Pokémon Go to Get New Pokémon as Starbucks and Sprint Stores Become Pokéstops and Gyms

Pokémon Go recently announced that Sprint and Starbucks locations have officially been added into the game as Pokéstops and Gyms. The Sprint collaboration began yesterday with over 10,500 Sprint locations around the United States supporting the GPS-based game, including Sprint, Boost Mobile and Sprint at Radioshack stores. In-store charging stations are also being offered to players so they can keep playing the game longer.

Today, another U.S.-based collaboration will begin at 11 a.m. PST, where 7,800 Starbucks stores around the country will turn into Pokéstops and Gyms to entice players to visit the popular coffee shop more often. In celebration of the partnership, the company has also created a new Pokémon Go Frappuccino for customers to try out while they hunt Pokémon in the game.

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By locating a Starbucks® store within Pokémon GO, players will discover the Pokémon GO Frappuccino® blended beverage. The Pokémon GO Frappuccino® starts with a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino® blended beverage and raspberry syrup blended with freeze dried whole blackberries and topped with whipped cream. It's the perfect treat for any Pokémon Trainer on the go.

The Pokémon GO Frappuccino® blended beverage will be available at participating Starbucks® stores for a limited time while supplies last.
The partnership news this week precedes a new generation of Pokémon coming to the game sometime soon. In the Sprint press release, Niantic CEO John Hanke teased fans and said to "keep an eye out on our social media channels on December 12th for details about the first addition of more Pokémon into Pokémon Go." The specific amount and generation of Pokémon that will be added to the game was not given, so fans will have to wait until next Monday to find out.

Pokémon Go can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

'Bully: Anniversary Edition' Launches on iOS App Store for $6.99

Rockstar Games has officially released Bully: Anniversary Edition on mobile devices for $6.99, including iOS [Direct Link] and Android. The launch of the mobile app for the game comes ten years after Bully originally launched in the fall of 2006 for the PlayStation 2.

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Images via TouchArcade

The new "Anniversary Edition" includes all of the content from the game's "Scholarship Edition" -- which was a graphical enhancement that added a few more features onto the game two years after its original release -- as well as including a few new mobile-focused updates of its own. Bully: Anniversary Edition has gained support for high-resolution displays, enhanced graphics, improved lighting and textures, and controls redesigned for touch gameplay.

On top of all of its new graphic overhauls, a new multiplayer component has also been added, called "Friend Challenges." The turn-based mode lets players compete in head-to-head "arcade style mini-games," using Bully's prep school classroom theme to see who can dissect frogs the fastest, solve word problems, and more. The full list of features for Bully: Anniversary Edition are listed below:

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Features:
• Includes the complete Bully story with extra missions, characters, classroom mini-games, and unlockable items from Bully: Scholarship Edition
• Gorgeous graphics: high resolution textures, dynamic lighting, shadows and particle effects
• Native support for high resolution displays
• Challenge your friends anywhere with turn based multiplayer Friend Challenges. Play on the go and get notified when it’s your turn
• Intelligent touch controls with contextual buttons only when you need them
• Seamlessly continue your game across all your devices with cloud saves via the Rockstar Games Social Club
• Physical controller support
• Taptic Engine Feedback for all buttons on iPhone 7 class devices
• Capture your gameplay with Replay Kit support on iPhone 6S and greater class devices
Previously, Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and more, on the iOS App Store.

Rockstar Games noted that Bully: Anniversary Edition requires 2.4 GB of space and is supported on the iPhone 5 and newer, iPod Touch 6th Gen, iPad 4th Gen and newer, iPad Mini 2 and newer, and iPad Pro.

For a deeper dive into the mechanics of the game, check out TouchArcade's review of Bully: Anniversary Edition right here.

Pebble Posts Details on Refunds and Existing Device Services Following Fitbit Buyout

Pebble CEO and founder Eric Migicovsky took to the company's blog yesterday to personally confirm its imminent closure, following media reports earlier on Wednesday that Fitbit has acquired its technology, software assets, and other intellectual property.

