Technology

What's Up With Apple: Siri Spills the Beans, Apple TV and HomePod in One Box, and More

In February, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was rumored to be planning its next Apple Event for March. As the end of March approached, the rumor was the event would be in April. Never waste a good rumor.

Now, it seems, the event will be held on April 20. How do we know this? Ask Siri.

According to a report in MacRumors, if you ask Siri, “When is the next Apple Event?” the response is, “The special event is Tuesday, April 20, at Apple Park, Cupertino, California. You can get all the details at Apple.com.”

Voice assistant Siri apparently has leaked the announcement, which Apple is expected to confirm sometime Tuesday. Apple is expected to introduce a new iPad Pro and, perhaps, its AirTags tracking devices.

It’s not news that Apple lags both Amazon and Google when it comes to smart-home products. That situation may be about to change, according to a report from Bloomberg. Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that Apple “is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions.”

The Apple TV set-top box claims only 2% of the market for streaming devices, trailing far behind competitors like Samsung, Sony and LG, which claim 14%, 12% and 8% of the global market for streaming devices, according to a recent report from Strategy Analytics.

An analyst focused on the supply chain for smartphone display screens has said that Apple will use a new display technology in the iPhone 13 due out later this year, if Apple maintains its normal release schedule. The new technology is known as LPTO, an acronym for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide that is meaningless to most of us.

What is not meaningless is the ability of the LPTO technology to double the iPhone’s refresh rate from 60 megahertz to 120 megahertz. What that means is smoother animation and faster game performance. LPTO also consumes less power than the OLED technology Apple currently uses, extending the iPhone’s battery life.

Finally, Reuters reported Monday that U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) has introduced a bill that would ban any company with a market value of more than $100 billion from merging with or acquiring another company. Hawley is a critic of big tech companies, largely because he believes they constrain conservative opinions. He also thinks big pharma has too much market power.

A quick screen of U.S.-traded firms reveals 75 companies with market caps of between $100 and $200 billion, and 40 more with market caps above $200 billion. The top five are Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.