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Apple Awards an Additional $410 Million from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund to II-VI

Apple today announced a new $410 million award from its Advanced Manufacturing Fund for II-VI, a leading manufacturer of optical technology. Today's award builds on an initial $390 million awarded from Apple's Advanced Manufacturing Fund in 2017. The expansion of the company's long-standing relationship with II-VI will create additional capacity and accelerate delivery of future components for iPhone, with 700 jobs in Sherman, Texas; Warren, New Jersey; Easton, Pennsylvania; and Champaign, Illinois.

II-VI manufactures vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) that help power Face ID, Memoji, Animoji, and Portrait mode selfies. Apple also works with II-VI to manufacture lasers used in the LiDAR Scanner—technology that helps deliver faster, more realistic augmented reality experiences and improves autofocus in low-light scenes in photos and videos.

Denuvo Joins Exclusive PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware Program to Offer Anti-Cheat Technology to Game Developers

As security and innovation collide, Denuvo by Irdeto today announces it has joined the exclusive PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware program. Denuvo, the leader in video games protection, offers its Anti-Cheat solution through this program to publishers and developers whose games are available on PlayStation 5.

Denuvo is at the forefront of games security with over 2 billion unique game installs protected across all platforms, and over 1,000 games secured. Joining the PlayStation 5 Tools and Middleware program therefore fosters Denuvo's continued commitment to excellence and innovation in game security. It also supports Denuvo's goal of protecting the developers' investment, where approximately 70% of their revenue is earned in the first two weeks after the launch of a game.

NVIDIA Expands GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia

NVIDIA has today announced the expansion of its GeForce NOW game streaming service to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. The company has worked closely with telecommunication providers to ensure that the streaming service is working well and now they can deliver even more gamers a chance to play their favorite games in the cloud. NVIDIA stated that: "It also offers an opportunity for the world's leading telecommunications firms to deliver high-quality, low-latency PC gaming to nearly any device from the cloud. These partners form the GeForce NOW Alliance, a partnership of operators using RTX Servers and NVIDIA cloud-gaming software to expand and improve cloud gaming globally."

As a reminder, the GeForce NOW is a game streaming service that "brings real-time raytracing to today's biggest blockbusters to underpowered PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, Android and iOS devices." You can access a wide range of games from almost any device and play as much as you like.

Riding on the Success of the M1, Apple Readies 32-core Chip for High-end Macs

Apple's M1 SoC is possibly the year's biggest semiconductor success story, as the chip has helped Apple begin its transition away from Intel's x86 machine architecture, and create its own silicon that's optimized for its software and devices; much like its A-series SoCs powering iOS devices. The company now plans to scale up this silicon with a new 32-core version designed for high-performance Mac devices, such as the fastest MacBook Pro models; and possibly even iMac Pros and Mac Pros. The new silicon could debut in a new-generation Mac Pro in 2022. Bloomberg reports that the new silicon will allow this workstation to be half the size of the current-gen Mac Pro workstation in form, while letting Apple keep its generational performance growth trajectory.

In addition, Apple is reportedly developing a 16-core "big" + 4 "small" core version of the M1, which could power more middle-of-the-market Macs, such as the iMac desktop, and the bulk of the MacBook Pro lineup. The 16B+4s core chip could debut as early as Spring 2021. Elsewhere, the company is reportedly stepping up efforts to develop its own high-end professional-visualization GPU that it can use in its iMac Pro and Mac Pro workstations, replacing the AMD Radeon Pro solutions found in the current generation. This graphics architecture will be built from the ground-up for the Metal 3D graphics API, as well as a parallel compute accelerator. Perhaps the 2022 debut of the Arm-powered Mac Pro could feature this GPU.

Apple Could Unveil Arm-powered MacBooks on November 10

Apple late Monday sent out a public invite to an online launch event dated November 10, without revealing what it is. With new generation iPhones and Watches and iPads already announced it's likely that the November 10 event could deal with Macs, specifically, the company's very first MacBooks powered by a non-Intel processor since the company embraced x86 some decade-and-a-half ago.

