HASpple opened its annual conference for developers on Monday, June 6, without mentioning the two subjects on which the technology giant is expected at the turn: its platform for downloading augmented and virtual reality mobile applications. The inaugural presentation took place in the presence of hundreds of engineers and journalists on the group’s campus in Silicon Valley for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Various product managers marched to unveil, among other things, a new home-made electronic chip, a customizable iPhone guard screen, a new payment system for merchants, the possibility of correcting or deleting messages, sophisticated tools based on artificial intelligence, a complete update of its operating system for cars (CarPlay) and a new MacBook Air.
Apple has announced its entry into the “buy now – pay later” payment solutions market, which have become very popular during the pandemic. In the United States, starting this fall, approved users using Apple Pay will be able to choose to pay for a purchase in four installments over six weeks, “without interest or fees of any kind.” “Apple Pay Later”, the new feature, “allows you to easily view, track and reimburse”, details the press release from the Californian group.
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Once is not custom, “Apple responds to the shopping list of users,” found Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Creative Strategies. “They listen to what consumers are saying and they make changes. They have eliminated a lot of friction from their operating system”, she assures, an issue “essential when we spend more time online for work, entertainment, shopping etc since the health crisis”.
Some features feel like a catch-up, especially on Apple Maps, the mapping app that has long lagged behind the hugely popular Google Maps. But for the expert, the star of the show is the M2 chip. At the end of 2020, the group launched a new range of laptops equipped with its own chip, the M1, instead of those of Intel, marking the start of a two-year transition. “They mentioned a lot of things they couldn’t do before. […] like very high-quality video games,” she noted.
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Not a word, however, about so-called “mixed” realities (augmented and virtual), pillars of the metaverse, this future of the Internet that many digital companies have undertaken to build, from Meta (Facebook, Instagram) to Fortnite and Roblox on the side of video games. Rumors have swelled for months around an Apple VR headset that would be in preparation for this year. At the end of January, boss Tim Cook said he saw “a lot of potential in this space” and was “investing accordingly”.
Apple also did not mention the App Store, its essential platform for downloading applications, which arouses the anger of many of its Californian neighbors because of its strict rules on confidentiality and payment of commissions.
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