buy is geared to showcase connected lifestyles – such as wearable tech, computing on the go and connected home – and the devices and plans that make these lifestyles a reality,” said John Colaiuti, vice president of national distribution at Verizon Wireless. “Just like in our own Destination and Smart stores, the specialists in the Verizon Experience stores at Best Buy are trained in a hands-on environment so they can provide real-world examples to customers when talking about our new simplified plans and devices.”
“The shops allow us to offer even better service to our customers, whether they need help with their data plan or understanding how their phone or tablet can better control their increasingly connected life,” said Josh Will, Senior Category Officer of Mobile and Connected Home at Best Buy. “ The mobile device is becoming the remote control to everything else in our lives, but it can be confusing. We can help shoppers make sense of it all.”
There are a number of interesting thoughts to consider about this announcement. First, are they going to both be in the same 250 stores, or have they hashed out a split where they don’t overlap? I would love to see both in the same store for competition sake. Since both carriers offer many of the same devices it would all come down to price, customer interaction and knowledge. The second side of it comes down to the ability to be able to help customers beyond just their phone. I work in retail and we often never have the gadgets or gizmos that will benefit them the most. Having a Best Buy at your back should make for an enormous boost in ability to connect the customers with everything they need.
Verizon says they have already started the roll out of their Experience Shops and are expected to have 100 locations open by the end of the month. AT&T didn’t make any mention that they have any opening up this month, just that they are coming.
The post AT&T and Verizon to open 250 mini shops inside Best Buys across the nation appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
It’s been quite some time since Amazon has released any new hardware, especially when it comes to the Kindle Fire tablet lineup. We’ve been hearing a few rumors as of late regarding a possible refresh to the lineup, which makes us think we may not be too far off from seeing some new devices. A report that surfaced early last week told us that Amazon is planning to release a 6-inch Kindle Fire tablet later this year, which will likely come to market for around $50. The report also mentioned there could be 8-inch and 10-inch variants of the new Fire tablet, and it looks like today we’re getting our first look at the larger version.
According to the leaked image (attached above), we can see that Amazon has decided to change up the hardware quite a bit from previous Fire tablets. The front-facing camera is in more of a traditional placement for holding the tablet in portrait mode, unlike the landscape-friendly placement that was found in older Fire tablets. And save for the front-facing speakers, the front of this Fire tablet looks very similar to the Nexus 9, mostly due to its slimmed down side bezels. The top of the tablet looks to house the power/standby button and volume keys, which is something we don’t normally see in the Android tablet market.
Looking to the software, the application tray is more in line with something you’d find on vanilla Android. With that said, we’re not looking at a stock software experience here, though it is a stark departure from the carousel-focused UI normally found on previous Fire tablets. As of right now, not too many other details have been leaked, but we’ll be sure to let you know when more information surfaces.
While the actual real-world utility of having two screens is debatable, the YotaPhone is probably one of the most unique smartphones to have come out to market in the last few years. Unfortunately, limited production capabilities have also resulted in a crippled market reach for the company.
When the first YotaPhone was announced its specs were actually reasonably solid, but upon release about a year later, it was looking rather dated. A similar situation occurred with the YotaPhone 2, which saw a slow rollout in many markets and pulled out of a US launch after it had already successfully funded an Indiegogo campaign to bring the phone to the US. Will things be any different with the YotaPhone 3? Possibly, or at least a new partnership with ZTE means that the odds are better.
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Yota and ZTE have formally announced an agreement that will see the larger Chinese company work with Yota for “the production of new generation of YotaPhone smartphones, as well as the development and integration of mobile services and software.” How far this partnership will reach remains unknown, but the big takeaway is that the YotaPhone 3’s announcement will hopefully be followed by an actual product launch much sooner than with the first two YotaPhones. Working with ZTE in China should also result in lower expenses, and hopefully a much more aggressive price tag in turn.
The YotaPhone 3 is expected to go on sale in Q1 2016 with a first run of about 100k units, though it has yet to be formally launched just yet. We imagine a formal announcement isn’t too far off and will be sure to update the post as soon as we learn more!
