For Apple customers looking to buy the latest and greatest tech from the company, it’s been a good week.
Over the last several days, some of Apple’s most important products have either been released or were made more readily available. Apple’s iMac Pro, for instance, hit store shelves on December 14 and will begin shipping to customers who purchased online later this month. The iPhone X, which began shipping to customers last month, is now getting to customers in just a couple of days after their order. Even the Apple TV is now easier to find, thanks to Amazon starting to sell it again after a two-year hiatus.
But it wasn’t just about hardware. Apple’s week was punctuated by news that the company has acquired music-discovery service Shazam in a deal rumored to have cost the tech giant $400 million. Add that to a $390 million investment in one of its suppliers, and Apple had an awfully costly week.
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Read on for more on those topics and others in this week’s Apple news roundup.
- Good news for prospective iPhone X owners this week: Apple has been able to reduce shipping delays. If you order an iPhone X right now from any major carrier or unlocked, so it can be used on different carrier networks, you should be able to get the handset delivered to your house in just a couple of days. That stands in stark contrast to the weeks-long delay Apple customers dealt with last month after the iPhone X’s release.
- In a move that was tipped last week, Apple confirmed on Monday that it has acquired music-discovery service Shazam. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Apple said that it wants to integrate Shazam’s features, including the ability to identify what song is playing over the radio by using your smartphone’s microphone to “listen” to the music, into its Apple Music streaming app.
- Always a good source for sound bites, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that his week that there’s a big difference between the iPhone X’s face-scanning feature Face ID and alternatives bundled in devices from Samsung and others: Apple’s option is better. In fact, Schiller used even more colorful language to describe the face scanners in Android alternatives, saying they “all stink.” Face ID lets iPhone X users scan their faces to open the handset and access its software, as well as verify purchases through the company’s Apple Pay mobile-payments service.
- As promised, Apple on Thursday released its iMac Pro desktop. The computer features a 27-inch screen and components that sit behind the display, making it an “all-in-one” computer. Apple has called the iMac Pro its most powerful computer ever. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999, but if you really want the most powerful experience possible, you can customize the components inside the device, including the processor and video card, and boost its price to more than $13,000.
- Apple this week said that it will invest $390 million in a laser company called Finisar. Apple said that Finisar will use its investment to build a factory in Texas and build laser technology the company uses in its Face ID scanner. The investment was made from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund, a $1 billion initiative by Apple to boost strategically important manufacturing efforts to benefit its products. Apple previously invested $200 million into Corning for its glass smartphone screen development.
- If the iMac Pro isn’t powerful enough for you, Apple confirmed this week that it’s working on a new version of its Mac Pro desktop. Apple said that the Mac Pro will be designed specifically for “pro users” and will likely retake the crown of Apple’s most powerful computer that the iMac Pro currently holds. No release date has been announced.
- Apple will make its Swift programming language available to students in Chicago starting in spring 2018. The Chicago schools will use Swift to teach students to how to code apps that could be used on iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
One more thing…Looking for an Apple TV set-top box but want to buy it on Amazon? After a two-year hiatus, Amazon this week began selling the Apple TV again.