Apple CEO Tim Cook Continues European Tour, Talks iPhone Pricing, App Store, Apple TV+ and More in Interview

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Europe this week, visiting local Apple employees and App Store developers and even attending an Oktoberfest celebration.

Cook was in Munich on Sunday before traveling to Berlin, where he visited the offices of Blinkist, an app that distills non-fiction novels into bitesize text and audio snippets, similar to CliffsNotes.


Cook also sat down for an interview with German news site Stern, and his comments were published today in German.

On the topic of the App Store and an anticompetitive lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to move forward, Cook said (based on Google translation from German) that "no reasonable person would ever call Apple a monopolist." He said that offering apps through the App Store isn't a limitation, but at an advantage because of Apple's rigorous App Store policies that keep customers safe from malicious apps and illicit content.
[Translated From German] "Customers buy an experience from us, and this experience includes a trustworthy place to buy apps in which we curate and check all applications. " As a result, many apps would not come to the iPhone, such as pornographic offers, explains Cook. "But anyone can take their iPhone and access that content in the browser, but we do not offer it ourselves."
Cook went on to address complaints about Apple offering its own App Store apps and competing with developers.
We have 30 to 40 apps - versus more than two million others." Cook compares the App Store to a supermarket: "The likelihood that it has its own brand is very high, and who benefits from having another product on the shelf? The customer, and that's a good thing."
On the topic of Apple pricing, Cook said that Apple always tries to keep prices "as low as possible." "Fortunately, we were able to lower the price of the iPhone this year," he said, referencing the $699 price point of the iPhone 11.

Cook also answered questions about Apple TV+. When asked about whether Netflix sees the Apple TV+ pricing ($4.99 per month in the U.S.) as a challenge, Cook said that he doesn't think competitors are afraid of Apple. "It's not whether Netflix wins and we lose, or we win and they win. Many people use multiple service and we're trying to become one of them."

Following his meeting with Blinkest, Cook moved on to France and met with Ubisoft and Pastagames and then visited students and professors at Polytech Montpellier. Cook also visited several Apple Stores, including Apple Kurfürstendamm in Berlin and Apple Odysseum in France.


Cook's full interview with German site Stern can be read in its original German (or through a translation) on the Stern website.


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Alexa to Support Apple Music Streaming in Germany From Today

Apple Music will be available to stream on German Echo devices via Alexa from today, reports regional tech blog ifun.de.


We've not received official confirmation, but if Germany's Alexa rollout follows a similar pattern to other countries, it should mean Apple Music subscribers who own an Echo device, Amazon Fire TV, or Alexa-enabled Sonos speaker will soon be able ask Alexa to play songs, artists, playlists, and more from Apple Music.

This functionality first launched in the United States in December of last year before expanding to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

Read our guide on how to set up Apple Music in the Alexa app, including how to make it the default music service so that you don't have to say "on Apple Music" each time you ask Alexa to play something.


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Apple Takes iPhone Privacy Marketing Campaign to Germany

Apple started underlining its privacy stance earlier this year with a billboard marketing campaign that began in Las Vegas and later came to Canada, and this week the company has extended it to Europe.


Brought to our attention by Macerkopf.de, the new billboards in both Hamberg and Berlin play on their location, while emphasizing how much importance Apple attaches to user privacy and data protection.

Draped across the Port of Hamburg is a long banner-style poster with a picture of an iPhone and an accompanying slogan which translates into English as "The gate to the world. Not to your information."


Elsewhere in Hamberg, an iPhone billboard on the side of a property reads, "Betrays as little about Hamburgers as Hamburger."

Meanwhile, in Berlin, a tower block billboard with the same recognizable iPhone image runs with the phrase, "Welcome to the safe sector."


All of the posters in Germany round out with the slogan, "Privacy. This is iPhone."

Apple's Las Vegas billboard, which was put up ahead of CES 2019, played on the well-known tourism saying: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." The sign read, "What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone."


Apple has also made privacy-focused iPhone ads that have been aired on various TV markets around the world. The embedded video above is Apple's German privacy ad.

Apple has long said it believes privacy is a "fundamental human right," and as part of that, it aims to minimize its collection of customer data and disassociate it from an individual user when it does. The tech company also has a dedicated privacy website.


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Germany Says iPhones Running iOS 13 Will Be Able to Read NFC Tags in National ID Cards and Passports

When iOS 13 arrives, iPhones will be able to read a wider range of Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, including the NFC tags often used in official documentation. Last week, The Verge reported that Japan had confirmed its national identity cards would support iPhone through a government-developed app, and now we're hearing that German authorities are also gearing up to make several forms of ID compatible with iPhone NFC interfaces.

