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What Did Apple Announce at WWDC? A Guide to iOS 6

This week in scenic San Francisco, Apple is wowing both companies and developers that make software and apps for Apple’s various platforms at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).


Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook gave WWCD’s keynote address on Monday. This was the first time WWDC was not addressed by Steve Jobs.

It’s a conference that often telegraphs Apple’s game plan for the rest of the year. In the past, the conference has been the forum where two iPhones and various Macs have been introduced. On Monday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage, giving the conference’s keynote address.

Numbers Game
Cook started his Monday morning keynote by dazzling the crowd with some spectacular numbers:

  • Apple largely owns the digital marketplace. Apple has paid out an estimated $5 billion to app developers since the App Store was started just four years ago.
  • There are now more than 66,000 apps, resulting in more than 30 billion downloaded apps.
  • Some 400 million consumers have their credit card information on file with Apple.

One of today’s major announcements involved Apple’s latest iOS (the iOS is what developers use to make apps for the iPad or iPhone). In a nutshell, the iOS powers Apple iDevices…and it’s about to change dramatically:

Driving Developments
For years, Google Maps has been the default mapping app for Apples iDevices, but that’s about to change. Apple’s iOS 6 will introduce its own tweaked-up version of Maps, and it promises to offer some capabilities that Google Maps can’t match. This includes turn-by-turn navigation, voiced by Siri, Apple’s personal assistant program.


Apple’s new Maps app will help you find your way.

Not only will Siri guide drivers to their destinations, she’ll also provide estimated trip times, and when the speed limit changes. If traffic slows (because of an accident or other event), she’ll  suggest an alternate route. Siri will also help you find gas. Finally, the new Maps app will feature a photographic 3D view of numerous cities called “Flyover,” in addition to offering a traffic view so you can visually plan the best route for your drive.

Siri-ous Improvements
Siri will be updated with iOS 6, too – and she’ll be featured on the new iPad. For most users, the biggest improvement will be the ability to launch apps with a single voice command, which many users have been vocal about desiring. Siri will also be given a new “Eyes Free” mode that will work in conjunction with your car by simply pressing a button on your steering wheel. (To make this a reality, Apple is already partnering with numerous auto manufacturers, including Toyota, Honda, GM, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.)

And not only will Siri become more convenient to access; the program will become smarter and know more about a wider range of subjects. For example, if you’re looking for sports scores and schedules (and even stats), Siri can now be your go-to expert. The same applies to other entertainment, such as movies (with Siri able to serve up reviews, showtimes and trailers).

And when it comes to grabbing a bite to eat after a game or before a movie, Siri will have you covered there, too. The personal assistant will soon be able to give you a sneak peek at restaurant menus and even help you make dinner reservations.


Attendees are flocking this week to San Francisco’s Moscone Center (West) from around the world. The conference will last through Friday. 

Social Affairs
It’s a social-media world, a fact not lost on Apple. So iOS 6 will fully integrate Facebook, just as iOS 5 brought system integration for Twitter users. With iOS 6, once you log into your Facebook account from the Settings app, you can remain logged in…even if you open different apps, and (here’s the best part) you won’t be required to log in multiple times.

With this new integration, Facebook events will appear in the Calendar app. And let’s say you use both Facebook and Twitter. With iOS 6, both social media sites will be included within the notification dropdown. So if you need to post a new status, you can do it once in this location and the change will be made to both the Facebook and Twitter accounts. iOS 6 enables all of these improvements, not to mention the ability to post photos and preferred apps directly to Facebook.

“Pass Go” with Passbook
iOS 6 will feature a new app called “Passbook.” It works like Google Wallet. Passbook stores a wide variety of items (such as movie tickets, gift cards and airline tickets) in one convenient app. Passbook works in conjunction with the notification center, helpfully reminding you if you arrive at a location where you might be able to use one of the items stored in the app.

Silence-is-Golden 
Another improvement? A “Do Not Disturb” feature for iPhones that keeps things on the down-low. Don’t worry; you’ll still receive notifications when they come but you just won’t have to hear about each and every one of them.


The Do Not Disturb feature lets you customize interruptions, such as when to activate and who to accept calls from.

Making the “VIP” List
The new iOS also gives you a way to prioritize the Mail app with special instructions based on the names of your inner-posse members. By accessing the “VIPs” feature, you’ll be able to receive special notification when you receive messages from those you’re tight with. The feature will also let you batch all incoming messages from the crew with a single tap. Mail will now let users add pix and flix to message, as well as view marked messages.

