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Play ’80s synths, surf with a solid VPN, test hard drive for video and find great Italian food [Awesome Apps]


iPhone ad in the style of vintage Works Progress Administration artwork
This week's awesome apps include a retro synthesizer, a solid VPN, a quick test for hard drives and a guide to Italian eateries.
Image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

In this week’s Awesome Apps roundup, we have a synthesizer app that brings back the sound of the ’80s, a solid VPN for safely surfing the Web, an app for testing external drives for recording high-res video, and a guide to the best eateries in Italy.

Italy fines Apple $12 million over misleading iPhone water-resistance claims


washing iPhone with soap and water
Not as water-resistant as claimed?
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Italy’s competition authority has fined Apple 10 million euros ($12 million) for allegedly misleading customers about just how water-resistant iPhones are.

Apple claims that several of its iPhone models can withstand being submerged for up to 30 minutes. However, the competition body says that this is only with pure water in a lab. Such tests supposedly yield different results from real-world scenarios in which a phone may be dropped into water.

Italy’s antitrust authorities will scrutinize Apple’s cloud services


Apple ditched plans for secure iCloud backups after FBI concern
iCloud is one of the cloud services being scrutinized.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Italy has opened the latest investigation into potential Apple antitrust violations. Announced by the Italian antitrust authority Monday, this investigation will look into Apple’s iCloud cloud computing services.

Similar investigations will be carried out investigating Google parent company Alphabet and Dropbox.

Italy is the latest country to open an antitrust investigation into Apple


iPhone with gavel.
Italy is investigating Apple over a possible sales violation involving Amazon.
Photo: Tingey Injury Law Firm/Cult of Mac

Italy has opened another antitrust investigation into Apple, adding to the number of current antitrust investigations the company faces.

This time the investigation will explore Apple’s relationship with Amazon and whether they reached what Reuters calls an “anti-competitive agreement” over the sale of Apple devices and Beats headphones.

Apple Stores in Italy reportedly to commence reopening May 19 [Update]


"Benvenuto" will soon be heard at some Apple Stores in Italy.
Photo: Apple

[Update 9:30 am, 05/14/2020: Since our original story ran, the one Apple Store in Italy reportedly planning to reopen next week has changed its hours back to fully closed. We will monitor the situation and report any more details, if warranted.]

Apple reportedly will reopen 10 of its 17 retail store locations in Italy beginning May 19.

As in other locations around the world that have reopened, security measures will be in place to protect customers and employees.

Disney+ racks up 5 million downloads on launch day in Europe


Disney+ has finally landed in the UK.
Photo: Apple

The Disney+ mobile app is off to a roaring start in Europe and the UK just days after it launched earlier this week.

Third-party app analytics firm App Annie revealed that the Disney+ app has been downloaded over 5 million times on launch day, possibly thanks to millions of residents having to shelter-in-place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple closes all 17 stores in Italy [Updated]


Apple is closed for business in Italy.
Photo: Apple

Apple is set to shutter all of its stores in Italy beginning Thursday until further notice as the country goes into total lockdown due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

All 17 stores in Italy have updated their webpages showing that doors will close early Wednesday and the company isn’t saying when they will be reopened.

Apple cancels ‘Today at Apple’ sessions in Italy amid COVID-19 outbreak


Apple Oriocenter 2
Apple Oriocenter is closed for now.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Friday cancelled its “Today at Apple” sessions across all stores in Italy amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Apple Oriocenter, a store in Italy’s Bergamo Province, is also closed temporarily as Apple makes efforts to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. It is currently out of action until March 8.

Apple reopens all but 4 retail stores in China as coronavirus infections fall


This store in Chengdu returns to normal hours on March 7.
Photo: Apple

Apple retail stores in China are slowly getting back to business as 38 of the company’s 42 retail stores are now open in an attempt to normalize business despite coronavirus concerns.

A review of the company’s retail web pages by Cult of Mac reveals Apple will expand business hours at 19 locations over the next couple of days and at least 6 stores will return to normal hours of operation.

Apple temporarily closing one store in Italy amidst coronavirus outbreak


Apple Oriocenter 2
Apple Oriocenter won't be open this weekend.
Photo: Apple

As Italy fights to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Apple is temporarily closing a single store location in Italy on orders of the Italian government.

The mall-based Apple Oriocenter store, located in the province of Bergamo, will be closed on March 7 and 8. This is the result of a decision by the President of the Council of Ministers that medium and large retail stores, as well as commercial outlets in shopping centers, must close this weekend.