Also, other technology news not related to Apple. Honest. Including the Internet Slowdown, Microsoft buying Minecraft, remembering the Sega Dreamcast, and playing Dark Souls with a plastic guitar.
Apple Reinvents The ‘Watch’
After years of rumors, Apple has finally taken the wraps off its first smartwatch. The rather dully named Apple Watch features a square face, a choice of straps in fluoroelastomer, leather, and stainless steel, a digital crown which acts as the main UI, and inductive charging. Dashing hopes this would be a standalone smartwatch, the Apple Watch needs to be paired with an iPhone 5 or later.
As with Android Wear, the Apple Watch will be mainly focused on delivering notifications. However, there will be dedicated apps created for the Apple Watch, and novelty features such as animated emoji and a heartbeat sensor add to the overall package. More interesting is the taptic engine which will offer haptic feedback to the wearer’s wrist. Worryingly, battery life wasn’t mentioned during the announcement.
The Apple Watch will be available early in 2015, with prices starting at $349.
Apple Unveils iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus
Apple has unveiled the iPhone 6, and its bigger brother, the iPhone 6 Plus.
As expected, and demanded, the iPhone 6 features a large 4.7-inch display, while the iPhone 6 Plus features an even larger 5.5-inch display. Both sport a new curved design mimicking the latest iPads. Scotching rumors of the so-called “sapphire display“, the screens are “ion strengthened.” Both phones are powered by the new A8 processor, and feature 8-megapixel cameras (unchanged since the iPhone 4s).
Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will ship with iOS 8 and support the new Apple Pay feature for contactless payments. Preorders begin on Sept. 12, with the first units sold on Sept. 19. The iPhone 6 is available in gold, silver, or space grey, with prices starting at $199 on a two-year contract ($649 unlocked). People who love the iPhone will lap it up, while those on Android or Windows Phone will wonder what all the fuss is about.
Today Is Internet Slowdown Day
As previously mentioned, Sept. 10 is the day of the Internet Slowdown. This is an organized protest taking part on various sites across the Web — including Reddit, Netflix, and Twitter — to show support for the notion of net neutrality. This idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally is under threat from rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Websites taking part in the Internet Slowdown will display the loading icon that has brought frustration to countless Internet users over the years. Services won’t actually be slowed down, but users will be directed to a page discussing the issues surrounding net neutrality. You can show your support by visiting battleforthenet.com.
Microsoft May Be Buying Minecraft
Microsoft is rumored to be buying Mojang AB, makers of the insanely popular Minecraft game. Microsoft and Mojang have both refused to comment on speculation, but the Wall Street Journal claims a deal is imminent.
The deal would value Mojang at around $2 billion, but could lead to Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, walking away from the company he founded. Persson has been critical of Microsoft in the past, using the launch of Windows 8 to tell the company to “stop trying to ruin the PC.” And to be fair, he had a point.
A Free U2 Album For Every iTunes User
If you have iTunes installed on your computer then you now have the new U2 album waiting to be downloaded. Songs Of Innocence is being given away for free to all iTunes users who want it: just visit the Purchased page on the iTunes Store and it will be available to download.
While it’s free to iTunes users, Songs Of Innocence wasn’t given free to Apple. And U2 isn’t missing the opportunity to make more money either, with a promotional push of the band’s previous studio albums included in the deal. Still, a freebie is a freebie, even if it is only another terrible U2 album.
The Sega Dreamcast Turns 15
The Dreamcast turned 15 yesterday (Sept. 9), with the last Sega games console originally debuting on 9.9.99. This isn’t especially important technology news, but for those of us who adored the Dreamcast despite its many failings, it’s a reminder of how many years have passed since the ad embedded above filled our young heads with wonderment at what was to come. Oh, happy days.
Playing Dark Souls With A Plastic Guitar
And finally, Dark Souls is rightly regarded as one of the toughest games ever made, with a steep learning curve and brutally unforgiving difficulty level. Which makes Benjamin Gwin, who tackled (and beat) Dark Souls using nothing but a plastic Rock Band guitar either a masochistic fool or an Internet legend. Watch the video and then choose which moniker you prefer.
Your Views On Today’s Tech News
Are you impressed with Apple’s new products? Will you be buying an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or Apple Watch? Would you be happy to see Microsoft buy Mojang and own Minecraft? Do you have fond memories of the Sega Dreamcast?
Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.