SteelSeries Nimbus MFi Wireless iOS Controller Review

Introduction


Finding the right gaming controller for your device can be tricky. There are a lot of options on the market and that number is growing every month. There’s the cheap aftermarket options and there are premium grade specialist controllers, plus everything else in between; it can be a bit of a minefield to navigate. The issue is made ever more complicated when it comes to Apple devices, as you have to find something that is compatible too, as we all know how strict Apple can be with their regulations, not that this is a bad thing for the consumer though if it means you get a fully compliant product.

Steelseries are no stranger to mobile device controllers, as we’ve seen in the past with their Stratus iOS controller. However, the Stratus was small and it was pretty darn expensive too, so what does the new one have to offer that’s so special? Well for starters, it’s bigger, more akin to a console controller, so it should feel right at home for most gamers. Then there’s the other perk, it’s competitively priced, and that should make your wallet feel a little safer too. With support for Apple TV, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, it should fulfill all your iOS gaming needs and more. Obviously, the main one here is Apple TV, as Apple continue to move into the living room market and when you’re kicking back on the couch to play a few games, the Nimbus looks set to be the perfect partner for Apple TV.

“The SteelSeries Nimbus wireless controller lets you play hundreds of your favourite controller-supported games on your new Apple TV, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. This full-sized controller’s ergonomic design is perfect for gaming. It gives you 40-plus hours of game play with just a quick charge using the Lightning connector, along with LED notifications, an easy-to-navigate menu button, and pressure-sensitive buttons for the most precise gaming controls.” – Apple Store

Features

  • Pressure-sensitive buttons for precise gaming control
  • Console-style left and right analog triggers
  • Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity
  • Lithium-ion battery recharges via Lightning connector for 40-plus hours of gaming
  • Four LEDs display your player status during multiplayer gameplay
  • Colour-coded action buttons
  • Comfort and ergonomics of a full-sized controller

Specifications

  • Bluetooth Compatibility: Bluetooth 4.0
  • Power: Lightning connector for charging
  • Batteries: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
  • Height: 6.32 cm / 2.49 in.
  • Width: 15 cm / 5.91 in.
  • Weight: 242 g / 8.54 oz.
  • Length: 11 cm / 4.33 in.

The packaging is nicely designed, with a clear image of the controller on the front, showing off the main features, as well as a brief show of the overall device support.

Around the back, a few more specs such as the pressure sensitive d-pad, rechargeable battery, lightning connector and pressure sensitive buttons.

The side of the box has a more comprehensive run down of device support, and as you can see, it’s pretty versatile.

Aside from the right device, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got the right version of iOS (or above) for the controller to work.

One thing I always like to see, good packaging. The controller is very well protected in padded foam and the box should even double as a protective case when you need to store it away.

In the box, you’ll find the usual quick start guide, as well as a couple of stickers should you like showing off the branding a little.

Apple TV Game Sales Are Woeful

Apple described the Apple TV 2015 edition during a press conference as “the future of television” and reports suggested the company was going to have a renewed focus on the gaming sector. Unfortunately, this never came to fruition and only a few games were demoed on the show floor. While Apple did increase their efforts to cater towards the gaming audience, it was much less than we anticipated. Part of the problem revolves around the remote control which offers a poor level of precision in various genres. According to TouchArcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp, who published an editorial, this is having a major impact on sales:

“I’ve been talking to many different developers who have released games or apps on the device, and the general vibe is that if things don’t turn around following Christmas, Apple is going to have a real problem on their hands,”  

“‘Successful’ apps are making $100 a day on a good day, with revenue continuing to trail off since launch.”

It’s absolutely absurd to see apps making $100 per day being described as “successful” and Apple has to rethink their strategy. Perhaps a controller add-on, or revamped interface with the remote control will encourage more people to purchase games via the Apple TV. Up to this point, it seems most people are using the Apple TV 2015 for media streaming and not gaming purposes. This makes it a fairly useless platform for developers considering the huge amount of alternatives including Android devices, PC, and consoles.

Doom Blasts Its Way onto Apple Watch!

Id Sofware’s Doom catapulted the first-person-shooter genre into notoriety and is one of the cornerstones of the video game industry. While technically brilliant back in the day, Doom is able to run on virtually any modern device from low-powered PCs to Android smartphones. This vast catalogue now includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV. This remarkable feat was achieved by Facebook employees during a 10-hour hackathon. Apple’s latest watchOS 2 beta contains native apps support. Sadly, the version of Doom runs pretty poorly with stuttering and very low frames-per-second. Although, it is a neat project and showcases the touch control functionality.

