Apple took a break this week from focusing on iPhones and its expanding lineup of services, like streaming video, to give a little love to its venerable Mac computers.
Earlier this week, Apple unveiled updated MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro while also discontinuing its 12-inch MacBook. The new computers feature thin designs, Intel processors, and in the case of the MacBook Pro, Apple’s Touch ID technology that lets users verify their identity with their fingerprints instead of passwords.
Also this week, we read reports about Apple planning a major iPhone redesign in 2020 and 2021, and that the company is working on a whopping five new iPads. And with the new Apple TV+ streaming video service ready for this fall, a report suggested Apple is spending big money on one of its most promising original series, See.
It was a busy week for those who follow Apple news. So, read on to learn more:
Brand New MacBooks
Apple has two new MacBooks. The first is a refreshed MacBook Air that has a 13-inch Retina display and a new, faster Intel processor to improve performance. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro similarly comes with new Intel processors, but it also has a Touch Bar and Touch ID, which add touch input and fingerprint security to the device. The MacBook Air starts at $1,099 ($999 for college students) and the MacBook Pro starts at $1,299 ($1,199 for college students). They’re both available now.
Apple’s Analyst Problem
Apple’s shares started the week on a down note after Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang downgraded the company’s stock to a sell. Zhang, who set a price target of $150, said that he doesn’t believe Apple’s shares can rise in the next 12 months. Apple’s shares opened on Monday at $204.23, but were down 2.4% to $199.37 after Zhang’s investor note. As of this writing, Apple’s shares had rebounded to $203.11.
Plenty of Apple TV+ Spending
Apple isn’t shy about spending on some of its more promising Apple TV+ series, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. The news outlet said that Apple is spending $15 million per episode on its upcoming sci-fi drama See starring Game of Thrones and Aquaman star Jason Momoa. That puts Apple in line with competitors Netflix and Amazon, which have increased their new show budgets to be more competitive with traditional television series, according to the report.
Mac Popularity Growing
Apple’s Mac shipments rose 9.6% year-over-year in the second quarter, according to market researcher IDC. Apple shipped 3.7 million Macs worldwide in the second quarter of 2018, versus 4.1 million in the same period in 2019. That was enough to land Apple in fifth place in global computers shipped. Lenovo’s placed first with 16.3 million computers, followed by HP’s 15.4 million and Dell’s 11.6 million. Acer just beat out Apple with 4.3 million computers shipped during the period.
A Walkie Talkie Problem
Apple disabled the Apple Watch’s Walkie Talkie feature that let users communicate with their voices via their smartwatches. Apple told tech news site TechCrunch that Walkie Talkie has a bug that would have allowed hackers to snoop on Apple Watch users via the device’s microphone. Apple said it doesn’t believe the bug was exploited, but it has turned off Walkie Talkie until it can fix the problem.
A Zoom Problem
Popular video conferencing service Zoom said this week that it had patched a flaw that would have allowed hackers to target Mac users and turn on their computer video cameras to spy on them. The flaw was specific to Zoom users on a Mac.
Five New iPads
Apple may be planning five new iPads for later this year, if a recent report is accurate. Tech site MySmartPrice this week discovered listings for five new iPad models in the Eurasian Economic Commission economic body’s database. The model numbers are for iPads that haven’t been released, and all of them are said to run on the iPadOS operating system that Apple plans to release in the fall. Interestingly, one of the models points to a 10.2-inch iPad that could replace the 9.7-inch screen size Apple has offered since the iPad first debuted in 2010. Apple, of course, hasn’t commented.
An iPhone Change
Apple will unveil an entirely new lineup of iPhones with revamped designs, in 2020, TFI International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told investors this week. Kuo didn’t provide many details about the three new iPhones Apple plans, but he did say that their successors in 2021 would move to an in-screen fingerprint sensor to verify user identities. In older iPhone models, Apple includes a physical Touch ID button for fingerprint sensing, but it has switched to a face scanner called Face ID over the past few years. Kuo said Apple would go back to Touch ID with an in-screen design in 2021.
One More Thing
Apple may have a growing employee-retention problem on its hands. According to a CNBC report this week, health insurance company Anthem has been poaching Apple employees to work on projects that improve Anthem’s customer-facing applications and services. Anthem has reportedly poached six Apple employees in recent months across software engineering and product design.