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First-Party Xbox Series X Games Won’t Be Exclusive For A While, Microsoft Says – Kotaku



First-party Xbox Series X games won’t be exclusive for at least the first year or two, if a new interview with the head of Xbox Game Studios is to be believed. Speaking to the website MCVUK, Xbox’s Matt Booty confirmed what many have been assuming—that Microsoft’s games will be both forwards and backwards compatible.

“As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices,” Booty told the site. “We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content.”


Microsoft had previously said that at least one Xbox Series X launch title, Halo: Infinite, would be coming to the current-generation Xbox One as well.

This is a big departure from how new console launches have tended to work in the past. When the Xbox One came out in 2013, first-party-published games like Forza Motorsport 5 and Ryse: Son of Rome didn’t come to Xbox 360, the idea being that people who wanted to play the latest Microsoft games needed the latest Microsoft console.

By moving away from that trend for the Xbox Series X, Microsoft is treating its next-gen hardware more like smartphones and PCs. Instead of major platform jumps every five to 10 years, hardware releases are more incremental, with games being both backwards and forwards compatible, at least for a little while.


That’s good news for anyone who can’t afford to upgrade to the newest console right away. Even if some third-party publishers release games exclusively on next-gen hardware, between new Xbox Game Studio games and Game Pass, even people who currently own launch Xbox Ones (like me!) won’t be immediately left behind.

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U.S. Energy Dept announces $105 million for small businesses to pursue clean energy deployment



The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $105 million in funding for small businesses to pursue the deployment of clean energy technologies.

The projects range from energy technology and sustainable agriculture to atmospheric monitoring and carbon removal, the Energy Department said in a statement.


(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru)

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German fintech N26 valued at more than $9 billion after fundraising



The German online bank N26 said on Monday that it had completed a $900 million fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion.

It is good news for the bank, which in recent months has come under fire for breaches related to money laundering controls and prevention.

The latest financing makes N26, founded in 2013, one of  Europe‘s most valuable fintechs, behind giants Klarna and Revolut but ahead of other neobanks such as Britain’s Starling and Monzo. N26 is Germany’s most valuable fintech..

The latest funding came from Third Point Ventures, Coatue Management, Dragoneer Investment Group and existing N26 investors, N26 said.

N26’s smartphone banking app offers a scalable, low-cost model that has already attracted backing from, among others, insurer Allianz, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Chinese internet giant Tencent, venture capital firm Earlybird and Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel.

N26 said it has more than 7 million customers in 25 countries.

The bank said it would use the additional funding to expand its mobile offering and hire 1,000 new employees in the coming years.


(Reporting by Tom Sims; editing by David Evans)

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Apple iPad Mini 6 review – Apple's attractive, small tablet with 5G –



Those who are looking for a smaller tablet and who don’t want to go without Apple technology were well taken care of by the iPad Mini before. However, while the iPad Air and iPad Pro have been available with a more modern design for a while, the iPad Mini started to look a bit aged in the meantime. Finally with the 6th generation, the all-screen design has now also arrived in the smaller iPad.

Due to the new Apple A15 chip, the iPad Mini 2021 should also be just as fast as a modern iPhone. This sounds like a comprehensive upgrade, since the pen support was also expanded, the cameras improved, and there is also 5G support now. We evaluate in detail in our test what these updates will bring.

The iPad Mini is Apple’s smallest tablet with a screen diagonal of 8.3 inches.

While the newly introduced iPad still comes with the more classic look, the iPad Mini 6 already follows the design of the iPad Pro and iPad Air. Although the “All Screen Design” label Apple is using might be a bit confusing for a 78% screen-to-body ratio, you still need a bezel to grab onto, where you can hold the tablet in your hand.

The more modern design looks good in the tablet, and the thick bezels of the predecessor belong to the past. This also means that the Home button has disappeared and the fingerprint sensor is now hidden in the Standby key at the top case edge. The elegant metal case with its slightly more edgy look than that of the predecessor integrates the iPad Mini well into Apple’s current iPad and iPhone line up.

In terms of colors, the manufacturer offers Space Grey, Rosé, Violet, and Polar Star, which is a creamy white.

As usual, the materials and workmanship have a very high quality. Stronger pressure on the display quickly gets to the liquid crystal, but otherwise the stability is good.

