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Apple confirms Apple Intelligence isn't coming to nearly 450 million people in EU

Apple is worried that the Digital Markets Act will mess with its plans, so it's skipping it entirely.

Published onJune 21, 2024

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Gary Sims / Android Authority
  • Apple is not bringing its highly publicized Apple Intelligence features to the European Union this year, with the future remaining uncertain.
  • The territory’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) would likely interfere with Apple’s overall plans.
  • Along with Apple Intelligence, iPhone Mirroring and SharePlay Screen Sharing are also not coming to the EU.

Earlier this month, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). There, it launched Apple Intelligence, the umbrella term that will be the home of generative AI tools for iPhones, iPads, and Mac computers. The company spent approximately 50% of its keynote event solely focused on these new technologies and how they will make using its products better.

Unfortunately, it looks like nearly half a billion people won’t be able to experience Apple Intelligence features, at least not anytime soon. Today, via Bloomberg, we learned that Apple will not launch Apple Intelligence in the European Union for the time being. The reason behind this is the Digital Markets Act (DMA).  This is the main reason Apple has been pushed to change many of its policies, such as moving the iPhone to USB-C, allowing third-party app stores, and allowing developers to use third-party payment systems to bypass Apple’s previously mandatory 30% cut of all profits.

Apparently, Apple anticipates the DMA will mess with its Apple Intelligence plans, so it’s just not going to launch it there right now. “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,” the company said in a statement.

In a seemingly separate statement to Financial Times, Apple said this would not be a permanent policy:

Due to the regulatory uncertainties brought about by the Digital Markets Act, we do not believe that we will be able to roll out three of these [new] features […] to our EU users this year.

Apple Intelligence is almost certainly going to be another way for it to push users to stay locked within its ecosystem. It’s possible Apple has concerns that, in order to abide by the DMA, it would need to open Apple Intelligence to other ecosystems, such as Android. Given how much Apple Intelligence is likely to cost the company (at least some of the features announced so far will require using a remote Apple data center to function), the return on investment in offering those features to EU citizens might not be worth it if the company can’t also lock those users into the broader Apple ecosystem.

Unfortunately, this limit in the EU won’t just apply to generative AI features under the Apple Intelligence umbrella. Two other features launched at WWDC — iPhone Mirroring and SharePlay Screen Sharing — will also apparently not land in the EU. It is unclear what about these features could be negatively impacted by the DMA.

What does this mean for Apple users in the EU?

This news will almost certainly be a significant problem for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users in the EU. Remember: the second half of Apple’s entire WWDC keynote was devoted to Apple Intelligence. It’s clear the company has a lot riding on this, and it will be a significant focus of the company’s current and future strategies.

For EU citizens to be left out of that will almost certainly push some to adopt other platforms, including Android and Windows, both of which are not yet limiting AI features by region. This won’t happen overnight, but if Apple launches a new version of iOS in the EU that only has a handful of new non-AI features, the eventual glut of development will certainly cause a user exodus.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months and years. Will EU-based Apple users abandon the brand, or will they begrudgingly hang on while they watch Apple users in the United States and other countries enjoy shiny new AI features? Also, the DMA has been hugely influential on US policies. Will the US adopt more of the DMA’s principles and force Apple to simply alter Apple Intelligence everywhere? Time will tell.

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