New Wii, Windows 8, Vita and a Lion from Apple

Apple, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony all recently announced new products or updates to existing products. Some, like the Nintendo announcements, were for new and innovative products while others, like Sony, simply announced updates – boring updates – to existing products. Apple and Microsoft managed both.

APPLE

Apple laid out its plans for the next major update to the Mac OS X operating system.  Dubbed Lion, the new OS introduces several features that other operating systems have had for quite sometime, like FULL SCREEN applications.  Mac OS X Lion adds the Mac App Store, updates to features like expose and adds a lot of iOS features like desktop icons and folders that work the way they do on an iPad, for example. The operating system also features such Windows oldies like Resume and timed saves.  AirDrop is a ‘new’ feature that is, essentially, the same thing as Microsoft’s mesh file sharing and syncing software.  For more information, go here.

Apple also announced iOS 5 and iCloud, it’s online file and music storage system. iOS 5 includes an all new notification system, a blackberry like messaging system and PC Free sync and setup.  iOS 5 boasts over 200 new features.  Read about it and iCloud here.

NINTENDO

Nintendo showed off the successor to the Wii: the Wii U.  Dumb name aside, the new console boasts high definition graphics in the 1080p arena and a totally new, innovative and different controller.  The controller features a 6 inch touch screen, the standard controls (d pad, analog and digital sticks, etc,) accelerometer and gyroscope and the ability to continue playing the game if the television is commandeered by your mother/father/son/daughter/other.  It does this by streaming the audio and video to the built in screen and speaker.  The new controller can be used in tandem with the current Wii controls.  The console is backward compatible with the Wii.  No pricing or release date was set.

SONY

Ah, Sony.  How you’ve lost your way.  After totally bungling the PS3, from its ‘everything AND the kitchen sink’ origins to its recent month long network outage, Sony has managed to thoroughly screw up what should have been a slam dunk. And it continues.  The Vita, the successor to the PSP, is an always connected device or an almost always connected device.  It comes in WiFi only or WiFi plus 3G versions.  The 3G version is on the AT&T network.  Now, for this device to be fully functional, it MUST be connected to the network.  Tell me, Sony, how well would this $300 3G device have worked from April 19 to May 18? Not very well, I think.  At any rate, the device-like Sony’s other products, looks great on paper. Tons of features.  Now, the real question is how many software developers will support this pricey piece of hardware.

MICROSOFT

Microsoft’s most interesting announcement came at the D9 conference. There, it showed of some tantalizing snippets of Windows 8.  Windows 8 sports parts of the Metro UI, the UI used in the Windows Phone 7 and originated with the Zune HD.  Microsoft says that the new operating systems native development should be done with HTML5 and Javascript.  While the OS’s new features look great, it will be interesting to see how many developers will jump on board and give up the rich tool set they currently employ.

Microsoft also announced a bevy of ‘core’ games for Kinect.  These games would include shoot them ups and other so-called ‘core’ games that are not family or puzzle type games.  The announcements were pretty lame as was most of Microsoft’s E3 showing.  The Windows 8 demos were far more impressive.

So, there you have it: the four major announcements from last week.  Don’t you feel complete now? I know I do.

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