Apple to Argue It Faces Competition in Video Game Market In Epic Lawsuit

FILE PHOTO: 3D printed Lady Justice figure is seen in front of displayed Apple and Epic Games logos in this illustration photo taken February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: 3D printed Lady Justice figure is seen in front of displayed Apple and Epic Games logos in this illustration photo taken February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
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Apple to Argue It Faces Competition in Video Game Market In Epic Lawsuit

FILE PHOTO: 3D printed Lady Justice figure is seen in front of displayed Apple and Epic Games logos in this illustration photo taken February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: 3D printed Lady Justice figure is seen in front of displayed Apple and Epic Games logos in this illustration photo taken February 17, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Apple Inc said it plans to argue that it faces abundant competition in the market for video game transactions to defend itself against antitrust allegations by “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, the iPhone maker said on Thursday.

Epic sued Apple last year in federal court in California, alleging the 15% to 30% commissions that Apple charges for the use of its in-app payment systems and Apple’s longstanding practice of exercising control over which apps can be installed on its devices amount to anticompetitive behavior. The dispute arose after Epic tried to implement its own in-app payment system in the popular “Fortnite” game and Apple subsequently banned the game from its App Store, Reuters reported.

The case is to be heard in May in Oakland, California, by US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will have to rule on which notion of a “market” is the correct one for analyzing Apple’s moves for signs of anticompetitive conduct.

Epic has framed its case around the idea that Apple’s iPhones, with an installed base of more than 1 billion users, represent their own distinct market for software developers. Epic has argued that Apple has monopoly power over that market because it decides how users can install software on the devices and says it abuses that power by forcing developers to deliver their software through the App Store, where developers are subject to fees on some transactions.

In a filing that Apple planned to make Thursday, the company rejected that notion and said the proper market to analyze the case is the video game transaction market, which includes platforms such as Nintendo Co Ltd and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox gaming consoles, which also limit the software that can run on their hardware and charge fees to developers.

Apple said it plans to argue that consumers have many choices on how to carry out video game transactions, including purchasing virtual tokens from game developers on other platforms such as Windows PCs and using the tokens on iPhones with no fees to the game developer.



World Leaders Plan New Agreement on AI at Virtual Summit Co-hosted by South Korea, UK

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
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World Leaders Plan New Agreement on AI at Virtual Summit Co-hosted by South Korea, UK

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)

World leaders are expected to adopt a new agreement on artificial intelligence when they gather virtually Tuesday to discuss AI´s potential risks but also ways to promote its benefits and innovation.
The AI Seoul Summit is a follow-up to November´s inaugural AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in the United Kingdom, where participating countries agreed to work together to contain the potentially "catastrophic" risks posed by galloping advances in AI.
The two-day meeting -- co-hosted by the South Korean and UK governments -- also comes as major tech companies like Meta, OpenAI and Google roll out the latest versions of their AI models, The Associated Press said.
On Tuesday evening, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak are to meet other world leaders, industry leaders and heads of international organizations for a virtual conference. The online summit will be followed by an in-person meeting of digital ministers, experts and others on Wednesday, according to organizers.
"It is just six months since world leaders met at Bletchley, but even in this short space of time, the landscape of AI has changed dramatically," Yoon and Sunak said in a joint article published in South Korea´s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and the UK´s online inews site on Monday. "The pace of change will only continue to accelerate, so our work must accelerate too."
While the UK meeting centered on AI safety issues, the agenda for this week´s gathering was expanded to also include "innovation and inclusivity," Wang Yun-jong, a deputy director of national security in South Korea, told reporters Monday.
Wang said participants will subsequently "discuss not only the risks posed by AI but also its positive aspects and how it can contribute to humanity in a balanced manner."
The AI agreement will include the outcomes of discussions on safety, innovation and inclusivity, according to Park Sang-wook, senior presidential adviser for science and technology for President Yoon.
The leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies -- the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain - were invited to the virtual summit, along with leaders of Australia and Singapore and representatives from the UN, the EU, OpenAI, Google, Meta, Amazon and Samsung, according to South Korea's presidential office.
China doesn't plan to participate in the virtual summit though it will send a representative to Wednesday's in-person meeting, the South Korean presidential office said. China took part in the UK summit.
In their article, Yoon and Sunak said they plan to ask companies to do more to show how they assess and respond to risks within their organizations.
"We know that, as with any new technology, AI brings new risks, including deliberate misuse from those who mean to do us harm," they said. "However, with new models being released almost every week, we are still learning where these risks may emerge, and the best ways to manage them proportionately."
The Seoul meeting has been billed as a mini virtual summit, serving as an interim meeting until a full-fledged in-person edition that France has pledged to hold.
Governments around the world have been scrambling to formulate regulations for AI even as the technology makes rapid advances and is poised to transform many aspects of daily life, from education and the workplace to copyrights and privacy. There are concerns that advances in AI could take away jobs, trick people and spread disinformation.
Developers of the most powerful AI systems are also banding together to set their own shared approach to setting AI safety standards. Facebook parent company Meta Platforms and Amazon announced Monday they’re joining the Frontier Model Forum, a group founded last year by Anthropic, Google, Microsoft and OpenAI.
In March, the UN General Assembly approved its first resolution on the safe use of AI systems. Earlier in May, the US and China held their first high-level talks on artificial intelligence in Geneva to discuss how to address the risks of the fast-evolving technology and set shared standards to manage it.


