Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
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    Konami officially announced on Wednesday a few changes for its soccer series. It will be renaming the Pro Evolution Soccer series to eFootball and turn it into a digital-only, free-to-play experience that will launch later this year on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. Android and iOS will follow later.RELATED: Netflix Games Will Be Free For SubscribersBy winter, the plan is to have all versions of the game feature cross-play. This is a huge move for the game, and one that fans of sports games have long asked for in other titles. “It all began with the implacable determination to create a revolutionary soccer platform,” Konami said in a statement on its website. “Our ambition was to recreate the perfect soccer environment, from the grass on the field, to the players’ movement, all the way to the crowds in the stadium. To this end, we decided to create a new soccer engine with a newly built animation system and revamped game commands. The final result was even more impressive than we had originally conceived. We went beyond the border of PES, into a new realm of virtual soccer. To signal this new era, we have decided to part ways with our beloved PES brand and rename it eFootball.” Konami also detailed some of the game’s roadmap, with an all-new game engine to release in early autumn, along with local matches using some of the most renowned clubs in all of soccer, including FC Barcelona, Arsenal, and Manchester United. Later in the fall, the company plans to have online leagues open up alongside Team Building Modes. Finally, esports tournaments will kick off in winter with full cross-platform and mobile controller support enabled. RELATED: Aliens: Fireteam Elite Seems Like Just Another Bug Hunt 

    Twitter tests full-size images previews in your prey on Android and iOS

    The next time you’re browsing through your Twitter timeline on your phone, you may notice a small but impactful change to how the service handles images. With a small subset of iOS and Android users, Twitter has started testing full-sized picture previews, allowing users to see timeline images in their original aspect ratio. Before starting today’s test, Twitter cropped all non-16:9 images to maintain uniformity on your timeline. Provided a tweet only includes one image and it’s in a relatively standard aspect ratio, the change will make it so that you don’t have to tap on an image to see it in its entirety. In theory, that should make the experience of browsing through your timeline more streamlined. Additionally, the company announced that it’s also testing a feature that allows people to upload 4K-quality images from their iPhone or Android device. In the “Data usage” section of the settings menu, you’ll see a toggle to enable high-quality image uploads. It might seem like a small thing for Twitter to change how it displays images, but it’s a significant one all the same. Over the years, there have been a lot of complaints about how the service handles images. Those came to a head last year when people found that Twitter’s image-cropping algorithm was focusing on white faces over black ones. “With this test, we hope to learn if this new approach is better and what changes we need to make to provide a ‘what you see is what you get’ experience for tweets with images,” said Twitter Chief Design Officer Dantley Davis of the test. Twitter hasn’t said when the cropping change could make its way to all users. As with any test, the company could decide to keep things the way they are.