Minecraft, but as a point-and-click adventure game? When Telltale’s Story Mode title was first announced, it left many of us scratching our heads. Minecraft is hardly known for its rich narrative, and its open-ended gameplay couldn’t be further from the tightly woven, decision-driven moments found in most Telltale games. However, since then we’ve had a steady clip of trailers and screenshots that give us an idea of how it’ll all shake out — and now we’ve got a release date too. Minecraft: Story Mode launches on October 13th with the first episode, “The Order of the Stone.” It’ll be available on PC, Mac, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 — iOS and Android will join them on October 15th, followed by Wii U and PS Vita sometime in the future. Retail versions will be dropping on October 27th — Telltale is calling it a “Season Pass Disc,” which means you’ll get instant access to the first episode and download codes/patches for the latter four episodes that wrap up the series.
Tags: AdventureGames, minecraft, minecraftstorymode, mojang, releasedate, telltalegames
As promised, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system is now available for download. iOS 9 is yours for the taking, and with it comes an improved Siri, split-screen multitasking on the iPad, those newfangled Live Photos, transit info in Maps, News app and more. All of which will be welcome additions for folks who who didn’t get an early peek during the public beta. If the update hasn’t already hit your device, you can take a gander at our initial impressions while you wait.
Tags: apple, download, ios, ios9, mobilepostcross, nowavailable, software, update
Hellblade, a third-person game seen through the lens of a mentally ill protagonist, is a multimillion-dollar risk for developer Ninja Theory. Its strong focus on building a unique world and narrative represents a huge shift in creative direction from the company’s last AAA effort, the melee combat-heavy DmC: Devil May Cry. Rather than working with a big publisher, the Cambridge, England-based studio is self-funding Hellblade as an “independent AAA” title. It’s a decision that’s freed Ninja Theory from creative constraints, allowing it to tackle difficult topics and simply make the games it wants to make.
Hellblade follows Senua, a Pictish Celt warrior living with schizoaffective disorder, a mental illness that combines symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. It’s the murder of her tribe by warring Viking raiders that drives Senua into a psychotic break, causing her reality, as reflected in the gameplay, to be affected by hallucinations and delusions.
“We want to create entertainment, yes, but we also want to create art,” said Ninja Theory design chief Tameem Antoniades of the studio’s reasons for creating Hellblade without major publisher support. “And I think usually large publishers want to create a product. There is a distinction between creating a product and creating a piece of art.”
“I think usually large publishers want to create a product.”
Tameem Antoniades, Ninja Theory
Antoniades’ comments came from a talk at Develop, an annual video game development conference held this past summer in Brighton, England. It wasn’t until Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, that Ninja Theory was ready to show off a brief demo of Hellblade‘s mechanics. There, Dom Matthews, the studio’s “product development ninja,” walked us through what’s called a “vertical slice” of the game. It’s an industry term for a pre-production demo that, rather than being representative of the final game, combines various ideas to see what does and doesn’t work before entering full production. The demo follows Senua as she begins her journey to the Viking heartland to exact revenge.
During the 15-minute scene, rocks shape-shift; Viking enemies take on otherworldly forms; and the environment transforms with Senua’s heightening fear. This transformation isn’t tied to your actions; instead the environmental change helps hammer home the protagonist’s fluctuating emotional state. Of course, there are solid combat mechanics — you’d expect as much from the studio behind DmC and Heavenly Sword — but fights are few and far between. And the ones that do occur are overshadowed by the game’s intentionally fractured narrative and unique design.
It’s this focus on mental health, as opposed to more traditional and appealing combat, that Matthews believes makes a game like Hellblade financially unattractive to big publishers. “[The decision to go indie] is not really the result of any specific issue; it’s the reality of the AAA development market that you have to try and make a game that sells to millions of millions of people,” said Matthews. “You have to make compromises to justify the huge development costs associated with that.”
