- Analysts say new versions of iPhone handsets might still take time as the company in July had flagged a delay;
- Apple is also asking for damages for harm to its reputation from frustrated Fortnite players.
Tuesday was a busy day for Apple. It filed counterclaims against Fortnite creator Epic Games asking for lost App Store fees and other damages, while also scheduling a special event for September 15, with fans and investors expecting a refresh in the lineup of some of the company’s core products.
Apple and Epic have been in a legal battle since August, when the maker of the popular game launched its own in-app payment system to circumvent what it called Apple’s monopolistic practices. Apple’s App Store requires developers to use Apple’s payment system and pay a 30% commission.
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Apple blocked Epic’s ability to distribute updates or new apps through the App Store, and Epic sued Apple alleging that its App Store practices violate antitrust laws. The court allowed Apple to block Epic from distributing new titles as the case plays out, but the existing version of Fortnite still works, as does Epic’s payment system.
Apple had said it would allow Fortnite back into the store if Epic removed the direct payment feature to comply with its developer agreement. But Epic has refused, saying complying with Apple’s request would be “to collude with Apple to maintain their monopoly over in-app payments on iOS.”
Apple’s filing on Tuesday asks for monetary damages for Epic’s payment system. The Big Tech firm did not specify how much money it was seeking over the payment feature.
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The company also asked for damages for harm to its reputation from frustrated Fortnite players and a public relations campaign Epic launched against Apple, which included a parody of Apple’s “1984” television commercial and a playable apple-headed character called “Tart Tycoon” that bears some resemblance to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook.
Apple also sought a court order that would force Epic to disable its own payment system in Fortnite on Apple devices.
New products anticipated
On lighter news, Apple is advertising an event it will hold on September 15. While the company uses its September events to showcase its most important products, new versions of iPhone handsets might still take time as the company in July had flagged a delay of a few weeks from the usual timeline.
Other products usually unveiled in September include new versions of Apple Watch and iPad.
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The event will be streamed on the company’s website from its campus in Cupertino, California. The iPhone maker’s typically cryptic invitation for media read: “Time flies.”
Apple, known for splashy launches packed with hundreds of journalists at its campus, would be forced to tone down some of the excitement this year with the event running virtually for the first time due to COVID-19.
Apple’s marketing chief tweeted a video teaser, with the launch date appearing in augmented reality format, hinting at a 3D element to the event.
Analysts have suggested that Apple is likely to schedule a separate event later for the launch of new versions of iPhone.
“If they’re unable to launch in October, then it could seriously hurt sales in the crucial holiday season, where many will be looking to replace their phones with newer models,” Anwar added.