The WiFi version of the iPad Mini 6 weighs 294 grams (~10.4 oz) and the 5G version that we tested, 297 grams (~10.5 oz), so it is even a bit lighter than the predecessor.

The manufacturer offers the following versions of the tablet:

  • Apple iPad Mini 6 64 GB NVMe / 4GB RAM / WiFi – 549 Euro (~$637)
  • Apple iPad Mini 6 64 GB NVMe / 4GB RAM / 5G – 719 Euro (~$834)
  • Apple iPad Mini 6 256 GB NVMe / 4GB RAM / WiFi – 719 Euro (~$834)
  • Apple iPad Mini 6 256 GB NVMe / 4GB RAM / 5G – 889 Euro (~$1032)

With this, the prices have increased significantly compared to the predecessor, where the entry-level price was still 100 Euros (~$116) less and the top version cost 759 Euros (~$881). But at least Apple also offers a small upgrade of the working memory, and all versions of the iPad Mini 6 now bring 4 GB of RAM. The predecessor also did not offer 5G support.

While Apple still hesitates to get rid of the classic Lightning port in the iPhones, in the iPads the change to USB-C is now almost complete with the new iPad Mini 6. Only the regular iPad still includes Apple’s proprietary connection. The iPad Mini offers a USB-3.0 connection that is even slightly faster for data transfer than the USB-2.0 connections in many other tablets.

The iPad Mini 6 includes Bluetooth 5.0 but not NFC, so you cannot use Apple Pay with the small tablet.

iPadOS split from iOS several generations ago and specialized for Apple’s tablets. While the basic structure is still the same, so that iPhone users will be able to orient themselves quickly here as well, there are several improvements of the usability for iPad users that have been further expanded with iPadOS 15.

Apple particularly took a look at multitasking, offering a simpler way to choose which apps to show in a split screen. A new multitasking menu allows you select how you want to display several apps on the screen, and separate elements such as emails can now simply be overlayed across the split screen without having to leave it. You can even create several split views and quickly switch between them via the app switcher.

At the same time, you can also switch quicker between several open windows of an app. If you connect a keyboard via Bluetooth, there are now some special quick commands. If you swipe up from the bottom edge, a quick note window will open for you to take some notes.

The App Media Library, which has already been available in iPhones since last year, is now also available on the iPads. The apps are automatically sorted into categories. 

The changes in FaceTime that are supposed to bring improved video conferencing and also allow you to watch movies together are of course also included in iPadOS 15. There are also some changes in Apple Maps, Safari, and other apps. You can get an overview of all the changes here.

While you still had to make do with WiFi 5 in the predecessor, the iPad Mini 6 now also includes WiFi 6, using two antennas. With this, it surpasses the older iPad Mini 5 significantly in terms of the data transfer rates that are possible. In everyday operation, the iPad Mini 6 is in parts four times as fast and also able to keep up easily with other high-end tablets. You even get more speed here than with the current iPad, which still comes with WiFi 5 to the users.

The support for 5G is new, if you decide for the WWAN version of the iPad Mini. While eSIM is supported, you can also use a NanoSIM. The small Apple tablet supports a large number of mobile communication frequency bands, allowing you to use it worldwide without any problems. Our random sample of testing the reception strength in the 4G net shows that the iPad is able to keep up with other high-end phones here. Most of the time, at least 3/4 of the full reception strength is also available indoors.

You cannot accept calls on the iPad Mini 6, and you can only use the mobile net for data transfer.

The iPad Mini supports locating via satellite, if you decide for the 5G model. Otherwise, the location of the device can only be determined approximately via WLAN networks. However, all the iPad Mini 6 versions offer a digital compass.

As soon as you step outside, the small iPad is located without any delay with an accuracy of up to 3 meters. In our practical test where we take the Garmin Edge 520 as comparison device on a bike tour, the iPad Mini shows itself to be fairly accurate overall. However, there are some visible deviations in small alleyways, often placing us inside the houses instead of on the road.

Overall, the Apple tablet can be recommended for navigation, if you don’t need absolute accuracy.

On both the front and back of the Apple iPad Mini, we find a 12-Megapixel camera. The back also includes a TrueTone flash, which is supposed to illuminate the scene as naturally as possible.

