Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Apple Rumored To Announce iPhone SE 2 On April 15th

A new rumor regarding the iPhone SE / iPhone 9 from Jon Prosser claims that Apple has now held internal meetings to decide on a release date for the phone. Reportedly, the meeting provisionally decided to announce the phone on April 15, and have it shipping a week later on April 22.

Twitter user Jon Prosser adds that "Apple is shipping iMacs to select retail employees who are being asked to work remotely." These staff are reportedly intended to provide both sales and technical support for customers.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

GameStop To Close At Least 320 Stores In 2020

Video game retailer GameStop says it will close at least 320 GameStop stores globally this year. The news was announced by GameStop’s executive vice president and chief financial officer Jim Bell during the company’s recent earnings call. Here’s what Mr. Bell had to say:
“We continue to focus on optimizing our global store fleet in fiscal 2019 and closed a net total of 321 stores inclusive of 333 closings and 12 openings. In fiscal 2020, we will continue in our efforts to de-densify our store base, focused on maximizing product productivity of the entire fleet,” he said.
“[We] anticipate store closures to be equal to or more than 320 net closures we saw in fiscal 2019 on a global basis. Importantly, we want to emphasize that these store closures are a very specific and proactive part of our de-densification plan and they are not related to recent business trends.”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Remastered Available Now On PS4, Xbox And PC Later

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Campaign is available now on PlayStation 4, and coming to Xbox and PC on April 30th. Infinity Ward's title has been remastered with new visuals, improved animations, audio enhancements, and supports up to 4K resolution. Players that purchase the remaster also get some cosmetics that they can use in Modern Warfare and Warzone.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Everything You Need To Know From The March 2020 Nintendo Direct Mini

