Apple spends $50 million on WWDC each year

Phil Schiller
No one knows the App Store better than Phil Schiller.
Photo: Apple

Apple fellow Phil Schiller took the stand Monday in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit and during testimony revealed the cost of the annual Worldwide Developers Conference: $50 million. He’s in charge of both WWDC and App Store so he brings unique insight to the ongoing court battle.

This is one of many details the long-standing Apple executive talked about on the stand.

WWDC ain’t cheap

Schiller brought up the money spent on the annual WWDC to demonstrate that Apple doesn’t treat the App Store as a cash cow. It spends a lot of money to keep the iPhone ecosystem going. But the company also charged developers $1500 to attend before the event went virtual because of COVID-19.

The executive is trying to refute a point Epic Games is attempting to make. The game developer brought its lawsuit against the iPhone-maker in hopes of convincing a federal judge to order changes in the App Store. Most notably, it wants a reduction in the commission Apple takes on in-app purchases. Or perhaps its removal. As part that process,  Epic Games argues that Apple’s profit margin from the software store is excessive.

The Worldwide Developers Conference has been held each June for many years. It brings third-party developers together with Apple for training sessions. And the keynotes that start the annual event have become the traditional venue for unveiling the next major versions of macOS, iOS, iPadOS and watchOS. The 2021 edition will kick off June 7 in an all-virtual format because of the pandemic.

Tidbits from Phil Schiller

Phil Schiller became an Apple Fellow in 2020, but he still leads the App Store and is in charge of events like WWDC. Before then, he was also the company’s marketing chief.

Adding weight to his assertion that Apple invests in the iPhone ecosystem, he mentioned that the company is building a space at its Cupertino headquarters where third-party developers can work on their applications with support from Apple engineers.

Schiller says the App Store has 5,000 people working on refunds so developers can get their money back and stop providing services to customers who aren’t paying for them.

But during hours of testimony, his primary role was to throw sand on points Epic Games is making to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. He rejects the assertions made by their expert witness that Apple has monopoly power over iPhone users, or that Apple is in a duopoly with Android-maker Google, for example.

All of Phil Schiller’s testimony so far has been “softball” questions from Apple’s lawyers. Epic Games will get its chance on Tuesday. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to take the stand later this week.

This article was originally posted here

Eufy Respond to Reported Privacy Breach Affecting Camera Feeds and Accounts

Approximately a day ago, it was reported by a few users on the Eufy SubReddit that upon logging into their Eufy security app accounts, they were seeing not only live streams from accounts other than their own, but were also able to access recorded clips, control camera feeds and even account details, as well as control the movement of Eufy Pan & Tilt cameras, where available.

This seems to have been corroborated by several users, many of whom seemed to originate in Australia and New Zealand, with said users seemingly being able to view all of the aforementioned aspects of cameras, not only from accounts held in the same region, but also accounts in the USA.

This has understandably created not only a wave of concern from many (if not all) Eufy owners, but also a lot of criticism aimed at Eufy and their seemingly tight-lipped non-response whilst all of this played on across news outlets and social media platforms.

However, Eufy have now released a statement, to address the issue;

Due to a software bug during our latest server upgrade at 4:50 AM EST today, a limited number (0.001%) of our users were able to access video feeds from other users’ cameras. Our engineering team recognized this issue at around 5:30 AM EST, and quickly got it fixed by 6:30AM EST.

The issue affected users at a small rate in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Users in Europe remain unaffected.

Our customer service team will continue contacting those who were affected. Eufy Baby Monitors, eufy Smart Locks, eufy Alarm System devices and eufy PetCare products remain unaffected.

We realize that as a security company we didn’t do good enough. We are sorry we fell short here and are working on new security protocols and measures to make sure that this never happens again. For any questions, users can contact our support team at support@eufylife.com.”

Whilst this is welcome news, it does highlight the fact that security breaches, albeit in this case a ‘glitch’ are part of the world we now live in when it comes to smart homes and network and cloud connected devices.

Whether this does much to restore faith in Eufy and their products, which took the smart home community by surprise with their cheap, but fully loaded cameras, remains to be seen.

This article was originally posted here

Phil Schiller tells the court why xCloud isn’t on the App Store

xCloud is not on the App Store for a reason.

What you need to know

  • Phil Schiller testified in the Epic v. Apple trial today.
  • The executive answered questions about why the App Store does not allow gaming services like xCloud.

Apple Fellow Phil Schiller took the stand at the Epic v. Apple trial today, and the executive defended how the company handles game services on the App Store.