Setting the Pace
The announcements made at Apple’s WWDC often have a global impact, and influence the world of personal computing for the next year. Coming up in Part Two: We look at new changes coming to the MacBook line.

Are you ready to learn app development for the iPhone and iPad? We are! iOS makes the world’s coolest gadgets even cooler!

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posted by Phill Powell in Apple,News Blog and have No Comments

E3 2012: Console Updates, New Features for Wii U, Xbox

Welcome to Day 3 of E3 2012, the biggest tradeshow dedicated to the art and business of video games. In yesterday’s Day 2 report we showcased ten of the most anticipated video games of 2012 being shown this week at the L.A. Convention Center. Today let’s look at the console side of things—particularly newly announced features for two game platforms: Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox.


For Nintendo, this year’s E3 show was all about the Wii U.

Wii U: Still Connecting the Dots
For Nintendo, this E3 has been all about the Wii U, the game giant’s next-generation handheld game console. The device is built around a touchscreen controller (as with the Nintendo DS) and it supports the same motion-sensitive gaming that Nintendo’s Wii remote used to transform family dens everywhere into arm-waving, foot-pounding game salons. In addition, Wii U will enable streaming media from content providers like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Video. And in a nod to the social-media revolution, Nintendo has pledged that Wii U will deliver features that enhance the experience of connected gaming.

There have been changes to the Wii U controller GamePad that was shown at last year’s E3, although most of the alterations involve tweaks to make the unit more ergonomic and functional (a pro gamer controller—which looks more like an Xbox controller that was also announced). The big selling point for Wii U is the console’s second screen, which can be used to activate different game controls, trigger alternate camera views and switch perspectives. For example, during certain games, players will be able to hold the controller pad up to their television screen and scan for enemies. Similarly, a new karaoke game will utilize the second screen as a teleprompter for displaying song lyrics.


The Wii U will ship with “NintendoLand,” a mini-game sampler with a theme-park feel. 

Despite not delivering more information about the Wii U (such as its price point and its exact release date, although Nintendo assured attendees that the device will be released in time for holiday shopping), Nintendo was able to point to an initial batch of Wii U games—nearly two dozen of them—that will be ready to instantly support the new machine. Nintendo also unveiled a mini-game sampler called “NintendoLand,” which will ship with the Wii U.

Xbox: Ruling the Roost
E3 attendees hoping to get an early look at Microsoft’s much-rumored Xbox 720 (which sources say will arrive sometime during 2013) were disappointed by this year’s show, but Microsoft had plenty of news to keep gamers satisfied. Besides, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is still currently winning the “console wars.” And that’s for a couple of reasons—one is the games, the other is Xbox Live being a superior online service. To that extent, a large majority of Microsoft’s announcements were focused around updates to the Xbox Live services:


Microsoft brought famed 49ers quarterback Joe Montana out of retirement. He was on hand to promote “Madden 13″ —while R&B star Usher opened the Microsoft press event showing off “Dance Central 3.”

  • Microsoft announced that the Xbox’s streaming media capabilities will be enhanced by the addition of new broadcast networks, such as ESPN and all of the major pro sports leagues in the U.S. Likewise, new media apps from entertainment providers (like Paramount Movies, Nickelodeon and Univision) will find a home on the console.
  • Featuring a reported 30 million tracks, Microsoft’s retooled music service will simply be called “Music” (as opposed to “Zune,” its former title). In addition to Windows 8, Music will be brought to the Xbox.
  • Possibly in response to the intense popularity of rival Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” exercise program, Microsoft announced a partnership with Nike to bring the sports company’s Nike+ training platform to Xbox Kinect. With it, users will be put through their exercise paces by a virtual trainer and will be able to receive helpful fitness reminders directly on their smartphones.
  • Microsoft also unveiled its plans for Xbox SmartGlass, a new application that will let users bridge their different electronic devices (e.g., Xbox, smartphone, tablets and TVs) and enjoy the same content across all of them. For example, via SmartGlass a user could start out watching a movie on their tablet computer, then pick up where they left off by resuming watching on their phone or Xbox.


Microsoft wowed the crowds with the eagerly awaited “Halo 4.”

