Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Coming: When Apple (AAPL) releases the newest version of its popular iPad Air this fall, the tablet will likely include a faster processor and an upgraded rear camera, MacRumors notes. With Apple’s attention almost certainly to be focused on new products including larger iPhones and its much-anticipated iWatch, both the iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini are likely to receive only incremental upgrades this cycle. A Korean news website says that production of the displays for next-generation iPad Air will start in June at LG Display (LPL). The iPad Air 2 screens will retain the same 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution as the current iPad. The new iPad Air will be powered by Apple’s new A8 processor, which is expected to boost performance. It will also see its rear camera resolution raised from the current 5 megapixels to 8 megapixels, bringing it up to par with the rear camera on the iPhone 5s. Apple is also expected to add its TouchID fingerprint scanner to all new iOS devices this year, possibly in advance of the eventual launch of its own mobile payment system. The next iPad Mini is also likely to include the A8 processor and may see its camera upgraded as well. Most analysts foresee the next-generation iPad Air launching in either September or October.
Probe: Apple is facing a new tax investigation in Europe, USA TODAY notes. The European Union is conducting an investigation of tax arrangement involving Apple, Starbucks (SBUX) and FIAT (FIATY) in certain European countries to ascertain whether those arrangements run afoul of antitrust laws. Apple has based its European operations in Ireland since the 1980’s in order to take advantage of low Irish taxes. In recent years, Apple and other tech companies have been accused of exploiting low-tax countries like Ireland in order to avoid higher taxes in other European nations. Apple noted that it is “proud to have been doing business in Cork, Ireland, since 1980,” insisting that it has “received no selective treatment from Irish officials” and that “Apple is subject to the same tax laws as scores of other international companies doing business in Ireland.” Apple noted that the company “pays every euro of every tax that we owe” and that “since the iPhone launched in 2007, our taxes in Ireland have increased tenfold.” The Irish government released a statement indicating that it was “confident that there is no state aid rule breach in this case.” The Irish government says it will “defend all aspects (of the investigation) vigorously.”
Beneficiary: Beats Electronics co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre weren’t the only ones celebrating Apple’s acquisition of the headphone-maker, the Washington Post notes. Basketball star LeBron James stands to receive more than $30 million from the deal. The NBA superstar, who plays with the Miami Heat, made a deal with Beats in 2008 receiving an equity stake in Beats in exchange for promoting its pricey headphones. Now that the company has been sold to Apple, James will receive cash and stock for his Beats equity stake. James reportedly also had a hand in the early testing of Beats headphones and was instrumental in getting the company to provide headphones to the entire U.S. Olympic Basketball team in time for the Beijing Olympics.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.