Apple Announces Billion Euro Commitment To Munich
Engineers in Germany are responsible for increasing the performance of some of Apple's most popular products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac.
Apple opened the Bavarian Design Center in 2015 to focus on power management design and now has about half of its global power management design team based in Germany. The company now has more than 4,000 employees working in Germany in roles across retail, engineering and operations.
With nearly 1,500 Apple engineers from 40 countries working in Munich, the company announced yesterday it will make the city home to its new European Silicon Design Center. The 30,000-square-meter facility facility will add hundreds of new jobs to focus on connectivity and wireless technologies as Apple's expansion in Munich and additional investment in R&D will total more than 1 billion euros over the next three years.
The facility will be home to Apple's cellular unit and will be the largest R&D site for mobile wireless semiconductors and software in Europe. Engineers will work on 5G and future technologies, as well as optimizing wireless modems for Apple products. The site will run entirely on 100% renewable energy as Apple plans to move into the new building in late 2022.
"I couldn't be more excited for everything our Munich engineering teams will discover — from exploring the new frontiers of 5G technology, to a new generation of technologies that bring power, speed, and connectivity to the world," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. "Munich has been a home to Apple for four decades, and we're grateful to this community and to Germany for being a part of our journey."
Apple's presence in Germany has been widely felt. Apple says it has spent more than 15 billion euros with over 700 companies across Germany over the last five years. Apple employees have also raised more than $600 million for Munich-based organizations and charities since Apple Giving's inception in 2011.
40 years after starting operations in Munich with ten employees, Apple is committed to the city and Germany as a whole as it looks to continue building cutting-edge products.
Lego reports strong 2020 results. Lego, maker of arguably the most popular toy for children, reported consumer sales jumped by 21% in 2020 as the toymaker reported nearly $7 billion in sales, a 13% jump from 2019. Lego, which opened 134 retail locations last year—with 91 of them in China, will open 120 retail locations this year—with 80 of them in China, as the company hopes to have 300 locations in the country by the end of 2021. Lego CEO Niels Christiansen said visits to the company's website doubled last year as stores were temporarily closed due to the pandemic. "Our research does show that more families are building together," Christiansen told CNBC.
Facebook rolls out Instagram Lite. Facebook is rolling out Instagram Lite to 170 countries as it hopes to reach users who are in more remote areas with poor internet service. Instagram Lite requires just 2 MB to download on Android compared to the nearly 30 MB required for the full-size version of Instagram. "Our teams build these lightweight versions of our apps for people with low connectivity or limited data plans because our basic premise is to leave no one behind," Facebook Tel Aviv Director of Product Management Tzach Hadar said. "We wanted the Instagram experience to remain fast, high-quality and reliable, irrespective of the device, platform and network people are on."
AerCap to acquire GE Capital Aviation Services. AerCap announced that it has agreed to acquire GE Capital Aviation Services from General Electric in a $30 billion deal. Under the terms of the deal, GE will receive 111.5 million newly issued AerCap shares, $24 billion of cash and $1 billion of AerCap notes and/or cash. "We are excited about this opportunity to bring together two leaders in aviation leasing," AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly said. "AerCap and GECAS both have industry-leading teams, attractive portfolios, diversified customer bases and order books of the most in-demand new technology assets. This combination will enhance our ability to provide innovative and attractive solutions for our customers and will strengthen our cash flows, earnings and profitability."
Rising mortgage rates continue to hit refinance demand. With the average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising to 3.26% from 3.23%, applications to refinance a home dropped by 5% last week and are now 43% lower than a year ago, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted index. The drop marks the first year-over-year drop in refinance applications since March 8, 2019. Mortgage applications to purchase a home jumped by 7% over the same period and now stand 2% higher than the same period a year ago. "The run-up in mortgage rates continues to cool demand for refinance applications," MBA associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting Joel Kan said. "Activity declined last week for the fourth time in five weeks."
TikTok introduces tools to promote kindness. In an effort to promote kindness, TikTok introduced new tools yesterday giving creators more control over the comments on their videos and a prompt asking users to reconsider posting unkind or inappropriate comments. "At TikTok, we continually work to maintain a supportive environment that enables our community to focus on what matters to them: being creative, finding community, and having fun," TikTok said. "Our goal is to promote a positive environment where people support and lift each other up." TikTok also announced a partnership with the Cyberbullying Research Center to work on anti-bullying initiatives.