US firms cut off business with Huawei | Inside Apple - May, 20th 2019

Inside Apple (May 20th, 2019)

Google cuts off Huawei / Apple’s smart speaker efforts relegated to “other” / Lady Gaga plays Apple Park


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1. The U.S./China trade war has prompted Google, Intel, Qualcomm, and other U.S. tech vendors to cut off business with Huawei. The Google decision is the most dramatic; Google has revoked Huawei’s license to access its apps, services, and OS updates on its smartphones, restricting the company to the public, open-source version of Android. Huawei has about three months of parts stockpiled, but it will soon face a shortage of components with which to manufacture its devices. — BLOOMBERG


2. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has recommended approval of the $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint merger. The third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the U.S. claim a merger will help with the spread of broadband speeds into rural areas and the development of 5G infrastructure. This policy change in the FCC will help their case, but the Justice Department is still considering whether the merger would harm competition. — WALL STREET JOURNAL


3. By the numbers: China now accounts for 51% of the smart speaker market, and the U.S. dropped from 44% to 24%, according to Canalys data. Chinese smart speaker sales grew nearly 500% year-on-year in Q1. Amazon led worldwide with 4.6 million shipments and 22.1% market share. Google came in second with 3.5 million shipped and 16.8% market share, but it’s growing much slower than the competition, and three Chinese vendors are right behind it. The waning interest in this category in the U.S. is particularly bad news for Apple’s efforts; HomePod’s share is so small that Apple has fallen off the vendor list into the “other” category in Canalys’s data. Apple cut the U.S. HomePod retail price from $349 to $299 in April, but it’s still more expensive than competing products. — 9TO5MAC


4. Toshiba Memory is buying back shares it sold to Apple, Dell, and two other U.S. companies under a refinancing plan. The companies are all customers of Toshiba’s chips, and this plan allowed the consortium to prevent a takeover of Toshiba’s memory chip business by Western Digital. Apple, Dell, Kingston Technology Co. and Seagate stand to make “several hundred million dollars” on their short investment. — WALL STREET JOURNAL


5. Apple seems to have silently started selling a new 23.7-inch UltraFine Display in its retail storers. Apple recently stopped the 4K and 5K LG displays it had once officially endorsed, leading to speculation that it was about to reenter the display business itself. The availability of this new model complicates things, and the complete lack of announcements about it doesn’t help. — TIDBITS


6. Apple held its official Apple Park opening celebration on Friday, which featured a concert by Lady Gaga on its striking new Apple Stage. The whole campus was decorated in Apple’s classic six rainbow colors for the event, which was both the formal opening of its new campus and a tribute to Steve Jobs. — 9TO5MAC


7. Dave Verwer, creator of popular resources for iOS developers including App Review Times, iOS Dev Weekly, and iOS Dev Directory, has launched a new site listing job postings for iOS developers. — IOS DEV JOBS

8. Apple has patented a radar system for vehicles that reads road signs and warns of hazards in bad weather. — PATENTLY APPLE

9. Remy Sternbach of San Diego has built a business upgrading iPod Classics to hold 1 terabyte of music. — CULTOFMAC

10. After beginning to replace some Apple Watch Series 2 models with Series 3 when brought in for repairs, Apple is now replacing some Series 3 models with Series 4. — 9TO5MAC


Jon Mitchell has been a tech journalist since 2010. He covered Apple, Google, and the societal effects of social media for the storied blog ReadWriteWeb (now ReadWrite). He co-hosts Internet Friends, a podcast about life online with occasional lengthy digressions into Apple news. He’s the author of In Real Life: Searching for Connection in High-Tech Times from Parallax Press. He has recently, reticently returned to Twitter at @ablaze.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside) and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).


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