Electronics remain its focus, but Apple is nevertheless expanding into other industries.
Sure, there were reports this week that Apple is working to update the iPhone in a way that could lead to it introducing foldable smartphones in a couple of years.
But Apple’s week was dominated by talk of its move into healthcare and its bid to become a big player in credit cards. And although Apple doesn’t talk about it publicly, it’s also increasing its investment in self-driving car technology.
Apple headlines covered a lot of territory this week. And below, we’ll examine it all.
Folding iPhones and iPads are coming?
Samsung plans to debut its foldable Galaxy Fold smartphone this fall. But Apple may be cooking up its own version, UBS told investors in a research note this week. The financial firm said Apple is secretly working on foldable screen technology and plans to premier a foldable iPad in 2020. A foldable iPhone will follow in 2021, according to UBS, which didn’t say what the foldable iPad or iPhone would look like.
Apple Card is slowly rolling out
Apple opened applications for its Apple Card credit card this week. At this point, the applications are only available to some people who had asked to be notified. Apple, which partnered with Goldman Sachs on the credit card, plans to debut it later this month. Apple Card has no late fees, international fees, or any other type of fees. It does, however, come with interest of up to 24.99%.
China tariffs worry investors
The U.S. plans to impose a 10% tariff on Chinese imports starting on Sept. 1. And this week, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple, which manufacturers many of its products in China, may absorb the extra cost of those tariffs rather than passing them on to consumers. Kuo said that doing so would help Apple endear itself to consumers, benefiting the company over the long-term. But after Apple’s shares fell 5% on Monday amid the tariff fears, it was clear that shareholders disagreed.
Serious Siri questions
European regulators are investigating whether the tech industry’s practice of listening to recordings made by virtual personal assistants violates user privacy. This week, regulators in Germany, the U.K., and Ireland said that they’re evaluating Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft’s use humans to listen to recordings of the voice commands that their users give to their virtual personal assistants. The companies have said that users remain anonymous to the reviewers and that the reviews allow the companies to improve their services. Privacy advocates, however, fear that users can still reveal their identities when they talk to Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, or Cortana. Regulators have yet to launch a formal investigation.
Project Titan gets a boost
Apple is quietly increasing the team working on Project Titan, new California Department of Motor Vehicles filings show. In April, Apple had 110 drivers registered in California to test self-driving car technology. Since then, the company has increased the number to 143 people. The filings didn’t say exactly what those drivers are doing, but needless to say, Apple’s ambitions in the car business are far from dead.
Watch out for iPhone batteries
In an odd twist this week, repair specialists found that Apple displays a “Service” message in iPhone’s battery settings when an unauthorized third-party replaces the battery. That message says that the battery can’t be verified and therefore users can’t see their battery health in the iPhone’s settings. The only way to verify the battery, it seems, is to have the work done by Apple or Apple-authorized businesses, like Best Buy. That hasn’t gone over well with Right to Repair advocates who argue that consumers should be able to fix their devices whenever and however they want.
Expanded health research
Apple has partnered with pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly to study whether the iPhone and Apple Watch can be used to identify early signs of dementia, CNBC reported this week. The companies are working with patients who have varying stages of dementia to determine whether the Apple Watch and iPhone could help them. The research is ongoing and the companies haven’t yet reached any conclusions.
One more thing…
After Apple removed the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 and iPhone X, Samsung responded with online ads and TV commercials that mocked the iPhone. However, this week, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10+ phones, which don’t have headphone jacks. Soon after, Samsung removed all its earlier ads that dinged Apple from YouTube. Whoops.
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