One of the more recent class-action lawsuits against Apple argues that Apple’s monopoly over the App Store allows it to overcharge customers for apps, thanks to the 30% cut that Apple receives from every app sale and in-app purchase. As explained by Ars Technica, one of Apple’s arguments that could potentially derail the entire thing is a ruling from 1977 that says only a company’s direct customers can sue for antitrust violations, and with Apple claiming that app sales are between developers and their customers, you can kind of see where the company is going with this, even if it is a little confusing.
In case you missed it, on Friday Commonwealth Bank announced Apple Pay would become available to consumer customers in January 2019. The move marks an end to our long national nightmare of Apple Pay not being available on what is undoubtedly Australia’s largest bank, with CBA playing up Apple Pay as part of their commitment to being a better, simpler bank, although we all know what the real story is there. Bankwest customers are also included in the Apple Pay availability, and here’s hoping the rest of the Australian banking sector follows suit.
Apple has announced it will be building a new campus in Austin, Texas, less than 2km from its current facilities, at a cost of $1 billion. The Austin campus is expected to accomodate 5,000 employees, with that number growing to 15,000 as capacity is increased, making Apple the largest private employer in Austin. Apple’s announcement of its new Apple campus also came with the news the company expects to open new facilities in Seattle, San Diego, Culver City, and expand its current facilities in Pittsburgh and Boulder over the next three years.
Apple’s Texture acquisition from earlier this year is being integrated into Apple’s services ecosystem, with the most likely result being some kind of premium subscription within Apple News. Although it’s unclear whether it will be news or Texture’s previous content base of magazines that will be on offer, Bloomberg says Texture’s re-launch as an Apple service will test whether the all-you-can-eat model will work for news.
As part of the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, US tech giants including Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have issued a statement denouncing the Assistance and Access Bill. “The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities”, the RGS says, urging the Australian government to promptly address these flaws when it reconvenes, as not doing so will undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of their collective users.
Last week, the Australian Senate passed new laws allowing law enforcement agencies to force tech companies including Apple, Google, Facebook, as well as purveyors of encrypted communications apps like Wickr and Signal, to assist with and develop means for cracking the encrypted communications of individuals being investigated for criminal acts. As explained by BuzzFeed, it’s bad news for everyone. While the government has attempted to tell us that most people — those not being investigated for criminal activity — have nothing to worry about, that’s not how encryption works, as a backdoor into someone’s device is a backdoor into everyone’s device. While the government has also attempted to limit the newfound powers by saying that tech companies cannot weaken any electronic protections, or create a systemic weakness, the lack of specifics regarding what a systemic weakness actually is means the entire thing is a big ol’ bag of hurt.
With the arrival of watchOS 5.1.2 for the Apple Watch comes the much-anticipated ECG feature for Apple Watch Series 4 devices. First announced when the Apple Watch Series 4 was unveiled back in September, the ECG feature works pretty much as you expect if you’ve seen the keynote or read Apple’s press release. Enough has been said about whether more accessible heartbeat regularity monitoring is a good or a bad thing, but evidently, Apple thinks the positives outweigh the negatives.
Minor software updates have been released across the board, with iOS 12.1.1, macOS Mojave 10.14.2, and tvOS 12.1.1 all getting a version bump. Of those, only iOS and macOS have release notes worth reading, with MacRumors telling us about iOS 12.1.1, which has additional eSIM carrier support (no Australian telcos, in case you’re wondering) and fixes for the FaceTime UI issues to allow one-tap camera switching, and the restoration of the ability to capture Live Photos from a FaceTime call.
The best of 2018 as presented by Apple highlights the best apps, games, music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other forms of media. From battle-royale style mobile games, creative apps for the iPhone, the best artist and tracks of the year, to the most downloaded podcasts, movies, and TV shows, Apple’s top charts have something for everyone.
Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jony Ive received Cambridge Union’s Stephen Hawking Fellowship, and his acceptance speech talked about the role of designers in the sometimes challenging field of technology. Ive spoke about how both curiosity and resolve were needed to solve problems, at times “teetering towards the absurd” in order to solve problems with no precedent, such as when Apple were designing the original iPhone.