Archive for March 4, 2024

Monday, March 4, 2024

M3 MacBook Pro Multi-Display Support via Software Update

Zac Hall:

Both the M3 MacBook Air and the M3 MacBook Pro offer support for one external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz when the display is open, and with the update, the M3 MacBooks will also be able to power two 5K external displays with a resolution of up to 60Hz. That is equivalent to the Studio Display, so users can expect to be able to run two of Apple’s 5K displays in clamshell mode.


Apple has confirmed to 9to5Mac that a software update for the 14-inch MacBook Pro will gain the ability to drive two external displays with the lid closed. The feature will work identically to how it works with the new M3 MacBook Air.


One external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz

Close the MacBook Air lid to use a second external display with up to 5K resolution at 60Hz

So I think this means you can have one external 6K and one external 5K.

Juli Clover:

The higher-end M3 Pro and M3 Max MacBook Pro models are already able to drive multiple displays, so this change only applies to the 14-inch MacBook Pro that has the M3 chip. This machine replaced the prior-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro, which Apple has now done away with.

Mr. Macintosh:

The M2 Mac mini can support 2 monitors. Was 2 monitor support (for laptops) built into the M3 chip? If not, can the M2 & M1 also run 2 monitors with a software update?

Joe Rosensteel:

It is interesting that this is something that could be controlled in software … all this time … and won’t come to the M1 or M2 machines. I wonder what discussions happened to get this concession. Did the dings in reviews matter? Product returns? Qualtrics surveys?

Matt Birchler:

I have no idea how it is in the wider world, but IT at my work has been hit up by nearly every person who was issued a an M1/M2 device asking why they can’t get both their monitors to work. “Even my crappy Dell could do it,” is not an uncommon reaction when they’re told what’s up.


Update (2024-03-07): Eric Schwarz:

In my day job, I see plenty of lower-end business PC laptops connected to USB-C docking stations driving dual 1080p monitors, yet it requires a much more expensive Mac to do the same thing. While an M1 MacBook Air probably doesn’t have the horsepower to drive dual 5K monitors, I think if two external displays work with the internal one off or lid closed, this is something Apple should bring to all their Apple Silicon-based MacBooks. If the M1 Mac mini could do that why not open it up to other Macs?

Update (2024-03-08): Hector Martin:

Apple introduced this capability into the M2 already. It’s why the M2 Mac Mini supports two displays over Type C/Thunderbolt, while the original M1 Mac Mini does not, and requires one display to be on HDMI. The laptops are logically equivalent to a Mac Mini with the HDMI port hardwired to the internal panel.

The only reason this wasn’t enabled on M2 laptops so far is that it requires extra firmware support to disable the internal panel and reconfigure the primary display pipe for external mode. The firmware has lots of special support for the internal panel, so it’s not “just” another screen connected to the system, and there’s a lot of stuff that has to be done properly to make this work as intended.

Now the question is whether Apple will backport this to M2 or not. DCP firmware nominally has an identical interface synced between all platforms, so it should be a common codebase, so it should be easy to do. But they might explicitly lock it out, because I suspect Apple have a habit of not wanting to admit something was unavailable on a given machine due to software/firmware not being ready on time, and they’d rather just pretend its not supported…


Technical details: the M1 has one primary display controller hardwired to eDP and one external display controller connected to a crossbar that leads to the Type C DP PHYs and the Thunderbolt packetizer. The M2 moves the primary controller to the crossbar too, so it can be repurposed to output via the Type C ports too. M3 is presumably identical. All baseline chips still only have 2 display controllers total, and this is cost driven and not easy to increase without a major die size increase since the display controllers are huge. The change to the crossbar, on the other hand, is essentially “free” and makes perfect sense to do.

