iPhones won’t come with headphones or power adapters in the box from now on

That drawer full of bad headphones and extra power adapters for your phone won’t get any more cluttered if you decide to pick up a new iPhone 12. Apple will no longer include those items in the box, part of a redoubled effort to reduce its environmental footprint.

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In a segment of its iPhone-centric event today, Apple’s Lisa Jackson explained that the company is hoping to have “net zero climate impact” globally by 2030, meaning everything from manufacturing and assembly to packaging and device recycling will be carbon neutral. Achieving that means relying more on solar power and efficient operations, of course, but also reducing waste.

To that end the company will no longer include the familiar white headphones that have come in the box since the early days of the iPhone, nor the standard outlet adapter for the power cable.

“Customers already have over 700 million Lightning headphones, and many customers have moved to a wireless experience,” said Jackson. “There are also over 2 billion Apple power adapter out in the world, and that’s not counting the billions of third party adapters.”

Thankfully there will be a power cable in the box: a standard USB-C to Lightning cable that you can plug into your old wall adapter or a laptop.

The result is not just fewer things in the box, but a smaller actual box, letting the company fit more of them into a pallet. That may sound like a bit of a stretch for effect — “really, you’re saving the world by making the box smaller?” — but at the scales Apple operates at, fitting half again as many devices into a shipment means saving thousands of trips. It’s the equivalent, Apple notes, of taking some 450,000 cars off the road per year.

Apple didn’t mention

Fortnite: Epic Games vs. Apple Trial Date Set, Won’t Use Jury

A trial date has been set for Epic Games vs. Apple following an extended and public disagreement over the latter company’s alleged monopolization of iOS digital marketplaces. Epic Games initially filed suit immediately after Fortnite was removed from the App Store for violating its payment rules.

The case will be held as a bench trial, meaning there will be no jury, and begins on May 3, 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the court has not yet decided whether the trial will be held in-person or virtually. The decision to use a bench trial was also influenced by the pandemic, as a backlog of jury trial cases would have pushed it into next summer.

Epic Games has argued that by not allowing outside companies to run their own digital stores on iOS devices, Apple has effectively created a monopoly. It takes a sizeable portion of every digital profit on the App Store, including in-app purchases. Fortnite was banned after Epic Games attempted to circumvent this by offering a direct-purchase option for V-Bucks in the game, but it very clearly knew it was going to get the game banned–a lawsuit that was dozens of pages long was filed almost immediately afterward. Videos mocking Apple’s classic ads, similar to the classic film and book 1984, were also played. It wasn’t exactly subtle.

Apple may have a difficult time arguing it doesn’t hold a monopoly, as the House Judiciary committee on antitrust just released a report claiming it, along with Google, Amazon, and Facebook, hold monopoly power within the tech industry. For Apple, it cited its “software distribution” system on iOS, meaning the App Store.

Fortnite has been inaccessible for new downloads on iOS since August, and it can no longer be updated. This means players can’t receive the latest seasonal content. It

Sony finally reveals which PS4 games won’t work on PS5

Sony has been saying for months that the vast majority of PS4 games will work on PS5 through backwards compatibility, and it’s good to get some clarity on those that won’t work. Microsoft, on the other hand, says titles going all the way back to the original Xbox will work on Xbox Series X and Series S.

There are some other details about the PS5 backwards compatibility on Sony’s support page. Some PS4 games will get a bit of an upgrade, thanks to the PS5’s Game Boost feature, which seems similar to the PS4 Pro’s Boost Mode. Compatible titles will run more smoothly and/or have a higher frame rate.

Certain features in some titles might not work on PS5 (though Sony didn’t go into specifics), and you might run into “errors or unexpected behavior” while playing PS4 games. The company suggests testing your PS4 games on PS5 before buying any add-ons or DLC you want to pick up. Sony is also urging players to keep their PS5 up to date with the latest version of the firmware, which will hopefully keep any compatibility issues to a minimum.

As Sony previously confirmed, you’ll still be able to use your PlayStation VR setup for PS VR games. The PS5 supports DualShock 4 controllers, but only for PS4 games. The Platinum and Gold Wireless Headsets also work with the next-gen console.

When it comes to games you’ve downloaded onto your PS4 and your saved data, you can transfer all of that to your PS5 over WiFi. You’ll also be able to play PS4 games directly from a supported external storage drive.

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Microsoft digs at Apple with 10 principles for app store fairness, but they won’t apply to Xbox

Microsoft published and committed to following a list of 10 principles in its treatment of third-party apps on Windows, capitalizing on the ongoing backlash against Apple over the iPhone maker’s revenue sharing policies and restrictions on cloud streaming services in the iOS App Store.

The commitments include giving developers “the freedom to choose whether to distribute their apps for Windows through our app store,” and promising to allow competing app stores on Windows. In addition, Microsoft said in the post that it “will not block an app from Windows based on a developer’s business model or how it delivers content and services, including whether content is installed on a device or streamed from the cloud.”

The principles, published Thursday morning by Rima Alaily, Microsoft deputy general counsel, largely restate Microsoft’s existing practices. The company says it’s building on the ideas of the Coalition for App Fairness, which includes Epic Games, Spotify, Match Group and others that oppose Apple’s practices.

However, Microsoft is openly carving out an exception for the store on its Xbox console, with this reasoning:

Game consoles are specialized devices optimized for a particular use. Though well-loved by their fans, they are vastly outnumbered in the marketplace by PCs and phones. And the business model for game consoles is very different to the ecosystem around PCs or phones. Console makers such as Microsoft invest significantly in developing dedicated console hardware but sell them below cost or at very low margins to create a market that game developers and publishers can benefit from. Given these fundamental differences in the significance of the platform and the business model, we have more work to do to establish the right set of principles for game consoles.

Microsoft’s publication of the 10 principles follows a blistering report this week from the U.S. House

20 years after Microsoft’s antitrust fight, Steve Ballmer betting that Big Tech won’t be broken up

Steve Ballmer at the GeekWire Summit 2019 (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

Twenty years after Microsoft waged its own antitrust battle with the U.S. government, former CEO Steve Ballmer is betting that Congress won’t break up Big Tech this time around.

In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday (below), Ballmer was reacting to a U.S. House antitrust subcommittee report released this week that found challenges presented by the dominance and business practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

RELATED: House antitrust probe says Amazon has ‘monopoly power’ over sellers, company slams ‘fringe’ findings

“I’ll bet money that they will not be broken up,” Ballmer told CNBC.

The 450-page report from the subcommittee’s Democratic leaders concludes a 16-month investigation into the four companies as the operators of major online markets. It finds that the market power of the tech giants “has diminished consumer choice, eroded innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy, weakened the vibrancy of the free and diverse press, and undermined Americans’ privacy.”

Ballmer said he doesn’t think the notion of breaking up the companies answers most of the questions or complaints that are being raised against the companies. And he thinks Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple would do well to engage with regulators now rather than take unilateral action that they hope satisfies those calling the shots.

“If I’m in these guys’ shoes, I say, ‘Come on, let’s get down there and let’s regulate me and let’s get it over with so I know what I can do,’” Ballmer told CNBC.

Ballmer is currently the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise and founder of the Bellevue, Wash.-based nonpartisan, not-for-profit civic data initiative USAFacts.

Ballmer also discussed USAFacts’ launch of a $10 million ad campaign, to air during the nationally televised presidential debates, aimed at illustrating