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Apple’s Battle Royale With Epic Games Starts for Real Next Week

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(Bloomberg) — The legal fight between Apple Inc. and Epic Games Inc. kicks into full gear on Monday with decisions that will influence the future of app stores in the U.S. and how the world’s largest technology platforms make money from developers.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers will decide whether to force Apple to let battle royale video game Fortnite back into the App Store with Epic’s in-house payment option. She will also rule if Apple can block third-party apps using Epic’s Unreal Engine development software.

Most legal experts expect the judge to extend her temporary injunction for Unreal Engine, but not reinstate Fortnite in the Apple App Store.

“Epic faces an uphill battle,” said Mark Lemley, a professor at Stanford Law School. “Apple’s pricing policies are problematic, and antitrust law should probably do something about it. But courts are very reluctant to dictate who a company, even a monopolist, has to do business with.”

The decisions will have far-reaching consequences especially as authorities across the globe examine whether tech giants including Apple and Alphabet Inc.’s Google have broken antitrust rules. On Monday, the judge will consider if Epic is likely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claims and whether the company will suffer irreparable harm if she doesn’t issue an injunction.

At stake is Apple and Google’s ability to charge fees of up to 30% to developers using their app stores. Consumers spent $50 billion worldwide on the App Store and Google Play in the first half of 2020, according to Sensor Tower estimates. That generates billions of dollars in highly profitable revenue for the companies. Some developers deride this an unfair and unwarranted tax. Epic and its Founder Tim Sweeney have led the backlash this year.

Google may change its policies if the Fortnite case ends up favoring Apple, said Lewis Ward, an analyst at researcher IDC. No matter the outcome, Epic has gained a lot of goodwill among gamers and other developers.

“In the larger court of public opinion, in the U.S., my sense is that Epic is generally viewed as the good guy here, and Apple is viewed as the bad guy,” Ward said.

“It has raised the profile of Epic from an already well-respected game company to one that has a philosophy or a vision of where the games industry should go over time,” Ward added. “That vision is one that is more aligned with how the internet began, which was open and free and cheap.”

Read more: Epic’s Battle With Apple and Google Has Roots in the Pac-Man Era

The impact on Epic’s business so far has been “fairly negligible,” said Doug Clinton, co-founder at Loup ventures — tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue. While players can no longer download Fortnite on their Apple devices, many of them have simply shifted their playing to consoles and PCs. Fortnite climbed SuperData’s rankings of top-grossing titles among console games in August, reaching third place. It ranked sixth in July, before the legal spat between Epic and Apple began.

Financially, Apple doesn’t have much to lose by kicking Fortnite out. The company has taken in about $350 million in revenue from Fortnite since the game launched on the iPhone in 2018, according to Sensor Tower data. Apple pulled in sales of more than $250 billion in its latest fiscal year.

Read more: Spotify, Match Launch Coalition to Protest App Store Rules

If the court forces Apple to keep distributing Unreal Engine, that could be positive for the iPhone maker. The decision would let other games that use the tools continue distributing their software via Apple’s platform, resulting in a 30% cut for each sale or in-app purchase. However, Apple argues that the continued distribution of Unreal Engine by what it considers to be a rogue developer could harm consumer security.

There are broader risks for Apple from the case, though. If Epic continues to paint Apple as the bad guy to younger iPhone and iPad owners who play Fortnite, that could twist the perception of these users toward Apple as a whole. If Epic wins key decisions, that would make it more difficult for Apple to impose its App Store payment system on other developers, curbing a high-margin source of revenue.

The lawsuit might also spur Apple to continue tweaking its store. While the company isn’t budging on its 30% cut, it has loosened some restrictions recently, letting a small handful of apps avoid the fee.

Read more: Apple Loosens App Store Rules a Bit After Developer Backlash

 

Source: – BNN

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Health Canada Urges B.C. Residents to Download COVID Alert App as Province Drags Feet – iPhone in Canada

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Health Canada is urging residents in British Columbia to download Canada’s COVID Alert app, as the province drags its feet to support the exposure notification app.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Health Canada told Postmedia News the COVID Alert app is still useful to have, despite the latter has not been officially supported yet in B.C.

