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Epic Games Removes 'Infinity Blade' Trilogy From App Store

Epic Games today announced that its Infinity Blade role-playing game trilogy has been removed from the App Store.


In a blog post, the video game studio said "it has become increasingly difficult for our team to support the Infinity Blade series at a level that meets our standards," adding that the trilogy "will always hold a special place" in its history.

Along with the three Infinity Blade games, all in-app purchase options have been removed, according to Epic Games. iPhone users who already purchased the games will remain able to play them, and re-download them from the App Store using the same Apple ID that was originally used, for the foreseeable future.

The news was first reported by Eli Hodapp at MacRumors sister site TouchArcade, who described the trilogy as "an absolute App Store staple" that "even the harshest critics of mobile gaming could admit were, at minimum, pretty good."

Infinity Blade is a gesture-based fighting game that debuted on the App Store in December 2010 following an on-stage preview at an Apple event three months prior. At the time, TouchArcade reviewed the game's console-like graphics as "the best we've seen so far on the App Store," raising the bar for mobile games.


Infinity Blade II followed in November 2011, while Infinity Blade III was released in September 2013. Both sequels also received stage time at Apple events, and remained critically acclaimed in 2018, despite the latest title being five years old.

"Premium games eventually losing the support of their developers then slowly falling into obscurity before being removed from the App Store isn't really a new phenomenon," said Hodapp, "but for it to happen to Infinity Blade seems like an incredibly terrible signal for the overall health of the App Store."

Epic Games now has a multi-billion-dollar valuation thanks to the success of its smash-hit battle royale game Fortnite, so the company certainly has the cash flow needed to keep the Infinity Blade trilogy alive, but they are evidently moving on.

Over the next month, Epic Games said it will continue to support Infinity Blade III with updated Clash Mobs and other surprises. It has also made its Infinity Blade sticker pack available for free in the App Store for iMessage. And it looks like the Infinity Blade sword will live on as a weapon in Fortnite.

Hands-On With the iPhone XR Clear Case From Apple

It took nearly two months following the on-sale date for the iPhone XR, but Apple's highly anticipated clear case for the colorful device is now available. We're not entirely sure what the delay was in launching it, and it's currently the only first-party case available for the iPhone XR, so we went hands-on with the new case to see how it stacks up.

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Apple's clear case is intended to show off the colorful rear shell of the iPhone XR, and it does a great job at that, with a crystal clear view of the phone itself all around. The case is a bit firmer than we expected based on our previous experiences with third-party clear cases, so Apple's case holds its shape well while also providing solid protection.


The iPhone XR Clear Case has a design that's very similar to Apple's other iPhone cases like the leather and silicone options for other models, with a raised lip around the front to protect your phone when placed or dropped face down and an open bottom that makes it easy to use gestures such as the Home screen swipe that starts at the very bottom of the screen.


It's not the most protective case on the market, but Apple has never been about providing maximal protection, so you'll have to look for other options if you're expecting to need anything more than protection from the occasional small drops.


The case unsurprisingly fits perfectly around the iPhone XR with ample clearance for the rear camera, although we wish the side button covers provided for a little more movement upon pressing to give the buttons a bit more tactile feel and that the ring/silent switch opening was a bit bigger to make it easier to access.


One common issue with third-party cases is that they tend to yellow over time after long-term light exposure. We obviously haven't had Apple's case long enough to know if that will be an issue, but we'd be surprised if Apple didn't take this phenomenon into account when selecting materials for the case.

The iPhone XR Clear Case is priced at $39, which is in line with Apple's other first-party cases but substantially more expensive than many third-party clear cases, so you'll need to decide for yourself whether the price premium is worth it.

Related Roundup: iPhone XR
Buyer's Guide: iPhone XR (Buy Now)

Apple Seeds First Beta of iOS 12.1.2 to Developers With 'Bug Fixes and Improvements'

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming iOS 12.1.2 update to developers, five days after releasing iOS 12.1.1, an update that introduced a revamped FaceTime layout, re-added Live Photos for FaceTime, and brought Haptic Touch for notifications on iPhone XR.

Apple's release notes state that iOS 12.1.2 "contains bug fixes and improvements," so this appears to be a minor update.


Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.1.2 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.

We'll update this post if we discover any notable changes.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

Apple Pay Will Reportedly Launch in Germany This Week, Possibly Tomorrow

Apple Pay will make its long-awaited debut in Germany this week, according to German blog Macerkopf.


The report, citing unnamed sources within German banking circles, says the launch will likely occur on Tuesday with mobile bank N26 and Comdirect expected to be among the initial participating issuers in the country.

Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that Apple Pay would launch in Germany by the end of this year back in July. Apple Pay is also listed as "coming soon" on Apple's website in Germany, so a launch is to be expected imminently.

Apple Pay first launched in the United States in October 2014 and has since expanded to many other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Japan, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Russia, New Zealand, Brazil, Poland, Ireland, and Ukraine.

Apple Pay expanded to Belgium and Kazakhstan in late November.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Germany

Green Monday Deals: Get Black Friday Prices on HomePod, iPad, Beats Headphones, and More Today Only

Today is Green Monday, an online shopping event that is similar to Cyber Monday, allowing customers another chance to buy gifts for the holidays at Black Friday prices and get their items shipped before Christmas.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Most major retailers are running Green Monday deals today, and we've rounded up some of the best and most notable deals in this article. These include HomePod for $250 at Target, an iPad mini 4 for $250 at Best Buy, all-new Anker discount codes on Amazon, and more.

Target


Target today has brought back one of the best Black Friday discounts, offering shoppers the chance to get Apple's HomePod for just $249.99, down from $349.99. This is the same price that Best Buy had on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and another great opportunity to buy Apple's smart speaker at its all-time-low price.


Target also has the 9.7-inch iPad from early 2018 (32GB, Wi-Fi only) for $249.99, down from $329.99. Amazon matches this price in Gold and Space Gray color options, and as of today these are the lowest-ever prices for this version of the iPad and the best available online.

Amazon


Otherwise on Amazon, there are the usual collection of Gold Box deals with some notable inclusions for Green Monday. You can save on a variety of networking products, with the Netgear Orbi Wall Plug Mesh Wi-Fi System for $199.99, down from $299.99.


Another Gold Box offers savings on wireless charging mats from Samsung and iOttie. The main deal here is for iOttie's 7.5W iON Wireless Qi-Certified Charging Pad for $29.95, down from $39.95 in multiple colors.

As usual, one of the best Amazon sales centers upon Anker's accessories, this time including Lightning cables, battery packs, surge protectors, wall chargers, and wireless chargers. We've listed every item part of Anker's Gold Box for Green Monday below:

Lastly, Amazon has Apple's 10.5-inch iPad Pro in multiple sizes and colors at a discount today. You can get the 256GB + Wi-Fi version of the 2017 tablet for $669.99, down from $799.99. 512GB + Wi-Fi is available as well in Silver and Space Gray for $849.99, down from $999.00. Both prices are currently the best available online for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Best Buy


At Best Buy, you can get the iPad mini 4 (128GB, Wi-Fi) for $249.99, down from $399.99 in Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. This is currently the best price available online for Apple's three-year old iPad mini 4, and it's matching the same sale price seen for the tablet during Black Friday at Best Buy and Target.


Best Buy also has the HomePod on sale for $279.99, down from $349.99. This isn't quite as good as Target's current $249.99 sale price on the smart speaker, which we mentioned above.

Apple


Even Apple has joined in on Green Monday deal offers today, with a few discounts on Beats by Dre headphones. Although Apple's sales on Beats are typically beaten out by numerous other companies, today marks one of the few times that Apple is actually offering the lowest-possible prices for these headphones available online today, and sometimes matching popular retailers like B&H Photo and Amazon.

B&H Photo


B&H Photo is celebrating Green Monday with discounts on the 2017 models of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. These savings reach to as much as $330 off original prices of both Wi-Fi Only and Wi-Fi + Cellular models, representing the lowest-ever prices for every iPad Pro listed below. One of the best markdowns in this sale is for the 512GB Wi-Fi only model, which has hit its lowest-ever price today of $799.99, down from a previous discount of $899.00, and from an original price of $1,149.00.


Wi-Fi Only
Wi-Fi + Cellular
If you're shopping around for newer Apple products, B&H Photo also has a few small discounts on 2018 Macs and iPads.

To keep track of more sales happening today and into the remainder of the holiday season, be sure to visit our Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Qualcomm Wins Import Ban on iPhone 6s Through iPhone X in China, Apple Says All iPhone Models Remain Available

CNBC and Reuters today report that the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court has granted Qualcomm an import ban on the iPhone 6s through iPhone X in China after the court found those devices violated two Qualcomm patents. This could result in those iPhone models being unavailable to purchase in China.


However, in a statement issued to those publications, Apple said all iPhone models remain available for customers in China:
Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world. All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts.
The first Qualcomm patent reportedly enables users to "adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photos," while the second is said to relate to "managing applications using a touch screen when viewing and navigating apps."

Qualcomm issued the following statement:
We deeply value our relationships with customers, rarely resorting to the courts for assistance, but we also have an abiding belief in the need to protect intellectual property rights. Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These Court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm's vast patent portfolio.
The ruling does not apply to the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, or iPhone XR, nor does it apply to iPhones running iOS 12, which is possibly why Apple says all iPhone models remain available to customers in China. Apple naturally disagrees with the ban and said it is pursuing all of its legal options through the courts.

Of note, this ruling does not appear to be related to the larger legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm over wireless modem technology in iPhones.

Apple Still Mentioning AirPower in Job Listings

Apple continues to mention its unreleased wireless charging mat AirPower in recent job listings in the United States and New Zealand.


The openings range from student co-op positions to hardware engineers on Apple's Wireless Power Technology team in its hometown of Cupertino, California as well as Auckland, New Zealand, where wireless charging company PowerbyProxi remains based following its acquisition by Apple in October 2017.


The job description for the openings, posted between late October and early December, each refer to the AirPower a single time:
The mission of the Wireless Power Technology team - Build the world's best Wireless Charging user-experience by inventing state-of-the-art technologies. The Wireless Power Technology team develops bleeding-edge Wireless Charging designs that are central to Apple's products - the iPhone, Apple Watch, AirPods, AirPower and more.
Apple first previewed the AirPower at its September 2017 event. At the time, the company's marketing chief Phil Schiller said the accessory was coming in 2018, as did a few Apple press releases.

Apple Newsroom:
Apple gave a sneak peek of AirPower, an Apple-designed wireless charging accessory coming in 2018, which offers a generous active charging area that will allow iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X customers to simultaneously charge up to three devices, including Apple Watch Series 3 and a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods.
At this point, it's not entirely clear if Apple still plans to release the AirPower, which has reportedly faced technical challenges. Apple has not commented on the AirPower for many months, and there are just three weeks remaining for the company to deliver on its promise of releasing the accessory in 2018.

Following its September 2018 event, though, Apple removed all but a few references to the AirPower from its website.

Apple's recent job listings could be an indication that the company is still developing the AirPower, or they could be a simple oversight. There are also AirPower references in the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR user guides.

In late October, in a research note obtained by MacRumors, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote that "Apple may launch new AirPods and AirPower in late 4Q18 or early 1Q19," without providing further details. If accurate, then the AirPower is alive and well and could be released within the next few months.

The delayed or canceled release of the AirPower is believed to be the reason why Apple has yet to release its optional wireless charging case for AirPods, which is listed as "currently unavailable" on Apple's website. Like the AirPower, Kuo expects the wireless case to be released by early 2019.

Google Chrome Will Support Dark Mode in macOS Mojave by Early 2019

Google released Chrome 71 earlier this week, but the latest version of the web browser still lacks support for Dark Mode on macOS Mojave. Fortunately, it appears that will change by early next year.

Dark Mode in Canary, a developer build of Chrome

As mentioned on Reddit, a Google developer recently submitted a code change that implements system-level Dark Mode in Chromium, the open source web browser that serves as the foundation of Chrome. The code change passed the review process and will make its way into a future release of Chrome.

For those unaware, there are several different builds of Chrome that Google uses to slowly test and roll out new features. All code changes begin in Chromium and then work their way from Canary to Chrome Dev to Chrome Beta to Chrome, the stable version released to all users roughly every six weeks.

Dark Mode in Canary, a developer build of Chrome

Dark Mode in Chromium remains hidden behind feature flags, which are essentially code-level toggle switches, but we were able to run a Terminal command to force the darker appearance into action and took screenshots.

The system-level Dark Mode applies a dark appearance to much of the Chrome interface, including the omnibox, tabs, menus, bookmark bar, status bar, and dialog boxes. The startup page with Google search and shortcuts will also have a black background when the Dark appearance is enabled in System Preferences.

Most of the current Dark Mode colors in Chromium are placeholders, according to one developer working on the project, so there may be slight changes to come. One challenge the developers face is ensuring that the Dark Mode is distinguishable from Chrome's private-browsing Incognito Mode, which is also dark.

Incognito Mode in Canary, a developer build of Chrome

We're not entirely sure if Dark Mode will make the cut for Chrome 72, which has already been branched and will likely be released in mid-to-late January. Chrome 73 will likely follow in March, so it looks like early 2019 either way.

In the meantime, a variety of third-party dark themes are available for Chrome, but the omnibox always remains white since it is not allowed to be themed. Third-party dark themes are also available for websites such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Gmail, Reddit, and Twitter to complete the experience.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave
Tags: Google, Chrome

Apple Celebrates Holiday Spirit With Live Performance of 'Frozen' Soundtrack 'Let It Go' by Idina Menzel

Apple celebrated the holiday season today with a live performance by award-winning singer Idina Menzel, who sang a handful of songs from the Disney animated film Frozen, including the soundtrack Let It Go.


