Happy Christmas Eve! This is your Apple TLDR for December 24th. It’s been an eventful week for Apple with some wins and losses in its legal battles over the App Store, rumours of more Apple services coming to Android, leaked modem tech and more. Read on or watch the video of this weeks newsletter below.
Apple Kills the Bill
The first story of the day is mixed for Apple because the French commercial Court has charged the company over one million US Dollars citing antitrust claims. The French Court claims that Apple over-inflates the prices of apps on its App Store. In doing so, Apple is alleged to be pricing out the competition. Apple naturally isn’t taking that decision lying down and intends to appeal the decision. In a tweeted statement Apple had the following to say:
Apple believes in vibrant and competitive markets that allow Innovation to flourish we will review this French Court decision closely and we’ll continue working hard to deliver support for developers and a safe experience for users through the App Store. We’ve helped French developers of all sizes share their passion and creativity with users around the world and create a secure and trusted place for customers.
While we’re on the subject of Anti-Trust, you may remember that this whole conversation around competition on the App Store really kicked into high gear when Epic Games decided to sue Apple over its claims that Apple was stifling competition. Ironically on the same day that Apple was sued by the French Courts for over one million dollars, Epic Games had a much worse day having been sued for 520 million dollars by the Federal Trade Commission. Epic was found to have committed privacy violations, specifically, Epic collected personal information from children under 13 without parental consent. Worse still, Epic exposed children by default to online communications with people over the age of 18. Not a great look but it certainly does act as a distraction from Apple’s unfortunate news.
Good news for Apple
In much better news for Apple on this subject around antitrust, it seems that their lobbying efforts have paid off. American legislators had two pieces of legislation due to hit the floor. Each would have curbed the power of tech giants. The two acts would have affected Apple in a number of ways. Apple would have been required to allow side loading on the iPhone, therefore, allowing customers to install third-party app stores. And source apps from different locations. It would have also required Apple to open up the hardware of the iPhone, enabling developer access to core technologies. Regardless of the security implications that may have come alongside it.
It looks like things have worked out for Apple. Both of these pieces of legislation have not been selected to be voted on. For now at least, it looks like congress has been stalled. Or at least the can has been kicked down the road for a number of years. In Europe, the story is totally different. But at least in the USA, Apple’s biggest market, the App Store isn’t going to be changing anytime soon.
The second story of the day focuses on Apple’s item trackers Airtags. For those of you unfamiliar, Airtags provide a simple and easy way to find missing or lost items. Until now, Apple hasn’t revealed what is contained within firmware updates for these devices. Thankfully Apple now includes a list of exactly what is contained within each firmware update on its support page. Unfortunately, we still don’t have a way to manually update Airtags. But at least we can now see the contents that are contained within each update. In the latest update that came out last week, for instance, the accelerometer has been fixed. More specifically, it resolves an issue in which the accelerometer doesn’t activate in certain scenarios. Apple doesn’t list what these scenarios are but it’s good to know that this has now been resolved.
Apple TV on Android?
The third story of the day comes to us from notorious Twitter leaker ShrimpApplePro. According to shrimp, Apple intends to bring the Apple TV app to Android. You might be wondering… why on earth would Apple do that? Apple typically likes to keep users locked into its own ecosystem. As it turns out however, Apple actually has something of a history of doing this. For example, if we look back to the original iPod it was only available on the Mac and it really reduced the number of sales that Apple could achieve with the iPod. But as soon as Apple made iTunes available on Windows so that PC customers could sync their music with their iPod, iPod sales exploded.
Sometimes these moves just make strategic sense for Apple and they’ve also done this a lot more recently than you think. For example, Apple Music is available on Android and again it makes sense because Apple can increase its services revenue and can increase its subscriber base for Apple Music. It, therefore, stands to reason that Apple would want to do this with their Apple TV+ streaming service. Giving users on Android access to the TV app means that they can also subscribe and access Apple TV+ content so I imagine that we’ll see apple continue to pull on the thread over time. Just don’t expect to see iMessage on Android anytime soon. As for RCS? That’s an entirely different story.
iPhone SE 4 Cancelled or Delayed
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Quo, the next generation of the iPhone SE the fourth generation has allegedly been cancelled or at the very least postponed. According to Quo, the reason for this is that Apple has concerns about higher production and development costs for the device which is said to feature an all-screen design. It would include more expensive parts and components compared to the current generation of iPhone SE too.
The current generation iPhone SE resembles an iPhone 6 body and still has a fingerprint-sensing home button with Touch ID. The iPhone SE is positioned as an entry-level device and increasing development costs would naturally involve an increased cost of the finished goods for customers. That may not be something that budget-conscious buyers are willing to pay when they’re looking for a really great value. But what do you think? Will Apple still release its next generation iPhone SE in 2023 or do you think it’ll be delayed or otherwise cancelled?
AI Modems for iPhone
You may recall that a few years ago Apple was in a dispute with chip designer and modem maker Qualcomm, however, the two resolved the dispute and Apple began to ship Qualcomm 5G modems starting with the iPhone 12. With the iPhone 14 series, Apple is using Qualcomm’s x65 modem and for the iPhone 15, the company will continue to use Qualcomm modems with the x70. The x70 is said to feature artificial intelligence enabling things like faster average download speeds improved call signal and much much more.
It’s notable that Apple did purchase a whole bunch of modem patents from Intel several years ago and has yet to use them. In actual fact, Apple purchased the entire Intel modem business but it looks like Apple is still working on the development of their own modems in-house. We may have to wait a few more years before we see Apple modems land in an iPhone.