Apple iPhone Needs a Shake-Up | Tech News

Apple iPhone Needs a Shake-Up

An EU law that loosens the tech giant’s iron grip on core iPhone functions should breathe new life into the device.

| Updated on: Dec 19 2022, 18:01 IST
iPhone 15 Pro: USB-C port, solid state button, chip and more- Know what's coming
1/6 With the expected launch of the four iPhone 15 models in September 2023, Apple is likely to being several new features to the pro models of the lineup. Here are the expected features iPhone 15 Pro models can get according to the latest leaks and reports. (HT Tech)
2/6 USB-C port: According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, iPhone 15 Pro models may feature a USB-C port with the help of which the data transfer speed of the phone will increase. (AFP)
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3/6 Round edge design: Apple is expected to give iPhone 15 a new border design, rounded edge and flat front. Informing about the same Twitter user and leakster ShrimpApplePro (@VNchocoTaco) saud that the iPhone 15 will feature a new border design. The back edge corner will be rounded and not square anymore and the material also will be titanium. (Reuters)
4/6 Solid state button: Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities had informed that the volume button and the power button of two high end iPhone 15 models may adopt a solid state button design similar to home button design of iPhone 7/8/SE2 and 3. (HT Tech)
5/6 He tweeted, "My latest survey indicates that the volume button and power button of two high-end iPhone 15/2H23 new iPhone models may adopt a solid-state button design (similar to the home button design of iPhone 7/8/SE2 & 3) to replace the physical/mechanical button design." (AFP)
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6/6 A17 chip: According to Japanese publication, the iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to be equipped with an A17 Bionic chip providing improved performance and overall experience. (HT Tech)
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Apple’s iPhone needs a shake-up. (AFP)

Apple Inc.'s walled garden around its technology is as synonymous with the iPhone maker as the iPhone itself. It is how Apple lures consumers into buying expensive earphones, watches and speakers that work seamlessly with that rectangular slab in their pockets, and ultimately what locks people in to Apple products.

That has been great for Apple's business, but not always so great for consumers. Now, a European law is forcing the company to loosen its iron grip on its products. That ultimately could lead to a more dynamic experience on the iPhone as developers create more and feature-rich apps for the platform that capitalize on more of Apple's technology.

The change, long resisted by Apple, could be a boon for the company, too.

Many of Apple's more than 1.2 billion iPhone users appreciate how the tech giant has kept things simple over the years. But in doing so, the company has shied away from bigger innovations. In an increasingly saturated market for mobile devices, the once-astonishing iPhone has begun to feel humdrum, and sales have faltered.

The situation isn't helped by the way Apple has restricted developers from accessing many of the iPhone's application programming interfaces, software tools that would help them expand app capabilities to make them more compelling.

But according to Bloomberg News, Apple is now laying the groundwork to let outside app makers use some of the company's most tightly held iPhone technology, including its camera and a communications chip enabling contactless payments. That means iPhone users could soon tap to pay for things using their banking and financial apps, rather than just Apple Wallet.

Also in Apple's plans: Businesses will be able to access the iPhone's Find My Network system to create their own rivals to AirTags. Makers of web apps and web browsers like Firefox and Google's Chrome won't be forced to use Apple's browser engine, something they have long complained about. That could make their services less clunky on iPhones.

Apple's decision to allow alternative app stores on its iPhones and iPads, similar to the way Alphabet Inc.'s Google has allowed non-Google app marketplaces on Android devices, also would give consumers a wider array of app choices.

It wouldn't be the first time Apple has won big from being forced open. Steve Jobs famously opposed having apps on the iPhone that weren't built by Apple itself, fearing they would infect the device with viruses, or “pollute its integrity,” according to Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson. When the Apple co-founder changed his mind, that set the stage for a thriving marketplace of third-party services, ushering in the phrase, “There's an app for that.”

Today, the use of non-Apple apps to do everything from making travel plans to checking the news to shopping and watching TikTok videos is something iPhone users take for granted. And it's a huge part of what made the iPhone one of the most successful consumer products in history.

The European law stoking the changes at Apple is the Digital Markets Act or DMA, which aims to address monopolistic practices by big tech firms. In Apple's case, it draws from several pending European Union investigations into the company's alleged abuse of dominance, including over music streaming apps and the use of Apple Pay for purchases made in the App Store. These cases are why the DMA includes rules that specifically affect Apple, according to Anne Witt, an antitrust scholar with EDHEC Business School, Augmented Law Institute, in Lille, France.

Apple is wisely preparing to cooperate with the legislation, having learned from Microsoft's famously painful tussles with both American and European antitrust officials in the early 2000s over the way it bundled Internet Explorer into Windows. Microsoft was forced to allow other browsers like Firefox and Opera onto Windows, which helped open up the platform to third-party software.

Making its core products more interoperable likely helped Microsoft grow its then-nascent cloud business, for which integrating with other existing systems and building stronger relationships with other technology partners would be critical for its success.

Consumers benefited, too. Were it not for that litigation, “we might be living in a world of Microsoft-designed software only,” says Witt, and the likes of Google and Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. might not even exist. Now the same is happening for mobile operating systems.

For all its touting of the walled garden's value and security, Apple has also been putting off the opportunity for newer, more interesting experiences on its platform. Being forced to open up a little could be a blessing in the long run.

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First Published Date: 19 Dec, 18:01 IST