During the latest Nintendo Direct Mini video presentation, Nintendo shined the spotlight on a breadth of different types of games launching for the Nintendo Switch in 2020 – some of which are available today! Games featured in the video include sprawling role-playing adventures like Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition and BRAVELY DEFAULT II; classic franchises like BorderlandsXCOM 2 and BioShock coming to a Nintendo console for the first time; remakes of fan-favorites in titles like Burnout Paradise Remastered and Panzer Dragoon: Remake; and titles perfect for both casual and long-time gamers like Good Job!, 51 Worldwide Games and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The Nintendo Direct Mini also revealed upcoming content for currently available Nintendo Switch games like a free update for Ring Fit Adventure, more details about the upcoming paid DLC for Pok√©mon Sword and Pok√©mon Shield, as well as news that the first fighter in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2 is arriving from the ARMS franchise.
To view the Nintendo Direct Mini video in its entirety, visit https://www.nintendo.co.uk/nintendo-direct. Some of the highlights revealed in the video include:
Now available!
  • Good Job!: In this madcap action-puzzle game from Nintendo, perform hilarious and challenging tasks around a sprawling office building to get the job done by any means necessary, alone or two-player mode*. Good Job! launches in Nintendo Switch on Nintendo eShop today.
  • MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order Expansion Pass – Pack 3: It’s Doctor Doom vs. Marvel’s first family when the MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order Expansion Pass – Pack 3: Fantastic Four: Shadow of Doom launches for the Nintendo Switch today. The new pack adds the Fantastic Four and Doctor Doom as playable characters as they fight through a new story campaign. The Expansion Pass**, which also includes Pack 1 and Pack 2, can be purchased from Nintendo eShop.
  • Ring Fit Adventure Update: A free update is coming to Ring Fit Adventure later today. The update adds a new Rhythm Game mode, an option to switch to a female voice and to change the language of the in-game voice, and more. In the Rhythm Game mode, move to the beat of a dozen music tracks from Ring Fit Adventure, and a few tracks from popular Nintendo games, including Super Mario OdysseySplatoon 2 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The update is available starting today.
  • Shinsekai: Into the Depths: In this deep-sea exploration game, players collect resources to upgrade their gear, craft items and dive deeper into the abyss. As they explore increasingly mysterious environments, players have to monitor their oxygen and pressure levels to survive. Shinsekai: Into the Depths launches for Nintendo Switch today.
  • Panzer Dragoon: Remake: In this remake of the dragon-riding classic, players pilot the Blue Dragon through incredible landscapes, battling giant creatures and lethal battleships using 360-degree controls and lock-on targeting. Panzer Dragoon: Remake launches first on Nintendo Switch as a timed console exclusive today.
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy: Enter Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy to learn the ways of the Force! Players can customise their Jedi looks and battle online with up to 16 players when Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy launches on Nintendo Switch today.
Launching in 2020
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition: The original Xenoblade Chronicles game, which marked the debut of fan-favourite character Shulk, comes to Nintendo Switch with a new epilogue story, Xenoblade Chronicles: Future Connected. This definitive edition of the RPG also looks better and plays smoother than ever before. The battle HUD and menu screens are easy to read and easy to use. Some of the music tracks have been remastered or remixed. Experience the majesty of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition when it launches for Nintendo Switch on 29th May. On the same day, the Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition – Collector’s Set will also launch, featuring a 250-page artbook full of beautiful landscapes, a SteelBook, a vinyl featuring the Monado printed on the sleeve and a poster. Early purchasers can pre-load the game today from Nintendo eShop and will receive Gold Points worth 5% of the amount paid.
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons: Now that Animal Crossing: New Horizons has launched for Nintendo Switch, the first seasonal event is on its way. Between 1st April and 12th April, residents of the island can participate in Bunny Day to find eggs hidden by bunny visitor Zipper and craft special items with them. The next free update to the game hits in late April, which adds the Earth Day event*****. Follow the Animal Crossing Twitter account for the latest news and updates about the game.
  • Pok√©mon Sword Expansion Pass and Pok√©mon Shield Expansion Pass: With the new Pok√©mon Sword Expansion Pass and Pok√©mon ShieldExpansion Pass, the sprawling island in the sea, the Isle of Armor, and the frozen snowscape known as the Crown Tundra will be available in the Galar region. On the Isle of Armor, Trainers can gather at a new dojo for Pok√©mon Battles to master their skills. By training at this dojo, players will receive the Legendary Pok√©mon Kubfu from the master, Mustard. Through training with Kubfu, Trainers will receive permission to challenge the Towers of Two Fists on the Isle of Armor. Once one of the two towers has been conquered, Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu. In addition to new outfit items and hair styles, the Expansion Passes will also add new league card backgrounds, effects and frames. The Pok√©mon Sword Expansion Pass and Pok√©mon Shield Expansion Pass Part 1 – The Isle of Armor launches by the end of June. Additional information about the Pok√©mon Sword Expansion Pass and Pok√©mon Shield Expansion Pass Part 2 – The Crown Tundra will be revealed in the future. Pok√©mon Sword and Pok√©mon Shield Expansion Passes, which include The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra as they release, can be purchased from Nintendo eShop for £26.99 each.**
  • BRAVELY DEFAULT II: In this follow-up to the original BRAVELY DEFAULT, the new four Heroes of Light embark on a grand and glorious mission guided by the elemental crystals. Like the first game, BRAVELY DEFAULT II features a battle system that emphasises strategy, with players deciding when to attack (Brave) or hold back and wait for the right moment to strike (Default). With beautiful places to explore and new jobs to acquire, some of which can even be combined, BRAVELY DEFAULT II is another epic RPG in the Nintendo Switch library. A free demo is available today.
  • A Wealth of 2K Games: Many games from publisher 2K are coming to Nintendo Switch on 29th May, including sci-fi classic XCOM 2 Collection– which contains XCOM 2, 4 DLC packs, and the War of the Chosen expansion – as well as Borderlands Legendary Collection, which contains the original Borderlands, its sequel, Borderlands 2, and its “pre-sequel,” Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. 2K is also bringing its acclaimed BioShock series to Nintendo Switch, with BioShock Remastered, BioShock 2 Remastered and BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition, as well as BioShock: The Collection, which includes all three BioShock games in one package.
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: The first fighter in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2 will be joining the battle from the Nintendo Switch title ARMS! The fighter will be announced and released this June.
  • 51 Worldwide Games: Four-in-a-row, Mancala, Slot Cars, Sliding Puzzle and Texas Hold’em are only a handful of the 51 games from around the world included in 51 Worldwide Games. Some of the games are multiplayer, including options for up to four people to play locally*** or online****. 51 Worldwide Games launches for Nintendo Switch on 5th June. Anyone who wants to pre-purchase the game can do so from Nintendo eShop starting today and will receive Gold Points worth 5% of the amount paid.
  • Burnout Paradise Remastered: 10 years later, the classic high-octane racer is back with this remastered version. Featuring breakneck racing, high-flying stunts and, most importantly, shameless amounts of automotive destruction, Burnout Paradise Remastered crashes onto Nintendo Switch in 2020.
  • Fuser: Take on the role of a DJ in this upcoming rhythm game from Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band. Fuser launches for Nintendo Switch this autumn.
  • King’s Bounty II: Since 1990, the King’s Bounty series has been influencing the evolution of western RPGs. In this new sequel, the series is back with a fresh look and a new approach. In King’s Bounty II, the graphics are more realistic, in-game choices matter more than ever, and a new character development system informs the ethics and affinities of new characters. King’s Bounty II launches on Nintendo Switch in 2020.
  • Ninjala: In this free-to-play game, up to eight players**** must battle it out to earn points and claim victory. As ninjas, players can sprint across stages, disguise themselves and wield an arsenal of skills, like heavy-hitting hammers, fast and flashy katanas, and tricked-out yo-yos. Cement your supremacy in free-for-all battles or work together in 4-on-4 team matches. Ninjala sneaks up to Nintendo Switch on 27th May.
  • Catherine: Full Body: The unique puzzle-adventure game is coming to Nintendo Switch as Catherine: Full Body, a remake of the original game. Climb a tower of puzzle blocks and dive into a mature, intense and intoxicating story when Catherine: Full Body launches for Nintendo Switch on 7th July.
  • Star Wars Episode I: Racer: Strap into a pod racer and go for first place in Star Wars Episode I: Racer, launching soon for Nintendo Switch.

