Apple and Samsung are really the sh*t right now, at least from a sales and a popularity standpoint, across the planet. The two companies have had enormous success in the past couple of years with their flagship line-ups, and are already preparing to launch the next big thing. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is going to be a new milestone for the company, just as much as the iPhone 7 might be a turning point for Apple. Rumors about these two phones revolve around the idea that the companies want to change their strategies and have demonstrated this tendency with their last flagship line-ups. Samsung has the Galaxy S6 flagship family while Apple launched the iPhone 6S line-up of devices, both with features and properties that aim to improve upon company perception through launch strategy and user satisfaction through more features.
The Galaxy S7 release date is supposedly closer than the iPhone 7 release date, rumors stating that Samsung will launch the handset in at least two different variants sometime in January or February. The consensus right now is that the first hands-on Galaxy S7 experience will take place at CES 2016 in January, seeing as rumors of the South Korean company giving up on the Unpacked dedicated event strategy have started puring in. Apple is also in the midst of change, launching a very different product in March 2016: the iPhone 6C. The iPhone 7 release date will most likely fall within Fall 2016, which is still in line with Apple’s launch strategy for their flagship products.
Since Samsung and Apple are two of the biggest tech companies on the smartphone market right now, competition between the two is fierce – and evident. The Galaxy S6 was accused by fans of copying Apple, although those accusations were largely ignored by the community who praised Samsung for its new design approach. Although they removed features Samsung fans were fond of, like removable batteries and expandable storage, overall reception of the Galaxy S6 family of flagships was rather positive. The same could be said about Apple, who has increased their prices when they launched the iPhone 6S family and despite the handset being more of an incremental upgrade to their line-up, its popularity is huge and sales of both the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus are reaching record numbers, if we are to listen to analysts. So what’s going to happen with the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7?
It’s hard to say, since both the iPhone 7 release date and Galaxy S7 release date are unconfirmed and neither of the companies has spoken out about their plans in the smartphone department. There are thousands of rumors and speculations going around, talking about iPhone 7 features, design elements and price and about Galaxy S7 software and hardware. While fans of Samsung are mostly talking about the hardware that the Galaxy S7 will feature, most iPhone fans seem to be focused on extra features and novelty properties that are supposedly going to be part of the iPhone 7 design. There are rumors about the iPhone 7 design incorporating an airbag-type of shielding system that will give the handset flotation properties, waterproof properties and of course, protection from accidental drops. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 is going to focus around improving performance and giving users the options they want, Samsung hinting at the presence of both Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU and its in-house Exynos 8890 SoC.
The Galaxy S7 launch should come with multiple variants of the handset. The most recent rumors state that instead of launching a Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge in January at CES 2016 and a Galaxy S7 Plus and Galaxy Note 6 later in the year, Samsung will take a different approach. Apparently, in an attempt to maximize profits and be more cost-effective, the company will only launch two types of smartphones in the Galaxy S7 family: the base model in two variants, based on region and processor and another Galaxy S7 Plus, with a larger screen, the S Pen that is representative of the Note line-up and the sloping edge display representative of the Edge line-up of devices. Although it’s a bit much to comprehend, it’s possible. Samsung has been previously cautioned about releasing too many expensive flagship models, so it might be the time for the company to focus on what they’re good at, and that’s creating productivity devices in the Note line-up and powerful compact devices in the S line-up. The two might end up mashed together, and many fans expressed that they would like the idea.
The iPhone 7 will also be launched in two distinct varieties, following the new agenda the Cupertino giant set with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 2014. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be of different sizes, but their features are expected to be the same. Aside from a larger screen on the iPhone 7 Plus, its hardware, software and features should be the same as the compact model with the smaller display up front. Although there exists a possibility of a third iPhone 7, one focused on gaming and virtual reality, that’s a rumor best saved for next year. If Apple is getting into the whole virtual reality world, launching a dedicated iPhone 7 for it would be a logical step from the company’s viewpoint – they’d make a buttload of money.
