Twitter will re-launch its long-awaited verification program next week, according to researcher Jane Manchum Wong.
Twitter verification has been a mainstay of the social media platform since 2009. A blue checkmark by a user's name indicates that they are verified, helping observers to distinguish genuine notable account holders, such as celebrities, politicians, or organizations, from impostors or parodies, and proves that the account is actually owned by the person or organization it claims to represent.
Wong explained that "multiple sources" have said that Twitter will launch its new Verification Request form as soon as next week, allowing unverified users to put themselves forward for the blue checkmark.
Earlier this month, Wong revealed images purporting to show the stages of Twitter's redesigned Verification Request form. Users will need to explain who they are, give account qualifications such as news coverage, provide identification, and wait for a response.
I was told by multiple sources that Twitter plans to launch the new self-served Verification Request form next week https://t.co/vI4q63WwJe
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 13, 2021
Twitter originally reached out to notable users themselves to confirm their identities for a verified badge and launched a verification request system in 2017. Later that year, Twitter suspended the verification program after a number of controversies and an inability to cope with the volume of requests, leaving no official way for users to put themselves forward for verification.
Unverified Twitter users have had to wait years for the company to re-launch its verification program after it was suspended. In November of last year, the company announced that it would start reviewing applications for verification in early 2021 under new guidelines.
To be eligible for verification, users must be both "notable" and "active." Notable users must fall under the category of "government," "companies, brands, and organizations," "news organizations and journalists," "entertainment," "sports and gaming," or "activists, organizers, and other influential individuals."
Earlier last month, Spotify, Tile, and Match (owner of Tinder), testified at an app store antitrust hearing spearheaded by the U.S. Senate. During the hearing, Spotify called Apple's App Store "an abusive power grab," while Tile said Apple uses its platform to "unfairly limit competition for its products."
Now, in response to their testimonies, Apple's vice president and chief compliance officer, Kyle Andeer, has sent U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who's overseeing the hearings, a letter signaling out Apple's response. In the letter, Apple says that Spotify, Tile, and Tinder are some of the "largest and most successful [developers] on the App Store" and that their testimonies focused "more on grievances related to business disputes with Apple than on competition concerns with the App Store."
Spotify has been one of the most vocal critics of the App Store and has long called into question Apple's in-app purchasing system that gives it a 30% commission on all purchases made. Apple has called its own system both secure and safe for users and developers, and Spotify aims to challenge that declaration. During the hearing, Spotify stated that Apple should allow third-party payment methods on the store if it truly believes that its own system is "superior."
If Apple is convinced that their payment system is that superior, that it really should command a 30% fee, they should allow for competition and let the market determine that. Let supply and demand determine what the right fee is, but they haven't done that.
Apple is pushing back, saying that Spotify's assertion that its own in-app purchasing system hasn't faced competition is incorrect and that it "meets or beats" the "intense competition."
Apple explains that before the birth of the App Store in 2008, developers had a difficult time with software distribution and that any possible attempt to distribute their apps was outright expensive. So when the App Store launched, it charged developers only a 30% commission on purchases, which Apple says helped in "reducing barriers to entry for software developers."
Since then we have never raised the commission; we have only lowered it, including for subscriptions and small businesses, or we have eliminated it altogether in certain situations, as with the Reader Rule and the Multi-Platform Rule. Today, about 85% of apps pay no commission, and the vast majority of developers that do pay a commission can pay just 15% by entering our Small Business Program. The remainder—those making over $1 million per year selling digital goods or services in the App Store— pay a 30% commission (which is reduced to 15% for subscription services after the first year).
Apple goes on to say that Spotify has benefited itself from its App Store commission structure since it "pays a commission on less than one percent of its premium subscribers, and that commission is always just 15%."
Addressing final concerns for Spotify, Apple says that despite what the music streaming giant said during the hearing, it does not prohibit developers from informing users about the ability to purchase in-app purchases, such as subscriptions, elsewhere, such as on the web. Apple correlates this rule to its inability to, for example, place a storefront sign at a Verizon location informing customers to purchase an iPhone from Apple instead.
Apple does not prohibit developers from communicating with their customers; Apple simply says that developers cannot redirect customers who are in the App Store to leave the App Store and go elsewhere—just as Apple cannot put a sign in the Verizon store, telling customers to buy iPhones directly from Apple instead.
