Business Briefing

New iMac takes the spotlight at Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ event

Amazon’s ‘cutting edge’ new venture, UK beach hut prices soar, and other breaking business news

1

Technology 

‘Gigantic leap forward for the Mac’

Tech giant Apple held its first major “event” of 2021 last night and unveiled a range of new devices. In an hour-long pre-recorded video, CEO Tim Cook hosted the “Spring Loaded” special from the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California and new products included the iPad Pro, iPhone 12 in purple, AirTag, Apple TV 4K and podcast subscriptions.   

The big announcement was the redesign of the “iconic” iMac, says the BBC. It was Apple’s “first significant update” to the desktop computer in recent years. 

Available in seven colours and powered by the M1 chip, the all-in-one computer will be “significantly thinner at just 11.5mm thick, and looks like a giant tablet from the side”, The Guardian reports. Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, says the “breakthrough” M1 chip is a “gigantic leap forward for the Mac”.

2

Economy 

Petrol prices drive inflation rate rise

Rising prices for motor fuels and clothing saw the UK’s inflation rate increase to 0.7% in the 12 months to March, up from 0.4% in February, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician, said the rate of inflation increased with petrol prices rising and clothes recovering from the falls seen in February. However, “food prices fell back on the year, as prices of some staples were lower than at the start of the pandemic”.

3

Companies 

Amazon Salon London

Amazon to open ‘cutting edge’ hair salon in London

Amazon has revealed its newest venture: a hair salon which will open in London’s Spitalfields. The company, which is best known for its online delivery operation and TV streaming services, is now putting its focus on “cutting edge technology” in the world of hair care and styling, Sky News says.

Set over two floors, the Amazon Salon will trial the latest industry technology, from augmented reality (AR) hair consultations to point-and-learn technology. Amazon said customers will be able to “experiment with different virtual hair colours using augmented reality technology, enjoy entertainment on Fire tablets at each styling station and capture their new look in a dedicated creative area”.

4

Entertainment

Netflix subscriber growth slows 

Netflix suffered a “dramatic slowdown” in subscribers in the first three months of 2021 as the “pandemic boom wears off”, The Guardian reports. 

The streaming service added four million new subscribers in the first quarter, two million fewer than its original estimate and just half the number it added in the last three months of 2020. A slowdown in production of new content and the previous year’s massive gains were responsible for the fall, Netflix said. Its share price also dropped 11% on the news.

5

Tourism 

beachhuts.com

UK beach hut sale price hits average of £36,000

Beach huts are in demand and sale prices are rising ahead of the staycation summer. According to data by hotel booking platform Hoo, the average price for a beach hut in the UK has risen to more than £36,000 - a 41% increase compared to last year. 

In some areas it could be “considerably more”, Yahoo! Finance says, with three beach huts in Mudeford, Dorset, sold subject to contract at an asking price of £325,000. “The prospect of another summer of staycations has seen beach hut sale prices soar,” Hoo said in its report.

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