Archive for June 21, 2024

Friday, June 21, 2024

No Apple Intelligence or iPhone Mirroring in EU at Launch

Juli Clover (Hacker News, ArsTechnica):

Apple today said that European customers will not get access to the Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring, and SharePlay Screen Sharing features that are coming to the iPhone, iPad, and Mac this September due to regulatory issues related to the Digital Markets Act.

John Gruber (Mastodon):

Kudos to Apple for breaking this news to the Financial Times, of all outlets. Poetry in media relations. Here’s the full on-the-record statement, provided to me by an Apple spokesperson:

Two weeks ago, Apple unveiled hundreds of new features that we are excited to bring to our users around the world. We are highly motivated to make these technologies accessible to all users. However, due to the regulatory uncertainties brought about by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), we do not believe that we will be able to roll out three of these features — iPhone Mirroring, SharePlay Screen Sharing enhancements, and Apple Intelligence — to our EU users this year.

Specifically, we are concerned that the interoperability requirements of the DMA could force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security. We are committed to collaborating with the European Commission in an attempt to find a solution that would enable us to deliver these features to our EU customers without compromising their safety.


The Mac is not considered a “gatekeeping” platform in the EU, but the iPhone and iPad are, and the iPhone Mirroring and screen sharing features obviously involve those platforms. I think Apple could try to thread a needle here and release Apple Intelligence only on the Mac in the EU[…]

Ian Betteridge:

So, Apple, which bits of the DMA does Apple Intelligence violate? Because unless you can actually tell us - which case we clearly have a bit of a problem with some of the claims you’ve made about how it works - or you’re talking bullshit, and just trying to get some leverage with the EU.

John Gruber (Mastodon):

They don’t know. It’s uncertain by design. EC proponents keep telling me it’s a feature, not a bug, that unlike the US, it’s the spirit, not letter, of the law that matters in the EU.


Under repeated threats of fines up to $40–80 billion dollars (10–20 percent of worldwide revenue), it would be recklessly irresponsible for Apple, or any other designated “gatekeeper”, to launch any new services or integrated features in the EU without absolutely certainty that those features are compliant with the DMA. And the nature of the European Commission is that they do not issue such assurances in advance.

Like the App Store, of course. But, unlike with App Review, Apple can communicate with the European Commission in advance. If they never “submit for review” by shipping and even withhold betas in the EU, that’s what they’ll eventually have to do. Reading Apple’s statement, it sounds like this is what they plan to do.

Why the statement to the press now, before any of this is in beta and more than two months before shipping? Is communication with the EU already in progress and not going well? Retaliation and strategy ahead of the negotiations?

Nick Heer:

Apple does not explain specifically how these features run afoul of the DMA — or why it would not or could not build them to clearly comply with the DMA — so this could be mongering, but I will assume it is a good-faith effort at compliance in the face of possible ambiguity. I am not sure Apple has earned a benefit of the doubt, but that is a different matter.


Is that not Apple’s whole vibe, anyway? It says it does not rush into things. It is proud of withholding new products until it feels it has gotten them just right.

I don’t think this is just Apple being cautious. In prior regulatory situations, Apple has done the absolute bare minimum and arguably engaged in malicious compliance, seemingly without asking the EU in advance. Caution has not been their MO. And, if they are now just being cautious, wouldn’t they also remove existing features which, by the same logic, could run afoul of the DMA?

Federico Viticci:

Apple Intelligence not coming to Europe right away because of the DMA.

Clearly Apple had to respect this, just like they didn’t scrape European websites for their LLM.

oh wait

Jeff Johnson:

Second, if iPhone Mirroring is somehow problematic, what about Universal Control, which already exists?

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple’s screen sharing being the only one with remote control is very clearly self-preferencing. iPhone Mirroring, though? Beats me. None of these actually hit upon DMA rules directly, so maybe Apple’s just pulling out the dirty tricks to try to turn users against legislators. If they applied this imaginary criteria to all their existing software, they’d have to un-ship virtually everything.

Jason Snell:

I’m curious if Apple intends to eventually ship the features, amended to work in the EU. This approach also gives Apple the opportunity to induce regulators to declare that Apple’s interpretation of the DMA is incorrect and that announced features aren’t restricted and could be shipped.

The European Commission ultimately serves and reports to citizens of the EU, and this is Apple telling Europeans that under the DMA, they will not get some of Apple’s best new features. Instead of the DMA granting Europeans new features like third-party marketplaces, it will reframe the DMA as something that limits what they get. I don’t know if that’ll make a difference in perception in the EU, but Apple’s going to give it a try.

Warner Crocker:

Apple PR is obviously hard at work here and I’m sure the EU’s PR operations will be following suit shortly. I’m particularly entertained by the phrase “we do not believe.” It’s also fascinating to watch the sideshow of reactions that might turn into something more: how Apple users on their respective sides of the pond are responding to this. Generally speaking from the early reactions I’ve seen the majority of American sympathies tend to lean towards Apple, while it’s just the opposite in Europe. But it’s early and it’s a Friday.

Craig Hockenberry:

Shit is really going to hit the fan when Europe doesn’t get new Emoji.

