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Updated: 1 hour 36 min ago

AWT News Update: January 18, 2017

3 hours 30 min ago

Concept of a future iPhone with an edge to edge OLED display

Grumbling ex-Apple employees and Wall Street analysts with good imaginations are what we have for you on today's Apple World Today News Update podcast:

  • An ex-Apple engineer thinks that Apple's not the innovative, problem-solving company it was in 2007
  • A Wall Street analyst sends out his wild guesses on this year's crop of iPhones
  • Another Wall Street analyst says iPhone revenues will be down slightly due to anticipation for the "iPhone 8"

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

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Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 18, 2017.

An ex-Apple engineer took to Twitter recently and then talked with CNBC about how Apple is no longer a “dynamic change-maker” under CEO Tim Cook. Bob Burrough noted that when he first worked for Apple in 2007, “…organizationally it was the wild west. I was hired under a particular manager, but for the first two years worked on projects that had virtually nothing to do with that manager's core responsibility. That's because the organization wasn't the priority, the projects were the priority. It was the exact opposite of 'not my job.' It was 'I'm here to solve whatever problems I can, irrespective of my role, my title, or to whom I report.' It was wild. But it was also very rewarding, because everything you did had maximal impact on the product." Now he says that the “dynamic has clearly and distinctly changed,” and is like his former job at Palm where he says that “When you went to someone for help solving a problem ‘not my job’ was a common response.” Burrough’s tweet storm included a comparison of ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Cook. While Ballmer tripled sales after taking over from Bill Gates, the company lost its dominance in mobile, search, social and cloud to companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Rumors are always fun, if not always accurate. Today analyst Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company cited supply chain sources as saying that the 10th anniversary iPhone will be a jumbo model with a 5.8-inch OLED “fixed flex” screen. That display would provide an edge-to-edge display that could even wrap slightly around the sides of the iPhone 8. Arcuri’s report seems to suggest that Apple will also release 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 7s models in addition to the groundbreaking iPhone 8. Key components of the phone, including the FaceTime camera, Touch ID fingerprint sensor, and earpiece, could be embedded into the OLED display. The iPhone 7s models would continue to use standard LCD panels as suppliers ramp up production of the OLED displays for future iPhones. Arcuri also thinks that Apple might add facial and gesture recognition to the iPhone 8, as well as wireless charging. The facial and recognition features would be powered by a laser or infrared sensor near the front-facing camera. Of course, with a little over 8 months to go before the next iPhones appear, I could be just as accurate as this Wall Street analyst if I were to say that the next iPhone will be able to fly on its own.

And speaking of Wall Street analysts, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty says that the firm is lowering fiscal 2017 iPhone revenue estimates by 3 percent. Citing “weak demand ahead of the ‘supercycle’”, Huberty believes that many buyers may wait to upgrade their iPhones until a truly major upgrade — like that iPhone 8 we were just referring to — happens. In fact, Morgan Stanley expects iPhone sales growth in 2018 to leap to 20 percent, a huge increase over the past few quarters.

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

Notable apps and app updates for Jan. 18, 2017

3 hours 45 min ago

On a regular basis, Apple World Today posts a list of notable new apps or app updates that have been released. They may not necessarily be new, but they're popular and deserve mention. Here are today's picks.

macOS Apps/Updates

AKVIS has updated the four programs comprising the Photo Correction Bundle: Enhancer 15.5, Noise Buster 10.1, Refocus 6.5, and HDRFactory 5.5. The new versions offer improved compatibility with Photoshop CC 2017, provide a vector-based user interface with support for Ultra HD resolution, fix some bugs, and bring other changes.

Demo versions are available for download. The apps are compatible with macOS 10.7 and higher. All are available as Photoshop compatible plug-ins and as standalone applications.

CS Odessa has announced ConceptDraw OFFICE 4, the next generation of the company's business productivity suite for macOS (10.10 and higher) and Windows. It consists of ConceptDraw PRO 11, ConceptDraw MINDMAP 9, and ConceptDraw PROJECT 8. 

