Bandai Namco Launches 'Pac-Man Championship Edition DX' on iOS

Home and mobile video game publisher Bandai Namco today launched an iOS version of the popular console game Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. The game is a modern update to the classic Pac-Man series -- requiring users to hunt ghosts, eat pellets, and earn high scores -- that presents players with a far faster-paced and more frenetic experience.


The app is promised to be a "premium version" of the original game and includes five separate game modes, ten unique zone layouts, and 132 total unique stages. The game itself is a follow-up to the original Pac-Man Championship Edition, which also saw a release on iOS following an original debut on game consoles.
Today BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. released a premium version of the award-winning PAC-MAN Championship Edition™ DX on the Apple App Store for iOS powered mobile devices and on Google Play™ for Android powered smartphones and tablets. PAC-MAN Championship Edition™ DX is one of the most popular and critically acclaimed titles in the classic maze-running action series with IGN.com giving the console version of the game a 10/10 along with an Editor’s Choice award.

Its mobile debut features frantically addicting gameplay that can be enjoyed in short bursts for a thrilling and authentic arcade experience on the move. PAC-MAN Championship Edition™ DX comes alive with the same electric visual and sound design introduced in the console editions of the game.
The game's official release today comes after a soft-launch back in September, where the franchise was tweaked as a free-to-play experience and only open to players in New Zealand. The game was revamped with an overworld map, level-specific goals, and a coin system that made it easier to bypass some of the app's trickier challenges. Today's release of the game does away with every free-to-play feature and restores it to the classic console experience, albeit on a mobile-friendly level.

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Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is available to download for $4.99 and is out now in the App Store. [Direct Link]

Best Buy Launches Black Friday in July Sale, Discounts iPad Air 2 by $125

Best Buy is offering a "Black Friday in July" promotion this weekend, which will see the company offering significant discounts on many products. One of the major deals included in the promo is a price cut on iPads, dropping the price on the iPad Air 2 to the lowest we've seen since the tablet launched last October.

Best Buy is discounting its lineup of Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2 models, dropping the price on the 16GB model from $499 to $374.99. The 64GB model is priced at $474.99 instead of $599, and the 128GB model is available for $574.99, down from $699. Discounts are available on all colors of the Wi-Fi iPad Air 2.

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Best Buy's Black Friday discount is scheduled to begin on July 24 and last through July 25, but customers who sign up for a Best Buy account can get early access to the deals beginning today. Signing up for an account is a free process, but does require a phone number and an email address.

In addition to offering a discount on the iPad Air 2, Best Buy also has several other Apple-related deals worth checking out. The 2.2GHz 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 16GB of memory and a 256GB SSD is available for $1,749.99, a discount of $250.

128GB iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models from Sprint are available at a $100 discount with a two-year contract, dropping the price on the devices to $299.99 instead of $399.99. There's also a deal for a free Jawbone UP2 Activity Tracker with the purchase of any smartphone from Sprint.

Unrelated to its Black Friday promo, Best Buy is also offering discounts on the 128GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 3, dropping the price by $150 on both the Silver and Space Gray models. With the discount, the tablet is available for $449.99 instead of $599.99.

These deals, particularly the discount on the iPad Air 2, are likely to go quickly, so MacRumors readers hoping to get an iPad at a discount might want to purchase today. Deals are online only today, but will be available in store on Friday and Saturday.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy.

'Nourish' System Provides Supplements Based on Fitness Tracker & App Data

FitNatic yesterday launched a new Indiegogo campaign centered around a device called the "Nourish." The "Intelligent Countertop Supplement System" aims to provide users with a detailed, personalized concoction of vitamins based on information collected from health apps and fitness trackers synced with the Nourish.

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The system itself is a black box with a 15-inch touch screen on its front and rows of 16 "seeds" lining its top. After taking into account data collected from locations like an Apple Watch or the Health app -- including exercises, blood pressure, and sleep patterns -- Nourish will dispense a specific cocktail of personalized nutrition in the form of a powder that users simply dump into a bottle of water and drink.

As Aldo Beqiraj, founder of FitNatic, explains, the combination of data collected from sources like a Fitbit and apps like MyFitnessPal, the Nourish can present users with a detailed list of nutrients scheduled out over daily and weekly dispenses. The Nourish also can ask users for extra caffeine in the morning if they're feeling tired, or inquire as to whether you want more glutamine in a post-workout blend if feeling sore.


When a particular seed is beginning to run out, Nourish will notify its user, and FitNatic will deliver replacement seeds if the user opted in for the company's automatic home delivery service. FitNatic even says Nourish will begin to learn your preferences over time, and begin to suggest new seeds "that will be more beneficial and help you reach your goals faster."