Apple, having gained in-house expertise in designing powerful Arm-based SoCs, is likely to debut a new Arm-based processor with sufficient muscle to drive MacBooks, in what will be a "client-first" strategy of replacing x86 with Arm for Apple. This will likely see the most client-segment products, such as MacBooks and Mac Mini, get the processor, followed by MacBook Pros, iMacs, and lastly workstation-segment products such as the Mac Pro and iMac Pro. The November 10 event will likely only cover the very first Arm-powered MacBooks. Apple has been selling Arm-powered Mac Minis to ISVs along with a special version of macOS "Big Sur," so they could port their Mac software to the new platform. Arm-powered Macs could also see some form of unification between the iOS and macOS software ecosystems.

NETGEAR Combines Multigigabit Cable Modem With Advanced Orbi Mesh WiFi 6 System

NETGEAR, Inc., the leading provider of mesh WiFi systems that power today's smart homes and small businesses, is introducing the industry-first WiFi 6 mesh system with built-in multigigabit modem - the Orbi WiFi 6 Tri-band Mesh System with DOCSIS 3.1 Built-in Cable Modem (CBK752). This new Orbi Mesh System is designed to provide the best performance cable internet and WiFi in a single package.

Data Over Cable Service Interface Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 3.1 is the latest technology standard being rolled out by cable service providers for gigabit and higher internet speeds into homes. It uses existing infrastructure to support higher gigabit speeds, thereby allowing faster rollout by cable internet providers and makes gigabit+ internet speeds widely accessible to customers. The new NETGEAR Orbi WiFi 6 with Built-in Cable Modem enables households to take advantage of the latest technologies to enjoy the most advanced broadband internet speeds and high-performance WiFi available.

Razer Announces Kishi Universal Gaming Controller for iPhone

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced the immediate availability of the Razer Kishi Universal Gaming Controller for iPhone, an iOS version of the mobile accessory that won two Best of CES awards in January. Featuring clickable analog thumbsticks, an array of face and multi-function buttons, and an 8-way D-pad, the Kishi for iPhone makes available Razer's award-winning controller hardware to Apple users for the very first time.

"As crossplay becomes further entrenched in the gaming world, the Razer Kishi offers a level playing field for mobile gamers," said Head of Marketing and Sales, Growth Peripherals for Razer, John Moore. "The Razer Kishi for iPhone extends that equity to Apple Arcade's extraordinary collection of titles, ensuring that no matter where you game, victory is always within your grasp."
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A Battle Royale for the Ages: Apple Announces Decision to Remove Unreal Engine from iOS and Mac Tools; Epic Games Responds With Another Lawsuit

The epic (ahem) battle between Epic Games and Apple is becoming increasingly nastier, as Apple has communicated to the game and game engine developers that it plans on terminating all of Epic developer accounts on its ecosystem (both on iOS or MacOS) by August 28th. If done, this would impede not only Epic from developing for these systems, but also would impact any and all companies that actually employ the Unreal Engine in their development process, be it final or merely as a toolbox. It's case to say that Apple has its finger firmly set on the big, red button.

This move from Apple comes in wake of the calculated feud initiated by Epic Games last week with both Google and Apple. What some may have failed to see is that the Epic Games move was a coordinated, well-thought-out one, in that the company knew - or thought they knew - the full ramifications of what they were setting in motion. Epic Games, with its newfound budget and clout, is looking to become a banner for developers, spearheading a charge that is looking to brunt the walled garden approach. In fact, the company is even looking to form a "coalition of Apple critics", and is looking for companies to join its bandwagon in fighting against the Apple walled-garden and middle-man approach to software distribution.

