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Apple will reduce App Store cut to 15 percent for most developers starting January 1st – The Verge

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On Wednesday, Apple announced a reduction to its longstanding App Store commission rate, one of the most substantial changes to how iOS developers earn money in the history of the iPhone maker’s digital app marketplace, as part of a new program for small businesses. The new App Store Small Business Program, as it’s called, will allow any developer who earns less than $1 million in annual sales per year from all of their apps to qualify for a reduced App Store cut of 15 percent, half of Apple’s standard 30 percent fee, on all paid app revenue and in-app purchases.

The company says the “vast majority” of iOS app developers should be able to access the program, but Apple declined to say what percentage of its more than 28 million registered app makers would qualify. Apple also declined to specify how much of its App Store revenue would be affected by the reduced commission. But the App Store, which generated an estimated $50 billion in revenue in 2019 according to CNBC, is one of Apple’s most pivotal businesses beyond the iPhone and represents a pillar of the digital services strategy CEO Tim Cook has touted as the future of the company’s business.

The new small business program goes into effect starting January 1st, 2021. Developers will be asked to apply for the program, and Apple says it will be releasing more information about that process and other eligibility requirements and deadlines in December. Apple did not elaborate on why it’s choosing not to automatically enroll developers into the program, but it’s possible requiring that developers enroll may reduce the potential for fraud or other abuses that could arise if Apple simply auto-enrolled everyone below the threshold.

Apple did spell out some of the program’s rules today. The company says it will look at developer proceeds for the year of 2020 to determine eligibility starting in January. New developers can also qualify right away. For those app makers that exceed the $1 million threshold at any point in 2021, they will automatically be removed from the program and subject to the standard 30 percent cut. If a developer falls back below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, Apple says they can re-qualify for the program and its reduced commission rate.

Apple CEO Tim Cook described the move as a way to support small businesses, which he describes in a statement as “the backbone of the global economy and the beating heart of innovation”:

Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love. The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea. Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.

This isn’t the first time Apple has reduced commission rates for certain developers. The company’s most recent change of this magnitude occurred in late 2016, when it first began allowing subscription services to keep an extra 15 percent of revenue if a subscriber stays signed up through an iOS app for longer than 12 months.

Apple has also reduced its App Store cut or exempted certain services altogether, as it did for sign ups to Amazon Prime Video and more recently for in-app Prime Video rentals and purchases, but the company often only cuts such deals behind closed doors and has not typically extended those benefits to developers it does not negotiate directly with.

This new program is sure to please more niche app makers, indie game developers, and other members of the iOS ecosystem who’ve felt the scale and success of the App Store hasn’t translated to tangible developer benefits in recent years. Apple has weathered a rather rough year of bad press, much of it focused on Apple’s 30 percent cut of all paid app sales and in-app purchases and the many rules it imposes on developers before it grants entry into the App Store.

The string of controversies includes the launch of a European antitrust investigation into the App Store and Apple Pay; a public showdown with software maker Basecamp over the developer’s Hey email client; an unprecedented legal battle with Epic Games over the inclusion of Epic’s own in-app payment options in Fortnite; and a series of spats with Facebook, Microsoft, and others over what Apple’s rivals and competitors feel are unfair restrictions on third-party iOS apps.

There were also many smaller dust-ups — like when WordPress accused Apple of forcing it to add in-app purchases — and they’ve typically revolved around the App Store model and Apple’s many rules around payment options, commissions, and other financial elements of app distribution.

Scores of big-name app makers and well-known companies, from Tinder parent company Match Group to Spotify, have banded together in recent months to criticize Apple for exerting potentially monopolistic control over the iOS marketplace and of wielding its immense power to harm competition and extract unreasonable fees from developers large and small.

The App Store Small Business Program, though it is positioned as a way to offer relief to app makers during the ongoing economic downturn precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, can’t be divorced from these many controversies Apple has found itself in throughout the last year. The company tells The Verge there is no one reason why it decided to launch the program now, and it declined to say whether the program had been in the works prior to the onset of the pandemic.

Yet it is evident Apple’s relationship with developers is on much shakier ground now than in years past, and this new commission reduction may very well help repair it.

