Fortnite Battle Royale news and updates: what’s new in Fortnite Season 4

[Update: Jetpacks have arrived in Fortnite! Read more about them and the latest update (4.2) below. They won’t be around forever so make sure you make the best of them while you can.]

You’ve probably noticed, but Battle Royale games are big news at the moment. One of the biggest of the Battle Royale titles available is Fortnite Battle Royale from Epic Games.

Available for free on PC, Xbox One and PS4, Fortnite Battle Royale supports up to 100 players at a time in a game, either playing as individuals or in squads of up to four. When starting up, you’re thrown onto an island with no weapons or armor and you must scavenge for supplies and fight for your life to be the last man or squad standing at the end of the game.

Like most Battle Royale games, Fortnite is split into matches of varying length with a map that shrinks as the match progresses, forcing players closer together. 

Epic Games actively works on Fortnite Battle Royale, making regular changes through patches and updates. Here you’ll be able to find the latest changes to the game. 

What’s the latest Fortnite update?

After a small delay Patch v4.2 has arrived! It’s not the biggest update in the world but it does bring some interesting new items and weapons to keep your battle royales fresh. 

The most exciting addition is of course, jetpacks. They’ve been coming for a while now and they’ve finally arrived but they won’t be around forever so make sure you make the most of them while you can. They can be found in treasure chests and mark the introduction of a new kind of item: backpacks. 

Backpacks will now take an inventory slot of their own alongside weapons and consumables and only one backpack can be carried at a time. 

In preparation for the impending summer season, Fortnite 4.2 brings in a brand new foraging item: apples! The nice kind, not the Snow White kind. If you can bear to come out of cover and you need to increase your health (by 5), you’ll now find them scattered under trees around the map.

There’s also a brand new weapon: the burst assault rifle. Using medium ammo, this new weapon dishes out 32/33 damage. You’ll now find it as floor loot, inside Treasure Chests, in Supply Drops, and in Vending Machines.

In terms of gameplay, you now have the option to turn on a feature called ‘auto pickup’ in the settings menu. When this is turned on, walking over items and consumables will automatically put them into any open inventory slot that you have. 

Outside of that, you can expect to see the usual wide range of bug fixes and performance improvements which can be read in detail in the official patch notes. 

What’s coming up in Fortnite?

Fortnite is a game that undergoes frequent updates so week-by-week you can expect to see patches which either squash bugs or make small changes to gameplay that improve the overall game experience. 

In the long term, Epic Games has said that it’s planning to make improvements to social features and Limited Time Modes as well as add Custom Matches. But, for right now, we’ve just had a major update, so we imagine the next few updates will be working out the teething issues and bugs from update 4.0.

Can I play Fortnite on mobile?

Yes you can! Well, kind of. Fortnite is definitely coming to mobiles and some iOS owners can play it already but the rollout is slow and it’ll be a couple of months before it comes to Android.

Who can play Fortnite on mobile?

Right now, Epic is sending out invites to iOS device owners who have signed up on the official Fortnite site. For testing a server scaling, these invites are being rolled out steadily before a full release. A few months from now, Android owners will be able to access the game to. But at the moment, it’s a selection of iOS players.

If you sign up on the site now you will get an invite eventually and as long as you’re using iOS 11 on iPhone 6S/SE, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro devices or later you’ll be fine. Oh, and you’ll need an internet connection naturally. 

Is it the full game?

It is the full Fortnite game.  There are some small differences: it’s not quite as visually impressive as it is on more powerful devices, the controls are touchscreen, and a lot of audio cues have been made visual so you can play comfortably in public without the need for headphones. But you won’t be missing out on any features.  

What’s the deal with cross-play?

Though Xbox One and PS4 owners can’t play the game together, these consoles can play with PC and mobile devices. So if you’ve got friends that prefer PC, others that prefer console and you’re off on holiday with your mobile, you can still all play together. Just as long as there’s not one friend that dared to buy a different console from everyone else.

