Episode 21 Overview

You're busy, we get that. The creepy notes we found stapled to all the trees around your cabin in the woods were a little cryptic, and frankly, we couldn't make sense of them at all. But there sure were a lot of them, so if nothing else we can tell that you're busy, and we don't want to interrupt.

So you don't have time to sit down and listen to an hour of in-depth tech advice and news? It's all good. How about ten minutes to read over an out-depth summary of that same tech advice and news? Well, here you go. For the week ending March 21st, 2017, this is the Calling All Platforms Tech podcast summary.


We'll start with Apple updates, and as opposed to last quarters financial results, we have actual products to talk about! Tuesday morning Apple pulled their online store for updates, and when it came back up, there was new stuff!

(PRODUCT)RED iPhone 7: This is the hue of regret. Regret that I upgraded to early.

  • The iPad Mini 4 is now only available in the 128 GB storage option, though the price has dropped to $399.
  • The 9.7 inch early 2017 iPad (basically an iPad Air 3) has been upgraded with the A9 chip from the iPhone 6s, an improvement over the A8X that was there before. It's available in 128 GB for $429, and 32 GB for $329, making this now the cheapest iPad Apple sells, and a really reasonable buy.
  • The iPad Mini 2 has been discontinued, and the iPhone SE got storage bumps for both available configurations, to 32 GB and 128 GB. Prices for both iPhone SE options stayed the same, but Apple no longer sells any 16 GB iOS devices aside from the severely aged iPod Touch.
  • There's also a new (PRODUCT)RED color option for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which looks amazing and makes me wish I'd waited to upgrade. As usual, a portion of the profits from these phones will go to research treatments for HIV and AIDS.
  • They also released some new phone case colors and Apple Watch bands, if you care.

Overall, nothing amazing. But this is the kind of thing Apple would put into the rumored spring event if they needed to pad out the run time. Since they didn't save this stuff for such an event, we're actually encouraged that there will be some significant improvements to the Mac lineup.

In other Apple news, Colorware, the company behind the many-colored Airpods from a few weeks back, has released an iPhone 7 paint option that looks like a classic mac. And while it's pretty, it's also $900 on top of the cost of the phone. So... yeah. That's a little rich. And speaking of rich, a functional Apple 1 computer, built by Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs' garage in the 70's, is going to auction in May. These typically fetch between $200,000 and $700,000, though a few years ago one very nearly topped a cool million.

Colorware iPhone 7 Plus Retro: Expensive, but gorgeous.

Finally, at the dreamers fantasyland of SXSW this last week, Sony showed off a very rudimentary holodeck. Which isn't actually useful to anyone, but I just thought all the Trekkies out there might want to know.


In essence, (the HTC U Ultra) looks really good, but is filled with boneheaded decisions.
Landen got us started off on Google news with the reviews of the HTC U Ultra phone. In essence, it looks really good, but is filled with boneheaded decisions. Mostly we agree that HTC needs to, just, chill. In other phone news, the LG G6 is getting fabulous reviews, and is now open for preorder. If you needed any reason to get one besides the phone itself being awesome, people who preorder one will get a free Google Home. And if you preorder on Sprint, you'll get a free Google Home and a free 49 inch TV.

LG G6: If you're at all tempted, preorder. Especially if you're on Sprint.

So uh... Go Sprint. You Sprint subscribers take advantage.

We also spent some time talking about Google's Family Link and how all of the ecosystems handle the creation and management of accounts for children and family members. Turns out there are good options no matter which way you go, but if you have specific questions, let us know and we'll answer them!

Now, Google also dropped a surprise release on Tuesday, just to mess with everyone, in the form of developer preview images of Android O, the next version of the Android OS. A few of the current features and upgrades are as follows:

  • API for background app management, to help app developers save battery.
  • Notification improvements, including the ability to postpone a notification for a second reminder from right in the notification itself.
  • Autofill API so that app developers can use saved autofill for forms inside of apps, where that kind of thing is normally limited to the browser.
  • Picture-in-picture mode for videos, allowing you to watch videos in a little window while doing something else.
  • Adaptive icons to allow for a better experience when using custom app icons.
  • Wide-gamut color support, to allow app developers, especially of image and video apps, to better support improved color accuracy of modern screens.
  • Improved audio quality for bluetooth audio devices, so your bluetooth headphones will actually sound okay.
  • Improved wifi handling and ad-hoc networking support.
  • Improved bluetooth keyboard navigation shortcuts.
  • Various additional developer level features.
Currently most of the additions apply most directly to developers, so that they know what's coming and have time to get their apps ready. But there's a lot of possibility and more features sure to be coming, so stay tuned.

Super Mario Run is finally landing on Android phones, well, right now, actually.
Finally, Landen wanted us to know that Super Mario Run is finally landing on Android phones, well, right now, actually. And Samsung announced their upcoming voice assistant named Bixby, because... Samsung, I guess. We're not really sure why they thought they needed to compete in that space.


In Windows news, the beta for the next big Windows update received a new version this past week, and there's hope that this will be the last beta version before the actual creators update is released.

Yeah, that's it. No big surprises from Microsoft.


Microsoft did have a bit more going on in the gaming world, with the announcement that real-time in-game transcription for voice-chat is going to be coming to Halo Wars 2. This is an accessibility feature they're playing around with, that would be excellent for deaf players in online multiplayer games. They'll be working on the technology with the hope of bringing it to more games in the future.

Also, custom gamertag images for Xbox players are on the way. In case you didn't want that picture of a daisy to be your online gaming avatar.

Disney and Capcom announced... The Disney Afternoon Collection of games
Disney and Capcom announced this past week that a series of classic games based on Disney franchises will be coming on April 18th. The Disney Afternoon Collection of games will include DuckTales, DuckTales 2, Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, and Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2.

As a followup to a previous podcast announcement concerning Playstation Now, we have confirmed that Journey is available on the platform for PC gamers to stream. Also as a followup in Overwatch, the new character Orisa was released onto the public servers, though she's been locked out of competitive mode for a week, probably to give everyone a chance to play her before she utterly destroys the competitive meta.

And finally, some modder on the internet got Pokemon Yellow running on an Apple Watch. Because sometimes the internet is a beautiful thing.