Scott F:

Didn’t Meta try this with Threads? “Oh, we can’t do the EU” then they did?

Steve Troughton-Smith:

The DMA is only vague if you’re trying to game it. The rules amount to “don’t be a dick”.

Apple’s out here asking “well how will I know if I’m being a dick?? I can’t operate under this environment!”

Whereas most people don’t have to ask themselves that question.

Matthaus Woolard:

There are areas were the DMA is unclear on how much access the platform vendor must provide day one to third parties.

Eg does the DMA require apple expose apis so that MS and Linux devs can implement iPhone mirroring?

Is this an iPhone platform feature or a Mac feature, so does it fall under the DMA or not?

These are legit questions that are unclear and would likely require a good bit of dev work to comply with securely.

René Fouquet:

Odd that Apple’s main competitor somehow manages to bring their AI features to the EU despite the DMA.

Steve Streza:

In reality, Apple is purposefully withholding these features from the EU, either because Apple are being retaliatory against EU customers for the existence of the DMA, or because Apple (with full knowledge of the DMA for years) refused to build these features in compliance with it.

Apple chose to harm their products in the EU. The DMA didn’t. This framing is marketing.

At any large company there is a legal team and a compliance team to ensure that products are going to be ok with regulators. Apple has a whole website just to talk about how great they are at compliance.

There is zero chance they are not completely and institutionally aware of what is expected of them by the EU and the DMA. It is settled law and has been for a year and a half.

Sebastiaan de With:

For all of its purported goals to ‘foster a better digital market’, having foreign tech companies delay features into the EU market will have huge effects not just for consumers but for developers. I can’t see that becoming an economic advantage to an already-lagging EU tech economy.


Update (2024-06-24): Marcel Weiher:

The cookie banners + GDPR banners are the playbook Apple is following:

1. Implement the regulation in the most idiotic and user-hostile (frequently illegal, too) way possible when there are easy + convenient ways to comply.

2. Blame the regulators for their own malfeasance.

Craig Grannell:

This also feels very lose-lose. The EU for a time or possibly permanently gets a worse iOS experience. And Apple’s reputation continues to erode while regulators elsewhere start taking notes that will be ramping up future risks.

Benjamin Mayo:

I don’t really get what Apple means re the EU DMA thing because system integrated machine learning already exists in the platforms, you can already share your screen in FaceTime, and you can already mirror your iPhone to Mac through QuickTime if you try hard enough.

M.G. Siegler:

And make no mistake, this is a stick. Apple (reluctantly) tried to feed the carrot to the EU, giving into some of the DMA changes they required. That clearly wasn’'t good enough for the body. So now the sticks are coming out.

See also: Hacker News.

Update (2024-06-25): Ian Betteridge:

In other words, companies can engage with the EU before something is released to work out ways to stay within the DMA. The idea that it’s just a crap shoot and WHO KNOWS WHAT THOSE CRAZY EUROS WILL WANT is just silly.

And maybe, in fact, that’s what Apple is doing behind the scenes – in which case, it should just cut the crap and say it. Part of the mystery about this is we actually already knew some of it. Apple had already announced it wouldn’t be released Apple Intelligence except in US English before the end of the year. That means, of course, EU countries weren’t going to get it for a while anyway.


Apple is happy to cave in to even the most repressive regimes and forget about user privacy when it’s beneficial to its bottom line. On the other hand, when user privacy conflicts with Apple’s profits, it will go to the mat to defend its right to do what the hell it wants. That’s why even if you tick the box marked “disable sharing of analytics”, your iPhone will continue sharing analytics with Apple.


Update (2024-06-26): Manton Reece:

When a company withholds a feature from the EU because of the DMA — Apple for AI, Meta today for the fediverse — they should document which sections of the DMA would potentially be violated. Let users fact-check whether there’s a real problem.

Update (2024-06-28): Steve Troughton-Smith:

I’m not entirely sure commentators are aware that Apple has not been shipping its full featureset around the world for decades. My country never got TV shows in iTunes. I’ve had an iPhone for 17 years without access to Visual Voicemail. Apple’s News app isn’t available here. There’s no cellular Apple Watch. And so on. No tears will be shed for Apple Intelligence in the EU.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

So I thought I’d try and find actual relevant sections of the DMA that may (or may not) apply to the features Apple has said won't be coming to the EU at launch: Apple Intelligence, SharePlay Screen-Sharing, and iPhone Mirroring

Ezekiel Elin:

Since macOS isn’t covered I’ve assumed that the issue isn’t screen mirroring an android phone to macOS, but instead screen mirroring iOS to windows/linux.

See also: Accidental Tech Podcast (Mastodon).

Update (2024-07-02): Tim Hardwick:

Writing in his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman said that while Apple Intelligence will be free to start, Apple’s long-term plan is to launch something like “Apple Intelligence+,” with extra features that users pay monthly fees to access.

Damien Petrilli:

Ok now it makes sense about why Apple doesn’t want to launch AI in Europe yet: subscription lock-in.

So they can’t until they provide third party APIs otherwise it’s another monopoly abuse.