Apple Watch Ban Threat, Layoffs, and Jony Ive's Red Nose - February 2023 Review


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Although it didn’t launch any devices, Apple had a surprisingly busy month fighting for the Apple Watch, while Jony Ive helped out with charities and Rihanna performed in the Super Bowl for Apple Music.

Honestly, you’re lucky to still wear an Apple Watch. The wild claims in February 2023 didn’t quite get to the point of saying you had 24 hours to turn your watch over to the authorities, but there was serious talk about banning Apple from selling new ones.

It was serious in that the ban was always described very seriously, and it was based on a word from the White House. Or rather, it was based on how the White House didn’t say a word.

Following a lengthy International Trade Commission (ITC) lawsuit filed against Apple by medical company AliveCor, the Biden administration had an opportunity to intervene. The ITC claims that Apple is guilty of infringing AliveCor’s patents relating to heart rate monitoring.

As a result of this finding, the ITC ruled that Apple Watch sales should be banned in the United States. However, such a decision only takes effect after a 60-day presidential review period.

Potential Apple Watch ban focuses on heart monitoring feature

Those 60 days have passed without President Biden saying a thing or the other, so the ITC’s decision stands.

Much to anyone’s chagrin, Apple doesn’t back down and continues to claim that AliveCor’s patents are invalid anyway, so here goes. Apple actually won that argument in court – and so AliveCor is appealing.

So there’s definitely an Apple Watch ban, except there isn’t and there can’t be until all the calls are heard. A decision will be made, or more likely a compromise, but it will take so long that the 60-day presidential review will seem to last a minute and a half.

America versus Apple

The president could have stepped in during this review period and said no, there will be no ban. President Obama did just that in 2013 when the ITC called for the banning of certain older iPhone and iPad models.

Times have changed, however, and the court of public opinion against Big Tech, including Apple, has changed enough for politicians to weigh in. During the State of the Union this month, for example, President Biden included a call for antitrust action against big tech companies.

Even before this speech, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was saying that Apple and Google should be forced to have multiple third-party app stores.

The NTIA says there should be more app stores and the president calls for action, but you’d be forgiven for thinking no one is actually doing anything.

You’d be wrong, though, because this month we learned exactly how and how effectively big tech companies like Apple can shape the laws behind the scenes.

Specifically, we learned the details of how lobbying efforts by big tech companies, including Apple, scuttled New York’s right to repair legislation. Announced in December 2022, it was immediately recognized as “toothless”, not to say useless, but now we got to see how the watering down was done.

Apple was far from the only company pushing for concessions that rendered the final law worthless, but it’s still hard to keep in mind at the same time that Apple is the world’s most admired company.

From the good side

Apple Glasgow

Apple Glasgow

Still, Apple officially acknowledged in February that its Apple Glasgow staff had unionized, so that’s admirable. Although it took a while, and Apple doesn’t exactly seem to have abandoned its generally anti-union stance around the world.

In other good news, Apple Music has brightened up the Super Bowl for all the plus-ones in the stadium and the folks at home wishing they could escape to the den. The halftime show was Rihanna, and a fun but statistically dubious study said the show went better than the game.

Plus, Apple stood out from almost every other tech company in February 2023 for the way they hired thousands and thousands of workers — and Apple didn’t.

Apple has handled this better than its competitors by handling it better than its competition. Where they had recruited staff during the COVID years and thus given people jobs in difficult times, Apple did not, and so it had no one to lay off.

Speaking of jobs

While the United States has seen massive layoffs, other countries have fared much better. This is one of those cases where an announced increase in jobs takes up to several years to materialize, but at least there have been announcements.

So, for example, India did well this month with Apple supplier Salcomp announcing it would double its local workforce to 25,000 over the next three years.

News of more job creations in India was supposed to come in early March, but towards the end of February there was a problem. Apple’s Lightning cable factory in India’s Tirupati district has been crippled by a fire that caused part of a building to collapse.

But in the UK there were two jobs. And they both went to see Jony Ive.

English and Welsh royal crest by Jony Ive and LoveFrom for King Charles

English and Welsh royal crest by Jony Ive and LoveFrom for King Charles

One was the rather serious commission to design the royal crest for the coronation of King Charles. It’s the same crowning achievement that some sources say star musicians are oust the invitation to perform there.

And Jony Ive and his team’s other work at LoveFrom which was announced this month, was for the equally serious charity Comic Relief. Every year Comic Relief is promoted by people with red noses, and every year the charity has the nose subtly redesigned so no one can just jump on an older one without being noticed.

Sir Jony Ive and his team LoveFrom's Comic Relief Red Nose folds flat

Sir Jony Ive and his team LoveFrom’s Comic Relief Red Nose folds flat

Great design. This is what Apple and the ex-Apples are still truly admired for.

Or almost always. This month, various emergency services continued to complain about false reports of Apple’s crash detection feature.

But without it, other first responders wouldn’t even have been able to find a wrecked car in time, after it was thrown 60ft off the road and into bushes.

Then, while it was announced in January, it was in February that the revamped HomePod arrived in the hands of buyers. And Apple revealed that in reality it was only brought back at the request of the public.

The new HomePod, back by public demand

The new HomePod, back by public demand

Forget the public, though – even repair engineers have been impressed with the new HomePod. Maybe Apple didn’t have to water down that New York Right to Repair bill after all.

And then maybe Apple won’t have to pay a $39 billion fine that the European Union is threatening to impose on Apple Music for alleged antitrust practices.

Much like the Apple Watch patent case, it will take a long time for the courts to decide.

In case you think court cases never end, there’s one that actually ended this month. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) initially said in 2021 that it would fine Apple $12.12 million for alleged abuse of App Store dominance.

Apple tried to get away with it, but you can’t escape the law forever. In February 2023, Apple paid its fine.

And that’s probably going to stick in Tim Cook’s mind for years to come, because to pay the fine, Apple had to cede the equivalent of just under an hour’s profit.

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If you are new to this social networking platform then… Create a Facebook profile It can be stressful for you. So here are some tips to help you get started with Facebook:

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if you want it now Create a new Facebook account Using your phone number instead of your email address, you need to follow these steps:

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Here we will learn how to create a new Facebook gmail account on computer, and here are the necessary steps:

Turn on the computer and launch the browser.

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When using your phone to create a new Facebook Gmail account, you must first Download the Facebook app from Google Play
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