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TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily iPhone App: Punch Quest smashes faces on the App Store

Here's the thing: It's Friday. You already know about Punch Quest, because you saw our preview video the other day. It's completely free as a universal version on both iPhone and iPad, and available right now, which makes this the easiest recommendation I've made on this site all year long: Go get this game. Period. It's great fun, well-designed and has tons and tons of replayability, all for the low price of exactly zero dollars.

I made yet another video of me playing the game below, not really because we needed it, but just because I wanted to play the game yet again. So yes: Do yourself a favor, and go download Punch Quest. Enjoy your weekend!

Square Enix considers dropping iOS prices

The Casual Connect gaming conference is going on in Kiev, Ukraine this week, and while there, Square Enix's General Manager of Mobile for Europe Antony Douglas expressed that his company is considering lowering its prices on iOS. By itself, that's not a very surprising notion: Most companies these days are realizing that lower prices on the App Store open up to a much larger audience, and there are other ways to monetize apps rather than just the traditional pricing model.

But what's interesting here is that Square Enix is considering such a notion. The venerated Japanese RPG company has released quite a few apps on iOS, and its most popular apps (including Chrono Trigger and the more recent World Ends With You) have been priced significantly higher than even other very polished iOS games ($9.99 and $19.99 for those two, respectively). In the past, we've seen this as a sign that game developers can still ask a premium price for premium content, and certainly Square Enix's games seem to have been doing well. Final Fantasy Tactics is another example -- a long awaited game that was priced at $17.99 on the iPad.

Douglas does confirm that these games are selling well, but he also says that the pricing "has been commented on quite a lot in Europe in the West," and that the more traditional Japanese overseers of the company are "seeing the feedback, and there will probably be changes in the way that it's structured." At the same time, however, he says the Japanese hold the view that quality games should have a premium price, and he suggests (correctly so) that "$20 for something you can play for 30 or 40 hours is still cheaper than what you can get on a handheld."

So we'll have to see if Square Enix changes its pricing in the future. If anyone can command higher prices for these titles, it's obviously them, but it's also true that as prices drop, sales on the App Store tend to go up. So it's possible that Square Enix could sell more copies and make even more money with a higher potential audience if they go with a lower price.

[via Slide to Play]

Schiller says not to expect Blu-ray from Apple

In Time's interview with Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, he addresses the long-standing question of whether or not Apple will ever jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon. It seems that barring any unforeseen circumstances, you'll likely never see a Blu-ray option from Apple on any machine.

"Blu-ray has come with issues unrelated to the actual quality of the movie that make [it] a complex and not-great technology," Schiller explains. "So for a whole plethora of reasons, it makes a lot of sense to get rid of optical discs in desktops and notebooks."

Of course, with the new, ultra-slim iMac and Retina-equipped MacBooks completely abandoning optical drives, it's clear that the company isn't really a fan of discs in any form. You still have the option of using a third party external Blu-ray drive and software, should you desire, but you'll likely never actually see it as an option from Apple when building your own Mac online.

iPhone jailbreaking legal, iPad not

The latest round of exemptions added to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) may be problematic for iOS owners who unlock or jailbreak their device, according to a report in Ars Technica. Signed into law in 1998, the DMCA bans the production and dissemination of technology designed to circumvent digital rights management systems. This broad-based law gives the Librarian of Congress the power to add exemptions to the law every three years. The latest exemptions were announced on Thursday and will go into effect on October 28.

Among them is an exemption that will let users jailbreak their smartphones, but not their tablets. This Librarian decided not to include tablets because the "tablet" category of devices was not well-defined and could include devices like an e-reader, an iPad and even a tablet PC. It's likely that this decision will have a negative effect on the jailbreak community which releases tools that work with both the iPhone and iPad.

The Librarian also decided to revoke the exemption allowing customers to unlock their device and use them on a new carrier. The new provision lets you unlock any smartphone purchased before January 2013. Phones purchased after that date can only be unlocked with the permission of the carrier. The librarian noted that carriers have policies that allow for unlocking and felt there was no compelling reason why customers should be allowed to unlock their phones themselves.

iPad mini Smart Cover priced at $39

If you managed to order an iPad mini before it sold out this morning, you may have added a $39 Smart Cover to your order and though to yourself "That price sounds familiar." And it should, because it's the same price as the full-size Smart Cover for the larger iPad.

The mini version of the intelligent accessory is available in six colors of polyurethane and attaches by wrapping onto the side of the tablet, rather than using the aluminum hinge of the original. For the larger version, customers have the option of upgrading to leather material, though that choice is mysteriously absent for the mini.

It's interesting that despite being considerably smaller in size, the iPad mini version remains the same price as its bigger brother. Perhaps it was just a mistake? No? Ok then.


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