Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday Edition: E3, iphone rumors and "where's the Magic Vodafone?"

By Benedict Wee

Nothing much to report about the NZ mobile scene this week except for the blunder Telecom made with their prepaid add-ons. The HTC magic is still not out on our shelves which I think is a big mistake on the part of Vodafone because should the WWDC announce the new iphone on monday (and they will), people might end up holding off on an android phone purchase which would be a pity. It's kinda hard to market the new android platform when it'll be overshadowed by everyone talking about the new iphone in the upcoming weeks till its launch and even if it does get advertised it'll be viewed as a "wannabe iphone" because of the timing of the news. 

Oh and Sony gets an application store too but it's nothing worth getting all excited over (yet). 

A lot of exciting news from E3 though, which will make gamers save up their cash: 

Microsoft has announced sequels to their games (Lips:NOH, Crackdown 2, Dead Rising 2, Forza 3) with 2 new Halos (ODST and Reach) and a new Metal Gear Solid series. They've also announced a better New Xbox Experience with the incorporation of a free music streaming site (Last.FM) as well as social networking sites; facebook and Twitter to the dashboard. 

The highlight of the event of course was Project Natal; the Xbox 360's new camera which provides seamless gameplay and a Minority Report-like interface. 

Nintendo finally showcased games staring their famous mascots (Metroid: Other M, Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros.) proving to jaded fans that the Wii is a console for them too and not just non-gamers (they'll have WiiFit Plus and Wii Sports Resort to look forward to). 

Other major announcements include a new Golden Sun game for the DS which many people have demanded for, facebook photo uploads from the DSi and two other Wiimote extensions to clutter up your already full drawer of Wii periperals; the Wii motion plus and Vitality Sensor. 

Sony too announced their exclusive sequels (Uncharted 2, God of War 3) and surprised everyone with the MMORPG sequel; Final Fantasy XIV as well as debuted new titles (MAG, Agent, The Last Guardian). The highlight of their show however went to the new PSP iteration; the PSP Go which didn't surprise many as it was leaked out last weekend. I just thought of a major reason why it is a big mistake to buy this new model but I'll save it for my Buying Guide segment in the future. 

What I was more interested in were the new games for the handheld (MGS: Peace Walker, Little Big Planet, Gran Turismo). Sony also previewed their new motion controller which seems like it's caught between the Wiimote and Project Natal. 

In addition to the Big 3 conferences a whole lot of other games were seen on the show floor and I've got some of the highlights in part 1 and 2 of my blog.  

And what do we have to look froward to next week?

Well the new iphone announcement at the WorldWide Developers Conference of course! The event will start with a presentation by Phil Schiller where he'll announce the new iphone and its many new and shiny features as well talking about the new Snow Leopard OS for the Mac, a new ipod touch/iphone firmware update, new ipods and ipod touches and (mayhaps) an Apple tablet? 

Nothing is confirmed for sure (cept the new iphone) but whatever they're gonna announce, it'll be awesome as always. In the meantime -since we're on speculation- let's compile the list of rumors floating around on the internets. 

The new iphone will:
  • change its shiny back to matte
  • have cheaper (US$99) models
  • have slightly different components
  • have a better camera with autofocus and (finally!) video recording
  • have improved RAM to run better games and applications 
  • have a better processor to run applications faster and more efficiently 
  • have VoiceOver like the iPod shuffle
  • have bigger memory. Expect it to have at least 32GB to 64GB. 
  • have an OLED screen
  • have a glowing Apple logo on its back
  • have a magnetometer
  • have a front camera for video conferencing which will work with the ichat application in the new firmware update. 
  • have a 3D graphics chip for better looking games and applications
  • work on a faster network
  • have better Bluetooth support so it'll be able to pair with 3rd party peripherals like keyboards and game controllers. 
  • be released on the 17th of July
That is a long list of rumors. How many do you think are true? Of course nothing is certain till the actual day so stay tuned as I'll be waking up early to watch the live blog and posting the news as soon as it hits. Till then have a great weekend!

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