MacBook Air 2024

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

With M3, MacBook Air is up to 60 percent faster than the model with the M1 chip and up to 13x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Air. And with a faster and more efficient Neural Engine in M3, MacBook Air continues to be the world’s best consumer laptop for AI. The 13- and 15-inch MacBook Air both feature a strikingly thin and light design, up to 18 hours of battery life, a stunning Liquid Retina display, and new capabilities, including support for up to two external displays and up to 2x faster Wi-Fi than the previous generation. With its durable aluminum unibody enclosure that’s built to last, the new MacBook Air is available in four gorgeous colors: midnight, which features a breakthrough anodization seal to reduce fingerprints; starlight; space gray; and silver.


MacBook Air with M3 now supports up to two external displays when the laptop lid is closed — perfect for business users, or anyone who requires multiple displays for multitasking across apps or spreading out documents at the same time.


The 13-inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at $1,099 (U.S.) and $999 (U.S.) for education, and the 15‑inch MacBook Air with M3 starts at $1,299 (U.S.) and $1,199 (U.S.) for education.


The 13-inch MacBook Air with M2, available in midnight, starlight, silver, and space gray, now starts at $999 (U.S.) and $899 (U.S.) for education.

Dan Moren:

The new 13-inch model comes in three basic configurations: all three feature an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores. While the $1099 base configuration includes an 8-core GPU and 256GB of storage, the $1299 and $1499 versions include a 10-core graphics processor and a 512GB SSD—you can get up to 2TB of storage on any model. Just to mix it up a bit, the two lower configurations start with 8GB of memory, compared to the highest model’s 16GB—all are configurable with up to 24GB of memory at max.

Benjamin Mayo (tweet):

The headline feature of being able to connect two displays at once does come with a slight gotcha … it only works when the laptop lid is closed. That means you can now have a MacBook Air desk setup with two external displays, but the laptop must stay in clamshell mode. If the lid is open, the Air screen is on and you can only have one active external display, just like the previous M1 and M2 models.

This is an improvement for the Apple Silicon era of MacBook Air, but still trails what used to be possible on the Intel Airs.

Adam Engst:

It wouldn’t have been surprising if Apple had introduced M3-powered versions of the Mac mini alongside these MacBook Air updates, but new Mac minis can’t be far behind. The Mac Studio and Mac Pro will undoubtedly join the M3 party later this year once Apple completes the M3 Ultra chip.


Speaking as someone who is still pondering the best Apple silicon replacement for a 27-inch iMac with 5K display and a secondary 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, this improvement extends the choices for a base-level Mac with two matched displays. Previously, I was weighing the differences between a Mac mini and an M3 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro, both outfitted with a pair of Studio Displays. Now the M3 MacBook Air becomes portable competition for the Mac mini in that comparison. The M3 Pro 14-inch MacBook Pro offers more performance, a third screen, and a built-in keyboard and trackpad, but it costs a lot more and would require me to modify my standing desk to hold it.


Don’t misunderstand—there’s nothing wrong with Wi-Fi 6E, whose support for the 6 GHz band can be welcome if you’re in an area where the 5 GHz band is too crowded. But you need Wi-Fi 6E-capable gear to take advantage of it, and unless you have to replace an old router right away, it might be better to wait for prices to fall for Wi-Fi 7 gear, which was ratified recently. Plus, faster Wi-Fi won’t improve the Internet experience for most people, given that the bottleneck is usually the Internet connection, not the local Wi-Fi network.

John Gruber:

Apple’s Newsroom post announcing the speed-bumped M3 MacBook Airs has an entire section about “AI”[…]

Steve Troughton-Smith:

In other Apple news, it seems like they’re actively adopting the term ‘AI’ this year, having ignored it previously. The seal now broken, I imagine ‘AI’ will be used heavily in iOS 18’s marketing.

Stephen Hackett:

It sounds like the fingerprint-happy Midnight finish is now getting the same coating the Space Black MacBook Pro gets to help reduce smudges.


Wi-Fi 6E support is sweet.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple today discontinued the MacBook Air with the M1 chip, which launched in November 2020 as one of the first Apple silicon Macs.

