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Pokémon Go adding trading Pokémon and friends lists

June 22, 2018
Pokémon Go trading
The latest Pokémon Go app update arrives this week bringing two crucial social features to the game. The new update allows you to begin trading Pokémon with other players. You can also start gathering a friends list. 


With the new trading feature, you can trade with others, as long as you have the stardust required and have made it past level 10. Stardust levels will depend on the type of friendship you’ve developed. The better the friend, the less you’ll have to spend to make a trade.
Open Gift
For now, trading is limited to those physically near you. In other words, you can’t trade with others online. Certain Pokémon are considered “special trades.” As such, you can only make special trades with the players whom you’ve reached the higher tiers of friendship with.

Being a friend

Making friends in Pokémon Go comes with special bonuses and will encourage players to exchange six-letter, personalized Trainer Codes to add friends to your list. Once you accept a friendship, you can take a look at their stats, including their most recent in-game activity.
Pokémon Go friendships also give you the ability to exchange gifts online. These items are available at PokéStops or gyms and can only be shared with friends.
Friends List
Starting a friendship in Pokémon Go introduces new levels in the game, including Good Friend, Great Friend, Ultra Friend, and Best Friend. Each distinction comes with special bonuses. For example, battling a gym with an Ultra Friend throws in a higher attack bonus than you’d get fighting with a Good Friend.
First launched in 2016, Pokémon Go remains one of the most popular mobile games in the world. The new Pokémon Go Friends feature will start rolling out to Trainers later this week, allowing you to connect with your real-life friends and keep track of their adventures in the game.

$5 DC films, $10 Jumanji, and other movie deals in iTunes right now

June 22, 2018
Apple on Tuesday updated its iTunes Store with new promotions on movies and other content. Among this week’s deals are DC hits like The Dark Knight and Suicide Squad under $5, and blockbusters like Red Sparrow and Jumanji under $10. Check out the full roundup below.

DC Movies Under $5

Family movies under $10

LGBTQ movies under $10

Other movies on sale

Popular Tropico city-building game coming to iPad this year

June 22, 2018
Tropico for iPad
One of the hottest video games from early this century is coming to an iPad near year. Tropico, the city-building game set on an island in the Caribbean, is being redesigned and developed for mobile devices. Best of all, when it’s released, it will be a full-priced game with no in-app purchases.
The game launches on iPad, courtesy of Feral Interactive and marks the first time Tropico has been ported to iOS.
First launched in 2001, Tropico allows you to play the role of the island’s dictator, El Presidente. In doing so, your job is to build up the island’s infrastructure and manage its economy. Along the way, you must deal with the populace, which doesn’t always like your edicts.
Take a look:
According to David Stephen, managing director of Feral Interactive:
With its delightful mix of strategy and tongue-in-cheek humor, the Tropico series has long been a favorite of desktop and console gamers alike. Re-imagining its gameplay for mobile has been great fun; we’re excited by the results, and are delighted to be bringing it to iPad.
Marcus Behrens, publishing director for mobile at Kalypso Media notes:
We are thrilled to be working with Feral Interactive to further expand the Tropico IP to iPad gamers across the globe. Tropico has captured the hearts and imagination of millions of gamers during its 17-year history and this transition to tablet takes the brand on a whole new and exciting journey.
Once only found on PC and Mac, Tropico eventually made its way to gaming consoles. Thanks to its success, expansion packs and sequels followed, including Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, Tropico 3, Tropico 4, and Tropico 5. This year, Tropic 6 is expected to launch.
Tropico is expected to feature new touch controls with an easy-to-navigate user interface in its tradition from PC/console to iPad. Feral recently ported Life is Strange: Before the Storm and Rise of the Tomb Raider to Mac.
As someone who played the original Tropico on my white iBook, I can’t wait to experience this game on iPad. Hopefully, the port is just as enjoyable as the original.
No release date this year has been set for Tropico on iPad.

Fortnite Mobile crosses a huge milestone on iPhone

June 22, 2018
Fornite Mobile
Fortnite has already made $100 million on the App Store, just 90 days after its launch. This makes it the second quickest game to reach this milestone behind Clash Royale, according to Sensor Tower.
First launched on iOS on March 19, Fortnite reached $25 million in Apple platform sales in 30 days, while achieving the $50 million mark 15 days later. Clash Royale made $154 million after just 90 days in the App Store.
Fornite 100 million
As Sensor Tower explains, these numbers are impressive:
In reaching this milestone, Epic Games has managed to surpass some of most successful multiplayer mobile titles of the past two years, despite the fact that Fortnite initially launched in invite-only form for two of the 12 weeks it has been available. As the chart below shows, it earned more than 3x as much as Tencent’s massively successful Honor of Kings—known as Arena of Valor in Western markets—did in China during its first 90 days on iOS, despite not being available there itself.
Considered a co-op sandbox survival game, Fortnite was developed by Epic Games and People Can Fly. The game launched on multiple platforms on July 25, including Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Epic announced Fortnite Mobile on iOS in March. At the time, it promised that the mobile port would have the same features, content, and weekly updates as Fortnite Battle Royale for PC, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
“We believe this is the future of games. The same game on all platforms. Console quality graphics and action. Play when you want, where you want,” Epic wrote.
Initially, the iOS version was available by invitation only. It launched to everyone on April 2. A May update added new locations to explore, new rewards to earn, and drag and drop support on the quickbar for quickly organizing inventory items.
You can download the free-to-play Fortnite on the App Store.

