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Nintendo Announces First Free-to-Play Mobile Title ‘Miitomo’, New ‘My Nintendo’ Cloud Service

At an investor meeting, Nintendo announced today that their first smartphone app will be called 'Miitomo' in the Japanese market, and it'll be a free-to-play title with a focus on communication for the company's Mii avatars. Miitomo will launch in March 2016; first screenshots are available at Nintendo's Japanese website.

From a statement sent by Nintendo to Vooks:

Miitomo, Nintendo’s first smart device title, is a free-to-start communication application that helps friends share fun personal facts and interests. Consumers create and use their own Mii characters to engage friends in a welcoming social environment, answering questions and sharing information to discover more about each other and what they have in common. Miitomo is designed to appeal to a wide range of global smart device users and introduce them to uniquely Nintendo experiences beginning with Miitomo and carried through future applications.

From The Wall Street Journal's live blog:

The new smartphone game will be “Miitomo”. It will be free to play, with attractive add-ons that people can pay for, Mr. Kimishima says. Other smartphone games will be pay-to-download, he says.

Looks like Miis go ahead and communicate with other Miis without your knowledge. This will help people who are hesitant to talk about themselves to communicate with others, and reveal a side of your friends you never knew, Mr. Kimishima says.

Based on information shared by the company today, Miitomo appears to be a riff on Nintendo's Tomodachi Life, a 3DS game focused on Mii communication and collectible items.

In addition to Miitomo, Nintendo has also revealed a new 'My Nintendo' membership service, which will allow users to register a profile and store information about their characters and game data in the cloud, transferring it across mobile devices and dedicated consoles. My Nintendo (also called 'Nintendo Account' by the company today) will be compatible with popular signup services such as Facebook and Google accounts, and it'll offer the ability to view game purchases, game information, and game-related messages on the web. Friend lists will be supported by My Nintendo, and they will work on both console and mobile platforms.

My Nintendo will also be a replacement for the discontinued Club Nintendo program to earn digital and physical rewards for buying Nintendo games. Unlike the old Club Nintendo, My Nintendo will offer points for buying and playing Nintendo games on consoles and mobile debices. Customers will be able to use points for physical goods, game coupons, and DLCs.

At this point, it's not clear on which mobile platforms Miitomo will be released, but it's fair to assume Nintendo will launch the title on iOS next year. Nintendo has once again confirmed they're aiming to release a total of five mobile titles by March 2017, created in collaboration with DeNA.

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Apple Posts New iPhone 6s Ad Featuring Bill Hader

Apple aired a new iPhone 6s commercial last night, once again focused on Siri's hands-free capabilities on the new devices running iOS 9.

Titled 'Prince Oseph', the ad shows Bill Hader activating Siri via the "Hey Siri' command, asking the assistant to check his unread emails. One of the messages found by Siri is likely to be a spam message sent by the aforementioned Prince Oseph in relation to "life-changing opportunities" for the making of "many of millions of currency". Hader asks Siri to reply with "Sign me up".

The ad follows Apple's latest campaign focused on highlighting Siri features on the iPhone 6s, which previously saw Jamie Foxx interacting with Apple's virtual assistant in similar scenarios. Hader isn't new to Apple ads, having previously contributed to the company's WWDC video in June 2015. You can watch the video below.

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Apple Q4 2015 Results: $51.5 Billion Revenue, 48 Million iPhones, 9.8 Million iPads Sold

Apple has just published their financial results for Q4 2015, which covered the three months from July to September 2015. The company posted revenue of $51.5 billion. The company sold 9.8 million iPads, 48 million iPhones, and 5.7 million Macs, earning a quarterly net profit of $11.1 billion.

“Fiscal 2015 was Apple’s most successful year ever, with revenue growing 28% to nearly $234 billion. This continued success is the result of our commitment to making the best, most innovative products on earth, and it’s a testament to the tremendous execution by our teams,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are heading into the holidays with our strongest product lineup yet, including iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple Watch with an expanded lineup of cases and bands, the new iPad Pro and the all-new Apple TV which begins shipping this week.”