Apple has again come up with some tricks: For example, via a Follow mode in video conferences, you can automatically have the camera zoom in to always have the whole event in the picture frame. 

Photos taken with the main camera give good quality results for a tablet, but the iPad Mini 2021 is still far from offering the image quality of an iPhone 13, particularly when you get a bit closer to the objects. In the detail, some objects can also become blurry and areas have a coarser appearance. However, the camera is well-suited for snapshots. In low-light conditions and high contrasts, it also strikes a good figure.

Videos can be recorded at a maximum of 4K and 60 fps. A good quality is also possible here, and the brightness adjustment and autofocus work quickly and reliably.

While the front camera takes decent selfies, colors appear a bit dark here, and you can even see without any enlarging that areas have quite a grainy appearance.

With very good lighting in the lab, the photo of the test chart looks sharp and offers good colors. However, areas still appear slightly unclean. In low-light conditions, you can hardly see anything in the pictures anymore.

A charger is included with the iPad Mini 6. The box also includes a USB-C cable, and the mobile communication version with 5G also includes a SIM tool.

The second generation of the Apple Pencil is compatible with the tablet. It costs 135 Euros (~$157), and a Smart Folio, which you can also use as a tablet stand, costs 65 Euros (~$75).

Apple only offers 12 months of warranty for the iPad Mini. With Apple Care+, you can also insure the device for 79 Euros (~$92) against accidental damage during this period.

Things get interesting with the operation, since a bunch of features have changed in the Apple iPad Mini 6. The touchscreen is great and reliable, but we are also used to this from other Apple products. Unfortunately it continues to be a 60-Hz screen. Subjectively, its response is not quite as immediate as that of the fast 90-Hz or 120-Hz screens in modern smartphones or in the iPad Pro.

A larger change is the fact that the Home button has disappeared and with that, the fingerprint sensor called TouchID is also not positioned below the display anymore. Instead it is integrated into the Standby key, which is located at the top edge of the case. It is easiest to operate with the index fingers and works reliably and quickly. However, you always have to press the key, and simply placing the finger on the key is not sufficient in Standby.

Those who are used to FaceID from the iPhones unfortunately have to reorganize, since this method of unlocking is not available in the iPad Mini.

Another change is that the iPad Mini now supports the 2nd generation of the Apple Pencil and even offers a magnetic holder for it that also recharges the pen. Not only can you easily operate the tablet using the pen, but users can also take notes or add comments into documents, and of course it is also possible to create drawings or paint using the pen. Since pressure levels and pen angles are recognized as well as the palm, in order to prevent it from interfering, you can use it to work comfortably.

While Apple’s Magic Keyboard is incompatible with the iPad Mini, classic Bluetooth keyboards can of course be connected.

Together with the new design, a new Liquid Retina display with a changed format is also used. The unusual 13.7:9 format with a resolution of 2266 x 1488 pixels is slightly wider but not quite as high as the 4:3 screen in the predecessor. However, this is not a ProMotion display, and that technology remains still reserved for the more expensive iPad Pros.

Apple specifies an average brightness of 500 cd/m², but in our tests with the spectral photometer, the iPad Mini only reaches this value in very small areas. If the whole display is illuminated, it is more like 440 cd/m², which is less than the predecessor. On the other hand, the evenness of the brightness distribution has increased significantly and the black value has also improved, which then also leads to a better contrast ratio. But it is still insufficient for an HDR certification.

On the Internet, there are many users who complain about a very strong jelly effect, which is some wobbling and redrawing of the text or other image content while scrolling. Since the display of the Apple iPad Mini 6 is only a 60-Hz screen, this effect is unavoidable to some extent. However, at the same time a teardown from iFixit also confirms that Apple’s technology also might worsen this effect in this case. So if you think that this effect might be annoying, you should try out the screen before buying it.

The color reproduction is fairly accurate, and so is that of the grayscale. There is at most a minimal blue tint that can be noticed compared to the reference colors.

Even though we measure some flickering of the display at very low brightness levels, the frequencies are very high, so that hardly anyone should be able to notice. The response times continue to be too slow for professional gamers, but they are hardly negatively noticeable in everyday operation.

