Apple suddenly confirms controversial surprise new iPhone update

 

Apple’s latest iPhone software, iOS 17.4, has just been released and comes with a ton of feature updates. But in a development likely to be filed under Unintended Consequences, a surprising detail emerged for EU users wanting to use their iPhones overseas – full details here – and Apple has just confirmed what it means. .

March 10 update below. This post was first published on March 7, 2024.

The world’s iPhone software is now split into two parts, for EU users and for everyone else. Due to the newly implemented Digital Markets Act, Apple was forced to open up its iPhone software in some ways, including allowing EU iPhone owners to access alternative marketplaces for apps.

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This means that, for example, apps that are not available through the Apple App Store can be downloaded through these marketplaces. How this progresses will become clear over time, but there are already companies preparing to provide these apps to users with EU Apple IDs. Apple describes it in a support document this way: “The country or region of your Apple ID must be set to one of the EU countries or regions, and you must be physically located in the EU.”

It’s obvious, but we live in a connected world, so what happens to those EU users when they travel? Apple had said that apps from those other marketplaces would continue to work overseas, but remained light on details, saying, “If you leave the EU for a short-term trip, you will continue to have access to alternative app marketplaces. Duration. If you’re out for too long, you’ll lose access to some features.”

There was no indication how long the exemption period might last. Happily, Apple has updated the document with clearer language and clarified that the grace period (though it’s no longer called that) will be 30 days.

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It now says, “If you leave the EU, you can continue to open and use apps you previously installed from alternative app marketplaces. Alternative app marketplaces can continue to update those apps for up to 30 days after you leave the EU, and you can continue to use alternative app marketplaces to manage pre-installed apps. However, you must be in the European Union to install new apps from alternative app marketplaces and alternative app marketplaces.

Therefore, apps already downloaded from these marketplaces will continue to work wherever you are but will not receive updates after 30 days outside the EU.

Thirty days may be enough for most people, although for example, some European countries are known for their large summer holidays lasting throughout August.

Although it only applies in the EU for now, other governments will be keen to see if they should push for similar legislation for their citizens. This is a developing story, so please check back.

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Update of March 9th. The DMA is just a few days old, but there are already comments on how well it is likely to perform and how it will affect the gatekeepers – the DMA names large technology companies that provide core services and critical Uses power. These companies include Apple, Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Bytedance.

as mentioned the vergeMax von Thun, director of Europe and Transatlantic Partnership at the Open Markets Institute, commented on what has happened so far. Announcements from companies like Amazon, Meta, and Google, when they unveiled changes in response to the Act, were, according to von Thun, “superficial designed to tick regulatory boxes without posing any real threat to the gatekeepers’ market dominance.” Point to compliance.”

The dispute between Epic and Apple, where Epic’s developer account was suddenly closed, Now it seems the solution has been found As soon as it started.

But this story will continue. As The Verge says, “All of the gatekeepers being targeted by the DMA still need to get their proposals approved by the European Commission. EU Commissioner told in January reuters If the bloc feels the proposed solutions are not good enough it will take ‘strong action’.


Update of March 10th. In further comment, Jan Penfrat, senior policy advisor at European Digital Rights, told The Verge that any changes proposed by the affected companies “do not lead to any meaningful change in the power structures that help keep those companies on top ” However, he said some actions would take time to succeed. Penfright also claims that Apple is the gatekeeper that could be most affected by the DMA as competitors like Epic Games and Spotify are already poised to challenge Apple’s dominance.

And now Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman weighs in on the story between Apple and Epic Games. as you can read Here, Apple is performing a complex act of choreography, authorizing and then terminating Epic’s Swedish developer account, thus preventing Fortnite from reaching external markets. Now, that account has been restored.

According to Gurman in his latest Power On NewsletterApple has caused a “headache”, saying that “Apple argued that it had the right to pull the developer account at any time, but it seems clear that the company took this step because it was critical of the Epic CEO.” Tim Sweeney was hurt by the criticism. He called the iPhone maker’s new EU policies “tyrannical” and “malicious compliance.” Of course, after Apple froze the account, EU regulators soon began to question the move. “It seemed plausible that another action against Apple is being prepared in the EU.”

Apple has now changed direction, in response, to Epic’s assurances that the developer will follow the rules of the new external markets. As Gurman says, “Epic is free to operate its new developer account and distribute its apps as it wishes — as long as it promises not to break Apple’s rules again. But the damage may have already been done. Apple has shown that it is willing to retaliate against a developer, and this will only bring it under greater scrutiny from regulators.

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