The newest iteration provides various enhancements and improvements. ConceptDraw PRO 11 ($199), ConceptDraw MINDMAP 9 ($199), and ConceptDraw PROJECT 8 ($299) are available individually or as a bundle in ConceptDraw OFFICE 4 ($499).

Apple World Today Deals Shop now supports Pay

5 hours 23 sec ago

The Apple World Today Deals Shop is full of bargains on everything from developer classes to monster battery packs, clip-on iPhone camera lenses to VPN subscriptions. Now you can purchase those deals from your iOS device or Mac (running macOS Sierra) with Pay! 

Once you associate a credit card and address with Pay, buying anything in the store becomes as easy as clicking or tapping a button or two. Your transactions are completely safe, with no need to enter a credit or debit card number in our store. 

Note that we also accept Pay for Team AWT subscriptions -- you can support Apple World Today with an annual membership and get all sorts of benefits (including an upcoming discount on Deals Shop merchandise!). 

Rumor: the Apple Pencil 2 is coming this spring

6 hours 34 min ago

The Chinese language Letem svetem Applem — as reported by AppleInsider — says an "Apple Pencil 2" will arrive this spring, featuring a new magnetic system that will allow it to temporarily attach to an iPad. 

This would allow users to place the Apple Pencil on the iPad securely when not in use, allowing it to attach magnetically just like the iPad Smart Cover. I think the rumor is true and that the second gen Apple Pencil will arrive in March with an updated line-up of iPad Pros.

What’s more, I think the input will likely get expanded capabilities in the near future. Apple has filed for a patent (number 20160364091) for “devices and methods for manipulating user interfaces with a stylus” that show it being used with iMovie, Messages, Calendar, and other apps. In fact, in the patent filing, Apple notes that, “in some embodiments, the functions optionally include image editing, drawing, presenting, word processing, website creating, disk authoring, spreadsheet making, game playing, telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, workout support, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing.” Which leads me to believe that Apple Pencil support will come to the iPhone and perhaps even to the Mac.

GarageBand and Logic Pro X music apps for iOS and macOS get major upgrades

6 hours 51 min ago

Apple has announced major updates to its music creation apps with new features for music makers of all levels on iPhone, iPad and Mac. 

GarageBand for iOS 2.2 now features the creative synthesizer Alchemy and a new sound browser designed to make searching through instruments and patches easier. Logic Pro X 10.3 for macOS gets a modern interface, new features for professional audio production as well as support for the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro.

Logic Pro X users can also remotely add new tracks to their Logic sessions from their iPhone or iPad when they’re away from their Mac. With a new share option, users can upload a special GarageBand-compatible version of a Logic project to iCloud, which they can then open on their iOS devices and add new recordings whenever inspiration strikes. When the project is saved back to iCloud, any newly added tracks will automatically appear in the original Logic project the next time it’s opened on a Mac.

GarageBand for iOS now features a redesigned sound browser that makes it faster than ever to explore Touch Instruments and quickly find the exact sounds the user wants, according to Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Applications Product Marketing. Alchemy, a modern synthesizers and a favorite of Logic Pro users, comes to iOS and includes a collection of over 150 Apple-designed patches from a variety of genres, including EDM, Hip Hop, Indie, Rock, Pop and more. With Alchemy’s Transform Pad, users can morph between eight sonic snapshots in real-time, to create expressive synth performances.

Recording music in GarageBand for iOS also gets easier with Multi-Take Recording, giving users multiple passes to capture their best performance and the ability to audition and switch between their favorite takes, says Prescott.

The release also features a redesigned Audio Recorder that adds one-tap vocal effects and provides users with even more studio effects like pitch correction, distortion and delay. Seasoned users looking for even more control over their mixes can use a new collection of advanced audio processing tools, including an interactive graphic Visual EQ and the ability to use third-party Audio Unit plug-in effects.

