Sir Apfelot newsreel week 13, 2023

It's that time again - for today's Friday there is a new edition of the Sir Apfelot newsreel. This time I'll show you which Apple and tech news I particularly noticed in calendar week 13 of 2023. Among other things, the following reports are included: Federal Cartel Office is examining Microsoft, further layoffs in the tech industry, details on current updates for Apple operating systems, WaveOne was bought by Apple while the company is taking action against union efforts, Steam will soon only be available on PCs Windows 10 available, and more!

» The newsreel is now also available as a podcast!

If you prefer to read the news, you can still enjoy this blog post here. All the news of the week below!
In the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 13 of 2023 you will find the following reports, among others: The Federal Cartel Office is examining Microsoft, more layoffs in the tech industry, Apple bought WaveOne, Apple is continuing to take action against unions, Steam on PCs will soon only be available under Windows 10 and newer, Nintendo reveals new Zelda gameplay, and more!
In the Sir Apfelot newsreel for calendar week 13 of 2023 you will find the following reports, among others: The Federal Cartel Office is examining Microsoft, more layoffs in the tech industry, Apple bought WaveOne, Apple is continuing to take action against unions, Steam on PCs will soon only be available under Windows 10 and newer, Nintendo reveals new Zelda gameplay, and more!

Cross-market significance: Federal Cartel Office examines Microsoft

In einer press release the Federal Cartel Office announced this week that Microsoft is being examined for "cross-market importance". For the time being, however, the procedure is only running at the first stage. This means that for the time being "a procedure to determine the cross-market importance" takes place and the cross-market importance itself is not yet the subject of the procedure. 

See the linked source for more details. At the end, the office also states that the "outstanding cross-market importance [...] has been legally established" for other tech giants. These are Meta and Alphabet / Google. Amazon has appealed the finding. Apple's test, which was launched in June 2021, is "well advanced".

New notice from Amazon on frequently returned products

Products that are bought from Amazon or via the Amazon platform, but are then often returned by the buyer, now have exactly this written in the product description. Like iFun in a Entry is displayed, a colored field with the heading "Frequently returned items" then prompts: "Read the product details and customer reviews to learn more about this item.". 

Amazon therefore encourages users not to click or tap the buy option directly, but to first check whether the product meets their requirements. Clothing sizes, specs, usage tips, and reviews from other people have always been part of product pages, but often seem to be ignored.

Layoffs in the tech industry: Disney, Electronic Arts and Vodafone

The news about layoffs or so-called waves of layoffs in the tech industry does not stop. This week I haven't heard much from Meta, Alphabet, Microsoft or the other usual suspects in this regard - but I have heard from Disney, Electronic Arts and Vodafone. Disney is said to be laying off numerous employees of the Metaverse department. A total of 7.000 jobs are to be cut, which is 3% of the total workforce. 

At Electronic Arts (EA), meanwhile, up to 6% are to be fired. At the game studio, this means laying off up to 780 people. They want to part with projects that no longer fit the company's path. At Vodafone Germany, 1.300 jobs are also to be cut, while 400 new ones are to be created at the same time. In one year, the company wants to be 900 jobs leaner. Sources: 1, 2, 3

Even old systems: security updates for macOS 11, macOS 12, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

In addition to updates for macOS 13, iOS 16, iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9 and a few other systems, Apple also released security updates for macOS 11, macOS 12, iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 this week. So if you don't run your Apple devices with the latest operating systems, updates are still available for you.

Their installation is recommended because it closes numerous security gaps. Some have probably already been exploited. The new versions of the old systems are called macOS 11.7.5, macOS 12.6.4, iOS 15.7.4 and iPadOS 15.7.4. You can find the updates below System Settings -> software update or Settings -> General -> software update. Sources: 1, 2

Apple Watch from watchOS 9.4: Uninstall pre-installed apps directly

As noted in the last paragraph, an update has also been released for the current Apple Watch system: watchOS 9.4. With this, Apple is working even further towards implementing demands for uninstallable standard apps. It is quite possible that all pre-installed apps from smartphones, smartwatches and tablets can be thrown out in the foreseeable future due to the efforts of various countries and state federations.

There is already a long list for the iPhone and iPad, from fitness and health to mail and music to TV and weather. Sorting can now also take place directly on the Apple Watch – without a paired iPhone. According to the official list Fitness, Find My, Maps, Wallet, and more can be removed. A total of nine apps are mentioned, but the emergency siren and depth measurement are only available on the Apple Watch Ultra.

Apple Studio Display calibration can take a long time

Along with the above operating system updates for popular Apple devices came a few updates that Apple didn't advertise as widely. For example, there is new HomePod software, but also a firmware update for the Apple Studio Display. Like iFun in a Entry shows, this can now be calibrated in connection with a Mac running macOS 13.3 or later.

The calibration not only requires a special measuring tool, but also a lot of time. Fine-tuning the image and coloring can take up to two hours - with 30 minutes just for warming up the screen. A similar calibration option was previously available with the Apple Pro Display XDR. With both screens, the option is aimed at photo and video professionals.

Apple has bought WaveOne, a smart video compression company

The video resolution is increasing in a wide variety of application areas - films and series can already be watched in 4K on many streaming platforms. And smartphone cameras have also been able to produce 4K videos for some time. But for their transmission, a corresponding bandwidth is required. The number of pixels is around four times as high as in Full HD recordings. Will then also be 60 fps used, i.e. 60 frames per second, the corresponding video files are very large.

In order to make savings at this point and still transmit high-quality media, Apple now seems to have bought the WaveOne company. This had specialized in video encoders and decoders that, thanks to artificial intelligence, "understand" individual frames and scenes and leave important content (faces, writing, etc.) in detail, while content recognized as unimportant is compressed more and thus becomes less clear. Details on WaveOne, Apple's purchase earlier this year, and video technology you can find here at TechCrunch.

More union busting: Apple continues to take action against unions

The fact that there are efforts, especially in the US Apple Stores, to found unions or to join existing alliances has been the focus of many headlines about the iPhone manufacturer for months. It is also repeatedly shown that Apple does not like these efforts and is trying to take various measures to counteract them.

For example, employees were asked individually about their opinion of trade unions. According to current information, those who speak out for unions seem to be on a kind of hit list and are even fired for being a minute late for work. Furthermore, dismissed employees are said to have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. More on that in one Article by Engadget.

Steam will soon no longer be available for Windows 7 and 8

The "Steam" video game client offered for macOS, Windows and Linux will stop supporting Windows 2023 and Windows 7 at the end of 8. "As of January 1, 2024, Steam will officially stop supporting the Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 operating systems. After that date, the Steam Client will no longer run on those versions of Windows."

You can read that in one go Support document, which the parent company Valve has published on the official platform of the game offer. The reasons given for the support task are Google Chrome functions, Windows features and security settings, which will soon only be supported from Windows 10 onwards. Users are encouraged to switch operating systems sooner rather than later.

Nintendo reveals gameplay from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Instead of at a major video game expo or as part of a major video presentation, Nintendo this week hosted a gameplay demonstration of "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom' published as a single video. It clearly states that the development of the new series title is now complete.

In which Video the game's producer, Eiji Aonuma, will show key gameplay mechanics and new abilities that can be used with the playable character Link. The game, which will be released on May 12, 2023 for the Nintendo Switch, is the direct sequel to the title released in 2017 with the Nintendo Switch as a new console "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild". 

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