There's also an app for the system that lays out a weekly dispensing schedule for the device, highlights nutrients your body needs, and points you towards ways to capitalize on the system. The app also reminds you of your "optimal metabolic window," and sends a push reminder to drink the next blend. Users just need to tap dispense, and the Nourish mixes the ingredients, eventually raising the 15-inch touch screen to reveal a hidden compartment holding the Nourish Pod with the requisite blended nutrients.

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The 16 'seeds' filled with various supplements that line the top of the Nourish

FitNatic is looking to crowd-funding to help make the molds its manufacturer needs to enter the device into a larger-scaled production line, along with basic funding requirements like cloud optimization, final firmware development, production and tooling, and shipping and fulfillment. The perks for the Indiegogo start at $299 for one Nourish alongside a one month supply of supplement seed pods. After that early bird special ends, the same perk will cost those interested $399.

Nourish has 37 days left to reach its $65,000 goal, so there's plenty of time left for anyone thinking about backing the project to decide whether or not to contribute to FitNatic's fitness-focused system. Those who do are promised a shipping date estimate of January 2016.

Apple Pay Adds 35 New Participating Issuers in United States

Apple-PayApple updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list today with 35 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has over 375 participating issuers nationwide, and dozens more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.

The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it's worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple's website.

The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:
  • 1st Source Bank
  • Allegacy Federal Credit Union
  • Amarillo National Bank
  • American National Bank and Trust
  • Cambridge Trust Bank
  • CASE Credit Union
  • CME FCU
  • Coast Line Credit Union
  • Columbia Bank
  • Community Financial Credit Union
  • Eagle Federal Credit Union
  • Earlham Savings Bank
  • Eastern Bank
  • Evergreen Credit Union
  • Fidelity Bank
  • Federal Savings Bank
  • First Financial Bank
  • First National Bank and Trust
  • First National Bank of Omaha
  • FNB Community Bank
  • Heritage Family Federal Credit Union
  • Meritrust Credit Union
  • NuMark Credit Union
  • Pittsford Federal Credit Union
  • Premier Federal Credit Union
  • Quail Creek Bank
  • Reliabank Dakota
  • Reliant Federal Credit Union
  • Renesant Bank
  • SESLOC Federal Credit Union
  • Stanford FCU
  • The Summit Federal Credit Union
  • Umpqua Bank
  • VisionBank
  • Y-12 Federal Credit Union
Apple Pay is accepted at nearly 750,000 locations in the United States and United Kingdom, and Apple is committed to an international rollout of the mobile payments service in additional countries such as Canada and China in the near future.

Canada could be the next country to embrace the service outside of the U.S. and U.K. in November. The country has already migrated to Chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards and many retailers and businesses have since upgraded to NFC-based terminals to accept contactless payments.

Related roundup: Apple Pay

Video Review: Catalyst's Waterproof Case Keeps Your iPhone 6 Dry, but With Some Drawbacks

For our latest video review, we went hands-on with a waterproof iPhone 6 Plus case from Catalyst, which the company calls "the most protective case in the world." It's waterproof up to a depth of 5 meters (16.4 feet) and it's also shock and drop resistant, made from polycarbonate with a rubber bumper and silicone seals.

In our testing, the Catalyst case lived up to its claims and kept our iPhone safe when we stuck it in a sink full of water, but in our opinion, this isn't a case you're going to want to use on a daily basis.


It's protective, but that comes at the expense of the thin and svelte form of the iPhone. Catalyst's case adds a lot of bulk, plus it makes the volume and the power buttons nearly impossible to use because the material it's made of is so rigid. We also had a harder time using the iPhone's touch screen due to the air gap between the protective cover and the display.

Catalyst's waterproof case may not be ideal for every day use, but it's a great option for situations where water protection is essential. You can use this case to take photos at the beach, in the pool, while snorkeling, and more, and your device will be protected from water, dust, dirt, and other elements.

The iPhone 6 Plus case is available in several different colors from the Catalyst website, and it's priced at $74.99. There's also an iPhone 6 version, which is priced at $69.99, and there are several accessories available for purchase like a floating lanyard, an audio adapter, and replacement parts.

Note: MacRumors received no compensation for this review.

Apple's Strict Bluetooth LE Security Requirements Slowing Rollout of HomeKit Accessories

HomeKit iPhone 6While it has been more than a year since Apple launched HomeKit, a software framework for communicating with and controlling light bulbs, thermostats, door locks and other connected accessories in the home, only five HomeKit-approved products have been released to date: the Ecobee3, Elgato Eve, iHome iSP5 SmartPlug, Insteon Hub and Lutron Caseta Wireless Lighting Starter Kit.

