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Inside Apple (Jul 24th, 2019)

$AAPL (12:48 PM EDT July 24): $208.19 (-0.31%) // More info

I am sure the Wall Street Journal did a rigorous test, but I’m not convinced Apple’s top search ranking for its own apps is totally unfair. Maybe it’s a circular argument that the apps Apple builds in on all its devices are “popular,” so therefore they should rank highly in search, but people only go searching for new ones if the stock apps are bad, and they are not. Personally, I use Apple’s apps whenever possible, because I trust them more.

What do you think: Is Apple unfairly promoting its first-party apps over those of competitors? Hit reply to let me know your thoughts.

— Jon

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1. Expert Apple rumor spelunker Guilherme Rambo has the goods on all three 2019 iPhone models. The phones will still have Lightning ports and maintain the same screen resolution as this year’s phones. What’s new, besides the usual next-generation Apple A13 processor, is a redesigned Taptic Engine and new camera system. The high-end models replacing the XS and XS Max will have a third camera for wide-angle imaging, as had been previously reported. Rambo says this will enable a feature called Smart Frame that does automated perspective and cropping corrections. The front-facing camera will also be upgraded for slo-mo video. Rambo follows the rumor mill’s conventions of referring to these as “iPhone 11,” but this is not a known product name, and it would be surprising for Apple to ditch the “X” branding already. — 9TO5MAC

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2. The U.S. Department of Justice has announced a new, broad antitrust review of big tech companies. This is separate from the still-ongoing antitrust probes of specific practices from the DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission, which targeted companies including Apple individually. The new probe will examine the overall tech industry landscape and “consider the widespread concerns that consumers, business, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online.” — THE VERGE

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3. Filings with the Office of U.S. Trade Representative reveal that Apple has asked the Trump Administration from exceptions on 25-percent Chinese import tariffs for components of its new Mac Pro. This is a somewhat audacious request, since Apple moved Mac Pro production to China this time after making a show of building the last one in the U.S. Trump has said companies can get these duties waived if they can demonstrate an economically significant need. — BLOOMBERG

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4. Apple’s own apps regularly appear first in App Store searches for basic terms like “maps,” “music,” “movies,” and “audiobooks,” while competitors’ apps are ranked by popularity and ratings. Apple says it doesn’t give its products an advantage, and its apps do indeed sometimes rank below competitors in search. It claims the first-party apps’ massive popularity accounts for why they frequently get the top spot. These are exactly the sorts of things the DOJ antitrust investigation is examining. — WALL STREET JOURNAL

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5. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has begun to consider consumers’ right to repair their own devices, to which Apple is opposed. The FTC held its first workshop on the subject last week, the first time right-to-repair has been considered at the federal rather than state level. The issue at hand is whether it is (or should be) legal for companies to void product warranties if customers attempt independent repairs. Apple would much prefer to keep its repairs proprietary, secretive, and lucrative. — WIRED

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6. A group of tech companies including Apple has proposed to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission a new use for the 6 GHz band that would allow “Very Low Power” (VLP) Wi-Fi devices. This could be used for high-speed data tethering, ultra-HD streaming, mobile AR/VR, and in-vehicle data and entertainment with much less energy use than standard Wi-Fi. These signals would be short-range but capable of delivering speeds up to 2 Gbps. — WI-FI NOW

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7. Apple partnered with Tennessee State University to teach programming and app development to students of color in the new HBCU C² Presidential Academy. Last week’s program brought together students from 14 historically black colleges and universities. — THE TENNESSEAN

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8. The rumored all-new 16-inch MacBook Pro is expected to launch in October, according to the latest supply chain rumors. The last rumor on July 9 was that it had entered mass production. The big question is, will it have a redesigned keyboard or not?MACRUMORS

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9. iPhone thieves are trying a clever fake iCloud login scam to unlock the devices. Apple lets you put contact information on your lock screen if you report your device as stolen, and scammers are using that to send fairly convincing fake iCloud login prompts that steal the credentials. — @PHILLIPCAUDELL

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10. Indie iOS app development shop Lickability has turned 10 years old. Check out this inspiring retrospective of how these high school friends making little apps for fun ended up consulting for some of the biggest media and software companies in the world. (Also, I got a thank-you shoutout because I’ve been a fan since their apps first hit the store!)LICKABILITY

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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.

Editor: Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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