    These Shortcuts will help you remove your iPad or iPhone

    “Spring cleaning” usually conjures up images of tedious housework, but it’s worth thinking about tidying up your smartphone and tablet, too — and I don’t mean physically, though that might also be a good idea. If you’re anything like us, your devices are full of old photos, files and apps taking up valuable storage space. Now is as good a time as any to start cleaning things out. And if you’re an iPhone or an iPad user, Apple’s Shortcuts feature just might be able to help. What are Shortcuts? In a nutshell, Shortcuts let you quickly perform a specific task, or a more complex sequence of tasks, with a single tap or voice command. This idea isn’t unique to Apple — if you’re a geek of a certain age, you probably know these as strings of actions better as “macros.” Building your first Shortcut can seem daunting at first, but relax: You don’t need to be a coder to create a truly useful setup. All it really takes is a little time to put all the pieces together. More than anything, I’ve come to think of these things as little logic puzzles. You know the result you’re looking for — it’s just a matter of thinking through the steps and finding the right sequence of actions to get you there. There are, of course, limits to what Apple will let you do. Let’s say you’re like me, and you’re just awful at remembering to clear out your notifications regularly. I would love to create a Shortcut that would automatically dismiss notifications generated more than a day or two ago, but Apple doesn’t make information about a notification’s age available to Shortcuts. Similarly, there doesn’t appear to be a way — for now, at least — to figure out the last time you used certain apps, so there’s no way to build a Shortcut that highlights apps you could delete without missing them. As you’ll see later, Apple also has a fairly limited set of tools for interacting with files stored directly on your iOS device. Granted, there are a handful of third-party apps, like Toolbox Pro, Data Jar and JellyCuts, that dramatically expand on the Shortcut tools that ship in iOS, but the thing to remember is that there are some tasks you can’t pull off with Shortcuts yet. Oh, and for the sake of your sanity, it’s best to start piecing together Shortcuts on as big a screen as possible. Since there’s no Shortcuts functionality available on Apple’s Macs — even the new ones running the iPhone-inspired M1 chipset — that means use an iPad if you have one. Don’t worry: As long as your iPad and iPhone are signed into the same Apple ID, any Shortcut you create on one will be visible in the other. How to create a Shortcut Piecing together complex actions to help clean out our devices involves a lot of trial and error at first, so let’s work through a basic example. Meet BackupNotes: It’s the first half-decent Shortcut I ever made, and as the name implies, it’s meant to help you quickly save your old notes in the cloud before you go through and start cleaning house. The logic here is pretty straightforward. First, we check today’s date and dial it back 30 days to make sure nothing relatively new and necessary gets caught in the net. And right off the bat, you have a few different ways to pull this off. At first, I actually created a separate shortcut called “MonthAgo” that takes the current date and subtracts 30 days from it. From there, I could add an instruction to the BackNotes workflow to run the MonthAgo shortcut first, then pass that adjusted date into the Find Notes action. Turns out, that whole rigmarole wasn’t actually necessary. After a little Googling, I could just define the date and adjust it directly inside this shortcut. This new approach is a whole lot cleaner, but I’m still grateful I took the long way around first since it opened my eyes to the possibility of linking multiple shortcuts together. It’s pretty much smooth sailing from there. Searching for actions related to the Notes app in the Shortcuts sidebar reveals a handful of options, including just the one we need to select notes older than the date we defined earlier. Then, just add an action for compressing those notes into a single ZIP file — you can’t see it in the image above, but there’s also a text field to give the new compressed file a name — and cap things off with a save action. I should note that while those last few steps sound like the easiest, they took a little more time to figure out than I care to admit. Originally, I had wanted my iOS devices to open the share sheet so you could more easily get that new ZIP file to contacts, or into the cloud storage app of your choice. You can do that, but there’s a caveat. If you use a Shortcut to give a file a name and try to send it via the share sheet, the name doesn’t actually stick; it winds up with whatever generic name Gmail or Telegram or Google Drive decides to give it. Naturally, the Shortcuts apps’ flexibility means there’s a fairly easy workaround, if you’re game. It just takes a couple extra steps right at the end. You could, for instance, close things out with an action to send that same file via the share sheet, plus one more to delete it after you’ve moved it where you want it. It’s functional when run, but it requires one final tap to confirm you want to delete the ZIP file, which feels a little inelegant. Thankfully, the solution I landed on does just fine for my purposes. By saving the notes backup through iCloud Drive, you can manually choose a third-party storage service (Google Drive, in my case) that you’ve already connected to the iOS Files app. Tweaking the formula Now that your notes are all safely stored elsewhere, you can now scrub through them all and delete as needed. But what could we do if we put a twist on that basic formula? Well, how about this: Let’s back up other files you’ve stored on your iOS device before you go on a cleaning spree. As you can see, the