Apple Has Discussed Investing Up to $1 Billion in SoftBank’s Global Technology Fund

Apple has held talks with SoftBank about investing up to $1 billion in the Japanese telecommunication giant's global technology fund, according to The Wall Street Journal. A deal has not been finalized, while the current status of the talks could not be determined, according to the report.

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President-elect Donald Trump and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son (Image: LA Times)

The so-called "SoftBank Vision Fund," expected to launch next year, will be valued at up to $100 billion, which will be invested into emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and connected internet devices. SoftBank itself will invest at least $25 billion in the fund, while the Saudi Arabian government will pledge up to $45 billion.

Apple's own investment would allow it to gain insight on emerging technologies, according to the report.
Such a move also would reflect a shift in Apple’s investment strategy, which until recently focused on small stakes in young technology companies. Earlier this year, Apple invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing Technology Co., China’s homegrown ride-sharing competitor to Uber Technologies Inc. SoftBank is also an investor in Didi.
Last week, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he would invest $50 billion of the fund in the United States and create 50,000 new jobs in the country following a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. SoftBank is the parent company of U.S. carrier Sprint, which employs about 30,000 people.

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AirPods Delay Attributed to Apple Ensuring Both Earpieces Receive Audio at Same Time

AirPods were originally slated to launch in October, but the wireless earphones were later delayed. Apple said it needed "a little more time" before they are ready for customers, and it has yet to provide an official update since.

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While the exact reason for the delay remains unclear, a person familiar with the development of AirPods told The Wall Street Journal that Apple's troubles appear to be related to its "efforts to chart a new path for wireless headphones," in addition to resolving what happens when users lose one of the earpieces or the battery dies.
A person familiar with the development of the AirPod said the trouble appears to stem from Apple’s effort to chart a new path for wireless headphones. In most other wireless headphones, only one earpiece receives a signal from the phone via wireless Bluetooth technology; it then transmits the signal to the other earpiece.

Apple has said AirPod earpieces each receive independent signals from an iPhone, Mac or other Apple device. But Apple must ensure that both earpieces receive audio at the same time to avoid distortion, the person familiar with their development said. That person said Apple also must resolve what happens when a user loses one of the earpieces or the battery dies.
Last month, Barclays analysts said AirPods should enter production in December. Their research note said quantities would be limited to between 10 and 15 million AirPods to start. Meanwhile, an alleged email response from Apple CEO Tim Cook said AirPods should begin shipping over the "next few weeks."

With just two weeks remaining in the holiday shopping season, some believe Apple should now wait until the new year to launch AirPods, in line with an early rumor about a January 2017 launch. The wireless earphones remain listed as both "coming soon" and "currently unavailable" on different sections of Apple's website.


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