Apple

Apple Watch Series 7 Review

Apple Watch Series 7 Review

Nobody can deny that the Apple Watch won the smartwatch wars, and the latest Apple Watch Series 7 only extends that lead. A collection of endearing enhancements rather than the all-out reinvention that some expected, 2021's version blends a bigger display with the improvements of watchOS 8, for a result that, though predictable, is no less impressive for it.

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Apple could turn Epic Games’ app tax victory into unexpected defeat

Apple could turn Epic Games’ app tax victory into unexpected defeat

For years, developers and platform makers have been waging an almost silent war over how much each can really take out of every successful purchase or subscription. That struggle was brought to light recently when Epic Games not only publicly questioned the status quo but even dared to sue giants like Apple and Google. The repercussions of those lawsuits have so far gone in favor of developers and publishers, pushing app stores to make changes to the way they do business. Apple, however, may have found a loophole that would allow it to still tax developers even if they don't use its App Store payment system.

The 70/30 Rule

Few probably remember now when or where it started, but it has become an almost de facto standard that sellers take only 70% of profits while distribution platforms take a 30% commission. That practice may have become notorious on Apple App Store and Google Play Store, but that practice has been used by many stores, both digital and physical. Most of the digital games distribution channels like Steam use it but so do physical stores like Walmart.

It has been common practice for stores to impose some tax on owners selling their products through those channels, and it makes the most sense in the context of a brick-and-mortar store. App store owners like Apple and Google also justify the cut they get by saying how it goes into improving the store platform, usually by developing stronger security measures. Not everyone, however, buys those excuses.

Epic Games, for one, has cast doubt on any innovation Google makes for the Play Store to justify its 30% share. More importantly, the famed game developer and publisher calls into question the almost arbitrary restriction that Apple places on apps distributed on its App Store. In a nutshell, all the apps there have to use Apple's first-party payment system, which also means agreeing to that 70/30 split. Given it's nearly impossible to install apps on iPhones outside of that App Store, Epic Games has argued that this requirement is, in fact, illegal.

The Verdict

Epic Games' stance found victory both in courts of law and the court of public opinion. Indirectly, it has caused many companies to review and even change their policies. Microsoft, for example, pretty much made its own Store completely open and has waived many of the restrictions developers would encounter on Steam, the App Store, and the Google Play Store.

In some territories like South Korea, Google and Apple are being legally compelled to allow third-party payment systems in apps distributed through their stores. While Apple is still appealing that new law, Google has already accepted it, but with some caveats that we'll see later.

For its part, Apple has been making changes, like offering different tiers with lower taxes depending on what's being distributed or how much an app is making. One of its biggest changes is to allow apps to link to an external site when signing up for a subscription, and soon, it will also be required to allow linking to external payment systems. It's not a clear win for developers and publishers, however, and Apple might still have the last laugh.

The Loophole

9to5Mac reports that Apple might still be getting a commission out of payments made outside of the App Store, as long as the link to the external payment system comes from an app that was installed through the App Store. That, in effect, means all the apps that are installed on iPhones and iPads.

This pretty much circumvents the spirit of Epic Games' lawsuit as well as the rulings that are being imposed against Apple. The reason why developers would want to give up the convenience of Apple Pay or Google Pay for in-app purchases is to escape that tax in the first place. The filing indicates that Apple doesn't see things the same way, at least legally speaking.

It isn't the only one either, as Google already revealed something similar last month, where it said it would take only 11% or 26% of profits when a third-party payment processor is used. The Android maker presents a list of justifications for this policy, and Apple will most likely use the same tactic if questioned. South Korean regulators are still investigating whether this is legally sound, and you can bet that Apple's injunction will be met with intense scrutiny as well.

Here’s How to Reset Your AirPods

Here’s How to Reset Your AirPods

Apple's AirPods offer a smooth experience, but they're not totally immune to the occasional issue. Some users have experienced moments where the earbuds won't charge, while at other times one may face a connection issue in which the AirPods refuse to pair with a smartphone or laptop. Not every issue requires a full reset, but performing the action is simple when nothing else works.

