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Midweek news bites – housing, environment, China, iPhone SE 2, and TV+

Plenty of Apple, iPhone, and iPad news gets released each week – but we know you’re busy, so we’ve got your back. Here, we’ve picked out some of the most notable things you should know from the past few days and summarized them for easy digestion. Not just straightforward Apple news, but interesting iPhone-adjacent tidbits, too. You’re welcome.

So please dig into this week’s Apple news bites, freshly sourced from all around the web. As ever, click through to read the full stories if you want to know more!

Apple pledges $2.5bn to tackle California housing crisis

Apple has launched a new scheme to help fight the issue of rising house prices in California. Most of that pledge is split between investments into affordable housing and mortgage assistance for first-time buyers, while a smaller chunk will provide Apple-owned land for new housing projects. It’s a big investment hoping to get more low-to-medium earners into homeownership while also providing a fund to support those battling homelessness. It seems like a great initiative, though on some level it does feel like Apple may be doing it out of guilt – after all, it could be argued that Silicon Valley tech giants are partially responsible for the crisis.

Huge wind farm deal struck by Apple and tech partners

Apple has powered 100% of its worldwide operations with renewable energy for a few years now, but this latest deal shows how it’s also supporting the rest of the industry to follow suit. An Apple-led partnership to buy clean energy from a new wind farm in Texas also comprises eBay, Sprint, and even smartphone rivals Samsung. Joining forces to buy in bulk helps the companies access “cost-effective, low-carbon renewable energy.”

Apple criticized for skipping congressional hearing on China

There has been no shortage of media controversies relating to China recently, with Apple taking a couple of hits itself. The tech industry’s relationship with China is complicated to say the least, but Apple has been criticized for abandoning some of its usual morals in order to maintain good relations with the country in which it not only does a lot of business but also builds a lot of products. The latest criticism comes as Apple didn’t even show up to a congressional hearing intended to discuss this complex relationship.

20 million iPhone SE 2 sales expected in 2020

It’s looking increasingly likely that Apple will reboot its popular (but discontinued) iPhone SE handset next year, four years on from its first release. We’ve already heard that the iPhone SE 2 is likely to be based on the iPhone 8 and cost just $399, but this latest report goes a step further, predicting that the device will launch in the first half of 2020 and sell 20 million units by the end of the year.

Apple TV offers highest quality streaming around

Apple TV hasn’t been out long, and the jury is still out on the quality of its original shows. Critical reception has been mixed, but one thing is for certain: from a technical standpoint, Apple is leading the pack. According to testing, the 4K streaming quality offered by Apple TV+ is higher than any competing service with bitrates of up to 41Mb/s. That’s higher than your average iTunes movie and up to twice the quality of Blu-ray.