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Apple releases macOS 10.15.4, watchOS 6.2, and iOS, iPadOS and tvOS 13.4 – Ars Technica

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Enlarge / From left to right: iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Samuel Axon

Earlier today, Apple continued its tradition of updating all of its operating systems at once. The day brought major new feature releases to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. The iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS updates are numbered 13.4, Apple Watches got watchOS 6.2, and Macs saw the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.4.

For many of its platforms, Apple releases annual overhauls labeled, say, iOS 13, and introduces new features through the year with just one “dot”—hence iOS 13.4. Smaller, bug-fix oriented updates are usually labeled something like iOS 13.4.1.

As the nomenclature suggests, this is a feature update. For the most part, the big features introduced today were already rumored or known to be planned. The big three are arguably full trackpad and pointer support for recent iPad, iCloud Drive folder sharing, and universal app purchases.

As is usual these days, iOS/iPadOS have the most changes listed in their release notes. In addition to the above, the changes include nine new Memoji stickers, a slight change to the Mail app UI to make it harder to accidentally delete emails when you intend to reply to them, improvements to the Apple Arcade experience, audio playback support in USDZ files for AR Quick Look, predictive typing support for the Arabic language, and a whole bunch of bug fixes.

It’s a smaller update for macOS Catalina. Users who download 10.15.4 will get iCloud Drive folder sharing on that platform as well, the ability to import Google Chrome passwords into iCloud Keychain, new features for Pro Display XDR, HDR-10 support for connected TVs and monitors, and a couple of features we’ve already seen on mobile like communication limits for Screen Time.

watchOS 6.2 adds support for in-app purchases in Watch apps (this follows the addition of an on-device App Store in a previous update), a music playback bug fix, and support for ECG and irregular heart rhythm notifications in three new countries: Chile, Turkey, and New Zealand. As usual, tvOS got a tiny update; in this case, it just adds family sharing of TV and movie purchases and tweaks the look of the TV app.

All these updates should be available to download for all users in all regions on supported devices right now. Find the release notes below.

iOS 13.4 release notes

iOS 13.4 introduces new Memoji stickers and iCloud Drive folder sharing from the Files app. This update also contains bug fixes and improvements.

Memoji

  • Nine new Memoji stickers, including Smiling Face with Hearts, Hands Pressed Together, and Party Face

Files

  • iCloud Drive folder sharing from the Files app
  • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
  • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

Mail

  • Always-visible controls to delete, move, reply to, or compose a message in conversation view
  • Responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME

App Store with Apple Arcade

  • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • List view for See All Games

CarPlay

  • Third-party navigation app support for the CarPlay Dashboard
  • In-call information appears on the CarPlay Dashboard

Augmented Reality

  • AR Quick Look supports audio playback in USDZ files

Keyboard

  • Predictive typing support for Arabic

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements. This update:

  • Adds status bar indicator to display when VPN has disconnected on iPhone models with all-screen displays
  • Fixes an issue in Camera where the viewfinder may appear as a black screen after launch
  • Addresses an issue where Photos may appear to use excess storage
  • Resolves an issue in Photos that may prevent sharing an image to Messages if iMessage is disabled
  • Fixes an issue in Mail where messages may appear out of order
  • Addresses an issue in Mail where the conversation list may display empty rows
  • Resolves an issue where Mail may crash when tapping the Share button in Quick Look
  • Fixes an issue in Settings where cellular data may incorrectly display as off
  • Addresses an issue in Safari where webpages may not be inverted when both Dark Mode and Smart Invert are active
  • Resolves an issue where text copied from web content may appear invisible when pasted when Dark Mode is active
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
  • Addresses an issue where Reminders may not issue new notifications for an overdue recurring reminder until it is marked as completed
  • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
  • Fixes an issue where iCloud Drive appears to be available in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote even when not signed in
  • Addresses an issue in Apple Music where music videos may not stream in high quality
  • Resolves an issue where CarPlay may lose its connection in certain vehicles
  • Fixes an issue in CarPlay where the view in Maps may move away briefly from the current area
  • Addresses an issue in the Home app where tapping an activity notification from a security camera may open a different recording
  • Resolves an issue where Shortcuts may not appear when tapping on the Share menu from a screenshot
  • Improves the Burmese keyboard so punctuation symbols are now accessible from numbers and symbols

iPadOS 13.4 release notes

PadOS 13.4 introduces support for mouse and trackpad with iPad for greater precision and navigating the system with Multi-Touch gestures, and adds iCloud Drive folder sharing from the Files app and new Memoji stickers. This update also contains bug fixes and improvements.