last two steps here are the same as in the previous example, but the lead-in is a little different. Because I want to be able to choose the backup’s file name rather than just tag it with the date as we did before, things start with an “Ask for text” action. The user then punches in whatever file name they want, which gets saved as a variable in the following step. (Pro tip: Once you find actions you suspect you’ll use frequently, you can save them as favorites for easy access.) With the beginning and the end sorted, it’s all a matter of getting to the files we need. That’s easier than it sounds. Rather than use the “Find Notes” action from last time, “Get File” is what we need to dig into your iOS device’s file structure. Once that action is in place, it’s important to make sure the options for showing the document picker and selecting multiple files are ticked. That way, once you actually run the Shortcut, you’ll be able to navigate through the folders on your device and pick the ones you’d like to package up and offload in the final two actions. Once again, you can store that new compressed file in almost any cloud storage service that’s connected to your Files app. (I say “almost” because Dropbox can be added to your Files app, but you can’t navigate to it when it’s time to save the file. If your life lives in Dropbox, you have to use a different, similarly straightforward action to store your backup in there.) As useful as this Shortcut can be, Apple’s limitations mean it’s not as automated as one might prefer. There’s no way that I know of to use the “Get File” action to collect all files in a specific folder, like the one all your Safari file downloads get saved to. Being able to automatically select those files, bundle them up and save them somewhere would be really helpful, but the app just doesn’t offer that kind of granularity. Adding more actions I don’t know about you, but the screenshots album on my phone is a disaster — it’s all fleetingly funny tweets, images of my homescreen I captured by accident and a screen grab of this beautiful nightmare. If your iOS device is starting to run low on storage, clearing up every little bit can help, so let’s take a stab at a Shortcut that automatically deletes some of those old images. Right off the bat, there are two new actions to dig into. The first does exactly what it says on the tin — feed it a snippet of text and the Shortcut will read it aloud. (This obviously isn’t necessary, but what’s life if you can’t goof around a little?) The second, meanwhile, is one you’ll probably find yourself returning to pretty frequently. It gives you the ability to define and display multiple options in a notification that slides down from the top of the screen. In this case, we want to be able to delete screenshots we consider old, or delete all screenshots in one fell swoop. It also introduces us to the idea of carrying out multiple tasks in a single Shortcut. This will definitely come in handy as you continue to build your own. Granted, these are pretty simple tasks — one of them does the now very familiar date adjustment trick, and uses the Find Photos action to select all of the screenshots created more than a month ago. (You can tweak this pretty easily if you’d rather, say, select screenshots that were last modified before a specific date.) Once that action applies those criteria to find the right images, it’s just a matter of adding a Delete Photos action to get rid of them. By default, you’re prompted to confirm you want to erase those files, so there’s always a chance to back out if you think better of it. As for the next task, deleting all screenshots instead of a selection of them? That's easy: Just recreate the previous task, but without specifying how old the screenshots should be. As with the other examples we’ve worked through, there’s plenty of room for experimentation and customization depending on exactly how you’d like things to work, but for now, we have a dead-simple tool for clearing out some of your old, unneeded files What next? So, we’ve created a few helpful Shortcuts — now what? Well, you should probably try them out. All the Shortcuts you make are accessible from inside the app, but there are situations where you might need quicker access to them. For those cases, you can put the appropriate Shortcuts right on your home screen, and as usual, there are a few ways to do this. The simplest way to go is by adding a Shortcut widget. On an iPhone, long-press an app icon and tap the plus sign that appears in the top-left corner. From there, you can pick out exactly the widget layout that feels right, and plop it in the middle of all your apps. If that looks a little too big for your liking, you can also create app icons on your home screen that directly execute your Shortcut of choice: Engadget Alternatively, you could always just use Siri — it can recognize all of your Shortcuts by name, and executes them (almost) the same way as if you had just poked at your screen. The only real difference is that if any of your Shortcuts require text input, like the file name prompts we built above, you’ll have to respond out loud rather than punch text in manually. This is just a crash course for Shortcut creation. If you’re interested in learning more about crafting these clever utilities, there’s no shortage of places to turn — I’ve mostly relied on the excellent r/Shortcuts subreddit and Chris Lawley’s YouTube channel to get a sense of what was and wasn’t possible early on. But, the best way to figure out how to make better Shortcuts is by pulling some apart. Pop into your iOS device’s settings and allow “untrusted” shortcuts. This allows you to install shortcuts created by other people, and looking at how their logic unfolds can be extremely informative. Just make sure you take a few moments to look at how those third-party shortcuts actually work before you run them!