As reported by CNET, many have criticized Apple for how it does not allow gaming services like Microsoft’s xCloud through the App Store. At today’s hearing, Schiller, who currently heads the App Store, says that the reason is quite simple.

Apple requires game streaming services to submit individual apps to its App Store for review, even if they’re part of a streaming catalog of hundreds of titles. The reason, he said, is that when people look for a game in the App Store, Apple wants to provide an age rating and parental controls, a product page, and privacy policies to users in the same way it does for other apps on its store, regardless of how it’s delivered.

“As a store we want to provide that information to our users,” he said. Microsoft vociferously disagreed in the past, saying it creates a bad experience for users searching through its catalog of games. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Schiller’s latest statements.

When judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers asked why gaming was treated differently than movie apps like Netflix, Schiller had an answer for that as well.

Schiller said that in addition to the reasons he described above, Netflix has one account and privacy policy. People don’t sign in to individual movies to watch in the same way they might sign into the latest Assassin’s Creed historic fiction adventure game from Ubisoft to keep track of their progress and connect with friends. “These are interactive games,” Schiller said. “It’s something that requires you they do much more than just play video.”

“The App Store is not a movie store,” he added. “It isn’t about movies. It’s an apps and games store. And so when you bring in games in a different way, that no longer works as designed in the game store.”

While many will still disagree, it is finally good to hear it directly from an Apple executive why they take a particular stance when they come to the App Store.

This article was originally posted here

AirPods Max won’t support lossless audio over Lightning either

Another hope bites the dust.

What you need to know

  • AirPods Max will not support Apple Music lossless audio over Lightning.
  • It is still unclear if you can use an analog to digital converter.

It’s sounding like AirPods Max, in any state, will not support the upcoming lossless audio feature on Apple Music.

Earlier today, Apple announced that it was bringing lossless audio as well as spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support to Apple Music.

At that time it was also revealed that AirPods Max would not support lossless audio over Bluetooth due to its limitations and the fact that the headphones do not support Apple’s new ALAC audio format. At the time, we hoped that perhaps AirPods Max would at least support lossless if you plugged in the Lightning to 3.5mm cable.

Apple had already pointed out that the high-res lossless audio would require special USB hardware to work, but it doesn’t mention any special requirements for the standard lossless quality.

You can listen to lossless audio using the latest Apple Music app on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV. Turn on lossless audio in Settings > Music > Audio Quality. You can choose between Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless for cellular or Wi-Fi connections. Note that Hi-Res Lossless requires external equipment such as a USB digital to analog converter.

Maybe we’ll all need that Lightning to 3.5mm cable after all. And another adapter at the other end, too!

Unfortunately, it sounds like even THAT won’t be an option. According to a new report from MacRumors, the Lightning port on AirPods Max are limited to analog output sources and does not support digital audio formats which Apple’s new ALAC format is. The company has not, however, confirmed if a digital to analog convertor could work.

Earlier today, we confirmed that AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max will not support lossless audio over Bluetooth because of Bluetooth limitations, and it turns out there’s no direct wired lossless option for the AirPods Max either.

Apple’s AirPods Max headphones are equipped with a Lightning port, but it is limited to analog output sources and will not natively support digital audio formats in wired mode. Apple has not yet said whether the AirPods Max support lossless audio over Lightning with a digital to analog converter.

Thankfully, AirPods Max will support spatial audio and Dolby Atmos when the new features roll out to Apple Music in June.

This article was originally posted here

Save on stellar Strapa bands for Apple Watch before they’re all gone

Strapa-band-Apple-Watch
Strapa bands make any Apple Watch look even better.
Photo: Strapa

Strapa is gearing up to refresh its entire Apple Watch band collection, which means the existing lineup of stellar leather straps will soon be discontinued. Bag yours before they disappear and enjoy 20% off the usual price through the Cult of Mac Store.

Made from only the finest Italian leather and available in a variety of styles and color options, Strapa bands are beautifully put together and will easily outlast the Apple Watch you wear them with.

We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Strapa bands before on Cult of Mac. I described the Ingenium, one of my favorites, as “one of the few leather bands I’ve used that not only looks even better in the flesh, but actually lives up to its promise of being a high-end product.”

Strapa-Apple-Watch
A work of art.
Photo: Strapa

The same can be said for any band in the Strapa collection. They all look terrific, feel incredibly comfortable on the wrist, and make Apple Watch feel even more magnificent. Interested? Bag your Strapa band from the Cult of Mac Store today to save 20%.