The rule is one that has long-been embraced by retailers in both the physical and digital worlds. As for Apple, this common-sense rule has been in place since 2009, pre-dating Spotify's launch on the App Store. Spotify launched, grew, and thrived under these rules, but now Spotify apparently either wants Apple to change them or to hold Spotify to a different set of standards from everyone else.
Targeting Tile, which has long voiced opposition to the Apple ecosystem, and more so following the launch of AirTags, Apple says Tile's item trackers sold poorly at Apple Stores. Apple's response followed Tile raising concerns that since its item-trackers are sold at Apple Stores, Apple would have information on its sales performance which it could then use for development purposes of AirTags.
Years ago, Apple had some information about how Tile products sold in Apple's retail store. It did not sell well. Tile sells its products through dozens of retailers around the globe and its own website. Any information from Apple Store retail sales is both very limited and very outdated and likely no different from the information other brick-and- mortar stores have about products sold in those stores. Nonetheless, Apple has never used any of that information in any decision making related to AirTags.
In its letter to the U.S. Senator, Apple also laid out specifics regarding concerns brought up by Match, which owns the dating network Tinder. Tinder has raised concerns about underage users on the App Store and that Apple does not do enough to limit it. Apple disagreed with this, saying it "strives to make the App Store a safe and trusted marketplace, including by empowering parents with parental controls."
Apple says that it shares the subcommittee's commitment to "promoting competition and innovation, allowing developers to thrive, and supporting the success of great American ideas."
Apple is intending to use a significantly smaller Face ID sensor chip in iPhones and iPads from late this year onwards, according to DigiTimes.
Apple has reportedly chosen to scale down the die size of the VCSEL chips used in Face ID's scanner. The move will help Apple cut production costs since more chips can be produced on one wafer, reducing total wafer output.
The redesigned VCSEL chip may allow Apple to integrate new functions into the component, but DigiTimes did not speculate on what these could include. The change may also free up internal space.
The smaller Face ID chip will apparently be used in new iPhone and iPad devices released from late 2021 onwards. The first devices to feature the new chip will presumably be the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, as well as the next generation of iPad Pro models.
DigiTimespreviously said the notch on the iPhone 13 models will "shrink" in size, becoming smaller thanks to a redesigned camera module that integrates the Rx, Tx, and flood illuminator to allow for the size reduction. Barclays analysts have similarly explained that a smaller notch on iPhone 13 models will be the result of a "more tightly integrated version of the current structured light system" for Face ID. It is not clear if the smaller, more consolidated Face ID technologies in the iPhone 13 are related to this smaller VCSEL chip.
A new rumor suggests that Apple will announce the third-generation AirPods and the recently rumored HiFi, or high-fidelity Apple Music tier, on Tuesday, May 18, via a press release on its website.
The new rumor comes from Apple YouTuber Luke Miani who shared the alleged exclusive news with the AppleTrack website. According to the YouTuber, Apple plans to release the next-generation AirPods through a Newsroom update and website refresh.
Miani, who we reached out to, said that new AirPods could be announced on May 18 via a press release that could also include a 'Apple Music HiFi' debut
In 2019, Apple released the all-new AirPods Pro via a press release on its website, so while it seems plausible, the information should be taken with a grain of salt. The new AirPods are expected to feature an updated design that's more in-line with the design of the AirPods Pro but lacking in "Pro" features such as Active Noise Cancellation.
The new AirPods will be the first major update to the standard AirPods following a slight refresh in 2019 which featured wireless charging, Hey Siri support, and improved battery life. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that the new AirPods would entire mass production in the third quarter of this year.
According to that report, the tier will cost the same $9.99 as the current individual Apple Music package. Still, specifics around how Apple plans to include HiFi music streaming into its existing tiers remain unknown. Code within the first beta of the upcoming iOS 14.6 update found by MacRumors suggests that HiFi Apple Music streaming could be limited to only compatible hardware.
While the source for the HiFi Apple Music report pinned a launch of the new tier and AirPods as being only a few weeks away, it may have been referring to a launch at WWDC. Apple will hold its annual Worldwide Developers Conference beginning on June 7 where it is expected to announce brand new updates to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS. Despite WWDC being software-focused, hardware announcements at the event are certainly possible.
