11.6-Inch MacBook Air with Carbon Fiber Body on the Way?

It looks like Apple’s MacBook Air line of thin-and-light laptops will finally be refreshed this year, but this time around it’ll sport an 11.6-inch screen and a carbon fiber chassis. According to Apple Insider, the new MacBook air model will hit before the end of 2010. Here are the details:

In an effort to make the design of the Air more appealing and further differentiate the notebook from the company’s mainstream 13.3-inch MacBook, Apple in 2008 reportedly began experimenting with a partial carbon fiber enclosure that would shave upwards of a 100 grams off its weight.

With plans for such a design failing to materialize over the last two years, it’s believed that Apple returned to the drawing board at some point and began crafting a makeover that would deliver both size and weight reductions, further pushing the envelop of ultra-portable notebook computing.

The first evidence to this end arrived earlier this year when an analyst citing sources in Apple’s Taiwanese component supply chain revealed that the company was placing orders for parts to fit a slimmer and lighter MacBook Air based around an 11.6-inch LED-lit display and Intel Core i-series ultra-low voltage processor.

On Friday, a report put out by Taiwanese rumor site DigiTimes appears to further corroborate such claims, alleging that Apple’s primary notebook manufacturer Quanta has landed orders to produce the first 400,000-500,000 11.6-inch “MacBooks” for delivery to the Mac maker before the end of the 2010 calendar year.

With the rapid advancement of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the scorching sales of the 9.7-inch iPad, I’ve been wondering about the future of the MacBook Air. I’d love a (relatively) full-featured notebook that weighed less than three pounds. While I’m not thrilled with the screen size, I’m hoping Apple uses some of its fancy display technology to make the new MacBook Air more appealing.

What do you think of the new MacBook Air rumors? Does the device fill a gap between the iPad and the 13-inch Macbook? Are any of you interested in a device like this? Think I could get away with video editing on an Intel CULV (don’t answer that question)?

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Bobby Kotick Strikes Back…Against Double Fine Tim Schafer

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has taken a beating from the enthusiast press, gamers, and several high-profile developers. Last July, Double Fine founder Tim Schafer had some colorful words for the man, calling him a “total prick” and a “dick”. Now it’s Kotick’s turn to strike back! In a recent interview with Edge magazine, Kotick said:

Tim Schafer. The guy comes out and says I’m a prick. I’ve never met him in my life — I’ve never had anything to do with him. I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brutal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, ‘He’s late, he’s missed every milestone, he’s overspent the budget and it doesn’t seem like a good game. We’re going to cancel it.’

And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game.

While I disagree with Kotick’s assessment that Brutal Legend is not a particularly good game, his other points are completely valid. Several of my industry contacts have told me about the game’s numerous delays and overspending. Still, I can’t help but think that these comments will just add to Kotick’s “evil” reputation. Although his argument is legitimate, he’ll still be seen as the big CEO of a huge corporation picking on an independent developer.

Any thought’s on Kotick’s latest?

Source via CVG

This Week’s Videogame Releases

There are lots of great games shipping this week, spanning a variety of genres. Fans of the beautiful game will be able to enjoy FIFA 11 on every platform known to man. If you’d rather kill zombies than play (international) football then there’s Dead Rising 2. Gamers that haven’t had their fill of Guitar Hero will want to check out Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. Nothing calling out to you yet? How about giant robots?!? Get some mech action going with Front Mission Evolved. Last, but not least, is an RPG for PS3 gamers: Atelier Rorona…or as I call it Atelier Reona Rewis.

Any of you picking up new games this week? Kindly let me know what’s on your wish list!

Coffee Talk #220: Classic Gaming Conventions That Don’t Fly in 2010

As some of you know, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light to review for another site. I’m mostly enjoying the game. It’s an old-school RPG with a job system — I love both of those things. Having said that, there are several aspects of the game that are acceptable to me as a longtime RPG player, but would probably irk the hell out of newer gamers.

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the wonderful meats at M-Grill, the excellent Lodi Vineyards Rapture Cabernet P Andy shared with me, or if you’re going to see The Social Network, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

As some of you know, I’ve been playing Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light to review for another site. I’m mostly enjoying the game. It’s an old-school RPG with a job system — I love both of those things. Having said that, there are several aspects of the game that are acceptable to me as a longtime RPG player, but would probably irk the hell out of newer gamers.

For example, there are several dungeons that are a cakewalk until the boss fight. If you don’t have the right armor and/or weapons equipped then the boss fights are super challenging at best and irritatingly impossible at worst. You can teleport back to the nearest village to get the right gear, but then you have to slog through the entire dungeon again. With all the hand holding and linearity in today’s games, I think a lot of players will find this unacceptable. Stuff like this was fine in 1993, but I don’t think it works in 2010.

