The U.S. Sues Apple

this is getting old.

The Verge

Welcome back! 🍎
Here’s what’s new with Apple.

  • Why the U.S. sued Apple

  • Apple is partnering with Google

  • Apple’s new AI model revealed

  • Fresh details on the next AirPods

  • & more!

📖 Read time: 4.3 minutes

📊 Poll

Last week, I asked: Would you buy the iPhone 16 for the AI features alone?

Here are some of my favorite replies:

Yes - “I have a 12, I wanted to upgrade to a 15PM, but because of this I’m gonna wait! I feel like the iPhone is long overdue for GenAI integration and I cannot wait to see what it brings to it. I’m sure that Siri will become more helpful and some native apps are gonna become AMAZING! (especially Journal suggestions, the photo/video editor, and the Camera app).”

No - “AI is still a little scary to me, in that it’s hard to tell when it’s making a mistake. Lot of great benefits for sure and I’m excited to see how Apple does it but I won’t be basing my next purchase on it.”

This week: Do you message Android users via SMS, or do you use an app like WhatsApp? How will that experience change with RCS?

How Do You Message Android Users?

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🗞️ The Latest

👨🏻‍⚖️ Apple’s New Major Lawsuit

The Verge

The U.S. Department of Justice just filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple for operating an illegal monopoly in the smartphone market.

Here are the allegations in which Apple has “illegally maintained its monopoly”:

  • Blocking “super apps,” which disrupts the growth of apps that would make it easier to switch between competing platforms.

  • Blocking cloud-streaming apps for things like video games, which would lower the need for more expensive hardware.

  • Suppressing the experience of messaging between iPhone and Android. They claim that the lack of true cross-platform messaging is so that customers “have to keep buying iPhones.”

  • ‘Diminishing’ the functionality of 3rd party smartwatches and thus making users who purchase the Apple Watch face “substantial out-of-pocket costs if they do not keep buying iPhones.”

  • Preventing 3rd party app developers from creating competing digital wallets with tap-to-pay.

Defining ‘Monopoly’

The big claim being made is that Apple holds a monopoly over the smartphone market. They have a 60% market share in the U.S., which is not typically considered a monopoly.

But the DOJ attempts to frame it that way (via Jason Snell):

  • It uses revenue instead of unit sales, pointing out that Apple and Samsung combined hold 90% of the U.S. smartphone market by revenue.

  • It creates a new sub-market, the “Performance Smartphone,” which pushes Apple up to about 70% of the market in terms of unit sales.

  • It accuses Apple of attempting to create a monopoly through its various business tactics, which is also illegal.

Is There a Case?

I’m no lawyer but I think that most of the claims in this suit are a reach. These two claims stood out and made me scratch my head:

  • The DOJ is blaming Apple for the Amazon Fire phone failing.

  • They claim that if you switch from iPhone to Android you face “significant financial, technological, and behavioral obstacles” such as learning how to use Android.

There are many other claims in the 88-page document that show a clear misunderstanding. It’s almost as if they’ve never used an iPhone for more than a year.

Superiority is exactly what made the iPhone what it is — superior hardware, superior software, superior integration. Even a superior retail experience.

Not only is the DOJ’s take on the iPhone’s success a complete misunderstanding of the actual market dynamics for phones, it’s flabbergastingly insulting.

Apple’s Response

Apple responded quickly to the lawsuit, telling MacRumors:

This lawsuit threatens who we are and the principles that set Apple products apart in fiercely competitive markets.

If successful, it would hinder our ability to create the kind of technology people expect from Apple—where hardware, software, and services intersect. It would also set a dangerous precedent, empowering government to take a heavy hand in designing people's technology.

We believe this lawsuit is wrong on the facts and the law, and we will vigorously defend against it.

Apple, in response to DoJ suit

Non-Lawyer’s Take

I’m all for good legislation in the world of tech, especially when it comes to developer rights & privacy, but this complaint missed the mark.

However, this was certainly bad press for Apple ($AAPL was down 4% on the news). I think this will ultimately force them to make changes later down the road, but that might be years away. Win or loss, this is a big deal.

What do you think about this lawsuit? Justified or not? Vote below and explain your stance!

Do you agree with the DoJ Lawsuit?

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⚙️ Apple Partnering with Google

TechCrunch

Every week there seems to be a new report surrounding Apple’s AI plans. This week, the news was significant.

  • Apple is in talks with Google to implement its Gemini AI model into the iPhone.

  • Apple’s in-house AI models will reportedly be on-device, rather than pulling from the cloud.

  • This is why they need a partner to do the heavy lifting of generative AI, including “functions for creating images and writing essays based on simple prompts.”

  • Apple also held discussions with OpenAI and has considered using its model. Samsung is also in active discussions for integration with OpenAI.

  • However, no formal announcements are expected until this summer.

Apple's New AI Model Revealed

Apple researchers just recently published a new paper unveiling MM1, a family of multimodal models capable of handling images and text.

  • The example above shows it can accurately answer: “How much should I pay for all the beer on the table according to the price on the menu?”

  • The models range up to 30 billion parameters and are competitive with the initial versions of Google Gemini.

  • This model also features in-context learning, allowing it to understand and respond to queries based on the context provided. No prior conversation or retraining necessary.

It’s refreshing to see Apple open-source information like this. Prepare for some major announcements at WWDC in June!

🛍️ New Apple Products Coming

We’ve been anticipating new iPads for a while and Apple is expected to finally release them in April.

  • Two sizes of the next-generation iPad Air are now shipping to the United States and other countries in preparation for launch.

  • The new iPad Pro models with OLED displays are set to begin shipping to customers in April.

  • Mark Gurman reports that a special version of iPadOS 17.4 will be coming next week or in early April.

  • The new iPad Pro is rumored to have slimmer bezels & a matte screen option, similar to the Studio Display's nano-texture glass.

New AirPods 4

MacRumors

  • Apple suppliers will begin production on two different models of the upcoming AirPods 4 in May.

  • The models are referred to as “entry” & “mid-tier” since they’ll be replacing the AirPods 2 & 3.

  • Both models will have a new design, improved fit, and a new charging case with USB-C.

  • The mid-tier model will feature active noise cancellation and a speaker in the charging case, which can play a sound via Find My.

  • Based on the production timeframe, these are expected in September or October.

It doesn’t make sense for Apple to add ANC to the “mid-tier” AirPods unless the next-gen AirPods Pro are getting a significant upgrade.

Maybe we’ll see the rumored touchscreen on the outside of the AirPods Pro case.

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