When it comes to what these flagships will look like, it’s really anybody’s guess. There are thousands of Galaxy S7 concept and iPhone 7 concept renders that fans created based off of rumors and speculations, as well as expectations and wishlists, but they are hardly proof of concept that might come out of the manufacturing lines. Apple is most likely going to keep its general design language, but analysts as well as a number of Apple patents that the company filed hint at the fact that the iPhone 7 design will once again “suffer” an overhaul. Apparently, the iPhone 7 size will be most impacted, as the company is still chasing the now deemed absurd ideal of the thinnest phone on the market. Despite fans of the company emphasizing that they would rather have a longer battery life and a more durable body than a 5 mm smartphone, Apple is convinced that thinness is what people want. I don’t agree, but most rumors are at a consensus that the iPhone 7 will be the thinnest phone on the market when it is launched.
Adopting new and more durable materials for the iPhone 7 engineering process, Apple is supposedly going to use a higher-end type of aluminum, even stronger than the one they used in the iPhone 6S. The metal unibody and thick top and bottom bezels are most likely staying, leaving room for TouchID up front. Although there are tons of rumors out there talking about how Apple is not going to include TouchID in the home button but implement it in the display, the technology to do that is at an early stage and it’s most likely not fitting for a flagship smartphone. On the other hand, an advanced version of 3D Touch is pretty much a sure thing, seeing as fans and even Android users are rather impressed with how useful and easy to use the feature has become on the iPhone 6S and the new MacBook as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of the most anticipated smartphones of 2016 and yet we know very little about what Samsung is working on. With recent news about the company shifting its focus towards improving its OLED business, the Galaxy S7 display will most likely feature a massive upgrade. Various industry insiders and people familiar with the matter have told us to expect at least one variant of the Galaxy S7 to feature a 4K resolution display. Most likely, the Galaxy S7 Plus display will come with the high-res display, seeing as it’ going to most likely be a 5.7-inch display up front. The base model’s display is expected to stay in the compact realm of things, the Galaxy S7 display most likely measuring 5.2-inches. The smaller model will most likely keep the QuadHD resolution we’ve seen on the Galaxy S6, due to the fact that it would be more cost-effective and much more useful and power-saving than a 4K display of that size.
Apple is also expected to bump up resolution on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, although fans of the company seem to be quite content with Retina resolution and I agree. Rather than putting a QuadHD or 4K panel on such a small device, the investment could be directed towards battery technology research and implementation, an area that is in desperate need of some innovation. Ppi pixel density is something our eyes can rarely observe and it has been noticed by scientists as well as by users that they can’t really tell the difference between resolutions if they are above 330 ppi. Naturally, higher resolution panels will look and feel much more premium, but their practical value is close to zero on a smartphone and most tech enthusiasts seem to agree. Unless using these devices for VR and heavy media consumption, there are few advantages of 4K or QuadHD resolution, especially considering their higher cost that adds to the handset price.
When it comes to hardware, both the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7 are expected to don the latest on the market. Apple’s iPhone 7 hardware will most likely include a new chipset (that Samsung won’t be making), the Apple A10. The Galaxy S7 hardware, as mentioned above, will be different depending on region. U.S. and European units of the Galaxy S7 will most likely use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU and implement its new Sense ID fingerprint technology, while the Asian models of the handset will sport Samsung’s in-house Exynos 8890 mobile processor. Quick Charge 3.0 and wireless charging are a given on the new handset, and we expect an even faster storage standard to be implement in the Galaxy S7. The Apple iPhone 7 might also finally adopt fast charging and wireless charging, although there’s no evidence nor recent patents that point towards this being true, unfortunately. Wireless charging and faster charging are things iPhone users have been asking for for the better part of this past year, and Apple might be better off implementing these instead of focusing on the nothing but gimmicky feature to slim down the phone to being practically invisible from the side.
Storage and memory-wise, we don’t expect the Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 7 to innovate too much. Samsung already implemented a faster storage standard memory in the Galaxy S6 and we expect the same to be present in the Galaxy S7. When it comes to storage variants, the company will most likely launch at least two models, one with 64 GB on-board storage and another with 128 GB. Since we’re mostly moving to the cloud when it comes to storing our stuff, I find it unlikely for larger storage variations to make an appearance at the dedicated Galaxy S7 launch event at CES 2016. Apple might do it, though, just so it can stand out from the crowd. That will no doubt once again raise the iPhone 7 price, a trend that has become evident with Apple over the past few releases. Samsung has also done the same, so we don’t expect the Galaxy S7 price to be anywhere near “affordable”. If we’re to speculate, the iPhone 7 price will most likely start at $650 for the base model and go up to as much as $1200 for the iPhone 7 Plus maxed out configuration. We expect the same to happen with the Galaxy S7 price, so I’m not even considering buying them. However, those who find use and pleasure in them will most likely find the price fitting.
When it comes to software, there’s little to speculate. The Galaxy S7 will be running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with TouchWiz on board and the iPhone 7 will be running the new iOS 10. Although there have been rumors about the Galaxy S7 being launched in a variant running Samsung’s own mobile operating system, Tizen, it’s unlikely for the company to take that risk – no Gapps and no Google ecosystem. Tizen has been improving and it’s getting better and better, and while Samsung did say that we should expect a high-profile smartphone to be launched with Tizen on board, that might not be the case for the Galaxy S7 – at least not the U.S. and European versions. For all we know, regional Galaxy S7 units could be launched with the OS on board, since many in emerging countries using lower-end handsets running Tizen seem to be praise the software. Nonetheless, we don’t expect Samsung to move away from Android anytime soon.
Samsung has had great success with its sensor tech, creating some of the best smartphone cameras on the market with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5. The Galaxy S7 camera is not really talked about right now, but sources familiar with the matter tell us to expect innovation and even a dual-camera setup for the purpose of filming 360 videos and such. With a larger sensor measuring around 21 MP, optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, the Galaxy S7 rear camera is most likely going to be the best on the smartphone market. Up front, we expect the Galaxy S7 to not only sport a wide-angle 8 MP camera or an even larger one, but we expect the company to add a small flash to it for selfie-takers’ convenience. Good lighting for selfies is important, you know.
The iPhone 7 camera is also supposed to innovate, rumors claiming that Apple will be implementing a technology similar to HTC’s Ultrapixel model, endowing the iPhone 7 with two different sensor on the rear with which users can adjust depth of field and do it even after post-processing. Apparently, we’re most likely going to see a 16 MP iSight camera on the rear, with optical image stabilization on both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Up front, the FaceTime camera is expected to be bumped up to 8 MP and there are rumors about Apple going down the front-facing flash road as well. We’ll have to wait to hear more about this, since information is scarce in the field.
Apple has been improving battery life for their smartphones and the iPhone 7 battery life is expected to be a huge improvement over the iPhone 6S battery life. Although the slim smartphone and big battery contradict themselves, that’s what we’re hearing from our sources and those are the rumors most prevalent in the online community. With a new battery tech in tow, Apple might just increase the average iPhone 7 battery life to about 2 or even 3 days, with regular usage patterns. That’s not very innovative, but it is progress and we would definitely appreciate the move. The Galaxy S7 battery life is also expected to be stellar, seeing as Samsung has also made significant improvements in their tech. The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note 5 are two of the most long-lasting handsets when it comes to battery life, and we expect the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Plus to be no different. What would you choose between a slim construction and a long-lasting battery? A slim construction would be possible with compromise for the iPhone 7, but if the battery is the compromise, the company should at least offer power saving tools, fast charging and wireless charging. It’s 2016 for goodness sake! Apple is the most popular tech company in the world, yet they are still behind with their technology.
We’re curious to see the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Plus, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, but we have a feeling that Samsung might be aiming for the throne and getting pretty close to it, if Apple doesn’t make some improvements to catch up with the vast competition they have to face. Hopefully, both these flagships will offer premium experiences that are worth the high prices they will be going for, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the new launches would end up being less tan what we’re expecting right now. Only time will tell. In the meantime, which 2016 flagship are you most excited about?
2013’s Tomb Raider Released for Free to Google Stadia Subscribers
Google are rolling out the big guns to try and quickly entice as many new subscribers as possible to Stadia, its cloud-based gaming service. From the start of December, Stadia Pro members are able to access the definitive edition of 2013’s Tomb Raider for free, with this game being significant as the first title of a rebooted Lara Croft trilogy.
Google will be hoping that the allure of the Tomb Raider name proves influential in attracting more gamers to the service. The Verge makes note of key information about Stadia Pro; currently, all Stadia users are classed as Pro, but an official Pro subscription will be launched next year alongside a free tier of membership.
The launch of Tomb Raider as a free game for Stadia users frustrated those who had already splashed out on the Lara Croft adventure, although Google adopted the generous position of refunding those users. The arrival of the Tomb Raider franchise on Stadia, particularly as a flagship free game, is testament to its status as one of the great gaming series.
