WWDC 2018: Apple Announces Improvements and Upgrades

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California yesterday and, as expected, the major announcements focused on upgrades and improvements rather than new hardware reveals. With the company’s iOS 12, available this fall, Apple is “doubling down on performance,” according to SVP Craig Federighi. Following user complaints that a previous update slowed older iPhones, the new iOS will make devices faster, with improved integration across devices. The company emphasized macOS Mojave, its digital assistant Siri, and a push into augmented reality, as well as a new version of its suite of machine learning apps for iOS devices and tvOS 12’s support for Dolby Atmos. Continue reading WWDC 2018: Apple Announces Improvements and Upgrades

Apple Debuts ARKit AR Tool for App Developers at WWDC

This week at WWDC, Apple unveiled its ARKit augmented reality platform that enables app developers to use detailed camera and sensor data to map digital objects in 3D space, more immersive than previous 2D camera overlays. With ARKit, Apple can begin to compete with Google, which currently dominates phone-based AR. The move may also signal that Apple will build AR glasses. Many industry sources believe that Apple plans to integrate augmented reality features into its 10th anniversary iPhone and wants to develop a global AR platform. Continue reading Apple Debuts ARKit AR Tool for App Developers at WWDC

Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Virtual reality startup Nomadic is integrating real-world physical objects, such as a flashlight, into its VR experiences. Among the other physical objects are leaky pipes that let off real hot air, a file cabinet that has to be opened to retrieve a real gun replica, and a virtual door with a real doorknob. The idea, according to Nomadic chief executive Doug Griffin, is that such real objects can add a feeling of magic to virtual reality. The company demonstrates these capabilities with an Oculus Rift VR headset. Continue reading Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Sony’s CLEDIS Customizable 8K Display Wows CES Crowds

Sony’s new CLEDIS system, most likely aimed at use in large venues such as convention centers (where it was shown at CES 2017), is composed of hundreds of LED tiles, each just 17.875 inches wide. At CES, the 36-foot by 9-foot display showed an astonishing resolution of 8K by 2K. CLEDIS relies on RGB emissive display technology, by which “nearly microscopic LEDs” glow red, green or blue. The result gives Sony’s display the ability to render color volume in a manner that the company calls “off the charts.” Continue reading Sony’s CLEDIS Customizable 8K Display Wows CES Crowds

It’s Official: Cyber Monday Bigger Than Black Friday This Year

As projected, this week’s Cyber Monday shopping event set a new single-day online sales record, according to Adobe. Following Black Friday’s record of $3.34 billion in online sales, as well as a new record of $1.2 billion in purchases made via mobile devices, Cyber Monday reached a staggering $3.45 billion in sales in the U.S., up 12.1 percent compared to the same day in 2015. Thanksgiving weekend is generally considered the start of the holiday shopping season and an indicator of economic health and consumer confidence. From November 24-28, consumers spent $12.81 billion, a 16.4 percent jump over last year. Continue reading It’s Official: Cyber Monday Bigger Than Black Friday This Year

Rovio Self-Finances ‘Angry Birds’ Movie to Control Franchise

Finnish company Rovio Entertainment decided four years ago that, rather than license the “Angry Birds” characters to a Hollywood studio, it would finance its own $73 million movie. Since opening on Friday in some territories, Rovio’s gamble has thus far resulted in a $43 million gross. Companies such as Lego A/S and Hasbro turned to studios to finance their films, but Rovio took the same path Marvel did when it made “Iron Man,” with the goal of controlling the franchise over the long term. Continue reading Rovio Self-Finances ‘Angry Birds’ Movie to Control Franchise

Parrot Plans to Launch Five New MiniDrone Toys in September

Parrot is introducing five new smartphone-controlled MiniDrone toys, ranging from $99 to $189, targeting consumers who cannot afford the larger, more expensive UAVs such as Parrot’s AR and Bebop Drones. Based on the Rolling Spider quadcopter and the two-wheeled Jumping Sumo, which have sold 600,000 units combined since last year’s launches, the new models will initially be made available in the U.S. and France this September. The new models include drones that skim across water, fly at night guided by LED lights, feature live streaming cameras and more. Continue reading Parrot Plans to Launch Five New MiniDrone Toys in September

Lego Fusion Sets Combine Physical Blocks and Virtual Worlds

Lego is launching a new line of building block kits this summer that enable 7-to-12-year-old children to build a physical building and then see that building become a part of a virtual world in the corresponding smartphone app. The budding builder would construct a facade out of the 200-piece Lego Fusion set, and then use the app’s camera function to capture the creation and turn it into a building within the app’s game, such as a tycoon game or a racing game. Continue reading Lego Fusion Sets Combine Physical Blocks and Virtual Worlds

Today’s Piracy Sites Making Millions in Advertising Revenue

Because of automated ad-buying technology, illicit sites streaming video content can make hundreds of thousands or even millions from advertising. MediaLink researched 596 piracy sites, and found that the advertising, often from major brands, generated $227 million annually. These sites get to keep most of this revenue because profit margins typically range from 80 percent to 94 percent after site maintenance and human resources fees are paid. Continue reading Today’s Piracy Sites Making Millions in Advertising Revenue

Industry Execs Discuss Direction of Games, VR and the Cloud

Trends in electronic gaming, virtual reality and the impact of the cloud were topics addressed during last week’s Digital Entertainment World conference in Los Angeles. During “The State of the Game Industry” panel, Machinima co-founder Allen DeBevoise said that gameboy culture is driving entertainment. Companies including Warner Bros. are exploring games as a service; gaming in the cloud seems inevitable, but faces challenges; and VR tech is supported by most, while consumer adoption remains a hurdle. Continue reading Industry Execs Discuss Direction of Games, VR and the Cloud

Bringing Mental Concentration Control to Augmented Reality

DAQRI, an augmented reality developer, is creating software and augmented reality apps, combined with EEG monitoring devices and Google Glass, to bring mental control over physical and virtual environments. The company has created several augmented realities for marketing, entertainment, commercial and educational uses. The company’s efforts to add EEG sensors bring new ways to control devices, what is connected to them, and the environments they create. Continue reading Bringing Mental Concentration Control to Augmented Reality

Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

“Minecraft,” created by Markus Persson four years ago, has become one of the world’s most popular video games. Its 22 million users make it three times more popular than “World of Warcraft.” The virtual world’s simple gameplay provides users with creative freedom, offering Lego-like blocks to build basic structures that can be later transformed into palaces. It is also giving other game developers the idea that a successful video game can be made independently. Continue reading Minecraft Enjoys Global Success, Inspires Indie Developers

Fourth Dimension Effects: Iron Man 3 to Be Shown in 4DX

Starting April 26, “Iron Man 3” will be shown in 4DX (fourth dimension effects) at a theater in Nagoya, located in central Japan. The theater is operated by Korona World chain, which plans to screen 12 titles per year using the new format. 4DX can include tilting seats, blowing wind, odor effects, strobe lights and equipment built into the ceiling that can drop bubbles onto the audiences. A ticket will cost $13 for 3D and $10 for 2D. Continue reading Fourth Dimension Effects: Iron Man 3 to Be Shown in 4DX

Google is About More Than Just Search and Smartphones

While Google is best known for its powerful Web search engine, Android mobile operating system and acquisition of YouTube in 2006, it also offers lesser-known, but impressive services. From exploration to academia to art and much more, Google’s online products and services aim to inform users, improve lives and make them more secure. Business Insider lists 11 Google initiatives you may never knew existed. Continue reading Google is About More Than Just Search and Smartphones