Weekly Digest - 2021.18


Starship has landed

SpaceX successfully landed a Starship prototype for the first time. Well, technically it's not the first one, but it's the first that survive the test. The Starship SN15 did the same test as previous prototypes. It launched itself achieving high altitude, and started free-falling. Then, just above the ground, prototype reoriented itself and softly landed on the landing pad.

This is a huge success for the SpaceX. If everything goes as planned, NASA might use Starships for the first two missions to the Moon by around 2024.

Apple vs Epic Games

This week we had the first round of hearings. Here are the takeaways:

  • Apple consider changing the 70/30 split back in 2011. They considered to change it to 75/25 or even 80/20 when the pressure from competitors would be high enough,
  • Apple tried to stop Netflix from abandoning in-app purchases,
  • Tim Sweeney contacted Tim Cook about opening the AppStore in 2015,
  • Epic would have taken a special deal from Apple,
  • Epic is losing hundreds of millions on Epic Store,
  • Fortnite made $9 billion in two years,
  • Epic wanted Fortnite's multiplayer to be free on Xbox.

Image credits: SpaceX

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Amazon Luna

Amazon has launched its game streaming service. It's powered by  Nvidia's GPUs and runs on Windows, which should developers easily port games. Right now, it supports over 100 games.

The launch date is still unknown, but  service will be available on PC, Mac, Fire TV. The iPhone and iPad  will get support  via web apps. An Android version planned for after launch.  The official pricing is also unknown, but early access price is set at $5.99/month.

Amazon also announced special controller that will cost $49.99 during the early access.

Epic Games vs Apple continued

Multiple developers, including Epic Games, Spotify and Basecamp,  have  formed the Coalition for App Fairness  intended to coordinate efforts to fight against Apple's monopolistic behaviors on the AppStore.

Windows XP source code leaked

The source code of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 has leaked online.

It shouldn't be a big issue for Microsoft as Windows XP is no longer supported, but system itself might still have couple of surprises, as secret macOS theme has been discovered.

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Xbox Series S & X

Microsoft has officially confirmed Xbox Series S. It's a simplified version of the Xbox Series X. Here are the highlights:

  • Frame rate: up to 120FPS,
  • Resolution: 1440p with 4K upscaling,
  • 512GB NVME SSD,
  • No optical disc,
  • 60% smaller than Series X,
  • Price: $299,
  • Launch on November 10th, 2020.

It's a good choice for people who want new Xbox, but doesn't care about 8K and optical disc. The only downside is really small storage. 512GB is really small, especially when games can take more than 200GB of storage. Hopefully, soon Microsoft will release another version with 1TB of storage.

Regarding Xbox Series X, it will also launch on November 10th for $499. The preorders will start on September 22.

September Apple Event

Apple has announced an event that will be held on September 15th. Similar to WWDC, this event also will be digital only. According to rumors this event will focus on new iPad Air, Apple Watch Series 6. New iPhones will be announced in October or even later.

Epic vs Apple continued

In August, Epic sued Apple, couple weeks later Apple is suing Epic, asking for damages over the breach of  developer contract. In the press release they called Epic the "modern corporate Robin Hood" 😂

Apple has every legal right to do so, but I think the PR damages will cost Apple more than potential settlement with Epic.


Image credits: Microsoft

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Floating Apple Store in Singapore

Apple is planing to open another Store in Singapore. Normally, such thing wouldn't be even worth mentioning, as Apple has hundreds stores around the world. But this is the first Apple Store that floats on the water. Apple Marina Bay Sands is a giant glowing orb and will be docked on the bayfront of Singapore.

Epic won first battle against Apple

Judge decided that Apple can’t retaliate against Epic Games by terminating the Epic's  developer accounts or restricting use of Unreal Engine by developers on Apple platforms. Also, judge decided that Apple doesn't have to bring Fortnite back, as Epic deliberately violated AppStore rules.

So the first battle has been won by Epic, but this is not the only good news for them. Epic gained an ally in Microsoft. Company from Redmond asked Apple to allow Epic continue development on Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine is one the most popular game engines in the world, and cutting off the support for Apple platforms might have severe consequences for game industry.

Despite all of this, Later this week, Apple did removed Epic's account from AppStore with all its games.  What is more important Apple  listened to the judge, and left Unreal Engine's account intact.

Windows 95 is 25 years old

Microsoft Windows 95 just turned 25. It's incredible how fast it went and how much we progressed. 25 years ago you needed good PC to run it, today you can run it in a browser.

Gamescon 2020

After cancelling E3 it looked liked gamers will not get any major gaming event this year, but Gamescom organizers found a way.  They created virtual conference. Unfortunately nothing special was announced, but we got couple of cool looking trailers.


Image credits: Javan Ng