Another week, another chapter in the Epic vs. Apple fight. I know, I know — you may be over it already, I am too! But man, the pettiness is pretty entertaining, you must admit.
So let's get caught up — a lot has happened since last week! First, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers backed Apple's Fortnite ban, but not the action against blocking Unreal Engine and other Epic developer tools from being used. During the court hearing, Epic couldn't seem to get its story straight and possibly lied to the judge about how the Epic payment system was activated. Apple issued a response to the judge's temporary order of letting the Fortnite ban continue, but not allowing Unreal Engine to be blocked. Season 4 of Fortnite started on August 27, 2020, and Epic made sure that all iPhone, iPad, and Mac players knew why they weren't getting access to Season 4 since Apple is blocking all future Fortnite updates. And if that wasn't enough, Epic also emailed all players to call out Apple on being "mean," and Apple has put up some PUBG Mobile editorial content on the App Store, probably in response to Epic. Oh, and — breaking — Apple has just wiped out the entire Epic Games developer account, so there's that.
Ok, now that we're all caught up on what's going on so far in this Epic saga, I have some thoughts. First off, again, Apple has all the right to ban Fortnite from the App Store. The App Store belongs to Apple, and they set the rules for how apps and games can be distributed through it. Epic wanted special treatment, broke the rule, and now they're paying the price. And yes, Apple takes a 30% cut from downloads and in-app purchases, but no one else seems to think that other digital store platforms do the exact same thing. So why is it only Apple that is in the spotlight for it?
However, one could argue that Apple has too much power in that regard, because no matter how big a developer is, no matter how many users you have or how long you've been on the App Store, Apple can wipe you out in an instant. Despite Apple having the App Store, perhaps a bit of regulation wouldn't hurt. But that's a whole other can of worms for another day.
I was not a supporter of Apple blocking Unreal Engine and other development tools from Epic, as that would have wreaked havoc on multiple levels. So at least that won't be happening thanks to the judge's orders. But so far, everything else after Apple's response? It's just pettiness from both sides, honestly. Epic wants to make sure that the entire player base knows it's because of Apple that iPhone, iPad, and Mac players aren't able to participate in the new season unless they have an alternative, and then Apple highlighting Fortnite's biggest competitor on the App Store. And then all of Epic's other apps and games just went poof! I can't wait to see how this plays out next week! Sigh.
At least the debacle with Epic is encouraging other companies to "stand up" to Apple. For example, Facebook wants to take shots at Apple now too about the 30% fee, though quite frankly, I think this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. I honestly think that Facebook is upset that iOS 14's privacy features will hurt Facebook's revenue from targeted ads, so it's just lashing out. The timing just happens to work out at the moment.
Anyways, in other Apple news, there are new Apple Watch and iPad filings, so release is imminent at this point. But what's more interesting is the iPad Air 4 leak, which suggests thinner bezels, a USB-C connector like the iPad Pro, and Touch ID embedded in the power button. You would think that with the thinner bezels going on, as well as a front-facing camera, there may be Face ID on this new iPad Air. However, the leak doesn't make any mention of those, so it could just be moving the Touch ID sensor off the front to the side instead. I've always wanted an iPhone or iPad with both Face ID and Touch ID, and this may be going in that direction. Still a little odd that this new change will be in the iPad Air model, instead of the Pro. I guess we will find out in a few weeks.
There have also been more rumors about Nintendo working on a 4K capable Nintendo Switch for 2021 lately. But we've been hearing these kinds of rumors for years now, the next "Switch Pro," so I will take this new rumor with a grain of salt. Our own Rebecca Spear has her own wishlist of things she wants to see in the next Switch 2, and they're pretty good wishes. I'd give it a read if you haven't already. And if you want another fantastic article to read this afternoon, check out rockstar Lory Gil's review of the 2020 iMac.
That's it for this week. What entertaining news from Epic vs. Apple will we see in the coming days?
- Christine Romero-Chan