| Cult of Mac

EU mandate will bring USB-C to iPhone and iPad

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Robotics engineer Tom Pillonel modded his iPhone with USB-C and sold it for $86,000 on eBay.
The EU will require future iPhones to have a USB-C port.
Photo: Tom Pillonel

The Lightning port’s days are numbered. The EU government has settled on a plan that will require all new phones and tablets to have a USB-C port, including iPhone.

But is seems Apple saw the writing on the wall and is already getting ready to switch iPhone from Lightning to USB-C.

EU may soon force Apple to open iPhone NFC to other payment services

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Apple Pay heads south of the border, down Mexico way
iPhone users might soon be able to use tap-to-pay with non-Apple payment systems. In the EU, anyway.
Photo: Apple

The European Union reportedly plans to accuse Apple of violating the law by limiting access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities to the company’s own payment system. The goal is to give rival systems like PayPal access to the iPhone’s convenient tap-to-pay function.

Apple claims the limitation is there to protect users’ financial information. The EU calls it anticompetitive.

EU plans to force iMessage to work with WhatsApp, other messaging apps

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EU will force iMessage to work with other services
iMessage may not be an Apple exclusive for much longer.
Photo: Cee Ayes/Unsplash

The European Union plans to break down the barriers between mobile messaging services. With its Digital Markets Act, it plans to force services like iMessage, WhatsApp, and smaller messaging platforms to play nicely together.

The move would be a major blow to Apple, which has long used iMessage — which it refuses to bring to Android — as a big selling point of iPhone.

Ireland’s data protection boss questions Apple over Siri privacy

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Siri Lights
How private are your conversations with Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is questioning Apple over privacy concerns raised by an ex-contractor who transcribed users’ Siri requests in an effort to improve the voice assistant’s functionality.

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec this week said Apple should be “urgently investigated” over Siri data collection. It seems that the EU’s data protection authorities are listening.

Apple Store’s temperature checks may violate German privacy rules

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Apple Store Hamburg line iPhone 6s
Apple Stores, like this one in Hamburg, Germany, are digitally checking the temperatures of customers as they enter.
Photo: Thomas Knoop (via Twitter)

As Apple reopens its retail stores throughout Germany, regulators are considering investigating whether temperature checks of customers to ensure the safety of visitors and employees is a violation of European Union privacy laws.

Apple TV+ cuts streaming quality in Europe to lower stress on internet

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Apple TV app Samsung
Apple appears to have heeded the E.U. request to lower quality of its Apple TV+ service to reduce the strain on the internet.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Following a request to streaming services to switch from high definition to standard in an effort to reduce the strain on the internet, indications were Friday that Apple has followed suit of other major services and slowed down its Apple TV+ streaming service.

Cult of Mac has confirmed through two Apple TV users – one in Great Britain and one in southern France – that the quality of content on Apple TV+ has been lowered. Subscribers described the differences as primarily fast-moving content that is slower to refresh, heavily compressed and more pixelated.

YouTube, Amazon Prime Video follow Netflix in throttling video quality throughout Europe [Update]

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YouTube and Amazon Prime Video cut streaming bitrates in Europe.
YouTube and Amazon Prime Video cut streaming bitrates in Europe.
Image: Brad Gibson/Cult of Mac

YouTube and Amazon Prime Video confirmed Friday they will will start throttling video quality in Europe in an effort to reduce the strain on network infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary measure will see all YouTube videos displayed in standard definition by default, though, it is still be possible for viewers to select a higher resolution.

Netflix reduces streaming bit rates in Europe to fight internet congestion

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netflix.logo
Expect Netflix to stay in the no. 1 spot for the foreseeable future.
Photo: Brad Gibson / Cult of Mac

Quarantine and chill is about to get a noticeable quality drop for Netflix users in Europe.

Netflix announced Thursday it would begin to reduce bit rates on all streams in Europe starting today. The move came shortly Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called a European Union official to discuss how to stop the internet from getting congested as more people are being told to work from home.