Apple’s Busy Week: a $52,000 Mac Pro and an Acquisition of Better Camera Technology

Apple’s past week was a decidedly busy one, with an acquisition of a small startup that could help improve the quality of the iPhone’s camera, and the release of a Mac Pro that can cost as much as some sports cars. And in the strangest twist of all, Apple said customers can only clean the Apple Pro Display XDR’s $6,000 screen with a special, Apple-made cloth.

But Apple’s week wasn’t only about high-priced hardware. The company also released a new version of iOS 13 with some important updates, like new parental controls to limit how much time children can spend making calls or using FaceTime.

Meanwhile, while visiting Asia, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented about monopolies and why, in his view, they’re not so bad in certain circumstances. By the way, Apple isn’t a monopoly, he said.

Read on for more on these headlines and others:

The $52,000 Mac Pro

Apple’s latest Mac Pro is officially available for order. And although it starts at $6,000, with upgrades to its memory, storage, processing power, and graphics performance, can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, a fully maxed-out Mac Pro costs $52,000. Add that to the Pro Display XDR Apple sells separately at a starting price of $5,000, and some professional users may need to mortgage their homes to buy Apple’s most expensive desktop-monitor setup ever.

A major development on tariffs

On Sunday, the Trump administration had planned to impose a massive 15% tariff on a variety of imported China-made goods, including the iPhone. But this week the federal government reached an agreement with China to eliminate the pending tariffs. Apple will now avoid having to pay 15% to the government on the sale of many of its products, including the iPhone.

What’s with the special cloth?

Apple said this week that its nano-texture Pro Display XDR can only be cleaned with a special Apple-made cloth. The nano-texture mode is the first screen from Apple to use nano-texture technology. Apple said that the cloth is specially designed to not damage the nano-texture during cleaning, unlike paper towel or even a microfiber cloth.

Tim Cook talks monopolies

Speaking to Nikkei this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that his company isn’t a monopoly, contrary to concerns by U.S. and European regulators about Apple’s control over developers and competitors through its App Store. But Cook didn’t just stop there. He also told Nikkei that “a monopoly by itself isn’t bad,” as long as the company does not abuse its position of power and harm competition.

Apple’s soaring wearables business

Apple’s third-quarter wearable shipments soared 196% year-over-year to 29.5 million units, according to market researcher IDC. The company’s wearables business, which includes headphones like Beats, and earbuds like AirPods, along with Apple Watch, jumped from 43.4 million units shipped in the third quarter of 2018 to 84.5 million last quarter. In interviews with Fortune this week, analysts said Apple’s wearables business generates about $20 billion in revenue today. By 2030, one analyst expects that figure to grow to $100 billion.

Apple acquires Spectral Edge

Apple has quietly acquired a small U.K. startup called Spectral Edge, Bloomberg reported this week. The timing and size of the acquisition is unknown, but filings in the U.K. show Apple now controls the company. Spectral Edge uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automatically improve photos users take with their smartphone cameras. Spectral Edge’s technology makes colors in photos more accurate and photos taken in low-light environments appear brighter.

What to know about iOS 13.3

Apple released a free iOS 13.3 update this week. The operating system update includes a variety of bug fixes, as well as improvements to Apple’s ScreenTime app to enhance parental controls and limit a child’s use of FaceTime, Messages, and other communication apps. After the update, users found that children can easily circumvent parental controls in iOS 13.3 because Apple’s software doesn’t require a parent’s passcode when kids communicate with contacts outside of allowed times. This week, Apple promised to update the software and fix that issue.

One more thing…

This week, Apple and television show host Ellen Degeneres partnered with former first lady Michelle Obama to donate free Macs and iPads to Randle Highlands Elementary School in Washington, D.C. The donation allows every student and teacher to get a free Mac. It also includes a $100,000 donation from Degeneres for the school to build a new basketball court.

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