Pebble
Dear Pebblers,

Thank you all for being such loyal supporters and champions of the Pebble community and brand. You helped start something fantastic when you backed our first Kickstarter project (and shout-out to the first inPulse users). Since then, we’ve shipped over 2 million Pebbles around the world!

However — due to various factors — Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity. We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices.
Migicovsky went on to cover the buyout, earlier confirmed by Fitbit in a press release, and said that many members of his team would be joining the company to continue their work on wearable software platforms. Migicovsky also said that Pebble devices will continue to work as normal, thanks to "close collaboration with the Fitbit team", but warned that functionality or service quality may be reduced in the future.

The blog post also lists a number of bulleted "need-to-knows" for customers, including further details on refunds for Kickstarter backers awaiting pre-orders of devices including the Pebble 2 and Core wearables. Customers can read the list here.

Tags: Pebble, Fitbit

Playable Demos of 'Super Mario Run' in Apple Stores From Today

iOS devices in brick-and-mortar Apple Stores around the world are running playable demos of Nintendo's highly anticipated Super Mario Run from today, December 7, for those eager to get an early taster of the new game.

The announcement was made by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime on Wednesday evening's The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, during which a playable version of the company's upcoming Switch console was also shown.

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Super Mario Run is Nintendo's first major attempt to crack mobile gaming and is the first of many titles planned for the platform. Driven by its iconic character, the game is expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for the company. Engadget has posted a remarkably positive hands-on of the free runner title for anyone interested to learn more.

Super Mario Run is set to debut on the App Store on December 15 for iPhone and iPad. The game will be a free download with a $10 in-app purchase required to unlock the full content.

Apple and NHL Close to Striking 'Major Partnership' to Bring iPads to Team Benches

Apple is in late-stage discussions with the National Hockey League regarding a "major partnership" that could see iPads and other technologies implemented on team benches and elsewhere in arenas, according to Canadian sports network TSN.

(Source: Getty Images)

The report claims the NHL has been in negotiations with Apple and Microsoft for several years, adding that talks with Apple have accelerated recently after similar talks between Apple and the National Basketball Association failed to materialize.
“The NHL Apple deal is more a major partnership than a sponsorship,” said a source familiar with the NHL’s plans. “Right now, some teams have iPads or other tablets and some don’t. Some have good Internet connections, some don’t. This deal is about having a consistent platform that every team can use in every rink.”
Major League Baseball's digital operation BAMTech has been involved in the negotiations, after reaching a six-year deal with the NHL last year for the rights to distribute live out-of-market games, according to the report.

BAMTech's parent division MLB Advanced Media also owns the rights to the NHL's website, mobile apps, operations, and distribution of the league's streaming platform NHL GameCenter Live, available on iPad and other Apple devices.

The deal could resemble a $400 million partnership between the National Football League and Microsoft, ongoing since 2013, which provides team coaches with Surface tablets to use on the sidelines during football games.

The Walt Disney Company acquired a minority 33% stake in BAMTech earlier this year.

Tag: NHL

ABC and Disney Apps Now Support Apple's New Single Sign-On Feature [Updated]

Following yesterday's launch of Single Sign-on for iOS and tvOS, two major content providers have implemented support for the feature - Disney and ABC.

According to The Verge, the Watch ABC and Watch Disney apps now work with Single Sign-on, so customers who have cable through a supported provider can log into those apps automatically without needing to re-enter their cable credentials.

singlesignon
Single Sign-on, for those unfamiliar, is a new feature that allows cable subscribers to log into the Apple TV and iOS devices with their credentials one time, with those credentials then able to authenticate their subscription in all supported apps.

At the current time, Single Sign-on is only available for the following cable providers: CenturyLink, DirecTV, Dish, GVTC, Hawaiian Telcom, GTA, Hotwire, MetroCast, and Sling.

Single Sign-on is also limited to apps that have implemented support for the feature, which is a small list at the current time, limited to channels like Lifetime, NBC, History, Syfy, USA Now, Food Network, and a handful of others.

