Apple Removes Video Sharing App TikTok From Indian App Store to Comply With State Demand

Apple has removed TikTok from its App Store in India to comply with a government demand to block downloads of the video sharing app over child safety concerns.


TikTok, developed by China-based Bytedance Technology, lets users create and share short-form videos enhanced with digital effects, a formula that has proved a huge hit in India. The app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in the country, according to a report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower in February.

However, on April 3 a court in southern Tamil Nadu state asked the federal Indian government to ban the app on grounds that it encouraged pornography, and warned that sexual predators could target child users. Citing an IT ministry official, Reuters reports that the federal government sent a letter to Apple and Google requesting that the companies abide by the state court's order by pulling TikTok from their respective app stores.

As of this morning, the title is no longer available for download on either platform in the country. In a statement, Google didn't mention the app by name but said it complied with all local state laws. Apple has yet to comment.

Last week, Bytedance challenged the ban order in India's Supreme Court, arguing that it went against freedom of speech rights in India, but when the case was referred back to the state court a judge rejected the request to put the ban order on hold. Bytedance has been asked to give written submissions in the case, which is scheduled to have its next hearing on April 24.

This isn't the first time a country has taken action against TikTok. In February, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined the app's developers $5.7 million to settle allegations of child privacy law violations, after TikTok was accused of collecting personal data from users under the age of 13 without seeking parental consent.

Tag: India

T-Mobile and Sprint Merger Unlikely to Be Approved as Currently Structured [Updated]

United States Justice Department staff members told Sprint and T-Mobile that their planned merger is unlikely to be approved as it is currently structured, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The merger agreement between the two companies hinges on approval from the Justice Department's antitrust division, which has been exploring whether the deal would result in a major threat to competition.

In a meeting earlier this month, Justice Department staff members laid out their concerns with the all-stock deal and questioned the companies' arguments that the combination would produce important efficiencies for the merged firm, the people said.
Sprint and T-Mobile have other hurdles to overcome as well. Multiple state attorneys are prepared to launch lawsuits if the Justice Department doesn't end up challenging the merger, according to sources that spoke to The Wall Street Journal.

The FCC has also been asking the two companies for more information on topics like cost savings and wireless infrastructure plans.

A final decision "likely several weeks away" and ultimately, the staff position on the matter is a recommendation that can be overruled by the Justice Department leaders.

Discussions are ongoing and Sprint and T-Mobile may be willing to offer concessions that include assets sales to get the government to approve the merger plans.

T-Mobile and Sprint first announced plans for a merger in April 2018. If approved, the merger will combine two of the four major carriers in the United States, giving the new company nearly 100 million customers.

Update: According to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, the "premise" of the WSJ's story is untrue, though Legere declined to provide additional details.



Twitter to Launch 'Hide Replies' Feature in June

Twitter today confirmed plans to begin experimenting with a "Hide Replies" feature starting in June, which will provide Twitter users with more control over the replies that are visible following a tweet.

As TechCrunch points out, this has the potential to be controversial because the original person who tweets will be able to control which replies are visible in a conversation thread.

The feature will be experimental, so it could ultimately be tweaked or scrapped entirely based on how users react to its implementation. Twitter has said that hidden responses wouldn't show up automatically, but would be viewable by others using a menu option.

Along with announcing the new feature, Twitter today also shared details on its efforts to create a "healthier service" through cutting down on abuse and spam.

Twitter says that it has suspended three times more abusive accounts within 24 hours of a report compared to the same time last year, 2.5 times more private information has been removed, and there's been a 45 percent uptick in efforts to suspend users who create a new account after a suspension.

In the future, Twitter says it plans to introduce additional safety-related features, such as making it easier for Twitter users to share specifics when reporting abuse, adding more notices within Twitter about rule enforcement, and debuting rules that are easier to understand.

Tag: Twitter

Deals Spotlight: Amazon Discounts 2018 iPad Pros to New Low Prices (Up to $200 Off)

Amazon is discounting the 2018 iPad Pros this week to notable new low prices, including both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models. These are the iPad Pros that Apple updated last fall, with a new edge-to-edge display, slimmer bezels, Face ID, and support for Apple Pencil 2.

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.

There are quite a few models on sale, with discounts reaching as much as $200 off. We've listed all of the models on sale below, and note that these discounts represent the lowest prices available for the iPad Pros among the major Apple resellers online.

2018 iPad Pro Sale


11-inch iPad Pro
12.9-inch iPad Pro
Check out our full Deals Roundup for even more sales and discounts happening this week, including our exclusive Anker sale that lasts through Sunday.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Yamaha Rolling Out AirPlay 2 Support to Select Home Audio Products Starting Later This Month

Japanese electronics maker Yamaha has announced that it will be rolling out AirPlay 2 support to 15 of its current home audio products, including a sound bar, wireless speakers, and receivers, starting later this month.


