Apple’s New MacBook Pro, New Lobbyist, and New Credit Card Problem

November 16, 2019, 2:30 PM UTC

Apple kicked off the week by announcing its long-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro. And it ended the week by scrubbing nearly 200 vaping apps from its App Store.

The new MacBook Pro comes with upgraded processors and a revamped keyboard. The keyboard is notable because several previous MacBook Pro models had a faulty keyboard design that, at times, made it impossible to type.

Meanwhile, Apple removed 181 vaping-related apps from its digital store on Friday following what the Centers for Disease Control and American Heart Association have called “a public health crisis.” Forty-two people have died from vaping-related illnesses.

And in a move that may surprise some industry watchers, Apple has a hired Jeffrey Miller, the vice finance chairman for President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee, to serve as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. His focus? China tariffs.

Read on for more about this week’s big Apple headlines:

Here’s Apple’s new MacBook Pro

After months of rumors, Apple this week finally revealed its 16-inch MacBook Pro, the first from the company with that screen size. Apple redesigned the keyboard so that it has a scissor-like movement under the keys to improve key responsiveness. The MacBook Pro, which comes with improved Intel processors compared to last year’s smaller models, starts at $2,399. But an upgraded version with better processors, memory, and storage can cost thousands more.

Mac Pro has a release date

Apple’s high-end (and pricey) Mac Pro desktop will debut in December, around the same time as Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor, the company said this week. Apple didn’t provide an exact release date, but it did say the Mac Pro will start at $5,999 (or up to $50,000 with top-of-the-line components) and $4,999 for the Pro Display XDR.

Vaping apps are out

Apple removed 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store on Friday. In a statement to news site Axios, which was first to report on the move, Apple said that it agrees with the Centers for Disease Control and American Heart Association that vaping is “a public health crisis and youth epidemic.” Apple said that it has also updated its App Store developer guidelines to ban any vaping-related apps that are submitted in the future.

Apple’s new lobbyist

In a move that may rankle some liberals, Apple hired a lobbyist close to President Donald Trump. That lobbyist, Jeffrey Miller, served as the vice finance chairman for Trump’s inaugural committee. In his role, according to CNBC, Miller will advocate on Apple’s behalf on “trade issues as they relate to technological goods and services.” That likely means that Miller will lobby government officials about the Trump administration’s ongoing trade war with China, which may impact Apple with higher manufacturing costs.

Goldman Sachs will address gender bias allegations

Goldman Sachs, Apple’s banking partner for the Apple Card, said this week that it will address concerns about possible gender bias in how it approves customer credit card limits. In the statement, Goldman Sachs banking division CEO Carey Halio said that the company has “not and never will make decisions based on factors like gender.” Halio added, however, that Goldman Sachs wants to ensure its “credit decision process is fair” and will now work with an unidentified third party to review the company’s “credit decisioning process to guard against unintended biases and outcomes.” The move follows gender bias allegations last week by tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson, who said his Apple Card credit limit was 20 times higher than his wife’s, despite the couple filing joint tax returns.

A big leap in ad revenue?

Apple’s ad business could grow considerably in the coming years, according to a JP Morgan report this week. Analysts at the bank said Apple’s ad business may grow from $2 billion to $11 billion annually by 2025. That ad growth will come from Apple’s Services business, which includes Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, and other streaming offerings.

One more thing…

Apple will release a bundled version of several of its paid online products as early as next year, Bloomberg reported this week, citing sources who have knowledge of its plan. The bundle would include Apple Music, Apple News Plus, and Apple TV Plus. The report didn’t disclose the bundle’s price, but Apple Music and Apple News Plus each cost $10 per month. Apple TV Plus costs $5 per month.

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