Mouse and Trackpad Support

  • All-new cursor design highlights app icons on the Home Screen and Dock and buttons and controls in apps
  • Magic Keyboard for iPad support on iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later) and iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation or later)
  • Magic Mouse, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2, and third-party Bluetooth and USB mouse support
  • Multi-Touch gestures on Magic Keyboard for iPad and Magic Trackpad 2 enable you to scroll, swipe between app spaces, go Home, access App Switcher, zoom in or out, tap to click, secondary click (right-click), and swipe between pages
  • Multi-Touch gestures on Magic Mouse 2 enable you to scroll, secondary click (right-click), and swipe between pages

Files

  • iCloud Drive folder sharing from the Files app
  • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
  • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

Memoji

  • Nine new Memoji stickers, including Smiling Face with Hearts, Hands Pressed Together, and Party Face

Mail

  • Always-visible controls to delete, move, reply to, or compose a message in conversation view
  • Responses to encrypted emails are automatically encrypted when you have configured S/MIME

App Store with Apple Arcade

  • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • List view for See All Games

Augmented Reality

  • AR Quick Look supports audio playback in USDZ files

Keyboard

  • Live Conversion for Zhuyin automatically transforms Zhuyin into the correct characters without pressing the space bar to convert text or select candidates
  • Live Conversion for Japanese automatically transforms Hiragana into the correct characters without pressing the space bar to convert text or select candidates
  • Predictive typing support for Arabic
  • Swiss German keyboard layout supported on iPad Pro 12.9-inch
  • On-screen keyboard layout for iPad Pro 12.9-inch now matches Smart Keyboard

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements. This update:

  • Fixes an issue in Camera where the viewfinder may appear as a black screen after launch
  • Addresses an issue where Photos may appear to use excess storage
  • Resolves an issue in Photos that may prevent sharing an image to Messages if iMessage is disabled
  • Fixes an issue in Mail where messages may appear out of order
  • Addresses an issue in Mail where the conversation list may display empty rows
  • Resolves an issue where Mail may crash when tapping the Share button in Quick Look
  • Fixes an issue in Settings where cellular data may incorrectly display as off
  • Addresses an issue in Safari where webpages may not be inverted when both Dark Mode and Smart Invert are active
  • Resolves an issue where text copied from web content in a third-party app may appear invisible when pasted if Dark Mode is active
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
  • Addresses an issue where Reminders may not issue new notifications for an overdue recurring reminder until it is marked as completed
  • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
  • Fixes an issue where iCloud Drive appears to be available in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote even when not signed in
  • Addresses an issue in Apple Music where music videos may not stream in high quality
  • Addresses an issue in the Home app where tapping an activity notification from a security camera may open a different recording
  • Resolves an issue where Shortcuts may not appear when tapping on the Share menu from a screenshot
  • Improves the Burmese keyboard so punctuation symbols are now accessible from numbers and symbols

macOS 10.15.4 release notes

macOS Catalina 10.15.4 introduces iCloud Drive folder sharing, Screen Time communications limits, Apple Music time-synced lyrics view, and more. The update also improves the stability, reliability, and security of your Mac.

Finder

  • iCloud Drive folder sharing from Finder
  • Controls to limit access only to people you explicitly invite or grant access to anyone with the folder link
  • Permissions to choose who can make changes and upload files and who can only view and download files

Screen Time

  • Communication limits for controlling who your children can communicate with and be contacted by throughout the day and during downtime
  • Playback control of music videos for your children

Music

  • Time-synced lyrics view for Apple Music, including the ability to jump to your favorite part of a song by clicking a line in lyrics view

Safari

  • Option to import Chrome passwords into your iCloud Keychain for easy AutoFill of your passwords in Safari and across all your devices
  • Controls for duplicating a tab and for closing all tabs to the right of the current tab
  • HDR playback support on compatible computers for Netflix content

App Store with Apple Arcade

  • Universal Purchase support enables the use of a singular purchase of a participating app across iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV
  • Recently played Arcade games appear in the Arcade tab so you can continue playing on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV

Pro Display XDR

  • Customized reference modes that you can tailor to specific workflow needs by selecting from several color gamut, white point, luminance, and transfer function options

Accessibility

  • Head pointer preference for moving a cursor on the screen based on the precise movements of your head

This update also includes bug fixes and other improvements.

