“We think it is entirely appropriate for Congress to take a closer look at Apple’s business practices,” Mr. Prober said.
Apple has faced scrutiny in recent years for its strict control over its App Store, including Apple’s practice of forcing apps to use its payment system, which allows it to collect a commission of up to 30 percent on many app sales.
That policy has fueled a multibillion-dollar business, but also brought Apple regulatory headaches, including Wednesday’s hearing and legislative fights in several states. Next month, Apple is set to face off in a trial against Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, which is suing Apple over its App Store policies.
As part of its announcements on Tuesday, Apple said it was redesigning its podcast app, which now offers millions of shows, up from 3,000 when Apple introduced the service 16 years ago. Starting next month, creators can sell subscriptions to their podcasts, Apple said. It was unclear if Apple would take a cut of those sales, but that has been its approach when pushing into new industries, including in apps, music and news.
The subscription service will put Apple in even more direct competition with Spotify, which has been working on its own podcast subscriptions. Spotify has been a leading critic of Apple in recent years. The music service’s business depends up reaching listeners through iPhones, putting the company at Apple’s whim. Spotify has filed antitrust complaints against Apple in Europe and has complained about the company to American regulators.
Apple also showed off a series of slimmer, faster and more colorful iMacs. The desktop computers, which have 24-inch screens, range in price from $1,300 to $1,700. Apple also unveiled its new iPad Pro, its top-of-the-line tablet, with a sharper screen, faster speeds and the ability to connect to 5G wireless networks. The iPad will cost between $800 and $1,100.
Apple’s other announcements on Tuesday included an update to its branded credit card that would allow spouses to build credit together, and improvements to its Apple TV devices, such as a new remote and faster processor that will make video play more smoothly.