There’s also cross-progression. So, if you’re logged into your Fortnite account on mobile playing and you later log into your console to play, everything you did on mobile later that day is carried over.  

Sounds great, how do I get it?

We have a guide on how to get Fortnite on mobile on TechRadar and we’re constantly updating it with the latest rollout news. If your device isn’t there yet, keep checking back and one day it probably will be.

What’s the deal with Fortnite account hacking?

Over the past couple of weeks, Fortnite players have been reporting that their accounts have been compromised and purchases are being made in their name with their money without their permission. Epic has said that it’s aware of the problem and suspects phishing scams rather than an elaborate hacks. It encourages any players who believe their account has been affected to contact its support center immediately. 

Before it gets to that point, there are some steps you can take to keep your account safe. The first of these is to read the Epic account security bulletin. Next, you ought to make sure that you have a strong original password and two-factor sign in. Outside of this, ensure you keep an eye on your transactions and acting on any suspicious activity early.

What’s a Battle Pass?

The Battle Pass is a purchasable item in Fortnite that gives you access to exclusive in-game rewards. 

As players complete daily challenges and level up their rank, they earn Battle Stars which can then be used to unlock Tiers in their Battle Pass. Each new Tier you unlock will bring both Free and Premium rewards. The Tiers vary from season to season but in season three you get around 100 items in each Battle Pass which can take anywhere between 75 and 150 hours of play to unlock. 

Everyone that has a Battle Pass will get the Free reward they unlock, but only Premium Pass holders will get the Premium reward. Battle Pass Premium can only be purchased with in-game V bucks and not with real money.

You can purchase a Battle Pass for around £7/$10 in the Battle Pass tab of the game’s menu. 

Twitch Prime benefits

Those who use Twitch Prime and play Fortnite will be glad to know that they have access to free loot right now. Those with a Prime account can claim the Fortnite Twitch Prime Pack  and the Fortnite Twitch Prime Pack 2 which include a host of cosmetic items and are available across all platforms.

The first pack includes two exclusive gliders and outfits: the Havoc Outfit and Back Bling, plus the Sub Commander Outfit and Slipstream Glider.  The second pack contains three exclusive items for Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode including the camouflage-heavy Trailblazer Outfit, the True North Back Bling, and the Tenderizer Pickaxe. There’s also a brand new dance emote for those that like the dance floor as much as the battleground. 

The packs can only be claimed on a single platform, but they can be shared across PC/console and mobile as long as you use the same Epic account across these platforms. You can’t however, share your loot across PS4 and Xbox One even if you are using the same Epic account. 

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Xbox Two: what we want to see out of a new Xbox

It’s been five years sine the release of the Xbox One and in that time Microsoft has really managed to turn things around for the platform. 

After a somewhat difficult launch, marred by fan displeasure at high price points, poorly communicated initiatives and an ill-received design, Microsoft’s decision to listen to its fans and be more transparent about its intentions has been a positive one. Now, Xbox One S consoles are reasonably priced, looking sleek and selling better than ever. And now that Microsoft is making a native 4K power play with the Xbox One X, we think the future looks bright for the Xbox line. 

It’s not easy, however, to guess where it might go next. 

Recently, hardware developers (Microsoft in particular) have been favoring iteration which suggests that the Xbox Two may not be quite as large a leap forward as we’d usually expect from a new console generation. 

Microsoft’s own Head of Xbox Games Marketing said in an interview with Engadget in 2016 that for Microsoft “the future is without console generations,“ and that ”We think of this as a family of devices.“

So, perhaps rather than seeing a console that’s leaps and bounds ahead of the last being released every five to six years, we may have to get used to incremental improvements to hardware every two to three years instead. Improvements which will, most important, remain capable of supporting older games to prevent a consumer schism. 

Incremental technology improvements doesn’t mean no new console designs, though. Windows Central’s Jez Corden recently revealed on his Twitter profile that the next Xbox console is already being designed and that work is well underway, to the point where it even has a codename (although he neglected to share what this is). 

