Apple adds user privacy protections, enables storage of IDs on iPhones


Apple Inc on Monday said it is going to offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and added user privacy protections on its iCloud service and email apps, among several updates to the software that runs on its devices.

It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with more than one attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

The move, which puts Apple in more direct competition with companies like Zoom Video Communications Inc that gained prominence right through the pandemic, was once the first major announcement from Apple’s annual assembly for software developers.

Apple said users will have the ability to scan state-issued ID cards in participating US states and the cards will be encrypted in a user’s digital wallet, where the company currently offers the ability to store credit cards and transit cards in some US cities. It is working with america Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports.

Apple changed the name of its paid iCloud storage service to iCloud+ and added privacy features. One, called private relay, obscures a user’s identity and browsing behavior from both Apple and advertisers. Another lets users hide their email address when filling out online forms. Apple said iCloud pricing will not change despite the new features.

Also on the privacy front, Apple said it was once updating its email apps to block senders the use of trackers that detect when an email is opened. The company also introduced a new way to track where third-party products and services apps send data, and said its Siri voice assistant will no longer want to connect to Apple’s servers to answer some requests.

ALSO READ: Apple WWDC 2021 LIVE: Take a look at iOS 15, iPadOS 15 new features and products and services

The Apple Worldwide Developers Convention, being held online for the second one year on account of the pandemic, normally attracts thousands of app developers, many of whom hope the company will be listening to their concerns.

Apple’s regulate over what apps make it onto its app platform, and its 15% to 30% commissions on digital sales, have come under regulatory scrutiny and were at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit brought by “Fortnite” author Epic Games, where a federal pass judgement on is thinking about how to rule.

Facebook Inc will not charge a fee to satisfied creators for no less than the next two years, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said moments before the Apple convention.

Apple has said its App Store practices grow the marketplace for mobile software by creating an surroundings for paid apps that consumers believe.

Not all developers have negative sentiments, said Ben Bajarin, chief executive at Creative Strategies who has been surveying Apple developers and found more than 90% haven’t any plans to stop making apps for Apple devices.

Smaller independent developers that make $1 million or less per year and pay smaller fees generally tend to feel more positive approximately the value Apple provides than do developers at larger companies who pay higher fees, according to the results from more than 400 developers so far in the ongoing survey.

On the other hand, some complaints are widespread, with more than half of developers saying fees must be capped at 10%, and lots of wanting more clarity around reasons for rejecting apps from the App Store and how to get to the bottom of such issues, Bajarin said.

“Developer beef up is definitely something that’s a pain point,” he said.

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