Tag Archives: Apple

Epic Appealed the Ruling in Epic v. Apple Case

Epic has decided to appeal the ruling in the its case against Apple. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers, of the United States District Court of Northern California issued a permanent injunction in the Epic v. Apple case.

The judge also wrote a judgement that includes a counterclaim in which she was in favor of Epic Games, on the Tenth Court for violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and in favor of Apple on all other counts.

The judge also wrote in favor of Apple on Epic’s breach of contract. The judge required Epic to pay damages in an amount equal to 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue Epic Games collected from users on the Fortnite app on iOS through Epic Direct Payment between August and October 2020, plus 30% of any such revenue Epic Games collected from November 1, 2020 through the date of judgement and interest of law.

One could reasonably assume that it is the part that Epic doesn’t like. On the day the ruling was released, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney tweeted: “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”

The Verge posted a copy of Epic’s appeal. Here’s the main paragraph:

Notice is hereby given that Epic Games, Inc., Plaintiff and Counter-defendant in the above-named case, appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from the final Judgement entered on September 10, 2021… and all orders leading to or producing that judgement, including but not limited to the Rule 52 Over After Trial on the Merits … and the Permanent Injunction… each entered on the same date.

Overall, I think this means that the Epic v. Apple case is going to continue its way through the courts. It might be the court case that seems as though it will never actually end.

Judge Rules Apple Must Allow Other Forms of In-App Purchases

The legal battle between Epic and Apple has made it to court. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers, of the United States District Court of Northern California, has issued a permanent injunction in the Epic v. Apple case. From the injunction:

Apple Inc. and its officers, agents, servants, employees, and any person in active concert or participation with them (“Apple”), are hereby permanently restrained and enjoined from prohibiting developers from (i) including their apps and their metadata buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms, in addition to In-App Purchasing and (ii) communicating with customers through points of contact obtained voluntarily from customers through account registration within the app.

The Verge reported that this means that iOS apps must be allowed to direct users to payment options beyond those offered by Apple. The permanent injunction will take effect in 90 days.

In addition, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rodgers wrote a judgement that includes a counterclaim:

On the complaint, in favor of plaintiff Epic Games, Inc. on the Tenth Count for violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (with a separate injunction issuing herewith) and in favor of defendant Apple, Inc. on all other counts.

On the counterclaim, in favor of Apple on the counterclaim for breach of contract. Epic Games shall pay (1) damages in an amount equal to (i) 30% of the $12,167,719 in revenue Epic Gams collected from users in the Fortnite app on iOS through Epic Direct Payment between August and October 2020, plus (ii) 30% of such revenue Epic Games collected from November 1, 2020, through the date of the judgement, and interest according to law.

CEO of Epic Games, Tim Sweeney, tweeted: “Today’s ruling isn’t a win for developers or for consumers. Epic is fighting for fair competition among in-app payment methods and app stores for a billion consumers.”

Tech Reporter for NPR, Bobby Allyn, tweeted: “Epic spokeswoman confirms it is appealing the decision; Apple is “considering all legal options” in response. Nobody’s happy!”

The results of the permanent injunction could be a big deal for companies that make games for iOS. They can do that and point consumers toward their own platform for payment.

Apple Announced California Streaming Event

Apple announced an Apple Event called California Streaming. It will take place on September 14, at 10 a.m. PDT. It will be broadcast from Apple Park. You can watch it live online at apple.com. That’s all the information that Apple has given about this event.

MacRumors reported that this event will be held digitally with no members of the media to attend in person. They think Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for each new product..

What might those products be? We won’t know for certain just yet. MacRumors expects Apple to announce new iPhone 13 models, the Apple Watch Series 7, and possibly the AirPods 3. They don’t think that new MacBook Pro models and new iPads will be part of the event.

Mashable reported that opening the September 14 event page on an iPhone reveals a graphic that mimics the video being shared by company bigwigs on Twitter: The glowing Apple logo floating over an alpine lake. But when you tap on that logo, “the augmented reality magic happens”.

I tried this out for myself, and saw the glowing Apple logo over a lake. Tapping on the screen started the AR, and I now had a glowing Apple logo on my desk (when viewed through my iPhone). It kind of reminded me of how Pókemon GO uses AR in their game. I could see the date of the event hovering over the lake.

Based on this, Mashable predicts that we might soon see an iPhone AR. According to Mashable, the latest iPad Pro is optimized for AR tech.

MacStories speculated that we might see new Macs, considering that it has been several months since the M1 iMac was introduced. They also think Apple will announce upcoming versions of its operating systems and release dates for each.

Overall, we have no clear idea what Apple will present at the event. That’s part of the fun, I think. Some of the speculation could turn out to be accurate, and some not right at all. Apple could surprise us with something that nobody expected.

Apple Delays Rollout of CSAM Detection

Silvery Apple LogoLast month, Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protection for children. In short, Apple stated that the purpose was to protect children from receiving or sending sexually explicit photos. Parents would get a message if their child or teen viewed or sent one. In addition, Apple stated that was going to scan user’s iCloud photos in an effort to detect CSAM, which if found, would be reported to law enforcement.

Those features were intended to roll out with updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. 9to5Mac reported that Apple has decided to “take additional time” to refine the features before launching to the public.