Fortnite Gets Kicked Out From Google and Apple App Stores, Epic Games Files a Lawsuit

Today, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit against both Apple and Google after both companies removed Fortnite form their platform app stores (Google Play and Apple App Store). Firstly, Apple has decided to remove the Fortnite app to form its App Store because the game violated the company's policy that all in-game payments must go through the Apple App Store system, instead of them being processed directly. That means that Apple can also apply its 30% cut on all the payments made in-game. After Apple has revoked the Fortnite app, Epic Games has decided to file a lawsuit that aims to fight the company's monopoly and make the iOS platform more developer-friendly. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said that Epic will not seek or accept any special deal that Apple may offer, but rather wants to fight for all developers.

Just hours after Apple decided to pull the Fortnite game from its App Store, Google has also removed the game from its Google Play Store. Google's Play Store policy about in-app payments says that all games must use Google Play in-app billing if they want to process payments, so Fortnite was pulled from it as well. In light of that move, Epic Games has also filed a lawsuit against Google on the same terms. The company wants to fight both Apple and Google in court and make them be more developer-friendly, especially Apple. We have to wait and see how the case progresses. Being that Apple is almost a $2 trillion company, it can surely afford lots of good lawyers, just as Google will. We want to express our support for Epic Games for going in the right direction, as we do need more open ecosystems.

Apple Says Cloud Gaming Services Like Google Stadia and Microsoft xCloud Violate App Store Guidelines

Cloud gaming is the next step in mobile gaming, with services like Microsoft project xCloud aiming to bring AAA titles right to your mobile phone. Microsoft has already been testing its xCloud application on Android and iOS devices for some time, and the application was supposed to launch sometime in September. However, it seems like Microsoft is only going to serve the customers on Android, as Apple says that these types of applications violate App Store guidelines. This doesn't only apply to xCloud, but also Google's Stadia gaming platform. When developer uploads application to App Store for iOS, the application goes through a review by Apple, for security reason and for Apple to check if it meets its guidelines.

Being that xCloud and Stadia are types of applications which offer a way to access many more applications (games in this case), this is against Apple's policy as they can't control the applications these services offer.

Logitech Empowers Your Mac with MX Master 3 and MX Keys Series for Mac

Today Logitech announced the Logitech MX Master 3 for Mac and Logitech MX Keys for Mac, updates to the premium performance Master Series now optimized for Mac and Apple advanced users. The most popular Logitech performance mouse and keyboard, available in Space Gray, have been tuned to best complement the Apple ecosystem and help millions of advanced digital creators working on Macs and iPads. Logitech also announced Logitech K380 for Mac Multi-Device Bluetooth Keyboard with a layout specific for macOS, iOS and iPadOS.

"We want to empower creative Mac users to reach their full potential with our industry-leading mouse and keyboards that enhance every workspace," said Delphine Donne-Crock, general manager of creativity and productivity at Logitech. "Our newest additions to the Master Series and multi-device Bluetooth keyboard lineup have been re-imagined for advanced content creators who need the best tools for their craft and value Apple aesthetics, alongside increased productivity and performance. With MX Master 3 and MX Keys for Mac, as well as K380 for Mac, we wanted to provide the best possible experience on Mac and iPad."

Intel Gives its First Comments on Apple's Departure from x86

Apple on Monday formalized the beginning of its departure from Intel x86 machine architecture for its Mac computers. Apple makes up to 4 percent of Intel's annual CPU sales, according to a MarketWatch report. Apple is now scaling up its own A-series SoCs that use Arm CPU cores, up to performance levels relevant to Macs, and has implemented support for not just new and upcoming software ported to the new Arm machine architecture, but also software over form the iOS and iPadOS ecosystems on Mac, starting with its MacOS "Big Sur" operating system. We reached out to Intel for some of its first comments on the development.

In a comment to TechPowerUp, an Intel spokesperson said "Apple is a customer across several areas of our business, and we will continue to support them. Intel remains focused on delivering the most advanced PC experiences and a wide range of technology choices that redefine computing. We believe Intel-powered PCs—like those based on our forthcoming Tiger Lake mobile platform—provide global customers the best experience in the areas they value most, as well as the most open platform for developers, both today and into the future."

