After dozens of lawsuits, Apple looks set to finally stop buying Samsung's products.
By Jason Imms on July 5, 2013 at 5:07 pm
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is a weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of the latest in the Apple/Samsung fracas, the ninth circle of Xbox hell, Ubisoft’s amazing virtual camera, and the life and death of Douglas Engelbart.
Apple/Samsung slapfight escalates as Apple take bat, ball and go home to Taiwan
The competitive and litigious relationship between Apple and Samsung has finally reached a breaking point. The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has signed a manufacturing deal with Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) for the production of microprocessors to be used in iPhones and iPads starting in 2014. The road to this deal has been long and arduous—years in the making—as TSMC has strived painfully to produce microprocessors that meet Apple’s strict performance and power requirements, and to stave-off Apple’s exclusivity demands. All the while, Samsung have continued to dig heavily into Apple’s smartphone market share.
Executives at TSMC claim that the company’s 20nm process chips will begin driving Apple products in 2014, with Samsung continuing as “the primary supplier through next year.” This means that the expected 2013 fall iPhone and iPad refresh will remain powered by Samsung SoCs.
The inventor of the computer mouse, Douglas Engelbart, dies at 88 years of age
Douglas Engelbart has contributed much to the advancement of personal computers, not the least of which was his invention of the computer mouse. His research is also credited with enabling many core PC concepts that we take for granted today, such as hyperlinks, text editing, and video conferencing. Christina Engelbart confirmed her father’s death at age 88 in an email to professor David Farber’s “classic computers” email list, stating that “his health had been deteriorating of late, and took a turn for worse on the weekend.” On December 19th, 1968, Engelbert presented what would come to be known as “the mother of all demos,” during which he presented his vision for the future of personal computing. Watch the video in full below.
Griefers, harassers, and vulgarisers to be condemned to a purgatory-like circle of Xbox Live
The Xbox One represents a significant evolution for the platform, and has prompted change for more than just the hardware itself. Xbox Live will also be overhauled in an attempt to better facilitate communication between players. As it stands, the XBL Parties system works well, but is very exclusionary. “The problem we see is that this fragments voice communication within games. It’s very difficult, because if you’re isolated in Party Chat, you’re leaving everybody else behind,” says Microsoft senior product manager, Mike Lavin in an interview with OXM. “In order to do that, you need a community of folks that aren’t screaming vulgarities every ten seconds, or the griefers or the harassers, those types of folks.” Microsoft are developing a reputation system that will track the behaviour of players in multiplayer matches, and eventually begin to only match them to other players that act in a similar fashion. The goal is to ensure that you should tend to only play “with other people that are more similar to you.”
Player’s reputations will be publically displayed on their Xbox Live profile, and will be “as fully visible as Gamerscore,” though whether or not it will remain a part of the star system, or be displayed in another way is currently unknown. Lavin also takes great pains to state that the reputation system won’t be exploitable by nefarious groups hoping to sink a target into the “avoid me” pool. “[Because reputation] is adjusted over time, meant to stop flash harassment mobs,” and the system will confirm that the complainer and the accused have actually played the game together. If not, that complaint won’t count for nearly as much.
Ubisoft’s virtual camera brings a real-world camera into the virtual world
Ubisoft Toronto’s state-of-the-art motion capture studio uses an array of impressive technology to produce the highly cinematic and believable cutscenes for which Ubisoft’s stable of triple-a titles has come to be known. Arguably the most impressive of these technologies is their virtual camera, a motion and location-aware device that allows the user to capture shots that would otherwise only be achievable with a normal video camera. The virtual camera acts as a hand-held viewfinder.
As the cameraperson walks around an empty motion capture studio, they look at the screen of the virtual camera and can see the virtual scene rendered around them. Moving the camera in the real world, moves the view in the scene. These movements are recorded, and used as the track for the virtual camera when producing in-engine cutscenes. Watch the Outside Xbox video below for some clarity.
Google rumoured to be developing an Android-based gaming console
The Ouya has seen quite a bit of press thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign and retail release, but a recent report from the Wall Street Journal may give Ouya creator Julie Uhrman pause. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Google is also developing an Android-based gaming console, though the success of the Ouya seems of secondary concern. The sources claim that this is an anticipatory measure against the belief that Apple will be releasing console features with their next Apple TV refresh.
This lines up with Apple’s WWDC 2013 announcement that iOS7 will support third-party controllers, given that Android’s existing controller support is what paved the way for the production of dedicated Android-based gaming devices. Google also filed a patent for a smart-watch, presumably a reaction to Tim Cook’s expression of interest in wearable technology at the D11 conference, and the rumoured Apple smart-watch.