OpenAI to 'Pause' Voice Linked to Scarlett Johansson

OpenAI says its 'Sky' artificial intelligence voice was made in collaboration with a professional actress and is not meant to sound like film star Scarlett Johansson. Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
OpenAI says its 'Sky' artificial intelligence voice was made in collaboration with a professional actress and is not meant to sound like film star Scarlett Johansson. Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
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OpenAI to 'Pause' Voice Linked to Scarlett Johansson

OpenAI says its 'Sky' artificial intelligence voice was made in collaboration with a professional actress and is not meant to sound like film star Scarlett Johansson. Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
OpenAI says its 'Sky' artificial intelligence voice was made in collaboration with a professional actress and is not meant to sound like film star Scarlett Johansson. Noam Galai / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Movie star Scarlett Johansson said Monday she was "shocked" by an OpenAI synthetic voice that sounds like her, which was released after she declined to work with the ChatGPT-maker on such a project.
The artificial intelligence powerhouse headed by Sam Altman said it was working on temporarily muting the Johannson-sounding voice it calls "Sky."
"I was shocked, angered, and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets couldn't tell the difference," Johannson said in a statement.
Johannson said Altman in September offered to hire her to work with OpenAI to create a synthetic voice, saying it might provide people comfort engaging with AI.
Altman has previously pointed to the Johansson-voiced character in the movie "Her" -- a cautionary tale about the future in which a man falls in love with an AI chatbot -- as inspiration for where he would like AI interactions to go.
Johannson said Altman insinuated the similarity in voices was intentional when at one point he fired off a single-word tweet on X: "Her."
OpenAI said in a blog post that the "Sky" voice at issue was based on the natural speaking voice of a different professional actress and not meant to sound like Johansson.
"We believe that AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity's distinctive voice," OpenAI said in the post.
"Sky's voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson."
OpenAI is working on a way to "pause" Sky as it addresses what appears to be confusion about who it sounds like, the company said on X.
"We've heard questions about how we chose the voices in ChatGPT, especially Sky," OpenAI said.
Johansson said she has asked OpenAI for a detailed accounting of how "Sky" was made.
Risk team disbanded
The company explained that it worked with professional voice actors on synthetic voices it named Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and Sky.

But Sky became the focus of attention last week when OpenAI released a higher-performing and even more humanlike "GPT-4o" version of the artificial intelligence technology that underpins ChatGPT.
In a demo, the new version of Sky was at times even flirtatious and funny, capable of seamlessly jumping from one topic to the next, unlike most existing chatbots.
So far in the AI frenzy, most tech giants have been reluctant to overly humanize chatbots.
Microsoft Vice President Yusuf Mehdi told AFP his company, which has a partnership with OpenAI, sought to make sure that AI was not "a he or a she," but rather a "unique entity."
"It should not be human. It shouldn't breathe. You should be able to...understand (it) is AI," he said.
Just days ago OpenAI said it disbanded a team devoted to mitigating the long-term dangers of artificial intelligence.
OpenAI began dissolving the so-called "superalignment" group weeks ago, integrating members into other projects and research.
Company co-founder Ilya Sutskever and superalignment team co-leader Jan Leike announced their departures from the San Francisco-based firm last week.


AI-intensive Sectors are Showing Productivity Surge, PwC says

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
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AI-intensive Sectors are Showing Productivity Surge, PwC says

AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)
AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand miniature in this illustration taken, June 23, 2023. (Reuters)

The types of business which are most likely to use artificial intelligence are seeing growth in workers' productivity that is almost five times faster than elsewhere, raising hopes for a boost to the broader economy, accountancy firm PwC said.