Mr. Macintosh:

Farewell MacBook Air wedge design👋

2008-2024 🪦💐


Update (2024-03-05): Jack Brewster:

The 14" M3 MacBook Pro, configured with the same RAM and SSD as the 15" M3 MacBook Air, is only $100 more. 🤔

13" MBA is a bigger difference at $300.

Update (2024-03-06): Benjamin Mayo:

The “Compare MacBook Air with M3 to your current MacBook Air” tool conveniently forgets the M2 Air existed.

I don’t mind that the press releases focus on comparisons to Intel models or whatever, but I wish they’d at least publish the last-generation-ago compare on the site somewhere.

Update (2024-03-07): Collin Donnell:

Apple needs to stop selling Macintosh computers with 8GB of ram. It’s a stingy amount for even relatively light use. Run a few Electron apps for work (which everyone does) and you’re already bumping up against it. Ridiculous.

Apple products are supposed to be a premium experience. There is nothing premium about paying $1100 for a machine with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of ram. That was a stingy amount like eight years ago. Today it just feels gross.


Tech reviewers need to start demanding 8GB/256GB review units from Apple, along with the 16/512 units Apple sends out, to compare performance, or refuse to do the reviews.

Doing ‘rave’ reviews on Apple’s most expensive units destroys credibility, as most buyers don’t benefit.

Jason Snell:

My reaction is pretty much the same as the one I had to the MacBook Pro: Apple hasn’t “cured” fingerprints. It is absolutely possible to put fingerprints all over the midnight MacBook Air. I managed to cover it in streaks in a couple of minutes. It might be a little more resistant than the old model, and it might be easier to wipe the surface clean, but after a day’s use, the M2 and M3 midnight Airs in my house looked more or less the same.

It’s worth noting that the MacBook Air’s 1080p FaceTime camera is passable but not amazing—I wish Apple would tuck a nicer camera up there.


On my home Internet connection, I was able to get 931 Mbps down and 813 MBps up via Wi-Fi, which is more or less the same speed as my wired connection to my router. In the same spot, my M2 Air could only manage 618 up and 700 down. I wouldn’t buy a new laptop just to have faster Wi-Fi—and keep in mind that you need to upgrade your router and possibly your home internet to take advantage of these speeds—but that’s the fastest Wi-Fi connection I’ve ever experienced.

Update (2024-03-11): Tyler Stalman:

I have a theory that 90% of people who by the base MacBook Air are totally happy with 8GB of ram

But 100% of the people who watch YouTube videos about MacBooks hate it

Sam Rowlands:

I have to disagree… Seen too many people I know get really disappointed with new MacBooks. “My old Mac only had 4GB and could do these things without the spinning pizza and memory popups”. What makes ’em ANGRY is having to buy a New Mac to add RAM.

The last one I dealt with only used Safari, Mail, Pages and Keynote. Which worked all fine with a 4GB MacBook.

What people don’t understand is many old Macs had dedicated GPUs, now they lose 1~2 GB of RAM for the GPU. macOS needs more RAM, apps need more RAM…

Snazzy Labs:

The real problem is the ludicrous price to upgrade away from that 8GB.

Tim Hardwick:

The debate over whether 8GB of RAM is sufficient for a Mac has long been a topic of contention. The controversy goes back to at least 2012, when Apple launched the first MacBook Pro with Retina display, which started with 8GB of RAM.


While the overall result of this integrated SoC architecture is better performance and efficiency, the downside is that Apple's unified memory is fixed at the point of purchase and cannot be upgraded at a later date.

Opting for more unified memory is not cheap either. For instance, going from the base 8GB of unified memory to 16GB or 24GB costs an extra $200 and $400, respectively. Therefore, it's important when buying a new Mac that you choose the right amount for your individual needs.

Update (2024-03-20): Omar Sohail:

One major advantage for productivity buffs wanting the 13-inch or 15-inch M3 MacBook Air as their daily driver was that they could attach two external monitors instead of one, but that is only possible when any one of these models was being used in clamshell mode, or in other words, with the lid closed. However, a recent stress test shows that you can lose nearly half of the portable Mac’s original performance in this mode, which will make everyone wonder if the trade-off is worth the extra monitor support.

