Friday, December 23, 2011

The year in Review: Apple

Apple had its share of much-hyped product releases and headline-grabbing controversies in 2011, but late on Oct. 5, the gadgets and drama were overshadowed by the passing of Cupertino's enigmatic co-founder. Steve Jobs was gone.
The news hit early in the evening on the East Coast, one day after Apple had unveiled its new iPhone 4S. Jobs had battled cancer for years, taking several leaves of absence and even undergoing a liver transplant, but by August 2011, the time had come to say goodbye. Jobs resigned from his post as Apple CEO, handing the reigns over to Tim Cook, and two months later, he passed away surrounded by family.
Upon hearing the news of his death, fans flocked to Apple Stores around the world to pay their respects, and Apple later held a star-studded memorial service at its Cupertino headquarters. His life was chronicled in a Walter Isaacson biography, published about three weeks after his death, but for more, see PCMag's look back at Jobs's life and career.

But Jobs likely would not have wanted his death to overshadow all that his company had accomplished in 2011, though he probably would've been OK with it eclipsing some of the gaffes, like location tracking, iPhone battery drains, and contentious patent battles. Let's take a look back at the good, the bad, and ugly to come out of Cupertino in the last year.
The Products
Apple fans spent much of the year waiting for a product that never arrived—the iPhone 5. We got a new iPhone, but it failed to include a totally revamped form factor, larger screen, 4G, or any of the other far-fetched, rumored features that made the rounds in 2011.
Instead, the iPhone 4S arrived looking exactly the same as the iPhone 4 on the outside, but with Siri, a souped-up camera, and dual-core processor inside. Any disappointment over the lack of an iPhone 5-branded device did not hurt sales, though. Apple sold at least 4 million devices in the first few days it was available. The smartphone was also added to two new U.S. carriers—Sprint and C Spire.
Earlier in the year, however, Jobs was still well enough to take the stage and unveil the iPad 2—a thinner, faster version of its predecessor with front- and rear-facing cameras. It went on sale in March, prompting long lines at area Apple Stores. By July, Apple revealed that it sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, a 183 percent increase from the year before.
Rivals like RIM and HP have struggled to compete with the iPad. The closest competitor appears to be the Amazon Kindle Fire, but the 7-inch, $199 tablet has really emerged as a low-cost alternative to the iPad rather than a potential iPad killer. Apple execs quipped recently that the Fire might help iPad sales; people will purchase the Fire, realize they want something more powerful, and trade up.
With the new devices, meanwhile, came a revamped operating system: iOS 5. It took a page from other OSes, like Android's notification center and BlackBerry Messenger with iMessage. There was also the launch of iCloud and iTunes Match for on-the-go access to files and music. The company's Mac and iPod lines also got an overhaul, while the next iteration of Mac OS X, Lion, finally hit the desktop.

Friday, December 9, 2011

7 Apple Stores to Visit Before You Die

Covent Garden Store
Apple opened a location in London's Covent Garden in August 2010. The fifth London store is quite a superlative. Aside from being the biggest Apple store, it is also the most expensive to date, ifoAppleStore noted. It's housed in a three-level space in a restored 1870s-era building with exposed brick detail. Although it's been restored, the store retains most of its original features, like a glass staircase and stone culled from a Wales quarry.

New York's Grand Central Terminal
One of Apple's newest retail outlets, the 23,0000-square-foot store is housed within New York City's Grand Central Terminal. It opened its doors on Dec. 9, 2011 and is one of the largest Apple stores in the world. Be sure to check out PCMag's extensive slideshow of the store, which features photos snapped during a pre-opening press preview.

New York's Fifth Ave Store
Visitors to New York City often want to walk along Fifth Avenue to take in the impressive window displays in stores like Bloomingdale's and Tiffany's. Just across the street from the famed Plaza Hotel sits a 32-foot glass cube fitted with an illuminated Apple logo that appears to be floating inside of it. Opened in 2006, this spot sees more traffic than any of other three Big Apple Mac shops combined. This mecca for Apple fanboys is open 24 hours a day, too.