Hellblade‘s budget is low by AAA-development standards, but very high compared to the average indie game. Whereas a typical AAA game “is going to be $50 million upwards,” explained Matthews, Hellblade comes in “way below $10 million.” And that budget’s funded almost entirely by the studio itself. “We’ve put in our money; we’ve got loans and some support from the Wellcome Trust. … By and large, it’s our own money. That allows us to maintain creative ownership.”
That partnership with the Wellcome Trust, a medical research charity, is notable in that it’s helping to inform Hellblade‘s depiction of mental illness — a particularly tricky theme for video games to properly address. Through it, the studio was put in contact with people living with mental illness, as well as a professor of health neuroscience at Cambridge University who is working with the team to ensure an accurate portrayal of schizoaffective disorder. Even the most careful and well-intentioned developer can end up doing more harm than good when integrating mental illness into their game. Tackling the subject is a risk in itself.
“With Kickstarter you’ve got one shot. If you take donations and it doesn’t work out, then you’ve burnt that bridge.”
Dom Matthews, Ninja Theory
Given its niche appeal, an obvious question lingers over Hellblade: Why not follow other developers’ examples and try crowdfunding? For Matthews, that route represents a gamble the studio wasn’t willing to make. “I think with Kickstarter you’ve got one shot,” he said. “If you take donations and it doesn’t work out, then you’ve burnt that bridge. We didn’t want to take money from our fans and then have it fail. … [Hellblade] is an experiment, and there’s a risk that it won’t work.”
Self-funding the project means keeping the team small; 15 people are working on Hellblade right now, with most disciplines being filled by one person. “That’s the team size; that’s what we can afford,” Matthews explained, “but they’re experienced people that have spent a lot of time making AAA games.”
While the rest of the studio remains under the safety net of publishers — Ninja Theory just finished work on a portion of the well-received Disney Infinity 3.0 — the team building Hellblade has to improvise to keep costs low. To that end, Matthews even built a motion-capture space in the studio’s boardroom. “We used Amazon lights and IKEA wardrobe poles [and] did a proper ‘DIY’ job on it. But we got really important data for the game. It’s encouraging that we’re getting wins like that. … We have to be innovative for this to work.”
In order for Ninja Theory to break even on its risky indie effort, it needs to move 300,000 copies of Hellblade. Given the studio’s prominence and track record, the target seems more than realistic. “It’s a lot easier than the 5 million units that big AAA games have to do,” said Matthews, “but it’s not going to be easy.”
Without the marketing budget of a Capcom or a Disney behind it, Ninja Theory is going to rely heavily on reviews, word-of-mouth and promotion from Sony, which is offering it as a PlayStation exclusive (Hellblade is also coming to PC). “We’ve got a partnership with Sony who are doing a really good job of helping independent developers publish their own games, as are Microsoft. … That type of support is really crucial for us,” said Matthews. But marketing from Sony isn’t guaranteed, as even Sony-published games like Until Dawn seem to fall through the cracks.
That Ninja Theory is experimenting on its own dime with a non-traditional premise suggests it has a great deal of faith in Hellblade. These are early days — it’s only just entered the production phase, meaning the studio’s learning from its experiments with the “vertical slice” and building the game proper. Ninja Theory’s current aim is to release Hellblade at some point in 2016 as something “half the length and half the cost” of a typical AAA game. “We really want to make this work,” said Matthews, “and in all likelihood if we can do that, we’ll go on and do more things like this.”
Images: Ninja Theory
Tags: gamescom-2015, hdpostcross, Hellblade, MentalHealth, NinjaTheory
While there’s talk that Amazon will soon release a $50 6-inch Fire tablet, the company apparently wants to make sure all bases are covered. Well-known leaker Evan Blass has shared an render of an upcoming 10-inch Fire slate, which would become the retailer’s biggest to date. While the specifications are unknown, it’s clear that the tablet runs Android Lollipop and the UI is a little different from what we’ve seen before. It signals that the company might be moving away from the carousel of apps and services on existing Fire tablets and embracing a cleaner look and feel for fireOS.
