Apple Vison Pro
| Photo Credit: Apple

(This article is part of Today’s Cache, The Hindu’s newsletter on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, innovation and policy. To get it in your inbox, subscribe here.)

The slow and steady rise of mixed reality

When Apple unveiled its Vision Pro in June 2023, it called the device a “revolutionary spatial computer”. But most tech enthusiasts preferred calling it a ‘mixed reality headset’. In February, just around the time it launched the product, the iPhone maker went a bit too far when it told developers to not call the Vision Pro “generally as a ‘headset” when describing their apps for the device. It also told them to call their apps “spatial computing apps” — not augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or mixed reality (MR) apps.

Apple’s forced use of language is an anti-thesis to its own four-decade-old Super Bowl ad that introduced the Macintosh personal computer to the world hooked to television sets by breaking the idea of ‘doublethink’ with ‘newspeak’. It will serve well for Apple to keep the rich history of reality augmenting technology in mind before it forces the use of specific terms on app developers.

Apple kept illegal monopoly over smartphones in U.S.

The Justice Department on Thursday announced a sweeping antitrust lawsuit against Apple, accusing the tech giant of engineering an illegal monopoly in smartphones that boxes out competitors and stifles innovation. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in New Jersey, alleges that Apple has monopoly power in the smartphone market and uses its control over the iPhone to “engage in a broad, sustained, and illegal course of conduct.” The lawsuit — which was also filed with 16 state attorneys general — is the latest example of the Justice Department’s approach to aggressive enforcement of federal antitrust law that officials say is aimed at ensuring a fair and competitive market, even as it has lost some significant anticompetition cases.

The case is taking direct aim at the digital fortress that Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, California, has assiduously built around the iPhone and other popular products such as the iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

Tennessee first to protect musicians, artists from AI

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed off on legislation designed to protect songwriters, performers and other music industry professionals against the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. The move makes Tennessee, long known as the birthplace of country music and the launchpad for musical legends, the first state in the U.S. to enact such measures. Supporters say the goal is to ensure that AI tools cannot replicate an artist’s voice without their consent. The bill goes into effect July 1.

“Artists have intellectual property. They have gifts. They have a uniqueness that is theirs and theirs alone, certainly not artificial intelligence,” said Lee. The law also creates a new civil action where people can be held liable if they publish or perform an individual’s voice without permission, as well as use a technology to produce an artist’s name, photographs, voice or likeness without the proper authorisation.

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