In a closely watched but ultimately anticlimactic product launch, Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday unveiled its latest iPhone, with a low-key Tim Cook emceeing his first event since iconic CEO Steve Jobs resigned in August.
Disappointed fans jumped all
over Apple for releasing merely an upgrade to the iPhone 4, dubbed
iPhone 4S, instead of the widely expected iPhone 5. But analysts
reminded them that many cool features — faster operating system,
slicker camera and video — were hiding under the hood.
“The improvements in software and
the new camera, for example, are impressive,” said analyst Roger Kay
with Endpoint Technologies Associates. “But if you don’t have a new look
on the outside, people tend not to get as excited.”
Cook seemed comfortable on
stage but was working a room clearly missing the energy Jobs used to
infuse into these events. The real star of the show was Siri, the new
voice-recognition feature billed as the user’s “personal assistant,” a
female voice that soon will be helping millions of Apple fans answer
e-mails, make dinner reservations and remember to pick up the dry
cleaning, all without a single key stroke.
As of this writing, the world has not fallen apart.
Today’s a big day for new releases, as Rage, Dark Souls and NBA 2K12 hit stores, while former PC exclusive Crysis becomes available for XBox Live and PlayStation Network.
Rage, from id Software and Bethesda Softworks, is an FPS set in a post-apocalyptic earth. The people at id Software gave the world bloody FPS games like Castle Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake back when the FPS genre was dominated by PC titles and gamers actually played the single-player campaigns. Rage is released for PC, PlayStation 3 and XBox 360.
Dark Souls, developed by From Software and published by Namco Bandai, is the “spiritual sequel” to PlayStation 3 exclusive Demon’s Souls. That game earned a reputation for extreme difficulty, and Namco Bandai is banking on that reputation to promote the sequel. Dark Souls is a PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 release.
NBA 2K12 is 2K Sports’ latest iteration of its basketball franchise. The developers are trying to build on last year’s well-received Jordan Challenge mode with the new “End the Debate” feature, in which players can play as all-time greats like Jordan, Magic and Dr. J to settle who deserves to be known as the GOAT. NBA 2K12 is out for Nintendo Woo, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Sony PSP and XBox 360.
Console gamers probably missed Crysis, Crytek’s futuristic FPS that is probably known more for its high system requirements than its gameplay. But after releasing Crysis 2 for PC and consoles earlier this year, the original game is now available for console players via PlayStation Network or XBox Live download.
So big that it’s going to require a little disc swapping on the Xbox 360 to see it all. The PS3 version comes on one blu-ray, but both versions allow installation of content on the consoles given that you have enough space to pack all of it down.
The PS3 version, for example, is an 8GB installation that will have players doing something else for the several minutes it will take to complete. And as an aside for the PC “Master Race”, installations are just par for the course other than in waiting for a service like Steam to unlock the game for its official debut on October 4th.
According to id’s own Tim Willits in an interview with Eurogamer, however, Xbox 360 players won’t have to install everything. They can get away with installing one of the discs (such as multiplayer which is on its own) and then uninstalling it to install another if they’re pressed on space though that sounds like more of a chore than in simply getting up and switching the disc.
We’ve come far since the days of installing multiple floppies and CDs on PCs even though the dreaded disc swap is still with us. Developers have also been getting a lot better in organizing the data to make sure that its as one-way as possible.
RPGs have been doing that with titles such as Lost Odyssey and FF13, though some players are still irritated at having to physically change the media regardless of whatever technical advances are made. For me, I see these as small breaks to do something else before diving back into the action – such as loading up on snacks before the next action packed run.