Apple withdraws several functions in France, because of the European Union

Apple withdraws several functions in France, because of the European Union
Apple withdraws several functions in France, because of the European Union

10 days after announcing Apple Intelligence, iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia (with iPhone Mirroring), Apple announces that it will cancel the launch of several major functions in the European Union. The brand blames the DMA, which complicates its life in France and 26 other countries.

“Due to regulatory uncertainties caused by the Digital Markets Act (DMA), we do not expect to be able to roll out three features—iPhone Mirroring, SharePlay Screen Sharing enhancements, and Apple Intelligence—to our EU users this year ».

In a statement shared with Numerama, Apple announces that it has made the decision to limit the functionalities of iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia, its two future operating systems, in the European Union. Apple Intelligence, one of the biggest new features in the history of the iPhone, will be blocked in Europe when it launches in September. This is the first time that Apple has made this type of regulatory decision, only three months after the Digital Markets Act came into force.

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Why are Apple Intelligence and iPhone Mirroring blocked in Europe?

Apple Intelligence, the suite of functions powered by Apple’s generative AI, will not arrive in the European Union with iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia.

Initially planned just in “American English” (time to deploy servers around the world), Apple Intelligence was to be accessible in France by changing the region of your iPhone, with the “English (United States)” option. A priori , this scheme will not be possible. Apple will block the function more harshly in the European Union, a first in its history. The brand will surely use its geoblocking system set up with alternative stores, which are only accessible in Europe.

All Apple Intelligence features use models that use Apple’s Semantic Index. The A17 Pro chip is the only one capable. // Source: Apple

In the European Union, iPhones, iPads and Macs will therefore not be able to access the new Siri, sort their notifications automatically, edit photos with AI or edit text for you. Apple’s other AI functions, which the brand describes as “ML features” (machine learning), remain available.

“We are concerned that the DMA’s interoperability requirements may require us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that put the privacy and security of user data at risk. We are committed to working with the European Commission to try to find a solution that would allow us to provide these features to our EU customers without compromising their security.” Apple tells Numerama, while Apple Intelligence uses local analysis, with the iPhone and Mac chip, to never centralize data on a server.

The iPhone Mirroring function of macOS Sequoia // Source: Numerama screenshot

Why block iPhone Mirroring, which allows you to display your iPhone screen on your Mac? Apple points out the fact that the DMA does not concern macOS today, which is not considered a gatekeeper. With an iPhone emulated on Mac, the brand seems to fear that its computer will have to submit to the same rules as iOS and iPadOS. So she prefers to be careful. (The feature will be available in macOS Sequoia Beta 2, due Monday).

Another function removed in Europe: SharePlay Screen Sharing, which allows you to control a friend’s screen remotely. We imagine that the logic is the same as with iPhone Mirroring.

A bluff to put pressure on the European Union?

With this decision, Apple creates an unprecedented precedent. After suggesting several times in recent months that the DMA would block the launch of several functions in Europe, the brand is carrying out its threat. Other functions could be similarly blocked in the future, in a bid to put pressure on the EU.

A few days before Apple’s announcement, the European Union had warned that the application of the DMA by the Californian brand did not suit it. Apple’s decision on Apple Intelligence has all the appearance of a political response, with the aim of creating opposition between its European users and the European Commission. Apple wants to make the DMA an anti-consumer law, making people forget its benefits.

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