Logic Pro X includes advanced new features that make Logic an even stronger tool for audio production, giving musicians and audio engineers even more control over editing and mixing their music, says Prescott. The latest release features a new modern design that improves legibility in a variety of working environments.

Logic Pro X also adds support for the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro, providing the ability to view and navigate projects in a timeline overview, along with convenient access to volume and Smart Controls for any selected track. New performance controls let users play and record software instruments with the Touch Bar using a piano keyboard that can also be customized to a variety of musical scales, or by tapping drum pads to create beats. Assignable key command buttons allow users customize the Touch Bar controls to keep favorite keyboard shortcuts readily available.

Track Alternatives let users create and switch between different playlists of regions and edits on any track. Prescott says this feature makes it easier to experiment with various creative ideas or evaluate different versions of a track as it evolves. Selection-based Processing allows users to apply any combination of Logic or third-party effect plug-ins onto any selection of one or multiple audio regions. 

It’s useful for optimizing sound quality and a tool for creative sound design. What’s more, Logic Pro X becomes more powerful for professional mixing, with a 64-bit summing engine, 192 additional busses and true stereo panning, providing discrete control of stereo signals.

GarageBand 2.2 for iOS is a free update today for all existing and new iOS users;  it’s $4.99 for older and non-qualifying devices. It’s available at the Apple App Store.

Logic Pro X 10.3 is a free update for all existing users, and $199.99 for new customers. It’s available on the Mac App Store.

CBS Sports Radio channel added to Apple Music

7 hours 4 min ago

Apple has added the CBS Sports Radio syndicated radio channel to Apple Music. It’s a sports radio network that debuted with hourly sports news updates on Sept. 4, 2012, and with 24/7 programming on Jan. 2, 2013.

CBS Sports Radio is operated by CBS Radio and CBS Sports and airs on 300 stations in the U.S. It’s now featured on Apple Music's "Featured Stations" section, offering a live feed of CBS's 24-hour-a-day radio broadcast network. 

Apple Music is a subscription service that costs $9.99 per month — or $4.99 for students.

Apple is the most intimate brand in the U.S

9 hours 56 min ago

The top ranked intimate brands continued to outperform the S&P and Fortune 500 indices in revenue and profit over the past 10 years, according to MBLM's Brand Intimacy 2017 Report, which is the largest study of brands based on emotions. The most intimate brand in the U.S. is Apple, followed by Disney and Amazon. 

The Top 10 is rounded out by: Harley Davidson, Netflix, Nintendo, Samsung, Whole Foods, BMW and Toyota. Amazon and Apple are more successful than most in crossing age groups and income levels, according to MBLM, a company that offers consulting, branding, experience and technology services.

Brand intimacy is defined as a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand. If top S&P and Fortune 500 brands performed at the same growth rate as the top intimate brands, an average S&P company would have earned an additional $7.7 billion in revenue and $5.3 billion in profit, says Mario Natarelli, MBLM's managing partner.. An average Fortune 500 company would have generated an additional $20.3 billion in revenue and $2.9 billion in profit, he adds.

This year's report contains comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 54,000 brand evaluations across 15 industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE [United Arab Emirates]. MBLM's reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands.

SSD Health Check is new drive utility for macOS

10 hours 30 min ago

B-Eng has announced SSD Health Check 1.0, the company's new drive utility for macOS. It will alert you when your solid state disk is in a critical state or reaches other critical limits. 

SSD Health Check reports data such as operating temperature, unexpected power losses and power cycles, as well as the number of uncorrectable errors and wear level count or parameters such as erase fail count. It requires macOS 10.7 or later.

SSD Health Check 1.0 costs $0.99. It’s available worldwide through the Mac App Store.

