As of late, Apple has been under fire for its App Store practices. Specifically, the fact that it takes a 30% cut of all app sales, causing developers to raise prices, leaving users no other choice but to pay up.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled iPhone owners could proceed with a suit against Apple for the practice. Since Apple only allows apps to be downloaded directly from its App Store on iOS, the claim is that it has a monopoly over app distribution. It’s an interesting angle because iOS is one of the only (or perhaps the only?) operating systems that works like this. Android, Windows, Linux, and even macOS allow users to install whatever they like outside of any official channels that exist.
Of course, this practice is nothing new for Apple—the company has been curating its App Store since the beginning. It uses this as a way to control the quality of the apps installed on iOS devices, which helps keep the OS (mostly) free from viruses, malware, and other malicious applications. Considering the fire that Android comes under for having a “virus problem” (which isn’t exactly accurate), there’s an argument that Apple’s approach works.
Naturally, Apple has responded to the Court’s decision, stating that the App Store “is not a monopoly by any metric” in a statement shared by 9to5Mac. It goes on to state that “developers set the price they want to charge for their app and Apple has no role in that,” and that “the vast majority of apps on the App Store are free and Apple gets nothing from them.” It’s a compelling argument, though it’s not without its holes. For example, while developers do set their own prices, there’s nothing to prove they don’t offset the cost of what Apple will take, thus moving the responsibility to the user. I guess that’s ultimately why this is going to court in the first place.
Yesterday’s ruling doesn’t mean much yet—it simply states that lawsuits against Apple will be allowed to move forward. It will likely be a while before anything results from the cases, but the implications could change the way iOS works forever—for example, it could force the company to allow third-party app stores on its platform, which would be a huge shift.
In Other News
Amazon wants employees to quit their jobs and start delivery businesses, iOS 12.3 is out, Spotify releases a tool for podcasters, and more.
- Amazon wants to help employees start delivery businesses: Amazon is always looking for ways to reduce shipping times, and its most recent idea is an interesting one: it’s offering to give employees “up to $10,000” to start their own delivery businesses. Compelling. [Ars Technica]
- iOS 12.3 is out: It includes the new Apple TV app, AirPlay 2, bug fixes, and more. [MacRumors]
- Spotify makes mixing and mastering podcasts easier: It just launched a new service called Soundtrap, which will help amateur podcasters produce high-quality content with simple, collaborative editing. The full suite will set users back $15 a month. [CNET]
- A Twitter bug exposed location data for iOS users: The company disclosed the bug yesterday, which has since been resolved. If you use two accounts on Twitter and allow one to access precise location but not the other, there’s a chance that this bug allowed your location data to be visible on both accounts. [9to5Mac]
- Windows 10 gets Arch Linux: Windows 10 has access to several Linux distros straight from the Microsoft Store, and now a third-party developer has done the same for Arch Linux. It’s unofficially supported, however, so proceed at your own risk. [TechRadar]
- Google Tasks comes to Gmail for Android: You can now quickly add things to Tasks directly from the Gmail app. Nice. [XDA Developers]
- Good news: over 25,000 Linksys routers are leaking data: They’re vulnerable to a remote exploit, allowing attackers to access sensitive information and potentially enslave the routers in botnet setups. A fix isn’t yet available, so if you have a Linksys router, this is something to look into. [ZDNet]
- Walmart offers free one-day shipping: If Amazon is going to do something, you better believe Walmart is going to copy it. The new service is rolling out in Phoenix and Las Vegas now and is expected to hit 75 percent of the country by year’s end. The most significant difference compared to Amazon’s new one-day option? Walmart requires a $35 minimum order. [Engadget]
- Google added “your data” to Assistant: This makes it easier to access and delete your Google Assistant recordings/interactions. Just another step towards increased transparency and privacy options from Google. Good stuff [Android Police]
The future of portable PCs is here, and it includes multiple screens. In the case of the HP Omen X 2S, that means a big screen and a little screen. With an unnamed Lenovo Thinkpad, that means a foldable display. The future is wild, y’all.