Minecraft Earth gets first live demo, coming to iOS “this summer”

Minecraft Earth gets first live demo, coming to iOS “this summer”

Mojang, the Microsoft-owned studio behind Minecraft, used Monday’s WWDC keynote to unveil the world’s first live gameplay look at its next smartphone-exclusive game, Minecraft Earth. This demo also included the firmest tease yet about when series fans will get their hands on the augmented-reality game: “coming this summer to iOS.” This specific tease didn’t include any indication of whether that means the game’s promised Android version will take longer to land as a public beta.

The onstage demo began with two Mojang employees aiming their iOS devices at a table, where a blocky Minecraft game world appeared that both users could simultaneously interact with. By walking around the table and aiming their devices’ cameras, the staffers could use items and weapons, interact with switches, and drop or plant items in

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Augmented reality changes how people interact and communicate, study finds

Augmented reality changes how people interact and communicate, study finds

Enlarge / An actor portrays a participant in a new study of the impact of augmented reality on social interactions. The area inside the dotted line is the field of view of the augmented reality goggles, which shows digital content such as avatars. (credit: Mark Miller/Stanford Human Interaction Lab)

Neal Stephenson’s influential 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash offered a fairly dystopian vision of a future virtual-reality based Internet known as the “Metaverse” and is widely credited with bringing the term “avatar” into mainstream culture. Stephenson called people who remained publicly plugged in around the clock via wearable computer gear “gargoyles,” and he derided the adverse impact of that level of immersion on social behavior. “Gargoyles are no fun to talk to,” he wrote. “They never finish a sentence. They are adrift in a laser-drawn world.”

We are at the dawn of the 21st century in which the novel is set,

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There’s a new Minecraft game coming, and it’s played entirely in augmented reality

There’s a new Minecraft game coming, and it’s played entirely in augmented reality

Microsoft may believe it has made augmented reality’s killer app: the just-announced Minecraft Earth for iOS and Android.

AR on mobile devices may carry tremendous potential, but it’s easy enough to argue that the mainstream value proposition hasn’t arrived yet. Pokémon Go is probably the most oft-cited “killer app” for AR, but it’s only barely a true AR app. And there are some neat shopping apps and educational tools (from Warby Parker and Ikea, for example) but none of them have made a big dent in the mainstream consciousness.

Minecraft Earth

At first glance, Minecraft Earth seems a bit like Pokémon Go, given that it seems to be location aware in some ways. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Players will be able to construct builds on their living

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Lenovo bumps X1 Extreme to i9, GTX 1650, introduces new mainstream ThinkBooks

Lenovo bumps X1 Extreme to i9, GTX 1650, introduces new mainstream ThinkBooks

Lenovo is having its annual conference for its business partners and customers, and with that comes a spate of new hardware announcements.

Let’s start simple: the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, the 15-inch counterpart to the regular X1, has been updated to a 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU MaxQ, further enhancing its powerhouse specs, while continuing to weigh under 4 pounds. There’s also a new 4K OLED touchscreen option that looks fab. Maximum storage has been doubled to 4TB. Pricing starts at $1,499.99, with availability in July.

Lenovo currently has two main laptop brands: the mass-market IdeaPad, and the high-end/corporate ThinkPad line, with the latter honoring the IBM ThinkPad legacy with their black cases and red TrackPoint mice. To these, the company is adding a third range: ThinkBook. These are intended for small and

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HoloLens 2 dev kits: $3,500, or $99/month, with Azure credits, Unity trials

HoloLens 2 dev kits: $3,500, or $99/month, with Azure credits, Unity trials

Enlarge / Microsoft HoloLens 2. (credit: Microsoft)

The second-generation HoloLens 2 was announced back in February. At the time, Microsoft only disclosed commercial pricing for the greatly improved augmented reality headset: $3,500. This is $1,500 less than the commercial edition of the first edition but $500 more than the developer edition.

Today, the company revealed the developer pricing. It’ll be that same $3,500, or $99 per month. Whichever payment option is chosen, the development edition will come with a few extras that the commercial edition does not: $500 of credit for Azure services as well as three months of Unity Pro and the PIXYZ CAD plugin. The developer headset will also be limited to one per person and won’t be licensed for commercial usage, though as best we can tell, the hardware will be literally identical.

Monthly pricing is available for the commercial edition, too: for $125/month,

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