You can still use the tablet fairly easily in bright surroundings, but the strong reflections suggest going into the shade. On the other hand, the viewing angles hardly leave anything to be desired. Even if you look at the display from a very steep viewing angle, the contents still remain easily recognizable.

While surfing the Internet, the iPad Mini 6 does not reveal any weaknesses. Most of the time, the images and content are already loaded when you scroll a website. Even demanding HTML 5 contents won’t slow down the tablet. 

Depending on the game, you can make use of the full 60 Hz refresh rate of the display and play at 60 fps on the iPad Mini 6. Although “PUBG Mobile” only allows for 40 fps in Full-HD or even 4K resolution, this value can be maintained fairly constantly.

While the operation via touchscreen and position sensor works without any problems, we notice one thing: The unusual display format of 13.7:9 results in some slim black bars on the left and right side of the game, as you can also see in our screenshots below. 

Particularly with the virtual stick placed on the left side of the screen for controlling the gaming character, these bars can lead to your finger accidentally sliding outside the actual game image from time to time, so the character will suddenly stop moving. However, with some training you should be able to avoid that.

We already noticed in the iPhone 13 that the Apple A15 Bionic can get quite warm sometimes. But in the slightly throttled version of the iPad Mini 6, this does not have a strong effect. Another reason for this might also be the larger case that offers a larger area for the heat to dissipate. 

A maximum heat development of 40.3 °C (104.5 °F) is relatively limited, so it should not lead to any problems even in hotter surroundings. However, we still notice some slight throttling. Already after the first run in the stress tests of 3DMark, the performance drops by about 10-15% and then remains at that level. While this should hardly be noticeable in everyday operation, apparently the full performance is not available under longer load.

Even if there are several opening vents in the iPad Mini 6 that could point towards the presence of four speakers, Apple has only equipped its small tablet with two speakers that can create a stereo effect in landscape operation.

The new speakers produce significantly less volume than those of the predecessor, but they still sound quite impressive overall. Even though the highs are slightly too overemphasized for our tastes at maximum volume, as soon as you lower the volume level, the sound becomes more rounded and can even produce some lower frequencies to some extent.

You can connect external audio devices via Bluetooth 5.0 or the USB-C port. If you want to connect Bluetooth devices, you have to make sure that they support the audio codecs from Apple, since there is no aptX from Qualcomm.

Compared to the previous generation, the battery capacity of the new iPad Mini has increased minimally. Apple speaks of 10 hours of surfing until the battery is depleted. According to our test, this is even possible for much longer, if you limit the display brightness to 150 cd/m². While at 13:36 hours, the iPad Mini does not stand out much in the comparison to other tablets, it still lasts a few minutes longer.

The tablet can be recharged at a maximum of 20 watts using the included charger. It will take about 1:30 hours to completely recharge the battery. Wireless charging continues to be unsupported.

The new iPad Mini is significantly more expensive than its predecessor, but it also comes to the user with a modern design, significantly more power, pen support, and optionally also with 5G.

Despite the SoC being slightly throttled, the iPad Mini is still one of the most powerful tablets that are currently available. It also does not have any trouble with multitasking. The battery life continues to be convincing, the speakers produce a decent sound, and the cameras take pictures that are acceptable for a tablet.

In terms of complaints, the display of the tablet could be even brighter. This is particularly the case for a small tablet, since you tend to take a small device outdoors more than you would a larger one. We should also mention a slight throttling under longer load, the unusual display format that could lead to some problems while gaming, and the problems of some users with the excessive jelly effect while scrolling. 

The new Apple iPad Mini is powerful, compact, and finally also receives a modern design. But there are also some small points of complaint.

Overall, the Apple iPad Mini 6 shows itself as a very high-quality tablet, whose performance doesn’t really have any competitors in its size class. In terms of alternatives, those who are looking for a compact device that offers an extreme amount of power can only consider the predecessor, the Apple iPad Mini 5, and save some money that way. If the tablet can also be larger, there are of course also Apple’s other tablets such as the more affordable iPad, the small iPad Pro, or the iPad Air.

You can get the iPad Mini directly from the manufacturer starting at $499. At the time of this test, it is also available at the same price from BestBuy and many other vendors.

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