Apple Breakfast: An Epic Court Battle

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Apple generates a lot of news, and it can be hard to keep up. If your mind was on other things this week, our roundup of Apple-related headlines will bring you up to date.

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Courtroom drama

This week, after months and months of increasingly tedious preamble, Apple and Epic Games (developer of the popular game Fortnite) finally had their day(s) in court. The arguments are likely to continue for some time, but plenty of interesting revelations have already emerged from early sparring.

One is the fact that high-ranking Apple executives discussed whether they should lower App Store fees as early as 2011. In an email to Eddy Cue, Phil Schiller proposed dropping the fee to 25% or even 20% once the store hit $1bn in profits – provided it could remain above that mark once the changes kicked in.

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Needless to say, the idea was not implemented.

We’ve also heard that, according to emails published as part of the case, Apple handled a similar dispute with Netflix in a very different (and markedly friendlier) manner. In December 2018, Netflix removed the subscribe option from its iOS app, a move that would avoid the necessity of sharing revenue with Apple. But instead of punishing Netflix, Apple bent over backwards to appease the company with offers of promotion. Makes you wonder whose flowerbed Epic trampled to get treated so much more belligerently.

It’s all fairly embarrassing for Apple, and it’s hard to see an uncomplicated good outcome from all of this public wrangling. Jason Snell has been wondering just how much will it give up?

Finally, if you’re wondering whether the protracted and bitter legal battle means a permanent end to Fortnite on Apple devices… well, it seems like the answer is no. Geforce Now for iOS will soon be bringing Fortnite to iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Geforce Now product manager Aashish Patel has appeared as a witness in the ongoing trial, and said the launch could potentially happen in October 2021. Read more about this in how to get Fortnite on the iPhone.

News in brief

A psychology professor in the US has conducted a study into the sleeping habits of people who use smartphones before bed, and concludes that Night Shift doesn’t improve sleep after all.

The HomePod has been given another default music service. It’s just not the one everyone wants.

Craig Grannell reviews the 100 best games for iPad & iPhone.

Warren Buffett – who knows a thing or two about running a business – has described Tim Cook as “one of the best managers in the world”. He even dared to compare Cook to the late Steve Jobs, tactfully arguing that the two men were and are good at different things.

Brittany Vincent discusses three Apple products you absolutely shouldn’t pre-order.

New products

If you were thinking of buying a new iMac or iPad Pro, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’re already seeing great deals on these new products. You can get up to £43 off the iPad Pro and up to £82 off the new iMac.

We now have a full review of the AirTag and a guide to what you can use AirTags for. All the cool kids are using them as bookmarks, don’t you know. (We are aware of only one cool kid doing this, and he is 42.)

And if you’re more interested in the new Apple products yet to launch this month, read our predictions about what Apple could launch in May.

Bugs & problems

An Australian retailer has removed the AirTag from sale, following reports that the device’s battery is dangerously easy for children to access. It’s difficult to predict whether sellers in the UK and US will follow suit; sensitivities are particularly high in Australia because of a string of tragedies where children have swallowed ‘button-cell’ batteries.

A week after iOS 14.5 and macOS 11.3 arrived Apple’s updated them to iOS 14.5.1 and macOS 11.3.1. 11.3.1 addressed two vulnerabilities in Webkit (the rendering engine used by Safari). iOS 14.5.1 included a fix for a problem with app tracking transparency that had led to some users not receiving ‘Allow apps to request tracking’ notifications. Read about the latest version of iOS and macOS’s latest version.

Apple continues to support its iOS 12 operating system from 2018, which is still being used by a significant number of users. The new iOS 12.5.3 update patches serious security vulnerabilities which were being used for attacks on data and the system.

The rumour mill

Just in time for this news round up, Apple leaker extraudinare Jon Prosser (read about the best Apple leakers) revealed that one of his sources – the one who gave him a head up that Apple was going with different colour cases for the new iMacs – had told him that Apple is planning a colourful MacBook launch.

It looks like Apple Music will soon be getting Hi-Res Audio. Clues hidden in the beta code of iOS 14.6 suggest the service will offer significantly better audio quality in the future, although not all devices will be compatible.

More news on the fabled foldable iPhone, which is expected to launch in 2023. Ming-Chi Kuo says the device will have an 8in screen with a resolution of 3200 x 1800 – impressive specs by today’s standards, but how will it stand up to the competition two years from now?

Reports from the supply chain suggest that TSMT has overcome production difficulties, and will now be able to supply mini-LED panels for the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro in 2021. This should lead to better colour reproduction, blacker blacks and all the usual bells and whistles.

Talking of screen tech… LTPO looks set to bring improved battery life and a 120Hz refresh rate to the iPhone 13 (or the Pro versions, at any rate). If repetition alone was enough to make a rumour come true, this one – which got yet another boost this week – would be carved in stone.

How long must we wait for the next iPad mini? A little longer, it seems, since the device’s first update since 2019 has apparently been delayed until the second half of 2021.

And that’s it for this week. See you next Saturday, and stay Appley!





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