AWT News Update: December 14, 2017

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A fascinating day for news about the iMac Pro, net neutrality, and a purchase that will make the Disney empire even larger than before:

  • Apple announces that any Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider can add RAM to the iMac Pro
  • The FCC voted today to rescind the 2009 net neutrality laws
  • Disney will be purchasing most of 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, adding a huge amount of content to its holdings

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for December 14, 2017.  

Many folks who were planning to purchase the new iMac Pro were unhappy to hear that the new computers did not come with the small memory hatch on the back that’s been popular with the regular iMac. That hatch allows users to upgrade their own RAM, often at a price that’s much less than what Apple charges to have the same RAM factory installed. Well, today the company said that any Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider can open up the iMac Pro, swap out the RAM, and let the user avoid voiding the warranty. While Apple Stores will most likely upgrade the RAM with Apple-provided and costly RAM, third-party providers will be able to offer non-Apple RAM and — we don’t know this for sure yet — could even allow users to bring in their own compatible RAM. Sadly, there are no post-purchase options to upgrade the SSD, processor, or graphics card found with the iMac Pro, so potential buyers are warned to know their requirements before purchasing the space gray iMac Pro. By the way, if you want to purchase a maxed out 18-core iMac Pro with 4TB of storage and a Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card, that will cost you a cool $13,199 before taxes.

Back during the Obama Administration, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to add net neutrality protections to the US Internet. Today, those laws were rescinded by a vote of 3 to 2 by the FCC, essentially bringing the Internet -- regulation-wise — back to the same point it was before 2009. Under the new laws, Internet service providers are no longer regulated as utilities and can be free to block, throttle or prioritize traffic. They can also choose NOT to do those things, by the way. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was quoted as saying “It is not going to end the Internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online.” The reason he made that statement is that the popular opinion that has been making the rounds on the media is that rescinding the rules will do those three things. The unpopularity of the net neutrality rule change will most likely lead to challenges in courts and changes may also be proposed in Congress. Legislation that is hammered out in Congress would, pardon the expression, trump any FCC rule making.

A huge deal is in the works to make the world’s largest entertainment company even bigger. Walt Disney Company will purchase film, television and international businesses from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc for $52.4 billion in stock, which adds a huge number of current and classic shows and movies to the Disney empire. The deal is not expected to face resistance from antitrust regulators, and shares of Fox and Disney both rose early today on the news. The deal means that 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, its cable entertainment networks, and international TV businesses will go to Disney. Yes, “Avatar”, and all of its upcoming sequels will be Disney properties, as will the long-running animated show “The Simpsons”. The deal also includes 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks, Star TV in India, and a stake in European pay-TV provider Sky. The new Fox, separate from Disney, will include the Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business Network, and sports channels FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.