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Epic confirms Fortnite won't get new season on iOS, macOS due to lawsuit – MobileSyrup

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Fortnite fans who play on iOS will be sad to learn that Epic Games won’t release the game’s upcoming season on iOS because of the ongoing legal feud between the game-maker and Apple.

Epic confirmed what many suspected, noting that Fortnite Chapter 2: Season 4 won’t come to iOS or macOS. The studio previously warned that this could happen. The season will launch on Android, consoles and PC on August 27th.

Epic updated a FAQ page on its website, saying Apple blocked Fortnite updates and new installs on the App Store. Further, Epic says Apple has “said they will terminate our ability to develop Fortnite for Apple devices.” Because of this, Chapter 2: Season 4 won’t launch on macOS or iOS on August 27th.

This comes after the judge presiding over the lawsuit granted Epic a restraining order for its Unreal Engine business, which Apple targeted by threatening to terminate the associated developer account. However, the ruling didn’t require Apple to restore Fortnite to the App Store, which Epic hoped would happen.

The main issue stems from Epic’s decision to implement a direct payment system in Fortnite that bypasses Apple’s in-app payment system. Direct payments got Fortnite kicked off both the App Store and the Play Store, as well as instigated Epic’s legal battles with Apple and Google. However, it’s worth noting that neither lawsuit is about Fortnite getting kicked off of app stores — instead, the focus is on whether Apple and Google use their control over app stores and the rules that govern them to enforce monopolies. In other words, it’s not a question of whether Epic broke the rules governing the app stores, but whether the rules are fair in the first place.

Direct payment system keeping Fortnite off the App Store

Apple has said it will allow Fortnite to return to the App Store if Epic removes the direct payment method from the game. Epic, however, refused, explaining that Apple’s “proposal is an invitation for Epic to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS.” Epic goes on to say it won’t “participate in this scheme” on principle.

Since Epic can remedy the issue of Fortnite not being on the App Store by removing the direct payments system, the judge did not grant a restraining order to force Apple to let the game back on the store. In a response to the decision shared by Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple thanked the court for “recognizing that Epic’s problem is entirely self-inflicted” and reiterated its priority to offer a “safe and trusted environment” with the App Store.

That argument has been one of Apple’s main defences of the App Store and its restrictive rules. The company believes that it can protect iOS users by managing and reviewing apps that enter its store so that everything available to them is vetted and safe. However, that argument doesn’t address how Epic pushed out a Fortnite update with the rule-breaking direct payment method to iOS users without Apple catching and blocking it.

All this effectively leaves iOS and macOS Fortnite fans without a way to play the game for the foreseeable future. Assuming Epic sticks to its refusal to remove direct payments, I expect Fortnite won’t return to Apple devices until the courts make a final ruling.

Still, if gamers have access to another device, they can still play the game. Fortnite remains available on Windows PCs and game consoles, as well as on Android through Fortnite‘s website or through the Galaxy App Store on Samsung devices. It is not available on the Google Play Store, however.

Source: Epic Games Via: The Verge

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Google to enforce 30% cut on in-app purchases next year – CNBC

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Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai gestures during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 22, 2020.
(Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Google said on Monday that it will enforce rules that require app developers distributing Android software on the Google Play Store to use its in-app payment system.

The move means developers have until Sept. 30, 2021 to use Google’s billing system, which takes a 30% fee from payments, instead of independent payment systems. The announcement brings Google Play’s policies in line with Apple’s App Store policies, which have come under fire from developers and regulators over several issues, including its own 30% cut.

Apple has argued against scrutiny of its App Store by pointing out that other app stores, like Google Play, also take a 30% fee from in-app purchases.

Google’s existing policy said developers have to use Google’s billing system on in-app purchases made within the Google Play Store, but it had not been enforced, Google said on Monday in a blog post

Google didn’t name apps that had been skirting the rule. It said 97% of developers selling digital goods already comply with its policies. Netflix and Spotify prompt users inside their Android apps to use a credit card to pay them directly. 