Disney+ now has more than 103 million global paid subscribers, Disney said today in its Q2 earnings report [PDF]. The streaming service has gained more than three million subscribers since March, which was the last time subscriber details were shared.
In April 2020, Disney+ had just 33 million subscribers, so the service's growth has been astronomical, exceeding all expectations in the year and a half since launch. When Disney+ first debuted, Disney said that it wanted to hit 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024, a milestone it reached before the end of 2020.
Disney now expects to have 230 to 260 million subscribers worldwide by 2024, which will see Disney+ surpassing Netflix. At the current time, Netflix has 207 million subscribers and Hulu has 41.6 million subscribers.
Disney+ launched at the same time as Apple TV+, but it has grown much more rapidly given the available back catalog of Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars content, along with new TV shows like "The Mandalorian," "WandaVision," and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier."
Going forward, Disney has set a target of 100+ new titles per year across Disney Animation, Disney Live Action, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
Apple has never provided details on Apple TV+ subscribers so there's no direct comparison to be made, but Apple's subscriber numbers are nowhere near Disney's because Apple still has many people who are on free trials that have been continually extended. Apple is also reimbursing Apple TV+ subscribers because of the free trial offerings, and plans to do so until July.
Apple is working hard to bolster its selection of original movies and TV shows, but it will be several years yet before Apple TV+ has a catalog that can compete with other streaming services.
Apple today shared the trailer for the second season of "Home Before Dark," which is set to premiere on Friday, June 11. "Home Before Dark" is one of multiple Apple TV+ shows that was renewed for a second season, and it follows the second seasons of "For All Mankind," "Servant," and "Mythic Quest."
"Home Before Dark" is based on the true story of child journalist Hilde Lysiak. It follows Hilde, a nine-year-old girl who moves back to the small town her father is from. While there, she uncovers a murder case everyone in the town had tried to bury and pursues the truth of what happened.
In season 2, Hilde continues her quest to uncover the secrets of Erie Harbor.
In season two, when a mysterious explosion hits a local farm, reporter Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) begins an investigation that will lead her to fight a powerful and influential corporation - with the health of her family and Erie Harbor in the balance.
Home Before Dark stars Brooklynn Prince, Jim Sturgess, and Abby Miller among others, and it was created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik.
This summer will see the debut of many new and returning shows with "Lisey's Story," "Physical," "Central Park," "Schmigadoon," and "Ted Lasso," all premiering. We keep an updated guide of all of the TV and film projects that Apple is working on, complete with a list of everything that's nearing release.
Apple was the number four worldwide notebook vendor, trailing behind Dell, HP, and Lenovo, with all three companies shipping between 10 and 16 million notebooks during the quarter.
Apple's 5.7 million notebooks shipped is up 94 percent from the 2.9 million that it shipped in the year-ago quarter, with the strong growth coming from continued Mac demand as people work from home and begin the transition to hybrid home working models.
Apple's market share for the quarter was at 8.4 percent, up from 7.8 percent last year. Lenovo and HP continue to be market leaders, shipping a variety of PC notebooks running Windows alongside Chromebooks, which saw strong growth in the education sector.
Total notebook PC shipments were up 81 percent year over year among all major vendors, but Apple in particular may have seen major growth thanks to the November launch of the M1 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, both of which vastly outperform prior Intel models without price increases.
Apple will likely sustain its Mac growth as it prepares to introduce even more powerful Apple silicon machines later in the year. Rumors suggest there are upgraded 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works, plus we're still waiting on a higher-end larger version of the iMac. Apple is also expected to introduce a new MacBook Air and a new MacBook Pro, but those might not come until 2022.
Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature is designed to allow users to opt out of the surreptitious tracking that third-party apps have traditionally relied on for ad targeting purposes. But tracking can go on in your email inbox, too.
Unsolicited marketing emails will sometimes know whether you've opened their email, and if so, when you did so. They can even know where you were at the time, thanks to tracking methods employed by marketing platforms like MailChimp.
The way they track is very discreet and kind of creepy. Embedded in the email will be a tracking pixel, often hidden within a signature image or a link. When the message is opened in your email client, code within the pixel silently sends this information back to the company.
Some email account providers attempt to limit this sort of tracking by routing images through proxy servers, for example, which hides your location. But there's actually a simple way of preventing tracking pixels altogether, and that's by disabling the automatic loading of images in your email client.