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PS5 owners are exploiting a loophole to sell the PS Plus Collection to PS4 owners – Eurogamer.net

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Back door compat.

PlayStation 5 owners are exploiting a loophole to sell the PlayStation Plus Collection to PlayStation 4 owners, it has emerged.

PS Plus subscribers who own a PS5 get the eye-catching PS Plus Collection as a bonus. It’s a new curated series of 20 PS4 games that are available for digital download. The list includes some big hitters, such as Bloodborne, Days Gone, God of War and Uncharted 4.

As VGC reports, it didn’t take long for PS5 owners to discover and exploit a loophole that lets them log into a PS4 owner’s account on their PS5, which in turn unlocks the Collection games for use on the PS4.

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Can anything be done to stop the PS5 and Xbox Series X scalpers?

And, perhaps inevitably, PS5 owners are selling this unlock “service” on auction sites. One listing on eBay offers the unlock for $30. “For people who want access to the games and only have a PS4 and no access to a PS5,” reads the ad description. “I’ll login with my PS5 with your details, add the games and deactivate. Upon purchase I highly advise creating a temporary password and then creating a new one when it’s done.”

People are selling the PS Plus Collection on auction sites.

There are similar listings on Canadian site kijiji as well as Craigslist, all varying in price. “If you need these games but you don’t have a PS5, I can help,” one listing reads.

One person reportedly made over £100 charging over 20 people a fiver each to unlock the PS Plus Collection on their PS4. This is, of course, not how Sony intended the PS Plus Collection to be used, and there are now reports bans have kicked in – possibly automated as an account theft and sale prevention measure. One Twitter user based in Hong Kong claimed thousands of PSN accounts have been banned in the region for this very reason.

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Now, some PS5 users who have shared their PS Plus Collection with a single friend, for example, have expressed concern they may be caught up in a banwave. Sony has yet to comment.

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Apple's Black Friday iPhone SE sale essentially makes the price $290 – iMore

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My significant other just bought the 2020 iPhone SE today, which happens to include a $50 Apple Gift Card between now and November 30. Any new eligible device purchase at Apple also comes with a year of Apple TV+ for free. When you consider these two big value additions, you’re sort of getting the 2020 iPhone SE for less than $300.

The discount goes even deeper if you have an eligible phone to trade-in. You can get $30, at the very least, for your old iPhone, or Pixel and other Android phones. If you’re upgrading from the original iPhone SE to the 2020 model, for example, you can get an extra $30 off. If you’re getting rid of an iPhone 7, you could get up to $100 off. Depending on what phone you trade-in, you might even be able to make an actual profit from buying a new iPhone SE (you know … because you still get a $50 gift card and a year of TV+ for free).

The iPhone SE is an incredible buy. It’s thin, light, and has Touch ID, which is way more convenient right now during this pandemic where face masks are required when you leave your house. It has a 4.7-inch screen, a water resistance rating of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, and has a battery life of up to 13 hours of video playback.

Here are almost 200 of the absolute BEST Black Friday deals available

The iPhone SE came out early this year and features Apple’s custom A13 processor chip, which is powerful and efficient even though Apple has already pushed out the A14 processor chip. The speed bump isn’t really even noticable.

The iPhone SE doesn’t have everything the iPhone 12 does, but I can tell you that it’s an incredible iPhone for the price.

I switched from the iPhone 11 Pro to the iPhone SE when it first came out and would still be using the iPhone SE today if it weren’t for the fact that I fell in love with the smaller iPhone 12 mini.

In fact, the reason my partner just bought the iPhone SE is that I recommended it. I think it’s the absolute best phone you can get at that price, and with a $50 Apple gift card and $60 off a year of Apple TV+, this is an unbeatable Black Friday Apple deal.

More Black Friday deals:

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This never happens, but Apple AirPods are currently on sale during Amazon Canada's Black Friday sale – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are on sale now during Amazon's Black Friday sale.
Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are on sale now during Amazon’s Black Friday sale.

Yahoo Lifestyle Canada is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

Often imitated but never duplicated – Apple AirPods are one of the most popular tech accessories of the year. For those who haven’t made the switch to the wireless and rechargeable ear buds, what are you waiting for? The Apple AirPods and Wireless Charging Case, which rarely go on sale, are currently marked down for 15 per cent off during Amazon Canada’s massive Black Friday sale.