The slow rollout of HomeKit-enabled hardware accessories is not because of a lack of interest in the platform, but rather Apple's strict security requirements for Bluetooth LE (low energy) devices, according to Forbes. In particular, the strong level of encryption required to use the HomeKit protocol through Bluetooth LE has resulted in lag times that essentially render some accessories useless.
For example, a smartlock that makes its user wait 40 seconds before it opens is clearly inferior to a traditional lock. One of HomeKit’s selling point is that it provides a more reliable user experience, so these kinds of lag times will need to be sorted out before Apple can become a major platform for the smart home.
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Elgato Eve smart home sensors for doors, windows and energy consumption

Chipmakers such as Broadcom and Marvell have reportedly been working to improve their Bluetooth LE chips to more effectively handle Apple's level of encryption, an important step if the company wants to become a major player in the smart home. In the meantime, developers have either been focusing on Wi-Fi-based HomeKit hardware or working on temporary solutions to the problem.
For the time being, Elgato has found a workaround for these problems with Bluetooth LE. It’s tweaked the firmware and added additional on-chip memory to handle the heavy-duty encryption. Elgato was not anticipating having to go make these modifications initially, and now the company hopes to make a side business selling its tweaks to other device makers wanting to build HomeKit devices with Bluetooth LE.
HomeKit delays have also been attributed to "sparse and shifting" documentation and Apple's tedious certification process for its "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" (MFi) program. HomeKit accessory makers are required to send multiple prototypes of their products to Apple for testing, and the process can be lengthy until Apple is satisfied.

Apple's attention to detail and focus on security should prove worthwhile for customers, however, and the company has the size and reputation to enforce manufacturers to adopt those high standards. "This is one of those things that Apple does," a source working on a HomeKit device told Forbes. "They force an issue. It’s like that here. Regular Bluetooth has an issue — it's not secure."

Microsoft Introduces 'Send' iOS App for Quick, 'In-and-Out Email'

Microsoft today announced "Send," a new app premiering exclusively on iOS that aims to give customers the simplicity of a text-message conversation in the guise of a professional e-mail experience. Specifically, the app will let users send quick, snappy responses to co-workers "without a subject line or formal email constructs."

Microsoft hopes that the app acts as a bridge between the texting and e-mail culture that can become murky when needing to reach someone quickly, but are lacking the person's phone number and wanting to avoid filtering through an e-mail app for an old thread. Send isn't for in-depth dives into an inbox, either, the app choosing to show only the messages created and sent within the app itself, sticking to its mission statement of a more threaded, iMessage-like experience.

send app
While tools like text messaging and IM are great for short messages, you often don’t have your co-worker’s cell phone number or an IM app on your work phone. And we’ve heard loud and clear from people at work, they want all their communications available in Outlook—even if they send them from other apps. This is where Send comes in! Send gives you the simple, quick text message-like experience while allowing you to reach all co-workers and have all of your communications in Outlook for reference later.
If a user connects the app to an Office 365 School or Business account, they'll be able to pick up conversations anywhere thanks to cloud sync and Outlook. All emails sent and received within Send are also promised to comply with the various email compliance policies of companies around the country, with Microsoft promising that the messages "are treated like any other work email."

The app is available today in the United States and Canada, but only for iOS. Microsoft promises the text-message-meets-email experience of Send is "coming soon" to Windows Phone and Android phones. The company also encourages people to provide feedback on the app during YamJam on Tuesday July 28 from 9 AM to 10 AM PDT, by following the instructions at the bottom of the Send blog post.

Send [Direct Link] is available to download for free in the App Store today.

Tags: Microsoft, Send

AT&T Activation Fee for Contract Customers Rising to $45, New $15 Fee for 'Next' Customers

att_416x416Beginning August 1, AT&T will raise its activation/upgrade fee for customers signing up for a one- or two-year contract, alongside introducing a specific activation fee for all AT&T Next and Bring-Your-Own-Phone customers.

According to sources speaking with Droid Life, the new contract upgrade fee will increase from $40 to $45, while the activation cost for Next and BYOP customers will be $15. If true, AT&T will have the highest activation fee amongst its competitors. Other carriers, like Verizon, sit around a $40 upgrade fee cost currently.

With the uptick in price for the carrier's contract activation charges, AT&T is changing its installment plan option, AT&T Next, from a no-cost-to-start service to requiring a $15 activation fee. The same $15 charge will be placed for customers interested in activating a new line of service with the BYOP program, which lets customers save money on their yearly contracts by bringing in a phone purchased elsewhere to avoid paying full-price.

It appears that AT&T will grandfather in existing AT&T Next customers who have a plan with the company prior to August 1, and won't be charged the $15 fee on their next upgrade. However, the carrier noted that this policy is "subject to change," meaning existing Next customers may be facing the $15 charge sometime down the line of their upgrade cycle, if not immediately after the changes take effect.

