Apple Eyes Drones as 6.5-Inch iPhone Comes Into Focus
Apple watchers had some rather interesting news and rumors to mull over this week.
Once again, news reports said that Apple is considering launching three new iPhones this year, including one that would feature a whopping 6.5-inch screen (the biggest is currently 5.8 inches). But arguably the most surprising revelation was that Apple had been floated as one of the companies hoping to participate in a study that would allow the company to pilot drones. Exactly why is anyone’s guess.
This is Fortune’s latest weekly roundup of the biggest Apple news. Here’s last week’s roundup.
Aside from that, other news reports said that Apple has a new option for fixing broken iPhone Xs and that the company has also partnered with other companies on a new method to produce more environmentally friendly aluminum for its products.
Read on for that and more from this week’s biggest Apple headlines:
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- Apple is working on a new iPhone with a 6.5-inch screen, according to a report this week. That handset, which may be called the iPhone X Plus, would come with a design similar to the iPhone X. The report says the iPhone X Plus’ footprint would nearly match the overall dimensions of last year’s iPhone 8 Plus, which has a 5.5-inch screen. The iPhone X Plus’ design, which would include a screen nearly covering the smartphone’s face, would allow more display real estate without sacrificing the overall size of the handset.
- Apple is among one of several tech and transportation giants hoping to participate in a U.S. government drone program. That program would open the door to companies testing drone flights over people—which is currently banned—and at elevations higher than those allowed under current government’s drone regulations, in 10 cities. Several other companies hoped to participate, including Amazon, Boeing, and Intel. They all have existing drone programs in place, but Apple hasn’t announced any such program. The move made some (including yours truly) question what Apple is up to.
- A news report this week said that Apple is changing its policy for how it fixes broken iPhone Xs that have problems with their Face ID. Previously, Apple would replace iPhone X screens when they had glitches that prevented the Face ID face scanner from working. Now, though, Apple has reportedly changed its policy and will allow its support team to replace the entire iPhone X with a new one.
- Apple plans to introduce a credit card in 2019 in partnership with Goldman Sachs, according to a report. The card will be branded as Apple Pay—the same name as its mobile-payment service—and would allow Goldman Sachs to expand its presence in consumer banking. Neither Goldman nor Apple have confirmed they’re launching a credit card.
- In a bid to reduce the environmental impact of its products, Apple this week announced a partnership with aluminum producers Alcoa and Rio Tinto to smelt aluminum in a “green” way that would eliminate direct greenhouse gas emissions. The move would reduce the environmental impact of Apple’s use of aluminum and could usher in a new method for producing the metal for products of all kinds. The aluminum companies have formed a joint venture called Elysis to develop the technology. Apple is investing $10 million in the operation and offering technical support, but won’t have a stake in it.
- Apple will start selling video service subscriptions through its TV app in the near future, Bloomberg is reports. The feature would allow Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad owners to subscribe to network and on-demand programming and pay for those services through Apple’s own offerings. The move would turn Apple’s TV app into a hub for finding and watching content without being tied to cable or satellite services.