Now that Single Sign-on is available, additional apps will likely begin implementing support for the service, making it more useful to cable subscribers.

Update: Freeform has also added Single Sign-on support for iOS devices, while FXNOW has added support on tvOS. Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD are the three Disney channels that now support Single Sign-on, on both iOS and tvOS.

Service Electric has also been added as a new provider that supports Single Sign-on.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: Single Sign-on
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

Phil Schiller Says November 2016 Had the 'Highest Monthly Sales Ever in App Store History'

appstoreApple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller today tweeted out that November 2016 had "the highest monthly sales ever in App Store history." Schiller didn't offer any specific numbers in regards to the company's record-breaking month.

Earlier in January, Apple announced that customers spent $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases in just two weeks over the holiday season.


The news comes after Apple updated its various storefronts, including the App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store, with all of the company's Best of 2016 lists. Apple also gave out designated App of the Year and Game of the Year rewards for the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Mac. Some of the more notable apps mentioned were Prisma, Clash Royale, Life is Strange, and MySwimPro.

Tag: App Store

'myLINGO' iOS App Lets Users Listen to Spanish Audio Tracks in Real Time at the Movies

A new app called myLINGO lets Spanish-speaking users listen to studio-recorded dubs of the most popular movies while they're in theaters, thanks to backing from studios including Disney, Paramount, and Sony. The app has also obtained "strategic partnerships" with Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Theaters within the United States.

myLINGO works by letting users search for the movie they'll be watching, and then downloading the Spanish audio track to their iPhone, which is recommended to be done at home on Wi-Fi. After that, the app does all the work by listening for the film's audio through the iPhone's microphone, and delivering the Spanish version through the user's headphones "in perfect sync with the film."

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The company noted that the app's tracks are "studio-sanctioned Spanish versions" of each film available on the app, which were originally created and distributed for international release. The audio translations only play if the app can hear the movie on screen, includes a dark mode that prevents distractions in the theater, and once the movie is over the audio file self-deletes from the iPhone. Right now, myLINGO is only available for Apple's iPhone.
“Hispanic audiences spent approximately $2.5 billion at the box office in 2015, proving a big incentive for cinemas to cater to this market segment,” said Olenka Polak, co-founder and CEO of myLINGO. “Even so, our research shows that nearly half of all Spanish-dominant Americans avoid going to the movies because films aren’t shown in Spanish. myLINGO addresses that challenge as a partner to both studios and exhibitors, with an innovative way to drive new customers and revenue,” she added.
The app's business model sets prices on a movie-by-movie basis. Users will have to pay $1.99 for each audio track they wish to listen to at the theater, although a few movies currently in the app -- including Disney's Moana and Marvel's Doctor Strange -- are free "for a limited time." myLINGO also doesn't support Bluetooth or any wireless headphones and recommends users remember to bring their wired headphones with them to the movies.

The limit on the app's use in its current state is placed on the studios supporting it, but there are still popular films out now and coming soon that users will be able to try with myLINGO, including: Moana, Office Christmas Party, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Passengers. Other languages are coming down the line, but myLINGO CEO Olenka Polak told Variety that the focus is only on Spanish at this time because "we want a clear marketing message."

You can download myLINGO on the iOS App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: myLINGO

Sony's PlayStation Division to Release 6 Mobile Games for iOS Next Year

Sony is set to release up to six games for iOS in the financial year starting April in the hope of replicating Nintendo's phenomenal success with Pokémon Go (via Reuters).

The upcoming titles will bring popular Sony franchises such as Everybody's Golf to iOS devices for the first time, said the company. Previously Sony has only launched a few games for smartphones through its music entertainment division, but the new games will be "mobile designated" and be produced through its PlayStation business.

Everybody's Golf - Sony game
Everybody's Golf on PlayStation 4

Sony also revealed on Wednesday that it is working on 10 mobile gaming titles, including those to be released next year. The 10 titles include PaRappa the Rapper and Arc The Lad. Japan will be first to get the games, before rollout to other Asian countries and eventually likely elsewhere, depending on initial success.