Productivity in professional and financial services and in information technology grew by 4.3% between 2018 and 2022 compared with gains of 0.9% across construction, manufacturing and retail, food and transport, PwC said.

The data suggested that the rise of artificial intelligence could help countries to break out of a rut of low productivity growth which would boost economic growth, wages and living standards, PwC said in a report published on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Carol Stubbings, leader of PwC Global Markets and Tax & Legal Services, said highly productive sectors had faster growth in job ads for people with AI skills than without, suggesting AI played a role in these sectors' higher productivity.

The trend of productivity growth generated by the technology was likely to accelerate as companies increasingly deployed generative AI which can be used by non-AI specialists, she said.

"The challenge with AI, and particularly generative AI, is the speed of the change," Stubbings said.

Last week the head of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva said AI was hitting the global labour market "like a tsunami" and was likely to have an impact on 60% of jobs in advanced economies in the next two years.

The PwC report tracked and analysed over half a billion job ads from 15 rich countries and used data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

It said jobs that require AI skills - including AI-specialist and non-specialist roles - carried a average premium of 25% in the US and 14% in Britain.


Samsung Electronics Picks Veteran Executive to Tackle 'Chip Crisis' amid AI Boom

A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)
A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)
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Samsung Electronics Picks Veteran Executive to Tackle 'Chip Crisis' amid AI Boom

A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)
A Samsung sign is displayed, during the GSMA's 2023 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain March 1, 2023. (Reuters)

Samsung Electronics has replaced the chief of its semiconductor division to help the group overcome a "chip crisis", amid a booming market for AI chips where analyst say the world's biggest memory chipmaker lags peers.

The South Korean manufacturer on Tuesday said it has appointed Young Hyun Jun, effective immediately, moving him from the role as head of its future business planning unit.

Jun previously led Samsung's memory chip department after working on the development of DRAM and flash memory chips.

The move is likely aimed at catching up in the market for top-end chips used in artificial intelligence (AI) such as high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips where Samsung has fallen behind rivals such as SK Hynix, analysts said, Reuters reported.

"This is a preemptive measure to strengthen future competitiveness by renewing the atmosphere internally and externally," Samsung Electronics said in a statement.

The firm said Jun, a former chief executive at battery arm Samsung SDI and former executive at Samsung Electronics' memory chip business, would help overcome the "chip crisis" with his management know-how.

Replacing such a high-ranking position in the middle of the year is unusual, given most personnel changes at Samsung normally take place in the beginning of the year, analysts said.

Current chip division chief Kye Hyun Kyung will succeed Jun as head of the future business unit.

"The chip division has been lagging in competitiveness on various fronts. It also missed a lot of the global AI upward trend," said analyst Lee Min-hee at BNK Investment & Securities.


Arab Leaders Approve Riyadh as Headquarters for Arab Cybersecurity Ministers Council

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Arab Leaders Approve Riyadh as Headquarters for Arab Cybersecurity Ministers Council

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Arab leaders approved the basic system for the Council of Arab Cybersecurity Ministers during the 33rd Arab Summit being held in Manama, Bahrain. The Arab League welcomed Saudi Arabia's proposal to establish the ministerial council.
The basic system for the council includes that it will operate under the umbrella of the Arab League and will have its permanent headquarters in Riyadh, with a general secretariat and an executive office in the host country, SPA reported.
The council's responsibilities include setting general policies, developing strategies and priorities to enhance Arab collective efforts in cybersecurity, promoting cybersecurity initiatives and programs, and addressing all cybersecurity issues at security, economic, developmental, and legislative levels.
Saudi Minister of State, Member of the Cabinet, and Chairman of the Board of the National Cybersecurity Authority Dr. Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban emphasized that the Kingdom’s proposal to establish the council comes amid the increasing cyber threats worldwide, as they now pose a danger to countries' stability and hinder their development plans.
He expressed deep gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for their wise guidance, continuous support, and keenness to enhance joint Arab efforts, preserve Arab security, and ensure stability.
The council was established based on a proposal put forth by the Kingdom and received unanimous support from all Arab countries.
The council's objectives include developing and strengthening cooperation among Arab countries in all aspects related to cybersecurity, coordinating efforts, and exchanging knowledge, experiences, studies, and relevant experiments.
It also aims to work on protecting the interests of member states in international organizations related to cybersecurity through joint coordination, unify the Arab position regarding cybersecurity at international organizations and entities, and contribute to creating a safe and reliable Arab cyberspace that enables growth and prosperity for all member states.