Mozilla Starts Offering VPN Service called Firefox Private Network

Mozilla, the maker of popular web-browser Firefox, has announced that it is now offering virtual private network (VPN) services. Available for right now as a beta product, the company is promising that it will soon release the software as a fully-fledged application. Firefox Private Network's Mozilla VPN is designed to help users gain more control and safety over their internet traffic while offering protection for a whole device. if you wish to try it out, you would need to join a waitlist. There you can get the VPN app while it is still in beta for iOS, Android, Windows, and Chromebook devices. Support for macOS and Linux is coming soon. The service costs $4.99 a month, while if you own a Firefox browser, you can get it free of charge as an extension.

Apple to Announce its own Mac Processor at WWDC (Late June)

Apple is planning to launch its own high-performance processors designed for Macs at the 2020 WWDC, held in the week of 22 June, 2020. This would be the the first step among many toward the replacement of Intel processors and the x86 machine architecture from the Apple Mac ecosystem, in the same fashion as the company replaced PowerPC with x86 last decade. Apple has codenamed the process of graduating to the new machine architecture "Kalamata," and besides detailing the new processor and its architecture, the company could announce a large-scale developer support initiative to help Mac software vendors to transition to the new architecture in time for the first Macs with the new processors to roll out in 2021.

A Bloomberg report on the new processors states that the chips will be based on the "same technology" as the company's A-series SoCs for iOS devices, meaning that Apple will leverage the Arm machine architecture, and has probably developed a high performance CPU core that can match Intel's x64 cores in IPC and efficiency. Macs based on the new processors, will however run MacOS and not iOS, which means much of the clean-break transition woes between PPC and x86 Macs are bound to return, but probably better managed by software vendors. It also remains to be seen how Apple handles graphics. The company could scale up the Metal-optimized iGPU found in its A-series SoCs on its new Mac processor, while also giving them the platform I/O capability to support discrete graphics from companies such as AMD.

Sonarworks Releases SoundID Listen: Personalized Sound on your Computer

Sonarworks had caught our eye back at CES 2019, when they showed off their then-still-in-progress mobile app for personalized sound signatures called True-Fi. The Latvia-based company has credentials to back all their claims, and the in-suite demo was impressive to say the least. Getting it out in the real world meant that the company had to build up their database of compatible headphones to first normalize the sound signature, and then work on the best option for recuperating R&D costs without breaking any wallets. As it turns out, the company had more insight on this at CES 2020 but are only now ready to show their retail plans in the form of SoundID.

SoundID, as both a mobile app (iOS, Android) and the new desktop SoundID Listen experience, takes over from where True-Fi started. The interface is more colorful and user-friendly to the masses, and the mobile app in the current beta form is being marketed more for profile-creation than usage, although it has the option to plug into your Spotify library. The older A/B tests are retained here, and at CES 2020 the app only had the "Core" experience. As of May, the app has new features to coincide with the desktop client's release, and read past the break for more on both.

Apple WWDC 2020 Keynote To Be Held Digitally on June 22

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference virtually, beginning June 22, in the Apple Developer app and on the Apple Developer website for free for all developers. The company also announced the Swift Student Challenge, an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground. Now in its 31st year, WWDC20 will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers around the world to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS, and to learn from Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"WWDC20 will be our biggest yet, bringing together our global developer community of more than 23 million in an unprecedented way for a week in June to learn about the future of Apple platforms," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "We can't wait to meet online in June with the global developer community and share with them all of the new tools we've been working on to help them create even more incredible apps and services. We look forward to sharing more details about WWDC20 with everyone as we get closer to this exciting event."

Apple Moves its WWDC Event Online Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Apple today announced it will host its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Now in its 31st year, WWDC 2020 will take on an entirely new online format packed with content for consumers, press and developers alike. The online event will be an opportunity for millions of creative and innovative developers to get early access to the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS, and engage with Apple engineers as they work to build app experiences that enrich the lives of Apple customers around the globe.

