Out of all of the thousands of mobile games available to gamers, few if any have generated a buzz in the core gaming community like Vainglory has. Vainglory is an unapologetically core game, built from the ground up for the mobile touchscreen platform. I had the opportunity recently to sit down and chat with Vainglory's COO Kristian "EdTheShred" Segerstrale and former pro League of Legends player George "Zekent" Liu who now serves as Vainglory's Video Community Manager. What follows is an essential and informative read for anyone who is a core gamer in this day and age where touchscreens are increasingly becoming the dominant gaming platform.
Attention, guitarists! IK Multimedia announced that the iRig 2 ($39.99)—the signal converting wonder that lets you rock out with a kaleidoscope of filters and patches using the iPad or iPhone—hit the streets today! We have reviewed the iRig and related audio gadgets in the past, but this new version garnered one of our Best of CES awards this year, and a full review will be forthcoming. You can read on for the technical details and first impressions from my brief experience at CES.
As Apple gears up to sell the Apple Watch, they're upping their efforts to get Android users to switch to the iPhone. After all, you gotta have an iPhone if you want the full functionality of an Apple Watch. 9To5Mac is reporting that in the coming weeks Apple will begin letting users of Android and other smartphones trade in their phones for an Apple gift card that can be used toward the purchase of an iPhone. The report says that the process will be similar to the program already in place for trading in used iPhones. Customers will bring in their old smartphone, and an Apple representative will determine the trade-in value. Extensive training for Apple Store employees is said to begin this week, with the trade-in program expected to start sometime after that. Presumably the new trade-in program will launch before the Apple Watch goes on sale April 24.
I had the chance to try the Pronto Smart Remote ($49.99). It's a nice, affordable way to turn your iPhone into a universal remote control, and it will get better when the Apple Watch is available. The makers promise to make the app work with the Apple Watch, so you can control your TV and A/V equipment from your wrist! How cool is that? The Peel iPhone app also works as a TV guide, but it would be nice if it could leverage the full screen of an iPad. The app talks to the Pronto base station that sits within line of sight of your A/V equipment.
Are you chomping at the bit to get an Apple Watch? Are you the type that can't wait for access to the next version of iOS or OS X? Well, you can't get an Apple Watch yet, but Apple is letting the general public gain access to beta versions of their operating systems. Apple started this early access program last year, and it is a way for them to test features in the real world before it is considered FCS (First Customer Ship) ready.
Even with a protective case, there's still a chance you can damage your iPhone if dropped from a sufficient height. With the Kenu Highline ($29.95-$34.95), dropping your phone becomes a little safer. Just a little.
The Apple Watch announcement is behind us and it's time to "spring forward" and look ahead to the next announcement! The huge focus on fashion in the watch product line may spill over to the iPhone. Originally, the iPhone was only available in an aluminum and black form. Later white was added, and then silver, space gray, and, of course, gold. The iPhone 5c brought plastic colors too, but those are on the way out. The iPod touch product line came in assorted colors, but that product line seems to have been abandoned. Now, just as former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts brought her fashion sense to Apple Retail and the watch offerings, she may be influencing Apple to go pink with their flagship iPhone.
At the March 9 Apple event, Apple introduced "Force Touch," which is basically a binary version of touch sensitivity, for the trackpad in the new MacBook as well as for the Apple Watch. Those devices can now distinguish between a touch and a hard touch. This isn't exactly the kind of touch sensitivity that a Wacom tablet would offer, where it recognizes multiple degrees of force. That can be great for artists who want heavier and lighter lines based on pressure.
I missed these guys this year at CES, but wanted to swing back for a quick product review, since they have one or two new and interesting power gadgets and sent a review unit for us to try out: The PowerGenius Rotating 6-outlet Surge Suppressor ($29.99). If you're an iPhone Lifer, we know you are always on the lookout for smarter power options. ACCELL has an array of portable and home-and-office-oriented solutions to consider.
If you follow my Game Centered column, then you already know I'm a big fan of the iOS game Vainglory, "the MOBA perfected for touchscreen." It has the potential to become one of the most popular and internationally competitive, professional-level mobile eSports thus far. Between the massive player base already devoted to the MOBA genre, and the fact that Vainglory will soon be cross-platform across both iOS and Android devices, I can see nothing standing in the way of this game being the first mobile eSport to fill stadiums and attract spectators the way more established MOBA like League of Legends and DotA 2 already do.