As you might expect, Doom fares much better on the Apple TV and runs perfectly fine. Annoyingly, the video’s screen contains a large mark which is very distracting and becomes rather irksome. Nevertheless, the video illustrates how gaming works on the Apple TV with the traditional remote control. While it looks pretty neat, it doesn’t really rival the official BFG version or PC edition. Then again, it’s only designed to be a fun project to improve camaraderie in Facebook’s headquarters.

So there we have it, Doom is available on virtually every device possible, barring a calculator of course…

What is your first memory of the Doom franchise?

Amazon to Boost Prime Video by Banning Apple and Google Streaming Devices

In a controversial move, Amazon will no longer be carrying competing video streaming devices that cannot serve Prime Video. Set to start October 29th, Amazon and its third-party marketplace sellers will no longer carry competing products like Google Chromecast and Apple TV. This effort is being done in an attempt to promote Prime Video, Amazon’s Video-On-Demand service, by removing devices that don’t work with said service.

Technically, there is nothing to stop Amazon from providing Prime Video on competing devices, said devices also come stock with competing streaming services. By removing competing devices, it also allows Amazon to promote their own streaming products like FireTV. Roku, Xbox and PlayStation devices will still be sold as they are compatible with Prime Video and for the last two, are way more than just streaming devices.

What is most interesting is that Amazon is banning marketplace sellers from carrying the banned items as well. It goes to show that Amazon is willing to lose some sales for these devices in the hopes of selling more of their own hardware and Prime service. It will be interesting to see how the marketplace sellers and users will respond to such heavy-handed tactics from Amazon.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information 

NVIDIA Showcases Shield Specification Compared to Latest Apple TV

The Apple TV (2015 Edition) was recently announced and geared towards high-quality video streaming due to the device’s enhanced specification. There was some speculation regarding Apple’s future strategy to accommodate the core gaming market. Despite this, these rumours didn’t come to fruition as Apple only really catered to the casual demographic. On paper, the Apple TV 2015 is a huge technical boost from the last generation product but still pales in comparison to the highly-powerful NVIDIA Shield. To emphasize this fact, NVIDIA has unveiled a chart comparing the Shield to other leading media players:

As you see, the Shield features a quad-core 64-bit CPU, 3GB RAM and capable of outputting 4K Ultra HD video. In contrast to this, the latest Apple TV only features a dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, and maximum resolution of 1920×1080. Additionally, the Shield allows you to stream games from your NVIDIA-powered PC, and access expansive worlds in games like Skyrim. According to the specification sheet, the majority of apps are already supported with Twitch, VUDU and others coming very soon.

In this case, it’s a bit unfair to compare it to the Apple TV considering it’s not even out yet. Additionally, the type of customer Apple is aiming to please isn’t really bothered by raw specifications. However, the chart clearly shows that the Shield is unmatched when it comes to graphically intensive games in such a small, Android-based form factor.

tvOS Will Bring Plex Support to Apple TV

Following Apple’s unveiling of the tvOS platform, we can reveal that Apple TV will be getting support for popular media streaming system Plex. The release of tvOS beta and the tvOS Software Development Kit (SDK) means that Plex can finally develop a version of its software for Apple TV.

Plex co-founder Scott Olechowski told ITWorld, “We are very excited to have a crack at bringing our users Apple TV. It’s been a long requested platform and we’re excited to work on it. We want it, our users want it… and we’re anxiously awaiting the tvOS developer beta info, so we can finally dig in.”

When asked if anything might prevent Plex from being compatible with Apple TV, Olechowski replied, “There is no question we will be able to offer Plex on the platform. There are multiple ways to go about it, based on the tvOS SDK we now have access to. We are now evaluating the best path for Plex and will begin work in earnest once we have evaluated the options. The ability to access great and proven iOS frameworks on the device is great for developers like us — we know the stuff is solid and will perform really well. Our goal is to enable people to enjoy Plex on the hardware platforms of their choice, and there is no doubt this will be a top platform for us.”

Olechowski, though, refuses to put a timescale on the development of Plex for Apple TV, adding, “Of course we have started digging in and looking at it, but we have some bigger questions to answer before we can set any expectations.”

Thank you ITWorld for providing us with this information.