Despite its huge success in the console market worldwide, Sony is facing increasing heat from mobile in countries such as Japan, the world’s third largest game market where mobile gaming accounts for more than half of the $12.4 billion market, according to games research firm Newzoo.

The announcement comes just a week before Nintendo debuts Super Mario Run on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The endless runner game goes live on the App Store on December 15 for $9.99.

Tag: Sony

Amazon Rolls Out Music Unlimited 'Family Plan' to the U.K. for £15 per Month

Amazon has expanded its Family Plan for Amazon Music Unlimited to the U.K., following initial rollout across the U.S. last month.

The plan costs £15 a month, or £149 a year, which works out at a lower price of £12 per month. The subscription supports up to six family members (at least 13 years of age) for simultaneous listening and personal recommendations.

Amazon UK family plan music
On the plan, a single family member uses a "shared payment method" to pay for the subscription, such as a debit or credit card that Amazon uses to charge each month for the service. Each member can make purchases on Amazon and Amazon Music Unlimited with the shared payment method, while the main subscriber receives notifications of all activity within the group. The plan also retains the same functionality as the Individual Plan subscription.

Amazon Music Unlimited has a library of 40 million songs and is available under four optional plans. Prime members can sign up to the streaming service for £8 per month or £79 per year, while non-Prime members pay £10 per month. For Echo or Echo Dot owners, a cheaper £4 per month plan is available, but is restricted to music playback on the smart device.

Pandora Previews Apple Music and Spotify Competitor 'Premium'

Pandora previewed its long-awaited Apple Music and Spotify competitor today at a special event with select publications. The new service is called Pandora Premium, and will launch in early 2017 with a likely price of $9.99 per month, reports Engadget.

pandorapremium
The new app offers on-demand access to a large music library and looks a lot like Rdio. In November, Pandora announced that it had acquired "key assets" and employees from Rdio. Like other services, Pandora Premium will also allow users to save music offline and experience ad-free listening, reports The Verge.

Pandora CEO Tim Westergen thinks the company has created the "first truly premium music service." For Pandora, a premium music service means a personal music service, and the company hopes to leverage its trove of listening data and the Music Genome Project to offer each customer a personalized music service.

For instance, Pandora Premium features personalized search, which means each user will get different music results based on their listening history rather than overall popularity. The browse and new release sections of the app will also be personalized based on user taste. Smart playlists will allow users to easily add new songs with a touch of a button, and in some cases Pandora will automatically add songs for you.

The app will also change color based on the album artwork of the song you're currently listening to, and every song you like will be added to a giant playlist made up of every song you've ever liked on Pandora. When a user has reached the end of a playlist or album, Pandora Premium will offer a radio station based on the finished playlist or album to keep the music going.

Overall, Engadget notes that the new service marries Rdio's interface and features with Pandora's extensive music knowledge. Pandora says the service will begin rolling out in the first quarter of 2017, but won't commit to whether the service will cost $9.99 like similar music streaming services.

Pandora Premium gives Pandora three music offerings at different price points: the basic, ad-supported radio streaming service, the $4.99 per month Pandora Plus, an ad-free streaming service, and the on-demand newly announced Pandora Premium.

Square's 'Cash Virtual Card' Now Works With Apple Pay

In September Square introduced the "Cash Virtual Card," letting users of the Square Cash app create a virtual Visa debit card that allows them spend their Square Cash anywhere Visa is accepted online. Today at the Code Conference in San Francisco, CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the Virtual Card now works with Apple Pay, reports Recode.

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Image via Recode

The move gives the Cash Virtual Card a physical presence, allowing users to spend their Square Cash anywhere Apple Pay is accepted. Dorsey said he's been using the Virtual Card as his primary card for the past two months.

Square has steadily been working toward turning Square Cash into a fully fledged payment solution. The service originally started as a peer-to-peer payment system before expanding into online payments with the Virtual Card.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Square Cash