So far this summer, there have been countless rumors surrounding Apple’s (AAPL) plans for the future. But Apple has largely remained quiet, leaving the rumor mill to talk about its plans.
However, that all ended this week when the company’s top executives were featured in a wide-ranging interview with Fast Company. In it, they shared the differences between late-co-founder Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook, why Apple offers public beta programs, and much more. Plus, we learned in a separate report and a subsequent patent filing that Apple might be planning an all-new health-tracking wearable designed solely for healthcare providers.
Read on to learn more about that and much more from this week’s roundup of the biggest Apple news:
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- Apple is expanding its presence in machine learning with the acquisition of a small startup named Turi, according to a Geekwire report. The company reportedly bought the machine learning startup for approximately $200 million to boost its own artificial intelligence services, like Siri or even features required for an autonomous vehicle. However, Apple hasn’t yet confirmed the acquisition.
- All signs are pointing to a new Apple Watch launching later this year, but there is some debate over whether it’ll be thinner. A new report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week suggests Apple is working on two new Apple Watch models, including one that would deliver just minor upgrades and another that would add a better processor, GPS chip, and barometer sensor, among other features. However, due to the extra power and features, Apple might need to bundle a bigger battery in the next Apple Watch, tossing cold water on earlier rumors it might be thinner than the first-generation model.
- Have you ever wondered what’s different between Tim Cook and Steve Jobs? Apple senior vice presidents Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi opened up about it in an interview with Fast Company, describing how Jobs was more “in your face, screaming, and Tim is more quiet, more cerebral in his approach.” Cue added, however, that he has the same feeling of not wanting to disappoint Cook as he does with his dad.
- Apple’s MacBook Pro line is due for a major upgrade, and it might just happen this year. According to a report from Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac, Apple will this year launch new MacBook Pro notebooks featuring both a Touch ID sensor for fingerprint security, as well as an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch bar that would sit above its keyboard. The touch bar would provide easy access to notifications, app information, and functions, according to the report. It was previously rumored an OLED touch bar would be coming to the next MacBook Pro.
- Apple’s next iPhone, believed to be known as the iPhone 7, could feature a dramatically different home button, according to a Bloomberg report. It’s believed the next iPhone could have a Touch ID baked directly into the smartphone’s glass and use haptic feedback, like a vibration, to notify users when it’s being pressed or a function has been activated. It’s unclear, though, whether the new Touch ID button would sit below the display or on it.
- Although Tim Cook has said Apple has plans to improve the health-tracking features offered in its Apple Watch, the company could be working on a standalone wearable designed for healthcare providers. In fact, a recent Economic Daily News report cited sources who said Apple plans to launch a wearable next year that could track everything from a person’s heart rate to their glucose levels. While many thought the report was viewed as unreliable in light of Cook’s earlier comments about expanding Apple’s healthcare appeal through Apple Watch, a patent application filed by Apple in the U.S. surfaced on Thursday showing off a wearable that can accurately monitor a person’s heart. Now, the earlier rumor looks far more credible.
- Apple isn’t the official mobile sponsor for the Rio Olympics—Samsung is—but that hasn’t stopped the company from selling to Olympians. In fact, Apple is using the Apple Store just six miles from Olympic park to sell special-edition Apple Watch bands. As one might expect, the special-edition bands come in national team colors. Olympians have since taken to social media to show off their limited-edition Apple Watch bands.
- Wondering how Apple’s stock will perform in the coming months? Earlier this week, Oppenheimer analyst Andrew Uerkwitz said that his company is still “bullish” on Apple due in large part to an anticipated major upgrade to the iPhone in 2017. He does, however, believe that Apple could have a tough time selling the iPhone 7 this year, which could hurt the stock in the near-term. Regardless, he has reiterated the stock’s “Perform,” or “Hold” rating.
- New data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel shows clearly that Apple’s iPhone business in the U.S. is quite strong. In fact, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are the most popular smartphones in both the U.S. and China—another critical market for Apple. During the second quarter, Apple’s iPhone accounted for 31.8% of all smartphone sales in the U.S. Its closest competitor was Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which combined for 14.1% market share. In other words, the iPhone 6s line is doing just fine.
- In another bid to expand into the $9 trillion global healthcare market, Apple has hired Evan Doll. Since last month, Doll has served as Apple’s director of health software engineering and actually worked at the company between 2003 and 2009. After he left Apple, Doll started news-gathering app Flipboard, and has been an entrepreneur-in-residence at Redpoint Ventures, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif. He likely reports to Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams, who currently directs Apple’s healthcare projects.
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One more thing…Apple’s App Store could be very, very big by 2020. In fact, app-marketing company Sensor Tower believes that Apple’s App Store could feature more than five million apps for iPhones and iPads within the next four years. The firm based its findings on a current evaluation of the App Store’s trajectory, counting 21,000 new games are added to the digital marketplace each month.