Image via iphone-ticker.de

First spotted by tech blog iphone-ticker.de, Germany's interior ministry has announced that iOS 13 will soon allow Apple users to load national ID cards, residence permits, and biometric passports onto their iPhones. At the same time, the federal government's AusweisApp2 will be updated for iOS 13 to support the digital ID function.

In current and earlier versions of iOS, Apple has restricted the NFC reader in iPhones to Apple Pay. iOS 13 removes that technical limitation so that iPhones can scan more NFC chips, but developers must gain approval from Apple before their apps can implement the feature.

In another example of Apple opening up NFC access, the U.K. government recently confirmed that it had reached a deal with Apple to make its Brexit app for EU citizens' residency rights work on iPhones via the NFC chip. According to the German ministry, it and many other states have been in contact with Apple for a long time to negotiate NFC access, so users can expect other countries to announce official documentation support in the run-up to iOS 13's release in the fall.

(Thanks, Chris!)

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS
Tags: NFC, Germany

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Powerbeats Pro Now Available to Order in UK, France and Germany

Apple's Powerbeats Pro totally wireless earphones officially went on sale today in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, as predicted. However, the fitness-focused, Beats-branded earphones are only available in black, and stock appears to be limited.


As of writing, Apple's online UK store is switching between allowing customers to add the earphones to their bag, and graying out the Add to Bag button to prevent them from doing so. Delivery dates are also flipping between June 6-10 and "coming soon."

If you're having trouble ordering Powerbeats Pro via Apple's online store, try the Apple Store iOS app, as it appears to be allowing more orders to go to checkout. Customers can also try their luck ordering through the Beats website, which is quoting similar delivery dates.

Powerbeats Pro cost £219.95 in the UK and 249.95 euros in France and Germany. They're Apple's first totally wireless Beats earphones, featuring the same H1 chip as the second-generation AirPods for hands-free "Hey Siri" and faster connection speeds between the iPhone, Apple Watch, and other devices. They last up to nine hours per charge, with more battery life available on the go via an included charging case.

Powerbeats Pro are similar to traditional earbuds, with silicone tips that nestle in the ear and an earhook to hold them firmly in place. The silicone tips come in four sizes, but the earhooks, which wrap around the ear, are one size, and make sure the Powerbeats Pro stay firmly in place during physical activity.

The earphones are initially available in black only, with ivory, moss, and navy colors set to become available this summer, although Apple cautions that color availability is subject to change.

Powerbeats Pro have been on sale in Canada and the U.S. since early May. In June they will be available in Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, and Brazil in June.

For more info on Powerbeats Pro, check out our Powerbeats Pro guide.


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Powerbeats Pro Orders Begin This Friday in UK, France, and Germany

Apple's totally wireless Powerbeats Pro earphones become available to pre-order in the United Kingdom on May 31, according to a social media ad posted on the official Beats By Dre U.K. Twitter account.


The date was spotted in the small print at the end of the 15-second video short, which features British professional boxer Anthony Joshua and touts the nine hours of listening time offered by the fitness-focused earphones. The promotional ad originally went out on May 27.

The black Powerbeats Pro have been available to pre-order since May 3 in the United States and Canada, with the first deliveries to customers arriving on May 10. However, they remain listed as "coming soon" on Apple's online U.K. store, while fine print on the Beats website for the U.K., France, and Germany simply states that the earphones will begin their rollout later in May.

Extrapolating from the U.K. date in the ad, and given how late in the month we now are, it's highly likely that Powerbeats Pro will also be available to pre-order in black in France and Germany from this Friday, May 31.

According to the fine print on other regional Beats websites, Powerbeats Pro will be available in Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Austria, Italy, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, and Brazil in June.

The earphones are initially available in black only, with ivory, moss, and navy colors set to become available this summer in the United States and Canada, and most of the countries listed above, although Apple cautions that color availability is subject to change.


Powerbeats Pro are Apple's first totally wireless Beats earphones, featuring the same H1 chip as the second-generation AirPods for hands-free "Hey Siri" and faster connection speeds between the iPhone, Apple Watch, and other devices.

The Powerbeats Pro feature adjustable, secure-fit ear hooks and earbud tips with four size options. As mentioned, they last up to nine hours per charge, with more battery life available on the go via an included charging case.

Powerbeats Pro are priced at $249.95 in the United States, $329.95 in Canada, £219.95 in the United Kingdom, and $349.95 in Australia.

