The inevitable centerpieces of fall's new-hardware season are new iPhones, Windows 11 PCs and other devices from Facebook, Amazon and Google. But to see where tech is moving next, you'll want to pay close attention to the market's edges — the niche products and surprise debuts that represent the companies' experiments and long bets.
Why it matters: The industry is on the cusp of new devices, including augmented reality glasses. Full-featured, affordable devices are still a couple years away, but, as we've written, the future is being developed in plain sight if you look closely enough.
Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor threatened to fine Apple and Google on Thursday if the companies did not remove an app associated with jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to AP.
Why it matters: It's a continuation of Russia's crackdown on major tech companies that have been spaces for freedom of expression in the country and comes just weeks before the Sept. 19 parliamentary elections.
Lawmakers in South Korea have passed legislation to force Apple and Google to allow rival in-app payment mechanisms within their mobile operating systems.
Why it matters: While the legislation is limited to South Korea, lawmakers and regulators around the globe have also been weighing action on mobile app stores and could seek to force a similar move in other regions.
South Korean lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that will prevent Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems for in-app purchases, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Why it matters: The bill, which will become the first law of its kind after it's signed by President Moon Jae-in, threatens to reduce Google and Apple's dominance over app developers and their access to commissions from in-app sales.
Long-quiet Apple employees are beginning to speak their minds. In recent weeks they've talked publicly about experiences with harassment and discrimination, concerns about business decisions, and objections to policies that some feel open their personal lives to corporate scrutiny.
Why it matters: Employee activism has been on the rise across Silicon Valley, but until recently, Apple workers have largely avoided public criticism of their employer.
Although Apple is making some changes to its App Store policies and setting up a $100 million fund for small developers, critics say that the terms of a class-action settlement don't meaningfully loosen the company's grip on its digital marketplace.
Why it matters: Beyond the pending suit with developers, Apple faces lawsuits from Fortnite developer Epic Games as well as antitrust inquiries in the U.S., Europe and beyond. Korea is also considering legislation that would force Apple to open iOS to alternative app stores.
The antitrust scrutiny of tech giants that began during the Trump era will only intensify this fall as Big Tech critics Lina Khan, Tim Wu and Jonathan Kanter take the lead on competition policy and enforcement in the Biden administration.
Why it matters: Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple face threats from federal regulators, Congress, state attorneys general and European Union authorities.
Apple said Thursday it will relax some App Store rules in order to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by U.S.-based developers over its store terms.
Why it matters: Apple will let developers communicate with users about alternative payment methods outside of the App Store. It will also set up a $100 million fund for small developers and make some other changes to its practices, but it's keeping its overall commission structure.
The intrigue: Binns said he broke through the T-Mobile defenses after discovering an unprotected router exposed on the internet, after scanning the carrier's internet addresses for weak spots using a publicly available tool.
Electronic Arts will give other developers access to its accessibility patents and technology as part of a new initiative to make video games more inclusive for players with disabilities.
Why it matters: Attitudes toward accessibility in video games have shifted in a more positive direction over the last decade, but that work needs to be ongoing.