The plot thickens in the Epic versus Apple debacle


Another week is behind us, which means one less week in 2020. I’ve had enough of this year — haven’t we all? Anyways, let’s dive right in to what’s happened in the past week (hint: there’s more Epic versus Apple controversy).

Remember how I was talking about the whole Epic versus Apple brewhaha going on in last week’s column? Well, the plot thickens, folks! Honestly, the plot will probably continue to thicken as the weeks go on. So here’s what went down in the past week regarding Epic versus Apple: Apple is terminating Epic’s developer accounts as well as blocking access to Epic’s developer tools, resulting in Epic filing a restraining order against Apple to try and prevent this, Epic is also gathering supporters (like Spotify and Sonos) for its case against Apple’s unfair App Store policies, Apple enlists its own counsel with some big names who defended Apple against Samsung and Qualcomm, and the entire Epic v. Apple case has been assigned a new judge, who is also presiding over two other antitrust cases against Apple. Phew! Oh, and now, Apple has formally responded to Epic’s allegations by revealing that Epic Games wanted a “special deal” for Fortnite.

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Ok, hold on, I think that’s all the news as of this writing — there’s certainly been a lot, that’s for sure.

One may argue that Epic is trying to make things better for all developers in the App Store, because it’s well-known that Apple rules it with an iron fist. But again, I find it hard to feel bad for Epic when they violated the terms of service of being in the App Store by trying to bypass the App Store’s in-app payment system — after all, it is Apple’s App Store, and they set the rules. And if Epic claims that they are trying to bring equality for all developers in the App Store, then why were they trying to get special treatment, as it was just revealed Friday afternoon? Last I checked, “fair and equal” doesn’t involve getting special treatment.

I am not a legal expert by any means, but this entire thing is a huge mess for both sides. This is especially true for the part where Apple is threatening to block access to Unreal Engine, which is used by a lot of other developers for games, including Apple Arcade titles. I am hoping that all these other games using Unreal Engine will continue to remain playable, but if they’re blocked, I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out. I guess we’ll find out once the hearing about the restraining order starts tomorrow.

But enough about the Epic versus Apple thing. September is approaching, and eagle-eyed people spotted a YouTube “test” on Apple’s channel for September 10. While Apple has a history of holding events on September 10 in previous years, that date falls on a Thursday this year, which feels out of place. Normally, Apple holds events on Mondays or Tuesdays, depending on what event it is. I’m a little skeptical of this, and our own Bryan M. Wolfe wrote up a nice editorial about this very topic, so make sure go give it a read if you haven’t already. I am fully expecting an event in September, with the iPhones launching later in October (or even later), but the event date? Yeah, I don’t know about that one, folks.

If you’re super eager for the iPhone 12, then perhaps this iPhone 12 trailer concept video will satisfy your hunger for the time being.

Another move that isn’t all that surprising is the fact that Apple has renamed the Beats 1 radio station on Apple Music to Apple Music 1. While I’m an Apple Music subscriber, I don’t frequently listen to the radio stations, but this move isn’t shocking. It seems that Apple has been moving away from the Beats brand for a while now (AirPods and HomePod, anyone?), and Bryan M. Wolfe wrote another great editorial about the seamless transition away from the Beats name. While Apple Music 1 is just a rename, Apple also added two new stations: Apple Music Hits and Apple Music Country. So if you want to find some new jams, try giving those a listen.

And while I’m picky about the headphones that I use on a regular basis, it’s always important to note that inexpensive headphones ≠ cheap headphones. Our own Luke Filipowicz wrote up a great piece about how most people don’t need to spend a lot of money for a quality pair of headphones.

Anyways, that’s it for this week folks. Until next time!

-Christine Romero-Chan

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