See Ya Next Time!
E3 2012 will be wrapping up soon, but the news coming out of the show will be rocking gamers for months (and years) to come. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to design video games, check back here for more video games news.

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posted by Phill Powell in Featured and have No Comments

Biggest & Best Games of E3 2012

It’s Day 2 of E3 2012, and the L.A. Convention Center is jumping with software companies trying to one-up each other. We’ve been wowed by a few titles already and still have lots more to see, but let’s take a look at some of the titles everyone’s talking about:

“Star Wars 1313”

Publisher/Developer: LucasArts
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/12

Why We Want to Play It: Star Wars 1313” is a gamers game—complete with M rating—and the first serious “Star Wars” game in a long time. (Yes, we enjoy the “LEGO Star Wars” games but we also love nail-biting action.) The game, which is primarily a shooter, takes place between the franchise’s trilogies, and is set in the Imperial capital of Coruscant (on Level 1313).

You’re a bounty hunter, fighting your way through an underworld full of criminals—both human and droid. With the environments, elements and settings “Star Wars” fans love, “Star Wars 1313” brings together talents from LucasArts, Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm Animation and Skywalker Sound to produce what looks to be a truly next-generation gaming experience.

“Gears of War: Judgment”

Publisher/Developer: Microsoft/People Can Fly
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: If you’ve played “Gears of War,” you already understand the importance of Emergence Day—a key event in the “Gears of War” universe. That said, “Gears of War: Judgment” takes place just after Emergence Day, making the game a prequel of sorts. The developer promises new multiplayer experiences for Kilo Squad, as it engages in heavy combat with Halvo Bay hanging in the balance. Lock and load, gamers!

“Assassin’s Creed III”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
System: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: 10/30/12

Why We Want to Play It: A new hero takes the lead in “Assassin’s Creed III.” Part Native American and English, Connor fights in the war between the Assassins and Templars. This gameplay is amazing, and the overall experience more of what you expect from an already phenomenal franchise. It’s also set during the American Revolution, which makes it additionally appealing.

“The Last of Us”

Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment/Naughty Dog Software
System: PS3
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: From the guys that brought us “Uncharted” comes a survival game to end all survival games. Meet Joel and Ellie, a pair of mismatched traveling companions trying to make their way across the good old U.S. of A. The only problem is that America as we know it is gone, decimated by a fungus-spread plague that more-or-less creates zombies as it sows death and destruction everywhere. “The Last of Us” is one of the few shining stars Sony has at the show, so expect to see and hear a lot more about it in the months ahead.

“Call of Duty: Black Ops 2”

Publisher/Developer: Activision/Treyarch
System: PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: 11/13/12
Why We Want to Play It: Want to see a brutal yet entirely possible vision of our near-future? Look no further than the latest “Call of Duty.” Most of the action takes place in 2025, with gamers playing as David Mason (son of Black Ops hero Alex Mason).

“ZombiU”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Montreal
System: Nintendo Wii U 
Release Date: TBD

Why We Want to Play It: Originally the game was going to be titled “Killer Freaks from Outer Space.” Ubisoft says that this entry into the survival-horror shooter game space will take extensive advantage of the Nintendo Wii UTM GamePad, which will contain the player’s “Bug Out Bag” (or BOB), a backpack with all the maps, tools, weapons and supplies needed to survive.

“Halo 4”

Publisher/Developer: Microsoft Game Studios/343 Industries
System: Xbox 360
Release Date: 11/6/12

Why We Want to Play It: Space Opera. Master Chief. Questions? Seriously, it’s no surprise that this game’s already generating loads of buzz, given the franchise’s enormous popularity. Master Chief is back in “Halo 4,” and this time there’s a new multiplayer mode (“Halo Infinity Multiplayer”) centered around the UNSC Infinity, a mega-starship.

“Tomb Raider”

Publisher/Developer: Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics
System: PS3, Xbox 360

Release Date: 3/5/13
Why We Want to Play It: Lara’s back and she’s ready to reveal more about her mysterious origins and how she became a tomb raider. This franchise reboot will mix origin elements (a la “Batman Begins”) with the amazing physics of “Half-Life 2” and the rich environments of “Uncharted.” In addition, video game fanatics can expect to be challenged with finding special artifacts and items that help Lara make a “core discovery.”

