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Call of Duty: Vanguard’s alpha preview is free this weekend for PS4 and PS5 gamers – TechRadar

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Publisher Activision Blizzard, responsible for the game this article refers to, is currently embroiled in ongoing litigation in regards to claims reporting a workplace culture that allegedly enabled acts of sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination. Read our Activision Blizzard lawsuit timeline of events for ongoing coverage of the events.

Call of Duty: Vanguard may still be a few months out from its November 5 release, but PS4 and PS5 gamers will get an early (and exclusive) chance to test out its brand-new Champion Hill multiplayer mode this weekend.

The Champion Hill open alpha is completely free, meaning no pre-order is required, and will run from August 27 at 10am PT to August 29 at 10am PT. 

The alpha will arrive on the PlayStation Store for preload ahead of the weekend from August 23 at 3am PT. Once it’s up, players can download the PS4 version from here and the PS5 version from here.

It’s worth noting that an alpha version of a game or mode is different from a beta version in that none of the features being tested are locked down yet, meaning they could still change drastically before the game enters its beta phase.

Analysis: what to expect from Champion Hill

As detailed in the alpha’s announcement, Call of Duty: Vanguard’s new Champion Hill multiplayer mode is a “tournament-style, multi-map and multi-life game mode where tactics and strategy go beyond the pull of a trigger.”

During the alpha, players will form squads for either 2v2 (Duo) or 3v3 (Trio) matches to compete in a round-robin deathmatch tournaments. The goal is to reduce all other squads’ life count to zero before they do the same to you.

Of course, there are other factors at play that make Champion Hill closer to Warzone than a standard deathmatch mode. For starters, all players will start out with the same loadout and must earn cash from kills and drops in orer to purchase upgrades, armaments, equipment, perks, killstreaks and more between rounds.

Additionally, the Champion Hill mode takes place on one large map that’s broken up into five sections with four combat arenas – the Airstrip, the Trainyard, the Market, and the Courtyard. A central Buy Station Area will also let eliminated players make purchases and spectate how the rest of the tournament plays out.

Clearly, Sledgehammer Games is trying something very different with Champion Hill, making it easy to see why the developer would be looking for feedback this far off from release. To get a better idea of what to expect from the mode, you can check out the trailer for the new Champion Hill alpha below.

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Apple Card, Apple Pay, and iUP all fail on iPhone 13 pre-order day, exposing fragility of Apple's expansion into credit and payment services – eMarketer

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The news: iPhone 13 pre-orders went live early Friday morning. But buyers’ initial buzz of excitement at securing Apple’s latest smartphone was quickly replaced by frustration as those paying with Apple Pay, Apple Card, or using the iPhone Upgrade Program faced errors that stalled the checkout process, per 9to5Mac.

The problem: Customers using Apple’s own payments, credit, and iPhone upgrade services faced major issues that left many unable to complete their iPhone 13 purchases. Citizens One, Apple’s partner bank for the iPhone Upgrade Program, was also plagued with a variety of issues once preorders went live. Even buyers that were pre-approved for the yearly upgrade found their applications rejected by the website and Apple Store app.

  • Apple Pay in the Apple Store app and via the Apple Store website was also buggy— many users were unable to check out using their Apple Pay and had to enter their card details manually.
  • The Apple Card processing system went down with a variety of bugs. Users were unable to pay for their iPhone 13s using Apple Card—but other cards worked, which means Apple Card users missed out on the 3% Daily Cash incentive, a major feature of the service. 
  • Frustrated iPhone buyers opted to use other payment options like higher-interest credit cards or PayPal just to get an order in. Those that managed to get through later saw delivery dates pushed past mid-October.

What’s next: While new iPhone pre-order days are usually a big payday for Apple, the iPhone 13’s modest updates—as well as indications that only 10% of users plan to upgrade to the latest models—could result in an equally modest yield that may be further reduced by Apple’s pre-order fiasco. 

  • The collapse of its multiple payment and upgrade options on such a key day isn’t likely to show down iPhone 13 demand or sales, but its numerous frustrated customers could reflect poorly on Apple’s reputation.
  • Consumers’ difficulties in obtaining iPhone 13 orders using Apple’s own credit card, payments, and upgrade programs underscores the fragility of companies overextending their reach into complicated new segments like financial services. 

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What Happens Next With Oppo And OnePlus – Forbes

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OnePlus has laid out its new direction today, with further details on the integration of OnePlus and Oppo. This is the latest in a series of announcements following the news that OnePlus would be taken under the wing of sister company Oppo,

At the time this was seen as OnePlus and Oppo moving closer together to explicitly share resources behind the scenes with Oppo becoming the more dominant partner overall, while OnePlus’s customer facing activities would remain independent.

A few weeks after that announcement, OnePlus followed up with news that the two Android-based operating systems of the two companies, ColorOS and OxygenOS – would be merging much of the codebase while presenting the two different variants to their customers base; so OxygenOS remains for global devices and ColorOS for Chinese devices.

Today, OnePlus’ Co-founder Pete Lau has detailed the next step in the partnership with Oppo. Brandon it OnePlus 2.0, it reinforces the integration of ColorOS and OxygenOS, as well as keeping the distinctiveness between the forward facing parts. From a resources point of view, the benefits of having more commonality should be obvious while keeping granularity for the users. 

Lau has also presented a broad strokes timetable for the switchover. The new combined OS will launch in a OnePlus device with the 2022 flagship… i’d assume that is going to be the OnePlus 10 Pro, although there is an opportunity here to introduce a new brand name for the top end devices. Following that, the new OS will roll out across the OnePlus global devices along with 2022’s major Android upgrade.

How this will fit with the increased use of regional brands such as the OnePlus R handsets in India and the OnePlus Nord handsets in Europe remains to be seen. 

What can be seen is the OnePlus team keeping its community up to date with the changes. While its too early to go into precise details on the availability of upgrades (at least in public), the roadmap has been brought into focus a little bit more today.

Now read my review on OnePlus’ latest earbuds, the active noise cancelling OnePlus Buds Pro…

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M1 brings new iPhone 13 lineup, iPad models to Singapore – Telecompaper EN

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Singapore operator M1 has announced it will offer the iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 mini, iPad (9th generation) and iPad mini on the local market. M1 customers can now pre-order the iPhone 13 lineup, as well as the iPad mini and iPad. The devices will be commercially available starting 24 September.

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