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powershell

The leaks were right – Logitech has a gamepad case for the iPhone and iPod touch, and it will be widely available in early December.

The PowerShell is part of the gaming-focused G Series, costs $99.99 and contains a standard directional pad; four main buttons, labeled A, B, X and Y; two trigger buttons; a dedicated pause button; and a 1500 mAh battery that charges the iPhone/iPod. It works with the iPhone 5 and 5s and the fifth-generation iPod touch on iOS 7.

Notice what’s missing from that list? Logitech said the case won’t work with the new iPhone 5c because the 5c is 0.4-1.37 mm bigger in all dimensions. In order to accommodate the iPod touch, which is 1.5 mm thinner than the phones, the case includes a removable sheet of padding.

Global product marketing manager Mark Starrett said Logitech has been working with Apple since before the official announcement of iOS 7’s third-party controller support at this year’s WWDC. That OS-level support means the accessory manufacturer has not had to work with developers to ensure their games’ compatibility, but is talking with a handful about marketing partnerships.

Logitech is not currently planning to make a comparable gamepad case for Android devices, even though Google has offered third-party controller support on its OS for much longer. With “four or five” competing standards, “Android is just a mess,” Starrett said.

Unlike the Moga Ace Power gamepad case, also unveiled this week, the PowerShell does not collapse for portability. The rigid case is designed to be used in landscape mode, with the home button pointing toward the user’s right hand.

At launch, about 300 games will work with the case, but they’ll be universal, meaning that PowerShell owners won’t have to download different versions of the apps for touch and non-touch gameplay. Starrett said Logitech has already tested dozens of those games with the PowerShell, and expects Apple to roll out a new section in the iOS App Store for gamepad-compatible games.

iOS 8 Leaked Screenshot

The above screenshot claiming to represent iOS 8 just showed up on a Weibo account. Even though the source of the images is absolutely uncertain, I have confirmed with several sources that these shots are legitimate. Earlier today, I detailed the new Preview and TextEdit apps shown above, and I previously discussed Healthbook. I’ll have more news on Healthbook in the coming weeks. Until then, you can check out a higher-resolution mockup of the Healthbook icon below. I’m not sure what the Tips icon is for, but it is probably a user-guide of some sort. Of course, it’s plausible that the icons are works in progress.

Read the full story and see all screenshots at 9to5 Mac.

iOS 8 Leaked Screenshot

fox-sports-go-apple

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and you may be scrambling to figure out how you are going to watch the big game tonight. If you have an iPad or a Mac, you have access to a live stream of the game and both its pre-game and post-game programming. The streaming options for iPhone owners are limited, with only one app providing live content to users who are on Verizon Wireless.

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iPhone

iPhone owners have one and only one option for watching the Super Bowl on their smartphone. Due to licensing agreements, the NFL Mobile app is the only app authorized to provide a live stream of the game to the iPhone. The app is available only to Verizon Wireless customers and requires a subscription. If you are in Canada, you can use the Bell TV app, which is available to Bell subscribers and requires a subscription fee. UK watchers can download the TVCatchup Live app.

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iPad

iPad owners in the US can fire up the Fox Sports Go app to watch the Super Bowl on their iPad. The stream is available to all iPad owners, regardless of cable provider or wireless provider. Once again, licensing agreements limit the stream to only the iPad version of the Fox Sports Go app.

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Mac

Mac users can point their favorite web browser to the Fox Sports Go website, where coverage of the Super Bowl starts at noon time. Pre-game as well as post-game coverage will be available live to all desktop users. Folks in the UK can watch on Channel 4 website, which will have a live stream: watchlive.channel4.com.

NFL Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks officially kicks off this Sunday at 6:30pm ET in chilly New Jersey

snlglass

In tech circles, the buzz around wearable computing, already a multi-billion dollar market, has never been louder. No one wants to miss the boat if wearable apps are going to be as disruptive as apps for smartphones and tablets, an anxiety reflected well at GDC Next in Los Angeles.

Conference attendees packed one of the meeting rooms at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week to hear Mind Pirate CEO Shawn Hardin and VP Unni Narayanan pitch games for wearables as the “next consumer mega trend.” But when Hardin asked if any of the developers in the room had made apps for wearable devices, only one raised his hand.

Those devices include glasses like Google Glass, smartwatches like the Pebble and the Samsung Galaxy Gear, and fitness trackers like the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up. Despite some early consumer success, particularly for those fitness trackers, advances in wearables have been sluggish so far. As AllThingsD‘s Lauren Goode observed in her review of Fitbit’s latest tracker, “the whole product category has moved on to Activity Tracking 1.1, but hasn’t quite graduated to Wearables 2.0.”

Indeed, a different conference session later in the day reinforced this sensation of arrested development. Developer Matthew Morey’s “New Opportunities with Wearable Technology” covered no fewer than thirteen smartwatches, not to mention a wide range of niche gadgets like a fitness tracker for dogs, a Bluetooth-equipped baseball cap and a calorie-counting fork.