When the Fire Phone failed to light up the smartphone market, Amazon reportedly shelved future phone plans and laid off a number of engineers from its hardware division, Lab126. Today’s leak, coupled with rumors of a smaller tablet, suggests the company will offset its smartphone losses by placing a renewed focus on its Fire line-up. There’s no word on when we can expect Amazon to confirm such plans, so you’ll have to make do with a brief look at one of the rumored devices it may unveil in the future.
Evan Blass (Twitter)
Tags: amazon, android, fireos, kindle, kindle fire, mobilepostcross
Suck reunion from L to R: Joey Anuff, Ana Marie Cox, Carl Steadman, Heather Havrilesky, Tim Cavanaugh.
“A fish, a barrel and a smoking gun.” If you recognize that phrase, it’s likely you’re old enough — or at least, been on the web long enough — to remember Suck.com, one of the earliest ad-supported content sites on the internet. Started in 1995, Suck offered daily doses of satirical editorial that skewered all manner of topics — from the state of the early web to politics and pop culture. It ran its course in 2001, and while there were efforts to at least keep its archives online, even the last remnants of Suck.com disappeared from the web unceremoniously earlier this year. In celebration of Suck‘s 20th anniversary (which passed a few weeks ago), several of the publication’s original crew gathered at the XOXO Festival last weekend to reminisce and reflect on its legacy.
Prior to the reunion however, I caught up with Suck co-founders Joey Anuff and Carl Steadman to chat about Suck‘s history. To modern eyes, Suck.com‘s center-aligned, black-text-on-white-page aesthetic probably doesn’t seem like much. But back when it debuted, it was unique and different. “At the time, online publications would force you to go through a number of clicks to get to content, and they were updated weekly or monthly, certainly not daily,” said Steadman. “It was just obvious to me that you needed daily content and you’d go to a place that was a habit-forming medium.”
But more than that, he along with Anuff knew that there needed to be a site that would call bullshit on the internet. “There was Netscape’s Site of the Day and there was an ecosystem of sites that were making content, but that was it. … It was all just self-infatuated prophesizing,” said Anuff. “There was a need for skepticism, for tough love. … The web is not a genius masterpiece. It was never going to be a challenge to find shitty web content.” In short, Anuff said, writing for the site was like shooting fish in a barrel — hence the slogan. What Anuff really wanted to do was a Mad Magazine-style publication for the web.
Suck was known for its cartoon style and center-aligned text. This was how it looked in 1999.
So, they did. The two worked for HotWired (the online companion to Wired‘s print magazine) at the time and when they weren’t busy doing that, they worked on Suck. “We wanted the site’s name to be borderline profane,” said Anuff. “The joke was, I thought we could call it Suck, and then use the tagline, ‘We admit it.’” They also liked it because the name had the dual virtue of being catchy and sort of naughty. Plus, they didn’t plan for the site to last very long. “Joey promised me we would only run it for a year and then shut it down,” said Steadman.
But it didn’t. While they ran the site under anonymous pseudonyms for a while — Anuff was known as the Duke of URL and Steadman was known as Webster — they were soon uncovered by fellow co-workers. That’s partly because Suck‘s targets sometimes included Wired as well (one particular example was an article that detailed how to remove advertising from the magazine’s website). But because the content was so good, Wired struck them a deal and offered to buy Suck. They could remain independent, but Wired would give them a budget and a staff.
Though Suck‘s ownership would eventually change hands a few times (it shifted from Wired to Lycos and then to Automatic Media), this early influx of cash meant that it would last another six years. The site hired Ana Marie Cox to be executive editor and Tim Cavanaugh, who served as editor-in-chief from 1998 to 2001. Suck signed on Heather Havrilesky to be Senior Editor and write under the name Polly Esther, who was behind the popular comic/column called Filler (which always went up on Wednesdays). And perhaps most notably from a design perspective, it brought on the talents of illustrator Terry Colon, who provided the site’s iconic comic style. For six years, the site honed and crafted its voice, hired a host of different contributors and was easily one of the most successful publications on the web. Suck paid its writers very well — about $1,000 per column, said Anuff, which is unheard of even by today’s standards. There was even a book published in 1997 entitled Suck: Worst-Case Scenarios in Media, Culture, Advertising, and the Internet.