“Splinter Cell Blacklist”

Publisher/Developer: Ubisoft/Ubisoft Toronto
System: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Release Date: Spring 2013

Why We Want to Play It: Sam Fisher returns in the third-person actioner that’s as hard as nails. Beware the Blacklist—a terrorist faction dedicated to weakening and bringing down the United States through a variety of covert attacks. That’s the enemy gamers will face in “Splinter Cell Blacklist,” the latest update to the Tom Clancy “Splinter Cell” series.

The Greatest (Video Game) Show on Earth!
E3 is the main event of the video game year and that’s why we’re devoting special editorial coverage to it this week. Check back tomorrow for more about the trends and titles that will be keeping gamers busy during the next year. Whether you’re a gamer or someone interested in learning how to make video games, we’ve got E3 covered.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2012 Announcements & Surprises

This week, the 18th annual E3 is taking place in Los Angeles. Started in 1995 (because video game companies felt lost among the massive Consumer Electronics Show, or CES) E3 has developed into a showcase for gamers and game developers alike.


Video game journalists and fans from across the globe descend on the halls of the LA Convention Center.

This week we’re covering the announcements and surprises that come out of the show – and the games you’ll be playing in the months ahead. Let’s start our coverage with a look at what trends we’re seeing coming out of the show at the end of Day One:

Trend: The Death of the Handheld
Why You Should Care: Gaming on the go will never be the same.

This E3 could be known as the “last roundup” for handheld game devices, although Nintendo will likely remain in the arena it helped build (with its Game Boy). Still, Nintendo hasn’t been able to find much support for its Nintendo DS device, just as Sony has struggled to find an audience for its PS Vita handheld. So what’s responsible for the rapid decline of this game niche? That’s right—the massive success of smartphones and tablet devices, which are now leading mobile gaming.

Trend: Xbox Becomes More Integrated with Your TV
Why You Should Care: Microsoft is light years ahead of Apple and Sony and on a track to be a full-service media provider.

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is dominating Day One and Microsoft wants to go a step further – and dominate your living room. To that end, Microsoft is continuing to use the Xbox as a type of “Trojan horse” to gain more access to your living room. This includes new music and video services being served up by – you guessed it – the Xbox.


“Star Wars 1313″ was one of the major titles announced at E3 2012. 

Trend: Reviving and Reconnecting “Star Wars” Fans with “Star Wars 1313”
Why You Should Care: It’s the first serious gamers “Star Wars” game in years.

While fans are still taking in the recent announcement that George Lucas is retiring from filmmaking (at least from big-budget movies), the game company he inspired is gearing up for a comeback. LucasArts hasn’t introduced a new title in almost two years, so expectations are already running high for “Star Wars 1313,” in which a bounty hunter makes his way through “a ruthless criminal underground.” (Think “Mass Effect” meets “L.A. Noire.”) The big difference around this time is the targeted audience; whereas most “Star Wars” games are marketed to younger gamers, “Star Wars 1313” will aim to strike a chord with older players; the game is already touting an “M” rating.

Trend: Blockbuster Sequels/Kinect
Why You Should Care: Motion games and sequels continue to drive the industry — and that’s not necessarily a good thing…

The Kinect system keeps charging ahead, and so do new titles that support it. Games announced at E3 that support Kinect include “Madden NFL 13” and “FIFA 13.”  “Halo,” “Gears of War” and “Forza”—each of which has been a certified Xbox smash—all have sequels announced at this E3. It means more mass-market games and less indie titles, although we must confess, we’re drooling over “Halo 4,” which is slated for a November release.

Trend: Saving Sony
Why You Should Care: Gamers are a passionate bunch who don’t easily forget.

At this year’s event, Sony will be trying to soothe the tempers of gamers still fuming over network hacks and botched system launches…cough, PS Vita. Sure there are some stellar titles on PS3, but gamers haven’t been bowled over by Sony’s corporate missteps and the company needs to work hard to mend relationships with its audience.

Stay Tuned!
As industry events go, E3 has something for everybody, from those who play games to those want to learn how to make video games. Check back in with us this week, as we present special editorial coverage of E3 2012.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2011: Day 1, The Latest Battle in the Console Wars

Tuesday marked the first day of E3 2011 in Los Angeles, one of the largest consumer electronics shows around and an annual showcase for new and impressive digital technology.

