Rome: Total War – Barbarian Invasion Coming to iPad This March for $4.99

Rome Total WarFeral Interactive has announced it is bringing ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion to iPad this March. The title is a standalone expansion pack to the critically acclaimed ROME: Total War, which was faithfully ported to iOS late last year.

As with the previous Creative Assembly conversion, the iPad release of Barbarian Invasion promises a full port of the original desktop game, supplemented by intuitive touch controls, enhanced Retina graphics, and mid-battle autosaves.
Barbarian Invasion is a game of epic scale, offering players a seamless integration of strategy and tactics to fight spectacular battles, while using diplomacy, subterfuge and assassination to dominate the ancient world. Featuring a campaign set in the declining years of the Roman Empire, players can either hasten its fall as a Barbarian commander or take up arms as a Roman General to extend its civilization in a glorious new epoch.
"We have been delighted by the reception of ROME: Total War on iPad and we are confident that Barbarian Invasion, bringing as it does a plethora of new tactical options, will be just as well-received," said David Stephen, Managing Director of Feral Interactive.

ROME: Total War – Barbarian Invasion for iPad will be available exclusively via the App Store for $4.99. The game can be played without ROME: Total War, which is available on the App Store now for $9.99.

Tag: Feral

Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat Update Adds HomeKit Support for Remote Sensors

Smart wireless thermostat maker Ecobee is rolling out a firmware update to Ecobee3 devices that brings individual HomeKit support to the device's remote sensors for the first time.

The Ecobee3 enables owners to use additional remote sensors to keep track of ambient temperature as well as detect motion in different locations within the home. With firmware version 3.7.0.969, currently rolling out to the devices, owners can now access individual sensors directly from within the iOS HomeKit app.

ecobee3
The official change log for the firmware is as follows:

• Automatically Restore HomeKit Connection. Occasionally some ecobees could lose its connection to Homekit and have to be rebooted in order to re-establish the connection. This firmware update enables the ecobee to automatically reconnect without any user action.

• Wireless sensors with homekit enhancement. The wireless sensors now show up as accessories in the iOS Home app. Because of the dual functionality (occupancy detection and temperature sensing) of the sensors, each sensor will show up as two accessories.

• The usual background cleanup and stability. As always, to smooth things out for a better experience.


The Ecobee3 firmware is an automatic update currently being rolled out. Owners unsure of the version of their devices who aren't seeing their sensors in HomeKit should contact Ecobee support.

Tags: HomeKit, Ecobee

Google Maps Users Can Now Book and Pay for Uber Rides Without Ever Leaving the App

Google is rolling out an update to Google Maps for iOS that lets users request a ride from Uber without ever having to leave the app.

Previously, users of Maps could get a ride cost estimate and start the process of hailing a ride, but would eventually be kicked into the Uber app proper for confirmation and payment.

Google Maps Uber
Now however, users can book and pay for an Uber directly within Google Maps, without having to have the official Uber app installed on their device, thanks to a redesigned "ride services" section.

Google announced the update on Thursday in a blog post, explaining that Maps users need only to sign in to their existing Uber account (or create one) in order to book an Uber ride, track the driver on the map, and connect with the driver, all from within the Maps app.


Users are also able to take a look at information about their destination while en route, with menus, hours, and other details available in-app. Though listed in the ride services section, Lyft currently doesn't appear to support the same booking process as yet. The Maps update is currently being rolled out globally and should appear on user's phones any time now.

Google Maps is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

Universal Search Bar Coming Soon to Snapchat's iOS App

Snapchat was today updated with an improved universal search feature that makes it easier for users to find friends, groups, stories, and other content on the social network, reports TechCrunch.

The new universal search bar is located at the top of the Snapchat app, making it accessible when browsing, sharing a photo, and more, an improvement over the previous search features that were split up across the app.

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According to Snapchat, the search bar interface change is designed for speed, allowing users to find content quickly.
With the new search bar, you can jump to your own profile by tapping your Bitmoji on the left. If you tap a friend's auto-suggest card or search result, you'll start a chat with them, or you can tap their Story thumbnail to instantly start watching it full screen. Tapping and holding on someone's card shows their mini profile. Beyond accounts, you can find specific daily editions of Discover channels or particular Our Stories by searching for their titles.
Snapchat is also planning to allow all of its users to submit video clips to "Our Story," which employees use to create content focused on events and locations.

Universal search capabilities are launching today for some Android users, and will be rolling out to all iOS and Android users in the near future.

Tag: Snapchat

Apple Increases Maximum tvOS App Size to 4GB

Apple today announced that the size limit of a tvOS app bundle has increased from 200MB to 4GB, allowing developers to include more media in their app submissions for a "complete, rich user experience upon installation."