Have you had any similar experiences recently? Are there any games you’ve played in the last year that use mechanics that should have been left in the ’90s? Have you played anything that’s crossed the line between classic and antiquated? Now’s the time to whine about old-school videogame conventions!

Latest iTunes Update Improves Ping

The latest version of iTunes includes some big improvements to the Ping social networking feature. Previously, Ping only worked with music that was purchased through iTunes. Now it works with your entire music library…if the music is available on iTunes. While it’s not the improvement everyone is clamoring for — Facebook integration — it’s a pretty big step that makes the service much more interesting.

I’ve updated my Ping account with a variety of music (that makes it look like I enjoy bands other than Nelson). If you’re interested, please follow me. I’m “Raymond Padilla”. If you download the update, please check out the new Ping and let me know what you think.

Mega Man Universe Trailer

Capcom might have something really cool and really unique with Mega Man Universe. Headed for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, the game blends the gameplay of Mega Man 2 with a level creator. Millions of gamers are familiar with the gameplay mechanics of Mega Man, so creating levels should be fairly intuitive. If the tools are tight then I expect to see some amazing fan-made designs.

Check out the trailer above and let me know what you think (please)! Any of you down to create Mega Man Universe levels?

Today’s Poll: Will Streaming HD Video Kill Blu-ray?

As most of you know, Blockbuster filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. Most experts chalk this up to a combination of streaming video and Netflix killing brick-and-mortar rental stores. Now that Blockbuster is pretty much dead, who will be the next victim? Will it be the Blu-ray format? Microsoft UK Xbox & Entertainment director Stephen McGill believes so (though he’s obviously biased). He told Xbox 360 Achievements:

Blu-ray is going to be passed by as a format. People have moved through from DVDs to digital downloads and digital streaming, so we offer full HD 1080p Blu-ray quality streaming instantly, no download, no delay. So, who needs Blu-ray?

What do you think? Will the convenience and immediacy of streaming video kill Blu-ray? Or are Blu-ray’s fantastic picture quality and uncompressed audio enough to keep the format going? Kindly vote in today’s poll and state your case in the comments section.

[poll id=”72″]

Source

Coffee Talk #219: Will Games Get Cheaper (with Expensive DLC)?

THQ CEO Brian Farrell told CVG that games will likely be cheaper in the future, but with more downloadable content. He believes that the initial version of the game will cost between $29 to $39, but more and more features will be downloadable add-ons. He told CVG:

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Lindsay Lohan heading to the slammer (again), United Nations delegates walking out on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Katy Perry’s boobs being too saucy for Sesame Street, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

THQ CEO Brian Farrell told CVG that games will likely be cheaper in the future, but with more downloadable content. He believes that the initial version of the game will cost between $29 to $39, but more and more features will be downloadable add-ons. He told CVG:

I’m a big believer in monetising under the curve, so we capture that $29 to $39 user no matter what, and a person that wants to spend $100 on the product can do so as well. I think that’s the future of gaming — whether it’s this model or a take on the free-to-play model. It’s where our industry is going.

I’m not sure if this is where the industry is going, but I can see publishers experimenting with it in certain genres. I also see enthusiast gamers getting extremely angry about this practice…and doing nothing about it.

What do you think of this business model? Would you mind getting a stripped down version of a game for less money? Do you care that more features would have to be purchased online? Is this smart business? Or is it Kotickian?

Verizon CEO Crushes CDMA iPhone 4 Dreams

Remember those three-million CDMA iPhones that are (supposedly) being made in December? They’re not for Verizon. Unless the company is pulling a swerve, it’s forgoing a CDMA iPhone in favor of one that takes advantage of its upcoming high-speed LTE network. Here’s the word from The Apple Blog:

Despite supplier rumors that seemed to indicate we’d see a Verizon iPhone early on in the new year, recent comments by Verizon’s own CEO have put a damper on those hopes. CEO Ivan Seidenberg said at the Goldman Sachs Investor conference that Apple’s device won’t appear on his company’s network until it’s ready for the long-term evolution (LTE) network Verizon is so fervent about.

While this news will surely disappoint users that are anxious for a Verizon iPhone, I think it’s the right move. Verizon’s CDMA network is considered the most reliable in the country, but it’s hardly the fastest. With LTE, the company would have a differentiator that combines blazing speeds and rock-solid reliability.

Do you think it’s the right move for Verizon? Or are you crying that there isn’t a Verizon CDMA iPhone in your future?

Source

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

I’ve beaten the main game in Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, but I haven’t saved it yet. I want to go back and beat the four optional towers. In addition to 100 floors of randomness, they’re filled with excellent treasure and new jobs. Two of the towers are down — giving me the ninja and sage jobs — and I hope to beat one more this weekend.

How about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?