The following steps show you how to disable automatic image loading in Apple Mail for macOS, and below them, you'll find instructions to do the same in iOS.
Launch Apple Mail.
Select Mail -> Preferences from the menu bar.
Click the Viewing tab.
Uncheck the box next to Load remote content in messages.
If you're using Mail for iPhone or iPad, you can find the same setting in the Settings app. Tap Mail, look under "Messages," and turn off the toggle next to Load Remote Images.
This model replaced the first-generation Apple TV 4K released in 2017. Although the first-generation Apple TV 4K has now been discontinued by Apple, it is common to find it available at discounted prices with third-party retailers. Some other users who already have the first-generation Apple TV 4K may also be wondering if it is worth the upgrade to the second-generation model.
Should you consider purchasing the first-generation Apple TV 4K to save money, or do you need the second-generation Apple TV 4K? Our guide answers the question of how to decide which of these two Apple TV set-top boxes is best for you.
Comparing the First and Second-Generation Apple TV 4K
The first and second-generation Apple TV 4K models share the same design and a number of key features such as support for resolutions up to 2160p, Dolby Vision, and HDR10:
Design, dimensions, and weight
2160p, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480p over HDMI (HDCP capable)
SDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Supports audio output up to 7.1.4 channels and Dolby Atmos
Available in 32GB and 64GB storage configuration options
There are a large number of important differences between the first-generation Apple TV 4K and the second-generation Apple TV 4K that are worth highlighting, including their processors and remote controls.
Apple TV 4K (First-Generation)
2.38 GHz hexa-core A10X Fusion chip
First-generation Siri Remote
Apple TV 4K (Second-Generation)
2.49 GHz hexa-core A12 Bionic chip
Support for high framerate HDR video up to 60-fps
ARC and eARC*
Second-generation Siri Remote
*according to beta code, not yet enabled
Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both of the Apple TV 4K models have to offer.
The Blue 24-inch iMac is the most popular color, a significant number of AirTag users intend to track pets and people, and most users want to stick with the Lightning port, according to the findings of an extensive survey by SellCell.
SellCell's Apple 2021 New Products Survey offers insights into consumer behaviors and thoughts about Apple's latest devices, including AirTags, the 24-inch iMac, and the iPad Pro, as well as what customers want from future Apple devices. SellCell surveyed over 3,000 iPhone and iPad owners, aged 18 years or older, based in the United States to gather its data.
Only 14 percent of respondents intended to buy the 24-inch iMac with the M1 chip. Among 24-inch iMac buyers, Blue is the most popular color option, with 33.4 percent, Silver the second most popular with 30.1 percent, and then Green with 13.4 percent. The least popular color options are Yellow with 6.8 percent, Pink with 4.1 percent, and Orange with 3.3 percent. This suggests that the majority of iMac customers are not interested in most of the new color options.
61 percent of iPhone and iPad users intend to buy an AirTag. 54 percent feel that the AirTag is a good deal, while 32 percent feel it is reasonably priced. Just 14 percent feel that it is overpriced. Among AirTag buyers, 57 percent are opting for the $99 four-pack option, with the other 43 percent buying them individually for $29, showing a fairly even split.
42.4 percent of AirTag buyers intend to track their keys, 34.8 percent intend to track pets despite Apple disavowing this, 30.6 percent want to track luggage, 25.8 percent intend to track bikes, and 23.3 percent want to track their purse or wallet. Other popular intended uses include tracking AirPods cases, children, vehicles, drones, partners, and TV remotes.
24.9 percent of respondents intend to buy the new iPad Pro with the M1 chip. In spite of the Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display on the 12.9-inch model, 66 percent of respondents intend to buy the smaller 11-inch model, which has the same LED display as the previous generation model.
Looking to the future, a massive 82 percent of respondents want to see Face ID authentication added to future iMacs and MacBooks. For Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup, 21 percent want the return of Touch ID. 17 percent desire a 120Hz ProMotion display and 15 percent want a smaller notch or a notch-less design. 12 percent think that the return of a power adapter included in the box is the most important potential feature.
Interestingly, only five percent of respondents want a smaller, more compact iPhone, just one percent want a foldable design, and there also seems to be little appetite to move to USB-C, with only 0.8 percent wanting the removal of the Lightning port.