That said, work hasn’t gone so far that we can expect to see the console any sooner than 2019. According to Corden, 2 years would be too soon to expect the new console but it would likely still be backwards compatible with the rest of the Xbox family. Interestingly, 2019 to 2020 is around the time that analysts are predicting Sony will launch the PlayStation 5. 

We think it’s unlikely that Microsoft would let Sony launch a brand new console without answering with its own within a year, but we don’t think the company would try to beat Sony to the post given Microsoft’s first foray into true 4K gaming hasn’t even been on store shelves even a year yet.

That won’t, however, stop us from thinking ahead to the next Xbox and what it’ll bring.

Xbox Two news and rumors

It will house some impressive tech

A new job listing suggests that Microsoft is hard at work on the next Xbox. The company is looking for a senior electrical engineer to “come be a part of what’s next” in Xbox hardware. 

Xbox is seeking for an engineer to “lead the DRAM solutions for the Xbox console hardware development team” adding that the “DRAM solutions include DDR3, GDDR5, GDDR6 and future DRAM technologies.”

This person will be working on “currently shipping and future Xbox design projects.” It was already suggested by Jez Corden in 2017 that the next Xbox is being designed and this gives greater credence to that.

Andrew House talks the next generation

Former PlayStation chief, Andrew House, has been talking about the future of consoles at GamesBeat Summit in California recently. Though House wasn’t willing to go into specifics on the next PlayStation itself, he did say that he thinks physical media will be around for all consoles for some time to come, thanks to the need to continue breaking into new markets. One would assume this is something that would also be relevant to any future Xbox console. 

In his interview, House said, “I don’t have any firm knowledge on this, but my sense is that you will see the disc around in the industry for a while. If you’re going to tap into some of these [developing] markets, then allowing for that more traditional physical purchase model as an option is probably no bad thing.”

Despite this, though, House also believes that streaming will be big in the future of gaming – an opinion which ties neatly with Microsoft’s Phil Spencer’s who emphasised the need for a ‘Netflix for video games.’ This would be, one would imagine, a natural extension of the download-based Xbox Game Pass in the next generation.

What will the new Xbox be called?

The hardest part of this future-gazing is actually trying to guess what the console might be called, given the naming progression that’s come before. Microsoft isn’t going to abandon the Xbox brand anytime soon, surely, but the subtitle is a little harder to pin down. 

If it’s a brand new console generation it’d make sense to call it Xbox Two, but Xbox 720 made a retrospectively perplexing amount of sense at one point so let’s not be too confident in that. 

If we’re going to really get our tinfoil hats on, looking at the naming progression we can see the latest console is the Xbox One X. If X were to be read as ten, the next console would be the Xbox One II or Xbox II (2). Okay, we’re just kidding. Regardless,Microsoft is a hard company to predict when it comes to console naming. 

What will it the new Xbox be capable of?

What’s slightly easier is predicting the features that are likely to appear in this new Xbox. 

The Xbox One X is a huge step forward for Microsoft, bringing native 4K gaming and near-PC power into a console. It’s currently the most powerful console on the market so where can Microsoft go from here?

We can only imagine. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do; join us won’t you?

A powerful console focused on games

We like to think Microsoft has learned a lot of lessons from the difficult launch of the Xbox One. The Xbox One didn’t have the advantage of being the only HD console option on the market like the Xbox 360 did, and additionally its launch ended up being marred by a Kinect bundle that pushed its price way higher than it should have been.

As a result, the PlayStation 4 took (and has maintained) a commanding lead in terms of market share. 

Microsoft has definitely addressed a  lot of these issues with the Xbox One X. It’s  a piece of hardware that’s almost entirely focused on games, and it’s not bundled with any superfluous hardware. In fact, Microsoft’s gone so far as to drop the Kinect port entirely. We imagine this focus will continue into the future. 

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Budget and premium options

With the One S and the One X Microsoft is embracing both an iterative and a tiered model. The company is not only launching incrementally better pieces of hardware over time, but it’s also supporting previous versions of the console and allowing them to exist as budget options.