Law firm tries to stop Apple from selling iPhones without texting/driving safeguards

10 hours 52 min ago

MLG Automotive Law (mlgautomotivelaw) — a Newport Beach, California-based firm concentrating on representing the legal interests of businesses and people in the automotive industry — has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, seeking to enjoin the company from selling further iPhones until it installs texting and driving safeguards.  The lawsuit, Julio Ceja v. Apple Inc. , was filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple puts profit before consumer safety. According to the filing, the company has had the technology to prevent texting and driving since 2008 – and even received a patent on it in 2014 – but refuses to use it 

"Texting and driving has become one of the most serious issues that confronts all of us on a daily basis," said Jonathan Michaels, the founding member of MLG Automotive Law. "The number of people who have been being killed or injured is astonishing. It has to stop." Michaels continued, "Legislating against drivers will unfortunately not solve the problem. The relationship consumers have with their phones is just too great, and the ability to slide under the eye of the law is just too easy. Embedding lock-out devices is the only solution.”

So will MLG sue Samsung, LG, Lenovo and others for the same reason?

Expect to see Apple devices with Bluetooth 5 in two to six months

11 hours 15 sec ago

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) officially adopted Bluetooth 5 as the latest version of the Bluetooth core specification. Consumers can expect to see products supporting the spec in two to six months. It should appear in upcoming Macs, iPads, and iPhones.

Key updates to Bluetooth 5 include longer range, faster speed, and larger broadcast message capacity, as well as improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies, according to Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. 

He adds that feature updates include four times range, two times speed, and eight times broadcast message capacity. Longer range powers whole home and building coverage, for more robust and reliable connections. Higher speed enables more responsive, high-performance devices. Increased broadcast message size increases the data sent for improved and more context relevant solutions.

Powell says that Bluetooth 5 also includes updates that help reduce potential interference with other wireless technologies to ensure Bluetooth devices can coexist within the increasingly complex global IoT [Internet of Things] environment. It delivers all of this while maintaining its low-energy functionality and flexibility for developers to meet the needs of their device or application, he adds.

Popular Community Bank adds Apple Pay support

11 hours 10 min ago

Popular Community Bank, a subsidiary of Popular Inc., has added support for Apple Pay. Consumer and business banking customers can now enroll their eligible debit cards and pay quickly at participating merchants via Apple’s mobile payment service.

Enabling debit cards in the three leading mobile wallets is one of several recent digital features Popular Community Bank has deployed. The PIN Password and Touch ID features were launched last September as Popular Community Bank prepared for the rollout of Mobile Cash in early 2016. The bank also rolled out People Pay, a person-to-person payment solution earlier this year.

Founded in 1893, Popular, Inc. (https://www.popularcommunitybank.com) is the leading banking institution by both assets and deposits in Puerto Rico and ranks among the top 50 U.S. banks by assets.

Apple Pay works with the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE and Apple Watch. When paying within apps, Apple Pay is compatible with the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro. It’s also macOS Sierra compatible.

Dove Channel now available on the Apple TV

11 hours 26 min ago

Cinedigm Corp’s Dove Channel is now available on the Apple TV. The Dove Channel app is optimized for tvOS, with a design featuring an improved user interface. Additionally, the app update allows subscribers to synch their account and stream movies across connected devices including iPhone, iPad and other platforms.

The Dove Channel serves the “faith and family audience,” offering a wide variety of content from meaningful mainstream movies, independent films, and documentaries, to heartwarming TV series and children’s programs. The specialized streaming service offers families a safe entertainment choice utilizing The Dove Foundation rating system, which ranks programs in six key areas: sexuality, language, violence, drug and alcohol use, nudity, and other, to ensure appropriate programming for families.

Dove Channel’s subscription-based offering is $4.99 per month, and viewers can subscribe within the app on Apple TV. The Dove Channel app can be found and downloaded on the App Store for Apple TV.

All Dove Channel content is sortable and searchable. Homeschoolers will purportedly soon be able to easily create customized, password-protected “shelves” where exclusive videos and curriculum can be stored for a personalized homeschool network. The channel currently offers over 300 homeschooling titles, and shelving curriculum categories include Bible studies, science, literature, and history.

