Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Negotiation: Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Apple (AAPL) is discussing a new television-streaming service with cable giant Comcast (CMCSA). According to the report, Apple is looking to develop a set-top box that would stream both live and on-demand television programming. The device would also be able to access a cloud-based library of stored content. The discussions between Apple and Comcast center around a deal to ensure quick data speeds for video streamed to Apple set-top boxes on the cable provider’s network. The sources say that Apple is interested in a deal with Comcast to prevent the set-top box from experiencing bandwidth issues. However, the talks are in the early stages and would likely require sizable backend hardware investments from Comcast. Apple is hoping to get Comcast to agree to separate the data stream to its set-top boxes, treating it like on-demand video streams currently sent to cable boxes. Rumors that Apple is developing a new set-top box have been circulating for a year. Apple has reportedly been discussing a similar deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC) since 2012. Comcast announced earlier this year, that it will acquire TWC for $45 billion.
Robots: Apple plans to move the production of its iPhone batteries to automated manufacturing lines this year, DigiTimes notes. Production lines for the company’s iMac and Mac Pro computers have already been automated, meaning that human workers are only needed for materials supply and final assembly of the devices. Apple is facing rising wage demands and other labor issues in China. Though a move toward increased automation would mean that production could be easily moved outside of Asia, Apple is thought likely to keep iPhone production close to its China-based supply chain, at least for now. DigiTimes has a mixed record with regard to reports about Apple’s plans.
Taxed: British iTunes users may soon pay more to download music through the online store, the Guardian notes. George Osborne, the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, has proposed new laws to end a tax loophole that allows consumers to pay lower VAT (value added tax) on e-books, music and apps purchased online. Currently iTunes digital purchases are hit with a 3% tax. That could rise to 20% under the new rules. The law could go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The British government says that higher tax could bring in as much as £300 million.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.