Ginza Store
The Apple Store in the Ginza district of Tokyo was the first location to open outside of the U.S. ifoAppleStore calls this flagship location a “showcase store for Apple.". The building was constructed in 1965 and has with a stainless steel façade, adorned with a pair of Apple icons. With a signature glass display window on the outside and products begging to be tested on wooden tables on the inside, it looks similar to many U.S. locations However, this four-story store features two continuously-running elevators, an 84-seat auditorium, and a 27-foot-long Genius Bar. It's also the tallest of the Apple stores. Don't speak Japanese? No problem. Ten different languages are spoken at this store.

This store served another purpose recently. After a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit Japan in early March, Apple kept this Tokyo store open, allowing access the store's public Wi-Fi, watch online news, and contact friends and family via social-networking sites and check their e-mail. Apple also reportedly allowed stranded employees to sleep at the store.

Shanghai Store
Apple's first Shanghai store is positioned right next to a slightly larger monument: the 1,535-foot-tall Oriental Pearl Tower, China's second largest building. Opened, July 10 of last year, this spot is characterized by a 40-foot-high glass cylinder surrounded by a shallow glass moat. Similar to New York's Fifth Avenue Store, shoppers must descend a spiral staircase to get to the 5,000-square foot store.

It's one of four stores in China. The first, in the Sanlitun District of Beijing, was opened in 2008, just before the summer Olympics kicked off. Apple is said to be emphasizing retail locations in China and hopes to have 25 total in the country by 2012. The four China locations have been widely reported as some of the busiest of in Apple's fleet.

Paris Store
Apple's first Paris store is stunning. Located in the Carrousel du Louvre, a shopping center in the bowels of the famous museum, it is marked by a huge, inverted glass triangle that allows sunlight to pour into the store. Shoppers are greeted by a 30-foot glass window sandwiched between two entrances. The architects maintained much of the original integrity of the building, and left the original stone walls unchanged, allowing the store to fit in with the overall design of the space.

Sydney Store
Apple's opened its first Southern Hemisphere store in Sydney, Australia location in June 2008, just before the release of the iPhone 3G. An all-glass store front complete with a suspended Apple logo reveals the guts of the store, a three-level 4,400-square foot space on the corner of George and King streets in Sydney's central business district. Although this was the first store in Australia, Apple now has 10 stores down under.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mega Man 25th Anniversary

Globally, 2012 will be a special year for countless gamers. What event will take place? On December 17, 1987 was published in Japan's first title of one of the longest running series in the industry and introduced one of the most beloved by those who have ever moved a control. We're talking about Mega Man ​​and turns 25 next year. We know that there are still 13 months to reach this anniversary, but expectations could not be higher. This year was the 25th anniversary of Zelda and we saw the work that was Nintendo. So we ask: in 2012, what game (s) can fans expect from the Blue Bomber to celebrate?

I, as a fan to the bone of Mega Man, in early 2011 could not be happier, as they were two titles in production all eagerly awaited. However, in March Mega Man Universe is canceled and a few months after Mega Man Legends 3 would suffer the same fate. And, today, the future of blue titanium hero may seem very bleak. Capcom has given no indication of a new project or because of loss of a redición-release-version-of-director-HD-Turbo-Ultimate Mega Man

In other anniversaries Capcom really delighted us with a variety of titles for all the Mega Man series of games does not matter if were regular, good or bad, were years in which we could still enjoy the games of Mega Man ​​But in the last five years, except MM MM 9 and 10, this series has fallen into a spiral that ends in a bottomless pit, just like those found in games.

As Asher said recently: "There are more mega manes than you can imagine" (or something), and that either the classic series or a subsequent series (X, Zero, ZX, Legends, Network or Starforce) nobody can deny the relevance of Mega Man ​​in this industry.

For those who have their sights set on December 2012, and time running out and it is disturbing that Capcom is still not announce anything. Is this the worst anniversary of Mega Man? How early will receive a signal coming we happy? We only have to wait, just as it says the end of Mega Man ​​X: "But Only Time Will Tell, When and why".

To you, what game (s) would like to surprise that Capcom published in the 25 th anniversary of Mega Man?

To me, I'd love to revive the project of Mega Man Mania, which was to be a compilation of the five Mega Man games that were released on the Game Boy. Obviously, it would be great to have a title in the Mega Man X series, but considering the anticipated time that Mega Man 9, I doubt that a new set of MM X is in production.

Also, what was the first Mega Man ​​played and how important was your series?