An Apple a Day is a weekly roundup of the biggest Apple news this week. To see last week’s roundup, click here.
The last several days were supposed to be filled with anticipation for Apple. Instead, they were filled with worry and trouble that could have a profound impact on the company’s future.
Apple (AAPL) kicked off this past week in grand fashion by announcing that it would hold a press event on Sept. 7, when it’s expected to unveil a new iPhone, among other products. But anticipation for the event was quickly thrust aside after the European Commission announced that the company owed $14.5 billion in back taxes in Ireland, which the Commission says, Apple used as a tax haven. While Apple CEO Tim Cook has called the allegations “political crap,” and both Ireland and the U.S. have sided with Apple, it marred what should have been a week of anticipation for the company as it looks ahead to its big event next week.
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But those were just two of many Apple stories that came up this week. Read on to learn more about Apple’s gyrations in this week’s edition of “An Apple a Day:”
- At long last, Apple said when it would hold its next press event: Sept. 7. The company announced the event in invites sent to press on Aug. 29, saying “See you on the 7th.” The invite featured a blurred look at the top of the Apple logo. While Apple didn’t say what it would unveil at the event, it’s expected to debut the next iPhone, believed to be called the iPhone 7. Apple may also introduce new iPads, new Macs, and updates to its Apple Watch. The event will be held at 1 p.m. ET, so be sure to check back at Fortune next week for the details.
- If you’re interested in watching Apple’s press event, the company is offering several ways to do so. In addition to streaming the show on its Apple TV set-top box and all of its devices, like the iPhone and Macs, through the Safari browser, Windows 10 users will be able to watch the show from the Microsoft Edge browser.
- Europe’s competition watchdog this week slapped Apple with a $14.5 billion tax bill after it ruled that Ireland, where the company has its European headquarters, had been giving Apple preferential tax treatment. The ruling, which was expected, was quickly denounced by Apple chief executive Tim Cook, who called it “political crap.” The European Commission, meanwhile, says that Apple was able to shift profits from across Europe through Ireland, where it could pay less in taxes and therefore save itself billions of dollars. More rulings against major technology companies are expected.
- Apple has found some friends in its tax case. Although Ireland could make billions if Apple complies with the European Commission’s ruling, the country has said, oddly, that it supports Apple in the case, adding that the iPhone maker was “acting legally.” Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department took things one step further, saying that the European Union is trying to take tax revenue intended for the U.S. While the Treasury Department didn’t necessarily support Apple in its case against Ireland, Secretary Jack Lew said that if Apple is forced to pay the bill, it could create a deduction for the company in the U.S. and therefore reduce its tax liability with the IRS.
- In more lawsuit news, three iPhone owners this week filed a lawsuit against Apple in which they claimed that they are owed damages over the so-called “Touch Disease” that affects its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Touch Disease is a term coined by hardware-repair firm iFixit, which found that the touchscreen of many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, introduced in 2014, were starting to malfunction. The problem, according to iFixit, is that after regular use, chips that sit inside the device and interact with the touchscreen’s inputs start to crack and detach. Once the connection between the display and the “Touch IC Chips” is broken, the touchscreen stops working. Apple is accused in the lawsuit of not acknowledging the reported problem and charging customers hundreds of dollars to fix it. The plaintiffs are hoping to turn the case into a class action lawsuit to include other iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners.
- Apple appears to be coming around on Twitter. While the company has owned the @Apple account for years, it’s been left dormant. However, on Friday, Apple updated the account with its logo, suggesting it might start using it. So far, Apple hasn’t tweeted anything from its account, but the company has been extremely active on one of its other Twitter accounts @AppleSupport, where it handles user problems.
- Apple could announce a new Apple Watch at its upcoming event. However, whether the device will catch on with consumers remains to be seen. Eighty-three percent of current iPhone owners have no interest in buying a second-generation Apple Watch, app and mobile shopping company Branding Brand said this week. In its survey of iPhone owners, the company found that “nothing” could make a third of all iPhone owners change their mind about Apple’s next wearable. One other tidbit from the survey: Only half of existing iPhone owners plan to buy the iPhone 7.
- A new leak out of China this week suggests Apple is indeed removing the headphone jack in its next iPhone. Someone posted an image purporting to show the next iPhone’s packaging insert. The insert makes mention not only of an “iPhone 7” but also an adapter that would come bundled with the smartphone allowing those with tethered headphones to connect them through the Lightning port on the bottom of the smartphone. That suggests Apple will eliminate the headphone jack, as previously rumored. It’s unknown, however, whether the image is legitimate. The report came just days before another rumor surfaced, saying Apple is planning to introduce wireless Beats headphones with the iPhone 7.
- Apple has quietly built its largest campus, and it’s not even in California. Last week, the company moved 6,000 employees into two new homes in Austin, Tex. The biggest of the two is 1.1 million square feet and accommodates approximately 5,500 employees who work on Apple support services, human resources, and other functions. Apple also has 500 engineers in Austin who work on the chips that are bundled with its many hardware products including iPhone and iPad. Apple did it all largely in secret, according to Johny Srouji, its senior vice president of hardware technologies.
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One more thing…The same spyware that affected iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad, has now been prevented from attacking Macs. On Thursday, Apple updated its OS X operating system that prevents hackers from gaining access to user data. The same flaw was discovered last month on iOS devices after a human rights activist from the United Arab Emirates was targeted. The flaw would allow hackers to gain access to all of a device’s files, call logs, and other information. Now, it’s been patched across Apple’s two most prominent operating systems.