Text-Based Game ‘Lifeline’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Popular text-based adventure game Lifeline was named Apple’s App of the Week, and as a result, it’s available to download for free for the first time since it launched in April of 2015.

Lifeline is a text-based game that asks players to make life or death decisions to help navigate Taylor, the protagonist, through the storyline. Written by Dave Justus, the story walks players through the aftermath of a crash landing on the moon of an alien planet.

Lifeline is a playable, branching story of survival against all odds. Using your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, you will help Taylor make life or death decisions, and face the consequences together.

Lifeline is a deep, immersive story of survival and perseverance, with many possible outcomes. Taylor is relying on YOU.

What’s unique about Lifeline is its realtime gameplay. The story progresses in actual real world time, with the game sending players notifications throughout the day to make decisions about where the storyline should go. Players can answer as the notifications come in or catch up on their own timelines.

Lifeline is also notable because it was one the first games to be made available on the Apple Watch. When notifications come in, players can respond on the Apple Watch or directly from the iPhone’s Home screen without needing to open the actual game. Since its release, Lifeline has earned 4.5 stars in the App Store with more than 9,000 reviews.

Lifeline will be available for free from the iOS App Store for the next seven days. [Direct Link]

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Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour movie will debut exclusively on Apple Music

Taylor Swift has announced that she will debut her new concert movie, The 1989 World Tour Live, on Apple Music — six months after her public spat with Apple over artist royalties. “I have a little surprise for you,” Swift wrote on Twitter, with a link to the trailer of the upcoming behind-the-scenes concert documentary, […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Declines Offer to Sell Adele’s Upcoming Album ’25’ in Apple Stores

Apple has reportedly declined an offer made by the British singer-songwriter Adele to stock her newest album, 25, in Apple retail stores (via The Daily Mail). Meanwhile, the singer’s agents at William Morris Endeavor – a talent agency – have pitched the Cupertino company on a possible $30 million tour sponsorship after the album debuts on November 20. It’s not currently clear where the status of that offer is with Apple.

$30 million is about ten times more than the average marketing deal, but Adele’s team is banking on the long-gestating album to be a hit when it launches later in November. The singer has already put out a single, „Hello,“ which is on track to set a record for most downloaded single and has already broken Vevo’s previously most-viewed music video record with 27.7 million views in 24 hours. Still, with the brazen tactics at getting the singer a high-profile sponsor deal with the tech company, some in the industry question the success of such a partnership.

“Her team needs to be more realistic about an artist who doesn’t have much of a history of working with corporate partners,” one person familiar with the talks said.

The marketing team working for Adele is pushing for a physical copy-focus debut of 25, in the similar vein of Taylor Swift’s 1989, which debuted a year ago this past Tuesday with exclusive tracks made available only in retail packages sold at Target. Similarly, 25 will get a Target-specific release with a „deluxe version“ only available in the retail giant’s physical locations, including three bonus tracks for fans.

„Hello“ debuted on Apple Music simultaneously with other streaming services, but the upcoming record’s physical sales approach may limit the streaming support it gets on November 20, although Adele’s team has yet to confirm specifically where 25 will be available when it launches. If the $30 million deal goes through with Apple, it’s likely 25 will see an exclusivity window with Apple Music at launch.

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Parallels 11 With Windows 10 to Allow Mac Users to Access Cortana on OS X

When Windows 10 is released to the public next week, Windows users will have desktop access to Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant designed to compete with Apple’s Siri. It appears Mac OS X users may also be able to access Cortana on OS X, using an updated version of the Parallels Windows virtualization software. For those unfamiliar with Parallels, it’s software that’s designed to let you run Windows and Windows apps on your Mac.

According to a now-deleted leaked site that details upcoming features in Parallels 11, the software is gaining a new Windows 10 feature that will let Cortana be accessed on OS X while Windows 10 is running in the background.

As explained by Neowin, who shared the leaked site over the weekend, that means Cortana can be accessed with the „Hey Cortana“ command while using other applications on the Mac. It is not clear if all of Cortana’s functionality is available when run this way, but in Windows 10, Cortana has a wide range of useful features.

The virtual assistant can search the web, find installed files and apps, monitor calendar appointments, access the weather, and more. Like with Siri, Cortana can be asked fact-finding questions like „What are the latest NBA scores“ or „What’s going on near me this weekend?“

Announced last year, Cortana is a digital assistant named for an AI character in the popular Halo video game series and voiced by Jen Taylor, who also did the AI voice work. Cortana, which has a distinctly female personality, is powered by the Bing search engine and differs from Siri based on the ability to ask questions about users and monitor their activity to learn more about them.

Cortana has a „notebook“ that stores information on each user’s interests, favorite places, preferred music, relationships with people, appointment dates, preferred quiet hours, and more. When Cortana debuted, Microsoft described this feature as „her view of you,“ designed to let Cortana perform functions a wide range of personalized functions.

While Windows 10 is set to be released next week, there is no word on when Parallels 11 with the new Cortana feature will launch. Parallels 10, the current version of Parallels, has been updated to support Windows 10.

In addition to being available on Mac OS X through Parallels 11, Cortana is also coming to the iPhone. Microsoft plans to launch a Cortana app for iOS later this year.



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Taylor Swift’s Apple Music Letter Surprised Her Record Label, but Pushed Talks ‘Over the Edge’

Ahead of the launch of Apple Music, Taylor Swift made headlines when she wrote a scathing open letter to Apple, criticizing its decision not to pay artists for their work during its three-month free trial. Her letter, combined with pushback from indie labels, led Apple to reverse course and opt to pay artists during the three months that customers can listen for free.

Record label exec Scott Borchetta, who serves as the head of Big Machine Records and signed Swift when she was 14, recently spoke at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference and shared some backstory on the negotiations that eventually led Swift to write the letter. According to Borchetta, he’d been in talks with Apple and told the company that his label couldn’t support no compensation during the three-month free trial, but wasn’t making headway.

Borchetta hadn’t spoken to Swift about the negotiations and was caught unawares by her letter, which she didn’t clear with her record label. He wasn’t angry, though, because her post, as we know, caused Apple to change its policy and made negotiations easier.

„She literally texted me and said, ‘Don’t be mad,’ with the link,“ Borchetta said. „She was in Europe. I responded and said, ‘You don’t have any idea how good your timing is right now.'“

A day after Swift’s letter, Borchetta had a conference call with Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue, where they capitulated and agreed to the demands of both Swift and many other artists who had been resisting signing on with Apple Music due to the free trial.

Scooter Braun, Justin Bieber’s manager, was also at the Fortune event and said that Swift’s letter gave Apple the push the industry needed to secure a better deal. „Everyone was fighting that fight,“ he said. „Taylor pushed it over the edge. She made them aware it wasn’t just the executives. Sometimes it’s good to hear the artists saying it.“

Shortly after Apple changed its policy, the company secured a deal with Swift and signed deals with thousands of indie labels a week ahead of Apple Music’s launch. Apple Music became the first and only streaming music service to offer Swift’s most recent album, 1989.



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