Tag: AT&T

'Square Dashboard' Gives Businesses Ability to Track Sales in Real-Time

Square today launched a new app called "Square Dashboard," which aims to provide business owners with complete overviews of their businesses thanks to real-time data read-outs of various sales and analytic figures (via TechCrunch). The app sees Square's continued expansion away from its simple start as a third-party payment processor, and into a more widely used enterprise-focused software company.

square app
The app will allow business owners to track the sales figures of their business, and is even able to distinguish between individual locations for a franchised business. Users will be able to set dates and goals to meet, and compare items for sale, categories, and gross sales. Thanks to the app's ability to go back and see sales from previous weeks, months, and years, business owners can more easily track their busiest seasons or discover the cause behind a bump or decline in profit.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Sidecar Coffee owner Andy Fuchtman noted the new app succeeds in keeping him up-to-date on the daily goings-on of his business, and even provides useful glimpses into the most popular items on sale at the shop.
I use the data to help me build the schedule, to see if my ideas for the shop are working, and to help me understand the identity of my business. For example, it turns out that vanilla lattes were among our top five selling items almost every day this spring so I had my staff make and taste a vanilla latte every time they started their shift. I tried a cappuccino happy hour to promote our favorite drink to make, then I watched to see if it worked.
Business owners interested can download Square Dashboard for free today from Square's official website, after first creating a free Square account with the company.

Tag: Square

Instagram Brings Search to the Web for the First Time

Instagram has offered access to images uploaded to the Instagram iOS app on the web for several years now, and as of today, the site's gained a new highly desired feature - search. Prior to today, Instagram users could not search for content on the Instagram website, with search being limited to the company's apps.

With the new website search feature that's rolling out today, it's possible to search for hashtags, locations, and user accounts directly from a web browser. The new capabilities are designed to make the web experience better complement the mobile browsing experience.

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Searching for a location will bring up images from that location alongside a map, while searching for a username will bring up individual accounts and searching for a hashtag will bring up a landing page that shows all images tagged with that label. Search pages display both top posts that have received the most likes and most recent posts.

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Today's new web search feature follows a major June iOS update that made it easier to discover content within the Instagram app. That update expanded the "Explore" tab with curated collections of images and enabled the ability to search by location for the first time.

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

Tag: Instagram

MTV VMA Nominees to Be Unveiled Exclusively on Beats 1 Radio Station

Apple's scored another exclusive for its Beats 1 radio station, with MTV today announcing plans to unveil its 2015 Video Music Award (VMA) nominees exclusively on Beats 1. MTV will reveal the list of nominees on Tuesday, July 21 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on the Beats 1 "Charts" show hosted by Brooke Reece and Travis Mills.

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Since its June 30 launch, the Beats 1 radio station has seen several world first song releases and exclusive interviews, being the first platform to play Pharrell's Freedom and air an interview with Eminem before his Phenomenal music video debuted on Apple Music.

Apple is aiming to lure customers to Apple Music and its Beats 1 radio station by offering content that is unavailable on other music services. In addition to premiering world first songs on Beats 1, Apple Music is the only service that offers Dr. Dre's album The Chronic and Taylor Swift's 1989.

'Znaps' Adds MagSafe-Style Connectivity to Your Lightning Cables

Znaps is a new Kickstarter project that aims to make connecting a Lightning cable to your iPhone or iPad as simple as connecting a MagSafe charger to your MacBook. Znaps consists of a connector that plugs into the Lightning port on your iOS device, and an adapter for your Lightning cable that lets it connect to the port magnetically.

With the Znaps Connector and Adapter, a Lightning cable can snap onto your device using magnets, making it quicker to connect and charge an iPad or iPhone. There's also a version for devices that use Micro-USB.

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Let's make charging easier! ZNAPS is a simple yet perfect solution to prevent frayed charging cables, tripping over cable resulting in smashed phones, pointless fiddling to plug in cable in the dark, water damage through charging outlet, and more! This innovative magnetic charging adapter will make your life just a bit more convenient.
Znaps is small enough that it will work with a wide variety of custom iPhone cases that leave the Lightning port exposed, and as the project's creators point out, it can cut down on the hassle of fumbling to get a Lightning cable plugged into an iPhone or an iPad.

Znaps works for both charging and syncing, and a small LED light on the adapter will light up when a device is being charged. The magnetic field it uses is "negligibly small" according to the project's creators, and will not cause damage to the internal components of the iPhone. It also does not enhance or impede charging times.

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A Znaps Connector and Adapter for Lightning or Micro-USB can be obtained for a pledge of $11 Canadian, or just under $9. There are also several other tiers available at different price points for purchasing multiple Znaps.

Znaps are projected to ship in late November of 2015, but as most of us have experienced on Kickstarter, there are projects that miss shipping estimates by months, especially when orders exceed expectations, so prospective purchasers should keep that in mind when backing this project.