Wherever Croft goes from here, she will do so on all of the cutting-edge consoles – from Stadia to the eventual PS5. However, the Tomb Raider brand has also shown a versatility that has seen Croft appear in different forms on an eclectic range of platforms.
Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure – DVD
Remember interactive DVD games? This may seem like an alien concept to modern gamers, but in 2006 it was a viable alternative for those without a console. The Action Adventure was tailored for those who had never owned a PlayStation and were therefore unfamiliar with the Croft character.
Players use their remote control to navigate through the action, which follows a similar plot to 2003’s The Angel of Darkness. The game also incorporated rudimentary ways to save the game or to earn bonus points. You can even still purchase the DVD via Amazon if you’re keen to try out a one-of-a-kind Croft experience.
Tomb Raider – Online slot
Microgaming’s Tomb Raider is one of the slots that are eligible for the jackpot city pokies welcome offer for new players, with users being able to access the game through the casino’s browser site as well as on iOS and Android. The slot has the typical level of quality that is synonymous with the Microgaming name, with this 15-payline video slot using Croft and the Tomb Raider logo as key symbols.
While it may not operate in the same first-person way as traditional Tomb Raider games, the overall design of the slot ensures that there is the classic Croft sense of adventure to the gameplay. This is arguably the most successful slot based on a video game character, largely because of Croft’s universal appeal.
Lara Croft: Reflections – iOS
This game is not necessarily novel because it was only released on iOS, with many Tomb Raider games also available on this platform. However, it definitely deserves a mention because of its card-battle nature. The standard adventure themes of the Tomb Raider series were converted into a card-playing format, where players simulated battling enemies and discovering artifacts.
The servers for Reflections shut down in 2014, but the game is further proof of the versatility of the Croft character. It seems inevitable that 2013’s Tomb Raider will receive a third sequel, one that will be available on all the major consoles. Croft will also surely continue to branch out from PlayStation and Stadia to appear in a variety of games that offer a twist on the classic Tomb Raider formula.
RISE OF AZSHARA: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Since the implementation of Patch 8.2 was made in World of Warcraft last June 25, 2019, the long-running MMORPG has been riding a wave of fan hysteria, culminating in the official release of the much-awaited Rise of Azshara. It’s a massive addition to the game—containing two new never-before-seen zones to earn WoW gold, a new raid, a massive dungeon to explore, and many more. Players are now able to fly around the Battle of Azeroth zones, collect exclusive pets to the two new areas, and collect essences. Truly, the time has come for the dawn of a new Azerothian age. The Rise of Azshara update is perceived as a godsend by many players for the failed expansion Battle of Azeroth expansion. We’ll be talking about everything you need to know about this update and more concerning the added features. With this patch already released, it’s only a matter of time before the WoW Classic update will be up next!
What is Rise of Azshara?
The Rise of Azshara update is part of the Battle of Azeroth expansion and is the patch following Tides of Vengeance. The expansion has been problematic for players due to the overarching lore down to the Warfronts and Azerith system. The update promises the address these issues. Some of the major highlights include the Heart of Azeroth Essence system, faction questlines for Taurens and Gnomes, as well as new mounts to collect.
What Are the Two New Zones?
There are two outdoor zones to explore: Nazjatar and Mechagon. Nazjatar is the captal city of the naga that is a large zone where there are a lot of new story quests, allies to meet, and rewards to earn. In Nazjatar, you can have a Bodyguard to accompany you, unlock and participate in Mrrl’s Trading Game to get unique rewards, participate in zone events, and many more. There’s also a new form of Gear exclusive in Nazjaar called the Benthic Gear. The Benthic Gear is similar to that of the Legion’s Relinquished Gear and Mist of Pandaria’s Timeless Gear. All Benthic Gear will have predetermined stats and provides additional bonus effects while on Nazjatar.
The Mechagon, on the other hand, is a level 120 outdoor zone filled with junk-covered hills where you can meet or make all kinds of mechanical-like toys, minions, and equipment via the junkyard tinkering feature. A city that’s inhabited by gnomes and mechas, the Mechagon island zone is an idyllic place for smaller than average World of Warcraft characters. Here, you can try your hand at the new eight-boss dungeon on advanced or Mythic difficulty. You can also collect blueprints in order to make trinkets.
