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Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker closes shop

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Mac clones did not pan out for Power Computing.
Photo: Antnik

January 31: Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker Power Computing closes shop January 31, 1998: Mac clone-maker Power Computing goes out of business, having auctioned off its office supplies and computers.

Apple bought out Power Computing, once the fastest-growing PC company of the decade, the previous year. As a result, Power Computing shareholders receive Apple stock as a replacement. As it turns out, that may not have been a terrible deal.

Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules ‘malicious compliance’ and ‘ludicrously punitive’

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Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules 'malicious compliance' and 'ludicrously punitive'
Apple's new App Store rules for the European Union enrage some developers.
Image: danilo.alvesd/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

A noted Apple critic used the terms “malicious compliance” and “hot garbage” to describe the elaborate rules the company laid down Thursday for allowing European iPhone users to sideload applications.

Those blasts came from Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, a company that’s locked in a legal battle with Apple over App Store rules. But other devs also cast aspersions on Apple’s framework for setting up App Store rivals. They pointed out that the new system comes with a huge financial obligation, and that it will make free apps almost impossible.

To be clear, though, not all developers are unhappy. Apple’s new rules also drew some compliments.

Today in Apple history: iPhone sales hit first speed bump

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iPhone 7
We officially hit "peak iPhone" in 2016.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

January 26: Today in Apple history: iPhone sales hit first speed bump as sales flatline for first time January 26, 2016: After nine years of spectacular growth, iPhone sales flatline for the first time.

Numbers posted by Apple show that during the final three months of 2015, iPhone sales grew by only 0.4%. The crucial holiday season sales compare quite unfavorably with the 46% jump recorded during the same period a year earlier.

Apple is bringing sideloading and alternate app stores to iPhone

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Apple revealed the iPhone app sideloading rules for the EU
Sideloading applications onto iPhone comes with a lot of rules.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is bringing sideloading and alternate app stores to the iPhone — but with significant restrictions.

Apple gave EU developers guidelines and access to the tools needed for sideloading —  installing applications that don’t go through the App Store. But the new rules require these apps to be approved by Apple before they can be installed by iPhone users. And they need to be in alternative marketplaces, not directly available for download.

In other words, sideloading won’t be the free-for-all some people had hoped.

This is part of sweeping changes to iOS, Safari and the App Store required by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. And Apple’s announcement of these changes in Thursday is loaded with warning about how sideloading brings risks for users.

Apple opens iPhone tap-to-pay to third parties in EU

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Hold Near Reader payment sheet for third-party NFC tap-to-pay implementation on iPhone in the EU.
Soon, third-party developers can offer tap-to-pay options utilizing the iPhone's NFC chip ... but only in the European Union.
Image: Cult of Mac

To comply with EU mandates, Apple will open the iPhone’s NFC payment chip to third parties, the company said Thursday. Starting in March, users in the European Economic Area will be able to utilize tap-to-pay services other than Apple Pay when making purchases.

The new payment option, part of sweeping changes forced on the iPhone and iOS by the EU’s Digital Markets Act, could cut into Apple’s services revenue. And the company warns that it could put users at risk.

Apple still wants control of sideloaded iPhone apps in the EU

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Sideloading means no Apple App Store
Sideloading means no Apple App Store, but Apple isn't giving up all control.
Graphic: Apple/Cult of Mac

Although the European Union requires Apple to allow sideloading of iPhone applications, Cupertino reportedly hopes to review apps before they become available for installation from outside the App Store.

Apple also expects developers to voluntarily send a percentage of all revenue generated through sideloaded iOS applications.

Apple offers to open iPhone tap-to-pay to other payment systems in the EU

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Apple Pay Tap-to-Pay
Those in the EU may soon be making "tap and go" payments with something besides Apple Pay.
Photo: Apple

The days of the iPhone’s NFC capabilities being limited to just Apple Pay are coming to an end. Apple is open to allowing rivals to use the iPhone wireless tap-to-pay system. But only in the European Union.

The change is the result of antitrust charges brought by the EU.

Today in Apple history: Unauthorized Apple II clone sparks big legal battle

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The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
The Franklin Ace 1200 was, in some ways, a literal copy of the Apple II.
Photo: Bugbookmuseum

January 18: Today in Apple history: Franklin's unauthorized Apple II clone, the Franklin Ace 1200, sparks legal battle January 18, 1983: Computer manufacturer Franklin Electronic Publishers takes the wraps off its Franklin Ace 1200 computer, an unauthorized Apple II clone that triggers an important legal battle.

Cupertino will soon target Franklin’s line of unlicensed clone computers with a lawsuit. In the resulting trial, a U.S. court will decide whether a company can protect its operating system by copyright.

iPhone apps can offer non-Apple payment methods … but will they? [Updated]

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App Store
Expect a change in many iPhone applications thanks to a court order.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear appeals in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit, Apple is making significant changes to its U.S. App Store guidelines.

Developers can now link to an external in-app payment method. However, they still will need to pay Apple a commission of 12% to 27% on these transactions. And the mechanism for allowing such external payments might prove so onerous that developers take a pass.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called it a “bad-faith ‘compliance’ plan” Tuesday — and vowed that his company will contest Apple’s plan in District Court.

Apple CEO meets with EU competition chief to talk sideloading iPhone apps

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European Union's commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager and APple CEO Tim Cook.
Margrethe Vestager and Tim Cook had an in-person meeting with some weighty issues on the table.
Photo: Margrethe Vestager

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for competition, met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday to discuss the upcoming EU requirement that iPhone users be able to install applications from outside the App Store, aka sideloading.

Vestager also says the two discussed the EU’s investigation into whether Apple Music is anticompetitive.