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Apple’s chip transition will be a non-event for consumers

June 22, 2020, 1:43 PM UTC

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There is something reassuring about Apple holding its annual developers conference this week, even if it will be held online only. The conference is 95% nerdfest—legit technical sessions on how Apple’s hardware and software work—with a smidge of major or not-so-major product announcements sprinkled in. The main events are like fish food heaped into the aquarium for the many species that feed off the Apple ecosystem. The balance constitutes red meat for the public and its enabler, the news media.

As Aaron has summarized, one of the expected news events at WWDC is Apple’s intention to dump Intel, the supplier for 15 years of semiconductors for its Macintosh computers. This is tremendously important for the tech world and an almost non-event for consumers. It was a similarly big deal a decade and a half ago, when Apple cut loose an IBM-Motorola consortium in favor of Intel. Then, however, the iPhone didn’t exist, and Macs were Apple’s main business. Today, laptops and desktops comprise just under 10% of Apple sales. What’s under the hood is a bit of snooze if you’re not in the chip business.

That said, computers are still a product line for Apple. Last year it experienced modest growth, compared with a 14% decline in iPhone sales. Apple’s plan to make computer chips of its own design will help it strengthen a slow-growth, cash-cow product.

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Two funny descriptions of Big Tech from my weekend reading:

  • In a marvelous, funny, trenchant, shows-why-we-miss-him-badly interview, Jon Stewart calls the YouTube and Facebook approach to media “an information-laundering perpetual-radicalization machine.”
  • Kevin Roose, writing in the New York Times, on the irony of the leaders of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement while their platforms host racist filth that undermines the cause: “It’s as if the heads of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell all got together to fight obesity by donating to a vegan food co-op, rather than by lowering their calorie counts.”

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If you were to assemble the people who could help you truly understand health care and how it’s affected businesses today, who would you pick? Here are a few on Fortune’s list: 

  • The CEOs and presidents of health-care giants Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novartis, Aetna
  • Co-discoverer of CRISPR-Cas9 Dr. Jennifer Doudna
  • Dean of Stanford Medicine Dr. Lloyd Minor
  • Chief medical officers from IBM, Verily, Google Health
  • Healthcare venture capitalists like Sue Siegel
  • Thrive Global CEO Arianna Huffington
  • CEO of REFORM Alliance Van Jones
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Hear from them and more at Fortune Brainstorm Health, our virtual health-care conference on July 7-8. As a newsletter subscriber, you’re invited to use this code—BSH20GUEST—and get half off.

Adam Lashinsky

@adamlashinsky

adam.lashinsky@fortune.com

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Aaron Pressman.

NEWSWORTHY

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. With the muddled U.S. handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple is re-closing its stores in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina that it just re-opened a month ago. Meanwhile, usually accurate Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple's first non-Intel computers will be a 13-inch MacBook Pro notebook and a new 24-inch iMac, to be released at the end of the year or early in 2021.

Team work makes the dream work. Was President Trump's Tulsa rally hacked, in a manner? Hundreds of TikTok users and K-pop fans say they signed up online for tickets for the rally, falsely inflating attendance expectations. Trump campaign chairman Brad Parscale said the bragging teenagers "don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work.”

Voting with their dollars. A one-month boycott of advertising on Facebook is growing. Outdoor gear retailers The North Face and Recreational Equipment Inc, or REI, said on Friday that they would not advertise on Facebook in July. Last week, six civil rights groups including the NAACP and the Anti-Defamation League called for the boycott to pressure the social network to better police racist and hateful messages carried on the platform.

Here I come to save the day. In one of those is-it-a-Bond-movie-plot-or-high-tech-CEO-dream stories, Google co-founder Sergey Brin has created a disaster rapid response team called Global Support and Development, or GSD, The Daily Beast reports. The story has a deep dive into the mega-yachts, drones, and hydrogen-powered dirigibles that the group uses to get aid to victims of hurricanes, cyclones, and other natural disasters.

It keeps going and going and going. Speaking of billionaire tech founders and their dreams, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Sunday that he will unveil the company's new record-breaking battery technology at an event on Sept. 15. Dubbed the "million mile" battery, the breakthrough could allow Tesla to sell much cheaper cars and leap ahead on range. Stay tuned.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

One of the fastest growing tech hubs in North America is in Toronto. Writer Brian Barth for the MIT Technology Review criss-crosses Canada's largest city to find out what's going on and how it differs from Silicon Valley.

Yung Wu is the CEO of the MaRS Discovery District, a block-size campus in downtown Toronto where firms can rent space, mingle in a massive central atrium, and tap into services designed to help startups and “scale-ups” grow. He has seen the revenue of its 1,500 companies almost triple in the past two years, but he insists that Canadian tech is on a qualitatively different path from its U.S. counterpart. “I don’t think the bro culture would have really developed in the same way over here, for instance,” he says. Canadian values may play a role in that, but demographic differences are also part of the equation—Toronto is considered one of the most diverse cities on earth, and more than 50% of its residents were born in another country. Likewise, at MaRS, which bills itself as the “largest urban innovation hub” in North America, more than half of all company founders were born abroad.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Apple chip contract would help Taiwan Semiconductors fill a Huawei-shaped hole By Eamon Barrett

11 deals for $15 billion in 10 weeks: Why India’s Jio Platforms is on an investment spree By Grady McGregor

This was the most out-of-stock product on websites in May By Lance Lambert and Nicolas Rapp

Marketing strategies during the pandemic should be focused on building relationships By Radhika Marya

Wirecard’s disappearing $2.1 billion By Lucinda Shen

The founder of paint supply startup Clare on how to use your brand as a social platform By Rachel King

(Some of these stories require a subscription to access. Thank you for supporting our journalism.)

BEFORE YOU GO

If you're in need of a bit of music and a bit of cuteness today, check out the latest NPR Tiny Desk (at home) Concert. Singer/songwriter Hamilton Leithauser performs a few of his recent tunes backed up by his two young daughters and two nieces. It's all smiles and dancing on top of hay bales.

Aaron Pressman

@ampressman

aaron.pressman@fortune.com