Save 20% on Strapa bands for Apple Watch

Every single band we have in stock right now is 20% more affordable. There are seven options to choose from right now, including the Primus and Ingenium, which offer a subtle, understated look. And the exquisite Crocodilus, which is stamped with a stand-out crocodile pattern.

Strapa
Don’t miss out.
Photo: Strapa

All are available for 42/44mm Apple Watch models, and most can be chosen with silver or black buckles to match your device. But remember, this collection will soon be discontinued, so once we sell out, we won’t be getting any more in stock.

Check out the complete Strapa collection in the Cult of Mac Store today and bag your new band before it’s too late.

This article was originally posted here

Amazon mulling MGM acquisition to boost media footprint

Amazon is reportedly in talks to acquire MGM, a move that could vastly expand the retail giant’s entertainment footprint.

Although a source confirmed the discussions were being held to The Information, few other details were available. The current status of the talks is murky, and it’s possible that no deal will result from them.

MGM has a library of major film franchises like James Bond, and also owns the Epix cable channel. The company makes popular TV shows such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Fargo,” and “Shark Tank.”

News of the deal comes amid a new wave of potential consolidation in the entertainment industry. Earlier on Monday, reports indicated that AT&T was planning on breaking off its WarnerMedia arm and merging it with Discovery.

Word of the talks between MGM and Amazon come just a few days after Amazon said that Jeff Blackburn would return to the retail giant. Blackburn previously oversaw Amazon’s entertainment efforts, and would lead a new global media group, according to The Information.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, “Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider,” and you’ll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for “AppleInsider Daily” instead and you’ll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you’re interested in Apple-centric home automation, say “Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider,” and you’ll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.

This article was originally posted here

Apple preps Beats Studio Buds to compete against AirPods

Apple preps Beats Studio Buds to compete against AirPods
Apple could soon offer AirPods and Beats Studio Buds to rival each other.
Photo: 9to5Mac

In a brewing Apple vs. Apple battle, the iPhone-maker is reportedly working on Beats Studio Buds — a pair of in-ear wireless headphones with a lot in common with AirPods.

The odd circumstance comes because the company releases headphones under its own brand and also under the Beats brand.

iOS 14.6 reveals Beats Studio Buds

A smattering of details and two short videos of the upcoming Beats product were found by 9to5Mac in the iOS 14.6 release candidate that Apple seeded to developers on Monday.

The name Beats Studio Buds is allegedly listed. And the videos revealed that the headphones will be truly wireless and charge in a case. That makes them very different from, say, Beats PowerBeats. But quite similar to AirPods.

Speaking of similarity to AirPods, digging through the code turned up that the the Beats headphones will support “Hey, Siri” and offer noise cancellation. Presumably that means they’ll have an Apple H1 chip, just like the compoany’s other hearables.

It’s not clear in what way Studio Buds will be distinct from Apple’s other wireless earbuds. Aside from being black and not white, of course. And the prominent AirPods stem is missing.

Also unknown not known when Beats Studio Buds will be released. Or what they will cost.

But this leak comes on top of an unconfirmed report from last week that Apple put the former head of product design at phone-maker HTC in charge of crafting new Beats headphones.

This article was originally posted here

Apple Music Lossless requires wired headphones, AirPods will only get Spatial Audio

Apple announced today that Apple Music will soon offer support for Lossless songs, as well as Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos. However, there has been some confusion as to which devices are needed to take advantage of all these features. 9to5Mac has now contacted Apple for further clarification on compatibility with the new Apple Music features.

Although you can enable Lossless with any pair of headphones in the Settings app, an Apple spokesperson has told us that “Lossless doesn’t work over Bluetooth.” In order to experience the Lossless songs, users need a good, wired headphone. In other words, none of the AirPods work with Lossless.

But what about AirPods Max? Well, we asked Apple about it too since users can plug in a Lightning cable with a 3.5mm connector to use it wired. Unfortunately, Apple also told us that “AirPods Max currently does not support digital audio formats in wired mode.” For AirPods owners, the only Apple Music supported feature will be Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos.

Why such a limitation?

First of all, it’s worth briefly explaining how Lossless and Bluetooth headphones work. A typical Apple Music song is encoded in AAC with a bitrate of 256kbps, which is not considered “studio quality” but is good enough for most users with regular headphones. With Apple Music Lossless, users can listen to ALAC-encoded songs with bitrate starting at 16 bits/44.1Khz, also known as “CD quality.”

The quality of an audio file from a CD is around 1,411 kbps, which is much higher than a regular Apple Music AAC file. This number becomes even higher when it comes to Apple Music Hi Res Lossless, which requires even better equipment — such as a external DAC. The higher the bitrate, the more detail the music has since this means that the audio has gone through less compression.