Even more games are coming to Nintendo Switch in the coming months, including Saints Row IV: Re-Elected (March 27th), Trials of Mana (April 24th ), The Elder Scrolls: Blades (spring 2020), Minecraft Dungeons (Spring 2020), Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus (May), MR. DRILLER DrillLand (June 25th), The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III (June 30th) and Vigor (autumn). With so many titles available on Nintendo Switch, using Nintendo eShop’s Wish List function can be a good way to keep track of them. Now, to make it even more convenient, it’s possible to access, manage and add games to a Nintendo Switch Wish List via the official Nintendo website. Find out more on this new feature on the Nintendo Switch Wish List page via our website.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

GDC Summer Announced For August 2020

GDC 2020 wasn’t able to happened due to the coronavirus pandemic. The GDC staff stated that there would be some kind of replacement for the event later this year, and have just announced when it will be. GDC Summer, a “three-day celebration of the art, craft and business of game development”, will be taking place in San Fransisco from August 4th to 6th. According to the GDC staff, the event will be “a unique Game Developers Conference experience but will retain the same high level of expert-led talks as the traditional GDC, along with a freestyle two-day expo show floor August 5th and 6th”. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Apple Updates macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS And HomePod

Apple has updated macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and its HomePod firmware. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's 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 reminder
Fixes an issue with screen brightness for the LG UltraFine 5K display after waking from sleep


iOS and iPadOS have been upgraded to version 13.4. They can be over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release notes, the upgrades:
iOS 13.4 introduces new Memoji stickers and iCloud Drive folder sharing from the Files app. This update also contains bug fixes and improvements.
Memoj 
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 activ 
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
Apple has also provided separate release notes for the iPadOS update, which are available below and cover all of the new mouse and trackpad features.
iPadOS 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 app 
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
Apple is also releasing iOS 12.4.6 for older iPhones, with the update adding security improvements.



watchOS 6.2 can be downloaded for free through the dedicated ‌‌Apple Watch‌‌ app on the iPhone by going to General > Software Update and following the instructions. Per Apple's 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


tvOS 13.4 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌Apple TV‌ by going to System > Software Update. ‌Apple TV‌ owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to tvOS 13.4 automatically. The upgrade provides support for the Powerbeats 4 earphones along with of bug fixes and improvements. 
According to Apple's release notes, ‌HomePod‌ Software Version 13.4 includes "general improvements for stability and quality.” The speaker should automatically update. If not:
  • Make sure that your iOS device is updated to the latest version of iOS.
  • On your iOS device, open the Home app and tap  the house icon in the upper-left corner.
  • Tap Software Update.
  • Tap Install. This will install the update on all of your HomePod speakers you have set up in your home.

Some Apple Stores To Reopen In April

Apple has told staff that some of its retail stores may reopen in April on a staggered basis and has extended remote work abilities for many employees through at least April 5, according to Bloomberg.
The details were disclosed in a memo from Senior Vice President of People and Retail Deirdre O’Brien that was obtained by Bloomberg. 

“For all of our retail stores outside of Greater China, we will reopen our stores on a staggered basis. At this time, we anticipate some stores may be able to open in the first half of April depending on the conditions in their community,” she wrote. “We will provide updates for each store as soon as specific dates are established.”