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Top laptops for learning from home

Top laptops for learning from home

Just like working from home, learning from home is a new normal these days. As educational institutions have remained distant from children for the best part of two years, students have become immensely dependent on smartphones and laptops for coursework and entertainment. Even now when many schools and colleges are conceding to a hybrid model – a mix of in-person and remote learning – as a response to slow rate of Covid-19 cases, there is a need for laptops students can use on the campus and back home.

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The first Apple AR headset could be a much bigger deal than we expected

The first Apple AR headset could be a much bigger deal than we expected

Apple's augmented reality headset could pack a surprise, according to the latest analyst predictions, with suggestions of a more gradual dive into smart glasses upended with the idea of a more ambitious first product. Long the topic of rumor - one which Apple seems happy to periodically stoke - the AR wearable would arguably be the biggest product announcement for the Cupertino firm since the original iPhone.

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The Apple Black Friday 2021 deals are here, but are they worth it?

The Apple Black Friday 2021 deals are here, but are they worth it?

As with Amazon, Walmart, and other major tech companies, Apple has a bunch of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for shoppers this Thanksgiving holiday. Unlike most other companies, however, Apple isn't slashing the prices on its products -- rather, buyers will receive an Apple Gift card as part of the purchase, which can be used to buy something else later on. Is the gift card deal ultimately worth it?

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Apple delays controversial iPhone driver’s license feature

Apple delays controversial iPhone driver’s license feature

iPhone users will need to keep their driver's license in their wallet or purse a little longer than expected, with Apple quietly confirming that its iOS 15 ID cards feature has been delayed. Announced as part of the newest iPhone and Apple Watch software, the feature will add a digital version of a driver's license or state ID to the Apple Wallet, for use when traveling or other times when proof of ID is required.

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Apple turns to TSMC for in-house 5G iPhone modem

Apple turns to TSMC for in-house 5G iPhone modem

For years now, we've seen Apple attempt to move away from Qualcomm by producing its own computing components in-house. However, one component that still ties Apple to Qualcomm is a big one in the mobile world: modems. While Apple's iPhones use the company's own System-on-chip (SoC) (or as Apple calls them, "Chips"), Apple is still using Qualcomm-made modems in its phones, but that's something that could change in 2023 thanks to a new team-up with the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).

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Apple sues spyware firm that infected and tracked iPhone users

Apple sues spyware firm that infected and tracked iPhone users

After WhatsApp and Meta sued the Israeli-based NSO Group over its Pegasus spyware, Apple is now following suit. Today, the company announced a lawsuit against the NSO Group in an effort to "curb the abuse of state-sponsored spyware." Apple is seeking damages in the case (which weren't revealed in today's announcement) and is looking to bar the NSO Group from using any "Apple software, services, or devices" in the future.

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When Was the First iPod Released?

When Was the First iPod Released?

The evolution of devices that play music involves a fascinating timeline. From the Edison Victrolas that were launched in 1877 to the Discman that Generation X used to tune out the world, what we use to listen to what we love has become more compact and filled with more features over time. Who would have thought back in the 1990s that we could carry around entire discographies in our pockets?

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Apple leak claims fully autonomous Project Titan EV may arrive in 2025

Apple leak claims fully autonomous Project Titan EV may arrive in 2025

Apple is moving ahead with plans to develop a fully autonomous electric car, according to the latest leak on the company's long-running automotive project. Unlike some vehicles that have partial self-driving features, Apple aims to make a car that is capable of driving itself without input from the human behind the wheel, the sources allege.

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Apple Self Service Repair opens DIY door with new parts store

Apple Self Service Repair opens DIY door with new parts store

This week Apple revealed they'd be releasing parts, tools, and manuals for future Apple devices for repairs. They'll call this their Apple Self Service Repair program, and it'll start with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13. This move appears to change the way Apple approaches device hardware handling and repair, away from restricting repairs to those "authorized" to do so, allowing consumers to take their destiny into their own hands.

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