Sky has a beautiful, dreamy, and minimalist art style. [credit:
Samuel Axon ]
This week marks the launch of Sky: Children of Light, a game from famed designed Jenova Chen and beloved studio thatgamecompany, on iOS devices. Intended as an entry point to gaming that upends conventions and seeks new ranges of emotional expression, Sky was revealed during Apple’s iPhone keynote in 2017 as a mobile-first game and an iOS exclusive at launch.
The game is expected to arrive on Android, Mac, Apple TV, Windows PC, and consoles sometime in the future, though. Its initial wide launch this week follows a long soft-launch period and a launch-date delay as the game went through some big changes in testing to get its social aspects—a key part of the experience—just right.
In Sky, you play as a nondescript, child-like being who walks and flies through varied 3D environments collecting light, helping beings, solving puzzles, and working with friends to bring light back to your world.
Apple is planning to open an office in highly desired location in Vancouver, Canada reports Bloomberg. The company has leased space in a 24-story office building at 400 West Georgia owned by Westbank, where companies like Deloitte and IWG plc’s Spaces co-working unit will also be housed.
400 West Georgia has a unique design that featuring stacked stainless steel cubes interspaced with greenery and arranged around a central concrete core. The design was reportedly inspired by a Japanese paper lantern.
The office, which is still under development and is scheduled to be completed in spring 2020, will use glass floors that will overlook the city. Apple is planning to occupy two floors of the 24 floor building.
In just a few weeks Apple’s new iOS 13, the thirteenth major iteration of its popular iPhone software, will be out — along with new iPhones and a new iPad version, the aptly named iPadOS. We’ve taken iOS 13 for a spin over the past few weeks — with a focus on the new security and privacy features — to see what’s new and how it all works.
Here’s what you need to know.
You’ll start to see reminders about apps that track your location
Ever wonder which apps track your location? Wonder no more. iOS 13 will periodically remind you about apps that are tracking your location in the background. Every so often it will tell you how many times an app has tracked where you’ve been in a recent period of time, along with a small map of the location points. From this screen you can “always allow” the app to track your location or have the option to limit the tracking.
You can grant an app your location just once
To give you more control over what data have access to, iOS 13 now lets you give apps access to your location just once. Previously there was “always,” “never” or “while using,” meaning an app could be collecting your real-time location as you’re using it. Now you can grant an app access on a per use basis — particularly helpful for the privacy-minded folks.
And apps wanting access to Bluetooth can be declined access
Apps wanting to access Bluetooth will also ask for your consent. Although apps can use Bluetooth to connect to gadgets, like fitness bands and watches, Bluetooth-enabled tracking devices known as beacons can be used to monitor your whereabouts. These beacons are found everywhere — from stores to shopping malls. They can grab your device’s unique Bluetooth identifier and track your physical location between places, building up a picture of where you go and what you do — often for targeting you with ads. Blocking Bluetooth connections from apps that clearly don’t need it will help protect your privacy.
Find My gets a new name — and offline tracking
Find My, the new app name for locating your friends and lost devices, now comes with offline tracking. If you lost your laptop, you’d rely on its last Wi-Fi connected location. Now it broadcasts its location using Bluetooth, which is securely uploaded to Apple’s servers using nearby cellular-connected iPhones and other Apple devices. The location data is cryptographically scrambled and anonymized to prevent anyone other than the device owner — including Apple — from tracking your lost devices.
Your apps will no longer be able to snoop on your contacts’ notes
Another area that Apple is trying to button down is your contacts. Apps have to ask for your permission before they can access to your contacts. But in doing so they were also able to access the personal notes you wrote on each contact, like their home alarm code or a PIN number for phone banking, for example. Now, apps will no longer be able to see what’s in each “notes” field in a user’s contacts.
Sign In With Apple lets you use a fake relay email address
This is one of the cooler features coming soon — Apple’s new sign-in option allows users to sign in to apps and services with one tap, and without having to turn over any sensitive or private information. Any app that requires a sign-in option must use Sign In With Apple as an option. In doing so users can choose to share their email with the app maker, or choose a private “relay” email, which hides a user’s real email address so the app only sees a unique Apple-generated email instead. Apple says it doesn’t collect users’ data, making it a more privacy-minded solution. It works across all devices, including Android devices and websites.
You can silence unknown callers
Here’s one way you can cut down on disruptive spam calls: iOS 13 will let you send unknown callers straight to voicemail. This catches anyone who’s not in your contacts list will be considered an unknown caller.
You can strip location metadata from your photos
Every time you take a photo your iPhone stores the precise location of where the photo was taken as metadata in the photo file. But that can reveal sensitive or private locations — such as your home or office — if you share those photos on social media or other platforms, many of which don’t strip the data when they’re uploaded. Now you can. With a few taps, you can remove the location data from a photo before sharing it.
And Safari gets better anti-tracking features
Apple continues to advance its new anti-tracking technologies in its native Safari browser, like preventing cross-site tracking and browser fingerprinting. These features make it far more difficult for ads to track users across the web. iOS 13 has its cross-site tracking technology enabled by default so users are protected from the very beginning.
Apple today began selling an updated version of the Rotor Riot wired game controller for iPhone and iPad through its online store. The new model features a redesigned directional pad, a built-in Lightning port for pass-through charging of iOS devices, and an improved device holder with a “zero gravity” effect.
Rotor Riot is the only Apple-certified controller that has clickable L3 and R3 thumbsticks, and it uses a wired connection for zero latency. The device holder is removable, allowing the controller to be used on a standalone basis.
iPhone loyalty has hit its lowest level since 2011 and Samsung has been the main benefactor, claims a new survey conducted by trade-in service BankMyCell.
The survey, cited by CNET, tracked 38,000 people who had traded in iPhones since October 2018 and found that 73 percent upgraded to a later model. The finding suggests iPhone retention rate is down 15.2 percent when compared with data from March 2018.
The survey suggests that 26 percent of people trading in their iPhone X moved to another brand of smartphone, whereas just 7.7 percent of Samsung users switched to an iPhone.
Using data from other companies to supplement its own findings, BankMyCell said iPhone loyalty is at its lowest since 2011, while the all-time high for iPhone retention was 92 percent in 2017, according to the survey.
That shouldn’t distract from this survey’s small sample size, which consists entirely of people who have used BankMyCell’s own online gadget buyback and trade-in service. Claiming that its data reflects overall iPhone retention rates is therefore questionable.
BankMyCell’s data also contrasts with a January 2019 CIRP survey which found that 91 percent of iOS users upgraded to another iPhone. On releasing its report, CIRP additionally said that loyalty for both iOS and Android has steadily increased, reaching the highest levels last quarter that it has ever measured.
Sky: Children of the Light, by Journey developer thatgamecompany, is now available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Its release follows last year’s launch of the beta version of the game, titled Sky: Light Awaits.
The title was first unveiled on stage in 2017 during Apple’s headline iPhone X event. Originally it was billed as an Apple TV-only game that would support single-finger play using the Siri Remote, but the developers have since focused on getting the game out for iPhone and iPad users first.
According to the Sky website, the game’s “coming soon” to Android, Mac, Apple TV, PC, and consoles. Sky was originally supposed to come out for iOS on July 11 but last-minute issues caused a weeklong delay.
Sky: Children of the Light is free to download on the App Store [direct link], and offers a variety of in-app purchases starting at $0.99.
Plex today announced a few updates for its Apple TV and iOS apps, adding notable new features that are worth highlighting.
The Apple TV app now supports HDR video playback, and Plex Pass subscribers can get early access to HDR through the Settings > Advanced section of the app.
According to Plex, HDR support provides sharper video output, better performance, and improved subtitle support.
On iOS devices, the Plex update allows users to log in with either Face ID or Touch ID as an alternative to requiring a passcode for a locked Plex library.
Plex has added new TIDAL features as well, allowing Plex iOS and web app users to listen to 30 second clips from the TIDAL library for the purpose of searching for and sampling songs even without a TIDAL account. Artist TV, a feature for subscribers, is now also available on the web, Smart VS, the PS4, and the Plex Media Player.
Plex for iOS and Apple TV can be downloaded from the App Store for free. A Plex Pass is priced at $5 per month and unlocks extra features including HDR. [Direct Link]