Despite issues with the company’s live recording equipment back in September, reportedly preventing the firm from being able to provide a true live-stream of its iPhone-focused media event to its iOS customers, Apple has today announced that its October 22 event will be streamed live around the world.
The stream will be available for those who own an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, as well as through a web browser on your Mac and for those who own an Apple TV. This will notably be the the first live-stream that the company has provided for its special media events held throughout this year.
Set to showcase all of the announcements we can expect to see when executives from the company take to the stage later today, for those devices which support web browsing the stream will be accessible around 10AM Pacific, 1PM Eastern, through a specially-designed page which went live on the company’s website just a few hours ago.
To access this exclusive live-stream from your chosen iOS device, all you need to do is ensure that your Wi-Fi setting is ‘On’ (Settings > Wi-Fi > ON), open Safari, and head over to this page. The stream will take advantage of Apple’s QuickTime video technology, so it’s worth noting that in order to view the stream from your Mac, you’ll first need to have Safari 4 (or later) installed, and ensure that your system is running on OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (or later).
Alternatively, if you’re planning on tuning-in to the event from your iPhone, or iPad – which we imagine most of you might be – you’ll need to be running iOS 4.2 (or later). Streaming the event to your big-screen via the Apple TV will require either a second or third-generation Apple TV, and the TV-connected device must also be running software 5.0.2 (or later).
Why is there such a buzz around XCOM: Enemy Unknown arriving on iOS? Sure, It’s not just a high-quality title, but it’s also a current-generation console and PC game that is being brought to iPhones and iPads. But why does this buzz exist? Why is the mobile gaming community excited about getting to play a game that already exists on multiple other platforms?
I believe it’s because mobile gamers not only want to play core games like XCOM, but they also want them to succeed because they want more of them. The mobile market just hasn’t been the friendliest environment so far for the kinds of experiences available on consoles and PC. Developers and publishers have been scared away from making either ports or even original core games thanks to the pricing race to the bottom, despite hardware becoming more technically-capable of handling core games. $19.99 is cheap for XCOM, but not in the wider context of $0.99 and free-to-play games that are so prevalent on mobile.
It feels hopeful to see promising titles take a blowtorch to the current system. The mobile market should be able to support games worthy of higher prices as well as the lower-cost indie titles and the free-to-play games, in a similar way to what Steam has done. That service is not the most accessible for indies, and it still reinforces the archaic notion of ‘publishing’ in a digital distribution system. Despite the drawbacks, at least it’s possible for games at smaller price points to thrive along with the big-budget, big-price games. Mobile gaming is largely beholden to the free-to-play (or almost free) pricing scheme.
Providing additional hope for core games on mobile is the promise of gamepads. There are going to be some core games that just aren’t going to be great on touchscreens. Sure, it’s possible to create passable interfaces for many games, but many games are just plain better with physical controls. Hello, Grand Theft Auto 3. That Apple is making physical controls a possibility, and with the sleeping giant that is TV gaming via the Apple TV lying in wait, core gaming feels like it is nearing takeoff on ‘mobile’ platforms.
Too. Many. Virtual. Buttons.
With this movement, there is definite potential for drawing in core gamers who have rejected mobile gaming. If they see that mobile can support the kinds of games they love, then perhaps they’ll give the platform its just due. On the flipside, I think that mobile gamers want to see their platform of choice become accepted. Is it insecurity? Perhaps to a small degree, but there’s no reason for this platform to be so disrespected.
Sure, the gaming handhelds have tried to provide core gaming experiences while on the go. But there’s just so much less creativity on those platforms because they’re not completely open to all developers yet. The Vita’s getting to that point with Playstation Mobile, but its single-use focus means I don’t see a need to carry it around with me at all times when when my iPhone is just more handy. I can use that to do everything, including playing games. But what reason is there for my iPhone to not have the kinds of games that I can have on my Vita and 3DS?
Yeah, but does it have Tweetbot?
Mobile gaming is great, and it’s opened up avenues for new types of games and for new types of gamers. Yet there’s no reason the core gaming experience, and those that enjoy it, shouldn’t be welcome on mobile too. So yes, get excited about core games like XCOM coming to mobile, and support the worthy ones, because it can lead to more great games coming to mobile, and that’s a very good thing.
Posted by Jeff Scott on November 1st, 2012 + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Gameloft has release a new poker game, Texas Poker for Prizes. This free to play game has one huge interesting twist. Just by playing the game, you have the chance to win some real world prizes — TVs, trips to Las Vegas, and more.
While that’s the hook, the game does have other things going for it. For one, when playing online you can play up to four tables at once. Very useful when you are waiting on 8 other slow players to decide their move. It also has the ability to support Airplay where the poker table can be displayed on your TV (via Apple TV) while each players hands are shown on their handheld devices in a local multiplayer game.