As a case in point, the One X is still expensive (much more so than the PS4 Pro), but the Xbox One S is still being presented as a worthy and attractively priced 4K upscaling alternative that will still be capable of playing all the same games, not just from this generation but the previous generation too.

However, after each console has had its chance at being the budget model, they’ve each fallen away into obscurity. We’ve already seen this with the original Xbox One, and it’s likely that the Xbox Two will eventually have the same effect on the Xbox One S.

We imagine Microsoft may want a certain degree of market saturation for the Xbox One X (or at the very least 4K TVs) before launching the Xbox Two but when the console does launch it’s less likely to feel like the same leap that moving from Xbox 360 to Xbox One did. 

Trial and error, rather than a jump into the unknown

In some senses we feel that it’s reasonable to assume we’ll be slowly drip-fed a lot of the technology that will end up in the Xbox Two. 

This has the big advantage of allowing Microsoft to establish what works and what doesn’t work over time rather than having to take a big leap of faith with a brand new piece of hardware. 

VR and AR support is likely

We’ve learned that certain things are unimportant for consoles this generation, like motion-sensing and touch-screen, but the new technologies like VR and AR are proving to be very exciting fields for developers.

Microsoft has already confirmed that the Xbox One X will support Windows 10 virtual and mixed reality headsets but it’s not being forceful with pushing them. They were notably absent from the console’s presentation at E3 2017 and we still have plenty of questions.

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If PlayStation VR continues to grow in strength we expect Microsoft will be more clear about the Xbox One X’s stance on these headsets and much more active about developing the technology for its successor. Xbox Two could very well be the HoloLens console. If the technology flops, Microsoft can easily phase it out from its next generation plans like the Kinect but much more neatly and less to the detriment of initial sales.

Meanwhile, if the Xbox One X’s 4K visuals fail to make the console appeal as much as Microsoft hopes they will, we don’t doubt they’ll still be a feature of the Xbox Two, but they may be less of a focus in the overall marketing. 

The latest and greatest audio visual technology

Recently Microsoft has been really keen on integrating the latest audio visual technologies into its consoles – Dolby Atmos support, 4K and HDR are all here. This is something we can see continuing into the next generation. 

It’s clear Microsoft wants gaming on Xbox to be a full sensory experience and it’s possible that the next console will include some kind of projection system similar to Project Ariana that Razer showcased at CES 2017 whereby gaming environments were extended beyond the screen and into the player’s room. With something like this, Xbox Two has the potential to be an immersive gaming machine and we already know technology of a similar ilk was being considered in the Illumiroom project from back in 2013.

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An increasingly cross-platform ecosystem

In the way that Nintendo is bridging the gap between its handheld and home console divisions with the Switch, we can see Microsoft moving its PC and console users closer as we move onto the Xbox Two. 

Cross-platform play, accounts and digital purchases are being encouraged in the Windows 10 and Xbox stores and this is something we can see Microsoft continuing to push into the new generation, particularly if it’s going to continue to manufacture consoles that boast near-PC specs. 

Learnings from the PC

It’s likely that the new Xbox will likely have more of a Steam-esque interface that puts games first and doesn’t confuse the customer. A system with a more indie- and mod-friendly focus is also important (we’re already seeing this with Indie@Xbox), and if the console consumer base doesn’t jibe with mid-lifecycle console upgrades, perhaps a more PC piecemeal approach with more swappable parts will be in order. 

When will the next Xbox be released?

So we can agree we’re almost certainly going to get another console but will we have to wait eight years like we did between the previous generation and this one? It might end up that way, actually, but thanks to iteration it certainly won’t feel like it.

Though it won’t come as soon as two years from now, we think it’d be reasonable to expect the Xbox Two in three years, perhaps releasing in 2021. This would be eight years after the release of the original Xbox One and a good time, perhaps, to move onto the new generation. It’d also be around the time, or one year after, analysts are expecting Sony to release the PlayStation 5.

With the steady and considered steps Microsoft is making and the way the company seems to be listening to feedback from its users more than ever, we anticipate that the Xbox Two could be its most considered launch yet. In the meantime, a lot hinges on the Xbox One X.

