Apple’s $17B Smartwatch Business At Risk, Cutting-Edge AI Tech ‘HUGS’ And More: This Week In Appleverse – Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Best Buy Co (NYSE:BBY)

As the week comes to a close, we take a look back at the major developments that have shaped the business landscape. This week was particularly eventful for tech giant Apple Inc. AAPL, with a string of stories making headlines across the globe. From threats to its smartwatch operations to a significant increase in its card savings interest rate, let’s delve into the Apple-centric news that unfolded this past week.

Apple’s Race Against Time to Preserve Smartwatch Business
News emerged this weekend about Apple’s efforts to save its smartwatch business, worth a whopping $17 billion, from an impending U.S. ban. The International Trade Commission’s ban, set to be enforced on Dec. 25, is a result of patent infringement allegations by Masimo Corp. MASI. Apple engineers are reportedly working on modifications to the algorithms used to measure users’ blood oxygen levels, a feature alleged to violate Masimo’s patent. Read the full article here.

Interest Rate for Apple Card Savings Account Soars
Apple has boosted the interest rate for its exclusive Apple Card Savings Account to a significant 4.25% APY. The account, accessible only to Apple Card users, allows customers to deposit their Daily Cash rewards automatically and add additional funds from a linked bank account or Apple Cash balance. Interest on the account is compounded and paid out monthly. Read the full article here.

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Apple Directs Employees Not to Guide Customers to Watch Retailers
Amidst ongoing legal proceedings, Apple has reportedly issued a memo to its customer service representatives instructing them not to direct customers to locations where they could purchase the company’s watches. The memo came after the decision to halt sales of the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2. Despite this, large retailers like Walmart Inc. WMT, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), and Target Corp. TGT can continue selling the watches due to a legal loophole. Read the full article here.

Apple Unveils Cutting-Edge AI Tech ‘HUGS’
In a stride toward digital avatar creation, Apple has published a research paper on its innovative AI technology, HUGS. The technology, which stands for Human Gaussian Splats, uses machine learning and computer vision strategies to generate digital human avatars from brief video footage in around 30 minutes. Read the full article here.

DOJ Investigates Apple over Beeper App Block
Apple is under the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust radar for blocking Beeper, an app that enabled Android users access to iMessage. Following a bipartisan call for an investigation and Beeper’s decision to discontinue the app, the Federal Trade Commission is also reportedly examining Apple’s moves. Despite the controversy, Apple acted swiftly to close a loophole exploited by Beeper and pledged to take further necessary action. Read the full article here.

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