Nintendo Takes a Big Tablet
In terms of publicity impact, yesterday belonged to Nintendo, which unveiled its new Wii U controller Monday night. The controller is a fairly hefty accessory, which makes sense, because the middle of the device contains a 6.2-inch-diagonal touch-screen display.


Nintendo was a bit light on certain specifics (such as price and release date), but its new Wii U controller – with a 6.2-inch touch-screen controller screen integrated into its controller – wowed the crowds and silenced critics.

The Wii U controller is also tricked-out with a front-facing camera, microphone, gyroscope and accelerometer. While gaming, the player can play a game either through the handheld device or play the game on the TV that’s hooked up to the console. In terms of size, the Wii U controller resembles a tablet PC, but doesn’t offer (yet) the same type of options as an iPad or other tablets.

Sony: Picking Up the Paces


Sony is still reeling from recent attacks by hackers that took down the PlayStation Network for a month. One of the more impressive announcements the company made: how two PlayStation Vita players could use 3D technology to play games on a single screen, with each seeing a different image.

Sony continues to battle through an extremely difficult year – a year that has included natural, nuclear and economic disasters in its home country of Japan. Nonetheless, Sony always comes ready to play, and this year’s E3 was no exception. During a 5-hour press event, the electronics giant showcased its new PlayStation Vita. During the five-hour pre-show event on Monday, Sony showed off the new handheld – which follows the original PlayStation Portable (PSP) video game system. As with the Wii U controller, the PlayStation Vita has a large-screen (5”) display in the center of the unit, with control buttons on both sides of the screen. The Vita also features an interface similar to the iPhone. No surprise then that the Vita system is also 3G supported and will have service provided by AT&T.

Microsoft Wants You to Kinect


Microsoft is hoping gamers will want to “kinect” with its new interactive system, which adds motion to the mix.

Microsoft’s Kinect system has been doing gangbuster business in retail stores for a while now, yet Microsoft brought it to the front and center of the Xbox gaming experience. The Kinect system projects an infrared pattern around your game room and uses that information to give the CPU a spatial reference for gamers position and movements. Your real-life body and voice are tracked and used to control games. Microsoft’s message? Get “kinected” as they forced everything from a Kinect soccer game to a Kinect game called “Kinect Disneyland Adventures” down gamers’ throats. (We prefer the old-school method of playing games from the comfort of our couches, and we think most hardcore gamers do, too.) The strategy comes from Microsoft’s urge to copy Wii’s success, but only time will tell if that strategy works.

Apple’s Head in the Clouds


Apple doesn’t even have to be in attendance at E3 to make news, as gamers and industry insiders alike were still buzzing from Apple’s announcement about iCloud.

You know Apple has some serious industry clout when it doesn’t even bother to show up at the world’s greatest electronic entertainment show. Opposite of the announcements that came out of Los Angeles on Monday, Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced iCloud in San Francisco. Apple’s latest venture, iCloud is a storage service, much like Amazon’s Cloud drive or Dropbox. How does it work? For a $25 annual subscription fee, you can copy any music from a computer-held music collection and store that music in the iCloud. Once your media is on the cloud, you can access it from any number of iDevices. The whole thing, according to Apple is quick and relatively painless to use, and much easier to navigate than services offered by Google’s Music Beta and Amazon’s Cloud. With those services, users have to slowly load their songs from their computers to cloud servers.

At the end of the day, E3 belonged to Nintendo, who won hands-down…or was it Apple, since it’s interesting to note the Wii U controller was strikingly similar to an Apple device called the iPad. Sony’s Vita wants so bad to be an iPhone, and many attendees snickered at Sony’s attempt to catch up with Apple.

Catching Up with Technological Trends
Keeping up with today’s top technological trends and tomorrow’s game industry reality is just one of the many ways that Digital Media Academy computer & digital arts summer camps is able to offer the ultimate summer camp experience. Our instructors are industry innovators who have worked for some of the biggest players in the game industry, and they are often tuned to coming trends that our students have yet to even imagine.

This summer, DMA will offer a range of courses related to 3D Game Design for various popular game platforms. From an Introduction to 3D Art, Modeling and Animation for Game Design…to 3D Game Development classes (for developing games for Google Android devices, for the Internet and for iPhones)…to 3D Game Creation classes in Level Design and Character Design. No matter where your video-game interests lay, DMA has a computer summer camp for you. To learn from the industry’s best, this summer turn to DMA.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog and have No Comments