Instagram announces new IGTV app for long-form content

June 22, 2018
Instagram on Wednesday announced that it has developed a new app called IGTV. The app is aimed squarely at YouTube and other long-form video services, allowing creators to upload full-screen, vertical videos up to 1-hour in length.
Just like turning on cable TV, the IGTV app starts playing as soon as you open it, meaning there’s no need to perform a search or other on-boarding tasks. If you wish, however, a quick swipe up reveals options for discovering new videos.
Also like TV, IGTV has channels—well, creators ARE the channels. When you follow a creator on Instagram, their IGTV channel will show up in your feed. Anyone can be a creator by uploading their own videos in the app or on the web.
Instagram says that IGTV will be rolling out over the next few weeks on Android and iOS. You’ll also be able to watch IGTV content within the main Instagram app, which the company says now has over 1 billion monthly active users.
Instagram first launched in 2010, and was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.
Source: Instagram
UPDATE: The IGTV app is now available in the App Store for free

Bloomberg: Long-awaited AirPower charging mat coming in September

June 22, 2018
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says Apple plans on releasing its long-delayed inductive AirPower charging mat “before or in September.” The product, first announced last September, allows you to charge certain Apple devices all at once including the iPhone X.
According to Gurman:
Apple didn’t say when in 2018 it would release AirPower, but engineers hoped to launch the charger by June. The aim now is to put it on sale before or in September, according to one of the people. In recent months, some Apple engineers have ramped up testing of the device by using it as their charger at the office, another person said.
The oval-shaped AirPower accessory announced during last year’s iPhone X event can inductively charge multiple Apple devices at once, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 3. An optional charging case for AirPods, which is also missing in action, will also work with the charging mat.
There have been numerous delays for the AirPower since it was announced last year. The accessory was once thought to be arriving in March and then June. In the meantime, third-party alternatives have launched.
As Gurman explains of the delays:
An executive at an Apple partner that manufactures third-party wireless chargers for iPhones, who asked not to be identified, said that the multi-device charging mechanism is challenging to build because it likely requires different sized charging components for the three types of devices, which would all overlap across the mat.
It makes sense for Apple to push the AirPower release date to September. By doing so, the company will have the opportunity to reintroduce the product alongside this year’s iPhone and iPad Pro product lines. Each is expected to feature wireless charging capabilities; for the latter, for the first time.
Apple hasn’t announced a price for the AirPower.

iPhones could soon replace our car keys

June 22, 2018
The Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC), which counts Apple as a charter member, has one goal in mind: to create a “digital key” standard that allows drivers to ditch their physical keys with NFC-enabled smartphones. In doing so, it might not be too long before you can use your iPhone to lock, unlock, start the engine, and share access to your car. 
This week, the CCC introduced the Release 1.0 specification, which provides a generalized deployment method that allows vehicle OEMs to securely transfer a digital key implementation to a smart device, using an existing Trusted Service Manager (TSM). This first release was developed to create an ecosystem around interoperable digital key use cases.
Moving forward, the CCC is now beginning to work on the Digital Key Release 2.0 specification. Targeted for completion in early 2019, Release 2.0 will provide a standardized authentication protocol between the vehicle and smart device.
Once completed, Release 2.0 will offer a fully scalable solution for all.
As Mahfuzur Rahman, president, CCC notes:
We’re already seeing products in the market that are leveraging Release 1.0, and I believe that the forthcoming Digital Key Release 2.0 will have an even bigger impact on the industry as we meet needs for massive scalability. I’m enjoying this exciting journey with the CCC community as we change the way that drivers access any vehicle, and add further to the key functions that smart devices enable in our lives.
Alexander Maier of BMW AG concurs, explaining:
BMW sees high value in a standardized digital key ecosystem driven by the CCC. Leveraging all benefits of Release 2.0 will enable a scalable solution, interoperable with all smart devices and vehicles delivering a superior user experience to our customers.
Development on Release 2.0 is under development in collaboration between CCC’s charter member companies, which besides Apple, includes Audi, BMW, General Motors, HYUNDAI, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, and Volkswagen, and core members including ALPS ELECTRIC, Continental Automotive GmbH, DENSO, Gemalto, NXP, and Qualcomm Incorporated.
We’re already using our phones to open doors to our homes, so it makes sense the next step would be to make them able to run our cars. Assuming Release 2.0 gets launched next year as planned, don’t be surprised to see digital keys arriving on vehicles in the next two to three years.
Would you like to see digital keys become the norm for drivers?

