Apple revealed in the final month of 2018 how its technology was saving lives. Apple had to contend with lawsuits and a new PR blunder regarding the iPad Pro.
Even Apple’s holiday advertisements were released in November, so December 2018 should have been a relatively quiet month. It was nearly the case. Apple even kicked off the month with a private Beer Bash for employees, where Idina Menzel performed a special set.
Apple’s Beer Bash is an annual tradition that features live music and a donation drive for the Toys for Tots campaign of the United States Marine Corps.
Then, if that was for staff, Apple released a Color Flood advertisement for the iPhone XR to spread holiday cheer to everyone.
Additionally, there were additional entries in Apple’s Shot on iPhone print campaign, which displayed remarkable photographs captured on the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
However, just as you may have been getting into the holiday spirit, Apple received particularly bad news. We learned that the company had lost the Friends streaming rights to Netflix.
In addition, new iPad Pros were delivered with a slight bend. That was never going to be a minor issue if your iPad Pro was bent, but it could have been a relatively minor issue, something Apple could have easily resolved with replacements.
True, if it occurs to Apple, it is never a minor event and is more likely to make headlines. Only, this should imply that Apple is accustomed to handling criticism, and in this case, the company’s response was far worse than the problem itself.
Apple initially stated that this bend was not a defect, but later reversed its position. In response to a customer, Apple’s Vice President of Hardware Engineer Dan Riccio stated, “We’ve meticulously engineered it, and every step of the manufacturing process is precisely measured and controlled.”
In addition, he stated that the iPad Pro’s “unibody design meets or exceeds all of Apple’s high-quality design and precision manufacturing standards” and that “slight variations” do not “in any way affect the device’s functionality.”
Yes, but it is curved. Not only was AppleInsider the first to question the severity of the issue, but we were also the first to investigate. Our research revealed that this is not a widespread issue, but Apple’s assertion that customers are wrong to object is unacceptable.
It must sting when your company is arguably the finest example of precision engineering in the world, yet you still manage to bend things. However, this December also brought news of numerous instances in which Apple’s hardware and software engineering saved lives.
One of the reasons we heard so many of these stories was Apple’s promotion of them in conjunction with the release of the electrocardiogram feature in the Apple Watch Series 4.
This promised feature became available to users in the continental United States in December, but it has not yet been rolled out to other countries. You can assume that there are delays due to the technology’s need to undergo approval processes in other countries, but it appears that Apple is lagging in getting started.
However, almost immediately after the feature went live, it began to make a difference. A Reddit user identified as dental informed his or her physician that the Apple Watch was reporting atrial fibrillation. After the doctor conducted additional tests, it was confirmed.
Even though the Apple Watch’s health features are extremely impressive, there is more. A four-year-old boy in South Wales used Siri to call for help when his mother became unconscious. 999 is the UK’s equivalent of 911.
On the other hand, Apple technology demonstrably saves lives, but it also profoundly alters them. Especially for Mitesh Patel, who is currently serving thirty years in prison for the murder of his wife, and was convicted based on her iPhone.
Without a doubt, you’ll see this on NCIS shortly, but for now, it was the health data on Jessica and Mitesh Patel’s iPhones that did the trick. His activity spiked immediately after her death. Hers recorded that she was lying still after her death until she suddenly moved 14 paces, which turned out to be her husband attempting a botched robbery with the phone.
Regarding legal matters
If only all legal disputes were so easily resolved. Apple’s long-running dispute with modem manufacturer Qualcomm escalated in December. Or possibly a notch.
Qualcomm was successful in preventing China from selling iPhones with iOS 11 software. By December 2018, it would be difficult to find an iPhone with iOS 11 installed, and it was inconceivable that Apple would continue selling iPhones with iOS 11 preinstalled so long after the release of iOS 12.
By the middle of the month, Qualcomm had demanded that the China ban be extended to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
Qualcomm was undoubtedly ecstatic to learn that the U.S. International Trade Commission decided to review a prior judge’s decision and thus could potentially request a ban on iPhone sales in the United States.
Nonetheless, Qualcomm also suffered a blow from the US District Court. The company intended to demonstrate that Qualcomm’s monopoly on these devices has been broken by Apple’s decision to use modems from Intel. This evidence was deemed inadmissible by Judge Lucy Koh, who stated, “Qualcomm does not argue that any post-discovery evidence demonstrates a change in Qualcomm’s business conduct.”
It continues. In every sense. Perhaps the next step in this legal tennis match will be taken in April 2019. The date was announced in December 2018 and indicates when Apple and Qualcomm will face off over a royalty payment dispute. Qualcomm claims Apple owes it money, while Apple claims the amounts are unjust.
A return to the future
This is a review of December 2018, but this month we also learned something about our 2019 plans. And we also learned this from Qualcomm. By the end of 2019, all Android device manufacturers will have at least one 5G-capable device on the market.
In an interview with CNET at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Technology Summit in Hawaii, Amon said, “When we get to exactly this time of year a year from now, every [handset manufacturer] on the Android ecosystem will have a 5G device as their flagship for all US carriers.” “Every Android vendor is currently working on 5G.”
Notify us once they’ve completed it. Reach us via 5G. This month, AT&T announced that 5G services are available in a dozen US cities, and there is every reason to believe that the expansion will be rapid.
Only, we’ve been here before with the lengthy 4G rollout, and this is not Apple’s first rodeo. The iPhone 5G is not expected to be released until 2020.
Something else is happening in 2020
There may be a resolution to the current trade dispute between the United States and China by 2020. AppleInsider is not here to comment on the politics of the situation, but tariffs had some anticipated and one unanticipated effect on Apple in December 2018.
It would have been reasonable to anticipate that tariffs imposed and proposed would have a direct effect on the economy. Apple’s partner companies, including iPhone assembler Foxconn, are contemplating increasing device production outside of China to avoid US tariffs on Chinese-made goods.
It was reported in December that Foxconn may expand its iPhone assembly plant in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, India.
Foxconn is also reportedly considering constructing a new facility in Vietnam, while its competitor Pegatron is constructing in Indonesia.
What was less expected was the US government’s arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer in Vancouver amid the trade dispute.
It is alleged that she assisted Huawei in evading US sanctions against Iran. A Canadian court has released her on bail pending her extradition hearing. President Trump has stated to Reuters that he will intervene in her case if he deems it necessary.
This is another instance of legal and political issues overlapping, but it has had the knock-on effect of China reportedly urging people to boycott Apple. It’s not just rhetoric either, as Chinese firms allegedly subsidize employee purchases of Huawei smartphones.
Duties and levies
In the meantime, the European Union has been puzzling over how to tax the so-called GAFA companies. Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon complete the list. Essentially, it is any large European technology company that earns a lot of money and chooses to pay tax in the country with the lowest rate.
Since these nations, such as Ireland, benefit from having taxes paid to them, it is proving difficult to convince all EU nations to agree on a tax system.
Others, including France, the United Kingdom, and Austria at the end of December, announced that they will implement their direct taxation of these companies.
The new tax in France goes into effect on January 1, 2019, while the others are anticipated to begin in 2020.
This month, Apple announced that it would be constructing a second campus in Austin, Texas, and we discovered that tax incentives played a role. In thirty minutes, the Williamson County Commissioners unanimously approved tax-funded handouts worth up to $16 million over the next fifteen years.
If that sounds appealing, it is because it is. In addition, there was a $25 million incentive from the Texas Enterprise Fund. However, Apple is spending $1 billion to develop the campus and will eventually employ 15,000 people. Initially, the company will hire 5,000 individuals.
Currently, the property consists primarily of overgrown vegetation, but we will keep an eye on it.
Working in concert
This was an example of Apple collaborating with a community, and throughout December, Apple also collaborated with other companies.
Many of us have noticed that Apple Music is now playable on Amazon’s Alexa-enabled smart speakers.
If you have a HomePod near your Alexa-enabled device, or if you’ve heard one recently, we advise against using this feature. The quality difference is too great to ignore. The ability to play Apple Music on non-Apple devices, however, is too valuable to ignore.
Apple joined Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft, and several other companies in opposing a new Australian law. This month, the Assistance and Access Bill 2018 was passed by the Australian parliament, and a consortium including Apple deemed it “deeply flawed.”
It is an attempt to allow national security operations to force the creation of backdoors in encryption systems. The bill grants the government access to encrypted communications.
Apple is unique
While Apple stood shoulder to shoulder with its competitors in opposition to this Australian move, its technology was leapfrogging them. They were miles from them.
Forbes conducted an experiment involving the 3D printing of a human face and its use to unlock phones. It also worked when tested on Android smartphones. Under certain conditions, the LG G7 ThinQ, OnePlus 6, Samsung Note 8, and Samsung S9 could all be beaten, but the iPhone X could not.
To and fro Apple
Microsoft announced this month that it was porting its Edge browser to Mac using Chromium. Everyone should have a hobby.
AT&T activated support for eSIMs on the iPhone XS and XR models this month, furthering Apple’s dual-SIM iPhone introduction.
AT&T was the first major US carrier to support eSIM technology, but Verizon and T-Mobile quickly followed suit, with T-Mobile also previewing its version.
So you now had more ways to communicate on your iPhone, just as Google disabled one of its messaging features. There was a messaging service called Allo, but you probably haven’t heard of it. Try Googling it.
This closure of Allo follows the announcement that Google+ will also be discontinued in 2019 made earlier in 2018.
AppleInsider described the staggering number of services that Google has introduced, lauded, championed, and abandoned over the years. While it is by far the worst offender, there is hardly a technology company that hasn’t done something comparable.
Even Apple was unsuccessful with its Ping social music service. However, Apple learns from its errors.
You claim Apple Music is successful. It is so successful that it is now featured on Amazon Alexa devices. Connect, a service that provided support for Apple Music is now complete.
Connect, which was launched alongside Apple Music as a way for musicians and fans to interact, failed because neither musicians nor fans interacted. Apple has informed musicians that Connect will be shut down in May of next year, giving you until then to examine what it was.
Even though it’s embarrassing to have a second failure in the same area, we’re not going to make a big deal out of it because it wasn’t a hardware failure. It’s not as though the iPad Pro bent and Apple pretended it was fine.
It’s not like, for instance, a phone exploding.
Exiting with a bang
On the final day of December 2018, an iPhone XS Max was reported to have exploded in the pocket of an Ohio resident.
While the incident occurred during the month, it was not made public until December 31, and Apple has not yet responded. AppleInsider believes that one plausible explanation is that the resident bent the battery by sitting on it, causing it to break.
As with the iPad Pro, we have investigated and determined that this appears to be an isolated incident. It is, however, the first documented instance of a catastrophic iPhone XS Max battery failure.
Apple may not have desired these fireworks for the end of the year.
This is certainly not how the company wants 2018 to be remembered. Learn more about the company’s performance, the products it released, and the challenges it faced with the AppleInsider review of the year beginning in January 2018.