Technology

What's Up With Apple: Spring Loaded Uncoils, Parler App Reinstated and More

Tuesday’s the day and 1 p.m. ET is the time that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) kicks off its Spring Loaded product introductions. The first date Apple watchers rumored for the event was March 23. That date came and went and then Siri leaked the news a week ago.

By now, everyone who’s at all interested knows that Apple is going to introduce new models of its iPad Pro with the larger, 12.9-inch model getting a miniLED screen. According to MacRumors, that will make the new iPad 0.5mm thicker to accommodate the new display. That’s just a little more than 1/64-inch. You can be sure that there will be complaints.

Advertising industry-types think it’s an even-money bet that Apple will use the Spring Loaded event to announce a launch date for the latest iPhone operating system, iOS 14.5. That’s the one that includes App Transparency Tracking, a privacy feature that will require iPhone owners to give explicit approval allowing an app (like Facebook) to track the owners as they navigate the web.

Earlier this month, Apple rejected app upgrades that used a tracking technology known as device fingerprinting. According to a report at AdExchanger, less than one-quarter of apps are prepared for the rollout of the SKAdNetwork, Apple’s “privacy-safe attribution solution for iOS.” As of early March, only 14 ad networks out of more than 1,500 had fully tested a solution and were prepared for the release of iOS 14.5.

Computer hardware website Tom’s Guide is looking for the release of iOS 14.5 to include much more than the transparency app. The site has a story Tuesday about an overhaul of Apple’s Maps, Podcasts, Reminders and News apps. The operating system is also expected to allow people to unlock their iPhones using their Apple Watch, and Siri is getting new voices. Tom’s Guide does not think Apple will announce a launch date at Spring Loaded, but the company could. If that happens, that will be a much bigger story than new iPads.

In a three-page letter dated Monday to U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO), Apple said it has reinstated the controversial Parler app to the App Store. On March 31, Lee and Buck sent a letter to the CEOs of Apple, Amazon and Google, charging the tech giants with “close coordination” following the companies’ decisions to drop the Parler app from the App Store and Google Play and Amazon’s suspension of AWS cloud services to Parler. All three firms removed the apps following the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

In its response to Lee and Buck, Apple denied any coordination of action with Google or Amazon:

Apple made an independent decision to remove Parler for non-compliance with the Guidelines, and it did not coordinate or otherwise consult with Google or Amazon with respect to that decision. Apple stands by that decision.

The company also wrote that since Parler’s removal from the App Store, the company has had “substantial conversations” with Parler to bring the app into compliance and reinstate it to the App Store:

As a result of those conversations, Parler has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices, and the App Review Team has informed Parler as of April 14, 2021 that its proposed updated app will be approved for reinstatement to the App Store. Apple anticipates that the updated Parler app will become available immediately upon Parler releasing it.