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Monday news bites – $1bn fine, free apps, new Beats

We usually release our roundup of Apple-centric ‘news bites’ midweek, but there seems to be a lot more news to contend with than normal this week – even after Apple’s COVID-19 response. Therefore, we’re decided to package three big stories of the day together.

Record antitrust fine for Apple in France

Apple has been fined a whopping $1.23 billion by the French competition authorities, the biggest ever fine in a single case in France. The authorities say Apple is guilty of making deals with two wholesale partners designed to kill competition in the region, ‘thereby sterilizing the wholesale market for Apple products.’ This has been described as Apple forming “cartels” in its distribution network in order to freeze prices in place. The wholesalers have also been fined, to a lesser degree.

Apple, of course, doesn’t believe the matter is so cut-and-dry and plans to appeal. ‘The French Competition Authority’s decision is disheartening. It relates to practices from over a decade ago and discards 30 years of legal precedent that all companies in France rely on with an order that will cause chaos for companies across all industries.’

Apple releases Powerbeats 4 headphones

After a series of leaks, including the headphones appearing on Walmart shelves before being officially released, Apple has now officially revealed details of its latest Beats-branded headphones. The new Powerbeats 4 are the first in-ear Beats to use Apple’s in-house W2 chip for wireless connectivity. This is the same chip used in AirPods, and means the Powerbeats now share many of the same features.

That includes being able to use “Hey Siri” without a button press, and easy connectivity with Apple devices. Powerbeats 4 also feature fast charging, 15 hours battery life, and are on sale now for $149.

Moog and Korg make synth apps temporarily free

In a bid to help anyone stuck in self-isolation thanks to the Coronavirus, legendary synthesizer makers Moog and Korg have both made some of their most iconic gadgets available free in app form. This is great news for musicians stuck at home without their studio rigs, or anyone bored and feeling vaguely creative.

Moog has made its usually $5/£5 Minimoog Model D free, while Korg has put its $20/£20 iKaossilator down to nothing. Both apps are excellent simulations of real-world synths, and great fun to play with. These deals won’t last forever, so our recommendation is to download them both now before the prices inevitably go back up.