Apple is testing new “high-end” Macs ahead of the WWDC event. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman shared some specs for the upcoming machines, both of which are desktop computers. The first one would have the M2 Max chip with eight high-performance cores, four efficiency cores, and 30 graphics cores, with up to 96GB of memory. The other, more powerful new Mac would be running the M2 Ultra chip with 24 processing cores, with 16 high-performance cores and eight efficiency cores, and a whopping 60 graphics cores. It could come with either 64GB, 128GB, or 192GB of memory. It appears, however, that neither of these two new computers will be part of Apple’s Mac Pro lineup, which hasn’t been refreshed in three years. Instead, they would likely be new versions of the Mac Studio, a compact desktop computer which sits in between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro.
Apple’s mixed reality headset is a hedge against future disruption
Apple’s venture into virtual and augmented reality needs to be judged against a broader set of objectives. It is best seen as a hedge against future technology disruption, a relatively modest but still useful extension of Apple’s existing universe of services and gadgets and a place holder for a technology revolution that is likely to take many years to play out. The hedge is against threats to Apple’s iPhone empire. It is not clear whether or when the smartphone will lose its central place in people’s digital lives, but Apple clearly needs to place more bets on the future. Even if sales are minimal for a protracted period, the headset should be a moderately profitable addition to Apple’s line-up and another way to tie users more tightly into its expanding digital universe. With a suite of its own digital services, such as music, video content and game subscriptions, Apple will be well-positioned to develop the VR experiences needed to stimulate demand for its headsets.
Google reportedly invests in generative AI startup Runway at $1.5B valuation
Runway, a New York-based startup develops generative AI system for creating videos. The system can take an existing clip as input and customize it based on a text prompt or reference image provide by the user. In March, Runway detailed a newer version of its AI. The upgraded model is capable of generating higher-fidelity clips than the original. Moreover, it enables users to generate clips using only text prompts without uploading a source video. Training advanced AI models requires a significant amount of infrastructure. Google’s investment in Runway is partly aimed at shifting some of the startup’s infrastructure spending to its cloud platform. The report is particularly notable because Runway announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services Inc. in March.
Google Wallet to soon support QR code, insurance cards, state IDs and airline boarding
Google said that users will soon be able to quickly scan barcodes or QR codes from things like gym passes or loyalty cards and save them to Google Wallet. The feature also supports scanning these codes from an existing image of an e-commerce return QR code or a digital parking ticket. Google is also working with insurance company Humana to help customers save a digital version of their insurance card to Google Wallet. Additionally, folks in the U.K. will be able to save their National Insurance Number to the Wallet app using the HMRC app. These health cards will be saved with a special label called “Private Pass.” Users will need a second form of authentication like a fingerprint or a device PIN code to access them. The app is also expanding its support for government-issued IDs in the U.S.’
Apple Card promo doubles Daily Cash offer at more stores
Apple recently launched a special Apple Card promo that encourages cardholders to use the Apple Card Family feature for multiple cardholders. Now the company is offering up a more traditional promotion for the month of June. From June 1 to June 30, Apple is promoting the Ace hardware store with a boosted 6% Daily Cash offer. Ace is on the list of retailers that Apple offers 3% Daily Cash for when using Apple Card through Apple Pay. The boosted rate doubles the usual offer at a time when spring and summer projects might already mean more trips to the hardware store.
Apple Savings users say it is proving hard to transfer money out of the account
Apple launched a high-yield savings account with an APY of 4.15% in partnership with Goldman Sachs in April, but one month later some account holders are struggling to move their money out of the account. Georgia resident Nathan Thacker said that he has been trying to transfer $1,700 form his Apple account to JPMorgan Chase since May 15. Each time he tried to contact Goldman’s customer service department, Thacker said he was told to give it a few days. The money finally hit his Chase account on Thursday, but only after The Journal contacted Goldman about Thacker and other customers’ faulty experiences trying to transfer their money out of the Apple savings account, the publication reported. In some other money transfer-related cases, the funds seemingly disappeared, and didn’t show up in customers’ Apple account nor the account they were trying to transfer the money to.