Update (2024-04-29): Paul Thurrott (via John Gruber):

The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch M3 is a near-perfect combination of silent and effortless performance, epic battery life, and elegant design. Even with some upgrade price-gouging, it’s an unbeatable value that would meet most users’ needs.

EU Fines Apple $2 Billion Over Anti-Steering Rules

Foo Yun Chee (European Commission, Hacker News, MacRumors):

Brussels on Monday fined Apple, opens new tab 1.84 billion euros ($2 billion) for thwarting competition from music streaming rivals via restrictions on its App Store, the iPhone maker’s first ever penalty for breaching EU rules.

A basic penalty of 40 million euros was inflated by a huge lump sum included as a deterrent - a first for the European Union’s antitrust authorities.

The European Commission charged Apple last year with preventing Swedish streaming service Spotify, opens new tab and others from informing users of payment options outside its App Store, following a 2019 complaint by Spotify.


The primary advocate for this decision — and the biggest beneficiary — is Spotify, a company based in Stockholm, Sweden. Spotify has the largest music streaming app in the world, and has met with the European Commission more than 65 times during this investigation.

Today, Spotify has a 56 percent share of Europe’s music streaming market — more than double their closest competitor’s — and pays Apple nothing for the services that have helped make them one of the most recognizable brands in the world. A large part of their success is due to the App Store, along with all the tools and technology that Spotify uses to build, update, and share their app with Apple users around the world.


Since the App Store launched more than 15 years ago, Apple has had two simple goals: creating a safe and trusted marketplace for our users, and an incredible business opportunity for developers.


Today, developers compete on a level playing field on the App Store.


We’ve even flown our engineers to Stockholm to help Spotify’s teams in person.

It’s not level between developers and certainly not between Spotify and Apple Music.

Isaiah Carew:

It’s difficult to tell whether this is marketing spin, legal CYA, or if there are executives at apple who actually believe this obvious laughable disinformation nonsense.

I used to wonder the same thing when they made statements about the cursed butterfly keyboard.

Benjamin Mayo:

Apple says the EU has found no evidence of consumer harm, and “ignores the reality of a market that is thriving, competitive and growing fast”. In a statement, Spotify welcomed the judgement and its effective implementation.


The fine is the culmination of an EU investigation that has spanned more than a decade, with Spotify first filing a formal complaint in 2019. The $2bn fine amount is proportionate to Apple’s global revenues and “necessary to achieve deterrence”, according to the EU commission ruling.


It’s unclear whether the current incarnation of App Store rules are still considered to be in breach of the law, in the eyes of the EU.

Eric Schwarz:

Spotify’s corporate communications tend to come across as “entitled brat” more often than not, including their response not taking the win with class (I’m pretty sure using the word ‘monopoly’ is inaccurate at this point in time, but I don’t see the EC telling Spotify to watch their language).

Apple brags:

Music app developers can even include information about other offers available outside of their app, along with a link directing users to a website to create and manage their account.

This is quite limited and not available to all app types in all regions.

We introduced the reader rule years ago in response to feedback from developers like Spotify.

Nick Heer:

Is less than two years really “years ago”?

Apple seems to be taking credit for announcing that it would add the rule in 2021, but it didn’t actually do so until March 30, 2022.

Peter Steinberger:

Apple playing hurt baby. The App Store helped Spotify so much!! We provide all the API!!1!

Nobody would buy iPhones without support for apps. It’s in their own best interest to provide a dev toolkit and support.

Craig Grannell:

I’m quite taken aback by this latest press release, which appears to infer certain companies are freeloading, deriving their value primarily from Apple’s platform. But without those apps, the iPhone wouldn’t have much value itself – witness Windows Phone.

And, really, Apple arguing it created value for Spotify by way of Apple’s app review team reviewing 421 versions of the Spotify app so said Spotify app can end up on Apple’s own App Store? Really?