Amazon today has a pair of deals on the 2020 27-inch iMac, providing $199 off two 6-core models of Apple's larger-screen iMac. In both cases, the sales we're tracking today are the lowest prices we've ever seen for these models of the iMac.
Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.
To start, there's the 27-inch iMac (3.1GHz 6-Core, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for $1,599.99, down from $1,799.00. This price will be reflected at the checkout screen after an automatic coupon worth $99.01 is applied to your order.
Secondly is the 27-inch iMac (3.3GHz 6-Core, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) for $1,799.99, down from $1,999.00. Similar to the previous sale, you'll see this price tag at the checkout screen after an automatic coupon worth $59.01 is applied.
Both of these iMacs are in stock and sold by Amazon, with the usual free two-day delivery options for Prime members. You can keep track of ongoing sales on Apple's iMac line by visiting our Best iMac Deals guide. There, we keep track of the best iMac offers from Amazon, Adorama, B&H Photo, and other retailers, so be sure to check back often if you're shopping for an iMac for the first time, or thinking of upgrading.
For as long as it's existed, Google Photos has offered free unlimited storage for uploading images at a reduced yet good enough quality for most users. From June 1, 2021, however, all photos and videos uploaded to Google accounts will count against users' cloud storage. If you've been relying on Google to back up your media library, it may be time to move that content elsewhere. This article shows you how.
High Quality vs Original Quality Uploads
Google Photos has traditionally offered two storage options: "Original Quality," for which photos count against your storage quota, and "High Quality," which is the free and unlimited option, although it shrinks images bigger than 16 megapixels and videos over 1080p.
Whichever option you rely on, from next month both of these options will count against your Google cloud storage allocation. That could present a problem if you rely on the 15GB of free storage that comes with every Google account, or even if you already pay Google for extra storage.
What Does That Mean for My Existing Uploads?
It's important to note that any "High Quality" images already uploaded before June 1 will be exempt from this change and won't count against your storage quota, but anything uploaded after that date will eat up your allowance, so unless you plan on upping your Google storage with a paid plan, it may be time to export your photos and store them elsewhere. If you're already invested in Apple's ecosystem, iCloud is the obvious choice.
Google One storage costs $2/month for 100GB, $3/month for 200GB, and $10/month for 2TB, with discounted annual payment options also available. As for Apple's iCloud, storage options are $1/month for 50GB, $3/month for 200GB, and $10/month for 2TB. Apple One bundles also include storage allowances alongside other digital services like Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+.
How to Export Your Google Photos
By using the Share option in the Google Photos app, you can export individual images from Google Photos, but if you're looking for a bulk-export option, the following steps walk through the process.
Using a desktop browser, navigate to takeout.google.com and sign in using your Google account credentials.
Under "Create a New Export," in the section titled "Select Data to include," click Deselect all.
Scroll down to Google Photos and check the relevant box, then scroll to the bottom and click the Next step button.
Choose your export file type, frequency, and destination, then click the Create export button.
Once the request has been made, you'll see an "Export progress" message. The time it takes for your export to finish depends on the size of your media library, but Google will send an email to let you know when it's ready. Alternately, leave the page open and you'll see a Download button when the export is ready.
Once you've received your exported images, you can drag them into the Photos app on your Mac. To ensure the changes are synced to your Apple devices, check that iCloud Photos is turned on: You can find the switch in he iCloud tab in Photos' preferences (click Photos -> Preferences in the menu bar). Note that you can also upload photos via a browser by going to the iCloud Photos section on the icloud.com website.
Apple has released the official trailer for the second series of feel-good British comedy "Trying," which will be available to stream on Apple TV+ starting May 21.
Apple's description of the second series:
All Nikki and Jason want is a baby—the one thing they can't have. So they decide to adopt. With their dysfunctional friends, dramatic relatives, and chaotic lives, will the couple succeed in building the family of their dreams?
Co-starring BAFTA Award winner Imelda Staunton, Ophelia Lovibond, and Oliver Chris, and written by Andy Wolton, "Trying" is a comedy series from Apple TV+ and BBC Studios about a thirtysomething couple and their friends learning to grow up, settle down, and find someone to love.
