Users would be exposed to more dangerous apps, and Apple could protect them less well, argued the group in a 30-page paper published on Wednesday.
Apps can only be installed on the iPhone from the Group’s in-house platform. Apple points out that with it, all apps and updates on its platform are examined by software and human auditors in order to filter out malicious applications. In addition, developers would have to adhere to Apple guidelines on data protection. With so-called sideloading, in which apps are loaded onto the iPhone from sources other than the official store, these safety precautions are no longer applicable, warns Apple.
The Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is currently being developed in the EU, plans to prescribe the opening of platforms to competing providers in order to strengthen competition. For digital articles and services that are sold via Apple’s platform, a fee of 15 or 30 percent is due to the group. On devices with the Google Android system, there is a similar commission to Google for sales via the Group’s Play Store – but other app stores are also allowed on the platform. Apple opposed the EU plans as early as June.
“Sideloading via direct downloads or other app stores would undermine Apple’s security and privacy protection mechanisms,” warned the iPhone company in its new paper. That is not in the interests of the user. Apple speaks, among other things, of fake apps that disguised themselves as popular applications and manipulated updates of the operating system. The group specifically refers to dangerous Android apps that are in circulation and try, for example, to obtain login information and other data. The online criminals would have more incentives to attack the iPhone if it were opened, it said.
Apple critics point out that programs from all possible sources can be loaded onto the Group’s Mac computers. Apple counters that the situation is different with smartphones because they contain much more private information. US bills for more competition in the tech industry are also targeting the business model. In the USA, however, Apple recently achieved success in defending its app system on the iPhone. A judge rejected the request by the game company Epic Games to open the platform to other app stores.
Apple is examining the potential of the AirPods as a health device
Apple is looking for ways to turn the popular AirPods into a health device. These include applications to improve hearing, measure body temperature or monitor posture. This is evident from documents that the Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the plans were able to see.
The plans are further proof that the iPhone group has ambitions to build health and wellness functions into devices beyond the Apple Watch, where most of the company’s health applications are already available. As reported in September, Apple is also working on a technology that will help an iPhone to help diagnose depression and cognitive decline.
It is currently unclear whether Apple will develop special new hearing aid functions for the AirPods or whether the existing functions of the earphones will be marketed as hearing aids. The higher quality AirPods Pro already offer functions to improve hearing, including the “Conversation Enhancement” feature introduced last week, which increases the volume and clarity of the people speaking who are in front of the wearer of the earplugs.
The envisaged additional AirPods functions are not expected for next year. They may also be discarded completely and not come onto the market, as people who are familiar with the company’s plans have said.
An Apple spokeswoman declines to comment.
Apple is already developing prototypes for the AirPods, which can be used to measure the wearer’s body temperature in the ear, according to documents viewed by the Journal. The thermometer could become the second in an Apple device, provided that the temperature sensor envisaged for the 2022 version of the Apple Watch actually comes.
As far as the planned ergonomics function is concerned, the AirPods would rely on the motion sensors in the earplugs and alert the wearer if they should sag their shoulders. Then he could improve his posture in a targeted manner, according to the documents and a person familiar with the idea.
If the AirPods also work as a hearing aid, this could significantly increase the range of this product. Millions of people suffer from hearing loss, including many whose impairment is less severe and who experts say cannot be treated.
New regulations from the US Food and Drug Administration, expected to be finalized next year, would allow direct sales of a new class of cheaper hearing aids to customers with mild to moderate hearing impairment.
According to estimates by the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, around 28 million US citizens have mild hearing loss, but only 5 percent of them use a hearing aid. Another 12 million suffer from moderate hearing loss, but only 37 percent of this group have a hearing aid.
AirPods are cheaper than traditional hearing aids
Johns Hopkins audiologist Nicholas Reed thinks AirPods as an over-the-counter hearing aid can be a potentially big change. Apple’s ubiquitous earplugs could help break the stigma of age associated with traditional hearing aids. They would also cost far less than traditional hearing aids.
Because AirPods don’t last a full day of battery life, they may not be suitable for all people with hearing loss.
The AirPods dominate the global market for Bluetooth headphones and, according to estimates by market researchers from Strategy Analytics, should have generated sales of 12.8 billion dollars in 2020 – five times as much as the number 2 device, Bose.
With the built-in sensors, microphones, the amplifier and the sophisticated processor, the AirPods Pro already contain a large part of the technology that experts say is necessary to help people with mild or moderate hearing loss.
Apple shares fell 0.42 percent to $ 140.91 in trading on NASDAQ on Wednesday.
(dpa-AFX / Dow Jones)
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