Europe. Mysterious, foreboding. Webster’s defines “Europe” as…
Hang on. Sorry. That was the lede to the Macalope’s 7th-grade paper on Europe. Let’s just skip that. Because you know what Europe is. You might have even been there. You might be there now. One thing is for certain, European governments enjoy telling Apple what to do.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Macalope would certainly like to tell Apple what to do from time to time. (Note to self: move to Europe, start grass grassroots movement demanding the return of the iPhone mini.)
Take the Netherlands. Webster’s defines “Netherlands” as…
Dang it. Sorry. Sorry. These pages are all mixed up. It’s hard to file things correctly with hooves.
Okay. Here we go. The Netherlands successfully got Apple to allow dating apps to use payment processes outside the App Store, even if Apple did continue to demand its cut of the payments. Look, do you want a date or not? That was at least some mild progress on an issue Apple has been stubborn about.
Some other legislation is more open for debate.
First off is the European Union’s requirement that devices be standardized on USB-C. This is so that people don’t have to worry about buying every proprietary charger in existence, which can be a barrier to switching devices and just a general pain. The Macalope already has a confusing collection of all-white cables from Apple (USB-A to Lighting, USB-C to Lightning, USB-A to USB-C, USB-C to USB-C, and somewhere some USB-A to 30-pin dock connector) that he’s not that against calling the whole thing off. If the company didn’t make the white so strong that they don’t weather much, it’d probably be easier to tell them apart.
The current rumor for the iPhone 15 has it shipping with USB-C cables to match the new connectors on the devices, as well as in colors that match the iPhone. That will at least also make them stand out from the old ones.
Would it make certain things easier to have one cable for everything? Absolutely. Does forcing every device to use the same cable allow them to be the best devices they can be? Certainly not all of them, no. Let’s say a manufacturer makes the world’s smallest phone (don’t threaten the Macalope with a good time). The trick is, that it needs a teenie tiny cable to power it, or they can’t make it that small. This phone could not be sold in the European Union.
This is, of course, small phone fan fiction. Of which the Macalope has a whole drawer. Right above the one filled with unidentifiable white cables. The Macalope doesn’t get as hot as some about this issue, though. He can see benefits both ways.
Not so the next one.
The U.K. government’s proposed legislation will demand a back door to any encrypted messaging service in the name of protecting people from terrorists, pedophiles, thieves, unlicensed cockney chimneysweeps, and probably all those scary clowns that kept showing up in 2016. Certainly, there’s no downside to this. Other than the fact that back doors that only the government can use and will only use appropriately are an absolute pipe dream. A veritable Idris Elba of a pipe. Just completely dreamy.
Oh, also, did the Macalope mention that companies would be required to submit any security updates to the U.K. government for approval? Yeah, because, uh, they might be using the fixed vulnerabilities to exploit devices and we wouldn’t want to make that not possible anymore. Better to have vulnerabilities.
This is 100 pounds of hot expletive deleted in a 10-pound bag. This is real “We had to destroy the village to save the village.” thinking. You cannot protect your citizens by making them less safe. Cables are a fine thing to argue about, but there should be no argument here.
Apple, as well as other companies, have indicated that if this bill passes, they simply will not be able to ship their messaging products in the U.K. End of story. These companies are not willing to remove protections for all their customers so the U.K. government can give law enforcement a free look inside the lives of its citizens. Nor should they be. Apple went through a similar argument with the FBI and refused to back down, so the Macalope has little doubt it will do what it has to here, as well.
The company doesn’t always do what’s in the best interests of its customers, but this is one instance when the Macalope is glad it has our backs.