In today's Apple Daily, Apple once again hits a $700 billion market capitalization, a reputable analyst claims the next iPhone will boast enhanced Touch ID, and JetBlue announces that it's going to start supporting in-flight Apple Pay purchases next week. In other news, a MacBook Air survives a 1,000-foot drop from a plane, and an unnamed Apple employee claims Tesla Motors has something to fear from the Cupertino giant.
Apple's Market Capitalization Closes at $710 Billion
Apple stock closed today at $700 billion for the first time in history today, and as USA Today reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook had the good fortune to be in a interview with Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn when the news came in. Cook was in attendance at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco to speak on a wide variety of topics pertaining to his company.
"You will always remember exactly where you were," Cohn said to Cook. At the the end of the trading day, Apple's market capitalization stood at a whopping $710 billion, which is the largest closing market value in U.S. history.
You might recall that Apple previously hit the $700 billion milestone back in November, but the difference is that Apple's stock slipped a bit back during trading throughout the rest of the day. Today, however, Apple's market capitalization still stood at over $700 billion when the trading day ended.
Next iPhone to Have Enhanced Touch ID, Analyst Says
Touch ID works quite well for most iPhone owners, judging from the runaway success of Apple Pay, but well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities claims it's going to get even better with the next iPhone. In his most recent letter to investors (via MacRumors), Kuo claims that Apple plans to update the service's fingerprint scanning technology to cut back on reading errors and to provide a "better and safer Apple Pay user experience."
Kuo also crushed hopes and rumors that Apple might move Touch ID's sensors from the Home button to beneath the display, stating that "complex algorithms and sapphire cover lens are also required." That could change with following models, however, as Apple has filed several patents pertaining to the integration of the display panel and Touch ID.
JetBlue Airways to Start Accepting In-Flight Apple Pay Payments
The friendly skies just got a lot friendlier for Apple enthusiasts. USA Today reported earlier this morning that JetBlue Airways will start allowing Apple Pay payments next week, thus establishing it as the first airline to allow Apple's new mobile payment service in-flight. Participating flights will initially be limited to intercontinental flights connecting JFK in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, but JetBlue plans to extend the service to its entire fleet by June.
Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president for Internet software and services, believes this could lead to the service's adoption by other airlines, as "somebody else doing it always puts pressure on the other guy." Flight attendants will accept the payments once the plane reaches cruising altitude with the help of iPad minis equipped with a special apparatus that accepts both credit cards and Apple Pay. According to the report, you'll even be able to use Apple Pay to upgrade to premium seats.
MacBook Air Survives 1,000-foot Drop from Plane
In lighter airplane-related news, a South African pilot and Reddit user going by the name of Av80r learned that while the MacBook Air might not be as light as a feather, it's nevertheless light enough to survive accidental 1,000-foot drops from an airplane at roughly 125 miles per hour. As the accompanying photos show, his Air's quite banged up, but as a testament to the strength of Apple's engineering, the thing still works.
Sure, the MacBook Air's trackpad was shattered and the cooling fans sustained damage, but the screen itself remains intact and works fine, and performance-wise, the machine works as Apple intended. A South African farmer found the device in its field, after which he reunited the pilot with his laptop by sending him a message on Facebook.
New Apple Project Said to 'Give Tesla a Run for its Money'
It's now generally thought that the Apple-leased Dodge Caravans with strange devices on them almost certainly have something to do with Apple Maps and not automated cars, but nonetheless, Apple's apparently got big ideas for the automotive market. According to an unidentified Apple employee from Apple's "vehicle development" division who spoke with Business Insider yesterday, "Apple's latest project is too exciting to pass up." What's more, the mystery project will supposedly "change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money."
Wait, what? That's a question will probably have to keep asking ourselves for some time, as the employee didn't elaborate on just how the Cupertino could compete with Tesla Motors. (As the e-mail was unsolicited, there's also a small chance it's all a big gag.) Business Insider seems to think (based on existing knowledge) that improvements to CarPlay might be involved, but there's little if anything about CarPlay that would put Apple into direct competition with the electric car manufacturer.
But something's certainly going on. Just last week Tesla CEO Elon Musk claimed that Apple's offering $250,000 bonuses and significant salary increases to Tesla engineers willing to jump ship, but according to Musk, "so far they've actually recruited very few people." In fact, other sources claim that Apple is having a hard time keeping its own engineers from heading over to Tesla.
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