Previously, tvOS apps were limited in size to 200MB, but were allowed to download additional resources after being installed. This led to short initial installation times, but caused customers to have to wait for content to download after installing an app.

tvosroundup
Apple is also allows tvOS apps to use On-Demand Resources to host up to 20GB of additional content on the App Store. Apple recommends app developers use On-Demand Resources to enable faster downloads. On-Demand Resources allow apps to do things like download the first couple of levels of a game and update as a user progresses, deleting content that's no longer needed.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Flash Sale: Get a $100 iTunes Gift Card for $85 and More

Best Buy is holding a flash sale that offers U.S. customers a $100 iTunes gift card for $85, which is 15% off, until 12 p.m. Pacific Time. The gift card is a physical version delivered with free two-day shipping to most U.S. addresses.

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iTunes gift cards can be used to purchase apps, games, music, movies, TV shows, books, and more on the App Store, iTunes Store, the iBooks Store, and the Mac App Store. The credit can also be used towards an Apple Music subscription. The gift cards can be used on iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Mac, or PC.

If you are reading about this deal after it has expired, be sure to check out Best Buy's other deals on Apple products this week, including $100 off select iPad and MacBook Pro models and discounted Apple Watch models. U.S. only.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy and may get paid if you click one of the above links and make a purchase.

Tags: deals, Best Buy

Peter Thiel 'Confirms' the 'Age of Apple is Over,' But Says It's Not Tim Cook's Fault

iphone-family-late-2016In a "Confirm or Deny" feature by The New York Times this week, PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel "confirmed" that "the age of Apple is over" based on his belief that smartphones will lack further innovation.
The age of Apple is over.

Confirm. We know what a smartphone looks like and does. It’s not the fault of Tim Cook, but it’s not an area where there will be any more innovation.
While the iPhone has become a familiar product as it turns ten, which perhaps makes it less exciting to some, to say smartphones are not an area where there will be any more innovation will certainly fuel a debate. And, of course, while the iPhone is Apple's most profitable product, it's not its only.

Thiel's comment can be argued one way or the other, but it does raise the question of what Apple's next "one more thing" will be after annual iPhone sales declined for the first time amid an uncharacteristically down year for Apple—perhaps something in the augmented reality or electric vehicle spaces? Will this be the year Apple pushes deeper into artificial intelligence with Siri and an Echo-like device?

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has routinely teased about what's around the corner. Last year, he said Apple has "great innovation in the pipeline," including "things you can't live without that you just don't know you need today." Likewise, he told employees last month that Apple has "great desktops in our roadmap," and earlier this week he said "the best is yet to come" for iPhone.

Tag: Tim Cook

One Drop Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit for iPhone Launches on Apple.com

Health startup One Drop recently launched its iOS-compatible One Drop Chrome Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit on Apple.com for $99.95. Approved by the FDA and CE in Europe, the kit includes a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, a chrome lancing device, test strips, and a vegan leather carry case.

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The blood glucose meter can read results "in just five seconds," transmitting the data to the One Drop iOS app [Direct Link] that users can download on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch. One Drop's lancing device has custom depth settings to provide the right amount of pressure on a user-by-user basis in order to draw "a perfect drop every time." To keep up on compatible test strips, users can subscribe to One Drop Premium for a monthly $39.95 fee.

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With Apple's energetic and consistent focus on health, One Drop provides a premium product that not only meshes well with Apple's design sensibility, but aligns well with their desire to empower users to take control of their health.

Its new Chrome hardware connects to One Drop’s iOS, watchOS, and Android apps, and have full HealthKit and CareKit integration, allowing you to sync data from other health apps (e.g., CGMs, bluetooth meters, food & activity trackers) and share your data with your Care Team.
One Drop was one of four apps to launch with Apple's CareKit platform in 2016, including fertility tracker Glow Nurture, maternity app Glow Baby, and depression medication tracker Start. CareKit allows app developers to create integrated software that helps patients and doctors to better track and manage medical conditions.

On Apple.com, the One Drop Monitoring Kit is available for both store pickup and home shipping, with delivery dates listed as early as tomorrow, January 13. For more information on One Drop, check out the company's website here.

'The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth' Finally Comes to iOS Devices

Popular roguelike shooter The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is finally available on iOS devices. The highly-anticipated game was originally supposed to come out in early 2016, but its dark themes caused it to be rejected by Apple.

Based on a Flash game first released in 2012, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has been available on Macs, PCs, and consoles since 2014. The game was inspired by a biblical tale, and the main character, Isaac, escapes from his evil mother and battles through a series of procedurally generated dungeons.