Thanks, Chris!


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German Court Throws Out Latest Qualcomm Patent Case Against Apple

A German court on Tuesday threw out a new patent lawsuit filed by Qualcomm, which the U.S. company claimed was violated by the use of its chips in Apple's iPhones (via Reuters).

The regional court in the city of Mannheim dismissed the Qualcomm suit as groundless in an initial verbal decision, saying the patent in question was not violated by the installation of its chips in Apple's smartphones.
This is just the latest in a string of lawsuits from Qualcomm, which remains locked in a worldwide patent battle with Apple. The chipmaker said it would appeal today's decision, after winning a separate case before a German court in December that enabled it to enforce a ban on the sale of older iPhones in the country.
"Apple has a history of infringing our patents," said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm's executive vice president and general counsel.

"While we disagree with the Mannheim court's decision and will appeal, we will continue to enforce our (intellectual property) rights against Apple worldwide."
Apple declined to comment on the Mannheim decision and instead referred to a statement issued in response to the December ruling.

Apple is appealing the preliminary injunction which blocks the import and sale of infringing iPhone models in Germany, but it has already been forced to pull the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus from sale in the country.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm has put aside €1.34 billion in security bonds in order to enforce the preliminary injunction. The bonds will be put towards the cost of the lost sales if Apple successfully appeals the verdict.


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Apple Pulls iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 Models From Sale in Germany Amid Legal Battle With Qualcomm

Yesterday chipmaker Qualcomm announced that it posted €1.34 billion in security bonds required for the chipmaker to enforce a preliminary injunction on select iPhone models in Germany, after a court in the country found Apple to be infringing Qualcomm patents related to power savings technology in smartphones.


The injunction blocks the import and sale of infringing iPhone models in Germany while Apple appeals the verdict, and accordingly, Apple has now pulled the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus from sale in the country.

Those four iPhone models are no longer available to order via Apple.com in Germany and they have also been pulled from sale at all 15 of Apple's retail stores in the country until further notice. The latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR models are not impacted by the verdict and remain available.

Qualcomm's equivalent of $1.5 billion in security bonds will be put towards the cost of the lost sales if Apple successfully appeals the verdict.

Apple was also ordered to recall infringing iPhone models from third-party resellers in Germany, according to Qualcomm, but as noted by TechCrunch and Reuters, some German resellers continue to sell iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models.

In a statement, Apple said this verdict is another "desperate attempt" by Qualcomm to distract from the "real issues" between the two companies:
Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn't do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior. We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple's 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.
Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in a major legal battle spanning multiple countries. The spat began in early 2017 when Apple sued Qualcomm for an alleged $1 billion in unpaid royalty rebates, just days after an FTC complaint alleging Qualcomm engaged in anticompetitive patent licensing practices.

In defense, Qualcomm has said its "innovations are at the heart of every iPhone" and "enable the most important uses and features of those devices," adding that it "simply is untrue that Qualcomm is seeking to collect royalties for Apple innovations that have nothing to do with Qualcomm's technology."

Qualcomm has also accused Apple of making misleading statements, sharing its trade secrets with Intel, and numerous other infractions.

Qualcomm sought a similar injunction on iPhones in the United States, unsuccessfully, and in China, where a court did issue an import ban on select iPhone models over patent infringement last month. Apple made some tweaks in iOS 12.1.2 to address the patents and continues to sell all iPhone models in China.


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Apple to Stop Selling iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 Models in Germany While Appealing Broader Sales Ban [Updated]

In a statement issued to CNBC, Apple has indicated that it plans to appeal a German court's decision to issue a preliminary injunction—aka sales ban—on select iPhone models containing chips from Intel and Apple supplier Qorvo.


In the meantime, Apple said iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available for purchase at its retail stores in Germany:
Qualcomm's campaign is a desperate attempt to distract from the real issues between our companies. Their tactics, in the courts and in their everyday business, are harming innovation and harming consumers. Qualcomm insists on charging exorbitant fees based on work they didn't do and they are being investigated by governments all around the world for their behavior. We are of course disappointed by this verdict and we plan to appeal. All iPhone models remain available to customers through carriers and resellers in 4,300 locations across Germany. During the appeal process, iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will not be available at Apple's 15 retail stores in Germany. iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR will remain available in all our stores.
Earlier today, reports said a German court ruled that select iPhone models containing a combination of chips from Intel and Apple supplier Qorvo violated one of Qualcomm's patents around so-called "envelope tracking," a feature that helps preserve battery life when sending and receiving wireless signals.