Microsoft Kicks off Product Event with AI Devices in Focus

 A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)
A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)
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Microsoft Kicks off Product Event with AI Devices in Focus

 A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)
A view shows a Microsoft logo at Microsoft offices in Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, France, February 9, 2024. (Reuters)

Microsoft kicked off a product event on Monday where it is expected to debut hardware and software related to consumer devices and AI.

At the event on its campus in Redmond, Washington, the Windows maker is expected to reveal a new version of its Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop that feature Qualcomm chips based on Arm Holdings' architecture.

After Intel's processors dominated the personal computer market for decades, Qualcomm and other makers of lower-power Arm components have tried to compete in the Windows-PC market.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips include a so-called neural processing unit that is designed to accelerate AI-focused applications, such as Microsoft's Copilot software.

Microsoft held the product event a day before the start of its annual developer conference.

Microsoft aims to extend its early advantage in the race to produce AI tools that consumers are willing to pay for. Its partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI allowed it to jump ahead of Alphabet, as other Big Tech companies race to dominate the emerging field.

Last week, OpenAI and Alphabet's Google showcased dueling AI technologies that can respond via voice in real time and be interrupted, both hallmarks of realistic voice conversations that AI voice assistants have found challenging. Google also announced it was rolling out several generative AI features to its lucrative search engine.

The PC industry has been under increasing pressure from Apple since the company launched its custom chips based on designs from Arm and ditched Intel's processors. The Apple-designed processors have given Mac computers superior battery life and speedier performance than rivals' chips that use more energy.

Microsoft tapped Qualcomm to lead the effort to move the Windows operating system to Arm's chip designs in 2016. Qualcomm has exclusivity on Microsoft Windows devices that expires this year. Other chip designers such as Nvidia have efforts under way to make their own Arm-based PC chips, Reuters has previously reported.


Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor Lied ‘Repeatedly’ to Support Claim, Says UK Judge

A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP
A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP
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Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor Lied ‘Repeatedly’ to Support Claim, Says UK Judge

A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP
A man walks past a bitcoin poster in Hong Kong on April 15, 2024. DALE DE LA REY / AFP

An Australian computer scientist who claimed he invented bitcoin lied "extensively and repeatedly" and forged documents "on a grand scale" to support his false claim, a judge at London's High Court ruled on Monday.

Craig Wright had long claimed to have been the author of a 2008 white paper, the foundational text of bitcoin, published under the pseudonym "Satoshi Nakamoto".

But Judge James Mellor ruled in March that the evidence Wright was not Satoshi was "overwhelming", after a trial in a case brought by the Crypto Open Patent Alliance (COPA) to stop Wright suing bitcoin developers.

Mellor gave reasons for his conclusions on Monday, stating in a written ruling: "Dr Wright presents himself as an extremely clever person. However, in my judgment, he is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is."

The judge added: "All his lies and forged documents were in support of his biggest lie: his claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto."

Mellor also said that Wright's actions in suing developers and his expressed views about bitcoin also pointed against him being Satoshi, Reuters reported.

Wright, who denied forging documents when he gave evidence in February, said in a post on X: "I fully intend to appeal the decision of the court on the matter of the identity issue."

COPA – whose members include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's payments firm Block – described Monday's ruling as "a watershed moment for the open-source community".

"Developers can now continue their important work maintaining, iterating on, and improving the bitcoin network without risking their personal livelihoods or fearing costly and time-consuming litigation from Craig Wright," a COPA spokesperson said.


Google Invests 1 billion Euros in Finnish Data Center to Drive AI Growth

The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)
The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)
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Google Invests 1 billion Euros in Finnish Data Center to Drive AI Growth

The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)
The Google logo is seen on the Google house at CES 2024, an annual consumer electronics trade show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, January 10, 2024. (Reuters)

Alphabet-owned Google will invest a further 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) into the expansion of its data center campus in Finland to drive its artificial intelligence (AI) business growth in Europe, it said in a statement on Monday.

In recent years, many data centers have been located in the Nordic countries because of the region's cooler climate, tax breaks and abundant availability of renewable power.

Finland's Nordic neighbours Sweden and Norway have recently grown increasingly critical of hosting them, with some industry experts arguing the Nordic countries should use their renewable power for products such as green steel that could leave higher surplus value in the countries.

But Finland's wind power capacity has increased so rapidly in recent years, by 75% to 5,677 megawatts in 2022 alone, that on windy days prices have plummeted to negative, industry statistics showed, Reuters reported.

Therefore there is still renewable capacity available for data centers such as Google's, which acquires wind power in Finland under long term contracts.

