Apple doesn't typically make big acquisitions. But this week, it made an exception when it announced plans to acquire Intel's modem business for $1 billion.
The deal paves the way for Apple to build its own modems for future iPhones and iPads. Most importantly, the deal reduces Apple's reliance on third-party chipmakers, like Qualcomm, while potentially increasing profits on the sale of each device by reducing component costs.
But the Intel acquisition was far from the only big news out of Cupertino, Calif. this week. We read reports that new MacBooks may be released in the fall and about redesigned iPhones coming out later this year. There was also new information about when Apple Card, Apple's planned credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs, will premiere, and about a Justice Department inquiry into big tech companies, including Apple.
Read on for more on that and other Apple headlines from the past several days:
Apple goes big on Intel modems
Apple announced this week that it will acquire Intel's modem business for $1 billion along with 2,200 Intel employees. When the acquisition closes later this year, Apple will begin work on developing new modems, including chips that will power 5G wireless connections in iPhones and iPads. However, Apple isn't expected to add its own chips to its hardware for at least a few years. Until then, the company will still rely on Qualcomm to supply the critical communications components for iPhones and iPads.
DOJ looks into tech companies
The Justice Department announced this week that it will conduct a "broad antitrust" investigation into the business practices of several technology heavyweights, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The Justice Department said its investigation will be limited to determining whether the companies engage in any activities that limit competition or harm competitors.
Apple's MacBook plans
Apple plans to introduce new MacBooks this fall, Taiwanese news site Economic Daily News reported this week. Those MacBooks could include a new 16-inch MacBook Pro, along with updates to Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Airs. Apple has never sold a 16-inch MacBook Pro, but has been selling 13- and 15-inch models for years. Apple discontinued its 17-inch MacBook Pro in 2012. We don't know much about the new Macs, but I created a wish list this week that details what I'd like to see.
Three new iPhones for 2019
Apple will debut three new iPhones in 2019, Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac reported this week. The devices will all run on a new Apple processor called the A13 chip and will continue to use the Lightning port Apple has used in iPhones for the last several years. The model replacing the more budget-friendly iPhone XR will have two cameras on the back, but the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max replacements will get three rear cameras, according to the report. Apple hasn't said what it's planning, but it will likely unveil the new iPhones in September.
Apple Card to premiere in August
Apple and its partner Goldman Sachs plan to offer an Apple Card credit card in the first half of August, Bloomberg reported this week. Apple unveiled the Apple Card in March and said its no-fee and no-late-payment policy would be a big attraction. When available, Apple Card will carry interest rate charges of 13.4% to 24.4% and work anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
A SoftBank investment
Japanese conglomerate SoftBank plans a new venture capital fund of up to $108 billion called Vision Fund II, according to a Bloomberg report. And Apple will be among the technology companies plowing money into it. The first SoftBank Vision Fund kicked off in 2017 with $100 billion in investment from Apple, Google, and others.
One more thing...
The pending departure of Apple design chief Jony Ive was put in sharp focus this week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded a trademark to Ive on July 18 for the term "LoveFrom Jony." The design studio trademark doesn't say what LoveFrom Jony will design, but did list possibilities from cars to kitchen appliances.