What’s new in tech
Apple’s new MacBook Air
“Apple has brought the MacBook Air back to life,” said Nick Statt in TheVerge.com. The company this week announced “the first proper refresh” of its lower-end laptop in three years, with the base model on sale for $1,199. The new computer has a high-resolution Retina display, a much-desired feature that puts the mid-priced machine in line with Apple’s other models. At 2.75 pounds with a 13-inch screen, it’s lighter than previous Air computers, and under the hood it’s “essentially a modern MacBook Pro in the standard Air design.” The model gleans from the mixed consumer reaction to some of Apple’s recent innovations. Unlike recent iPhones, it has a traditional headphone jack, and it dispenses with the MacBook Pro’s “touch bar,” which some buyers found “unnecessary.” The Mac Mini desktop and iPad also got updates.
More legal trouble at Tesla
“Tesla faces a new problem: a deepening criminal investigation,” said Dana Cimilluca in The Wall Street Journal. The company and its CEO, Elon Musk, last month paid $40 million to settle civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission that Musk’s tweets had misled investors. But now FBI agents are “examining whether Tesla misstated information about production of its Model 3 sedans.” In mid-2017, Musk told investors that Tesla would be producing 20,000 Model 3s a month by the end of the year. At the time, “Tesla was still hand-building parts of the Model 3s” and ended up making just 2,700 for all of 2017. Tesla said that it is cooperating with the FBI and has been “transparent” about production difficulties. Tesla did produce 53,000 Model 3s, and 80,000 total vehicles, in the third quarter of 2018.
A live-sports legend bets on e-sports
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan “is backing an e-sports startup,” said Eben Novy-Williams in Bloomberg.com. He joined an investor group that last week put $26 million into Axiomatic Gaming, a company that pursues ventures in the e-sports business, “which features professional video-game players competing for prize money in front of often huge audiences.” Axiomatic, formed in 2015, owns a controlling share of Team Liquid, a manager of top players in games such as Street Fighter and Fortnite. E-sports revenues this year are likely to hit more than $900 million, and competitions are big enough to “pack audiences into venues like Madison Square Garden.”