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Igloo: An Intranet You’ll Actually Like [Sponsor]

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Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Orders for the New Apple TV Are Now Open, Begins Shipping This Friday

The new Apple TV is now available for order on Apple's website, with deliveries expected to start arriving from this Friday, October 30.

The new Apple TV, now in its fourth generation, features a familiar but overhauled user interface, a new Siri remote and there's now an App Store for apps and games. The new Siri remote, which primarily operates over Bluetooth and charges via a Lightning port, features a touch surface for navigation, as well as dual microphones so that you can use Siri to interact with the Apple TV. You can learn more about the new Apple TV here.

Pricing & Availability

When Apple announced the new Apple TV at its September Keynote, it noted that it will be available in 80 countries at launch and over 100 by the end of the year. It also revealed US pricing which is US$149 for the 32GB model and US$199 for the 64GB model. Now that the Apple TV is available for order we can see the international prices, some of which I've included below:

  • United Kingdom:
    • £129 for the 32GB model
    • £169 for the 64GB model
  • Canada:
    • $199 for the 32GB model
    • $269 for the 64GB model
  • Australia:
    • $269 for the 32GB model
    • $349 for the 64GB model
  • France, Germany, Italy:
    • €179 for the 32GB model
    • €229 for the 64GB model

Apple Posts New iPhone 6s Camera, Siri Commercials

Apple aired three new iPhone 6s ads today, showcasing the device's new Camera and Siri hands-free capabilities.

The Siri ads are two brief videos that build upon Jamie Foxx's previous appearance in Apple's 3D Touch commercial. In the two ads, Foxx is shown activating Siri on an iPhone 6s Plus just by saying "Hey Siri" – one of the new Siri features in iOS 9 for the new iPhones. While they don't show any of the new Siri commands for iOS 9, the ads focus on communicating that holding the Home button is no longer necessary to activate Siri, even if you're not driving.

The 6s Camera commercial is a longer, 1-minute ad in the same style of Apple's "The only thing that's changed is everything" campaign. The video goes through all the new camera and photo functionalities of the 6s, including Live Photos, peek previews with 3D Touch, selfie flash, 4K video, and improved Slo-Mo mode. At the end of the commercial, Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry is shown scoring a three-pointer as recorded by an iPhone in Slo-Mo.

You can watch Apple's new iPhone 6s commercials below.

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Apple Debuts Seven New Apple Watch Adverts

Apple today debuted seven new adverts for the Apple Watch, which follow in the same style as the six Apple Watch adverts that debuted on October 5. These short 15 second pieces highlight various features of the Apple Watch including Apple Pay, different watch bands, music controls and some third party apps including Uber and eBay.

  • Dance: Apple Watch lets you control your music right from your wrist. Whatever song you want to hear, just say it and play it.
  • Skate: If you need to buy something quick, Apple Pay lets you pay in a hurry.
  • Move: Your Apple Watch helps you set and achieve new goals. Even a goal as simple as moving more each day.
  • Play: Apple Watch can send you eBay alerts instantly, so you’ll never miss a bid.
  • Style: New bands, new colors, new ways to change your Apple Watch to match your own look.
  • Kiss: Your Apple Watch will gently let you know when your Uber arrives. But there’s no rush.
  • Travel: Apple Watch puts your boarding pass right on your wrist. Now traveling is one step simpler.

You can view all the adverts below the break or on Apple's website.

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Apple Releases iOS 9.1 with Over 150 New Emoji, Smarter Live Photos

Apple released iOS 9.1 today, the first major update to iOS 9, first released in mid-September.

In addition to various bug fixes and performance improvements, iOS 9.1 brings over 150 new emoji with full support for Unicode 7.0 and Unicode 8.0 emoji, and a smarter Live Photos implementation. On the iPhone 6s, Live Photos will now sense when you raise or lower your device, so it'll stop recording the video associated to the Live Photo.

iOS 9.1 is available now through Apple's Software Update.