From Austin to Antitrust to iOS, Apple’s Week Was Full of Bugs

Apple had plenty of surprises this week. Some were planned, like the announcement of a December press event that no one saw coming. Others, like when President Donald Trump boasted he “opened” an Apple facility that’s been operating since 2013, seemed to be off the cuff.

It’s all in a week’s work for Tim Cook, who in addition to meeting with Trump at the Mac Pro manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, had an interview with Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff at the Dreamforce conference. The CEO also found his company’s answers to antitrust questions from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee released, revealing Apple’s argument for why it’s not a monopoly—and not everyone was convinced.

Behind-the-scenes, a report surfaced exploring what Apple is doing to improve its buggy iOS software in 2020, alongside talk of the iPhone maker’s plans for next year’s handsets.

Here’s more on the biggest Apple headlines from the past several days:

Apple’s surprise event

On Monday, Apple announced that it’ll be holding a special press event in New York City on Dec. 2, where it will celebrate the company’s “favorite apps and games of 2019.” Apple’s invite suggests the company won’t discuss hardware at the show, making it even more of a head-scratcher.

In years past, Apple would issue press releases in early December announcing its favorite apps and games of the year. This year, it apparently believes an event is warranted. Chances are, however, it’ll be a bore.

Apple defends itself—but do its arguments hold up?

On Tuesday, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee this week released Apple’s answers to questions the committee posed on the iPhone maker’s business practices. The committee is questioning Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook to determine whether the companies pose a monopolistic threat to competitors. In its answers, Apple argued that it doesn’t engage in anti-competitive behaviors, has plenty of competition, and acts in the best interests of users by delivering “security and privacy” in its iOS operating system.

In interviews with Fortune this week, antitrust experts questioned Apple’s arguments, saying the company’s business practices have at times been “aggressive.” In some cases, Christopher Sagers, antitrust expert and law professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law said, Apple has been “positively abusive” to competing developers. Still, none of the experts could say whether Apple is truly anti-competitive and operating a monopoly.

Cook being candid on data, artificial intelligence

Speaking to Marc Benioff on stage at the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Cook talked in detail about privacy and his belief that it’s a “fundamental human right.” He went on to discuss artificial intelligence and why Apple believes it can still deliver solid machine learning without collecting too much user data. And no Cook appearance would be complete without a jab at Android owners. During the interview, he joked that Apple recycles Android phones at its Apple Store.

Cook and Trump, together in Austin

Donald Trump and Tim Cook toured the Apple Mac Pro production facility in Austin, Texas on Wednesday. The tour was supposed to highlight production on the new Mac Pro, but it quickly turned strange. During and after the visit, Trump said that he “opened” the facility. The problem, however, is that it actually opened in 2013, long before Trump became president.

It’s also worth noting that Apple almost decided to manufacture its Mac Pro overseas, before the Trump administration capitulated to Apple’s demands and offered 10 out of the company’s 15 requested tariff exemptions on the components Apple uses to produce its computer.

All eyes on a buggy iOS 13

Since it was released in September, Apple’s iOS 13 has been a buggy mess. Apple’s operating system has suffered from bugs that have crashed applications and made others slow to load. The company has already released eight updates to the operating system, though it has only been available for two months.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Apple is enhancing its bug detection and testing for iOS 14 to address these concerns. The company held a meeting with software engineers recently to inform them of a new policy that will stop bugs and half-baked features from going public before they’re fixed or ready, according to the report. Apple plans to start using the new testing process next year.

Looking ahead to 5G

In a note to investors on Wednesday, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple will offer 5G wireless connectivity in all new iPhone models next year. Kuo, who cited unidentified sources, said the iPhones will support two 5G technologies, called mmWave and sub-6GHz, which should allow the iPhones to work on all 5G towers across the U.S. Apple’s chief rival Samsung already offers 5G phones, but the technology is only available in select markets across the U.S. Most experts say 2020 will be the year when 5G becomes ubiquitous.

One more thing…

Apple’s AirPods Pro are more popular than expected, Bloomberg reported this week. The outlet’s unidentified sources said AirPods Pro demand is “much higher” and Apple is now planning to increase its manufacturing capacity to keep up with demand. Apple could ship a total of 60 million AirPods in 2019, doubling the 30 million the company shipped in 2018.

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