Gameplay wise, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a dual stick shooter with virtual controls and support for Made for iPhone game controllers. The game features more than 500 hours of gameplay, over 450 items to find, two-player local co-op, 20 challenge runs, and more.

bindingofisaac
The Binding of Isaac is a randomly generated action RPG shooter with heavy Rogue-like elements. Following Isaac on his journey players will find bizarre treasures that change Isaac's form giving him super human abilities and enabling him to fight off droves of mysterious creatures, discover secrets and fight his way to safety.
Our sister site TouchArcade shared some tidbits on The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth this morning, noting that an Apple TV version of the game is coming in the future. The iOS version and Apple TV versions of the game will be the same, so gamers who purchase it today will later be able to play it on the Apple TV.

In regard to the $14.99 price tag, the game's developer, Tyrone Rodriguez, says there will be no pricing fluctuations or sales. "The price will not change, a month from now or a year from now," he said.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth can be downloaded from the App Store for $14.99. [Direct Link]

Astropad Studio Launches on iPad With 'Pro-Level Drawing Tools' for $65/Year

Second-screen iPad app Astropad has today launched a new premium version of its drawing suite called "Astropad Studio" that's been built exclusively for the iPad Pro (via TechCrunch). The new service offers users a number of advantages over the basic app -- including 40 MB/s max speed for lower latency, deep Apple Pencil integration, and more -- for a subscription plan of $7.99/month or $64.99/year.

Similar to the original app, Astropad Studio works with any Mac app via Wi-Fi or through USB and mirrors drawing tools from the iPad's screen onto a connected Mac. The company says that this connection lets users gain control of "pro-level drawing tools" on a Mac, and is aimed at creative professionals who work both in an office and from home.

astropad-studio-1
One of the biggest additions to the Studio suite of features is support for what Astropad calls "Liquid Extreme," which includes color-corrected output and retina resolution. Essentially, "what you see on your iPad is the same as on your Mac," according to the company.

Here's the complete list of exclusive features for Astropad Studio:
  • Liquid Extreme
  • 40 MB/s Max Speed
  • Unlimited shortcut sets
  • Built for iPad Pro
  • Apple Pencil Only
  • Keyboard support
  • Magic Gestures
  • Pressure Smoothing
  • Eraser Tool
  • Hover Simulation
  • 3-Button Mouse Simulation
  • Undo/Redo Gestures
  • Preview line customization
  • Unlimited Upgrades
  • Priority Support
The list features "Magic Gestures," which Astropad says is a way for users to set up easily accessible controls using a finger and Apple Pencil combination. For example, users can set up an erasing function to activate by setting one finger on the iPad's screen to instantly turn the Pencil into an eraser. Two fingers can be a right click, and so on.


The standard version of Astropad sells for $29.99 on the iOS App Store [Direct Link]. For the new app, users can try out Astropad Studio [Direct Link] with a 7 day free trial before deciding to subscribe to the service's monthly or yearly models. More information regarding Astropad Studio can be found here.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tag: Astropad
Buyer's Guide: 12.9" iPad Pro (Caution)

Skippable Ads Coming to Instagram Stories

Instagram today announced that more than 150 million people now use its Snapchat-like Stories feature on a daily basis, and now the company is looking to monetize that user base with the introduction of full-screen ads.

instagram-stories-ads
Just like Snapchat, Instagram will sometimes add a 5-second photo or 15-second video ad in between stories when a user watches more than one in a row. The video ads in particular are set to autoplay with audio. The good news: each ad can be skipped by swiping on it, according to TechCrunch.

Instagram said it will begin testing the ads over the coming weeks with over 30 global brands, such as Airbnb, Capital One, Buick, Nike, Netflix, and Qantas. In the future, the company said the ads may be tappable, enabling users to proceed to an advertiser's website to purchase a product or learn more information.

Instagram Stories enables users to share personalized photos and videos with their followers that disappear after 24 hours.

Tag: Instagram

Apple Teams Up With Security Firm to Bolster Encryption Across Its CareKit Medical Platform

Apple has partnered with security firm Tresorit so that developers using Apple's CareKit platform will have access to increased privacy options (via Mashable).

Tresorit's security technology, ZeroKit, will bring user authentication to patients and healthcare workers, while its end-to-end encryption smarts promise "zero knowledge" sharing of health data. The ZeroKit team announced the partnership in a blog post on Apple's CareKit blog.

carekit
"Apple designed the iOS platform and CareKit with security at its core. When building apps where data is shared across devices and with other services, developers want to extend this security to the cloud. This is exactly what ZeroKit does."
CareKit is Apple's open-source platform aimed at making it easer for developers and health care professionals to build health apps via a number of integrations, like monitoring of medical symptoms, sending images of an injury, and keeping tabs on medication schedules.

CareKit also offers two-way benefits, as it not only helps doctors monitor patients but also allows patients to observe their progress over time. While patients won't get to choose whether to apply ZeroKit's encryption tools, the back-end integration will allow Apple's platform to fall in line with state privacy rules around patient information.