"We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience," said Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world. We will be sharing all of the details in the weeks ahead."
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Apple Agrees to Front $500M to Settle iPhone Slowdown Class-Action Lawsuit

Apple late last week agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing it of slowing down iPhones without the knowledge or consent of users, motivating them to upgrade their devices or batteries. The settlement amount is marked at USD $500 million or $25 per member of the class (which could be adjusted depending on how many iPhones from the class are found eligible). The lawsuit is being heard by U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California, and its settlement offer by Apple is subject to his approval.

In the settlement offer papers by Apple, the company reportedly denies wrongdoing, and seeks to avoid the burdens and costs of litigation. Eligible members of the class are U.S. owners of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus or SE that ran the iOS 10.2.1 or later operating system. It also covers U.S. owners of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017. Initial outcry after discovery of Apple's secret CPU throttling cause the company to apologize for the practice, promise transparency in the future, and introduce the "Battery Health" feature in iOS that informs users of the decay of their device's lithium ion battery (ability to hold charge), and give performance throttling control to end-users.

Quick Look: Philips PH805 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

zAnother day, another audio product quick look. This time, the folks over at Philips get some love with the US launch of their PH805 active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones, the news of which we covered before. The company has gone through big changes over the years, and one of the effects has been regional business units operating independently enough to have separate launch windows for products. Take this very product, for example, which had been out for purchase for a couple of months already last year in Europe and parts of Asia, and Philips USA only just got it in 2020. Somehow, we had no coverage on this to date, but that changes now.

The PH805, also referred to as the PH805BK or TAPH805BK, follows a trend of product names that make little sense, but all you need to know is that this is from the same company and team that brought out the excellent Fidelio series that offered great value for money to those wanting an open-back, over-ear headphones with a neutral signature without any real shortcomings across the frequency range. They are readying the new Fidelio x3 for launch soon, but the PH805 aims to interest a different segment entirely. In particular, the frequent traveler or mobile user that wants a lightweight set of cans with ANC and wireless connectivity. It ships in a retail packaging that is well designed, with the company and product name on the front along with a large render and marketing features throughout, with a clear note on Google Assistant compatibility. Sorry, iOS users! Read past the break for more on the Philips PH805BK, including an unboxing, user experience, and what it costs to get you one of these in the USA.

Minecraft Gets Cross-Play Update on PS4

Players of Minecraft on PlayStation 4 rejoice! Minecraft is now getting an update on the PS4 platform that enables all PlayStation users to gain access to cross-play features, so they are now able to play with millions of other players on Xbox, PC, Switch, iOS, Android, and even Samsung Gear VR platform. In the so-called "Bedrock Edition" update that arrives today, Microsoft will push new features to Minecraft and connect millions of players.

In the words of Microsoft's game studio boss Helen Chiang: "One of Minecraft's core missions is to connect players across devices and provide the best experience regardless of platform. We continue to fulfill that mission here today by welcoming PS4 players to Minecraft on Bedrock and growing our cross-platform multiplayer community".

Terra Master Unveils the Cost-effective F2-210 2-bay NAS

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage and direct attached storage, is thrilled to share with everyone its undisputed budget offering for the NAS market. The TerraMaster F2-210 is built with quality in mind but offers a comprehensive feature set for the unbeatable price of $149.99. The TerraMaster F2-210 is perfect for new NAS users or SOHO usage that need a centralized storage solution but don't want to break the bank. With the F2-210, experience a full NAS experience at less cost so you can focus on what you need to do. The TerraMaster F2-210 has an MSRP of $149.99

TerraMaster builds the F2-210 around the ARM v8 quad-core processor. This CPU is used by many competing product but only TerraMaster is offering it at this price range. With speeds up to 1.40 GHz, users can enjoy performance of up to 114 MB/s for both read and write, perfect for file sharing amongst multiple devices or backing up your important data and memories. Use the TerraMaster as a media entertainment server for your 4K video files and enjoy real-time transcoding so you can enjoy your files with any devices. The F2-210 will handle most functions with no problem and easily repay itself in a year with savings in multi-device cloud backup account or live-streaming service accounts.

