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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple on Friday announced a series of changes to the rules of the iOS App Store that make a bit more room for cloud-based video game services to run on iOS devices, but only if each game is separately submitted to Apple for review and approval.

Why it matters: Apple is under considerable criticism from a range of developers who want to see it soften its strict control of what's allowed in the App Store and reduce the number of products that are subject to a 30% commission.

Details:

  • Under a rule change announced Friday, Apple said companies like Google, with Stadia, or Microsoft, with xCloud, can offer a single "catalog" app of all their games, as long as the games are made individually available for Apple to review and for customers to download.
  • Apple also said it would not take a cut of online services that are offered by one individual to another, potentially easing concerns from Airbnb that Apple could demand a cut of online "experiences" its hosts offer.

Between the lines: Apple is trying to tweak things without giving up either its control over what is allowed in the store or the financial gains that come with its 30% cut of digital goods and services sold within apps.

Our thought bubble: The change is another example of Apple trying to make its 2008 business model and rules fit with a dramatically changed world in which far more services are handled in the cloud and the distinction between digital and physical is blurring.

What they're saying: Microsoft said it was not satisfied with Apple's concession.

  • “This remains a bad experience for customers,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Go deeper

Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Apple settles with states for $113 million over slowed iPhones

Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Apple will pay states $113 million in a settlement over allegations that the phone maker secretly throttled speeds on older iPhones to extend battery life, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: 34 states were involved in the investigation, which alleges that starting in December 2016, Apple released a software update reducing performance to keep some iPhones from unexpectedly shutting down.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft adding security chip to Windows machines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Microsoft said Tuesday it is working with chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm to bring a new security processor to Windows machines. Dubbed Pluton, the security chip is based on work done for the Xbox One and designed to bring an added layer of security.

Why it matters: A number of difficult-to-patch chip flaws in recent years have left computers vulnerable to attack. It also comes as many of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are increasingly designing their own silicon to augment traditional processors.

2 hours ago - World

Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is the founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shown on the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."