  • High Dynamic Range output to HDR10-compatible third-party displays and TVs connected with DisplayPort or HDMI
  • OAuth authentication support with Outlook.com accounts for improved security
  • CalDav migration support when upgrading to iCloud reminders on a secondary device
  • Resolves an issue where text copied between apps may appear invisible when Dark Mode is active
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a CAPTCHA tile may display incorrectly
  • Resolves an issue where Reminders may send notifications for completed reminders
  • Fixes an issue with screen brightness for the LG UltraFine 5K display after waking from sleep

watchOS 6.2 release notes

watchOS 6.2 includes new features, improvements, and bug fixes:

  • Introduces in-app purchases for ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ apps
  • Fixes an issue where music playback could pause when switching from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth connectivity
  • ECG app on ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ Series 4 or later now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey
  • Irregular heart rhythm notifications now available in Chile, New Zealand, and Turkey

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Samsung Galaxy S30 could ship without a charger — just like iPhone 12 – Tom's Guide

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The Samsung Galaxy S30 could copy one of the iPhone 12‘s most controversial rumored changes by shipping without a charger. And while that sounds frustrating, there’s a couple of good reasons why Samsung’s considering this.

The news of Samsung’s potential plan is from ETNews (via TechRadar). ETNews quotes what it describes as ‘industry officials,’ who state: “Samsung Electronics is discussing how to remove the charger from smartphone components with related companies.”

The reasoning is pretty simple: the majority of users have USB-C phone chargers already, so removing them from the box of every new phone means less electronic waste and a small reduction in the price of phones. This likely won’t mean a large price drop, since chargers are by no means an expensive component. But we’ll take any discount we can, given that flagship phones now regularly cost $1,000 and over.

This will apparently go into effect with “some models released next year.” Samsung perhaps foresees that this could be a very unpopular move, so it’ll be enacting this change gradually. It could target only a specific class of its phones, for example the budget Galaxy A series, where the discount could be most noticeable. On the other hand, maybe the Galaxy S30 and other premium flagships may see their boxes emptied out, given that their customers are more likely to have existing cables handy.

While many potential customers will already own USB-C chargers, the difference in manufacturers’ fast charging speeds could prove to be an issue. Getting the best charging performance out of your new phone will usually require one of the company’s own chargers, which would mean new customers would have to pay up for optimal charging speeds.

Apple is also rumored to exclude both the charger and its wired EarPods headphones from the iPhone 12, but this move has additional complications. Since Apple uses the proprietary Lightning connector, anyone who wants to swap from an Android phone to an iPhone would need to stump up more cash for the charger. That said, since Apple is allegedly planning on moving to wireless-only charging with the iPhone 13 and the Qi wireless standard is almost universal on 1st-and 3rd-party chargers, perhaps any difficulties with wired charging can be offset by a focus on wireless charging instead.

The Galaxy S30 (if that is indeed the name Samsung goes with), won’t appear until February 2021 at the earliest. In the meantime, Samsung is likely releasing both the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Fold 2 at a Galaxy Unpacked event on August 5. As far as we know, both the stylus-equipped phablet and foldable phones come with Samsung’s standard 25W chargers, so you’ll be able to buy them without worrying about not having a way to power it up.

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Epic Games Receives Strategic Investment from Sony Corporation – Business Wire

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TOKYO & CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sony Corporation (“Sony”) and Epic Games, Inc. (“Epic”) are pleased to announce that Sony has agreed to make a strategic investment of $250 million to acquire a minority interest in Epic through a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. The investment cements an already close relationship between the two companies and reinforces the shared mission to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially-connected online services.

The investment allows Sony and Epic to aim to broaden their collaboration across Sony’s leading portfolio of entertainment assets and technology, and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem to create unique experiences for consumers and creators. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

“Epic’s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There’s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience, Fortnite. Through our investment, we will explore opportunities for further collaboration with Epic to delight and bring value to consumers and the industry at large, not only in games, but also across the rapidly evolving digital entertainment landscape,” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation.

“Sony and Epic have both built businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology, and we share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences leading to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. Together we strive to build an even more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators alike,” said Tim Sweeney, Founder and CEO of Epic.

About Sony Corporation

Sony Corporation is a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology. From game and network services to music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors and financial services – Sony’s purpose is to fill the world with emotion through the power of creativity and technology. For more information, visit: http://www.sony.net/

About Epic Games

Founded in 1991, Epic Games (epicgames.com) is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates Fortnite, the world’s largest game with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is being adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, and manufacturing for visualization and simulation. Epic has over 2,200 employees across 35 offices worldwide with headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. Follow @EpicGames for updates.

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Sony invests $250 million in Fortnite maker Epic Games – VentureBeat

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Sony has invested $250 million for a minority stake in Fortnite maker Epic Games, the companies announced today. With the new money, Epic Games has raised $1.83 billion to date.

The companies said the deal cements an already close relationship and reinforces their shared goal to advance the state of the art in technology, entertainment, and socially connected online services. This close relationship was underscored in May when Epic first showed the upcoming Unreal Engine 5 graphics running on a PlayStation 5. As the company itself has disclosed, Epic Games raised $1.58 billion to date in three previous funding rounds. In 2012, the company received a $330 million investment from Tencent for a 40% ownership stake.

