Last week, tech enthusiasts the world over were treated to a bunch of news from all over the consumer tech industry. While many have been able to follow the news, some may not have had enough time to let all the hype sink in. So here’s a recap of what transpired last week in the consumer tech world.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo was a mixed bag of hilarious, cringe-inducing moments and legitimate hype, but trudging through the smoke-filled interview lines yielded some newsworthy stories from games developers this year.
Electronic Arts gave avid gamers a taste of what’s to come with glimpses of Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, and Mass Effect Andromeda. They also announced more plans for the Star Wars franchise as well as the ever-present Fifa and Madden games.
Bethesda gave us footage of the sequel, Dishonored 2, as well as the publisher’s plans for integrating the HTC Vive in their new Fallout revisions. The Elder Scrolls Online players can rejoice at some of the updates they announced, while classic game lovers can drool at the announcement of new Quake and Prey games.
Ubisoft take advantage of the improving state VR with Star Trek: Bridge Crew, where you take control of a star ship with three other crew mates for total geeky immersion. The Division has an expansion lined up, while the publisher announced the release of Trials of the Blood Dragon that takes the motorbike exhibition game to a ridiculous twist akin to what they did with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
Sony really made use of the event with plenty of awesome announcements including a new Nicolas Cage of War game that focuses on Norse mythology, remastering Crash Bandicoot, and a new open-world survival game called Days Gone. Plenty of other new game announcements include Death Stranding that stars Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead, and we finally got an October 25 release date for The Last Guardian!
In the Nintendo camp, they released footage of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that emphasizes open-world elements along with the usual well-loved mechanics all in glorious (finally) HD. There were also announcements for new Amiibo and additional details regarding the new Pokemon games, Sun and Moon.
Microsoft also announced a slimmer console called the Xbox One S, capable of 4K video output, HDR, and up to 2TB of internal storage. As opposed to most console manufacturers’ moves to slim down their hardware, this is a first in both reducing the console’s footprint all while increasing performance.
Software took priority in Apple’s show this year, and made some enhancements to their app development ecosystem. They opened the doors to some of their first-party apps for developers to make use of, such as Maps, to enhance the user experience a little bit more.
In the effort to make the Apple Watch more utility-oriented, Apple has decided to let users aggregate a list of their favorite watch apps in the form of a dock. It is accessible by pressing the button below the watch’s crown. Press the same button down for 3 seconds, and you will be able to call emergency services like 911. Replying to messages on the watch has become easier as well, letting you scribble replies and send them right on the watch. Apple Pay will also start working on the Apple Watch for added convenience.
Apple now syncs some app downloads between your iPhone and Apple TV, so you don’t have to download the same app separately. You can also start using your iPhone as a remote for your TV, and the design mirrors the features of the hardware remote. Siri’s functionality on the TV has also been improved, and will let you make YouTube searches as well as viewing live video using the Live Tune-In feature. Other new features include Single-Sign On as well as a new dark mode.
Several cosmetic changes were made in the new iOS, but still added new functionality despite the skin deep impression of these enhancements. They redesigned the Lock screen to enable 3D-touch on notifications, which now display rich content when you put pressure on a notification. Slide the screen to the right and you will access the camera shortcut, and swipe left from the lock screen to get to the widgets screen.
Siri was given more power, as Apple now gives developers access to the Siri SDK. Future apps will now be able to use Siri for increased functionality, such as letting the voice assistant send a message directly using a supported messaging app.
Speaking of messaging, their Messages App was revamped to support new visual features like bubble effects, background animations, rich links, and a sketching feature called Digital Touch (from the Apple Watch) that allows users to annotate photos and videos as well as create drawings.
With Siri integration that allows for specific functionality such as searching for files, as well as a shared clipboard, Mac users can fluidly work between their Apple phone and laptop. The interplay between the watch and Macbook has also been introduced, where the laptop will safely unlock if it detects the presence of your Apple Watch. You will also be able to use Apple Pay in the Safari browser, and purchases are authenticated through a connected iPhone Touch ID or unlocked Apple Watch.
Microsoft Buys LinkedIn
For the price of a measly $26.2B, tech-giant Microsoft will purchase social networking service LinkedIn. It still isn’t clear what MS is planning to do with the professional social network, but we’re betting it has something to do with integrating their cloud service with the social network for seamless collaboration. For instance, you could go into a meeting with a complete list of the participants’ professional profiles, or if you’re working on an an Office project the app will let you pull up a list of experts regarding the topic of your project. With Microsoft’s checkered history of acquisitions, however, only time will tell if this move is going to be as profitable as they hoped–it is one of the biggest they’ve made after all.
It has been long but rewarding week for geeks and game lovers out there, so here’s for hoping for more innovation to come in the consumer tech industry. That’s it for the recap of last week’s biggest tech news. If you have more news to suggest to our readers, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments!