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Apple Watch styles drop to $169 (record low prices); AirPods fall to $139 at Amazon

 

Fresh early Black Friday markdowns have been issued at Amazon, with Apple Watch devices dropping to new record low prices thanks to discounts of up to $350 off. Meanwhile, Apple AirPods have received another price cut, knocking the earphones down to $139 while supplies last.

Apple Watch and AirPod deals at Amazon

New Apple deals

Kicking off the pre-Black Friday sale, Amazon has dropped prices on several Apple Watch devices, with Series 3 models as low as $169.99 and Apple Watch Series 4 styles up to $350 off.

According to our Apple Watch Price Guide, these the best deals available on the devices found below.

The AppleInsider Price Guide also picked up a new discount on 2019 Apple AirPods with Charging Case. Now $139 after an additional $5 price drop, this is the the lowest price on record at Amazon for the handy earphones. At press time, the AirPods are in stock and ready to ship, without an extended wait like the one to two month delay found on Apple AirPods Pro.

For the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, stay tuned to AppleInsider for exclusive savings and the lowest prices on Apple hardware and accessories. Looking for deals on Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro? Check out our savings guide for discounts of up to $438 off.

Apple Watch Series 3 for $169

Apple Watch Series 4 up to $350 off

Apple Watch Series 5 up to $80 off

2019 AirPods on sale

Additional Apple deals

AppleInsider and Apple authorized resellers are also running additional exclusive savings this month on Apple hardware that will not only deliver the lowest prices on many of the items, but also throw in discounts on AppleCare, software and more. These deals are as follows:

  1. Save up to $438 on Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro
  2. Best early Black Friday deals on everything Apple
  3. Apple AirPods Pro are on sale
  4. Pick up a 2018 13″ MacBook Pro for $1,399
  5. 2019 15″ MacBook Pros drop to $1,999

Interested in additional Apple hardware? See if there is a Mac, iPad or Apple Watch deal that will save you $100s by checking out prices.appleinsider.com.

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Ex-Apple executives take aim at datacenter processor market

 

A trio of former Apple executives who worked on the iPhone maker’s mobile chips have launched their own startup to design processors destined for use in data centers, with the company Nuvia recently raising $53 million in funding.

From left to right: John Bruno, Gerard Williams III, and Manu Gulati

From left to right: John Bruno, Gerard Williams III, and Manu Gulati

The three founders of Nuvia are Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati, and John Bruno, who all worked for Apple for multiple years. Williams left Apple earlier this year after spending nine years at the company, leaving his position as senior director of platform architecture, and having helped architect Apple’s CPU and Systems-on-Chip development for Apple’s self-designed A-series processors.

According to Williams’ LinkedIn, he was the “Chief Architect for all Apple CPU and SOC development,” including leading work on the Cyclone, Typhoon, Twister, Hurricane, Monsoon, and Vortex architectures.

Gulati worked on mobile SoC development for eight years at Apple, before being hired away by Google in 2017. Bruno worked on Apple’s platform architecture group for five years after spending time at AMD, before making a similar exit to Google.

Reuters reports the trio are using their backgrounds in mobile chip development and the creation of power-efficient but powerful processors for the iPhone and other Apple products in Nuvia, but for data center usage. By targeting a processor market that typically uses power-hungry chips, the team are hoping their self-designed chip codenamed “Phoenix” will offer performance gains and lower energy usage, as well as more security than current server processors.

“We want to bring all these aspects that we have developed over time through our careers to this new market and really exploit them in this market, because it’s an area ripe for innovation and advancement,” Williams advised.

The effort puts them against industry giants like AMD and Intel who already make up the majority of server processors used today. A similar concept is also being made like other chip producers, such as Qualcomm and Marvell, who are keen to pivot their knowledge of mobile chip design towards server usage.

So far, the project has caught the attention of major server vendor Dell, who among with a number of other investors has put $53 million in funding into the startup. Dell is a major customer of Intel, so investing in potential alternatives offering power savings could be worth investigating, but the company advised it could not comment on whether Dell would use Nuvia’s chips in its servers.

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Here’s what the 16-inch MacBook Pro keyboard sounds like

Apple has released the 16-inch MacBook Pro to the world, after almost a year of rumors. The most obvious changes are how the keyboard feels, and what the machine sounds like in use.

Comparing the 2019 16-Inch MacBook Pro (right) keybaord against the Mid-2019 15-Inch MacBook Pro keybaord

Comparing the 2019 16-Inch MacBook Pro (right) keybaord against the Mid-2019 15-Inch MacBook Pro keybaord

Apple’s new MacBook Pro Keyboard

Keyboards are highly subjective. So highly subjective, that computer manufacturers have produced hundreds if not thousands of different key switches, all with different performance characteristics.

So, a little context is important. We’re not giant fans of typing on glass, like the iPad. We didn’t have a problem with the keyboard that was introduced with the 2016 MacBook Pro —but it wasn’t a favorite of ours.

We get that the 2016 design, and iterations, are polarizing. Where the 2012 through 2015 design had the entire expression of keyboard like and hate, the 2016 through 2019 MacBook Pro weighed more heavily on the “it’ll do” to “this is terrible” range.

In regards to reliability, across the entire staff, exactly one unit had to be replaced. We had the same failure rate with the 2012 through 2015 keyboard. And, the data we’ve been collecting on the 2018 model and the mid-2019 refresh suggests that whatever Apple did for reliability is working, with it having an equivalent failure rate in the first year to the 2012 through 2015 design.

The new 16-Inch MacBook Pro has slightly more key travel than the previous generation

The new 16-Inch MacBook Pro has slightly more key travel than the previous generation

Looking forward, the key actuation on the 16-inch MacBook Pro is punctuated by a soft click, most similar to the mid-2019 noise versus any other, if a bit quieter. Where the 2015 design noise was more from the key bottoming out the switch, if you press slowly, you can feel where the click is on the new computer, before hitting the bottom of the chamber. Gone is the clackety-clack of the original 2016 MacBook Pro keyboard, and you’ll never mistake this keyboard for a desktop mechanical model.

There is more sensory data on the keys in the video that accompanies this piece. But, here are the numbers —the key travel on the 16-inch MacBook Pro keyboard is one millimeter. This is in comparison to between 0.6 millimeters and 0.7 millimeters on the 2016-style keyboard, and between 1.2 millimeters and 1.5 millimeters on the 2012 through 2015 style.

Typing on the updated 16-Inch MacBook Pro keyboard

Typing on the updated 16-Inch MacBook Pro keyboard

In our testing, we had a baseline of 38 DBa of ambient noise measured with a Kanomax model 4431 meter, with the test gear at head height and distance. Typing on the 2016 MacBook Pro with no other CPU load brought that up to about 43 DBa. The highest we could manage on the 16-inch MacBook Pro with a particularly angry bout of random key-mashing was 40 DBa. Quieter indeed.

With that 2016 redesign, Apple made a big deal about key stability being an underpinning of the design. In short, the new keyboard is more key travel than the 2016, but less than the 2012. Whatever Apple did for key stability in the 2016 was moved to the 16-inch MacBook Pro —and this is a good thing.

And, Apple tells us that individual keys can be replaced. We didn’t get any information on what this entails, but at this juncture, it still looks like a complete disassembly is required to do so.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro has a new cooling system, and it sounds different

Apple says that the new MacBook Pro has a completely redesigned cooling system, with different fan blades and more surface area in heat exchanging surfaces. This means that the computer sounds different under load.

Strictly from a noise standpoint, in the same 38 DBA room, the 2016 MacBook Pro under heavy load is about 45 DBa at the same range that we did the keyboard testing. The 16-inch MacBook Pro hit a maximum of 44 DBa, with equivalent fan speeds to the 2016 model.

The MacBook Pro for the last seven years has sounded about the same. It’s hard to describe how it sounds now, but there is a lower pitch and a different warble to the fans now, likely because of the new blade shape. You’ll notice the difference if you’re a long-time user, but it isn’t distracting, and you’ll forget the old sound pretty quickly.

The updated keyboard includes a physical escape key

The updated keyboard includes a physical escape key

We’ve only just started testing thermal performance. Our initial testing suggests that the 16-inch MacBook Pro can maintain a higher clock speed for longer —which isn’t well-reflected in benchmark testing to date.

The fans on the new MacBook Pro start to get audible in that 38 DBa office environment at about 83C processor temperature. Based on observation, they start to pick up speed at about a 75C CPU temperature. a bit earlier than the 80C that the 2016 through 2019 MacBook Pro start to ramp up. We’ll be testing this more in the future.

The efficacy of this thermal re-design in regards to your workflow will vary very much depending on your individual workload. But —using a utility that turns off the boost feature on the processor essentially guarantees a silent machine with next to no fan noise, at a cost of taking about one and a half times longer to complete your job. We’ll be talking about this in the future too.

Save hundreds on the 16-inch MacBook Pro

Apple resellers are accepting orders for the new 16-inch MacBook Pro with a variety of incentives. Expercom is knocking up to $438 off select new configurations with coupon code appleinsider, while Adorama is taking up to $250 off retail models with promo code APINSIDER (prices start at just $2,199 with code). Details can be found in this 16-inch MacBook Pro deal roundup.

Meanwhile, at B&H, shoppers can save $100 on the retail systems and select between no interest financing when paid in full within 12 months with the B&H Financing Card or a sales tax refund in eligible states with its Payboo Credit Card. The latter can save many shoppers anywhere from $200 to $500 on average.

Amazon is also offering instant discounts on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, matching B&H with prices as low as $2,299.

Be sure to check out the AppleInsider 16-inch MacBook Pro Price Guide for the latest deals and product availability on Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro hardware.

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Story of ADLaM – ‘the alphabet that will prevent a people from being lost’ – now a limited-run hardcover book from Story Labs

The African language Fulfulde is spoken by more than 50 million people worldwide. But until recently this centuries-old language lacked an alphabet of its own.

Abdoulaye and Ibrahima Barry were just young boys when they set out to change that. While other children were out playing, the Barry brothers would hole up in their family’s house in Nzérékoré, Guinea, carefully drawing shapes on paper that would eventually become ADLaM – an acronym for “the alphabet that will prevent a people from being lost.”

In the decades since, ADLaM has sparked a revolution in literacy, community and cultural preservation among Fulani people across the world. Abdoulaye and Ibrahima have dedicated their lives to sustaining these efforts, including expanding ADLaM’s reach through Unicode adoption. And thanks to support from a dedicated cross-company team at Microsoft, ADLaM is now available in Windows and Office.

My team at Microsoft Story Labs recently had the privilege of working with Abdoulaye and Ibrahima on a longform feature story about ADLaM. Today I’m happy to announce that we’ve printed a limited-run book version of that story that contains both the original English and an ADLaM translation, so the community of millions now using ADLaM can enjoy it in print. A few copies of the book will be available in a contest giveaway by Microsoft Design on Twitter. The rest will go directly into the hands of the amazing people behind the unique achievement that is ADLaM.

When you’ve been working in the digital realm for most of your career like I have, it’s kind of a treat to make something you can hold in your own two hands! But the biggest reward here was the opportunity to shine a light on remarkable people like Abdoulaye and Ibrahima who have achieved so much, and the team at Microsoft who lent a hand.

Steve Wiens

Microsoft Story Labs

Story by Deborah Bach & Sara Lerner. Design by Daniel Victor.

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Microsoft scientist Dr. Matthias Troyer accepts Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics for quantum contributions

This week, Dr. Matthias Troyer, a Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft, accepted the 2019 Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics – one of the most valuable German prizes in the field – for his groundbreaking contributions to the development of quantum Monte Carlo algorithms.

Presentation of the Hamberg PrizePresentation of the Hamberg Prize
Dr. Matthias Troyer receives the 2019 Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics

“In Professor Troyer, we are honoring a scientist whose work connects myriad areas of physics and computer science. On account of his current research in the field of quantum computing, he partners with universities and companies in the US and around the world. He has also set up an open-source platform in order to share his knowledge. By awarding the prize to Professor Troyer, we also wish to recognize this contribution to collaborative research,” explained Dr. Nina Lemmens, Member of the Executive Board of the Joachim Herz Stiftung.

Dr. Troyer works at the interface between computer science and theoretical physics and is one of just a handful of leading international researchers in this field. Monte Carlo algorithms can predict how tiny particles will interact within quantum mechanical many-body systems such as atoms and molecules, and Dr. Troyer’s work in this area is playing a key role in the research and ongoing development of quantum computers and superconducting materials.

When asked about what this honor means to him, Dr. Troyer said, “One reason I came to Microsoft and why I want to build a quantum computer is that when inventing these Monte Carlo methods, we made big breakthroughs, but we also encountered a fundamental problem of Monte Carlo simulations of quantum systems, the so-called  ‘sign problem.’ The workaround becomes exponentially difficult; a quantum computer will help us move past these barriers.”

With the recent Microsoft announcement of Azure Quantum, teams will soon be able to experiment running algorithms like Monte Carlo against both classical hardware in Azure and quantum hardware from partners, knowing these solutions will scale to future quantum systems as well.

The prize not only comes with a grant, but also entails research visits to Hamburg that will see Dr. Troyer give talks and work closely with doctoral candidates, postdocs, and other colleagues.

Dr. Troyer continued, “I’m looking forward to engaging the academic community in discussing and further advancing what we can do with quantum computing. As we think of quantum algorithms for material science, what problems can we solve now with quantum simulations? And how do we develop quantum algorithms to run once we have a fully scalable quantum computer?”

“The connection to Hamburg means that we can engage with the academic and scientific communities, and with that, I look forward to talking to the people in Hamburg – and around the world – about applying quantum systems and quantum computing to make an impact on material science problems.”

Microsoft and the Azure Quantum team congratulate Dr. Troyer on this significant recognition, and we look forward to supporting his important work in making an impact in solving some of the world’s toughest challenges with quantum computing.

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November 2019 Xbox One Update: Xbox Action for Google Assistant, gamertag updates, text filters and more

November is here and that means friends, family, food and plenty of gaming in between. Thanks to your feedback, we’ve got a number of exciting new updates and features to share with you. The November 2019 Xbox Update begins rolling out today and delivers the Xbox Action for Google Assistant, new improvements for gamertags on console and mobile devices, text filters and even more to help you get the most out of your next gaming session.

Xbox Action for the Google Assistant

We’re excited to announce the Xbox Action for the Google Assistant is now publicly available to Xbox One customers in all countries where the Google Assistant is supported. English language is available today, with additional language support coming soon.

With the launch of the Xbox Action for the Google Assistant,
you can now interact with your Xbox One in even more ways using just your
voice, including the ability to turn your console on and off, launch games and
apps, play and pause videos, and more, from any Google Assistant and
Home-enabled smart speaker or devices, as well as the Google Assistant apps
on iOS and Android.

For more information on the Xbox Action for the Google
Assistant, including setup instructions and example commands, please visit the Google Assistant support page on
Xbox.com
.

The Xbox Action for the Google Assistant joins the Xbox
Skill for Alexa
as another great
option for controlling your console with just your voice, giving you more
choice than ever before in how you interact with Xbox. A huge thank you
to everyone that participated in the beta and helped provide feedback.

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated
Hey Google, play Gears 5 on Xbox.”

Gamertag Improvements
on Console

At E3 this past summer, we introduced our plan to revamp gamertags across PC, mobile devices and Xbox One consoles in order to give players around the world more choice in how they represent themselves including 13 additional worldwide alphabets and a new display option. With the November 2019 Xbox Update, these gamertag options are now supported on console, including profiles, friend lists, messages, Clubs, LFG and more. Everyone will be able to see updated gamertags and users creating new Xbox accounts or changing their existing one will have the option to use the new supported characters or add a numbered suffix to a gamertag that has already been claimed. To learn more about these changes click here.

Current Xbox players can keep their existing gamertags
without any further action required on their part and no change in experience
from the way that it looks today
. There will be no difference in how your
gamertag is presented unless you wish to create a new account or change your existing gamertag.

A screenshot of a video game Description automatically generated
Example of a gamertag utilizing newly supported characters

With all these new gamertags, we wanted to make searching
for your friends or new teammates easier than ever. In addition to the updated
features for gamertags, we are launching the all-new “People Search” feature
which allows you to find others using partial or non-exact search terms.

A screenshot of a cell phone Description automatically generated
New “People Search” feature

Xbox text filters

Last month, we detailed our
vision for Xbox Live content filtration
as part of our commitment to
responsible gaming on Xbox. In the November 2019 Xbox Update, you can set your
own specific level of automated filtration so you can decide what’s acceptable
and what isn’t in the text-based messages you receive across Xbox Live. Filter
levels can be customized based on four tiers of filtration – Friendly, Medium,
Mature and Unfiltered. And as always, if you receive a message that violates
our Community Standards for Xbox, even with filters in place, you can still
report this conduct to Xbox Enforcement for follow up.

On your console, you can configure your message safety by
going to Settings > General > Online safety & family > Privacy
& online safety > Message safety. Whenever you receive a message that’s
beyond your safety setting, it’ll be replaced with a [Potentially offensive
message hidden] placeholder. You can click on that placeholder to learn more
about the settings, and there’s a handy shortcut to go change those settings.
Adult accounts will have the ability to choose whether to see what content has
been filtered based on the filter they choose. To learn more about how to setup
this feature, check out our video walkthrough.

Set your desired level of message filtration

More Mixer viewing
improvements

Building upon the improvements introduced in the October
2019 Xbox Update
, this month we’re making a couple more great enhancements
for Mixer viewers. Thanks to your feedback, you now have the option to move the
Mixer chat on the left or right side of your screen or hide it altogether.

Additionally, we’re updating the Subscribe button with a
reminder to renew when one of your channel subscriptions is within a week of expiration,
making it easier to stay subscribed to your favorite Mixer Partners.  

Chat Position Options
Subscription Renewal Reminder

Voice-to-Text Dictation

Dictation expands further in the November 2019
Xbox Update with support for more languages! With either a headset or Kinect,
you can press the View button whenever the keyboard is on screen to start
converting speech to text. To change your preferences from your regional
default, head to Settings > System > Language & location to select
your keyboard & dictation language.

Supported languages and regions include English
(US & Canada), English (India), English (UK), Spanish (Mexico), Spanish
(Spain), French (Canada), French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese,
Japanese, and Simplified Chinese, with more to come in future updates.

Simplified Settings

This month, we’re introducing a new look for the console
Settings menu aimed to provide simplicity and greater ease of use. The menu has
been condensed and reorganized, with commonly used settings elevated to the top
to improve navigation and discoverability for everyone.

Reorganized Settings page

Console setup
improvements

Beginning this fall, customers unboxing their new Xbox One consoles will be able to get to the action quicker thanks to improvements we are making to the console setup process. Gamers who buy a brand new Xbox One will have the option to customize their Xbox One’s language, time zone, power settings, and more through the Xbox app for iOS or Android while the Xbox console is installing the latest system update.

As always,
these updates are possible because of the Xbox Insiders who have helped shape these
features, so huge thanks to all participants for their valuable input. If
you’d like to help create the future of Xbox and provide feedback on early
features, download the Xbox Insider Hub app on your Xbox One or Windows 10
PC today. You can also visit the Xbox Insider Blog here for the latest release notes, or join the Xbox
Insiders subreddit
to submit feedback and join the discussion.

We’re always working to improve your gaming experience on Xbox One and
will have more announcements in the coming months. In the meantime, stay tuned
for more information and happy gaming!

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Fedora pastebin and fpaste updates

Fedora and EPEL users who use fpaste to paste and share snippets of text might have noticed some changes recently. Recently, an update went out which sends pastes made by fpaste to the CentOS Pastebin instead of the Modern Paste instance that Fedora was running. Don’t fear — this was an intentional change, and is part of the effort to lower the workload within the Fedora Infrastructure and Community Platform Engineering teams. Keep reading to learn more about what’s happening with pastebin and your pastes.

About the service

A pastebin lets you save text on a website for a length of time. This helps you exchange data easily with other users. For example, you can post error messages for help with a bug or other issue.

The CentOS Pastebin is a community-maintained service that keeps pastes around for up to 24 hours. It also offers syntax highlighting for a large number of programming and markup languages.

As before, you can paste files:

$ fpaste sql/010.add_owner_ip_index.sql Uploading (0.1KiB)...
https://paste.centos.org/view/6ee941cc

…or command output…

$ rpm -ql python3 | fpaste
Uploading (0.7KiB)...
https://paste.centos.org/view/44945a99

…or system information:

$ fpaste --sysinfo Gathering system info .............Uploading (8.1KiB)...
https://paste.centos.org/view/8d5bb827

What to expect from Pastebin

On December 1st, 2019, Fedora Infrastructure will turn off its Modern Paste servers. It will then redirect fpaste.org, www.fpaste.org, and paste.fedoraproject.org to paste.centos.org.

If you notice any issues with fpaste, first try updating your fpaste package. On Fedora use this command:

$ dnf update fpaste

Or, on machines that use the EPEL repository, use this command:

$ yum update fpaste

If you still run into issues, please file a bug on the fpaste issue tracker, and please be as detailed as possible. Happy pasting!


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

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Everything the Xbox team announced at X019

X019 kicked off with the biggest episode of Inside Xbox
ever, celebrating all things Xbox with an incredible slate of news, including
over ten Xbox Game Studios games on stage, three brand new games revealed from
Xbox Game Studios, and four more world premiere titles from developers around
the world.

Inside Xbox was also home to big news from Xbox Game Pass (with 21 titles from developers in the ID@Xbox program coming day one with Xbox Game Pass) and Project xCloud, as well as for revealing great new Black Friday deals for the holiday season. Read on for the full recap news from the show.

Obsidian Tackles the Survival Genre with Grounded

During the show, Obsidian debuted a trailer introducing Grounded – a brand-new Xbox Game Preview title launching in Spring 2020 with Xbox Game Pass. Studio Design Director Josh Sawyer and Senior Programmer Roby Atadero joined us to share the inspiration behind Grounded’s development before Obsidian became part of Xbox Game Studios. We also received insight into how Obsidian is injecting narrative and RPG elements into the survival genre with this title. Obsidian closed by highlighting the importance of community involvement for the on-going development of Grounded. Grounded launches on Xbox One digitally through Xbox Game Preview and with Xbox Game Pass, the Microsoft Store, and on Steam this upcoming spring. For full details, check out our Grounded announcement post.

Project xCloud Coming to Windows 10 PCs and New Markets

We announced that more than 50 new titles from over 25 of our valued partners will join the Project xCloud public preview, such as Madden NFL 20, Devil May Cry 5, and Tekken 7. In 2020, we’ll bring Project xCloud to Windows 10 PCs, and we’re collaborating with a broad set of partners to make game streaming available on other devices as well. We’re also expanding support to more Bluetooth controllers, including the DualShock 4 wireless controller and game pads from Razer. Moreover, in 2020, we are expanding the Project xCloud preview to new markets, will enable gamers to stream Xbox games that they already own or will purchase, and will add game streaming from the cloud to Xbox Game Pass. For all of our Project xCloud announcements, take a look at our X019 Project xCloud post.

Rare announces its next New
IP Everwild

Executive producer, Louise O’Connor, appeared on Inside Xbox and shared a glimpse of Everwild, the next new IP from Rare. The team are passionate about creating something special and this first reveal is just a taste of the magical, natural world the team at Rare are bringing to life. There will be more to share at a later date, for now to watch the trailer again, head over to www.xbox.com/games/everwild or take a look at our full Everwild announcement.

The Seabound Soul and Fire comes to Sea of Thieves

On Inside Xbox, Sea of Thieves debuted details for the game’s latest FREE monthly update arriving on Nov. 20 “The Seabound Soul,” This update features an all-new, lore-focused Tall Tale quest for players looking to play their part in a thrilling story. Join Captain Pendragon to uncover the mystery of the feared ship, the Ashen Dragon, and reveal the secrets of a sinister new threat. This update also brings the heat to Sea of Thieves with the introduction of firebombs! This explosive ammo can be thrown or loaded into cannons to put a fiery panic in the hearts of opposing crews in both Adventure and in The Arena. To find out more go to www.seaofthieves.com.

Save Big on Xbox Consoles, Games, and More this Black
Friday

The stage is set for big savings this holiday season. From the hallowed halls of X019 came the reveal of Black Friday deals on Xbox hardware: the Xbox One X, Xbox One S, and Xbox One S All Digital Edition consoles are all up to $150 off! You can also get three months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $1 and get Xbox Game Studios titles for up to 50% off. Finally, select Xbox Wireless Controllers are up to $20 off and we’re offering $10 off Xbox Design Lab Controllers. For complete details, head on over to our Black Friday announcement post.

Xbox Game Pass at X019: Announcing New Games and the
Ultimate Holiday Offer

On today’s Inside Xbox, we unveiled over 50 games coming to Xbox Game Pass. Read more here for complete details on these titles and their availability with Xbox Game Pass. We also revealed the Xbox Game Pass holiday offer: starting November 14, get 3 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for just $1. And for the first time, eligible Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in select markets will also get 1 month of EA Access, 3 months of Discord Nitro, and 6 months of Spotify Premium as part of their member benefits. For all of our Xbox Game Pass news, take a look at our X019 Xbox Game Pass post.

Peeling Back the Layers of Bleeding Edge

On Inside Xbox, a new trailer for Bleeding Edge was revealed by Creative Director Rahni Tucker, along with the March 24, 2020 launch date and pre-order. Pre-order incentives include Closed Beta access on February 14, 2020 and Punk Pack bonus in-game cosmetics. Bleeding Edge will be available with Xbox Game Pass. For complete details, check out our X019 Bleeding Edge blog post.

DONTNOD Narrative in Tell Me Why

On Inside Xbox, Xbox Game Studios revealed Tell Me Why, an exclusive new narrative adventure from DONTNOD Entertainment, the studio behind the beloved Life is Strange franchise. All of Tell Me Why’s gripping chapters will release Summer, 2020. For more information please visit www.tellmewhygame.com and take a look at our Tell Me Why announcement post.

Halo: Reach
Coming to Halo: The Master Chief Collection on December 3

On Inside Xbox, 343 Industries Community Director Brian Jarrard appeared onstage to announce that Halo: Reach lands in Halo: The Master Chief Collection on December 3. Along with sharing a stunning, all-new new launch trailer, Brian announced that all six titles in Halo: The Master Chief Collection can be purchased up-front on PC for $39.99 with Halo: Reach available for individual purchase for $9.99. Halo: The Master Chief Collection isavailable with Xbox Game Pass. On console, players can get the updated Halo: The Master Chief Collection bundle, which includes the Halo 3: ODST campaign and Halo: Reach, for the same price. What’s more, Brian announced that players can get started today by pre-installing on Xbox Game Pass or pre-ordering on either the Microsoft Store or Steam. To find out more, go to xbox.com/halo.  

The Sky’s the Limit in New Footage from Microsoft Flight
Simulator

Today, we shared an all-new trailer for the upcoming Microsoft Flight Simulator with new footage of the realistic world, authentic aircraft and real-time dynamic weather in this next generation simulator being developed in partnership with Asobo Studios. We’ve also just announced our first wave of aircraft manufacturing partners! For more details and to keep up with all the latest news on Microsoft Flight Simulator, visit https://www.flightsimulator.com or head on over to our Flight Simulator partnership announcement post.

The Future of Strategy is Revealed in the First Gameplay
Trailer for Age of Empires IV

Today, the newly named studio World’s Edge revealed the first ever gameplay trailer for their highly anticipated upcoming game, Age of Empires IV, which included a special visit from studio head Shannon Loftis for an in-depth discussion about the future of the dedicated franchise. Shannon also introduced a brand-new launch trailer to celebrate the release of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, which includes remastered 4K graphics and a new expansion, The Last Khans. You can play Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition starting today on Xbox Game Pass, Windows 10, and Steam. Want to learn more? Take a look at our X019 Age of Empires update post.

Taking a Deeper Look at Minecraft Dungeons

Minecraft players were pumped to see Minecraft Dungeons
Executive Producer David Nisshagen live on our stage to show us the all-new
game. He talked through some key facets of never-before-seen gameplay as Game
Director Måns Olson and Senior Producer Nathan Rose did a live demo of this new
and exciting experience!

Minecraft Earth Celebrates Early Access with Pop Up
Events

In
celebration of the game’s continued early access rollout, we unveiled “Mobs at
the Park”
at X019 – the one-of-a-kind, life-sized statues of interactive
mobs popping up in New York City, London and Sydney starting on Saturday,
November 16
. The statues are life-sized creations of the Muddy Pig,
Moobloom and the all-new, amazingly-festive Jolly Llama which will feature a
scannable QR code to play an exclusive new adventure built by the Minecraft
Earth
development team and allow players to receive exclusive access
to the Jolly Llama in-game before it’s globally available in December. The
pop-ups will be live in three locations around the world – Hudson Yards in New
York City
, the Queens Walk in London and Campbell’s Cove in Sydney
– during the weekends of November 16-17, November 23-24 and November
30-December 1, from 10am-7pm local time. Everyone can stay tuned to Minecraft.net or @MinecraftEarth for more
information.

Explore Wasteland 3’s Post-Apocalyptic World in
May 2020

inXile Studio Head Brian Fargo appeared on Inside Xbox to
debut an all-new trailer for Wasteland 3, showing us some incredible new
gameplay footage and unveiling the release date of May 19, 2020. On stage,
Fargo explained the origins of this 80s-inspired post-apocalyptic world, as
well as the brand-new story that will take place in the frozen wastes of
Colorado. He also shared how the partnership with Xbox has helped to allow the
team to make Wasteland 3 the biggest and best game of the franchise,
demonstrated by their recent award of best RPG at Gamescom. You can pre-order Wasteland 3
today
on Xbox One or Windows 10. Wasteland 3 will also be available
on console and PC on day one with Xbox Game Pass.

Get Blown Away by the First Glimpse of CrossfireX
Gameplay

Inside Xbox host @BennyCentral took us on a global journey from Seoul to Finland to Seattle to meet the teams working on CrossfireX, followed by the debut of a gameplay teaser trailer that gives fans just a taste of this massive FPS coming exclusively to Xbox in 2020. Stay tuned to xbox.com/CrossfireX for all the latest game news.

Catch the Drift in KartRider: Drift on Xbox One

If you’re looking for the ultimate challenge, DS Choi from the KartRider: Drift team unveiled what you’re looking for with their latestgame. Pro racers and league champions Hojun Moon and Insoo Park demonstrated this racing experience by taking us through outrageous conditions at breakneck speeds with customizations to boot, proving this game will challenge even the most road tested when it comes to Xbox One.

Final Fantasy Series
Joins Xbox Game Pass and Kingdom Hearts Classics Coming to Xbox One

Square Enix Developers Shinji Hashimoto and Ichiro Hazama appeared on Inside Xbox to announce that the Final Fantasy series on Xbox including Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster, Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, and Final Fantasy XV will be coming to Xbox Game Pass on Console and PC starting in 2020. Also, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue will come to Xbox One in 2020. Finally, a new Kingdom Hearts 3 demo is available starting today, November 14 on Xbox One – click here to download it now.

We Feel the Force with an Exclusive Look at Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Earlier today,
Electronic Arts and Xbox debuted the co-created Become a Jedi video to kick off
the X019 broadcast of Inside Xbox, as an invitation for all gamers to Jump In
and indulge your ultimate Jedi fantasy. Following, Respawn Game Director Stig
Asmussen provided an exclusive look at new gameplay leading into the game’s
launch on November 15.

Enter the
Criminal Underworld of the Critically Acclaimed Yakuza Series on Xbox One

Today on Inside Xbox, Sega announced that Yakuza is coming soon to Xbox Game Pass. In a new trailer debuted today on the show, Sega and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio’s cult classics Yakuza 0, Yakuza Kiwami 1, and Yakuza Kiwami 2 were revealed to be coming to Xbox for the first time. If you want to learn more, head over to our X019 Yakuza announcement post.

Strap in for a
New Look at Planet Coaster on Xbox One

Thrills, chills, and
popcorn spills! Planet Coaster showcased its latest gameplay trailer for
the fans at X019.

Play Around in
Purgatory in West of Dead

Developer Raw Fury announced West of Dead, which
lets you step into the boots of the dead man William Mason (voiced by Ron
Perlman) and descend into the grim and gritty world of Purgatory in this
fast-paced twin-stick shooter that’ll put your skills to test. Dodge behind
cover as you try to outgun your enemies in the unknown procedurally generated
hunting grounds. The Wild West has never been this dark. Sign up for the Open
Beta today at westofdead.com.

Build a Village in a Twisted Mirrored Universe in Drake
Hollow

The
Molasses Flood announced their next game, Drake Hollow, a cooperative
action village building game set in the Hollow – a blighted mirror of our world
– in which you build and defend villages of Drakes, the local vegetable folk.
Either solo or with friends, you explore a procedurally generated world of
islands trapped in poisonous aether. You gather supplies, build networks to
bring them back to your camp, find and rescue Drakes in the wilderness, raise
them, and defend them from attacks by a menagerie of feral beasts. You need to
balance your time carefully: what supplies are most crucial at any given
moment, what does your village need: more resources to keep the Drakes thriving
or more defenses to help protect them while you explore.

Experience a Supernatural Crisis in the
Upcoming Anthology Series Last Stop

Last Stop is
the new game from Variable State, creators of the award-winning Virginia,
and will be published by Annapurna Interactive. The game is a single-player
third-person adventure set in present-day London, where you play as three
separate characters whose worlds collide during a supernatural crisis. Last
Stop
is an anthology connecting three stories in one, centered on secret
lives, the ties that bind, and how magic can be found in the mundane.

Embark on a Multidimensional Journey in The
Artful Escape

A fresh, new peek of The Artful Escape was also unveiled during Inside Xbox. Developed by Beethoven & Dinosaur and published by Annapurna Interactive, The Artful Escape tells the story of Francis Vendetti as he embarks on a multidimensional journey to create his stage persona. The Artful Escape is an action-adventure, narrative driven, musical-laser-light-battle kind of videogame with dazzling visuals, killer music, and a soulful message about what it means to find your true self.

We hope you enjoyed the show, and we’ll see you next time!

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Apple News+ fails to bring in new subscribers despite impressive launch

 

Apple’s Apple News+ launched earlier this year with impressive initial subscriber counts, but the company has failed to bring in significant numbers since then.

Apple News+

When it launched in March, Apple News+ had wrangled more than 200,000 subscriptions in its first two days. Since then, the company has struggled to gain new subscribers, according to those familiar with the subject.

Apple News+ costs customers $9.99 a month, the same cost as Apple Music, and gives customers access to over 300 curated publications. Publications included are People, Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and paywalled versions of popular online news sites.

However, the subscribers don’t seem to be rolling in, according to CNBC. One publisher had told them his company received somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 per month in revenue, a number that was far lower than initially expected.

Interestingly enough, another publisher disclosed that while subscription revenue was lower than expected, it had brought in a different demographic of readers that skewed younger and more female. The same publisher had also said that advertising revenue from Apple News, a free news service from Apple, has consistently trended upwards.

Publisher revenue is an issue Apple is reportedly attempting to improve, with one June report indicating it is seeking input from participating publishers to tweak the service. At that time, publishers who were allegedly advised by Apple they would see ten times the revenue of Apple acquisition Texture in its first year of operation, one publishing executive claimed “it’s one-twentieth of what they said. It isn’t coming true.”

Apple News is, however, starting to pay off for some European publishers, despite the relatively small number of countries offering Apple News+. An August report revealed publishers were seeing increased revenues from being on the basic Apple News service, including some where ad impressions had tripled while revenue doubled.

A report on Thursday had claimed that Apple is including a section in deals signed, telling publishers that it reserves the right to bundle services in the future. Sources familiar with the matter say that Apple may roll out these bundles in 2020, in an attempt to get more people to subscribe. This would likely give users the option to subscribe to Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple News+ for one lower monthly rate.

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Microsoft and Salesforce expand strategic partnership to accelerate customer success

Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for Salesforce Marketing Cloud to help customers scale and grow; new integration between Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds with Microsoft Teams will boost productivity

REDMOND, Wash., and SAN FRANCISCO — Nov. 14, 2019 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) on Thursday announced plans to expand their strategic partnership to help customers meet the evolving needs of their businesses and boost team productivity. Salesforce has named Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Salesforce will also build a new integration that connects Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud with Microsoft Teams.

Salesforce and Microsoft logos
“At Salesforce, we’re relentlessly focused on driving trust and success for our customers,” said Marc Benioff and Keith Block, co-CEOs, Salesforce. “We’re excited to expand our partnership with Microsoft and bring together the leading CRM with Azure and Teams to deliver incredible customer experiences.”

“In a world where every company is becoming a digital company, we want to enable every customer and partner to build experiences on our leading platforms,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft. “By bringing together the power of Azure and Microsoft Teams with Salesforce, our aim is to help businesses harness the power of the Microsoft Cloud to better serve customers.”

Comments on the news

“Marriott has more than 7,200 properties spanning 134 countries and territories, so driving efficiency and collaboration is critical,” said Brian King, global officer, Digital, Distribution, Revenue Strategy, and Global Sales, Marriott International. “The combination of Salesforce and Microsoft enables our teams to work better together to enhance the guest experience at every touchpoint.”

“With 400 brands and teams in 190 countries, we are always looking for ways to scale more efficiently and strengthen collaboration,” said Jane Moran, chief technology advisor, Unilever. “The powerful combination of Salesforce and Microsoft enables us to be more productive and connect with each other and our customers like never before.”

Salesforce names Microsoft Azure as its public cloud provider for marketing cloud

With Salesforce Marketing Cloud, marketers are empowered to know their customers, personalize marketing with Einstein, engage with them across any channel, and analyze the impact to improve campaign performance. Bringing its Marketing Cloud workload to Azure, Salesforce joins the over 95% of Fortune 500 companies benefitting from an Azure infrastructure offering the most global regions of any cloud provider.

Through this partnership, Salesforce will move its Marketing Cloud to Azure — unlocking new growth opportunities for customers. By moving to Azure, Salesforce will be able to optimize Marketing Cloud’s performance as customer demand scales. This will reduce customer onboarding times and enable customers to expand globally more quickly with Azure’s global footprint and help address local data security, privacy and compliance requirements.

​Salesforce and Microsoft Teams integration will boost productivity

​As teamwork becomes a driving force in the workplace, people want to bring workflows and frequently used apps into their collaboration workspace environments. Sales and customer service are highly collaborative, team-centric functions, and many companies actively use both Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Teams. As part of this agreement, Salesforce will build a new integration that give sales and service users the ability to search, view, and share Salesforce records directly within Teams. The new Teams integration for Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds will be made available in late 2020.

Building on a commitment to customer success

These new integrations will build on existing solutions that enable mutual customers to be more productive, including the hundreds of thousands of monthly active users using Salesforce’s Microsoft Outlook integration to create, communicate and collaborate.

​About Salesforce​

Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, voice and blockchain—to create a 360° view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

Stephanie Barnes, Salesforce PR, (415) 722-0883, stephanie.barnes@salesforce.com

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.