policy Stories June 21, 2018

Supreme Court decides states can require online retailers like Amazon and B&H to collect sales tax

For as long as internet shopping has been around, the issue of sales tax has been a hot-button issue. Brick-and-mortar retailers have argued that online retailers have an unfair advantage. Thanks to a 1967 Supreme Court ruling that said states couldn’t force mail-order catalogs to collect sales tax unless that company had a physical location in the state, online retailers have been able to skirt the issue of collecting sales tax.

policy Stories January 21, 2016

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California is now presenting a new bill that, if passed into law, would stop Apple from selling iPhones on its home turf, via ZDNet. The bill requires smartphone manufacturers to sell devices that have backdoors to allow them to be decrypted. Naturally, this affects iPhones which use high-strength security methods and make it practically impossible for anyone including Apple to gain access without the passcode. If this proposed bill sounds familiar, there’s a reason for that. A nearly identical proposition was made in New York state earlier in the month.

Although the bill is only being proposed and isn’t law at this time, it poses a big issue for Apple which is facing pressure from politicians across the US to relax its stance on privacy in favor of security. The California case is especially problematic given the location of Apple’s HQ. It would be very awkward if Apple was barred from selling iPhones in the state where they’re designed.

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policy Stories November 17, 2015

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Nobody who watched the news coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris could fail to be moved by the scenes and the stories emerging from it. It was undeniably a horrific series of events, and it’s only human nature to want action to be taken to reduce the likelihood of future such atrocities.

But there is always a danger at such times that emotion, rather than rational thought, will drive government policy-making. I won’t get into the broader theme there, as there are more appropriate forums for that, but there is one aspect that is very much on-topic for us: the battle between Apple and governments over encryption.

There have already been unattributed reports that the terrorists in Paris used encrypted communication. I have no idea whether there is any specific evidence for that, but it would hardly be damning were such evidence to emerge: it would be frankly astonishing if they hadn’t.

There are three reasons why Apple is right to maintain that it will continue to offer end-to-end encrypted communication no matter how much governments in the USA, UK and elsewhere may protest …  expand full story

policy Stories November 3, 2015

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With Apple Pay, Google Wallet and other services transforming the way people carry out transactions, Apple has joined forces with four other companies to ensure that lawmakers don’t end up ‘inadvertently’ stifling innovation in the financial services field.

Technology industry leaders Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit and PayPal today announced the formation of Financial Innovation Now, a coalition that will promote policies to help foster greater innovation in financial services.

While the new organization uses relatively diplomatic language, it’s pretty clear that the aim is to ensure that politicians don’t screw things up by introducing poorly thought-out legislation, like the infamous example proposed by Democratic Rep. Joshua Peters …  expand full story

policy Stories October 8, 2015

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AT&T was officially granted an FCC waiver this week to enable Wi-Fi calling for its customers with supported devices like iPhones running iOS 9. Wi-Fi Calling first appeared during the iOS 9 beta period and remained functional for those who enabled it previously, but AT&T stopped sign-ups for the feature once iOS 9 was publicly released due to requirements set by the Federal Communications Commission.

While AT&T has officially turned on Wi-Fi calling for its subscribers, the carrier is doubling down on its position that rivals T-Mobile and Sprint have deployed and marketed Wi-Fi calling features for a while without proper FCC approval. At issue with the FCC is how Wi-Fi calling lacks support for teletypewriter (TTY) devices. And although AT&T has been cleared to turn on Wi-Fi calling without meeting that requirement, it wants in FCC investigation into its competitors’ behavior. expand full story

policy Stories March 30, 2015

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While health tech has to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the agency will be taking “an almost hands-off approach” to fitness-oriented wearables like the Apple Watch, says policy advisor Bakul Patel in an interview in Bloomberg.

“We are taking a very light touch, an almost hands-off approach,” Patel, the FDA’s associate director for digital health, said in an interview. “If you have technology that’s going to motivate a person to stay healthy, that’s not something we want to be engaged in.”

Patel said the FDA would be drawing a distinction between products whose health claims focused on fitness rather than diagnosis …  expand full story

policy Stories July 11, 2014

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According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, President Barack Obama is set to announce a new program called “SupplierPay” to help boost small businesses, and Apple is one of the 26 companies listed as having already signed on.

The program intends to send money down the supply chain and help strengthen contractors and smaller businesses by giving them access to lower-cost capital and thereby opening up opportunities for hiring more workers. This, the White House hopes, will increase investments at the small business level as well. expand full story

policy Stories March 12, 2014

iPhone5c_34L_AllColors_PRINTIn the recent past, customers who purchased an iPhone directly from the Apple Online Store and in Apple Retail Stores have had 30 days to return the device for any reason. The only stipulation was that it had to be undamaged and include all of the original accessories. According to an internal document provided by one of our retail sources, Apple plans to change its iPhone return policy to just 14 days beginning on March 13th. However the return policy currently published on Apple.com already reflects this change. All other products purchased from Apple are already subject to a 14 day return policy.

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policy Stories April 3, 2012

When 9to5Mac brought you the story about Tim Cook convincing AT&T to unlock an iPhone on a customer’s behalf, we knew it would cause a bit of controversy because of AT&T’s questionable unlocking policies. Confusion among consumers regarding inconsistent policies for unlocking iPhones that have finished contractual obligations is nothing new. As witnessed in our original story, the carriers often make special exceptions for some customers while redirecting others to Apple. In many cases, they simply flat-out refuse to unlock iPhones.

It is not clear if AT&T is getting ready for a full-fledged policy change, but it looks like your best shot at getting an iPhone unlocked is by emailing Apple’s chief Tim Cook. A significant number of readers reached out to us since our original story that confirmed AT&T is continuing to unlock iPhones at the request of Cook’s office. expand full story

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