The show, which hails from BBC Studios and is written by Andy Wolton, was the first original series from the U.K. to debut on Apple TV+ and received generally favorable reviews, according to Metacritic.
The eight new episodes in the second season will be released on a weekly basis from May 21, and the relationship comedy has already been renewed for a third season.
Popular image editor Pixelmator Pro has announced a time-limited $19.99 sale on the app, offering customers 50% off the usual $39.99 selling price.
In conjunction with the sale, the developers are also sharing a sneak peak at an upcoming Pixelmator Pro 2.1 update, which includes a new AI-driven cropping feature called ML crop.
ML crop analyzes the composition of photos using a machine learning algorithm and gives the user a suggestion for how they could crop the photo to make it more eye-catching, offering different perspectives for a common photo editing task.
In other changes coming with version 2.1, users will be able to quickly see and set their primary and secondary colors, and there will also be a way to change the color of any object in a document using a drag and drop action.
Pixelmator is a Universal app, so it runs natively on both M1 and Intel-based Macs. Updates to the image editing app are free for existing users of Pixelmator Pro, which can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store.
Ahead of their expected launch on May 21, some brand new M1iPad Pro orders have begun switching to a "Shipped" status.
Multiple readers of MacRumors have shared with us their updated order for their brand new iPads which now shows a "Shipped" status, rather than "Preparing to ship." Interestingly, despite the new iPad Pros now shipping for a few customers, reviews and hands-on of the newest M1-powered device have yet to be published.
The new iPad has proven to be popular, with some shipping estimates slipping into mid-July. The higher-end 12.9-inch model features an all-new mini-LED display compared to the traditional LED display used in the smaller 11-inch variant. Both sizes boast the Apple silicon M1 chip, first launched in November in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini.
Apple has said the new M1 iPad Pro and 24-inch iMac will be available in the second half of May but have yet to confirm a specific date officially. Despite their lack of an official announcement, typically made through a Newsroom update, the company accidentally confirmed May 21 as a launch date in the metadata of a previous Newsroom post. In addition, orders for the new iPad estimated arrival dates as early as Friday, May 21.
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports.
Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users across social media and employees internally at Apple.
In a statement, Apple says that it highly values the diversity of its team and that those who pose a risk to its values will not be welcomed at the company.
At Apple, we have always strived to create an inclusive, welcoming workplace where everyone is respected and accepted. Behavior that demeans or discriminates against people for who they are has no place here.
A petition amongst Apple staffers, calling for his dismissal, called past remarks "misogynistic," and that his hiring "calls into question parts of our system of inclusion at Apple, including hiring panels, background checks, and our process to ensure our existing culture of inclusion is strong enough to withstand individuals who don’t share our inclusive values," according to The Verge.
Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial.
As outlined by Bloomberg, there was a discussion about Apple's rules that prevent app developers from directing users to make purchases outside of the App Store, such as through the web, as an alternative to in-app purchases.
Speaking to Epic expert witness Dr. David Evans, an economist specializing in antitrust, Gonzalez Rogers asked him if whether removing this rule would solve the problems that Epic and other developers have with App Store rules. "If Apple didn't have these rules, would the problem be solved?" she asked.
Evans said that while it "wouldn't eliminate the market power that Apple has," it would "certainly diminish it." Though for apps and games without alternative payment systems, he said it "would not be much of a solution."
Apple has long prevented apps from directing users to outside purchase options. The Netflix app, for example, does not use in-app purchases but is not able to direct users to sign up for a subscription through the iPhone or iPad apps, instead using vague language to inform users that it's just not possible to sign up in the app.
Fortnite, the game at the heart of the dispute between Apple and Epic, does support purchasing in-game currency (v-bucks) on the web, but Epic Games is not allowed to advertise that option in the app under the current rules.
If Fortnite and other apps were able to advertise alternative payment options available to customers that aren't subject to Apple's 30 percent cut, it would address Epic's "walled garden" arguments and calls for alternative app store and payment options.
Apple is arguing to maintain the status quo, and when Apple witness and economist Richard Schmalensee was asked by the judge why it would be bad for customers to have choice, he pointed out that it would be undercutting the App Store sales and preventing Apple from collecting its commission.
It's not clear how the trial will ultimately play out, but there are still several days to go. Week three should be much more interesting, with Apple executives like Tim Cook and Phil Schiller planning to testify.