This week's Lowdown: Apple's new gaming service

All the latest mobile news stories this week.
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This week's Lowdown: Apple's new gaming service

What to expect from Apple Arcade

Last week, Apple made some major announcements at the Show Time event about its latest services, one of which being Apple Arcade. It’s a gaming subscription service, and while prices haven’t been revealed yet, it promises to help players find the best games in the app store, that aren’t inundated with adverts and in-app purchases.

Over 100 handpicked titles will be available when it launches, and Apple is working with some highly-regarded games developers to bring even more to the platform. Subscribers will need to use an iPhone, iPad, Mac or Apple TV to access the service, and apparently you’ll even be able to pick up where you left off when you switch between devices. Apple Arcade is scheduled for release in Autumn 2019.

Is iSIM the next generation of SIM cards?

Most of us are familiar with the classic SIM card, usually the nano version that’s tucked away in most of today’s phones, however things could be about to change with the introduction of the iSIM (integrated SIM).

Instead of a physical card that you insert, the iSIM is a chip that will sit alongside your phone’s processor. It’s fully configurable, so you can still change network providers and phone numbers if you need to, but it could also allow for control over a host of other devices too. The idea is that you connect your identity to a ‘master iSIM’ which can then be used to control other things that are connected to the internet (like smart speakers and smart home devices). Connected tech is where things are going, so it’s not unimaginable to have everything under a single ‘Internet ID’.

Snake added to Google Maps

Google isn’t just a serious tech giant, it’s a practical joker who loves playing pranks too. On April Fool’s Day 2016, it added a ‘mic drop’ button in place of ‘Send and Archive’ in Gmail, and when clicked, everyone in the conversation received a gif of a Minion. Despicable them!

This time though, Google has brought nostalgia to the table by adding the popular 90’s game Snake to Google Maps. Players can choose from different locations, then move a train around to pick up passengers in the traditional Snake style. You can find the game on Google’s Snake site, or open Maps on your phone and it’s in the ‘settings’ list at the side.

Popular pub chain to ban mobile phone use

In an attempt to get customers interacting with each other instead of their devices (it’s ok – we’re all guilty!), Samuel Smith pubs are implementing a ban on using mobile phones. Customers who need to make a phone call will be expected to go outside, in the same way smokers are required to.

It’s not just phones facing the boot either - the ban applies to tablets and laptops too. There are over 300 pubs as part of the chain, and the 73-year-old owner, Humphrey Smith, is hoping the move will ‘protect social conversations’. Most people have felt the pain of sitting opposite someone who’s glued to their news feed, so it could be a welcome change that gives a boost to a local pub’s atmosphere.

New chip from Qualcomm could boost smart speaker performance

Smart assistant and voice-controlled products are growing ever more popular, and it looks like Qualcomm is preparing to usher in the next generation of this tech. The latest chipset is designed to improve the performance and user experience of the future smart products it’ll be installed in. For users, that means the speaker will be more accurate when hearing requests, provide more relevant results and even be able to hear better in noisy environments. If it means an end to asking Google or Alexa to do something for the third or fourth time – GRRRRRR- then it’s music to our ears!

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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