Top Stories: Major iOS 17.4 Changes, MacBook and iPad Updates, and More

Huge news this week for iOS users in the European Union, with major changes to Apple's policies coming with iOS 17.4 related to alternative app stores, default browsers, NFC payment options, and more.

top stories 27jan2024
This week also saw the public release of iOS 17.3 with several new features, rumors about upcoming hardware, the end of an era for Apple retail, and more, so read on below for all the details!

iOS 17.4 Introduces Alternative App Marketplaces With No Commission in EU

Apple this week seeded the first developer beta of iOS 17.4, and it comes alongside significant changes, particularly for users in the European Union to comply with the Digital Markets Act that goes into effect in early March.

ios 17 4 major app store changes
Most notably, iOS 17.4 will allow EU users to install apps from marketplaces other than the App Store. Apple will not charge a commission on purchases for these apps, but there will be a per-install Core Technology Fee.

Other changes coming as part of iOS 17.4 include worldwide support for game streaming apps, allowing EU users to set third-party browsers as default, and opening up the iPhone's NFC capabilities in the European Economic Area to support payments by systems other than Apple Pay and the Wallet app.

Apple Releases iOS 17.3 and iPadOS 17.3 With Stolen Device Protection, Collaborative Apple Music Playlists and More

The initial beta of iOS 17.4 comes just after the public release of iOS 17.3 and related operating system updates this week. iOS 17.3 brings a new Stolen Device Protection feature to help keep your device and accounts secure.

iOS 17
The update also brings collaborative Apple Music playlists with emoji reactions, support for using AirPlay to stream content directly to select hotel TVs, and more.

New iPad Air, iPad Pro, and MacBook Air Models Likely to Launch in March or April

Apple plans to release new iPad Air, iPad Pro, and MacBook Air models in the spring this year, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this time frame, the devices could be released as early as this March or April.

iPad Air 12
The iPad Pro is expected to see a significant redesign including OLED displays, an M3 chip, and perhaps a landscape Face ID camera system. Meanwhile, the iPad Air is expected to see a new 12.9-inch option join the existing 10.9-inch size, while the MacBook Air should see largely internal upgrades such as a move to the M3 chip.

Here's What Apple Vision Pro's Huge Box Looks Like

Apple has yet to officially reveal to the public what the box for the Apple Vision Pro will look like, but MacRumors has seen an internal employee video that offers a glimpse of the packaging and we've created a rendering that approximates the design.

Apple Vision Pro Box and Ref Feature 2
The box is somewhat larger than might be expected, with the headset, bands, and other various parts all packaged inside a relatively plain white box with a front-on view of the headset on top.

iPhone 7 Users in U.S. Could Receive Up to $349 Payment From Apple

Apple last year agreed to pay $35 million to settle a U.S. class action lawsuit alleging that the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were prone to audio issues due to a defective chip in the devices, and it has now started notifying eligible customers by email.

iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black feature
You may be eligible for a payment from Apple if you are a U.S. resident who owned an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus between September 16, 2016 and January 3, 2023, and reported audio issues covered by the settlement to Apple, and/or paid Apple out of pocket to have your iPhone repaired or replaced as a result of the covered audio issues.

Apple's Infinite Loop Store Permanently Closes

As previously announced, Apple permanently closed its Infinite Loop and Royal Hawaiian retail stores in the U.S. on January 20. Apple said all employees at both stores would be given the opportunity to remain with the company.

Apple Infinite Loop Store
Infinite Loop served as Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, from 1993 until 2017, when Apple Park opened nearby. The store on the campus existed in various forms for over 30 years and was located at street level near the entrance to the main office building. In its most recent incarnation, it sold a mix of standard Apple products and unique Apple-branded merchandise, such as shirts, reusable bottles, mugs, and notebooks.

MacRumors Newsletter

Each week, we publish an email newsletter like this highlighting the top Apple stories, making it a great way to get a bite-sized recap of the week hitting all of the major topics we've covered and tying together related stories for a big-picture view.

So if you want to have top stories like the above recap delivered to your email inbox each week, subscribe to our newsletter!

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Top Rated Comments

Shaaanxi Avatar
20 weeks ago

It’s a beta. Please don’t be a baby.
If the beta sucks.... im letting people know.

Im an Alpha. You can stay a Beta.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pavvel Avatar
20 weeks ago
It’s a beta. Please don’t be a baby.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
histeachn81 Avatar
20 weeks ago

If the beta sucks.... im letting people know.

Im an Alpha. You can stay a Beta.
*rolls eyes and sighs*
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
20 weeks ago

17.4 is full of bugs. makes my phone die without doing anything. moved back to 17.3 Ill wait till the next update actually has something that will benefit me. The Emoji's dont even move.... they are steady. So when i send it, its like...." what is that head even doing"

LAME!!!! TOTALLY LAME!!!!
Thanks for your sacrifice. Did you report all bugs in detail to Apple with the relevant logs?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hagar Avatar
20 weeks ago

If the EU wants to regulate some more, make Apple allow the consolidation of different iCloud accounts.
I have one .Mac account with my App Store purchase and one that I have registered when MobileMe was new that now is my iCloud Mail and calendar and storage and I have no idea how to bring these two together since I cannot change the mail address in the .Mac account and I cannot just simply bring all my apps over to the former MobileMe account.
I hate that too. But that’s of zero relevance to the EU. They don’t regulate a specific company. The DSA is not about a single individual company or service.

But: there is a supported scenario for your case. You can set up iOS and macOS to use a different Apple ID for purchases, and for your personal iCloud. When you set up a new device, it even asks to set it up like that. Works perfectly.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)