Technological World for March 25: New iPad Pro, new MacBook Air, World Theatre Day, NFB Canada, digital release films, free video game demos, Call of Duty: Warzone, Doom Eternal, Animal Crossing: New Horizon

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This week, lots of free stuff you can enjoy online with your family at home including movies, music, readings, and games. Plus, more new movies and games. But first, Apple’s new iPads and MacBook Air are now available.

Apple’s got new iPads and a refreshed MacBook Air ready for you

If you’re looking for new gear to make it easier to work from home, or to keep yourself occupied during your free time while there, Apple has some new hardware.

The latest incarnation of the MacBook Air (starting at $1,299) increases the storage capacity, includes the new and improved “Magic Keyboard”, and improves processing speed so it will do things almost twice as fast.

The new iPad Pro, meanwhile, comes in two sizes, 11-inch (starting at $1,049) and 12.9-inch (starting at $1,299), and the devices boast a couple of new features that highlight the “pro” designation of the tablets.

One is the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner that improves augmented reality functions by being able to more accurately measure distance and enhance the system’s understanding of the environment.

The other addition is support for trackpads and mice, and a new Magic Keyboard accessory that enables better typing on an iPad than has ever been possible before.

Add to that a new ultra-wide camera for capturing 4K video and studio-quality microphones, and the new iPad Pros are machines that enable creativity.

In addition to the release of the new iPads, Apple has rolled out support for trackpads on all iPads running iPadOS 13.4, which also allows for the use of bluetooth mice.

Free readings by Canada’s best playwrights

Thursday is World Theatre Day, and in celebration, Playwrights Guild of Canada has lined up 28 of Canada’s best writers who will read from their plays starting at 8 a.m. PT, 11 a.m. ET.

Free movies from the National Film Board of Canada

Everything that’s posted at the NFB is free to watch, but a couple of topics are unique to Canada.

There are dozens of short and feature-length films created by Indigenous filmmakers.

The NFB has a collection of animated films which includes some that are educational. Check out “Science Please!”

Science Please! Part 1, , provided by the National Film Board of Canada

More movies get early digital release

This week, the films hitting the digital storefronts early include:

  • Onward, from Pixar and Disney, starring Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as a couple of elf brothers in an animated road movie.
  • Birds of Prey, the charmer starring Margot Robbie as a supervillain.
  • The Gentlemen, in which Guy Ritchie tries to make another movie like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
  • Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel and based on the comic about a soldier brought back to life by nanotechnology.

Free video game demos this weekend

Predator: Hunting Grounds (Illfonic for Playstation) brings back the four-versus-one multiplayer mechanic.

In this game, four players take on the roles of elite soldiers who need to complete a series of objectives in the jungle and then escape via a helicopter. They can, if they choose, try to take out the Predator.

But the Predator is also hunting the soldiers. And if the Predator collects four human skulls, the Predator wins.

Ubisoft, meanwhile, is holding a free weekend for people who want to try out Tom Clancys Ghost Recon Breakpoint. Episode 2 released yesterday, bringing new maps, new character classes, and a new story adventure featuring Sam Fisher, the protagonist from the Splinter Cell series.

Warzone is a new, free-to-play Call of Duty experience

For the adults in the room, Call of Duty has a new multiplayer game, Warzone, that is free to play. Since being released on March 10, more than 30 million players have entered the fray. You can bet Activision is thrilled at this.

In Warzone, up to 150 players are in on the action, in two different modes.

The Battle Royale mode has a continuously shrinking map due to poison gas. Plunder is about trying to collect as much loot by completing contracts, finding caches, and stealing cash from opponents you’ve taken out.

One thing Warzone does differently from other battle royale games is that when you’ve first been eliminated, you get tossed into the Gulag, where you get a chance to go head-to-head against another eliminated player for a chance to be redeployed into the main game.

Doom Eternal gives you something to scream at

Sometimes you just want to blast a demon in the face. Doom Eternal, developed by the venerated id Software and published by Bethesda, gives you that and more. It’s the perfect way to relieve some of that pent-up anxiety and frustration.

It’s also metal as hell.

The battle against the forces of Hell is now on Earth, and it’s up to you to put a stop to it. Armed with shotguns and a chainsaw, you need to tear through the demons that are ravaging humanity. Along the way you’ll upgrade your weapons, armour,

In addition to challenging you with all new demons, the scale in Doom Eternal is awesome. When you first emerge on the surface of Earth there’s a massive creature the size of a mountain moving away from you. It’s so extraordinary that I didn’t immediately process that it was a demon.

With a driving soundtrack by Mick Gordon, who also composed the music for the 1993 reboot of the first-person shooter series, this is the perfect way to scream at the world right now. Especially because you can do it with friends with the new Battlemode competitive multiplayer mode.

Doom Eternal is available now for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.

New Horizons brings Animal Crossing to the Switch and will help you with all that free time you’ve now got

If there’s one game that’s taking the world by storm right now, it’s the latest Animal Crossing game from Nintendo. New Horizons is the first time the series has appeared on the Switch, and that platform may be the best to help people to cope with social distancing.

In our house, we’ve got two adults and two kids that are now sharing access to one TV all the time. The Switch can be used with the TV or portable which provides incredible and necessary flexibility.

But the Switch is only one reason people around the world are playing New Horizons. Another reason is that it’s exactly the kind of gentle comfort gaming that many people want when the outside world is all confusion and chaos.

You start off with a pretty deserted island, which you can then harvest and customize in ways that you want. After you’ve played for a while you’ll be able to take trips to other islands, which are actually islands customized by other players, where you can collect materials, flora, and fauna that you can bring back to populate your island, improving the diversity of your place while also getting access to more varied materials to continue making your island home as homey as you want. Create an appealing place to live and you’ll find other creatures wanting to make a home there, too.

You’ll get to the point where you’re able to have control over the very geography itself.

Available now, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.

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