Apple Unleashes New Apple TV and ‘TVOS’

Apple has unveiled the highly-anticipated updated to the Apple TV and described it as “the future of Television”. According to Apple, Apps are paramount to modernizing TV and offering consumers a huge range of content through multiple providers such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. With the latest Apple TV, you can use the Siri remote which supports voice commands to search your entire library of Apps and not just within each program. If you use lots of video streaming services, then this could be a real time-saver. Although the voice recognition isn’t anything new considering Amazon’s Fire HD set-top box already includes this feature.

Another interesting announcement revolves around the new, dedicated operating system for the large screen called TVOS. Rather surprisingly, Guitar Hero is coming to Apple TV and Apple appears to be cashing-in on the mobile gaming market. Although, don’t expect too many mainstream console or PC games. A rather strange demonstration involved the extremely successful indie games, Crossy Road, and the developer appeared on stage to announce an exclusive Mulitplayer mode to iOS devices.

Other games coming to Apple TV include Disney Infinity, and a new title from the creators of Rock Band. Beat Sports combines music and motion controls using the Apple TV remote. Instead of playing notes, you have to move the main character and swing a baseball bat in time with the rhythm.

The Apple TV was used to broadcast a Major League Baseball game in 1080p at 60fps and allows for multi-game watching via split screen. Another neat feature, is the huge amount of optional data overlaid on the screen. In terms of specifications, the Apple TV employs Bluetooth 5.0 and a 64-bit A8 CPU. Interestingly, the Siri remote works in any direction and doesn’t have to face the sensor. The new Apple TV utilizes 802.11ac Wifi, and a decided Ethernet port for stable connections. Currently, the Apple TV is scheduled for release in October, and will come in two variants. The 32GB model wil cost $149 while the 64GB version retails for $199.

A New Apple TV Might Be Announced in September

In the first few days of September, Apple will reportedly unveil a brand new Apple TV, which will include a series of design improvements complemented by some tweaks in the hardware department. However, the gadget’s main highlight will come in the form of its operating system, which will most likely be an unmodified version of Apple’s iOS 9. This means that Apple TV users will be able to enjoy unrestricted access to the App Store in order to install and run a plethora of applications.

Another interesting feature will be based on touch input and gesture support capabilities. As far as the remote control is concerned, it will connect to the main device via Bluetooth while an infrared LED will allow the user to control other home entertainment products. Siri fans will be able to get in touch with their favorite virtual assistant through a microphone, which is expected to be a part of the remote.

On the hardware side, the Apple TV will include a more capable processor when compared to its predecessors, and this processor is likely to be the A8 SoC that’s currently used in the iPhone 6. The RAM memory and NAND storage for the device should also see some improvements. Design-wise, the Apple TV will still be built using plastic elements in order to make sure that wireless performance is not hindered in any way while the body itself will be a bit wider and slightly slimmer.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information.

YouTube Ending Support for Older iPads, Apple TVs, Smart TVs, and More

As of this week, YouTube is ceasing support for many older tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs, with the first-generation iPad, iPhone 4, second-generation Apple TV, version 2 Google TV, and other aging devices that use the YouTube app losing its functionality.

Version 2 of the YouTube API is the build that is being retired. This iteration of the app was built into iOS up until version 6, so any device from this generation is susceptible to problems. However, though Google warned that any device carrying version 2 of YouTube would no longer be able to access the app from this week onwards, PC World reports that YouTube was still functional on a first-generation iPad, running iOS 5.1.1, as of Tuesday morning. A follow-up blog post from Google suggests that, although support has been pulled, the version 2 API could continue working for a couple of weeks.

What can be done about this? Affected iOS devices will still be able to view YouTube videos through the mobile site, but Apple TV and Google TV users will have no way of accessing YouTube through their respective device. Any device that supports the YouTube app that was manufactured after 2012 will be unaffected. More information can be found on Google’s help page.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information.

Next Gen Apple TV Much Improved

According to sources close with BuzzFeed, the next-gen Apple TV will be a much-improved version. Apple plans on announcing the new Apple TV at the World Wide Developers Conference they hold in June. During the conference, they also plan on introducing the SDK dedicated to the Apple TV, and its own App Store, much like was done with the Apple Watch recently.

The recent price cut of the current Apple TV, from $99 to $69 during Apple’s live event, and announcing the partnership to make HBO GO an exclusive digital partner, Apple has been busy recently. In addition to the Apple Watch announcement recently, we also are getting a new MacBook, claiming to be the lightest computer ever. With the April 24th release of the Apple Watch coming, Apple updated iOS with support for the Watch.

With so much time since Apple last did much for the Apple TV, if they plan to continue support, this pending update will be much-needed. Especially since there are so many more competing devices, such as Roku, Fire TV, and the Chrome Stick, and their very competitive costs, Apple’s hand is almost forced if they want to stay relevant.

Source: news.com.au

The Ray Super Remote is the Ultimate Home Remote Control

There have been numerous attempts over the last few decades to create a single, universal remote control with the capacity to interact with every one of your home entertainment devices, with varying results, but the Ray Super Remote may now have cracked it.

The Super Remote, developed by Ray Enterprises, is a touchscreen device that can control your TV, satellite or cable box, DVR, games console, and internet streaming box, like Apple TV or Roku. It can connect to over 200,000 different devices, and can run software to control any home device with an IP address, such as the Nest thermostat.

The interface is fully customisable and the software can learn your habits and preferences to suggest programmes that may appeal to you. Battery life is around ten days, and the charging dock doubles as the remote’s holding tray.

David Skokna, CEO of New York-based Ray Enterprises, offered some insight into the development process of the remote, saying, “As we looked at ways to reimagine TV, it seemed like the remote control needed the most help. We think we have a big opportunity to do something magical.”

The Ray Super Remote is due for release in May or June this year, and will cost $199. www.ray.co is accepting pre-orders now.

Source: Business Insider

Google Chromecast Now More Popular Than Apple TV

Google’s Chromecast TV streaming dongle outsold Apple TV over the first three quarters of 2014, according to Parks Associates, a market researcher. Google has been given the boost over their rival during a 10% upswing in the number of households now using home media players. Roku, the market leader for the past three years, remains in pole position with 29% market share, down from 46% last year.

Apple TV is now 7 years old, and has not had a major hardware update since 2012. Rumours have circulated this year that Apple is to update its TV system, adding App Store integration and Bluetooth controller support, but there has been no official confirmation regarding the new model. In the meantime, Google has forged ahead, stealing a significant slice of the home media market share.

Source: MacRumors

NFL Now App Will Arrive on Apple TV This Month

NFL Fan? Do you own Apple TV? Well if you said yes to both of those questions then you’re in luck! The official NFL Now app is hitting Apple TV this month. The image you see above is apparently a picture taken by an employee at NFL during a testing session of the app, it shows the most popular videos and highlights as well as a ‘My Channel’ section which looks like it offers videos and highlights related to stuff you’ve previously watched or have selected to see more of.

The app will also feature extensive archives, on-demand highlights and news broadcasts. There will also be a load of content created by the NFL team available to watch on the app, this varies from locker room interviews to player specific features.  The app will arrive in time for NFL fans to enjoy the 2014 – 2015 season, a perfect time to stress test the new system. NFL Now app will also be landing on other platforms includes iOS devices, Xbox, and Roku set top boxes.

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

Apple TV Revamp To Add Time Warner Cable?

After having the iPhone, iPad and Macbook receive a makeover it seems Apple is now getting ready to do the same with Apple TV and it looks like Time Warner may make it onto Apple’s latest edition of Apple TV. According to reports from Bloomberg Apple is planning to release a new Apple TV and we could be seeing it as early as April 2014. Also in the report from Bloomberg is that fact that Apple is looking of anther partner to stream live channels and video on demand and that the partner could possibly be Time Warner.

Time Warner’s app (TWC TV) is all ready in devices like the Kindle Fire Tablet and even Apple’s main competitor in the over-the-top box market Roku. TWC TV is also used in Xbox 360 and Samsung Smart TV’s and although Apple dose not yet have a partnered cable company attached to the Apple TV, having Time Warner’s TWC TV will in Apple TV will be a huge boost to the device. It has been rumored for a while that Apple has been looking for a cable partner for their Apple TV device and according to the report from Bloomberg they may have found it in the Time Warner Cable company.

While no actual release date was mentioned in the Bloomberg report, it seems that Apple will be looking to release the device over the holiday period. However the report also goes onto to say that this date could change, whenever the device is released customers can expect a new faster processor, with refreshed and new online content. The full report from Bloomberg can be read here.

Thank you CNET for the information provided

Image courtesy of Engadet

Apple Buys PrimeSense, Original Co-Creators Of Kinect

Back in July is was rumoured that Apple were looking to purchase PrimeSense, and now it looks like that deal has gone ahead as Apple acquire the Israeli based company who helped create the core technology behind the original Kinect for Xbox 360.

According to Israeli news source Calcalist, Cupertino, Apple acquired the technology company in a deal that cost around $345 million. Something that could pave the way for Apple integrating motion controlled technology into their devices in the near future.