Protection for the Big and Itty Bitty Boys and Girls
Due to the success of Patch 8.1 where the Dwarf and Blood Elf armor was released, Blizzard has decided to add more for different races, this time for Gnomes and Tauren. If you have a character that’s one of these races, now’s the time! To unlock the armor, you’ll have to complete a questline with these following requirements:
- Gnomes and Taurens must be level 120
- Gnomes must be exalted with Gnomeregan
- Taurens must be exalted with Thunder Bluff
- Complete the Stay of Execution scenario
Is There Something For My Pets?
Today’s your lucky day because there’s a new Pet Dungeon that’s available! Stratholme is a pet dungeon that is similar to the ones that came before it—namely the Wailing Caverns, Deadmines, and Gnomeregan. You can do the dungeons in either Normal or Challenge mode, which will give out different rewards in turn. For the Challenge version, you’ll be rewarded with the Evil Wizard Hat which summons Minimancer. For the normal version, you’ll be given an Ultimate Battle Training Stone that will unlock a Manapoof Link to Stratholme.
Rise of Azshara will not just be competing with its other MMORPG competitor’s expansions (ex. Shadowbringers expansion for Final Fantasy 14), but with its own as well, that being WoW Classic. Overall, it’s a great redeemer for what’sotherwise known as one of the worst expansions that Blizzard ever released. There is a whole slew of things you can do to farm WoW gold and explore to the point that your head will spin just trying to figure out what to do first.
Games That Will Shape The Industry in 2019
As a gamer, it would be hard to deny that there are always exciting things happening in the gaming world. Whether it is a live stream hitting 10,000 followers or a game-breaking new grounds, there is always something going on in the gaming world. The year might already be half over, but there are still a lot of exciting things going on. Just look at the lineup of games that are still set to be released in the coming months. And, this is not to even mention everything that is going on with virtual reality, the Final Fantasy remake, or even Google’s new gaming platform.
Needless to say, there is so much going on in the gaming world it can make it hard to keep up. This is especially true is you are a cross-platform player trying to hold down a full-time job as well. Whatever your circumstances are, there are just some games that you can’t afford to miss. These are the games that you will learn about below.
Halo Infinite Brings Back Split-Scree Gaming
Do you remember when split-screen gaming used to be a thing? This was back on the Super Nintendo systems as well as the original PlayStations. Well, there is no denying that this long-time platform died and things changed greatly. However, it looks like this very platform is about to get a reboot. Not only is it about to get a reboot, but it is going to do so with one of the most popular and fanatical series of all time.
This would be Halo of course. The split-screen co-op was a platform that the Halo game built itself on, but as time went by it strayed. To see it come back into fruition will not only be reminiscent, but it will bring new, refreshing gameplay to the first-person genre that fans have grown to love over the years.
The Last Of Us: Part II Introduces Animation System & In-Game Storytelling
The original edition of this game was released over six years ago and it is still one of the most beloved games of all time. This is really easy to understand why, but the second edition of this game could turn the whole gaming industry upside down. The trailer for the game alone was impressive and certainly lived up to what fans have come to expect from this series, but what’s even more interesting and intriguing is what the director of the game had to say.
The director of this game said that they wanted to take very complicated systems that are random and make them deterministic. They want to show gamers specific things, but they also want them to experience them throughout the entirety of the gameplay. If the story, animation, and throat-slitting are anything like the trailer then fans are going to be in for more than a treat when the game hits shelves.
Just remember not to get too caught up in this game because sites like free pokies can help you find reliable and trustworthy online casinos where you can gamble with a potential to bring home cold, hard cash.
Death Stranding Introduces Indie Mentality
It was a huge blow for both Konami and fans when Hideo Kojima announced that he was leaving the company. His beloved Metal Gear Solid series had been keeping fans entertained and drawn to their screen for years. This is probably why his first featured release was so highly sought after. Even though Death Stranding wasn’t the Silent Hill game that fans had been longing for it certainly made its mark on the industry.
You combine this with the fact that both Norman Reedus and Benicio del Toro are on board and you are looking at a game that could make massive waves in the industry while helping Kojima make a name for himself as a video game producer.
Biomutant Lets Character Aesthetics Directly Influence Combat
It would be hard for any gamer to say that combat isn’t one of the best parts of any action game. And, this is why Biomutant could change the industry forever. Sure, the game doesn’t really offer anything that you haven’t seen before in terms of graphics and story, but it is the combat that will excel. Players can now alter everything from the main character’s weight to his fangs, all of which will affect the way the fight scenes play out.
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