Apple legal battles

Apple backtracks on killing iPhone web apps in the EU

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iPhone web apps: Xbox Cloud Gaming and Amazon Luna
iPhone web apps are not about to break in the EU after all.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple changed course and is not disabling iPhone web apps in the European Union. The method for turning websites into applications will not disappear with the release is iOS 17.4 after all.

The flip-flop is just a small aspect of big changes coming to iOS because of EU legislation.

Why you shouldn’t care that Apple began phasing out web apps

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iPhone web apps: Xbox Cloud Gaming and Amazon Luna
The few available iPhone web apps are about to break in the EU.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Are you familiar with iPhone web apps? No? Turns out you aren’t alone. Apple admitted that the method for turning websites into applications never caught on.

It must have been a tough admission, given that Steve Jobs’ original plan for iPhone was that it would only support web apps, with no native third-party applications allowed.

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.

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 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.

watchOS 10.3 update is safe; doesn’t delete Apple Watch Blood Oxygen app

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Apple Watch Series 7 running watchOS 10.3 has a fully functional Blood Oxygen app.
Seeing is believing: This Apple Watch Series 7 running watchOS 10.3 has a fully functional Blood Oxygen app.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Some Apple Watch owners might be hesitant about installing the just-released watchOS 10.3 update over concerns that it’ll remove the controversial Blood Oxygen application. But there’s no reason for concern — it does not.

We tested multiple devices to be extra sure.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without blood oxygen feature go on sale in US

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Apple Watch Ultra with the Modular Ultra face
Buy a new Apple Watch and it will do so many functions. Just not Blood Oxygen monitoring.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

With the Apple Watch sales ban back, Apple has decided to sell its latest smartwatches without blood oxygen monitoring in the U.S. The tweaked Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models went go on sale starting January 18 across the company’s online and retail stores.

The Cupertino giant is not making any hardware tweaks to the wearables. Instead, it will turn off the blood oxygen sensor feature through software.

Apple Watch sales ban is back, but there’s a fallback option

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Apple Watch Blood Oxygen app
The Apple Watch Blood Oxygen app is at the heart of a sales ban for the wearable.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple lost a court appeal Wednesday, which means Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 might once again get pulled from U.S. store shelves. The court agrees with previous rulings that the wearables are in violation of a patent held by a medical-device company.

But Apple has a workaround: it’s almost certainly going to remove the application at the center of the patent dispute.

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.

Supreme Court decision means major iPhone app change is on the way

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App Store
A court-ordered change to iPhone apps is about to hit Apple in the pocketbook.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld a lower court’s ruling that Apple must allow third-party iPhone app developers to point customers to their websites when making purchases. This means the company is forced to drop its “anti-steering” rule for such applications — a major change.

It’s the primary result of Apple’s long-running legal battle with Epic Games.

Apple ‘pausing’ Apple Watch sales in US over patent dispute

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Apple Watch Shock
Grab a recent-model Apple Watch while you can still get one.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple will temporarily halt sales of Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 starting December 21. This is the result of a decision made by the International Trade Commission that the wearables infringe on patents held by two medical device-makers.

Apple argues that the companies are “patent trolls,” but it’s not that simple. And the question now is whether Apple will pay to license the patents, or if it will continue to fight in court.

Today in Apple history: Apple demands big damages from Samsung

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samsungvapple
The never-ending battle between Apple and Samsung takes another turn.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

November 13: Today in Apple history: Apple demands big damages from Samsung for copying iPhone November 13, 2013: Apple and Samsung head back to court to determine how much the Korean company must pay for copying the iPhone.

Cupertino asks Samsung for $379 million in damages for ripping off key iPhone technical and design features. Apple arrives at that number based on estimated lost profits, royalty rates and the $3.5 billion worth of copyright-infringing devices Samsung sold during the period in question.

Apple Watch threatened with sales ban in December

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A light-based pulse oximeter measure blood oxygen.
A light-based pulse oximeter measure blood oxygen.
Photo: Graham Bower

Bans on Apple Watch imports and sales could take effect the day after Christmas unless President Joe Biden steps in, after the International Trade Commission ruled Thursday that Apple infringed on medical technology patents held by Masimo Corp. and its sibling company, Cercacor Laboratories.

So unless the president vetoes the bans or Apple somehow strikes a deal in a fight that has dragged on for years — neither seems likely — most Apple Watches could go off the market because some of their components violate patents.

Long-running lawsuit pitting Caltech against Broadcom and Apple ends

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Broadcom
Broadcom Wi-Fi modems were at the center of a lengthy lawsuit that's finally been settled.
Photo: Florian Knodt/Flickr

The California Institute of Technology got what it wanted out of a years-long patent-infringement lawsuit against Broadcom and (peripherally) Apple. Caltech filed paperwork in a California court dismissing its case.

It’s not clear at this point whether or how much Broadcom and Apple paid the university as part of a settlement. It could be hundreds of millions, though.

Today in Apple history: The Beatles beat Apple in court

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Beatles
Apple vs. The Beatles is one of the less likely feuds in Apple history.
Photo: Apple Corps.