At the same time, Bluetooth technology only reaches speeds of up to 2,000kbps in ideal condition scenarios. In the real world, when you need to consider lower signal due to interference and distance, the bandwidth is even lower. This is why Lossless will not work with any Bluetooth headphones, and this is not something restricted to Apple Music or Apple’s earphones.

Apple could create a Bluetooth-optimized Lossless codec, just like Sony’s LDAC that reaches up to 990kbps – but the company has nothing like that so far, and it would probably need to announce new AirPods models in order to support a new codec.

Wrap up

To make things simple, here’s the hardware needed for each new Apple Music feature:

  • Lossless: a wired headphone (except for AirPods Max with Lightning/3.5mm cable)
  • Hi Res Lossless: a wired headphone connected to an external DAC
  • Spatial Audio: any AirPods or Beats model with Apple’s W1 or H1 chip

On a related note, Apple Music Lossless will not work with HomePod or HomePod mini. Spatial Audio will also be available on compatible Macs.

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This article was originally posted here

Apple’s Phil Schiller talks App Store commission, Amazon streaming deal, more in trial

Apple Fellow and former marketing chief Phil Schiller took the stand in the Epic Games v. Apple trial Monday, revealing a variety of details about the App Store and developer policies.

For example, Schiller said that apple does actually reduce its 30% commission on in-app purchases to 15% for certain apps in exchange for those platforms supporting the Apple TV app.

“The Apple TV team had a meeting with premium content providers and described the work they were going to do to integrate this new experience. For example, they had to integrate with our Siri voice assistant so we can find any show across any one of those app experience,” Schiller said.

The result is that members of the Apple Video Partner Program pay the Cupertino tech giant a 15% cut of in-app purchases in the first year of subscription.

At another point during his testimony, Schiller admitted that Epic Games’ antitrust lawsuit helped him get approval for the small business program that slashes commission rates to 15% for companies making less than 1 million per year from the App Store. He said the Epic Games complaint wasn’t the reason Apple introduced the program, “but it certainly helped.” The program was reportedly in the works since 2016.

Similarly, Schiller said a 15% commission was as low as Apple would go for a reduced fee because of fraud and money laundering concerns. He added that Apple’s anti-fraud team was “very worried” about a commission level of anything lower than 15%.

The Apple Fellow also confirmed the existence of a group within Apple dubbed FEAR, or fraud, engineering, algorithms, and risk. According to Schiller, the team conducts anti-fraud, anti-piracy, anti-spam, and risk management operations of new of features. He added that the team is “quite different” than Apple’s standard App Review department.

On the subject of anti-steering rules, or the guidelines that prohibit App Store developers from advertising outside services, Schiller said that Apple doesn’t give customer emails to developers automatically. However, developers can request customer emails from Apple. Once they have the contact information, developers can communicate generally with their customers about buying in-app items from outside the App Store. This cannot be targeted though, so single customers won’t receive personalized email ads.

Earlier on Monday, Schiller revealed that Apple was building a new developer center at its Cupertino campus and revealed that the company spends about $50 million a year putting on its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Stay on top of all Apple news right from your HomePod. Say, “Hey, Siri, play AppleInsider,” and you’ll get latest AppleInsider Podcast. Or ask your HomePod mini for “AppleInsider Daily” instead and you’ll hear a fast update direct from our news team. And, if you’re interested in Apple-centric home automation, say “Hey, Siri, play HomeKit Insider,” and you’ll be listening to our newest specialized podcast in moments.

This article was originally posted here

AirPods and HomePods Will Not Support Apple Music’s New Lossless Audio

When Apple announced that Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio are coming to Apple Music, it wasn’t entirely clear from the press release whether Lossless Audio would work with AirPods or HomePods. Since then, Apple has confirmed to T3 that AirPods Pro and AirPods Max do not support Lossless Audio. In a statement to Chris Welch of The Verge, Apple definitively said:

“Lossless audio is not supported on AirPods, any model,” an Apple spokesperson said by email.

AirPods support Spatial Audio, but if you want to listen to Lossless Audio, you’ll need wired headphones, an Apple TV, or a Mac connected to good speakers.

If you were thinking you might be able to get around the wireless limitations of Lossless Audio with a Lightning cable connected to your AirPods Max, you’re out of luck there too, according to Billboard’s Micah Singleton who raised the question with Apple. The Verge’s story confirms what Singleton was told too.

In addition, MacRumors reports it has confirmed from an unnamed source that the original HomePod and HomePod mini do not worth with Lossless Audio either.

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