Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
New Rival: On Wednesday, one of Apple’s (AAPL) largest supply chain partners announced that it would produce a product that sounds suspiciously like something the iPad-maker is rumored to be developing on its own, Want China Times notes. At a shareholder meeting, Foxconn executives said the company is developing a smartwatch that can interact with the iPhone. The Foxconn smartwatch will use Bluetooth connectivity to display Facebook (FB) posts, monitor telephone calls and track a wearer’s heart beat and respiration. Rumors have circulated for months that Apple is working on a smartwatch, usually referred to as the iWatch. Recent reports suggest that Apple has assigned 100 designers and engineers to the project. Other companies, including Google (GOOG) and Samsung are reportedly developing their own smartwatches in response. Foxconn, which operates massive factories in China, has been the leading manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones. The long-time partnership between the two companies became strained last year after Foxconn encountered difficulties producing the iPhone 5. Apple reportedly returned millions of iPhone 5s to Foxconn due to poor quality and defects. Apple has been recently rumored to been looking for new manufacturing partners in order to reduce it reliance on Foxconn.
Upscale: Apple’s redesigned Mac Pro is likely to cost a lot more than earlier versions, CNET notes. Earlier this month, the company unveiled a dramatically redesigned Mac Pro at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. In place of the boxy silver mesh exterior on the prior model, the new Mac Pro sports a black cylindrical design. It also includes higher-end multi-core processors and more solid-state memory. The starting price for previous Mac Pros has started around $2,500, but iHS iSuppli estimates that it will cost Apple about $2,800 just to make the new machines — according to specifications disclosed at the WWDC. The inclusion of more powerful processors and RAM could send the new Mac Pro’s price up to $4,755. The Mac Pro is targeted at musicians and video-makers who require extreme levels of processing power and storage. Existing Mac Pros can cost up to $12,350 when the highest-priced options are included.
Critique: Apple’s plans to build a glitzy new Apple Store in San Francisco’s Union Square district aren’t getting applause from the city’s planning department, SFGate notes. The company submitted plans calling for a two-storey building whose entire front wall is made of glass, giving passersby unobstructed views of the interior. However, shortly after the plans were unveiled, critics pointed out that the building might displace a popular fountain made by a local sculptor. They also pointed out that the building’s rear wall, which faces the next street, would be windowless. Now the planning commission has issued its preliminary report on the plans. The city says the front wall shouldn’t be completely made from glass or totally transparent. They also say that the rear wall must have windows and that more landscaping is required. Oh, and the fountain should be included in the final design.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.