Archive for January 2024 - Page 1


    Apple Announces Slew of New Features to Comply with the EU Digital Markets Act

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    Today Apple has made a number of announcements with many of these being related to complying with the European Union Digital Markets Act, or DMA. The DMA requires big technology companies, like Apple, to comply with a number of various new regulations.

    There is a lot of information. I could attempt to detail all of the changes, but I would do a poor job of it. Instead, I am going to provide a brief overview of each of the changes, with links to a much more in-depth article. Most of these will be limited to the EU, but there are some new items that are not.

    Request for Improved Interoperability

    Developers can now make a request improved interoperability with the iOS hardware and software. This request form does not guarantee that a feature will be implemented. Developers will need to be explicit in their request and why they are requesting it. There are, of course, limitations. Anything that would weaken security will be rejected. This request is limited to EU developers.

    You can read more information at MacRumors

    Third-Party App Stores in the EU

    The biggest requirement for the DMA is that Apple will be required to allow side-loading of apps from third-party app stores. These companies will be required to comply with. One requirement is that the companies must have a 1 million euro line of credit with an A-Plus rating. This is to be able to make sure they can pay some fees, but more on that in a bit.

    Apps that are made available on these marketplaces will be required to be notarized through Apple, which will ensure safety and security checks, but they will not be checked for content.

    More details are available at 9to5Mac.

    Reduced Commissions in the EU

    The third item announced is that there will be a reduced commission structure for EU developers. The new structure will drop down to 10% for Small Developers, down from 15%. For larger developers, it will be 17%. Apps that are within third-party app marketplaces can use any payment processor that they want. Including Apple’s. If they opt to use Apple’s, they will pay an additional 3% fee.

    For developers who have more than 1 million installs per year, they will need to pay a Core Technology Fee, or CTF. This is €0.50 per install. This fee will need to be paid regardless of where the app is installed, via Apple or via a third-party marketplace.

    Third-party Marketplaces will need to pay the Core Technology Fee for apps downloaded through the marketplace. There is no threshold for marketplaces.

    You can read additional details via target="_new">9to5Mac.

    Web Browsers and Near Field Communications

    Apple will be opening up iOS to allow apps to access the Near Field Communication, or NFC, chip. This will allow apps to offer non-Apple "Tap to Pay" options. Details are available at MacRumors.

    For the entire lifetime of iOS, there has only been a single browser engine, WebKit. To date, third-party browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, have all had to use the WebKit engine on iOS and iPadOS. This will change. They will now be able to use their own browser engine. Users will even be prompted to choose a default. This is similar to the Browser Ballet that Microsoft had to implement on Windows in the European Union.

    Additional details are available on 9to5Mac.

    New Gaming Streaming Options

    The gaming landscape has changed significantly since iOS was initially released in 2007. When it was released, physical games were prominent. iOS has contributed to digital games being even more prevalent. One of the downsides to modern games is that they can be rather large in size. Along with this, internet speeds have become much faster. In order to limit the needs to constant updates, as well as be able to game on anything, streaming games have become more commonplace.

    To date, Apple has required developers to submit every game as a discrete app. This was an untenable solution for streaming games. This will no longer be the case. This change will allow services like Xbox Game Pass and GeForce Now to be viable options via an App on the App Store. Previously these were only available via a web browser. This will apply to the App Store world wide, not just in the EU.

    More details can be found on MacRumors.

    New Developer Reports

    The last item that was announced is that developers will be getting access to 50 new additional reporting metrics. Four of the new metrics will be engagement of users, additional details with in-app purchases, improved app usage, like crashes and deletions. The one that might be the most interesting is framework usage. This will allow developers to see how their app interacts with frameworks like Widgets, CarPlay, and PhotoPicker.

    There will be more information available in March about the new metrics and reports that will be available.

    Additional information can be found on MacRumors.

    Closing Thoughts

    Apple has clearly indicated that they will not be brining any of the EU-specific changes to any other markets, unless required to by law, so do not expect these changes to come to other markets without changes in laws.

