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I feel conflicted about today’s top story. If Apple is deflecting or stonewalling efforts to create national privacy legislation, that makes the loftiness of Tim Cook’s privacy seem disingenuous, less important to the company than the drag of having to comply with new regulations. On the other hand, the company is just going ahead and making its products pro-privacy, which is starting to force the issue in the free market. What do you think Apple should do about privacy legislation? Write back with your thoughts.
1. Lawmakers and privacy advocates say Apple hasn’t done enough to back up its strong stance on user privacy. While Apple leadership has publicly expressed support for massive privacy reforms, it hasn’t participated in legislative efforts or lent its endorsement to any proposals. Apple has, of course, proactively built privacy features to push the industry along, but they aren’t panaceas, and legislation would do far more to reform less privacy-conscious companies. — WASHINGTON POST
2. Apple has restored third-party parental control app OurPact to the App Store after banning screen time management apps earlier this year. Apple’s previous policy was designed to stop apps from collecting too much sensitive user data, but developers objected that Apple’s own Screen Time features were not robust enough for their customers, and it wasn’t fair for Apple to ban superior tools in favor of its own. Apple has relaxed its policies, and OurPact is back without any changes. — THE VERGE
3. By the numbers: The price of an iPhone is not the same to all customers. Since it launched in 2007, iPhone prices have increased by 70 percent worldwide, and that impact is felt more in some places than others. Darren Kingman at credit monitoring service Self Lender has created an iPhone Price Index, modeled after the Economist’s Big Mac index, to show how iPhone prices vary between countries in absolute terms. Between currency fluctuations, purchasing power differences, and Apple’s own regional pricing decisions, the real cost of owning an iPhone varies a lot. — SELF LENDER
Increase in iPhone price by country since 2007 (% change after GDP):
Ireland: 2 percent
Japan: 28 percent
USA: 54 percent
Germany: 83 percent
UK: 133 percent
4. France has passed a new 3 percent tax on American digital services despite U.S. opposition to the measure. Revenues of U.S. tech companies in France will now be taxed at 3 percent. If the Trump Administration decides to retaliate with tariffs, its tech trade war would gain another front. — BBC NEWS
5. The updated MacBook Air launched last week has a slower solid-state disk drive than the previous model, which probably accounts for the $100 price drop. The 2018 model had write speeds of 920MB per second and read speeds of 2GB per second. The new one has a slightly faster write speed of 1GB/s, but its read speed — which is much more noticeable by the user as computer responsiveness — is 35 percent lower, at 1.3GB/s. It shouldn’t make a real-world difference to most users except those who should probably be using a MacBook Pro anyway. — MACRUMORS
6. Apple has stopped selling iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, and 6S Plus in India. Apple was able to sell these models at low prices to try to gain market share, but it has refocused on driving value instead. The entry level price of an iPhone in India is now Rs 8,000 higher. This is a signal about Apple’s ROI on selling phones in India itself, but it’s not necessarily a signal about how much an iPhone really costs in India; there are around 150 million gray-market iPhones out there. — ECONOMIC TIMES
7. The use of cloud-synced work apps is now banned in German schools. Microsoft Office 365 is the one the schools actually use, but the law applies to Apple’s iWork apps and Google apps as well. The “privacy concerns” prompting this decision are about “potential access” to user data “by U.S. authorities.” — THE NEXT WEB
8. Tesla has asked Apple for assistance in a lawsuit involving a former employee’s iCloud Drive. Tesla accuses the engineer of taking thousands of classified documents on his personal iCloud account when he went to work for XMotors.ai, a Chinese company. — BLOOMBERG
9. Google has eliminated smartwatch support for its Nest thermostats on Apple Watch and Android Wear. Controlling smart thermostats seems like a natural use case for smartwatches, but Google has decided it’s not worth the effort. The only Google app left on Apple Watch is Keep, its notes app. — CULT OF MAC
10. If you take seriously the idea that the iPad should be the go-to work computer for normal people, the state of Apple’s Pages app is a critical test. If Pages on iPad is good enough for the kinds of document work most digital workers do, things are looking good. So is it good enough? Denny Henke has updated his annual deep-dive review. — BEARDY GUY
Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.
Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).