Category Archives: Apple

Apple Wins Fight over $14.9 Billion Tax Bill

Apple won its court battle over a $14.9 billion (13 billion-euro) Irish tax bill, Bloomberg reported. The EU General Court sided with Apple, saying the European Commission failed to show Ireland’s tax arrangement with the company were illegal state aid. This decision can be appealed.

Bloomberg reported that Apple welcomed the ruling, saying the case “was not about how much tax we pay, but where we are required to pay it.”

This situation goes back to 1991, when Ireland granted its first “tax ruling” to Apple, the Irish Times reported. Apple’s tax agreement in Ireland was replaced in 2007 by a second “tax ruling”.

In 2013, US Senators John McCain and Carl Levin labeled Ireland a “tax haven for multinational companies such as Apple” in a hearing in Washington on tax avoidance. Later in 2013, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan outlined plans to ensure Irish-registered companies cannot be “stateless” for tax purposes. This included Apple’s arrangements.

In 2014, EU issued preliminary findings that Apple’s tax arrangements were improperly designed to give the company a financial boost in exchange for jobs in the Ireland.

In 2016, The EU issued a final decision on the Irish-Apple case, saying the Republic of Ireland must recover up to $13 billion-euro in back taxes from Apple. Later that year, Apple appealed, saying it was singled out as a “convenient target”.

The case was heard by the EU’s second-highest court in 2019. And today, we have the ruling.

The Irish Times reported that the ruling could still be appealed by the commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest court. If that happens, it could take another three years before there is a final outcome of the case.

According to The Irish Times, most of the €14.3 billion collected by the Government in 2018 following directions from the commission, including €1.2 billion of interest, will remain in escrow until a final verdict is delivered. In other words, there is the potential that this case will linger for another three years, awaiting the next verdict.

Apple is Closing Some Retail Stores Again

When Apple started slowly reopening its retail stores in May of this year, it stated that it would take the preventative step of closing stores again should local conditions warrant. Since then, some states have had spikes of COVID-19 cases. As such, Apple is re-closing some of its stores again.

9To5Mac reported that Apple is temporarily closing 11 of its stores in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arizona, out of an abundance of caution.

Those who were paying attention when Apple announced their approach to reopening stores in May won’t be surprised to see Apple closing stores in areas where spikes of COVID-19 cases are happening. Part of Apple’s post about it said:

Our commitment is to only move forward with a reopening once we’re confident we can safely return to serving customers from our stores. We look at every available piece of data – including local cases, near and long-term trends, and guidance from national and local health officials. These are not decisions we rush into – and a store opening in no way means that we won’t take the preventative step of closing it again should local conditions warrant.

According to Bloomberg the Apple stores being closed are Waterside Shops and Coconut Point in Florida, Southpark and Northlake Mall in North Carolina, Haywood Mall in South Carolina, and Chandler Fashion Center, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Arrowhead, SanTan Village, Scottsdale Quarter and La Encantada in Arizona.

People who live near those Apple stores will be able to pick up device repairs at the stores this weekend. Bloomberg reported that Apple has not provided a timeline for reopening.

This could have been avoided if people had followed the directions given by the CDC to wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, to stay at least six feet apart from other people, and to wear a mask. All of those methods help to stop the spread of COVID-19.

New Tom Hanks movie to be released straight to Apple TV as an exclusive

I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone of who Tom Hanks is. The man who gave us things like Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, Captain Phillips and Sully, just to name a few.

Now Hanks has a new movie and this release will be unique, but also a sign of the times we’re living in. With theaters closed Sony reached a deal with Apple TV to give it exclusive rights to the World War II submarine movie “Greyhound”

The movie had been slated for father’s day weekend, but Apple has given no date when they’ll begin showing it.

This is not the only movie going this route,  “Scoob” is now on Amazon Prime directly. And others have or will follow suit.

What will this do to the theater industry? It’s hard to say. It may recover when all of this passes, but will people return or will they become used to this new way of doing business? It will be interesting to see this play out.

In the meantime Sony has released a trailer which you can watch here

Apple is Reopening Stores with COVID-19 Safety Measures

Apple announced its approach to reopening Apple Stores. They have created a Find a Store search tool that people can use to find out if the Apple Store near them has reopened. Apple is making changes in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In every store, we’re focused on limiting occupancy and giving everybody lots of room, and renewing our focus one-on-one, personalized service at the Genius Bar and throughout the store.

Additional changes include the requirement that their teams and customers all wear face coverings. Apple will provide them to customers who don’t bring their own. Temperature checks will be conducted at the door of the store. Posted health questions will screen for those with symptoms, like cough or fever, or who have had recent exposure to someone with COVID-19.

Those who do not wish to comply with these efforts are probably not going to be allowed inside an Apple Store. That said, Apple will allow for curb-side-pick-up and drop off. Or, you can make your purchase online, and Apple can ship it to your home or make your new items available for pick-up at an Apple Store.