Analysts believe data centers' power consumption is set to massively increase due to the rapid growth in AI usage, which Google, too, cited for one of the reasons behind its investment decision, alongside its Hamina data center in Finland already operating with 97% carbon-free energy.

"Heat coming out of our Finnish data center will be re-routed to the district heating network in nearby Hamina, covering local households, schools and public service buildings," Google said in the statement. It added that it aimed to achieve net zero emissions across all of its operations and value chain by 2030.

In addition to its Finnish investment, the search and cloud giant announced last month it would build new data centers in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Apple Slashes iPhone Prices in China Amid Fierce Huawei Competition

FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
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Apple Slashes iPhone Prices in China Amid Fierce Huawei Competition

FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Apple has launched an aggressive discounting campaign on its official Tmall site in China, offering discounts of up to 2,300 yuan ($318) on select iPhone models.
The discounting comes as the US tech giant seeks to defend its position in the high-end smartphone market, where it faces increasing competition from local rivals such as Huawei .
Running from May 20 to May 28, it is more substantial than the one Apple offered in February.
While the highest discount in the February campaign was 1,150 yuan, this time discounts are up to 2,300 yuan. The steepest discount applies to the 1TB iPhone 15 Pro Max model, while other models also see significant price cuts.
For instance, the 128 GB version of the base iPhone 15 model has a discount of 1,400 yuan, according to Reuters' checks on Monday.
The increased competitive pressure on Apple comes after Huawei last month introduced its new series of high-end smartphones, the Pura 70, following the launch of the Mate 60 last August.
Apple's previous discounting effort in February appears to have helped the company mitigate a sales slowdown in China.
Apple's shipments in China increased by 12% in March, according to Reuters' calculations based on data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). This marks a significant improvement from the first two months of 2024, when the company experienced a 37% slump in sales.


South Korea, Britain Host AI Summit with Safety Top of Agenda

The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
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South Korea, Britain Host AI Summit with Safety Top of Agenda

The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File
The explosive growth of generative AI has sparked fears about its safety. Stefani REYNOLDS / AFP/File

South Korea and Britain kick off a major international summit on artificial intelligence in Seoul this week, where governments plan to press tech firms on AI safety.
The meeting is a follow-up to the inaugural global AI safety summit at Bletchley Park in Britain last year, where dozens of countries voiced their fears to leading AI firms about the risks posed by their tech, AFP said.
Safety is again on the agenda at the AI Seoul Summit starting Tuesday and representatives are expected from leading AI firms, including ChatGPT maker OpenAI, Google DeepMind, French AI firm Mistral, Microsoft and Anthropic.
"As with any new technology, AI brings new risks, including deliberate misuse from those who mean to do us harm," South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday in a joint article.
"However, with new models being released almost every week, we are still learning where these risks may emerge," they said in the piece, published by the South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo and Britain's i newspaper.
The stratospheric success of ChatGPT soon after its 2022 release sparked a gold rush in generative AI, with tech firms around the world pouring billions of dollars into developing their own models.
Generative AI models can generate text, photos, audio and even video from simple prompts, and its proponents have heralded them as a breakthrough that will improve lives and businesses around the world.
But critics, rights activists and governments have warned that they can be misused in a wide variety of situations, including the manipulation of voters through fake news stories or so-called "deepfake" pictures and videos of politicians.
- Dramatic changes -
Many have called for international standards to govern the development and use of AI.
"When we meet with companies at the AI Seoul Summit, we will ask them to do more to show how they assess and respond to risk within their organizations," Yoon and Sunak wrote.
"We will also take the next steps on shaping the global standards that will avoid a race to the bottom."

The Seoul summit comes days after OpenAI confirmed that it had disbanded a team devoted to mitigating the long-term dangers of advanced AI.
The two-day summit will be partly virtual, with a mix of closed-door sessions and some open to the public in Seoul.
However, a group of six South Korean civil society organizations, including the prominent Peoples Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, criticized the summit's organizers for not including more developing nations.
"It would be beneficial to discuss international norms for AI in a more open forum where all countries and diverse stakeholders from around the world can participate equally, rather than in an elite club of a few developed countries," they said in a joint statement on Monday.
In addition to safety, the summit will discuss how governments can help spur innovation, including into AI research at universities.
Participants will also consider ways to ensure the technology is open to all and can aid in tackling issues such as climate change and poverty.
"It is just six months since world leaders met at Bletchley, but even in this short space of time, the landscape of AI has changed dramatically," Yoon and Sunak said.
"The pace of change will only continue to accelerate, so our work must accelerate too."
France will host the next AI safety summit.