App Store Rejects HEY’s App Again

On January 6, David Heinemeier Hansson, founder of the email service HEY, posted on X that Apple had notified him that it would be rejecting his new calendar app HEY Calendar from the App Store, but declined to provide a specific reason. This is the second time after more than three years that Apple has rejected a HEY app. During the call, reviewers reportedly acknowledged that the calendar feature would be fine if it was in the existing HEY email client, but did not agree to allow it to be shelved as a standalone app.

Previously in June 2020, after initially reviewing and approving HEY’s email client, Apple refused to release subsequent updates to it on the grounds that it was a paid service but didn’t offer a way to purchase it, resulting in an app that didn’t have the basic functionality. HEY received attention for its $99 annual fee when it launched, and it’s generally assumed that Apple’s actual motivation was displeasure at the fact that it was bypassing in-app purchases on the App Store. After widespread criticism of Apple’s approach, HEY was able to compromise by adding a free trial period. Apple also later revised its App Store review rules to include a special exception for “free standalone apps that don’t offer purchases or call for out-of-app purchases” when used in conjunction with paid web-based tools such as email services. It is not clear why HEY Calendar was found not to meet this self-imposed exception.

Incase Authorized to Distribute Microsoft-Designed Keyboard and Mouse Accessories

After announcing last year that it was discontinuing its line of keyboards, mice, and other accessories, Microsoft has entered into a partnership with Incase, the parent company of well-known laptop and phone accessory maker Incase, authorizing the latter to sell Microsoft-designed accessories under the Incase brand name, according to The Verge. The components and supply chain for these products will be the same as before, with Incase providing the aftermarket. The two sides did not disclose specific terms of the deal. Microsoft explained that it is exiting the accessories business in order to “focus on the Surface brand,” and Incase said it took the initiative to express interest in taking over to Microsoft last year and received a positive response. According to reports, the first batch of products to be sold through the partnership will include keyboards, mice, audio, headphones and cameras, which are expected to go on sale in the second quarter, with new ergonomic keyboards and other products to follow.

Chinese Companies Reduce Demand for NVIDIA AI Chips

Headline domestic tech companies such as Ali and Tencent have told NVIDIA that they will significantly cut orders this year, and Baidu and ByteDance have made similar decisions, according to the Wall Street Journal. Previously, in order to comply with U.S. export restrictions, NVIDIA has launched a reduced performance of A800 and H800, as well as further restrictions on the H20. these special products, although still faster than domestic chips, but to be used in multiple and to achieve the previous performance, pushing up the cost. According to research firm TrendForce, domestic tech companies currently rely on NVIDIA for 80 percent of their high-end AI chips, a proportion that is expected to fall to 50-60 percent in five years. However, due to the popularity of NVIDIA’s chip ecosystem and the lack of domestic chip supply, the former is expected to remain the main procurement option in the next 12 months.

In 2023, Huawei reportedly sold at least 5,000 Ascend 910B chips, the domestically produced chip with the smallest performance gap to Nvidia’s chips, to major internet companies in China, but the orders won’t be delivered until 2024. Huawei is also planning to launch a new high-end AI chip as soon as the second half of 2024, and Alibaba’s chip unit T-Head is developing an AI-specific chip. Smaller companies, on the other hand, are scaling back their own chip programs, instead renting computing power from big players to focus on application development. NVIDIA has previously said that US export restrictions will not have a financial impact in the short term because it can find other buyers; its CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has said that it still wants to supply high-end chips to China and is working with customers to apply for export licenses.

Other News

According to the New York Times, the U.S. Department of Justice is in the advanced stages of investigating the massive antitrust lawsuit it has launched against Apple. This is the latest in a series of antitrust cases against major tech companies that will focus on whether Apple improperly used other products and services to its advantage in the face of stiff competition in its core cell phone business.

Microsoft has appointed Vice President Dee Templeton to serve as a non-voting observer on OpenAI’s board, Bloomberg reports. This is a new right for Microsoft as a major investor, which it gained after OpenAI’s internal strife last November. Templeton joined Microsoft’s New Zealand office in 1998, according to LinkedIn. She is currently responsible for running Microsoft’s external technology and research partnerships and is under the CTO.

A new Mac Studio with the M3 Ultra will launch in mid-2024, according to TrendForce claims. The organization also claims that the M3 Ultra will be manufactured using TSMC’s N3E process, which is an enhanced version of the existing 3nm process, and if true, it would be the first time Apple has used an improved process in the same generation of chips.
According to Mark Gurman’s claims, the Vision Pro has already been shipped to US sorting warehouses with enough inventory to be sold in US retail stores, suggesting that the product is ready to hit store shelves in February. He expects Apple to officially announce a release date for the Vision Pro soon, possibly this week, in order to compete for attention during CES.

Some executives and board members close to Musk have said he is still using marijuana and a variety of illegal psychotropic drugs, fearing that his health will be impaired as a result and that he is violating his company’s policies and government protocols, according to the Wall Street Journal.