Apple’s “Calls” adaptation may let you experience short stories via real-life audio sources

June 22, 2018
According to Variety, Apple’s latest original video content deal is “Calls,” an English-language adaptation of the French short-form series Canal+ that let viewers experience short stories via real-life audio sources and minimal visuals.
The publication said Friday that the new English-language series will be a co-production with Canal+. The original was developed and produced under the Canal+ Creation Originale label.
Created by Timothée Hochet, the original show allowed audiences to experience short stories through “real-life audio sources and minimal visuals.” In fact, Apple as part of this deal has also acquired the rights to the first season of the French original, Variety claims.
Apple continues to fill out its series programming pipeline.
Recently, the Cupertino firm has struck a major deal for multiple new series from children’s programmer Sesame Workshop, ordered the “Little America” anthology series from Lee Eisenberg and “The Big Sick” writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon while announcing a multi-year content deal with media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
What are your thoughts on “Calls”? Is this something that might interest you?
Let us know in the comments.

Warner Bros. launches official Westworld simulation game

June 22, 2018
Westworld Game
Just in time for this weekend’s season 2 finale, Warner Bros. has released an official game based on the popular HBO series, “Westworld.” The simulation game allows you to take on the role of a newly hired Delos employee who is granted access to the Delos Park Training Simulation, or DPTS.
In the game, which was written by those of the series, you’ll meet some familiar characters, including Bernard, Delores, and Maeve. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to control all aspects of Westworld park operations including manufacturing, managing, and upgrading AI-based Hosts, as well as satisfying a wide range of Guest desires.
The game’s initial content spans the first season of the series but will include more once season two ends.
According to Jonathan Knight, vice president, studio head at WB Games San Francisco:
We are excited for Westworld players to experience what it’s like to manage a complex theme park powered by human desires and artificial life. The game features a compelling, unfolding narrative and multi-layered gameplay while remaining highly approachable and intuitive to play.
The Westworld game offers a combination of construction and management elements with roleplaying game RPG style character development. Gameplay takes place on two levels: Aboveground, where there is the western-themed world visitors experience, and Belowground, the high-tech Delos facility where Hosts are manufactured, repaired and upgraded.
Westworld game
“Westworld” first arrived on the scene in October 2016 and is based on the 1973 film of the same name. The story takes place in a fictional, technologically advanced Wild-West-themed amusement park populated by android “hosts.” High-paying “guests” may indulge their wildest fantasies within the park.
The series stars Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, and James Marsden.
As a long-time “Westworld” fan, this official game looks like a lot of fun; I can’t wait to try it out further in the coming days. The season finale of “Westworld” airs on HBO this Sunday, June 24.
You can download the game on the App Store and watch the series on the HBO Now app.

US Supreme Court just made it more expensive to buy online

June 22, 2018
US Supreme Court
In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that states can require online retailers to collect taxes. The decision reverses 50 years of legal rulings that barred states from imposing sales taxes when their residents made a purchase from an out-of-state retailer. 
According to NBC, the ruling was a victory for South Dakota which wanted the Court to uphold its recently passed law imposing an internet sales tax. As the state’s attorney general noted:
Our state is losing millions for education, health care and infrastructure, and our citizens are harmed by an uneven playing field.
In 1967, the Supreme Court said that states couldn’t require mail-order catalog companies to collect sales tax unless they had a physical presence in the state. At the time, the Court said doing so would put an unfair burden on catalog companies since fees vary by state.
The advent of the internet and explosion of online sales changed this, of course.
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the physical presence rule put brick-and-mortar businesses at a disadvantage because they had to charge sales taxes but internet retailers did not. That rule “prevented market participants from competing on an even playing field,” Kennedy wrote.
In the dissenting opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said the internet economy has thrived under the sales tax exemptions. “Any alternation to those rules with the potential to disrupt the development of such a critical segment of the economy should be undertaken by Congress,” he wrote.
What does this mean? Soon, companies like eBay will have no choice but to collect state tax on purchases, if the same item is taxed in a physical store. In other words, get ready to pay much more.
While this is bad news for anyone who makes purchases online, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, it will be interesting to see where the change makes it more or less likely someone now shops in a brick-and-mortar store. I’d say the convenience of buying online will still play a significant role in the decision-making process.
What say you? Leave your comments below.