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Apple’s Week Was Dominated by WWDC, Regulators, and a Mac Surprise

Apple’s past week was certainly eventful. But whether the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) announcements were enough to overcome fears of regulatory insight and China remains to be seen.

The tech giant’s week kicked off with some interesting timing. Just as CEO Tim Cook and fellow executives stepped on stage at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. for the WWDC keynote, Reuters published a report that said the U.S. Justice Department is considering investigating Apple to decide whether it’s engaging in anti-competitive behavior. Google-owned Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon could also face a similar Justice Department inquiry, the report said.

For Apple’s part, the company used WWDC to talk about its new operating systems, including iOS 13, watchOS 6, and iPadOS, as well as a new Mac Pro that will be released later this year with a starting price of $6,000. And after the show, CEO Tim Cook spent some time talking about China and how Apple plans to address possible tariff threats.

Needless to say, it was quite the week for Apple. Here’s the week’s biggest news from the company:

  1. It’s hard to start a recap of Apple’s week without mentioning the company’s two-hour keynote address on Monday. During the event, Apple discussed a new version of its iOS 13 operating system, which comes with a new dark mode for reducing eye strain during use and a Sign In with Apple feature that shrouds your identity to third-party websites looking to collect your e-mail address and other identifying information. Apple’s tvOS, which runs on its Apple TV set-top box, is getting a design upgrade to make it easier to navigate the software, and Apple said it’ll make a new iPadOS operating system available that uses the iPad’s larger screen to show more content and icons on the display. Apple’s macOS Catalina will be able to use the iPad as a second screen to drag and drop windows and text between laptops or desktops, and iPads. Finally, Apple’s watchOS 6 will add a new menstrual-cycle tracking feature and other health trackers. All of the operating systems will be updated this fall. This all adds up to what I think was the most important Apple developer keynote in a long time.
  2. Although Apple’s WWDC keynotes historically focus on software, hardware played a major role this year, thanks to the Apple Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR. Apple called its Mac Pro its most powerful computer ever, with processing and graphics power that should allow professionals to be far more productive. However, at a starting price of $6,000, those folks will pay dearly to get all that power. The Pro Display XDR has a 32-inch 6K screen, which means its resolution will be significantly higher than a 4K television. But at a starting price of $5,000, it’ll be similarly expensive. Both will be released in the fall.
  3. While Apple was on stage at its keynote on Monday, Reuters reported that the U.S. Justice Department is considering launching an investigation into the company and whether it violates antitrust regulations. It’s unclear from the report exactly what the Apple investigation could center on, but Apple is facing a Spotify complaint in Europe over its App Store policies. Critics, including Spotify, take issue with Apple operating the only App Store on the iPhone and taking a share of the developers’ revenue.
  4. In an interview with CBS News this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he’s not concerned about the possibility of China cracking down on Apple products in response to a U.S. trade war. He also talked in detail about privacy and his belief that safeguarding one’s identity is “a fundamental human right.”
  5. Apple is still working on the long-rumored Apple Car. And a report this week from The Information said the iPhone maker is considering acquiring an autonomous driving startup called Drive.ai. It’s unclear how much Apple might want to pay for Drive.ai. Apple declined to comment on the rumor.

One more thing…Apple talked up its first Apple TV Plus show this week, called For All Mankind. You can watch the trailer for the show, which tells an alternate history of the space race.