Recap: Earlier this month, Apple requested an appeal with the US Supreme Court to overturn the Northern District Court of California's decision to mandate the company allow third-party apps to use external payment methods. Under the anti-steering ruling, Apple can not forbid developers from informing app users of alternative payment platforms.

At the same time, it filed a motion in district court to stay its ruling until the SCOTUS decides on the mandate. The lower court granted the motion and will allow Apple to continue its current policies until it settles the matter with the high court – if it even gets that far.

There is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will even entertain Apple's case. Requesting an appeal in the highest court in the land is not often granted. The SCOTUS generally deals with landmark cases involving the constitutionality of a lower court's decision – a bar set much higher than cases in the lower appellate courts.

Apple's legal team must convince the Justices that the anti-steering ruling violates the Constitution or contradicts other federal laws. For the most part, the Supreme Court rejects more cases than it takes, so Apple's complaint that District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued an unfair opinion is not a shoo-in for the busy high court.

Epic was not pleased with the District Court's decision to stay the mandate, but its lawyers remain convinced that the SCOTUS will not even hear Apple's appeal. They noted that courts almost always grant stays unless they are blatantly frivolous.

District Court Judge Milan Smith stated, "Apple's arguments cannot withstand the slightest scrutiny," indicating that its chances on getting the SCOTUS to hear the appeal are nearly nil.

This is the second stay that Apple has won over the same mandate. The order was initially to go into effect by the end of December 2021, but in October, Apple requested a stay while it ran the case through the appellate court. Ultimately, it lost on appeal and here we are again.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney's frustration was palpable, tweeting on Monday, "Justice delayed, again."

To be clear, the decision set forth by the Northern District does not mean Apple must allow developers to place third-party app stores on iPhones. Instead, it stated that customers should be allowed to pay for in-app purchases on external platforms. The prime example would be the one Epic created that started this whole mess and got Fortnite booted from the App Store almost three years ago.

Apple's concerns over the decision are obvious. Under current App Store policies, developers must use Apple's payment system, which charges developers a 30-percent commission – the so-called Apple Tax. For example, losing the income generated by games like Candy Crush would be a huge gouge into Apple's cash-cow revenue stream, which requires little effort to maintain. Add to that all the other apps in Cupertino's walled garden that could switch to external payment methods, and it's easy to see why Apple is fighting this ruling tooth and nail.