The rollout will begin in late April and includes the following products:
  • MusicCast 20 and MusicCast 50 wireless speakers
  • MusicCast BAR 400 sound bar
  • RX-Ax80 series AV receivers
  • RX-Vx85 series AV receivers
  • RX-S602 slimline AV receiver
  • ATS-4080 sound bar
  • TSR-7850 AV receiver
  • CX-A5200 AV preamp/processor
  • XDA-QS5400 MusicCast multi-room streaming amplifier
Users will be automatically prompted to install the firmware update via Yahama's MusicCast Controller app for iOS devices.

AirPlay 2 will allow for Yamaha's home audio products to work with other AirPlay 2-enabled devices, such as the HomePod, Apple TV, and Sonos speakers, complete with multi-room audio syncing. AirPlay 2 devices can also be controlled with Siri and appear in the Home app across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.

Additionally, starting today, over 70 Yamaha audio products will gain support for Actions on Google through an update to the MusicCast app, enabling voice control of compatible Yamaha devices via Google Assistant, either using the Google Home or an Android or iOS device with the Google Assistant app.

Huawei Hasn't Held Talks With Apple About Supplying 5G Modems for iPhone

Huawei said on Tuesday it has not held talks with Apple about supplying 5G chips for future iPhones, just a day after its founder admitted it was "open" to doing so (via Reuters).

"We have not had discussions with Apple on this issue," Huawei's rotating Chairman Ken Hu said on Tuesday, adding he looked forward to Apple's competition in the 5G phone market.
Last week we covered a report suggesting that the Chinese tech firm might be interested in supplying the next-generation modem chips to Apple. The rumor was later confirmed on Monday, when CNBC published an interview with Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei in which he said the same thing.

The Chinese tech firm develops its own components including processors and modem chips, but has previously refused to supply them to third-parties, making its self-declared openness to sell to Apple all the more notable.

However, Apple has expressed no interest in using Huawei tech, despite potential suitability for Apple devices. That could be related to Huawei's dispute with the U.S. government, or perhaps Apple's own accusations that the firm uses "dubious tactics" to steal trade secrets.

Apple is rumored to be struggling in its plans to support 5G technology, with plans to introduce a 5G iPhone in 2020 stymied by partner Intel's inability to meet its own production timeline.

Switching to Qualcomm 5G chips instead seems increasingly unlikely, given Apple's ongoing legal battle with the company. Meanwhile, Apple has been in talks with Samsung and MediaTek about making 5G chips for 2020 iPhones, but there's no word on how discussions have been going.

Apple is also working on its own LTE chip designs for future iPhones, but that technology is not expected to be ready to ship until 2021.

Tags: Huawei, 5G

Facebook to End Messenger Instant Payments Service in UK and France on June 15

Facebook will discontinue its peer-to-peer payments feature for Messenger users in the United Kingdom and France on June 15, the company announced on Tuesday (via TechCrunch).


The social network sent out notices to users of the service in the two countries informing them of the decision, adding that they would continue to be able to make charitable donations through Facebook itself. A note on the company's online help center reads:
"On 15 June 2019, we will discontinue P2P services on Messenger or through Facebook messages for all residents in the UK and France. While you won't be able to exchange money with friends and family, you'll still be able to complete other transactions through Facebook, such as making donations to charitable organisations."
Facebook's Messenger instant payments service originally launched in 2015, but wasn't available to users outside of the United State until November 2017, when it began rolling out in the U.K. It appears that the service will continue to remain active in the U.S. for now, despite the pullback in Europe.

Facebook offered no reason for its decision to end the payments service in the two countries, although the company is reportedly working on its own cryptocurrency that could enable people to send money to each other over the social network.

Apple Notifying WWDC 2019 Scholarship Winners

Every year, Apple provides free scholarships to students and STEM organization members who don't have the $1,599 necessary to purchase a ticket to the Worldwide Developers Conference.

For Apple's 2019 WWDC event, scholarship applications were accepted from March 14 to March 24, with Apple promising to notify winners on April 15. April 15 has rolled around and emails are going out to those who were chosen to receive a scholarship now that Apple has reviewed the submissions.


Apple is offering 350 scholarships in total, which will include a WWDC ticket, free lodging, and a one-year membership to the Apple Developer Program.


Apple asked scholarship applicants to create an interactive Swift Playground able to be experienced within three minutes. Like last year, submissions were judged applications based on technical accomplishment, creativity of ideas, and content of written responses on the accompanying application.


Apple held its developer ticket lottery in March and notified developers who won a full price ticket on March 21.

