Apple’s biggest event of this year is taking place under a cloud of litigation, regulatory scrutiny and developer dissent.
Just days before the event, a judge in California forced a big change to the company’s App Store — ruling that Apple (AAPL) can no longer prohibit app developers from directing users to payment options outside the App Store. The decision, in response to a lawsuit filed against Apple by video game maker Epic Games, gives developers an easier way to avoid Apple’s comissions of up to 30% on in-app purchases.
Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did grant Apple a partial victory, declining to deem the iPhone maker a monopoly and ruling in its favor on the suit’s other claims. (Apple framed the decision as a victory; Epic has vowed to keep fighting, and filed an appeal against the court’s decision on Sunday.)
It’s far from the only antitrust pressure Apple is facing. The company is still confronting scrutiny by the US House and Senate, as well as regulators in the United Kingdom and Europe. South Korea has already taken one of the most severe actions against Apple’s in-app payment restrictions, passing a law in early September that requires Apple and Google to offer alternative payment systems to their users in the country.
Apple is also facing controversy over its efforts to combat child exploitation, pausing testing on a planned tool to detect child abuse imagery after backlash over its potential privacy implications.
The company will be hoping those controversies don’t overshadow the launch of its latest iPhone. An Apple representative said during a press call Monday that the company is set to keep the focus on its products during Tuesday’s event.