“The COVID Alert app is free and voluntary, and is another tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks,” said Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette, to Postmedia News.

“At all levels of uptake, COVID Alert can help reduce transmission. The more people who use the app the more effective it will be,” added Durette.

B.C. and the federal government are still in talks about the roll out of COVID Alert, added Health Canada. Alberta, the Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have also not officially adopted COVID Alert yet.

Durette said, “It’s still helpful to download COVID Alert from anywhere in the country, even if you can’t use it to report a diagnosis. That way, you’ll be notified if you come into contact with someone from a reporting province or territory or when people in your area are able to report a diagnosis.”

The B.C. Ministry of Health told Postmedia last week it was working with the federal government to get COVID Alert app active in the province. Clearly, B.C. is not working fast enough when other provinces have been able to support COVID Alert in a shorter timeframe.

Canada’s COVID Alert app is based on Google and Apple’s exposure notification framework, which leverages Bluetooth on devices for anonymous “handshakes” in the background. The app does not use GPS info or collect any user data. It has been vetted as safe by Canada’s privacy commissioner and provincial counterparts.

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, they can anonymously alert others that may have been in contact using COVID Alert, by obtaining a one-time use from their provincial health authority.

Provinces currently supporting COVID Alert:

  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

Still waiting for:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut
  • Yukon

The federal government of Canada recently acknowledged there was a bug within iOS that affected the COVID Alert app, and urged Canadians to update to iOS 14.0.1 to resolve the issue.

Since October 15, COVID Alert has been download downloaded over 4.5 million times, with 1,696 one-time keys issued.

Download links: 

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New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options – MacRumors

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As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available.


Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the ‌iPhone 12‌ in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other colors are new.


DuanRui also posted images of the iPhone 12 Pro in graphite and pacific blue, a deep blue color that’s new to the Pro iPhone lineup. Pacific blue replaces the midnight green color that was introduced with the ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro lineup. The ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and 12 Pro Max also come in silver and gold.


DuanRui previously provided an early unboxing video of ‌iPhone 12‌ models, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design.

‌iPhone 12‌ and ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ pre-orders began last Friday, and shipments will begin arriving to customers this coming Friday. ‌iPhone 12‌ mini and ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ Max will be available to pre-order starting Friday, November 6. Let us know what you think of the colors in the comments below.

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COVID-19 update for Oct. 19: 499 new cases, two additional deaths – Standard Freeholder

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Here’s your daily BC COVID update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 19, 2020.

Here’s your daily update with everything you need to know on the novel coronavirus situation in B.C. for Oct. 19, 2020.

We’ll provide summaries of what’s going on in B.C. right here so you can get the latest news at a glance. This page will be updated regularly throughout the day, with developments added as they happen.

Check back here for more updates throughout the day.


B.C.’S COVID-19 CASE NUMBERS

As of the latest figures given on Oct. 19:
• Total number of confirmed cases: 11,687 (1,639 active)
• New cases since Oct. 16: 499
• Hospitalized cases: 67
• Intensive care: 19
• COVID-19 related deaths: 253
• Cases under public health monitoring: 4,028
• Long-term care and assisted-living homes, and acute care facilities currently affected: 19

IN-DEPTH: COVID-19: Here are all the B.C. cases of the novel coronavirus


B.C. GUIDES AND LINKS

COVID-19: Here’s everything you need to know about the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Have you been exposed? Here are all B.C. public health alerts

COVID-19 at B.C. schools: Here are the school district exposure alerts

COVID-19: Avoid these hand sanitizers that are recalled in Canada

COVID-19: Here’s where to get tested in Metro Vancouver

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST NEWS on COVID-19 in B.C.

3 p.m. – B.C. records 499 new cases, two additional deaths

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, says the province recorded 499 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend and two additional deaths from the respiratory disease.

“We are in the second wave of the COVID-19 storm in B.C. but we have control of what that wave looks like,” said Henry. “There continues to be COVID-19 transmission in many parts of our province and we know that this is expected. This virus has not gone away.”

