iOS

iPhone 14 – Things we know so far

iPhone 14 – Things we know so far

Rumors about the iPhone 14 started popping up online before the iPhone 13 was announced -- and though we don't yet know what Apple has planned, there's enough info floating around to speculate. The company is rumored to be working on a foldable iPhone, at least based on certain patents, but there's no guarantee a folding model is in the pipeline at this time. In all likeliness, the next iteration of the iPhone will be called the iPhone 14 and it'll stick to the trusted form factor from previous years.

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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.

GameSir T4 Mini Game Controller Review

GameSir T4 Mini Game Controller Review

Gaming saw a big uptick in the past two years, partly thanks to new consoles and partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a great time not just for games and consoles but also for gaming accessories that diversify the market with more options, particularly when it comes to input controls like keyboards, mice, and, of course, controllers. With many people going mobile again, the need for more portable accessories has also become more apparent. The GameSir T4 Mini is part of that new generation of controllers that has mobility at its core, and we take it for a spin to check whether or not it makes some compromises along the way to achieve its goals.

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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 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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Spotify lyrics just launched: How to see them on mobile and desktop

Spotify lyrics just launched: How to see them on mobile and desktop

Spotify Lyrics were released this week for all users, on both desktop and mobile devices. The lyrics system in Spotify does not provide lyrics for every single song on the platform, but "many of your favorite tracks" will appear with lyrics in real time once your Spotify client's Lyrics system is activated. New lyrics are "added every day" to this system, so a relatively well known artist may not have lyrics in the system today, but might tomorrow - you'll just need to keep checking.

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2 new Instagram hidden features simplify the system

2 new Instagram hidden features simplify the system

A pair of new features were added to Instagram recently with nary a peep from the company at release time. Instead, they left the features to be discovered by the masses. Today the pair of features were finally... featured... by Instagram head Adam Mosseri. This very friendly man showed both features as "hidden gems" in the most recent versions of Instagram.

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Pokemon GO wont work on your old iPhone soon

Pokemon GO wont work on your old iPhone soon

An announcement was made by Niantic in mid-November 2021 that Pokemon GO would soon end support for older versions of iOS. Your iPhone running a version of iOS released before September of 2019. If you have an iPhone with software that old, now is the time to get an update from Apple. Also, who are you, and would you mind answering a few questions for us?

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Apple makes play for Google and Microsoft’s small business gains

Apple makes play for Google and Microsoft’s small business gains

Apple Business Essentials was launched this week as Apple's all-inclusive hub for small business owners. The service has a subscription fee that enables business owners to handle device management, 24/7 Apple Support (for devices and software), and iCloud storage. This hub will be Apple's go-to place for the handling of IT in a small business, with special focus on MacOS, iOS, and all things Apple.

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iOS 15.2 adds AirTags scanning for the tracking paranoid

iOS 15.2 adds AirTags scanning for the tracking paranoid

The latest update for iOS devices adds a sort of tracker-scanner function called "Unknown Items". With this feature, the "Find My" app can scan your immediate area for "Items That Can Track Me." This option appears in the Items column just under "Help Return Lost Items."

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Court refuses to grant Apple a stay on mandated App Store changes

Court refuses to grant Apple a stay on mandated App Store changes

One of the highest-profile legal cases surrounding Apple in a long time was bought against it by video game company Epic Games. The legal battle between the two has been raging in court for many months. It centers on Epic attempting to put a link to allow players to directly pay and bypass Apple's cut of the money from the incredibly popular game Fortnite. Unfortunately for Epic Games, of the ten counts brought against Apple, Apple came out on top in nine.

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Netflix Games portal expands to iOS: How to play on iPhone and iPad

Netflix Games portal expands to iOS: How to play on iPhone and iPad

As promised, Netflix has expanded its mobile games to iOS devices, enabling iPhone and iPad owners to play the same handful of titles previously launched on Android devices. The expansion brings the Netflix Games portal to the company's apps on iPhone and iPad, as well as each standalone game with its own listing in the App Store.

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