  • We’ve also done some speculating about the future of the PlayStation, check out everything we want to see from the PlayStation 5. 

Microsoft Surface Phone release date, news and rumors

Update: New Surface Phone information suggests it might have a built-in projector, come in two models and go by the name Surface Mobile.

The Surface Phone is the stuff of smartphone legend, with rumors of the device dating back to 2012.

Since then it has popped in and out of the limelight, but just when we think it might be dead new leaks and rumors will emerge.

We still don’t know a huge amount about the Surface Phone, but we’ve collected all the up to date leaks and rumors below, along with our thoughts on what it needs if it’s going to help Windows 10 Mobile break out from iOS and Android’s shadow.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Microsoft’s next flagship smartphone
  • When is it out? Probably not before 2018
  • What will it cost? It’s sure to have a flagship price

Microsoft Surface Phone release date

There has been talk of the Surface Phone for years now, and while we’re still not 100% sure that it even exists, the rumors never seem to stop.

Throughout 2017 we kept seeing rumors that an announcement was around the corner, and yet we didn’t get even a hint of an actual release date. At this point we’re starting to think that Microsoft is just messing with us. 

That might not actually be true though, the latest leak in a very long line of leaks, suggests that the long-rumored Surface Phone is in the final stage of testing. At least, according to a bit of code hidden within Windows 10.

Who knows when we’ll get our hands on the Surface Phone, but we hope it actually exists.

Microsoft Surface Phone screen

Hottest leaks:

  • A 5.5-inch QHD screen
  • ClearBlack AMOLED technology

Most rumors so far suggest the Surface Phone will have a 5.5-inch display, and the resolution could be 1440 x 2560 – though that leak came in 2015, so could be out of date.

That same dated rumor suggests it will have a ClearBlack AMOLED display. ClearBlack is a technology which reduces reflections, and has been used on some Lumia phones, while AMOLED is most famously used by Samsung, but has also appeared on Windows handsets such as the Microsoft Lumia 950, and typically delivers vivid colors with great contrast.

TechRadar’s take: Given that both AMOLED and ClearBlack have a history of use on Windows handsets their inclusion here wouldn’t be surprising, while many flagships have 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 displays, so that too is believable.

Microsoft Surface Phone design

Hottest leaks:

  • A metal unibody

Don’t expect the colorful plastic that Lumia handsets are known for, as the only remotely recent Surface Phone design rumors suggest it could have an aluminum-magnesium unibody – so metal in other words.

TechRadar’s take: It’s too soon to have much confidence in design rumors, but it would make sense for Microsoft to launch a premium-looking handset, distinct from the Lumia line, so a metal unibody is very possible.

Microsoft Surface Phone camera and battery

Hottest leaks:

  • A 21MP camera
  • Very fast and wireless charging

Early camera rumors suggest a 21MP snapper on the back and an 8MP one on the front, but this leak is now quite dated (having emerged in late 2015), so if it was ever true it may not be any more.

We don’t know what the battery will be, but it’s rumored that the Surface Phone will use a Snapdragon 835 chipset, which supports Quick Charge 4.0 for supposedly 20% faster charging than the current Quick Charge 3.0 system on many flagship phones. Wireless charging has also been rumored.

TechRadar’s take: We’d expect a high-spec and high-quality camera on the Surface Phone, but don’t count on a 21MP one given the age of that rumor.

Microsoft Surface Phone OS and power

Hottest leaks:

  • A Snapdragon 835 and 6GB of RAM
  • Up to 128GB of storage
  • Serious productivity skills

The Surface Phone is bound to run Windows 10 Mobile, given that it’s a Microsoft device, and it’s expected to run full desktop apps through Continuum – a feature that lets you connect phones to a display and use them like a computer.

In fact, we’ve heard that Microsoft wants the Surface Phone to be a real alternative to a computer, and for it to be both the best phone in the world for productivity, and also the most secure phone.