Valve Announces Steam Link App for Mobile Game Streaming Anywhere

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Valve had promised continued support to the Steam Link after discontinuing it last year, and most took it to mean basic updates to the hardware device itself at the time. That was 2018, and it is remarkable how the topic of in-house game streaming has come up since. Be it Google's Project Stream which seemingly is leading up to a major announcement by the company at GDC coming up very shortly, or Microsoft introducing their new Wireless Display app for PC game streaming on the XBOX One, as well as bringing its XBOX Live service to mobile platforms on iOS or Android alike, 2019 seems to herald a re-focus into the concept of game streaming whether the infrastructure is ready or not.

Valve for their own part has had their Steam Link be enjoyed by a fairly niche audience, one that shares a more local form of game streaming from a host device to another on the same network. NVIDIA's Shield offered a similar concept, and that too has not really made the news as much as NVIDIA would surely have wanted. This latest news from Valve allows streaming of one's Steam library (games, in particular) to phones, tablets, and TVs with no download or service fees applicable. Interested users can participate in the open beta program by simply downloading the app (Google Play store only for now) or on the Raspberry Pi as has been the case for a few months already. The Steam Link app is compatible with a number of popular Bluetooth controllers, including the Steam Controller, and Valve recommends a 5 GHz network or wired Ethernet for best experience. Looks like the weekend just got busier than I originally planned!

AVIF an AV1-based Compressed Still Image Format that Challenges HEIF, Goes v1.0.0

AVIF is a derivative of the AV1 compressed video format for still images that offer image-quality rivaling the HEVC-derived HEIF, while demonstrating superior compression. Earlier this month on February 19, the format was formally published on GitHub as version 1.0.0, collaboratively edited by engineers employed by Netflix and Microsoft, even as development of the AV1 format itself was largely led by Google. AV1 is sought after by on-demand video service companies for its royalty-free nature compared to HEVC. Netflix eyes AV1 as its key to ramp up to 4K and HDR content. YouTube, too, is looking to phase out H.264 in favor of AV1. AVIF, on the other hand, could challenge HEIC, which is the default image format used by Apple in its iOS devices. Google could propagate AVIF though its Android ecosystem, letting consumers capture photos in the format that saves storage space and data bandwidth.

SteelSeries Cross-platform Game Controllers Get Full "Fortnite" Support

SteelSeries, the global leader in gaming peripherals, today announces full Fortnite compatibility across all its mobile controllers including the new Stratus Duo, Stratus XL and Nimbus. This comprehensive family of critically acclaimed controllers is ready for Fortnite on mobile or PC. "With the massive success of Fortnite, we want to ensure gamers have the best possible gaming experience regardless of what platform they're playing on," said Tino Soelberg, SteelSeries Chief Technical Officer.

Elgato Unveils Key Light, Screen Link, Stream Deck SDK, and Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock

Elgato, the leading provider of hardware and software for content creators, today unveiled Elgato Key Light, Screen Link, Stream Deck SDK, and Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, combining to make up the biggest launch in the company's history. From advanced lighting and connectivity to mobile streaming and increased software accessibility, Elgato is making it easier than ever for creators to produce and broadcast their own professional, high-quality video content.

Elgato Key Light is the first of its kind: an LED light panel developed specifically for modern content creators. Key Light easily clamps to your desk, adding professional lighting to your setup while taking up a fraction of the space of traditional light boxes or lamps. Key Light wirelessly communicates with your PC or Mac, letting you instantly control lighting brightness and warmth via Elgato's convenient Control Center app or a key press on Elgato's highly acclaimed Stream Deck. Key Light shines with 80 premium OSRAM LEDs that output a massive 2,500 lumens while generating practically no heat.
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