“We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system,” Google said in the announcement, signed by Sameer Samat, a VP of product management. 

Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, updated its Android software in August to allow gamers to directly pay Epic for in-app purchases of digital goods like colorful outfits, which circumvented Google Play billing.

Google responded by removing Fortnite from the Play Store. “While Fortnite remains available on Android, we can no longer make it available on Play because it violates our policies,” Google said at the time. Epic Games sued Google.

Apple also removed Fortnite from its App Store and is embroiled in its own legal battle with Epic Games. 

Google’s Play Store doesn’t attract as much attention as Apple’s App Store

Google has received significantly less attention than Apple over its 30% cut, even though its policies are similar to Apple’s.

One core complaint from Apple developers is that Apple takes 30% from digital purchases made within the app, which can hamper services like Spotify, which have significant costs associated with their services like rights to music. 

Android allows users to install apps without using the Play Store, including apps that distribute other apps, such as Samsung’s Galaxy App Store, the company pointed out in its Monday blog post. But, the Google Play Store is the way most users download applications on an Android phone.

Google hasn’t taken as much heat on its cut of in-app purchases, however.

Developers including Epic Games, Spotify, and Tinder parent company Match have created a nonprofit group to challenge Apple’s App Store practices, for example.

And, when Apple CEO Tim Cook testified in front of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust this summer, he answered specific questions about which apps Apple allows on its platform and how it uses its power to hamper smaller developers.

When Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified at the same hearing, he faced questions about Google’s role in advertising, search, and data collection, instead of how much Google charges app-makers to use the Google Play store. 

Google said next year’s Android release will “make it even easier for people to use other app stores” without compromising user security. 

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Roku launches Streambar to bring a smarter soundbar to Canada – MobileSyrup

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Roku is looking to bring more value to soundbars with a new product called the Streambar. It’s a two-in-one 4K streaming device that’s aimed at improving the experience of lower-end TVs.

The company says that over the years, TV speakers have gotten thinner and that as a result, the speakers within them have become worse. In an effort to help solve this problem affordably, the company is releasing a $189 smart soundbar.

Packed inside this remarkably small soundbar are four 1.9-inch drivers that support basic Dolby Audio, but nothing fancy like Atmos. Still, for just under $200, that’s expected. To help compensate for this limitation, Roku says it’s using software to help increase the sound of the speaker while adding clarity to voices in shows and depth to music playback.

Beyond that, Roku says the Streambar also features a night mode for quiet listening and that it can automatically lower the volume of loud commercials.

Something that might make this a lot more interesting to people is that the Streambar supports Apple’s AirPlay 2 standard, HomeKit, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth. This means that regardless of how you want to connect to the Streambar, you’ll have several popular streaming options. That said, AirPlay and Homekit are coming as updates later this year.

On the video side of things, the soundbar can stream 4K HDR10 content. While this isn’t the top of the line version of HDR, I think it makes sense considering the TV models that this device targets.

It’s clear more expensive TVs that support Dolby Vision and HDR10+ are not the intended market for this $189 soundbar. It makes more sense to add this speaker to cheaper 4K sets from brands like Insignia, Hisense and RCA. Since these ultra-cheap TVs often don’t come with smart features or good speakers, the Roku Streambar is the perfect upgrade.

The Streambar can connect to a TV with an optical audio cable as well as with HDMI, but you can’t use it as a streaming device if you use the audio-only cable. Other notable features include a USB port that can play media from a USB stick and mounting holes so it can be wall-mounted.

This isn’t the first smart soundbar to make it to Canada. Last year, JBL brought the Link Bar to Canada, which is very similar to Roku’s Streambar and acts as a Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker that runs Android TV instead of RokuOS. However, this device was aimed at the mid-range soundbar market.

This tiny soundbar looks super appealing and should come out near the end of October, according to Roku. MobileSyrup will be going hands-on with the Streambar later this fall as well.

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Deals: Woot Discounts Refurbished Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 11, and MacBook Models – MacRumors

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Apple’s iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by

Apple’s upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier.
There’s no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple’s historic launch timelines, …

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