It was a pretty quiet weekend in the world of Apple news. However, a couple of stories stood out towards the end of the past week.
Apple Inc v Epic Games
In what seems like a never-ending story, the saga continues, Apple turned in its final filing in its lawsuit against Epic Games.
For those unfamiliar, Epic initially sued Apple when it removed their popular title, Fortnite from the iOS App Store. It did so in reaction to Epic violating the terms and conditions of the App Store. Epic had deliberately concealed a hotfix that enabled third-party payment processing within Fornite. Epic claimed this amounted to ‘anticompetitive’ behaviour.
Unfortunately for Epic, Apple filed a counterclaim and lost on most counts to Apple. Save for one specific claim that relates to ‘anti-steering’ provisions. In this instance, it represents the ability to communicate (but not enable) alternative payment options with customers in iOS App Store apps.
Epic having lost on most claims appealed the ruling. Apple has in turn rebuffed the appeal arguments and submitted its own appeal against the anti-steering claim that it lost. The appeal has been in progress since January this year and it may take until next Summer for the case to come to a close.
Epic introduced no evidence below that it ever suffered injury-in-fact from the anti-steering provisions, and it cites none on appeal. Having failed to prove such harm–before, during, or after litigation–Epic never had standing to sue under the [California Unfair Competition Law].Apple
Apple and Jony Ive are no longer in partnership
Apple’s former design chief, Jony Ive, departed the company in late 2019. However, the designer enjoyed an ongoing collaboration with Apple via his new design firm, LoveFrom. Just last year with the all-new M1 iMac, Apple confirmed that Jony was heavily involved in its complete redesign.
According to the New York Times, an internal source has stated that the company is no longer working with Ive. While not confirmed by Apple directly, it’s thought that there may have been a time-limited deal in place. Perhaps after the conclusion of this deal, the two sides decided to part ways on mutual terms.
Ive is responsible for many of Apple’s most iconic designs, including the iPhone, the iMac, the iPad, the current user interface for iOS and much more. Not to mention the design of Apple Park. Though for all his success, Ive has also faced criticism. Unpopular design choices such as the butterfly keyboard and the TouchBar in the 2016 MacBook Pro are pertinent examples.
Mark Gurman speculates that the acquisition of a number of employees by Ive for his design firm may have played a role. That in addition to a recently published book that was largely critical towards Apple CEO Tim Cook and largely favourable towards Ive.
The AppleTLDR Take
Until Apple or Jony confirm as such, this is purely speculative. Though if true, Ive has created perhaps the best industrial design team in the world at Apple. The team is currently spearheaded by Evans Hanky, herself mentored by Ive.
But regardless of if Ive is on the payroll or not, his influence will be in the DNA of Apple’s products if not its architecture for many decades to come. How the media chooses to frame the parting of ways won’t change that.