Apple Intros New Thinner, Lighter, Faster MacBook Pros

Today's topics include Apple's three new MacBook Pro models, Qualcomm's $47 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, BlackBerry's launch of its new DTEK60 Android smartphone, and Lenovo and Fujitsu's negotiation regarding a future partnership.

Apple unveiled three new redesigned MacBook Pro models on Oct. 27, bringing key improvements to its popular laptops, from thinner and lighter profiles to a new Touch Bar that replaces the top row of clickable function keys with a touch-screen keyboard strip.

The latest MacBooks arrive in three versions—a 15-inch model with a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core 2.6 GHz processor, 16GB of 2,133MHz memory, up to 2TB of SSD storage and the new Touch Bar; a 13-inch model with a choice of sixth-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 dual-core processors, 8GB of 2,133MHz memory and the new Touch Bar; and a second 13-inch model that comes with a standard row of function keys instead of the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar reacts to taps and swipes and works with various applications to give users custom menus and keys that are specific to different applications.

Qualcomm is buying rival chip maker NXP Semiconductors in a $47 billion bid to rapidly expand beyond its core mobile device space and challenge Intel in such important emerging markets as the internet of things. After weeks of speculation, Qualcomm and NXP officials on Oct. 27 announced the largest deal in the chip space, surpassing the $37 billion that Avago Technologies paid for Broadcom late last year and continuing a years-long consolidation trend in the computer processor industry. The move will create a combined company with annual revenues of about $35 billion, serve markets that estimated to be worth $138 billion by 2020, and provide strong positions in such areas as mobile devices, automotive technology, the internet of things, security, radio-frequency technologies and networking, officials said.

BlackBerry has rolled out its latest Android smartphone, the $499 DTEK60 high-security handset, which is the first phone the company has released since it declared in September that it would no longer build and distribute its own phone hardware. The DTEK 60, which is being licensed with the BlackBerry name and is being manufactured by China's TCL Corp., includes a 5.5-inch quad HD display, a special coating to resist smudges and fingerprints, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of memory, 32GB of on-board storage and a microSD slot for expanded storage.

The handset also has a 21-megapixel auto-focus rear camera and an 8-megapixel front camera with flash, a fingerprint reader, BlackBerry's Intelligent Keyboard and a 3,000mAh rechargeable battery. It runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Officials with Lenovo and Fujitsu confirmed that they are in talks regarding the future of Fujitsu's PC business, but what the result of those negotiations will be remains unclear. The companies said in a joint statement that Lenovo, Fujitsu and Fujitsu Client Computing—the subsidiary created by Fujitsu in February to manage the PC business—are considering a "strategic cooperation" in the areas of PC research, development, design and manufacturing. Details of what the cooperation will be are under discussion, they said. They did say that the end result will include Fujitsu's keeping its own brand of PCs.