There could also be three different versions of the handset – a consumer model, a business model and a pro version. Elsewhere we’ve heard talk of two models, known as Surface Peking and Surface Slavonia, though with no information on how they differ.

As for the specs, there’s talk of 6GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 835 chipset, which was the main flagship chip of 2017, but now that 2017 has come and gone, we hope it gets a more modern CPU. Though earlier rumors pointed to Intel chips, which could give it more in common with a PC. We’ve also heard that it could come in 64GB and 128GB sizes.

TechRadar’s take: The Surface Phone is sure to have flagship specs, which, if it launches this year, likely would mean a Snapdragon 835 chip and 4 or 6GB of RAM. Though if multiple models launch some will presumably have different specs.

Microsoft Surface Phone other features

Hottest leaks:

  • A keyboard and stylus
  • A fingerprint scanner in the screen
  • A built-in projector

The Surface Phone could have a lot going for it beyond raw power. For one thing it may support accessories, like a keyboard and a stylus, which would certainly help with productivity.

Microsoft may also build a fingerprint scanner into the screen. That’s something we could also see on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 if rumors are to be believed, but in Microsoft’s case the company has patented exactly that idea.

If the Surface Phone does put a fingerprint scanner in the screen it could potentially have a smaller, slimmer body.

There’s also talk of a projector, which could project a desktop display (for use with Continuum) onto any flat surface, likely using a stand of some kind to angle the projection. This is likely to generate a lot of heat though, as the same source says it will only be usable for “more than an hour”.

TechRadar’s take: It would make sense for the Surface Phone to support accessories, given Microsoft’s rumored productivity push, but we wouldn’t count on seeing a fingerprint scanner in the screen, as patents often don’t turn into products.

As the Surface Phone isn’t a direct successor to anything we can’t simply look at the faults of previous models for potential improvements, but having been rumored for so many years the Surface Phone will have its work cut out to impress us. Here’s what we want to see.

1. Make it the best phone for productivity

Microsoft supposedly plans for the Surface Phone to be the best handset for productivity, and we’d like to see it live up to that, with the power to create a full desktop experience when using Continuum, and useful accessories and apps (plus plenty of storage) so that it’s similarly good for getting things done when used as a phone.

2. Add an iris scanner

The Microsoft Lumia 950 already has an iris scanner, and we’d like to see it return here, albeit with improvements so that it’s fast, accurate and can be used at an angle.

Iris scanners are still a rarity and yet to become as convenient as fingerprint scanners, but if Microsoft can crack them for the Surface Phone then that would be a big point in its favor.

3. Focus on call quality

The only thing we can really look at for an idea of what to expect from the Surface Phone is the Lumia 950, since that was Microsoft’s last flagship handset, and that was a phone that neglected the basics, with call quality in particular proving disappointing.

While calls aren’t the central part of the phone experience any more, they’re still important, so we want the Surface Phone to get them right.

4. Build a fingerprint scanner into the screen

One of the more ambitious Surface Phone rumors points to a fingerprint scanner being built into the screen, but as unlikely as that might sound it’s an idea that’s been attached to other handsets too, so it might only be a matter of time before some phone does it.

If the Surface Phone is the first then it will have an exciting, futuristic feature that will help it stand out from its Android and iOS rivals.

5. Dual operating systems

The biggest hurdle faced by the Surface Phone is the fact that it will almost certainly run Windows – an operating system that almost no-one seems to be interested in on mobile, and which as a result has a disappointingly small app selection.

One possible solution would be to allow the Surface Phone to also run Android, so users can switch between operating systems as they please. Given that Microsoft is behind it this is very unlikely, but we can dream.

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Here’s a new look at Apple’s self-driving car (video)

Apple’s self-driving car has been spotted again on a public road, and this new sighting reveals some notable changes from the last time the vehicle was caught on camera, suggesting Apple’s self-driving car tech has possibly undergone another update.

On Wednesday, we saw an unmarked Lexus SUV driving around Sunnyvale, California, near an area that houses many Apple office buildings. 