At this year's WWDC event, Apple is expected to debut iOS 13, macOS 10.15, tvOS 13, and watchOS 6 at a keynote event set to be held on June 3. WWDC 2019 will take place from June 3 to June 7 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.

Scholarship students and developers who were not chosen to attend the event will be able to follow along with the conference using the WWDC app and developer website.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2019

Amazon May Join Spotify in Offering Ad-Supported Free Music Tier

Amazon is in talks to launch a free, ad-supported music service, reports Billboard. Amazon currently offers an Amazon Music Unlimited service with 50 million songs and a Prime Music service, which offers up around 2 million songs to Amazon Prime members.

Amazon Prime costs $119 per year, while Amazon Music Unlimited is priced at $9.99 per month. Prime Members have low-cost access to Amazon Music Unlimited, as Amazon charges a discounted $7.99 per month price for those who want to listen on any device or $3.99 per month for those who only listen on an Amazon Echo. Amazon does not currently offer free listening options.


According to Billboard, the new ad-supported music service will join Amazon's existing services and will be marketed through the company's voice-activated Echo speakers. Like Prime Music, it will have a limited catalog.

Offering a free ad-supported music tier would put more competitive pressure on Spotify, one of the few music services that has a free music option. Other competing services, such as Apple Music and Tidal, are subscription only and do not offer free ad-supported listening.

To score deals with some record companies, Amazon is offering to pay per stream, regardless of how much advertising is sold.

Spotify uses its free music tier to draw in new paying subscribers. Spotify has around 116 million free listeners and 96 million paying customers, while Apple Music, a major Amazon and Spotify competitor, has 56 million paying subscribers. Amazon has not provided details on how many paying subscribers it has, but estimates have suggested the total might be somewhere around 20 million.

Amazon could be planning to launch its new ad-supported free streaming music service as soon as next week.

Apple Shares New Shot on iPhone XS Video Featuring the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme

Apple this afternoon shared a new video in its ongoing "Shot on iPhone XS" series, this time focusing on the Maldives Shark Research Programme, a charity focused on whale shark research and community-focused conservation efforts.

The eight minute long video features underwater shots of whale sharks and the researchers that are studying them, as well as providing insights into how researchers use Apple products to further their conservation goals.


In addition to showing off the iPhone, the MacBook Pro and iPad also make an appearance.

While the video was captured entirely on the iPhone, Apple says that some additional equipment was used, including the Freefly Movi Cinema Robot, the FiLMiC Pro App, the AxisGO Water Housing, and a Beastgrip.

Apple has shared many "Shot on iPhone" videos and photos over the course of the last several years, including one in the same vein that was recently captured in Cuba.

Apple Music's 'For You' Section Now Offers Theme-Based Recommendations, More Personalized Suggestions

Apple appears to be updating the "For You" section of Apple Music to provide Apple Music subscribers with more customized suggestions and music recommendations based around different themes.

The updates to the Apple Music app's "For You" section appear to be rolling out starting today, and we're seeing the new recommendations on devices running both iOS 12.2 and iOS 12.3 According to 9to5Mac, these changes will be coming to all Apple Music subscribers on all platforms over the course of the next few weeks.


Apple Music is now recommending content based on specific bands you've listened to before, and there are categories such as "Case of the Mondays," "Start Your Week Right," and "To Make You Smile." There are also category recommendations for music genres you've listened to in the past.

Recommendations can be shifted using the Love and Dislike features in Apple Music, and going forward, Apple plans to provide more regular updates to the "For You" section so you'll have fresh content and recommendations more frequently.

Apple is maintaining already existing playlists such as Friends Mix, Chill Mix, New Music Mix and Favorites Mix, and there are still sections like Recently Played, Recently Updated, Friends Are Listening To, and New Releases.

Apple Hires New Head of Documentaries for Apple TV+

Apple has hired Molly Thompson, founder of A&E Indie Films, as its new head of documentaries, reports Variety. A&E Indie Films is the film production unit of A+E networks, where she also served as head of documentary films.

She has produced recent documentaries that include "The Clinton Affair," "Studio 54," and "City of Ghosts," as well as well-known documentaries like "Life, Animated," "Murderball," and "Jesus Camp."


Apple has an extensive video content team working out of Culver City, Los Angeles. Apple has thus far secured the rights to dozens of TV shows and a handful of documentary films, and Apple is clearly aiming to beef up its documentary content offerings with the hiring of Thompson.

Apple's current documentaries include two projects with Oprah focusing on mental health and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as "The Elephant Queen," a feature-length documentary about an elephant matriarch who leads her herd to find a new watering hole.

A list of all of Apple's TV projects can be found in our guide, and all of Apple's TV and film content will be coming to Apple TV+, Apple's new streaming service set to debut this fall.