Ian Betteridge:

Oh god I’m going to have to a line by line examination of that stupid Apple statement about the European Commission fine, aren’t I?

Jason McFadden:

Apple’s EU statement almost reads as if the App Store was solely responsible for Spotify’s success, largely ignoring how much the Android platform (Google Play Store) contributes as well.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple’s EU fine today shows why the DMA is important, too — it took Spotify eight+ years to challenge a single clause of Apple’s developer agreement, and only for a single category of app (music players).

It shows just how much other developers would have to fight to make these improvements available to every app through individual legal actions, and how infeasible it is.


Update (2024-03-06): Dion Almaer:

This just shows how Apple has gotten too big for their boots. A healthy platform recognizes that you are investing for your JOINT users.

Many Spotify users want to use iOS, iOS is better because of Spotify.

Yet Apple shows that they think they are so important that everyone should pay for every part of their investment.

Maximiliano Firtman:

Apple has helped Spotify in the same way electricity and audio companies have helped.

Spotify also helped Apple sell devices and services. They needed Spotify for marketing many products and services as something useful.

Dare Obasanjo:

This is interesting because Apple as a platform provider benefits from having Spotify in the App Store.

Yet, Apple hasn’t acted as if it’s in a symbiotic relationship with developers for years. Instead it acts like a feudal lord and developers are serfs.

Gergely Orosz:

Imagine this logic extended to other platforms:

“Spotify has accessed Windows APIs X trillion times and pays nothing”

“Spotify has been downloaded on Android N billion times and pays nothing.”

“Spotify has been opened in Chrome N billion times and pays nothing.”



There are plenty of companies that would happily pick up the tab for running their own infrastructure if Apple would let them.

Apple: You HAVE to use our store and it’s super expensive for us ;_;
Industry Fat Cats: We could run our own…
Apple: You ungrateful sob!

Baldur Bjarnason:

Much like roaming, App Stores let private companies subdivide and control the single market to their own financial gain. When much of the digital economy is taking place on phones, tablets, and various other devices that are largely limited to App Stores, this is effectively ceding the single market to a fragmented market that’s entirely under corporate control.

This is against the core operating theory behind the EU. They would be institutionally against this even if the companies in question were European. Many, if not most, of the mobile phone operators affected by the roaming regulations were European. That didn’t earn them a pass on compliance.


It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that the EU is very concerned about preserving the single market in digital services and software. That means they have to do something about Apple’s control over the iOS App Store and exclusion of competing web browsers. From their perspective, they don’t really have a choice.


To Apple, the App Store is a side line. To the EU, the single market is the foundation of its existence.

Thom Holwerda:

And because Apple and its tech punditry refuse to try and understand the party they are dealing with, they get caught looking like childish idiots every time they open their mouths about it.

Eric Schwarz:

I hope this serves as a wake-up call and Apple starts looking at the regulatory environment in each of its primary markets and how it can be a good citizen instead of letting its hubris rack up fines, ultimately doing even more damage to the company and its shareholders.

David Heinemeier Hansson:

After all the malfeasance and self-preferencing Apple employed to help Apple Music unfairly gain ground against Spotify. It's truly an incredible document. One that I hope marks the sad high water point for Apple's hubris. One we'll point to once this cast of executives currently steering the ship finally depart their positions.

Because I've increasingly come to the conclusion that nothing will fundamentally change at Apple until they have the kind of leadership transition that unlocked so much value at Microsoft. Until they find their Nadella to replace their Ballmer, we should expect more indignant press releases, more threats, more evasion, more malicious compliance.

See also: Dithering, Kosta Eleftheriou.

Update (2024-03-07): BEUC (via Hacker News):

The Commission decided Apple abused its dominant position in the distribution of music streaming apps through its App Store in breach of the EU Treaty antitrust rules’ ban on abuse of monopoly power by preventing consumers from making informed choices in favour of alternative cheaper options. It is an important step that the Commission decided to pursue an ‘exploitative abuse’ case, where a dominant company exploits its market power to impose unfair trading conditions on others to the detriment of consumers.