    Apple releases 14 iOS.4.1 and 11 macOS.2.3 to handle a WebKit vulnerability

    Apple has released a set of updates it recommends all iPhone, iPad and Mac users download as soon as possible. No, iOS 14.5 and Big Sur 11.3 aren’t out yet. Instead, what we have are iOS 14.4.1 and macOS 11.2.3.  When you download them on your devices, all you’ll get is a terse explanation from Apple saying that they’re “important.” However, the support pages spotted by 9to5Mac provide more information. Both updates address a memory corruption issue within WebKit, the engine that powers Apple’s Safari browser. The vulnerability, which was discovered by security researchers from Google and Microsoft, may have allowed bad actors to execute code on your devices using “maliciously crafted” web content. On iOS, you can manually download an update to your iPhone or iPad by opening the Settings app, and then tapping “General” followed by “Software Update.” Meanwhile, on macOS, open the System Preferences menu and click on “Software Update.”

    Google updates Gmail along with other iOS apps for the very first time in months

    Google has updated the Gmail iOS app for the first time in months, along with Meet, Sheets, Docs, Calendar and Tasks. Aside from Tasks now supporting widgets on iOS 14, these are minor updates centered around bug fixes and performance improvements. It's the first time Google has rolled out new versions of these apps since Apple started forcing third-party developers to submit privacy nutrition labels. It updated several YouTube apps in February. Some other major Google iOS apps are still on ice, however. The company hasn't made any changes to the Chrome app since November. Google rolled out the most recent version of the Drive iOS app on December 7th, the day before Apple made the privacy labels mandatory. The Drive App Store page now includes a privacy label, but Chrome's does not.

    Amazon adds Mac Minis to its cloud to assist Apple developers

    AWS Amazon is bringing the Mac Mini to the cloud for developers who want cloud-based build and test machines for any Apple device app. The new “EC2 Mac instances” use physical Mac Minis with Intel i7 six-core chips and 32GB of RAM. However, AWS plans to roll out M1 Mac Minis as well within the first half of 2021, the company told TechCrunch. “Powered by Mac Mini hardware and the AWS Nitro System, you can use Amazon EC2 Mac instances to build, test, package, and sign Xcode applications for the Apple platform including macOS, iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and Safari,” wrote Amazon evangelist Jeff Barr in a blog post. [embedded content] The EC2 Mac instances use unmodified Mac Minis installed into racks on service sleds. You’ll also get full access to your own machine that’s not shared with any other users, rather than just a virtualized instance. “We wanted to make sure that we support the Mac Mini that you would get if you went to the Apple store and you bought a Mac Mini,” said AWS VP David Brown. You’ll pay for that privilege. It costs $1.083 per hour with a minimum 24 hours to get started, with billing done by the second thereafter. That’s considerably more than other Mac Mini cloud providers, as TechCrunch noted, though Amazon is promising all the benefits of a regular AWS server, including speed, security and granular controls. The company can also deliver different machine images for past and upcoming macOS versions. “You can literally launch these machines in minutes and have a working machine available to you,” said Brown. “If you decide you want 100 of them, 500 of them, you just ask us for that and we’ll make them available.” The Mac instances are now available for testing in the various regions in the US, Europe and Asia, with others to follow later. In this article: iOS, AWS, Amazon, iPADOS, EC2 Mac Instances, macOS, developers, Mac Mini, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

    Facebook wants users in order to set Messenger because the default on iOS

    Sponsored Links NurPhoto via Getty Images Facebook wants you to be able to choose Messenger as the default messaging app on iOS, The Information reports. Apparently, Facebook has been trying to convince Apple to let users swap the default messaging app to Messenger for years. Now that iOS 14 lets users select alternative web browser and email apps, Facebook is renewing its Messenger push.  “We feel people should be able to choose different messaging apps and the default on their phone,” Stan Chudnovsky, a Facebook VP, told The Information. “Generally, everything is moving this direction anyway.” Messenger probably isn’t the greatest option for your main messaging app, but being able to reset the default could let you choose apps that offer a better experience than Messenger or Apple’s Messages. Android’s mobile OS already lets users choose their preferred messaging app. Sadly, Apple is probably not going to give users that choice. Apple’s Messages app is still one reason that people buy Apple hardware, and Apple uses the encrypted messages to brag about its privacy practices.  But not allowing users to choose their default messaging app could add to the argument that Apple practices “monopolist behaviors.” The company is facing increased criticism over its App Store fees, and it is the target of multiple antitrust investigations. Today, Epic Games, Spotify and others announced the Coalition for App Fairness, an alliance to pressure both Apple and Google to change their app store rules and other restrictive policies.  In this article: facebook, messenger, messaging, app, default, ios, apple, antitrust, monopoly, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 330 Shares Share Tweet Share