"A big thank-you from our Apple family to the phenomenally talented Idina Menzel," tweeted Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Your voice is a gift — thank you for sharing it with us. What a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays!"

The concert took place at Apple's Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, California during its recurring Beer Bash employee gathering today.

Idina Menzel performing at Apple Infinite Loop via Elton

Apple today also hosted its annual celebration of Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas.


Last year, Apple's holiday Beer Bash featured a live performance by singer Gwen Stefani.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple Expected to Release iPhone XS Battery Case Soon, Possibly iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR Versions Too

Apple appears to be readying the release of a new Smart Battery Case for the iPhone XS, and possibly versions for the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR too, based on information uncovered by 9to5Mac's Guilherme Rambo.


Rambo uncovered references to three model identifiers for the case in iOS code, including A2070, A2071 and A2171, suggesting that Apple could release the case in three different sizes for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Another identifier found in the iOS code reportedly points towards a 2018 release.

Apple's first Smart Battery Case was for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, and was equipped with a 1,877 mAh battery that protruded out of the back of the case. Apple later released an iPhone 7 version with a similar design but larger 2,365 mAh battery. Both cost $99 in the United States, with the latter still available.

9to5Mac earlier found an icon in the watchOS 5.1.2 beta that appears to correlate to the new Smart Battery Case. The icon suggests the case will have a Lightning connector, but it's unclear if wireless charging will be supported. It also looks like the new cases might not have a "chin" extending past the bottom of the iPhone.

It's not out of the ordinary for Apple to release new accessories in December, with the original Smart Battery Case launching this month in 2015 and AirPods launching in December 2016 after a multi-month delay.

Apple Begins Selling New Beddit 3.5 Sleep Monitor

Apple today began selling a new Beddit sleep monitor on its online store after receiving FCC clearance for the product earlier this week.


The new version has a model number of 3.5 and retails for the same $149.95 price as the previous model 3.0. The new version looks similar to the previous one, but it is ever so slightly smaller and lighter. It remains 2mm thin.

This represents Apple's first update to the sleep monitor since it acquired Beddit in May 2017. It remains an ultra-thin 2mm flexible sensor strip that is designed to be placed under the sheet on top of the mattress and automatically begins tracking sleep-related data when you lie down for sleep.

The data collected includes sleep time and efficiency, heart rate, respiration, temperature, movement, snoring, room temperature, and room humidity. The data can be viewed in the new Beddit 3.5 app or Health app on an iPhone or iPad. The old Beddit app is now designated for model 3.0.

The new version is also listed on Beddit's website. It is compatible with the iPhone 5s or later with iOS 12 or later and all Apple Watch models with watchOS 4.3 or later.

(Thanks, Jordan!)

Tag: Beddit

Bluesound's Generation 2i Speakers and Home Theater Systems to Receive AirPlay 2 Update on December 11

Bluesound today announced that its Generation 2i line of high-fidelity wireless speakers and home theater systems will each receive a software update on December 11 that will enable AirPlay 2, including the Pulse 2i, Pulse Mini 2i, Pulse Flex 2i, Pulse Soundbar 2i, Node 2i, Powernode 2i, and Vault 2i.


With the AirPlay 2 update, multi-room audio playback will be possible between multiple Generation 2i speakers or systems and other AirPlay 2-enabled devices, including the HomePod, Apple TV, select speakers from Sonos, Libratone, and Bang & Olufsen, and select audio receivers from Denon and Marantz.

AirPlay enables users to easily stream audio from Apple devices to Generation 2i speakers, including music, movies, videos, news, podcasts, radio, audiobooks, and more from apps such as iTunes, Netflix, and YouTube on a Mac or iOS device.

AirPlay also allows for Siri control of Apple Music or Podcasts playback via iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, HomePod, and Apple TV.

Generation 2i speakers and systems will appear in the AirPlay Picker within most apps and in Control Center on devices running iOS 11.4 or later. With AirPlay 2, the speakers can also be added to the Home app on iPhone, enabling users to control all of their HomeKit and AirPlay-enabled products from one place.

Using the BluOS Controller app for iPhone or iPad, it will be possible to group older Bluesound speakers and systems with a Generation 2i speaker or system, allowing them to stream the same AirPlay 2 content throughout the home.

AirPlay 2 is Apple's latest wireless streaming protocol, released in May. Apple maintains a list of supported speakers on its website.