Apple antitrust trial kicks off with Tim Sweeney’s metaverse dreams

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Epic Games launched its courtroom war against Apple in an extremely on-brand way: with CEO Tim Sweeney describing the metaverse from Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash.
It’s “a real-time, computer-powered 3D entertainment and social medium in which real people would go into a 3D simulation together and have experiences of all sorts,” Sweeney explained to a courtroom partitioned by plastic barriers and a series of teleconferencing hotlines.
Sweeney called Fortnite ‘a phenomenon that transcends gaming’ The metaverse is Sweeney’s chosen metaphor for Fortnite, the battle royale game that Apple banned from its iOS App Store last year. Epic sued in retaliation, and today, both companies delivered opening statements before Judge Yvonne…
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New trailers: Castlevania, West Side Story, Sweet Tooth, Luca, and more

Castlevania | Netflix Just started watching season four of The Handmaid’s Tale and I remember why I prefer the weekly release schedule for this show: Bingeing it is utterly draining (Monica Hesse makes this point much more eloquently in her mostly spoiler-free review in the Washington Post). The show has a conundrum: it can’t kill off its main character (which would be an incredible plot twist) and it can’t take her out of Gilead because that’s where the action is. So June has to keep suffering over and over. And over. After the first three episodes, June’s done plenty of suffering already. Over the rest of the season I’m really hoping to see A) much more of Alexis Bledel and Samira Wiley and B) something good happen to June. Anything.
Here’s the roundup of…
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As Epic v. Apple approaches the courtroom, Valve is getting sued over Steam too

Just two days before Apple gets dragged into a California court to justify its 30 percent App Store fee — and two days after Microsoft axed its 30 percent cut on PC — we’re learning that gaming giant Valve is now facing down lawsuits against its own 30 percent cut and alleged anticompetitive practices with its PC gaming platform Steam.
“Valve abuses its market power to ensure game publishers have no choice but to sell most of their games through the Steam Store, where they are subject to Valve’s 30% toll,” argues indie game developer and Humble Bundle creator Wolfire Games, in a lawsuit filed Tuesday (via Ars Technica).
Clear parallels to Epic v. Apple Much like Epic v. Apple, the new suit argues that a platform owner is using an…
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Today I learned that card grading companies are drowning in Pokémon cards

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images A report from Vice has opened my eyes to just how big the Pokémon trading card collecting market is getting — apparently to the point where card rating companies have waitlists that range from six to ten months, with one company claiming it’s receiving over 500,000 cards to grade per week. The card graders, who rate trading cards’ conditions to determine how collectable (and therefore valuable) they are, are so swamped that people who want to get their Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh, or sports cards graded are also having to wait in line (or pay out the nose to skip it).
One card rating company apparently needed employees so bad it offered $1,000 starting bonuses — and then bumped them up to $2,500. Another company had to buy two warehouses to store…
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Apple adds a way to speed up searches on the App Store by suggesting words

Apple has added a new App Store search suggestions feature in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, that might make it easier to find apps. Now, after typing in a search term, the App Store will attempt to predict what you’re looking for and offer suggested words that, when tapped, will further narrow down your search results and speed up your hunt for specific kinds of apps.
Search suggestions actually appeared on some iPhones earlier in April as part of a test, according to MacRumors, but now the feature should be rolling out to all iPhones in the supported regions.
Introducing search suggestions on the App Store!
Select (or deselect) multiple suggestions to refine your search so you can find even more amazing apps and games.
Search…
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Facebook claims it mistakenly hid posts calling for India’s prime minister to resign

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge When Facebook users tried to view a hashtag calling for the resignation of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, they instead saw a message saying that Facebook was temporarily hiding the posts in order to keep the community safe. Buzzfeed News reports that the posts were hidden for about three hours.
Facebook has now restored the posts. The company tells The Verge that the hashtag was blocked “by mistake” and claims it wasn’t because the Indian government asked Facebook to remove it. It also says the block was the result of some of the content that used the hashtag, but did not specify what kind of content.
The temporary suspension of the hashtag is likely to fuel concerns about the influence that Modi’s BJP party wields…
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Tesla claims someone was in the driver’s seat in deadly Texas crash

KPRC2 Houston A Tesla Model S that crashed and caught fire recently in Texas, killing two men, may have had someone in the driver’s seat, according to Tesla’s top executives. Their comments in an earnings call Monday contradict statements made by local law enforcement in the immediate aftermath of the crash, and could complicate the efforts by federal crash investigators who are also examining the incident.
Lars Moravy, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, said that company representatives were able to inspect the crash, along with local law enforcement and investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Moravy said the company was able to determine that the…
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Ingenuity takes its third flight on Mars

Ingenuity lifts off from the Martian surface | NASA/JPL NASA’s tiny Ingenuity helicopter made its third successful flight on Mars early Sunday, and flew higher and faster than it did even when it was being tested on Earth. At about 1:31 AM ET, the helicopter ascended 16 feet and flew 164 feet during its 80 second third flight, at a top speed of 6.6 feet per second.
NASA received the flight data shortly after 10AM ET. “Today’s flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing,” NASA’s Dave Lavery said in a statement. “With this flight, we are demonstrating critical capabilities that will enable the addition of an aerial dimension to future Mars missions.”
In its second mission on Thursday, Ingenuity made a 51.9-second flight, traveling seven feet. For Ingenuity’s first…
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The Pentagon reportedly gave a small company control of its IP addresses to find security issues

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge As part of an apparent effort to find holes in its network, the US Department of Defense has given a tiny Florida company control over about 175 million of its IP addresses, The Washington Post reported.
Global Resource Systems began managing the IP addresses on January 20th, part of what a Pentagon spokesperson told the Post was a “pilot effort” to “identify potential vulnerabilities” and “prevent unauthorized use of DoD IP address space.”
The Department of Defense still owns the IP addresses. Global Resource Systems was founded in September, according to the Post, which was not able to find any other federal contracts for the company or any public-facing website.
The initiative is apparently being run by a group within the Pentagon…
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