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case - on sale for 15% off during Amazon Canada's Black Friday SaleApple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case - on sale for 15% off during Amazon Canada's Black Friday Sale
Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case – on sale for 15% off during Amazon Canada’s Black Friday Sale

SHOP IT: Amazon, $230 (originally $269)

What are they?

Apple AirPods are the wireless alternative to headphones that pair easily with your Apple device without compromising sound quality or performance.

Your AirPod wireless charging case holds multiple full charges for your ear buds and has more than 24 hours of battery life. Each charge delivers up to five hours of play time and three hours of talk time; when not in use, should be kept in the charging case to ensure you never miss a call, a podcast or a song.

Since the AirPods are paired to your iOS device (like your iPad, iPhone or MacBook) you’ll receive a push notification when your battery is running low. When your charging case battery pack is low, simply connect the case to a power source using the included Lightening cord.

What other people are saying

Apple AirPods have an impressive 4.8-star rating on Amazon based on more than 32,400 customer reviews. Shoppers have commended AirPods on their universal fit and ability to access to Siri.

ALSO SEE: Your definitive guide to the best Black Friday deals to shop in Canada

“I have been using various wireless & bluetooth products for a while. I got these yesterday and they are amazing. They automatically turn on the second you pull them out of the case. By the time they are in your ear, they are connected to my iPhone and are ready to use. In my iPhone, I can configure each ear to do a specific task right in the phone settings without any special software,” one shopper wrote. “I double tap my left ear and I activate Siri and I can double tap my right ear to play/pause whatever I am listening or watching. I went on a walk and there was a light breeze. I called someone on the phone to see how the noise cancellation was and they couldn’t hear the wind.”

Apple AirPods and Wireless Charging Case are on sale during Amazon Canada's Black Friday Sale, $230 (originally $269).Apple AirPods and Wireless Charging Case are on sale during Amazon Canada's Black Friday Sale, $230 (originally $269).
Apple AirPods and Wireless Charging Case are on sale during Amazon Canada’s Black Friday Sale, $230 (originally $269).

Although there are more affordable options available, the Apple AirPods offer superior sound quality and ease of use for Apple product users.

ALSO SEE: These Black Friday deals at Best Buy Canada are not to be missed: Save on appliances, tech, fitness and more

“Some folks think that if you’re sporting Apple’s wireless earbuds, you are just trying to ‘look cool’. While you will look awesome with these bad boys, that’s not the reason to buy them,” another Amazon shopper said. “They are the high-quality type of product you’d expect from Apple. Even though they’re very lightweight and feel like they could fly out of your ears at any second, they are surprisingly sturdy and have yet to come out uninvited (unless you forget to take them out whilst taking off a shirt)….They last a good little bit but never fear those long uses… Here’s a quick battery warning: if you do not return the buds to the charger, they will die. The case, however, can recharge them for several different uses. I probably use them at least 3-4 hours a day and can get through almost the entire week without recharging the case. This model has the wireless charging capability as well, so if you’re down with that tech, you’re set.”

Verdict

If you’re a loyal Apple product user, you’ll probably enjoy the benefits of wireless ear buds that allow you to easily pair with multiple devices with ease.

We’ve gathered more Apple AirPod products you can buy now on sale — but hurry, this won’t last forever.

Apple AirPods Pro - on sale now for Black Friday through Amazon, $268 (originally $329). Apple AirPods Pro - on sale now for Black Friday through Amazon, $268 (originally $329).
Apple AirPods Pro – on sale now for Black Friday through Amazon, $268 (originally $329).

Choose from three sizes of silicone tips for added comfort and enjoy Active Noise Cancellation as well as Transparency mode with these waterproof AirPods.

SHOP IT: $268 (originally $239)

Apple Wireless Charging Case for AirPods - on sale for Black Friday, $80 (originally $99).Apple Wireless Charging Case for AirPods - on sale for Black Friday, $80 (originally $99).
Apple Wireless Charging Case for AirPods – on sale for Black Friday, $80 (originally $99).

Ensure that your AirPods are always fully charged with this handy replacement case.

SHOP IT: $80 (originally $99)

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.

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