Apple will be conducting deep cleanings that place special emphasis on all surfaces, display products, and highly trafficked areas.

Things are going to change inside and outside Apple Stores. I think most people will comply with the mask requirement, especially those of us who have been making it a practice to wear masks when outside. But, there is likely to be someone who decides to have a tantrum because they refuse to wear a mask. I expect there will be photos on social media about that.

It will be interesting to see how these health and safety requirements hold up whenever Apple releases the newest version of one or more of their products. People tend to get queue up in lines outside Apple Stores before the store opens on the day a new product becomes available for sale.

Will people wait their turn in a socially-distanced line outside the store? Or will they attempt to push past the employees who are checking for masks and taking temperatures of customers? I suppose it comes down to whether an individual values their health more, or less, than the newest Apple product.

Apple Acquired NextVR

Apple Inc. confirmed to Bloomberg that it has acquired NextVR. Bloomberg reported that NextVR is a Newport Beach, California, startup.

9to5Mac reported that NextVR provides VR experiences with headsets from PlayStation, Oculus, HTC, Microsoft, and Lenovo headsets. It also holds patented technology that that it uses to support high quality video streams of music and sporting events to VR headsets. According to 9to5Mac, NextVR holds over 40 technology patents in total.

Since the news of the acquisition, NextVR posted this message on its website:

NextVR is Heading in a New Direction

Thank you to our partners and fans around the world for the role you played in building this awesome platform for sports, music and entertainment experiences in Virtual Reality.

This makes me wonder how long the companies who make those VR headsets can continue to obtain experiences from NextVR, now that it has been acquired by Apple. Right now, it is unclear what will happen to NextVR’s partnerships with the NBA, Fox Sports, Wimbledon and other live music and sporting events.

Will Apple keep those connections intact, or cut them? My best guess is the answer to that question depends on whatever Apple’s plans are for NextVR.

Apple will Gradually Reopen US Retail Stores

Apple plans to start gradually reopening at least some of its retail stores in the United States starting next week, 9To5Mac reported. This will be exciting news for those who can’t wait go into an Apple Store to replace the Apple products they are currently using with newer versions.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple confirmed the store reopenings in a statement, part of which says:

We’re excited to begin reopening stores in the US next week, starting with some stores in Idaho, South Carolina, Alabama, and Alaska. Our team is constantly monitoring local health data and government guidance, and as soon as we can safely open our stores, we will.

We’ve missed our customers and look forward to offering our support. With many working and learning from home, our primary focus will be providing service and support at the Genius Bar. We’ll open initially with additional safety procedures including temperature checks, social distancing, and face coverings to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy. Our new social distance protocol allows for a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for contactless delivery or in-store pick up…

CNBC reported that the reopening of Apple Stores is a sign that operations for the company are slowly getting back to normal during what Apple CEO Tim Cook called the “most challenging global environment” the company has ever experienced. CNBC also reported that Apple has only six stores in the states it mentioned in the statement, and that Apple did not confirm that all of those stores will be opening next week.

Personally, I think Apple is making a smart choice by gradually opening US Apple Stores, instead of opening them all at once. It gives the company a chance to see if customers are willing and able to comply with social distancing protocols, temperature checks, and the requirement to wear a face mask before going into an Apple Store. My best guess is if people can do those simple things, then Apple may consider opening more stores.

If it turns out that too many customers refuse to comply, it will be fairly easy for Apple to close down the few stores that were reopened. How soon the Apple Store near you will open up depends largely upon the behaviors of those who visit the first ones that Apple reopens.

Apple Will Host Virtual Worldwide Developers Conference

Apple 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 decision to hold the conference online, and not in-person, is not a surprise considering the realities of COVID-19. It’s nice that Apple wants to keep people safe and healthy.

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.

Developers are encouraged to download the Apple Developer app where additional WWDC20 program information – including keynote and Platforms State of the Union details, session and lab schedules, and more – will be shared in June. Information will also be made available on the Apple website and by email.

In addition, Apple announced the Swift Student Challenge It is an opportunity for student developers to showcase their love of coding by creating their own Swift playground. Swift Playgrounds is a revolutionary app for iPad and Mac that makes learning the Swift programming language interactive and fun.

Now through 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 17, student developers from all over the world can submit to the Swift Student Challenge by creating an interactive scene in a Swift playground that can be experienced within three minutes. Winners will receive an exclusive WWD20 jacket and pin set.

To be eligible for the challenge, you must: be 13 years of age or older and be registered for free with Apple as an Apple developer or be a member of the Apple Developer program. You must also be enrolled in an accredited academic institution or official homeschool equivalent; or a STEM organization’s educational curriculum; or enrolled in an Apple Developer Academy; or have graduated from high school within the past 6 months.