AirPlay Mirroring is great – in theory. Beaming an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch screen to an Apple TV without having to fuss with cables at all? Wonderful! However, apparently beaming HD video across a wireless network is not easy! For those getting blurry video, or latency so slow that it feels like communicating with the moon would be faster, here’s some tips to make AirPlay Mirroring work far better.
Get close to the router
Rule number one of wireless communication: the closer you are to the wireless source, the better the signal. In this case, video will look a lot better. What may help is to set up a second router near your TV as an access point, using a physical ethernet run to the main router. This may be most easily done via powerline ethernet adapters.
Plug the Apple TV into ethernet
Look, the great thing about wifi is that there’s no cables to fuss with. However, because wifi is essentially sound waves traveling through walls and and other waves, as opposed to beams of concentrated light sent on a direct path like with ethernet, a lot of issues can come up because of this. So, if possible, plug the Apple TV in to the router via ethernet. Performance will get better instantaneously as only one the iOS device will have to be wirelessly communicating to the router.
Upgrade that old router
That old Linksys router with the curious blue front and black body may still work fine for many tasks, but even wireless-G is something of a speed and latency dinosaur. Upgrading to a wireless-N router will find video quality and latency much improved. A dual-band router, one that uses both 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands, may find improved performance all around.
Upgrade that old Apple TV
The 2nd generation Apple TV, released in 2010, can decode 720p video sent by AirPlay. Just not very quickly. Upgrading to the newer Apple TV, bolstering an A5 processor, can help. But really, there’s one step for getting high-quality, low-latency AirPlay Mirroring:
Get a Mac.
It’s not an officially-supported feature, but there is a third-party app that can do AirPlay Mirroring on the Mac, called Reflection. It’s $15 with a free trial, and it leverages the powerful processor in a Mac (generally more powerful than the ones in Apple TVs) to provide AirPlay Mirroring at probably the lowest latency possible. I was able to get six-digit scores on Punch Quest, and while some latency is definitely noticeable still, it’s the best possible experience. Just get an HDMI cable and plug that bad boy in to the flatscreen!
AirPlay Mirroring will never be perfect because wireless communication is inherently imperfect, but these tips will make the experience far better!
One of the developers of Run for Peace discusses the inspiration behind the endless runner Run for Peace, and the message Game Cooks wanted to send with this game, made in Beirut. As well, he discusses the challenges that come with developing games in a country like Lebanon, without an established development culture.
Matthew Braun, the developer of SketchParty TV, talks about what made him make an iPad game designed to be played on TVs.
In one of the smaller announcements today, Apple announced that iOS 5 on the iPad 2 will support a feature called AirPlay mirroring. This feature is something that I’ve been telling people would eventually come to the iOS world and basically backdoor Apple into the console market.
If you aren’t familiar with HDMI mirroring on the iPad, it’s a feature that lets you plug in an cable into a special adapter on your iPad 2 and display your screen on an HDTV. This feature is great for use in classrooms and has even seen some play in games as well with Firemint using this feature to allow 1080p output on your TV from their Real Racing 2 HD via mirroring. But, you are tethered to the TV with a cable.
So, what’s AirPlay mirroring then, you ask? According to Apple, “AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®.” To me, that means with an iPad 2, you’ll be able to do that mirroring without a cable. That means anything you see on your iPad 2, you will be able to see on an Apple TV. Let that sink in and then think using that feature for games.
This means that any game you play on your iPad 2, you’ll be able to play on your TV, wirelessly. Yes, wirelessly. You launch Angry Birds on your iPad 2 and the Angry Birds screen will show up on your TV. Boom, instant game console with $0.99 game downloads.
To control the game, you would use the iOS device as the controller. The Apple TV becomes the cheapest console out there at $99 with the largest game library at nearly 100,000 games. Your iPad 2 becomes your controller, albeit a very expensive one. We can assume that this feature will also be available in the next iPhone and iPod touch, once their processors and memory are upgraded and on parity with the iPad 2.
Let’s wrap that all up together, and it means that you can consider the Apple TV to be firmly in the game console market now. This is huge! I can’t stress enough how much of a game changer this is for the gaming world.
Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft should be worried. They have all been rather slow to adopt downloadable games, now Apple has gone and made it easy and cheap. If Apple does to the console market what they have done to the mobile software market, they should be very worried. The Apple TV, which started out as Steve Jobs hobby, could turn out to be the most popular home game and entertainment console around.
Apple regularly schedules a September event to unveil new iPods and other odds and ends in time for the holiday buying season. I think we can assume this year will be more of the same. What will we see and what won’t we see? I’m going to try to put some odds to the various rumors and possible announcements. Note that these are all just my opinion as a guy that watches what Apple does with a rather critical and overly obsessive eye.