    Many of the changes announced are specific to the European Union. However, I think the new streaming game option could be a big boon to the Apple TV. This is possibly a boon because more people might opt to purchase an Apple TV and game controller and use that with Xbox Game Pass instead of purchasing an Xbox Console. Beyond this, having access to Xbox Game Pass available natively on an iPad can improve the experience overall.


    Apple Vision Pro Pre-orders Live and Additional Information

    Photo of the front of the Apple Vision Pro.

    Apple Vision Pro pre-orders have begun with initial availability in two weeks, February 2nd, 2024. As outlined before, Apple Visoin Pro starts at $3499 for the 256GB model. While there has been some additional previous available, but that information was limited. I thought it would make sense to provide additional specs and options available, because these have not been previously announced.

    Pre-Order Needs

    In order to pre-order an Apple Vision Pro you need to have an iPhone with Face ID, since face scanning is done to determine the proper light shield and headband size. On January 8th, Apple announced what would be included with the Apple Vision Pro as well as lens options. There are two lens options, readers for $99 and prescription lenses for $149. One thing that was not previously outlined, but has seen been made known is that you will need to have a current and valid prescription from a provider.

    Included with Apple Vision Pro

    The Apple Vision Pro does come with some items within the package. This list of items included is

    • A Solo Knit Band
    • A Dual Loop Band
    • A Light Seal
    • Two Light Seal Cushions
    • An Apple Vision Pro Cover
    • A Polishing Cloth
    • Battery Pack
    • USB-C Charge Cable
    • USB-C Power Adapter

    Additional Specs

    At the announcement of the Apple Vision Pro, Apple indicated that it would have an M2 processor, but the details of the processor were not specified at the time. The Apple Vision Pro will come with an 8-Core CPU that has 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. Along with this is a 10-core GPU, a 16-Core Neural Engine, and 16GB of unified memory.

    Additional Options

    When the Apple Vision Pro pre-orders were announced, the $3499 price included the 256GB model. You can order a 512GB or 1TB model. The prices for these are $3699 for the 512GB and $3899 for the 1TB.

    AppleCare+ for the Apple Vision Pro is $499 for two years of coverage, or $24.99 for monthly coverage.

    The Apple Vision Pro can be powered by a battery pack, which provides up to 2 hours of regular usage and 2 1/2 hours of vidoe playback. If you wish to purchase an additional battery pack, it will cost $199.

    Closing Thoughts

    As of this writing pre-orders have slipped to mid February for the 256GB model, with the 512GB and 1TB model still having launch day pickup or delivery.

    Photo of the profile of the Apple Vision Pro
    The profile of the Apple Vision Pro.

    Apple Announces Vision Pro Pre-orders and Availability

    Photo of the Apple Vision Pro with the pre-order information below it.

    Today Apple has announced that the Apple Vision Pro pre-orders will begin next Friday, January 19th, 2024 at 5 a.m. Pacific Time. While pre-orders will start then, the product itself will begin arriving on February 2nd, 2024.

    While Apple has provided some basic information, like the starting price, there were some other pieces of information that has not been known.

    As previously stated, the Apple Vision Pro will be available starting at $3,499 (U.S.). What is new is that this will come with 256GB of storage. The Apple Vision Pro will be available at all U.S. Apple Store locations and the U.S. Apple Store online.

    One item that has not been known is how much the lenses that are used with the Apple Vision Pro will cost. Apple's press release deliniates this. Optical Inserts that are Readers will cost $99 and prescription-based inserst will be $149.

    The Apple Vision Pro needs to be secured to one's face. This is done using a band. The Apple Vision Pro comes with a Solo Knit Band and Dual Loop Band. This gives users two options for the fit that works best for them. Apple Vision Pro also includes a Light Seal, two Light Seal Cushions, an Apple Vision Pro Cover for the front of the device, Polishing Cloth, Battery, USB-C Charge Cable, and USB-C Power Adapter.

    There are something things that we do not yet know, like the cost of additional battery packs, how many units will be available, and what additional storage tiers (if any) are available. I am sure that information will come out in due course.

    Photo of the profile of the Apple Vision Pro
    The profile of the Apple Vision Pro.

    Source: Apple Newsroom