“These don’t have to be big problems we’re solving,” Morey said. “It’s these little ones that people really like.”

Mind Pirate, though, is banking on an “inevitability” that the hardware and software will catch up to the dreams of wearables proponents and become as ubiquitous as phones and tablets. Its game and app development platform, Callisto, is about to get a real-world test by way of a partnership with a Canadian business accelerator, ideaBoost. The two organizations hope to have Callisto-produced entertainment apps for wearables in the wild next year, as early as the end of ideaBoost’s next class in Q1 2014.

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Rather than trying to solve consumers’ problems, the idea is that entertaining apps will validate new categories of devices for consumers, which you could argue was a big chunk of the mobile story as well. Getting in front of games for devices like Google Glass may mean helping to figure out just what, exactly, a world of omnipresent games would look like.

“There’s an entirely new class of games that you could design,” Hardin said. “The world itself becomes the game board.”

Buried in these ambitions seems to be the assumption that touchscreens are now pass . Smartphones, Hardin said in his introduction, are “loaded with a bunch of sensors,” but 90 percent of the top-grossing iOS and Android mobile games only use the touchscreen. IdeaBoost’s chief digital officer Ana Serrano echoed this sentiment in a separate interview, saying the world is “moving beyond the multitouch user experience paradigm into something completely different.”

The question is whether games succeed in spite of their only using touch, or whether touch is just more intuitive and therefore a better way to reach a mass consumer audience. Mind Pirate said ported games won’t be pleasant – they will have to be designed specifically for wearables.

“Any game can be adapted in a native, reliable fashion if the designer puts a lot of thought into it,” Hardin’s colleague Narayanan said during the panel, with the caveat that wearable games experiences probably should not exceed two minutes per play session. “Barring a first-person-shooter that’s a 20-minute experience …”

Also left to be determined is if and how Wearables 2.0 will fit into a world already bogged down by hardware. In the “New Opportunities” panel, Morey acknowledged that “charging a Pebble every night is not an enjoyable experience.”

His prescription for extending the battery life of wearables: “Harvesting power from the human body.” As in, embedding the technology under one’s skin and generating energy from the temperature difference inside and out.

If that sounds a bit icky to you, then don’t click this. The short version: a German “biohacker” has already undergone surgery to stitch a Bluetooth-compatible device under the skin of his left forearm.

This underscores the gap between the technologically feasible and the broadly acceptable. In his panel, Hardin readily volunteered that how more-advanced wearables will fit into society is still a work in progress, but that the devices will inevitably “thread their way through our lives and make new [social] mores.” If he and his company are right, games will help build that bridge with consumers and make being a cyborg just as normal as playing Candy Crush on the train.

Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft is releasing another Office app for iOS, kind of. The new Office Web App for iPhone and iPad is designed for businesses who use Office 365 to access the full functionality of Outlook Web App. Although Microsoft has been supporting a web version of this previously, the software maker has packaged it up into a “native” app for iOS. If your work place subscribes to Office 365 then the benefits are clear, but if it’s not then it’s useless for those thousands of Exchange servers that run in enterprises today. The app does package together Mail, Calendar, and people into one neat package though. There’s also a navigation screen that includes Live Tiles of information. Microsoft has built in voice input too, allowing users to executive commands like “open Calendar for tomorrow.” Most of the UI is very similar to the existing Outlook Web App for Office 365, and apps for Outlook will work here too.

Read the full story at The Verge.

Google Maps

Poor Apple Maps. While we see very minor improvement from Apple’s year-old Maps application, Google continues to improve its world-class offering pretty rapidly. Why, Wednesday, in fact, Google launched an update to the Google Maps for iOS app, adding support for the iPad, indoor maps, and a slew of other features that were released with the recent Android Google Maps update. Google Maps 2.0 now fully supports the larger screen sizes of the iPad and iPad mini, as well as offering indoor maps with walking directions for transit stations, airports, malls and other large buildings. Past that, you’ll also notice that the Google Maps iOS app now offers better navigation with live traffic updates and incident reports. Meanwhile, Apple Maps still hasn’t figured out transit directions.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp, the popular mobile messaging app that eschews advertising in favor of a paid model, is getting ready to bring its iOS app in line with the apps it makes for other platforms by turning it into an annual subscription service. Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s CEO, says that the company is planning this year to shift its iOS app to one where new users would pay annually to keep using, taking it away from a one-off download fee and bringing it in line with how it is distributed on the Android, BlackBerry, Nokia and Windows Phone platforms. The comments were made to Dutch journalist Alexander Klopping, and reproduced in part in two Dutch blogs, Tweakers and Techtastic. Klopping also provided us with recording of the interview, in English. The new subscription model would apply to new users, Koum said, and would likely follow the same pricing structure as its other apps.

Read the full story at TechCrunch.