New iPod Touch – odds: even money
It’s almost guaranteed we’ll see a new iPod Touch introduced. This, like the iPhone announcement in June, has become a regular event. The question is what are the features we’ll see? I’m hoping we will, as in past years, see feature plurality with the current generation iPhone. So we’ll hopefully see the Retina Display (odds: 2-1), front facing camera with Facetime capability (odds: 3-1), rear camera (odds: 5-1). I’m also wondering if we’ll see the storage capacity increased beyond 64GB (odds: 4-1). And will we see other iPod lines retired like the iPod Classic, perhaps (odds: 8-1)?
iOS 4.1 Officially Announced – odds: even
This is also a given. iOS 4.1 has been in beta for 9+ weeks now and it’s been over 3 weeks since the last beta release. Betas usually come out every 2 weeks. So I think we can guess that it’s done and ready to release. We can expect the release either next week on 9/1 or very shortly after. What features will it have? A fix for the proximity sensor (odds: even) and a Game Center release (odds: 3-1) are the best bets. There’s the possibility that the length of time since the last beta was due to Apple adding in a mystery feature or two (odds: 5-1), or maybe it has to do with….
iOS 4.1 on the iPad – odds: 8-1
While I can’t wait to get iOS 4 on the iPad, it won’t be for a couple more months. I’m hoping that we’ll at least get some details on iOS 4 for the iPad (odds: 4-1), but I won’t hold my breath for that. Features I’m hoping for include support for running iPhone 4 resolution apps (odds: 4-1) and dashboard / icon layout update that takes better advantage of the screen size (odds: 30-1).
Updated Apple TV / iTV – odds: 5-1
This is the big new announcement most are expecting and an update to the Apple TV has been a long time coming. But I think Apple still sees it as too small of a market. I could be way off base here, but I think it’s too early for this rumored update. Apple has had so many leak problems that we tend to know just about every detail of a new device before it’s launched. We haven’t seen anything about a new Apple TV other than a few persistent rumors. While this would be the perfect time to launch it, just before the holidays, I just think it’s too early. But, in case it will be announced, the rumored features are a $99 price tag (odds: 10-1), and iOS based system (odds: 3-2), and App Store support of some kind (odds: 3-2).
Tension is building for the Apple Keynote, an annual event to kick off the 2010 WWDC. Let’s take a quick look at the things will will most certainly see, and some that we hope to see.
The Next iPhone
The worst kept secret in Apple history is the next generation iPhone. Most likely called the iPhone HD, this new design has people very divided. It’s a more boxy design with an aluminum band around the middle and a ceramic/glass back. Some love the design while others hate it.
What we do know is that it has a higher resolution screen at 640×960 (4x the pixels of previous iPhones). This should provide for crisper text and in general a smoother look. The next iPhone will also apparently have a higher resolution camera on the back with a flash (finally!). The camera is reported to be an 8 MP camera that also does 720p HD video recording.
The big addition will be a front facing camera to enable video chat. This will, I’m sure, be a big impressive demo on Monday.
There are also, likely, things we don’t know yet about the new iPhone. The device we’ve seen all over the place is likely holding some secrets back for Monday. There has been talk of the back responding to touch as well as the front. That could be interesting yet I struggle to figure out how it would be used.
Let’s hope there are some secrets. Otherwise it will be really hard to Steve to present the new iPhone with his usual ‘proud father’ new device presentation style.
We already know about OS 4, but there reportedly quite a few tidbits that we don’t know about yet. Besides the release date of the final, there are likely features of the OS that we don’t know yet.
In addition, we don’t know how or when it will arrive on the iPad. If there are any iPad specific features, we’ll hopefully hear about those on Monday.
Heading for the clouds
It’s no secret that Apple has been working on cloud services for the iPhone and more broadly iTunes. The have been building a huge new data center on the east coast to support it. But the undertaking is huge. And I expect the keynote will be mainly focused on the iPhone.
Apple is rumored to be holding another event in June that might introduce cloud services and other such interesting services.
Mac Mini / Macbook Air / Desktop Macs
MacRumors is reporting supply shortages for the MacMini. This is generally an indication that a new version is coming. The timing seems logical that we might see updates to the MacMini and the rather aging Macbook Air and Desktop Macs.
Personally I think it’s just about as likely that Apple will turf the Macbook Air as update it. Differences aside, the iPad has taken the glory of the small form factor away.
This hobby project is getting really old now. Theories are that Apple will be releasing an update, this time based on the iPhone OS, not OSX. This would be a fantastic feature as it would open the platform to all of the iPhone OS apps. Apps for TV! This would compete directly with Google TV. The question is, is this a good business to be in?
While I’d like to think that we’ll see this Monday, I think it might be too early. But you never know.
We know one thing, this should be a very huge keynote. While we know a lot, we don’t know everything. The questions that remain and possibilities are huge.
Check back Monday, we’ll give you a few live blogs you can reference to follow the latest info from the keynote. In addition, we’ll tweet a few of the highlights at @148Apps and post a full recap and commentary sometime after the event.