Supreme Court won’t review a lower court finding in SightSound vs. Apple case

11 hours 43 min ago

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a Federal Circuit finding that it is jurisdictionally barred under the high court’s Cuozzo decision from considering if the Patent Trial and Appeal Board erred when it invalidated two SightSound Technology patents challenged by Apple on grounds Apple didn't explicitly raise, reports Law360.

In 2011 SightSound Technologies, whose parent company is General Electric, sued Apple for patent infringement. The company claims Apple infringed, among others, patent 5,191,573 for a “method for transmitting a desired digital video or audio signal.” SightSound claims that iTunes and the Apple TV, among other products, infringe on the patent. The company wants a financial settlement “adequate to compensate for Apple’s infringement of the Patents-in-Suit,” as well as court costs.

SightSound has spent years in patent lawsuits with Apple, CDNow, Bertelsmann, Napster and others. The company claims to own a portfolio of 50 patents related to media downloads, and claims to have been the first to sell both music (1995) and movie (1999) downloads.

Synology releases Surveillance Station 8.0 for macOS, Windows

11 hours 58 min ago

Synology has released Surveillance Station 8.0, an update of the smart surveillance system for macOS and Windows. It offers flexible deployment and a smoother live view experience, according to Jonathan Wang, product manager at Synology.

He adds that Surveillance Station 8.0 includes the following new features:

  • Surveillance Station Client: in addition to checking live views and managing channels within browsers, users can now install Surveillance Station Client to enjoy improved performance and efficiency, and be free from browser limitations.
  • Multiple streaming: the update supports automatic and manual resolution adjustment based on the size of the monitoring window or event, saves bandwidth consumption1 when prospecting multiple channels. You can choose to automatically switch to higher resolution recording only when important events occur, maximizing storage utilization1 during continuous recording.
  • Advanced action rule: more advanced action rules and events are supported to further automate the surveillance system. By flexibly utilizing the logical operators and multiple events, actions can be triggered when one or all of the pre-defined criteria is met.
  • Automatic failover: users can enable flexible failover on CMS to enjoy an intact surveillance structure with minimized downtime, more flexible server requirements, and lower threshold on cost and management.
  • New codecs: the update supports the new H.265 codec, enabling more supported cameras for users to choose from while reducing bandwidth consumption up to 25%2, providing faster streaming experience during both live view and recording. Optimized H.264+ by Hikvision and Smart Stream by Vivotek and ZAVIO are also VS360HD firmware upgrade: the upgrade allows users to connect VS360HD to the NAS, and manage almost every feature of Surveillance Station on VS360HD. QuickConnect ID and HTTPS connections are also supported to let users access Surveillance Station from anywhere in the world.

Surveillance Station 8.0 can be found through DiskStation Manager's Package Center on all Synology DiskStation and RackStation running DSM 6.0 and above, as well as on NVR216.

Daily Deal: Get quick backups, carry media with iKlips DUO+ Dual Interface Flash Drive

12 hours 23 sec ago

Need to transfer data between your iOS devices and your Mac? Maybe you want to carry a pocketful of movies -- up to 128GB worth -- on your keychain, ready to play on your iPhone at any time. Whatever the reason, the iKlips DUO+ Dual Interface Flash Drive (starting at $69.99 for 32GB) is the perfect tool for swiftly transferring files or backing up your Mac or iPhone.

Available in three colors -- red, gold and black -- and three capacities -- 32GB, 64GB and 128GB, the iKlips DUO+ Dual Interface Flash Drive sports both Lightning and USB connectors for compatibility with all your devices. Download the free iKlips 3.0 app on the App Store, and you can manage your files, record photos and videos right onto iKlips DUO+, back up data, and more.

The iKlips DUO+ comes with a keychain ring so you can carry it with you at all times for extra convenience. Get this popular accessory today while it lasts! Remember to refer your friends to this deal for an extra $10 off. 