    iOS doesn’t have to be similar to Android, it requires more Google just

    Apple’s iOS 14 has taken some heat for copying Android features. The most obvious example being the new customizable widgets (iOS had widgets before, but it was limited to the left-most screen of the main menu). Another big change is the introduction of the App Library, a decluttered app screen that’s suspiciously similar to Android’s app drawer. There are other changes, too, such as a discreet view for Siri that won’t take over your whole display, and a new picture-in-picture mode. And yes, these are features that we’ve seen on Android as well. But for me, the real star of iOS 14 is not quite so obvious (It’s so low-key that Apple didn’t mention it at its WWDC keynote). It’s the fact that, at long last, iOS now lets you pick your own default email and browser apps. This one feature, more than any other, is what I feel is a key factor in preventing me from switching to Android. That’s because, as an iOS user, it is not Android that I find attractive -- it’s Google. Even though I’ve used several Android handsets over the years, I’ve always stuck with an iPhone. For one thing, I’m so invested in the ecosystem at this point (I’ve purchased many apps, several of which are iOS-only) that switching to another platform would be too painful.  But the main reason that I still have an iPhone, despite the many advantages of Android, is simply force of habit. Its interface, design language and keyboard feel so much like second nature that I can’t get used to anything else. This is a huge reason why Android’s widgets and home screens simply don’t appeal to me: I just never saw the need for them. Even now, after I’ve installed iOS 14, I haven’t bothered adding a widget or cleaning up my home screen, because I just like it the way it is. I suspect many other iOS users feel the same.  Chesnot via Getty Images For me, the main benefit that Android has over iOS has never been its design or its interface or anything like that. The main advantages with Android, in my view, are the features. Specifically, its compatibility with Google’s apps and services. That’s because, as much as I like iOS, Google is the world in which I live. I use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Photos and Chrome literally every day. I find Google services easier and more pleasant to use, and I like that it all syncs together. The fact that Android comes with Gmail, Chrome and all the usual Google services by default, working seamlessly with a single sign-on, is great. That hasn’t been the case with iOS, and one can certainly understand why. Apple obviously wants you to use its own apps and services over the competition. Sure, third-party apps like Gmail and Chrome have been around for a few years now but there were always certain restrictions. The biggest hassle is that tapping on an email link in an app or in Safari would often kick me over the default Apple Mail app rather than Gmail (If you tapped on an email link in the Chrome app, it does let you go to Gmail however). Now, thanks to iOS 14, this is no longer a problem.  Of course, it’s likely that Apple isn't allowing this in iOS 14 out of the goodness of its heart. Instead, it could be a tactical move. The company is already facing serious antitrust scrutiny as well as accusations that it holds an App Store monopoly, partially due to the 30 percent commission it charges developers (This is the basis of Epic’s recent legal battle with Apple). Perhaps, by ceding ground on default iOS apps, Apple could be heading off concerns that it holds a monopoly over that at the very least. It is not unlike when Microsoft was forced to unbundle Internet Explorer from Windows in 2009 due to European regulations.  Be that as it may, this could be a sign of greater things to come. It’s given me a glimmer of hope that other Google apps, like Calendar and Maps for example, could be given the default treatment too. Of course, there are many things that Android still does better than iOS, such as managing notifications, app permission handling, Live Transcribe, the ability to sideload apps not from an App Store, and more. But if all I get is greater access to Google’s apps and services while still keeping the phone I like, I’d be happy. In this article: Gmail, ios, iOS 14, Android, widgets, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 382 Shares Share Tweet Share

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