Rumour has it that Apple could be looking to integrate such technology into their much anticipated Apple TV device, but with the company now belonging to Apple there is no reason to doubt that they could use such a device with a wide range of Apple products ranging from Apple TV to their desktop and mobile solutions.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Apple To Focus On “Wearable” Devices Rather Than Apple TV

The plans for an Apple TV have been placed “on hold” as the company plans to potentially launch new, wearable electronics, such as the all anticipated “iWatch,” according to a report by Apple Insider.

It is said that the “principle reasons” for the alleged delay is Apple’s apparent inability to obtain “proprietary content not available on other devices.” Such content would give Apple’s platform the ability to stand out from competitors and find success in the cutthroat television set business. The growth of devices like the existing Apple TV set-top box, Roku player and Google’s new Chromecast streamer have also negated the need for a full-fledged “smart TV” for many consumers.

“Indeed, the existing Apple TV box may be an impediment to Apple’s success with a smart TV product, which as a category, is not growing in the U.S. as many had hoped for. Our most recent smart TV forecast is that they will only account for about a quarter of TV shipments in 2013, and grow very slowly from there, with the focus on low-end premium models.”

The rumors about a full-fledged Apple TV have diminished for now while Apple is anticipated to release a so-called “iWatch” within the next year. However, Apple is rumored to have a new hardware for the Apple TV since March 2012 which includes new control methods to enhance the experience.

Thank you Apple Insider for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Beasts

Apple UHDTV Coming Later This Year?

Apple has a taste for the expensive things in life, as do fans of the manufacturer of some of this generations most desirable devices and while I personally don’t count my self as a fan of their products, I can’t deny that they’ve made some great ones over the last few years.

Now it seems Apple is set to tackle the 4K market and should they acquire a big enough supply of 4K panels, then rumour has it that the electronics giant will be shipping UHDTV’s some time later this year, of course you can expect them to be unfathomably expensive and most likely white.

Apple already has quite a bit of experience in high definition, high resolution displays, and they’ve already seen great success with their 2048 x 1536 resolution screens, not forgetting their laptops that now feature displays that sport resolutions of 2560×1600 and 2880 x 1800. So why would the company bother with a humble 1920 x 1080 display, its not like the market isn’t filled with choices in this format and it would make sense for the company to stick with their higher than HD resolutions and jump right up to the 4K resolutions of 3840 x 2160.

To active something like this, apple will need to lay its hands on millions of panels ranging in sizes of 46″ to 55″ and its known that Apple and Foxconn have been working together for some time in regards to securing a stable line of 4K panels for the Apple iTV.

This will also need to be backed up by a content delivery service, and thanks to iTunes Apple are certainly at the front of having a wide spread, well equipped digital distribution network, but of course 4K will put massive strain on networks both for the end user and Apple them selves.

Either way, you can bet this isn’t going to be cheap but its also unlikely that Apple will be left out of the 4K race given their current domination in so many other sectors of the digital market. Would you but a 4K Apple TV or do you think its worth sticking to more common TV brands such as Samsung and Sony for the next generation of display technology?

Samsung Will Still Manufacture the Newer Single-Core A5 Processors for Apple TVs

Apple’s revision of the 3rd generation Apple TV would be using a new and smaller A5 SOC solution. Rumours have been building up about Apple shifting Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) and  Intel, to move away from Samsung’s SOC production facilities. Chipworks made few observations about the chip during their tear-down.

They specified that the A5 memory and the processors are 2 separate onboard chips. A5 is using a package-on-package (PoP) design where they’ve stacked the memory over the SoC. Although this does take more space on the PCB, it could prove to be a cost-saving solution. The processor measures 6.1mm x 6.2mm. Other than that, the SoC still uses a single core with dual-core Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 543MP2 GPU.

According to Chipworks, the new A5 is based on Samsung’s 32nm process. Other than the name, the design and maybe the performance would not be the same. 3rd generation Apple TVs have one of the CPU cores disabled, therefore the performance maybe the same as older models. However these chips would be much smaller so it will save money in the long run. The con is that designing this chip will take fair amount of time, money and effort.

Apple maybe doing this because the company is aiming to sell these units in high numbers but with lower margins, therefore a reduction of cost seem plausable. There is a possibility that Apple may have another product that they plan to launch which would require a small and inexpensive chip such as this, maybe to be used in the much rumoured iWatch and a cheaper version of the iPhone?

Source: Ars Technica