LiftMaster plans HomeKit compatibility

13 hours 23 sec ago

LiftMaster, which makes installed garage door openers and access solutions, is bringing the promise of Apple HomeKit compatibility to the company's MyQ-enabled garage door openers. HomeKit is a framework that allows control of compatible home automation devices through iOS and Siri.

Beginning in April 2017, all LiftMaster residential garage door openers can be easily upgraded to work with HomeKit using the new MyQ Home Bridge.

"LiftMaster and Apple have worked extremely hard to bring an outstanding LiftMaster MyQ experience to the HomeKit ecosystem," says John Villanueva, vice president of Marketing. "HomeKit users are going to be very pleased with the level of integration, usability and reliability we will be delivering with MyQ technology."

Users can open, close, or check the status of their garage door, and turn MyQ-connected lights on or off using the Home app via their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple Watch. Users of MyQ-enabled devices with HomeKit compatibility will be able to operate their garage door and LiftMaster lighting control products with Siri voice commands. 

With the addition of HomeKit compatibility, LiftMaster MyQ users will be able to create scenes which enable multiple devices to work in combination with a single command. For example, users can create a scene named "Coming Home" that turns the lights on, raises the thermostat, unlocks the door, and opens their LiftMaster Garage Door Opener. LiftMaster products are available through a network of over 4,000 dealers in North America.

How to use iBooks Storytime for the Apple TV

13 hours 30 min ago

I recommend iBooks Storytime, a free app for the Apple TV (see my separate review). Here’s how to set it up.

When you're ready to get started, download the iBooks StoryTime app from the App Store on your Apple TV.

  • Open the iBooks StoryTime app on your Apple TV.
  • Swipe up on the Apple TV remote to open the menu.
  • Select Featured Books from the menu.
  • Select the book you want to download.
  • Choose Preview if you want to read a sample. 
  • If a book is free, choose Get to start the download.
  • If the book has a purchase price, choose Buy to purchase the book. You might need to sign in with your Apple ID.
  • Select Get or Buy.

As soon as your download completes, the Read-Aloud experience begins. If you have set up Family Sharing, any Read-Aloud book purchased by you or your family appears in the My Books section of iBooks StoryTime.

After you download your book, it is added to your My Books screen. To read a book from My Books, select the book. As StoryTime reads the book to you, it highlights each word and flips pages automatically as you go. You can skip forward or page back by swiping on your Apple TV remote. 

If you want to switch to Full Screen, turn on Settings > Apps > iBooks StoryTime > Full Screen.

If you need to take a break, click the Play/Pause button to stop and resume the narration.

If you want to turn off the Read-Aloud narration so that you can read along at home, pause your book then swipe down on your Apple Remote. Select Off.

If you want to hide books from the My Books section of iBooks StoryTime, hide the books on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. After you hide or unhide the book on another device, the book is hidden and unhidden in My Books on iBooks StoryTime on Apple TV.

 

iBooks StoryTime is a fine Apple TV app for those who have children or grandchildren

14 hours 23 sec ago

I read many books to my kiddos when they were young, and I love reading to my granddaughter. If you’re a parent or grandparent, I hope you do, too. However, if there are times when that’s inconvenient, you can have the Apple TV handle the job thanks to iBooks StoryTime.

It’s a free app aimed at the preschooler who is just starting to learn to read. iBooks StoryTime lets you open a virtual book on any HDTV that’s connected to an Apple TV. A narrator reads the stories while virtual pages automatically turn on-screen. Words are highlighted on-screen as they’re read aloud. In some cases there are sound effects. If you start a book, and don’t finish it, StoryTime picks up where you left off the next time you open it.

You can turn off Read-Aloud narration if you want to read the book to your child yourself. You can even use the Siri Remote to swipe between pages.

Children’s books already in your iBooks account will load automatically. You can, of course, buy more (which Apple, naturally, hopes you’ll do).

iBooks StoryTime requires tvOS 10.0.1 or later. It comes with Dora's Big Buddy Race Read-Along Storybook (not my favorite children’s book), allowing you to test drive the app before buying any e-books.