An example of Suck’s weekly Wednesday Filler comic
Cox, Cavanaugh and Havrilesky joined Steadman and Anuff in a reunion at the XOXO Festival last Saturday, making it the first time all five of them have appeared on stage together. Steadman and Anuff in particular have not seen each other for almost 14 years prior to the conference. The group traded memories and jokes, talking animatedly about the past. Cavanaugh mentioned it was like therapy thanks to the couch on stage. Havrilesky later said, “I never have therapy sessions like this. I usually cry into my hands.”
Cavanaugh pointed out that one particular lasting legacy of Suck‘s is the idea of using a link as a rhetorical effect. “People still used italics to make a point in a sentence back then,” he said, explaining that the site was one of the first to use a link to let readers know what it was writers were discussing, or to point to a joke. “That was what knocked my socks off about Suck right away, was the idea that oh, the link is this funny thing.”
“I think one of the things Suck did was recognize the ability of, if you have a link, if you’re writing on the web, you can assume people will catch up with you,” said Cox. “You can assume there’s a body of knowledge you share, and everyone is in on the joke.”
Now, of course, the site is no more. Funds ran out largely thanks to the dot-com bust, and Suck posted a “Gone Fishin’” sign that said it was gone indefinitely. Suck still exists on mirror sites and on Archive.org, but if you go to Suck.com itself, all you’ll see currently is a rather bland porn portal.
When asked if Suck could exist today, Anuff said no. “Now there’s nothing unique about it,” he said. “Opinionated expressiveness of digital communications is so prevalent today that it’s worthless. … The chances that the thing that you’re saying is unique, that it’s worthwhile, is low.” Anuff did say he liked a lot of the amateur writing he finds on Tumblr and Medium, but it’s not quite the same. He also had a sense that today’s audiences wouldn’t be patient enough to read through Suck content. “There was no “TL;DR” in the ’90s. Everything that Suck ever published was TL;DR.”
Suck’s final post, posted on June 8th, 2001.
“The threshold has just moved low,” said Steadman about the plethora of content available today. “It’s not democratization; it’s mediocratization.” He pointed out that one of the key factors that set the Tumblrs and the Mediums apart from what Suck did was that Suck was an actual publication with editorial oversight. “There’s something about having a publication where one needs to pitch. All of our ideas would regularly be shot down. That’s not how it works today.” Even with the good sites, Steadman said, voice and point of view are not drilled into their DNA. “It’s not that they don’t have a voice; it’s that they don’t have a unified voice,” he said. “That’s one of the painful processes for getting writers for Suck. We brought on a writer once who was very good, but his tone was entirely wrong. We took the time for each of our editors and writers to learn the voice and get that down.”
“And, to me, in order to fall in love with something, there has to be something,” explained Steadman. “Love is about projecting onto something what you want it to be. That’s difficult with publications without that strong singular point of view.”
“I think ClickHole is actually the Suck of today,” said Cox during the onstage reunion. “I wish we had the balls to be as absurdist.” Anuff countered, “I always felt belittled and embittered by any of the efforts of The Onion.” Cox replied that Suck actually had a column about how awesome The Onion was. “That was a mistake,” said Cavanaugh, to which the crowd chuckled.
“Suck was a wonderful opportunity to treat the reader as an equal,” said Steadman, summing up Suck‘s core ethos. “To me that’s what writing is about. It was about inviting someone in. It’s not telling them where to go.”
Tags: anamariecox, carlsteadman, heatherhavrilesky, joeyanuff, suck, suckdotcom, timcavanaugh, uk-feature, xoxo, xoxo2015, xoxofest