Mike Masnick (Hacker News):

It’s no secret that I’m often skeptical of antitrust actions, many of which feel like bureaucrats doing a “general punishment” for disliking a successful company, rather than an actual response to abusive, anti-competitive behavior by a large company. However, that does not mean that there is no place for antitrust enforcement. It’s just that it should be in response to actual evidence of companies abusing their market position to make anti-competitive moves in an unfair manner.

And, I’d argue that Apple’s efforts to prevent companies like Spotify from even telling users that they can subscribe directly for less by going to Spotify’s website, seems like… exactly that.


Apple offers its own competing music service that is a 1-to-1 replacement for Spotify. But, in Apple’s case, it doesn’t have to pay that same 30% fee, since it’s the same company.

And it’s that factor that makes this anti-competitive. It’s using its own market leverage over the app market to force a competing service to pay a much higher fee than it has to pay itself. That seems like a classic situation for antitrust.

Jesse Squires:

This press release has such a massive “bitch and moan” cry baby vibe.

Serious question: What’s the point of publishing something like this? Apple just wants to have the last word?

Seems like a lot of energy was put into this that could be put to better use.

Nick Heer:

Apple’s response to this decision is barely restrained and looks, frankly, terrible for one of the world’s largest and most visible corporations. There is no friendly soft-touch language here, nor is it a zesty spare statement. This is a press release seasoned with piss and vinegar[…]


Apple is making its familiar claim that iOS software avoids its in-app purchase model is basically freeloading, but it is very happy for any developer’s success. Happy, happy, happy. Real fuckin’ happy. Left unsaid is how much of this infrastructure — hosting, updates, developer tooling, and so on — is required by Apple’s policies to be used by third-party developers.


This [reader rule] change was not made because of developer requests [as Apple said]. It was agreed to as part of a settlement with authorities in Japan in September 2021.

Casey Liss:

I think the thing I find most offensive about Apple of 2024 is this conviction that Apple not only gifts us developers a platform, but also we will always and forever owe them for it. With zero acknowledgement that their platform is equally reliant on us to be competitive.

Jeff Johnson:

In the past, Apple acknowledged that 3rd party software sells Apple hardware. That was the basis of their relationship with developers from the start with the Apple II and continued with the Macintosh.

After releasing iPhone without 3rd party software, Apple quickly realized they actually needed it and even went so far as to advertise “There’s an app for that” as a selling point for iPhone.

Yet today, Apple talks as if 3rd party software adds no value other than via direct payment extraction.

Dan Moren:

But there’s a scale-tipper there: how companies accomplish getting that bigger slice does matter. And while it might not connect as clearly to the profit and loss statements in black and white, you can see its effect no more clearly than in the fact that Apple published a 1500-word essay on its website about why the EU’s contentions are so wrong. Because the question its existence prompts is: who exactly is the intended audience?


No, this piece is for the public and the press (who will relay said arguments to the broad swath of the public that hasn’t consumed them firsthand). It’s there to point out all the great things that Apple does and cast it as the one being targeted unfairly by Europe. Apple’s just here making the world a better place! Fundamentally, Apple wants you to be party to its point of view here: that it’s the one being taken advantage of.

But that argument falls a bit flat when you boil the argument down to its essence.


And nowhere are these anti-steering clauses more questionable than when they intersect with things like digital books and, yes, streaming music—markets in which Apple itself is a competitor. To drag optics into this once again, it certainly doesn’t look good when your competitors in a space are subjected to restrictions because they’re doing business on one of your platforms—restrictions your own competing offering doesn’t have.

Sarah Perez (via Nick Heer):

That’s the overall vibe emerging from Apple’s desperate attempt at clinging onto IAP (in-app purchase) revenue by any means necessary[…]


Essentially, Apple is now claiming that the platform offering developers distribution is not, in fact, the App Store, but rather the entirety of iOS. And developers should surely have to pay tribute to access iOS and its myriad APIs and frameworks, or so Apple believes. (The fact that developers already do so as part of their Apple Developer annual fee seems to be ignored.)


