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Apple CEO Tim Cook Has Plenty to Say as New Hardware Looms

October 5, 2019, 12:00 PM UTC

Apple CEO Tim Cook was traveling across Europe this week and he didn’t waste any time making headlines.

During his tour, Cook talked about fake news and the importance of a free press. He then discussed Apple TV Plus, its opportunities to succeed, and just how popular Apple’s iPhone 11 has proven in its first few weeks on store shelves. He even took time to sign a friend of the court brief to the Supreme Court in support of Dreamers.

But he wasn’t the only one making Apple news this week. We also learned about a possible new AirPods launch. And, if one reliable Apple prognosticator is correct, we might see a big change coming to the iPad Pro next year.

Read on for more on that and more in this week’s Apple news roundup:

Tim Cook shares his views

Apple CEO Tim Cook traveled across Europe this week, and had plenty of things to say along the way. At a speech in Italy, Cook talked in detail about fake news and his belief that “journalism is the foundation of every democracy.” In interviews with media outlets in Germany, Cook extolled the iPhone 11’s virtues and noted that Apple was “able to lower the price of the iPhone this year,” thanks to the iPhone 11. And when pressed on whether Apple’s antitrust woes suggest it’s a monopoly, Cook quickly shot back, saying “no reasonable person would ever call Apple a monopoly.

New AirPods rumors

Apple might have revealed its redesigned earbuds, AirPods 2, in an iOS 13 beta this week. Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac found an image in the software that appears to show new-look AirPods. If accurate, the design would suggest Apple will keep the small, white design, but add in-ear rubber attachments. It’s believed the rubber addition will help the AirPods 2 deliver noise-canceling technology. Apple might unveil its new AirPods at a press event later this month. Here’s concept art depicting what the AirPods 2 could look like when they’re released.

Apple’s ‘moral obligation’

Apple and Tim Cook this week filed a friend of the court brief on Wednesday, requesting that the U.S. Supreme Court preserve the Obama-era DACA program that saves hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants, called Dreamers, from deportation. In the brief, Apple said it has “a moral obligation” to support the Dreamers and allow them to “pursue the American dream.”

Strong sales for iPhone 11

Apple’s iPhone 11 lineup is off to a good start, according to several reports this week. The Nikkei cited sources in Apple’s supply chain who said the company has upped its iPhone 11 production by about 10%, or 8 million units, because of stronger-than-expected demand. It followed reports from several analysts, who also checked Apple’s supply chain and found iPhone 11 demand stronger than Apple had anticipated. The company may now sell more than 80 million iPhone 11 units by the end of the year, according to analyst estimates.

New screens for ‘Pro’ iPads and MacBooks

Apple has big plans for professionally-focused iPads and MacBooks, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this week. Apple is working on high-end MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models that would ship with a new mini-LED screen technology, he said. Not to be mistaken with OLED or LED, mini-LED screens in Apple’s devices would use approximately 10,000 individual LEDs to deliver a picture. Mini-LED would be more expensive than the LCD and OLED screens Apple uses now in its products, but would offer outstanding color representation, according to the report. Apple could release the mini-LED equipped iPad in late 2020 and follow that with the MacBook in early 2021, according to Kuo.

Disappointing Mac Pro news

Apple will continue manufacturing its ultra-high-end Mac Pro desktop in the United States. But this week, the company learned that five Mac Pro components manufactured in China, including its optional wheels, a circuit board, and power adapter, will not be exempt from the Trump administration’s 25% tariffs on China-made goods. Apple had requested that the components be exempted from the tariffs, but the administration decided that Apple failed to prove the tariffs “would cause severe economic harm to [Apple] or other U.S. interests.”

One more thing…

Apple announced this week that it will announce its fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday, October 30. This is the first time since early 2018 that the company hasn’t held its earnings call on a Tuesday, fueling speculation that its next big hardware event could be held on October 29. So far, however, invites haven’t gone out.

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