Apple gave a statement to 9to5Mac:

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

It is unclear when Apple will decide to release those features, and it is unknown what kinds of improvements Apple intends to make.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) responded to Apple’s decision to “take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements.” EFF states that those features will weaken privacy and security on iPhones and other products.

EFF wrote that it is “pleased Apple is now listening to the concerns of customers, researchers, civil liberties organizations, human rights activists, LGBTQ people, youth representatives, and other groups, about the dangers posed by its phone scanning tools. But the company must go further than just listening, and drop its plans to put a backdoor into its encryption entirely.”

Personally, I think Apple really messed up when they announced those new features in a way that made users think the two were connected. It resulted in a lot of confusion. I also think Apple made a huge mistake when it assumed people would be okay with the idea of having their iCloud photos scanned. The best way around this, in my opinion, is to pull your family photos out of iCloud and store them elsewhere.

Apple Explains its Protections for Children

Apple provided an explanation about its expanded protections for children. This comes after information about it has spread across the internet, that may or may not be factual.

Here is some of the information Apple provided:

  • Apple is introducing new child safety features in three areas, developed in collaboration with child safety experts. First, new communication tools will enable parents to play a more informed role in helping their children navigate communication online. The Messages app will use on-device machine learning to warn about sensitive content, while keeping private communications unreadable by Apple.
  • iOS and iPadOS will use new applications of cryptography to help limit the spread of CSAM online, while designing for use privacy. CSAM detection will help Apple provide valuable information to law enforcement on collections of CSAM in iCloud Photos.
  • These features are coming later this year in updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey.
  • The Messages app will at new tools to warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos.
  • The content of the photo will be blurred, and the child will be warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view this photo. As an additional precaution, the child can also be told that, to make sure they are safe, their parents will get a message if they do view it. The child will be warned before the photo is sent, and the parents can receive a message if the child chooses to send it.

John Gruber (on Daring Fireball) has more information about what this does Apple’s child safety initiatives:

The messages feature is specifically only for children in a shared iCloud family account. If you’re an adult, nothing is changing with regard to any photos you send or receive through Messages. And if you’re a parent with child who the feature could apply to, you’ll need to explicitly opt in to enable the feature. It will not turn on automatically when your devices are updated to iOS 15.

John Gruber also wrote: If you don’t use iCloud Photo Library, none of this applies to you. If you do use iCloud Photo Library, this detection is only applied to the images in your photo library the are synced to iCloud.

Apple Warns Sideloading Apps Would Undermine Privacy Protections

Apple has released a report titled: “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps”. In short, it provides information about how the App Store protections are important for the safety and security of iOS and iPadOS. Sideloading would undermine this system because it would enable nefarious apps to cause harm to those who download them.

The report is an interesting read for those who use iOS and/or iPadOS. It provides details about what happens “behind the scenes” that enables Apple to provide security and privacy protections to users. It also talks about its App Review process, in which developers and users are screened and checked for malicious components like unwanted purchases or providing access to personal data.

In 2020, 100,000 apps and updates were reviewed each week on average by a team of over 500 dedicated experts, who review apps in different languages.

Nearly one million problematic new apps and a similar number of updates were rejected or removed. That includes more than 150,000 for being spam or copycats, or misleading users; more than 215,000 for violating privacy guidelines; more than 48,000 for containing hidden or undocumented features; and about 95,000 for fraudulent violations (predominantly for including “bait and switch” functionalities to commit criminal or other forbidden actions.)

Features like Apple’s privacy labels on the App Store, and its App Tracking Transparency, provide protections to users. Apple points out that allowing sideloading – allowing developers to distribute their apps outside of the App Store through websites or third-party app stores – “would degrade the security of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks not only on third-party app stores, but also on the App Store.”

One of the things that caught my attention in Apple’s report was that sideloading could cause harm to people who only download apps from the App Store. Those that choose to sideload apps will put other iOS or iPadOS users at risk. A malicious developer could attempt to fake something that looks like the App Store, which could trick users into thinking it was the real deal. That app could then grab people’s data, including health and financial information.

UK’s CMA Scrutinizes Mobile Ecosystems of Apple and Google

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that they have launched a market study into Apple’s and Google’s mobile ecosystems over concerns they have market power which is harming users and other businesses.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking a closer look at whether the firms’ effective duopoly over the supply of operating systems (iOS and Android), app stores (App Store and Play Store), and web browsers (Safari and Chrome), could be resulting in consumers losing out across a wide range of areas.

The CMA is describing “mobile ecosystems” as a variety of products, content, and services such as music, TV and video streaming, fitness tracking, shopping and banking. They also include devices such as smart speakers, smart watches, home security, and lighting (which mobiles can connect to and control).

The purpose of the market study appears to be to determine whether the ecosystems of Google and Apple are stifling competition. CMA will also examine the effects of Google’s and Apple’s market power over other businesses, such as app developers, who rely on either Apple or Google to market their products to customers via their phones.

9to5Mac reported that the CMA views Apple and Google’s ecosystems as a “duopoly”. 9to5Mac also pointed out that the CMA’s investigation comes after a preliminary ruling from the European Commission that Apple’s mandated 30% cut of In-App Purchases unfairly diminished competition in music streaming.

Personally, I think it is probably a good idea for the CMA to investigate the Apple and Google “duopoly”. They may find that the situation is not really a problem after all. Or, they could discover reasons to induce changes in how both companies do things. Those changes might turn out to be really good for consumers.