Technology: Apple introduces the iPhone X
Apple unveiled a trio of new iPhones this week, including one with a starting cost of $999, said Tripp Mickle in The Wall Street Journal. The eye- popping price tag is “a test of the enduring cachet of Apple products, already among the priciest in their field.” The iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) boasts advanced features such as facial recognition that works in the dark and an edge-to-edge, high-resolution screen. In a nod to more cost-conscious customers, Apple also debuted the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which will start at $699 and $799, respectively; these devices come with more modest upgrades. All three devices offer wireless charging and features that improve augmented-reality experiences.
Releasing such a pricey smartphone is a “risky move” for Apple’s business model, which has increasingly relied on iPhone profits, said Matthew Yglesias in Vox.com. The iPhone has always been a premium product, but its buyers could rest easy that they were getting perhaps the best phone in the world, “the very same smartphone that celebrities and presidents and billionaires use.” If consumers skip the iPhone X and opt for the iPhone 8 line, they’ll still have to shell out around $750, for a phone they know isn’t at the top of Apple’s roster. Given that choice, people might decide to settle for a cheaper Android, or not upgrade at all.
Pharma: Patent lawyers turn to Native Americans
Drugmaker Allergan is attempting “an unusual gambit” to protect the patents on one of its most profitable drugs, said Katie Thomas in The New York Times. The pharmaceutical giant said last week that it’s transferring patents on its best-selling dry-eye drug Restasis to a Native American tribe in upstate New York. The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe will claim sovereign immunity to dismiss patent challenges, and lease the patents back to Allergan. The company has agreed to pay the tribe $13.75 million for the deal, plus $15 million in annual royalties. If the strategy succeeds, analysts say, other drug companies will likely copy it.
Autos: Volkswagen tries an electric reboot
“Volkswagen is putting its full force behind a shift into electric cars,” said Christoph Rauwald in Bloomberg.com. The world’s largest automaker unveiled plans this week to build electric versions of all of its 300 models by 2030. The German auto giant said it would spend $24 billion to roll out electrified vehicles across its 12-brand lineup, including Audi, Porsche, and Skoda. Volkswagen’s electric plans “are the most ambitious in the auto industry,” reflecting the firm’s desire to move past its catastrophic emissions-cheating scandal.
Media: Fears of Fox News imperil Sky merger
“Britain is putting Rupert Murdoch’s dream takeover on hold,” said Charles Riley in CNN.com. U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said this week that she will order an additional six-month review of 21st Century Fox’s proposed $15 billion takeover of British broadcaster Sky TV, “because of concerns over broadcasting standards” at Murdoch’s U.S. news channel Fox News. British lawmakers have pressured Bradley to ensure that being part of the Murdoch media empire won’t lead to the “Foxification” of Sky. Murdoch’s previous bid for Sky collapsed in 2012 after a phone-hacking scandal at his British newspapers.
Tech: SoFi chief out amid harassment scandal
Another high-profile Silicon Valley CEO is stepping down “amid claims of sexual harassment and unhealthy corporate culture,” said James Rufus Koren in the Los Angeles Times. Mike Cagney, co-founder of online lender Social Finance, one of the biggest players in the growing financial technology industry, announced this week that he’s resigning by year’s end. The decision comes after a former employee sued the firm, alleging that he was fired for speaking out against company managers sexually harassing female employees. Cagney, who is named in the suit, said that he’s stepping down to avoid becoming a “distraction.”