In its statement, Apple said the latest iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR models remain available for purchase at all of its stores in Germany. The older iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models will also remain available for purchase at authorized resellers and carriers in Germany, according to the company.

Reuters reported that the preliminary injunction will not go into immediate effect if Apple appeals, but legal expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents informed MacRumors that the injunction "is enforceable even during an appeal," which perhaps explains why Apple pulled iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models from its shelves in the country.


Mueller also said the ruling applies up to the iPhone X, which Apple no longer sells in Germany, which would explain why the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR remain available for purchase in the country.

Qorvo's intellectual property lawyer Mike Baker via CNBC:
We believe our envelope tracking chip does not infringe the patent in suit, and the court would have come to a different conclusion if it had considered all the evidence. We're disappointed that the inventor and designer of our chip, who attended the hearing, wasn't given the opportunity to testify or present other evidence that disproves Qualcomm's claim of infringement. The International Trade Commission has already determined that our envelope tracker chip does not infringe the U.S. counterpart to the patent at issue in this case. We currently do not expect that this decision will have any impact on our business with Apple.
Intel's general counsel Steven Rodgers:
Qualcomm's goal is not to vindicate its intellectual property rights, but rather to drive competition out of the market for premium modem chips, and to defend a business model that ultimately harms consumers.
Apple and Qualcomm are engaged in a major legal battle spanning multiple countries, including China, where a court issued a similar preliminary injunction on select iPhones last week over two separate Qualcomm patents.

Apple continues to sell the affected iPhone models in China and believes it is in compliance with the ruling. Earlier this week, it made some minor changes in iOS 12.1.2 to address the Qualcomm patents in China, including introducing a new animation for force closing apps.


Last year, Apple accused Qualcomm of anticompetitive business practices over chip-related licensing fees, while Qualcomm has accused Apple of sharing its trade secrets with Intel among other illegal actions. In the U.S., the FTC is also taking Qualcomm to court next month over the alleged monopolistic behavior.

Update:: In a press release, Qualcomm said the judgment is immediately enforceable once Qualcomm posts the necessary bonds and that Apple's request to the court for a stay of the injunction was denied. Qualcomm says the court also found Apple liable for monetary damages in an amount to be determined.

Qualcomm's general counsel Don Rosenberg issued the following statement to MacRumors:
Two respected courts in two different jurisdictions just in the past two weeks have now confirmed the value of Qualcomm's patents and declared Apple an infringer, ordering a ban on iPhones in the important markets of Germany and China.
Qualcomm expects to post the required bonds within a few days.

Related Roundups: iPhone 7, iPhone 8

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German Court Issues Sales Ban on Select iPhones Violating Qualcomm Patent, But Will Let Apple Appeal First

A court in Germany today ruled that some iPhone models equipped with Intel modems infringe on a Qualcomm hardware patent, and issued a preliminary injunction on those devices, according to Reuters and CNBC. However, the ruling will not go into immediate effect if Apple appeals, and it almost certainly will.


Matthias Zigann, the judge presiding over the case, ruled that iPhones that contain a combination of chips from Intel and Apple supplier Qorvo violated one of Qualcomm's patents around so-called "envelope tracking," a feature that helps preserve battery life when sending and receiving wireless signals.

The preliminary injunction would prevent affected iPhones, excluding the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, from being sold in Germany.

Last week, a Chinese court also issued a preliminary injunction on the iPhone 6s through iPhone X after the court found those devices violated two separate Qualcomm patents related to app management and photo editing. Apple continues to sell those iPhone models in China, though, defying the ruling.

Apple said it believes it is in compliance with the Chinese court order, but it later released iOS 12.1.2 with minor changes to address the Qualcomm patents, including a new animation for force closing apps and tweaked settings for contact and wallpaper images. The changes were only made in China.


In a statement issued on Tuesday, Qualcomm's chief lawyer Don Rosenberg said that Apple continues to "flout the legal system" by violating the preliminary injunction in China and by releasing misleading statements about the ruling.

Apple called Qualcomm's efforts in China "another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world," and said that "Apple and many other companies, consumers, and government will suffer truly irreparable harm" if the sales ban were to be upheld.

The litigation in Germany and China is part of a larger legal battle between Apple and Qualcomm. Last year, Apple accused Qualcomm of anticompetitive business practices related to licensing fees, while Qualcomm has accused Apple of sharing its trade secrets with Intel, its new modem supplier in iPhones.

In the U.S., the FTC filed a complaint against Qualcomm over its business practices last year. The case is set to go to trial in California next month.


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