Fully Charged: View-Master VR viewer released, and iOS 9 app thinning enabled

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Mattel View-Master (2015)

View-Master VR viewer released

Revealed early this year, the new View-Master virtual reality viewer updates the classic toy for a new generation. Long story short: it's a Google Cardboard viewer, albeit made from plastic and evoking the familiar decades-old toy. But it'll accommodate your recent iPhone and numerous Android phone models, and there's more to it than just phone-based VR.

It's primarily designed to work with special Experience Packs, which blend VR and augmented reality. You'll catch a glimpse of a specially marked reel in the world around you, which then triggers a VR experience wherein you can look around major global destinations, or space terrain; the above teaser video from February offers a sense of what it's all about. The viewer is available now and sold for just US$30, although it's unclear whether it'll launch outside the States.

[Source: View-Master via VentureBeat]

iOS 9 app thinning enabled

Apple iOS 9 on iPhone and iPad

Shortly after the release of iOS 9, we found out that one of the updated operating system's big new features - app thinning, also known as app slicing - was disabled due to a bug. However, it's been sorted out, and developers can now use the function to create specific versions of each app targeted for each supported iOS device.

Why is this important? The biggest perk is the ability to cut out unnecessary assets and code from each version of the app, which makes for smaller apps - and that makes apps a lot easier to fit onto Apple's 16GB base iPhone models. Hopefully anyone out there with minimal internal storage will start seeing a little more space freed up in the coming weeks as updates start going out.

[Source: 9to5Mac]

Cortana hits Xbox One next year

New Xbox One Experience

If you've been looking forward to talking to Cortana - Microsoft's virtual assistant, not the Halo series character she's named after (and shares a voice actress with) - on your Xbox One, we're afraid it'll be a bit longer than expected.

While it sounded like Cortana would be included with the new Windows 10-powered Xbox One experience overhaul coming next month, Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb posted over the weekend that Cortana is only expected to hit the preview version of the revised Xbox One interface this year, but that the feature probably won't reach average consumers until 2016. That's a bummer, but better that she's properly tuned and ready to go before controlling our consoles.

[Source: Major Nelson]

Steve Jobs' wife tried to block film

Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs film comes out later this month, and while reviews have been largely strong so far - particularly for Michael Fassbender's lead performance - one person hasn't been a fan since the earliest days of its production: Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve's widow.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Powell Jobs tried to stop the film at multiple times during its early days, attempting to persuade the people and companies involved not to pursue it. Filmmakers say they tried to involve her in the process at multiple times, but she declined. Steve Jobs is said to be less reverent than some portrayals of the Apple icon, showing his more jagged edges and weaknesses, but as the report linked below details, at least some associated with the subject matter aren't enjoying the new spotlight.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal]