United States Justice Department Launching Antitrust Review of Major Tech Companies

The United States Justice Department is launching a broad antitrust review into whether major technology companies are unlawfully stifling competition, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The DoJ will reportedly be examining the practices of online platforms that "dominate internet search, social media and retail services," which will involve Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.
The Justice Department will examine issues including how the most dominant tech firms have grown in size and might--and expanded their reach into additional businesses. The Justice Department also is interested in how Big Tech has leveraged the powers that come with having very large networks of users, the officials said.
The antitrust review will seek "extensive input and information" from industry participants and, eventually, the tech firms themselves.

There is no defined goal for the investigation other than to determine whether there are antitrust problems that need addressing, but DoJ officials said that a "broad range of options are on the table." Other company practices that ultimately raise concern about compliance with laws also won't be ignored.

This investigation is separate from a rumored Google probe that will look at whether Google has engaged in unlawful monopolization practices.

The FTC and a House antitrust subcommittee have also been investigating anticompetitive conduct among major tech companies, and last week, executives from Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon testified before Congress.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Snapchat had more than 200 million daily users last quarter

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Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud.

Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video.

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Setting up an iPhone using the new options uses the same Quick Start process that's been in place since iOS 11. When you get a new iPhone, you simply need to hold your existing iPhone nearby to initiate the setup process on the new device.

Quick Start confirms your Apple ID and then uses the camera to pair the two devices to one another by scanning an animation. After the pairing process completes (which includes the setup of Touch ID and Face ID), you'll see the new "Transfer from iPhone" option.

Transferring from iPhone, as the name suggests, bypasses iCloud and migrates data from one iPhone to another in a device to device capacity, which means it's done offline.

Prior to Apple's introduction of this feature, Quick Start only offered a "Download from iCloud" option which required an iCloud backup.

The new iPhone to iPhone option is a useful way to transfer data for those who only have 5GB of free Apple storage, as there's not always enough room to create an iCloud backup. It's also useful when Wi-Fi connection speeds are limited, and it will ultimately make it quicker to get a new iPhone up and running.

It works similarly to an iCloud backup or an iTunes backup, transferring over information like photos, app information, device preferences and settings, and more. App data is transferred over, but as with an iCloud backup, apps are downloaded directly from the App Store rather than from your existing iPhone.

The amount of time that it takes to transfer data from one iPhone to another will vary based on what's on the existing iPhone, but Apple provides a data transfer estimate on the main data transfer screen.

Using this method, it's faster to get photos, music, and other media from one iPhone to another because there's no longer a need to wait for that content to download from iCloud.

The new iPhone to iPhone data transfer process requires both devices to be running the release version of iOS 12.4 or later, and it won't work on devices running earlier versions of iOS 12.

iPhone to iPhone data transfers can be done over Wi-Fi, but there's also an option to transfer data using a wired connection by utilizing a USB3 Camera Adapter and a Lightning cable.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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WSJ: Apple Apps Unfairly Dominate App Store Search Results

Apple's mobile apps are often first in App Store search results ahead of competitors, according to a new analysis done by The Wall Street Journal.

For basic searches like "maps," Apple's apps ranked first more than 60 percent of the time in the WSJ's testing. Apps that generate revenue like Music or Books showed up first in 95 percent of related searches.


Apple, in response to questioning from the Wall Street Journal, did its own testing and said that it had different results where its apps didn't rank first.

Apple says that it uses an algorithm that uses machine learning and past consumer preferences, leading to app rankings that often fluctuate. Apple suggested that its apps ranked first in the WSJ's testing because those apps are popular with consumers. Apple says that all apps are subjected to the same search algorithm, including its own.
"Apple customers have a very strong connection to our products and many of them use search as a way to find and open their apps," Apple said in a statement. "This customer usage is the reason Apple has strong rankings in search, and it's the same reason Uber, Microsoft and so many others often have high rankings as well."
Many of the Apple apps in the App Store are installed by default on iPhones and iPads, though they can now be deleted if desired. Having them available in the App Store lets customers who have deleted them restore them when needed.

In one example, the WSJ highlights the audiobooks search category. The top spot was held by AudioBooks.com for two years before it was unseated by the Apple Books app last September, which led to a 25 percent decline in AudioBooks.com's daily app downloads. Apple Books ranks first for audiobooks, books, and reader searches, leading the audiobooks category because of "user behavior data" and the "audiobooks" keyword, says Apple.

Similarly, Apple Maps ranks first in a search for "maps," while the TV app and the iTunes Store come up first in searches for keywords like "tv," "movies," and "videos."

The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple's App Store dominance gives Apple an upper hand, especially as many default apps are not held to the same standards that third party apps are required to adhere to. Many Apple apps, for example, do not feature reviews or ratings, which is one of the factors that influence search results along with downloads.

There are a total of 42 factors used to determine where apps rank in search, but the factors with the most influence are downloads, ratings, relevance, and user behavior. User behavior includes the number of times that users select an app after a search and then go on to download it, according to Apple.

Apple is facing legal battles over its App Store policies. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that a lawsuit accusing Apple of anticompetitive behavior for requiring apps to be sold through the App Store could continue, and the European Commission has asked Apple for answers after Spotify accused it of anticompetitive App Store business practices related to the fee that Apple collects from app developers.

The Wall Street Journal's full report on Apple's App Store search rankings can be read over on the WSJ website.


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Supply Chain Expects New 16-Inch MacBook Pro, 13-Inch MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air to Launch in October

Apple plans to release an all-new 16-inch MacBook Pro in October, according to supply chain sources cited by Taiwan's Economic Daily News.


The report claims the 16-inch display will be a LCD with a 3,072×1,920 resolution, supplied by LG, matching information shared by IHS Markit analyst Jeff Lin last month. The notebook is expected to be mass produced by Foxconn and Quanta, two of Apple's largest manufacturing partners.

The supply chain sources cited also expect Apple to refresh the 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air in October, but no further details were provided about those models. This also mirrors the previous report from IHS Markit.

Absent from the report is any mention of a new 15-inch MacBook Pro. Since 2016, Apple has refreshed the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro simultaneously, so the big question is whether the 16-inch model will immediately replace the 15-inch model or start off as an additional top-of-the-line configuration.

Of course, the 15-inch model could come later. Apple's last staggered MacBook Pro release was in 2015, when 13-inch models launched in March and 15-inch models followed in May. The timing is typically dictated by Intel's processor roadmap, at least until Apple switches to ARM as rumored.

Apple just updated the higher-end 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro in May, and it refreshed the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier this month, so new models in the fall would certainly be soon. Apple has refreshed its entire MacBook Pro lineup twice in a year only once before in the Retina era, in 2013.

As for the MacBook Air, it was also refreshed earlier this month, but the only hardware changes were the addition of a True Tone display and an updated keyboard material for improved reliability, so a processor bump is certainly a possibility in October, one year after the notebook was significantly redesigned.

Early this month, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said a new MacBook Air with a scissor keyboard would launch in the second half of 2019, but it is unclear if it is still coming. He also called for a new MacBook Pro with a scissor keyboard in 2020, completing its transition away from its troubled butterfly keyboard.

Likewise, 16-inch MacBook Pro rumors began with Kuo. Back in February, he said the notebook would launch at some point in 2019 with an "all-new design." He has not shared any further details since, but a recent supply chain report said mass production would begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

When reading into supply chain rumors, it is often better to look at the "what" rather than the "when." While suppliers may know about new products based on components and schematics, timing is harder to predict. In this case, October is likely just a prediction given Apple often hosts a Mac event that month.

The key takeaway is that 16-inch MacBook Pro rumors are now surfacing frequently, so there is a good chance the notebook is real. Whether it launches in the fall, next year, or later remains to be seen.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
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This article, "Supply Chain Expects New 16-Inch MacBook Pro, 13-Inch MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air to Launch in October" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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