Henry said she is encourage that B.C. is not seeing exponential growth, but, rather continued and ongoing growth.

“We do have more people in the hospital than we did a few weeks ago, but that has also stabilized,” she said. “We need, however, to make sure that we are doing what we can to avoid a steep and sudden increase in new cases that we have seen in other parts of Canada, in our neighbouring countries and around the world.”

12:45 p.m. – COVID-19 cases in Canada surpass 200,000

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Canada has passed 200,000.

The latest case numbers from Saskatchewan lifted the national tally over the bleak milestone.

The development comes just over four months after Canada reached the 100,000-case threshold.

The bulk of the country’s case load has been concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, though numbers have been surging in much of the country in recent weeks as Canada deals with a second wave of the global pandemic.

The Canadian Press

10:20 a.m. – More B.C. flight exposures added

A number of flights either departing from or arriving in B.C. have been added to a COVID-19 exposure list.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control added a number of new flights to its exposure watchlist over the weekend including both domestic and international flights.

10 a.m. – Exposure alert at No Frills grocery store in Langley

Loblaws Canada is reporting a possible COVID-19 exposure threat at a No Frills grocery store in Langley.

The company says a staff member at Michael’s No Frills, at 204th Street, has tested positive for COVID-19.

The staff member last worked at the store on Oct. 12.

Loblaws says all safety precautions have been followed and the store has reopened following a deep clean.

8:30 a.m. – B.C. ski resorts face winter without international cash cows

As B.C.’s world-class ski resorts brace of a winter without international tourists due to closed borders, many are betting that locals eager to get onto the slopes will help make up for the lost revenues for the resorts.

Canada closed its borders since March to all but immediate and extended family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We are desperately trying to make that up with domestic booking,” said Michael Ballingall, senior vice president of Big White Ski Resort, located around 450 km (280 miles) east of Vancouver. The resort plans to roll out flight deals and discounts on long-term stays to attract Canadians.

Although international visitors represent just 21% of reservations, they contribute 32% of revenue, Ballingall said, underscoring how the different spending patterns of domestic visitors won’t necessarily bridge the budget gap – Canadians take fewer lessons, buy little or no equipment and eat out less frequently.

Meanwhile, Tourism Whistler declined to say how much accommodation bookings dropped this year, but said that in a normal year 60% of Whistler’s visitors were international.

Reuters

8:15 a.m. – Companies have modest hiring plans, low wage growth expectations, Bank of Canada says

The Bank of Canada says companies are hedging hiring plans and wage growth expectations in the coming months over heightened uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The central bank’s business outlook survey finds hiring intentions remain below their historical averages, suggesting modest hiring plans even as the overall outlook on employment edges up.

Almost one-third of businesses told the bank they expect their workforce numbers to remain below pre-pandemic levels for at least the next 12 months, or to never fully recover.

The survey also finds that wage growth is widely expected to slow over the next year, mostly a result of the pandemic and ongoing uncertainty, with some firms reporting a wage freeze.

The bank also says that nearly half of firms surveyed used the federal wage subsidy program to avoid layoffs or quickly refill positions.

About 100 firms took part in the bank’s regular survey out this morning, but did so between late August and mid-September when COVID-19 case counts were still low.

The Canadian Press

12 a.m. – School exposures grow in B.C., beef plant reports outbreak

School exposures to COVID-19 piled up in B.C. over the weekend, with additional outbreaks reported at a Surrey meat processing plant and care homes in Surrey and Langley.

On Sunday, the principal of Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver told parents that there had been another exposure at the school — within the attached North Shore Child Care Centre — and that the centre would close for two weeks, effective Monday.

12 a.m. – Health Canada calls on British Columbians to download COVID Alert app

Health Canada is asking British Columbians to download its COVID Alert app, despite the provincial government not yet agreeing to support the technology.

Health Canada told Postmedia News that the app could still be of use, despite it not being adopted in B.C.

“The COVID Alert app is free and voluntary, and is another tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks,” said Health Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette.

“At all levels of uptake, COVID Alert can help reduce transmission. The more people who use the app the more effective it will be.”



LOCAL RESOURCES for COVID-19 information

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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