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EU chief slams Apple’s decision not to launch AI on iPhones in Europe

Ahead of Apple’s iOS 18 beta 2 release early this week, the company announced it doesn’t plan to bring Apple Intelligence and certain other iOS 18 features to Europe due to regulatory fears. In a statement issued at the time, Apple said: “We are concerned that the interoperability requirements of the DMA could force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security.”

Now, when asked about Apple’s decision during an interview at the Forum Europa in Brussels, the European Union chief Margrethe Vestager stated: “So Apple have said that they will not launch their new enabled features in the IRS environment, and they say that they will not do that because of the obligations that they have in Europe. And the obligations that they have in Europe, it is to be open for competition, that is sort of the short version of the DMA.”

She also said that she finds it very interesting that “they say we will now deploy AI where we’re not obliged to enable competition. I think that is the most sort of stunning, open declaration that they know 100% that this is another way of disabling competition, where they have a stronghold already.”

Apple is playing a tricky game with the EU

While Apple doesn’t have to offer all the features in the EU that it does in the US, it feels like Cupertino wants to show that DMA legislation can be bad for customers – even though it had also benefited international users with retro game emulators and game streaming apps.

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What I understand from Apple’s statement is that the company would have to offer Android mirroring on the Mac for EU users or open up Apple Intelligence to any developer with an LLM. However, this is not the case, and Apple knows it.

It’s not because the company has Apple Music that every iPhone needs to come with Spotify pre-installed. Or that users need to store their online backups on Dropbox instead of iCloud for “fair competition.” For me, it seems that Apple doesn’t want to accept regulation, and it’s only going to hurt the company’s image in the region.

Wrap up

iPhone Mirroring and SharePlay Screen Sharing are available with iOS 18 beta 2 for every developer to test in all regions except the EU. Apple Intelligence is coming early this July alongside the public beta. Separately, it’s important to note that Apple’s AI will still carry a beta label even when the company releases the final version of iOS 18 this fall.

BGR will keep following the latest steps from Apple and the EU saga.

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