IAP is arguably the best way to buy things on iPhone and gives Apple a huge competitive advantage. It could stand up to competition, but Apple is behaving as if it could not.

William O’Connell:

The business model where you sell cheap (ish) hardware and then secretly take a cut out of every transaction made on that device seems inherently anti-consumer to me. Your Netflix, etc. costs more than it otherwise would because the money is going to Roku, Google, Apple and as a user you have no idea what those agreements look like so there's no way to make an informed decision. Apple in particular has fought to keep users in the dark.

Francisco Tolmasky:

It’s even worse than that, since Apple also helps entrench other monopolies. Prime Video is a good example, since they have a sweetheart deal with Apple where they pay way less for IAP. This means that Amazon, a company that needs zero help, gets a huge boost in the AppStore, making it harder to make an startup to compete in the online video space.

Update (2024-03-08): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast, Ryan Jones, Peter Steinberger.

Thoughts on Apple’s DMA Compliance

Juli Clover:

Spotify, Epic Games, Deezer, Paddle, and several other developers and EU associations today sent a joint letter to the European Commission to complain about Apple’s “proposed scheme for compliance” with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The 34 companies and associations do not believe Apple’s plans “meet the law’s requirements.” Apple’s changes “disregard both the spirit and letter of the law” and if left unchanged, will “make a mockery of the DMA,” according to the letter. Several specific components of Apple’s plan are highlighted, including the Core Technology Fee, the Notarization process, and the terms that developers must accept.

Juli Clover:

Apple today published a whitepaper [PDF] detailing the privacy and security protections that it is implementing in the European Union to keep users as safe as possible while also complying with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act.


Apple says that it has received numerous emails from European users and government agencies that are concerned with the risks of alternative app marketplaces, and Apple promises to “work tirelessly” to protect users “to the extent possible under the law.” There is no way for users to opt out of the DMA changes, and Apple suggests that some people may have to use alternative apps against their will. Employers and schools may require an app that is only available through a marketplace, for example.

The e-mails to Tim Cook from concerned users show how successful Apple’s marketing has been.

Steven Sinofsky:

This is precisely what is known and for me it is frustrating that people keep saying security and privacy are not risks or problems. As one example, Apple highlights that Google strongly discourages side loading for “important” accounts on Android. My view: all accounts are important and that is the iPhone value proposition being attacked by the DMA. We have lost choice not gained choice. An ecosystem is only as strong as the weakest link and weakening it on purpose is anti-choice, anti-privacy, anti-security.

For me, it is frustrating that people keep assuming that security and privacy are not risks or problems with Apple’s App Store. Why should we believe that Apple’s intentions are the reality today and its FUD will be the reality tomorrow?

Google is not a neutral observer. It obviously has its own interest in discouraging sideloading—while still trying to make sideloaded apps secure. There does not seem to be an epidemic of Android users being forced to sideload harmful apps.

The “choice” rhetoric only makes sense with his framing that iOS and Android are roughly equivalent except that one is safe and one is open, which I don’t think is the case at all. The space of comparison points is multi-dimensional. The DMA doesn’t change the fact that we get to “choose” from essentially two package deals. It just slightly changes what’s in one of them.


Update (2024-03-07): Jeff Johnson:

The DMA will provide a nice empirical refutation of the ridiculous but also ridiculously common claim that consumers buy iPhone because it prevents sideloading.

Let’s see how many EU iPhone owners dump their devices after March 7.


Apple’s Non-Confidential Summary of DMA Compliance Report

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple’s public DMA compliance report leaves out all the details of their noncompliance, naturally; (there is a private report as part of this submission that may or may not go into greater detail)

Nick Heer:

Apple’s DMA compliance report is set in Arial, in case you are still wondering how things are going.