We also saw the vehicle go into the parking lot for a cluster of Apple office buildings at the Sunnyvale Research Center, a complex leased by Apple, before it pulled back out onto the road.

The vehicle featured an array of lidar sensors, cameras and GPS on its roof and rear driver-side wheel, add-ons that are typically found on self-driving vehicles. 

Though the car was unmarked, its appearance matches that of other Apple self-driving car sightings. The vehicle had a person behind the wheel as well as someone sitting in the passenger seat. 

Watch our video of the Apple self-driving car below

The biggest change between this car and previous Apple car sightings is that the lidar sensors and cameras are much more prominent. 

Previous sightings have shown the puck-shaped lidar and cameras encased in white coverings, but this vehicle doesn’t have anything obscuring these components. 

The lidar pucks are also more vertically oriented; previous sightings showed the lidar positioned at an angle. Additionally, this vehicle has three LIDAR total on the rear of the roof rig, down from the six seen previously.

It’s possible Apple simply did away with lidar and camera casings and made some configuration adjustments in this model while keeping the actual technology the same. 

Now that word is out that Apple is working on self-driving cars, the company may not feel the need to mask its self-driving car tech any longer.

Apple self-driving car developments

Our sighting comes just over a week after it was revealed Apple now has 55 self-driving cars in its fleet, second most in California behind GM Cruise and ahead of Google’s Waymo, which has 51 self-driving cars under its permit in the Golden State.

Apple’s self-driving car project, codenamed Project Titan, is growing, but it’s what Apple ultimately plans to do with its self-driving car tests that remains a mystery. 

While it was thought for some time that Apple would make its own driverless car, CEO Tim Cook confirmed in 2017 that Apple’s interests, at least at the time, were in building the AI systems that power self-driving cars.

As Apple continues to develop its self-driving car tech and put vehicles on the road, the self-driving car landscape is in a state of flux. Some companies are forging ahead with their own self-driving car plans, while others are moving backwards.

It was announced on Wednesday that Uber is shutting down its self-driving car program in Arizona, two months after an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe.

Google’s Waymo, meanwhile, is moving closer to launching a driverless ride-hailing service, and we recently saw the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace that will be part of Waymo’s fleet at this month’s Google IO 2018.

We’ve asked Apple for comment for this story, and will update this article if we hear back.

  • Will Apple talk about its self-driving car plans at WWDC 2018?

American Express: Why blockchain could save help save you from fraud

American Express could be set to push even further into blockchain research that could revolutionise the way its users stay secure from fraud.

The card provider is investigating ways in which blockchain can be used for safeguarding user identities, as well as helping merchants securely process transactions, a senior company executive revealed.

Speaking at the Oktane18 conference in Las Vegas, Tereasa Kastel, American Express VP technology, said that the company was examining several avenues for blockchain.

“American Express is a very innovative company,” Kastel said, highlighting what she saw during a recent visit to one of the company’s R&D facilities.

“They were working on blockchain specifically for financial transactions, but we were starting to explore what would an identity wallet look like, and could blockchain be used to help serve as, both internal, but also external card members and merchants.”

All about identity

Kastel’s speech came on the same day as American Express announced it would be using Hyperledger blockchain technology to create tailored to let merchants create custom Membership Rewards programs for cardholders

But she added that blockchain would play a significant role in certain upcoming American Express services.

“Being in the financial industry, we have to be somewhat conservative on what legal and regulatory requirements there are,” she said. “Out on the other hand, what I would say is that what it empowers an individual user to do in terms of controlling their identity, and have that identity be immutable, is something you can’t pass by – despite what might be the regulatory controls might be at this time.”

Blockchain can play a crucial role for merchants and customers alike, Kastel noted, possibly helping provide a reliable and secure chain of transaction that keeps users safe from fraud at all times.

“It resonates…when identity is done well, with the latest technologies, it removes the impediments for transacting.”

“If you’re in this industry, you have to have a voracious appetite for all things identity…to be able to work in a world where there is constant change you…have to always ensure you can stay ahead of the curve.”

  • What is blockchain? Everything you need to know