Apple World Today News Update: May 21, 2018

AOC's I1601FWUX portable USB-C monitor

AOC's I1601FWUX portable USB-C monitor

Welcome to another week of the Apple World Today News Update Podcast! Today we have stories about a real proposed "Apple Tax", a fun new "feature" in Google Maps, Apple slipping a spot in the Fortune 500, and a cool portable second monitor for MacBook and MacBook Pro users:

  • Cupertino is considering an employee head tax that would specifically target its biggest employer -- Apple
  • Want to drive a green pickup truck around the city? Google Maps for iOS adds that icon and two more to replace the familiar blue arrow
  • Apple's now number 4 on the Fortune 500 list, but it's still the most profitable company in the country
  • AOC's I1601FWUX portable USB-C monitor makes it easy and affordable for MacBook/MacBook Pro users to take a second monitor with them on the road

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 Monday, May 21st, 2018.

There’s something about West Coast states that have a lot of tech industry businesses; as soon as a company becomes very successful, they try to find ways to add on special taxes to suck as much of that money into their coffers as they can. California is especially bad in this respect, and now the town where Apple is headquartered — Cupertino, California — is thinking about passing a proposal to tax companies based on their employee workforce size. Seattle, Washington, the home of Amazon, recently passed a similar tax that charges $275 per employee for any company that makes more than $20 million a year. While we don’t know exactly how many employees Apple has in Cupertino, a headcount tax like this could pull in a lot of money. Let’s say Apple has 20,000 employees in the city and Cupertino decides to tax Apple for $500 per employee per year. That’s $10 million a year that Apple would be penalized for having its headquarters in the city. I’m sure that Cupertino benefits from sales taxes levied at businesses that Apple employees and visitors use, and most likely the city is also charging Apple hefty property taxes. At least voters will be able to give their opinion on this proposed tax.

Do you use Google Maps for iOS? The app was updated to add a feature that doesn’t really add any functionality, but definitely adds to the cool factor of the popular mapping program. Normally the app simply shows a blue navigation arrow when you’re using it for directions, but the update provides your choice of a “stylish sedan, a timeless pickup truck, or a speedy SUV”.

Fortune’s Fortune 500 list ranks the biggest US-based corporations in terms of revenue, so you’d think that Apple would be right on top of that list, right? Wrong! The company actually slipped from third to fourth place this year, with Walmart, Exxon Mobile, and Berkshire Hathaway taking the first, second and third place spots. Walmart’s revenues were more than double those of Apple at $500.3 billion, with Apple trailing at $229.2 billion. Of course, Apple was still the most profitable of the big companies last year with $48.3 billion in net income, followed by Berkshire Hathaway, Verizon and AT&T. Walmart was way behind on the profit list, with low margins pushing it to 20th place.

MacBook and MacBook Pro owners who use their devices for their primary computer often like to have a second monitor. But it’s usually hard to carry that second monitor on the road. Display manufacturer AOC has introduced a 15.6-inch portable USB-C monitor that can be powered by and get a video signal from a single USB-C port. It’s not a Retina-quality display — it only boasts 1,920 by 1,080 pixels — but it makes up for that by being only 8.5mm thick and weighing less than 1.8 pounds. The monitor has a metal back and a Smart Cover to keep it protected during travel, and has a lightweight price as well — the AOC I1601FWUX is priced at just $195.85 on Amazon.

That’s all the news for today - join me tomorrow afternoon for the next edition of the AWT News Update.