October 9: Today in Apple history: The Beatles beat Apple in court October 9, 1991: A court orders Apple to pay $26.5 million to Apple Corps, The Beatles’ record label and holding company, for trademark infringement.

This marks the second time Apple is forced to pay The Beatles. And the ruling comes a decade after Apple swore it would never get into the music business.

Supreme Court refuses to speed up major App Store change

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Is Apple’s deal to make Google Safari’s default search engine anticompetitive?
The Supreme Court won't immediately end Apple's anti-steering policy for third-party app developers.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by Epic Games that would have required Apple to immediately get rid of its “anti-steering” rule for third-party applications — a major change. Instead, the Mac-maker can wait until there’s a final decision by the high court.

This means Apple doesn’t have to change its policy that prevents developers from sending customers from their applications to their websites to pay for subscriptions or services … yet.

Today in Apple history: Windows scores big victory over Mac

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Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI
Windows used a number of elements of the Mac UI.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

July 25: Today in Apple history: Windows scores big legal victory over Mac when judge throws out Apple's copyright infringement claims July 25, 1989: Apple suffers a major setback in its copyright-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft for allegedly stealing the Mac’s “look and feel” to create Windows.

Apple sued Microsoft on 189 counts of copyright infringement relating to Windows 2.0.3. The judge overseeing the case throws out 179 of them. This paves the way for Microsoft’s dominance over Apple in the coming decade.

Apple can wait on major App Store change until Supreme Court ruling

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
The fate of the App Store anti-steering policy is up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Apple is hoping to take its lawsuit with Epic Games all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on Monday received permission to hold off on making a significant change to the App Store ordered by lower courts until there’s a final decision by the high court.

This means the Mac-maker won’t have to change its App Store policy that prevents developers from sending customers to their websites to pay for apps or services… yet.

Today in Apple history: Eddy Cue takes the stand to defend iBooks pricing

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ibooks_cloud_2x
Eddy Cue took the stand to testify about Apple's e-book pricing in a 2013 antitrust trial targeting the iBooks Store.
Photo: Apple

June 13: Today in Apple history: Eddy Cue takes the stand to defend iBooks pricing June 13, 2013: Apple exec Eddy Cue takes the stand to defend the company’s iBooks business strategy in an antitrust case regarding e-book pricing.

Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, runs the iBooks Store initiative. His testimony proves vital to a case brought by the Department of Justice, in which potential damages climb well into the nine figures.

Appeals court agrees App Store doesn’t violate US antitrust law

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
A higher court agrees with an earlier ruling that Apple's iPhone App Store does not break U.S. antitrust laws.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

A United States appeals court agreed with a lower court’s ruling that Apple’s App Store does not break U.S. antitrust law. This is a victory for Apple’s efforts to keep the government from changing the way the App Store runs.

A different ruling from the courts could have resulted in Apple be forced to modify iOS so the iPhone supports sideloading and/or rival software stores.

Today in Apple history: Apple pays to use ‘iPad’ name

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The iPad delivered Apple's
Would an iPad by any other name smell as sweet?
Photo: Apple

March 26: Today in Apple history: Apple buys rights to use iPad name from Fujitsu March 26, 2010: Apple ends a trademark dispute with Japanese multinational Fujitsu over the name “iPad” in the United States.

It comes two months after Steve Jobs first showed off the iPad, and around a week before the tablet will land in stores. As it happens, it’s not the first time Apple battled over the name for one of its new products.

Today in Apple history: Power Mac 7100 lands Apple in hot water with Carl Sagan

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Power Macintosh 7100/80 sitting on a desk.
The Macintosh 7100 was not Carl Sagan's favorite computer.
Photo: Matt Gibson/Flickr CC

March 14: Today in Apple history: Power Mac 7100 lands Apple in hot water with Carl Sagan March 14, 1994: Apple introduces the Power Macintosh 7100, a midrange Mac that will become memorable for two reasons.

The first is that it is among the first Macs to use new PowerPC processors. The second is that it results in Apple getting taken to court by astronomer Carl Sagan — not once but twice.

US judge rules Apple Watch infringes on sensor technology patent

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Apple Watch 6 was the first model to include the pulse oximetry sensor.
Apple Watch 6 was the first model to include the pulse oximetry sensor.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

A judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that Apple infringes on one of medical device maker Masimo’s patents for light-based pulse oximetry sensor functionality and components used in Apple Watch 6 onward. The sensor measures blood oxygen levels.

Next the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will decide whether to ban imports of Apple Watches that include the sensor, Masimo said.

In a statement, Apple disputed the ruling.

US states and Microsoft back Epic Games in fight against the App Store

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Epic Games vs. the App Store
It's getting harder for Apple to defend its rules.
Image: Epic Games

The Department of Justice, 35 U.S. states, and Microsoft have all backed Fortnite developer Epic Games in its fight against the App Store.

Briefs filed by Epic’s supporters with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit say last year’s ruling — which said the App Store was not a monopoly — is wrong. They also claim Apple is stifling competition.