Under the deal, the investment enables Sony and Epic to broaden their collaboration, with Sony’s portfolio of entertainment assets and technology and Epic’s social entertainment platform and digital ecosystem (think Fortnite’s increasing use as a social space or the Epic Games Store), to create unique experiences for consumers and creators. The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Epic confirmed it will still be able to publish to other platforms. As noted, Sony is acquiring only a minority part of Epic Games, and it is not acquiring a controlling stake in the company. (Update: Sony is acquiring a 1.4% stake of Epic, which means the deal values Epic Games at $17.86 billion).

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The deal is important for Sony because it needs allies in the upcoming console war. Later this year, Sony plans to launch the PlayStation 5 game console in competition with Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. But Epic has said that its Unreal Engine 5 and Fortnite will work with all game platforms, as Epic has generally been neutral when it comes to making cross-platform technology. If Sony gets any advantage from investing in Epic, it isn’t clear from this deal.

In a statement, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said that Epic’s technology keeps it at the forefront of game development and that is exemplified in the features of Fortnite. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, meanwhile, said in a statement that both Sony and Epic have created businesses at the intersection of creativity and technology and they share a vision of real-time 3D social experiences that will lead to a convergence of gaming, film, and music. He also said the parties plan to build a “more open and accessible digital ecosystem for all consumers and content creators.”

The music reference seems like a call out to the recent virtual Travis Scott concert in Fortnite, which drew more than 27 million people. The mention of a more open and accessible digital ecosystem is also a surprise, as Sweeney has long been a proponent of open systems, while Sony has been an example of a company that protects its proprietary technology. Sony has, however, enabled Fortnite to function as a crossplay game that also lets friends play each other across other platforms.

A separate deal

The deal is different from the one that Bloomberg reported in June, which we independently confirmed, that Epic Games was seeking to raise $750 million at a pre-money valuation of $16.3 billion, with a post-money valuation (the value of the company after the deal is done) of $17 billion. Epic declined to comment on that deal.

Epic Games is both the developer and publisher of Fortnite, which has more than 350 million registered users. And it is also the creator of the Unreal Engine, a fundamental toolset for building many games (and increasingly, making movies and TV).

Bloomberg said in June that new investors participating in the separate round are T. Rowe Price Group and Baillie Gifford. Existing investors KKR & Co. will also participate, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources. Epic did not comment on that detail either.

Above: This Lara Croft-like character is not a glimpse at the next Epic Games title.

Image Credit: Epic Games

Epic’s financials, based on sources

As we reported earlier in June, Epic Games’ fundraising gave us a window into the company’s current financial picture, as the privately held Epic does not disclose its revenues or profits. Epic has declined to comment on the below numbers.

Sources told GamesBeat that in 2019, Epic Games reported $4.2 billion in revenue and $730 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA, a key measure of profitability). Revenue for 2020 is forecast to be $5 billion, with EBITDA of $1 billion.

In April alone, thanks to the pandemic, Fortnite revenue was $400 million, sources told me. In April, players spent 3.2 billion hours in the battle royale shooter, sources said.

In 2018, Epic Games did better than it did in 2019. Revenue in 2018 was $5.6 billion, with EBITDA of $2.9 billion, sources said. Epic used a lot of that money to invest in its Epic Games Store, expanding its staff for Fortnite and Unreal Engine, and some acquisitions.

The Unreal Engine 5 can handle global illumination.

Above: The Unreal Engine 5 can handle global illumination.

Image Credit: Epic Games

In 2017, the company received a strategic investment from Disney as part of the 2017 Disney Accelerator program. And in October 2018, Epic raised $1.25 billion at a $14.5 billion post-money valuation. Investors in that round included KKR, Vulcan Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Ventures, Smash Ventures, and Iconiq.

As part of the Unreal Engine 5 announcement in May, Sweeney said in an interview with GamesBeat that Epic had a close relationship with Sony. “We’ve been working super-closely with Sony for quite a long time on the storage architecture and other elements. It’s been our primary focus. But Unreal Engine 5 will be on all next-generation platforms, and so will Fortnite,” Sweeney said at the time.

He added, “Sony has done an awesome job of architecting a great system here. It’s not just a great GPU, and they didn’t just take the latest PC hardware and upgrade to it, following the path of least resistance. The storage architecture in PlayStation 5 is far ahead of anything that you can buy in any PC for any amount of money right now. It’s great to see that sort of innovation. It’s going to help drive future PCs. They’ll see this thing ship and realize, ‘Wow, with two SSDs, we’ll have to catch up.’”

Epic Games didn’t say what it would use the money for. But it’s a good bet the company will continue to make acquisitions, invest in its Epic Games Store, expand Fortnite, and drive toward the creation of the Metaverse. The latter is the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. Sweeney has said this is one of his goals.

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