I do wish you could choose between various narrator voices, but the illustrations on the books I’ve purchased are delightful. And, hey, iBooks Storytime is free. And I’d rather have my granddaughter have a book read to her by the app than just have her watching one TV show after another.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★

FTC accuses Qualcomm of extracting ‘exclusivity’ from Apple

Tue, 2017-01-17 16:30

The Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint in federal district court charging Qualcomm Inc. with using anticompetitive tactics to maintain its monopoly in the supply of a key semiconductor device used in cell phones and other consumer products.

Qualcomm is the world’s dominant supplier of baseband processors – devices that manage cellular communications in mobile products. The FTC alleges that Qualcomm has used its dominant position as a supplier of certain baseband processors to impose “onerous and anticompetitive supply and licensing terms on cell phone manufacturers and to weaken competitors.” The FTC says the company “extracted exclusivity from Apple in exchange for reduced patent royalties.” Qualcomm is accused for precluding Apple from sourcing baseband processors from Qualcomm’s competitors from 2011 to 2016. Qualcomm recognized that any competitor that won Apple’s business would become stronger, and used exclusivity to prevent Apple from working with and improving the effectiveness of Qualcomm’s competitors, according to the FTC.

The federal agency has also charged Qualcomm with violating the FTC Act. The complaint alleges that Qualcomm:

Maintains a “no license, no chips” policy under which it will supply its baseband processors only on the condition that cell phone manufacturers agree to Qualcomm’s preferred license terms. The FTC alleges that this tactic forces cell phone manufacturers to pay elevated royalties to Qualcomm on products that use a competitor’s baseband processors. According to the Commission’s complaint, this is an anticompetitive tax on the use of rivals’ processors. “No license, no chips” is a condition that other suppliers of semiconductor devices do not impose. The risk of losing access to Qualcomm baseband processors is too great for a cell phone manufacturer to bear because it would preclude the manufacturer from selling phones for use on important cellular networks.

Refuses to license standard-essential patents to competitors. Despite its commitment to license standard-essential patents on FRAND terms, Qualcomm has consistently refused to license those patents to competing suppliers of baseband processors.

The FTC is seeking a court order to undo and prevent Qualcomm’s unfair methods of competition in violation of the FTC Act. The FTC has asked the court to order Qualcomm to cease its anticompetitive conduct and take actions to restore competitive conditions.

AWT News Update: January 17, 2017

Tue, 2017-01-17 16:15

On today's Apple World Today News Update, we talk about obsolete networks, smash and grabs, store renovations, and the idiots who keep using the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones:

  • AT&T's 2G network shut down on January 1; nobody seemed to notice, but you can't use your original iPhone anymore...
  • The Apple Store Palo Alto (CA) is currently undergoing renovations due to an early December smash-and-grab burglary.
  • The "glass cube" 5th Avenue Apple Store in NYC will be closed starting on Jan. 20 for renovations.
  • Verizon is planning to take drastic measures to stop people who are still using their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

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

Subscribe to the Podcast

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 17, 2017.

If you’re one of the handful of people who still use an original iPhone in the U.S. on the AT&T network, you’ve probably noticed that you can no longer make or receive phone calls on the device. That’s because the original iPhone, also known as the iPhone 2G, ran on AT&T’s 2G wireless network, and that network was shut down on January 1, 2017. The device can still be used on Wi-Fi networks, although it has been officially obsolete since 2013 and hasn’t received software updates since 2009 with iOS 3. By shutting down the 2G network, AT&T has opened up the spectrum for future network technologies including 5G. The company says that the spectrum will be repurposed for LTE.

Apple fans in Palo Alto, California, have had to travel further to get their Apple fix this week, as the Apple Store in that town has been closed. It’s apparently shut down due to the aftereffects of a burglary last month in which a vehicle rammed through the glass facade at the front of the store. Calls to the store at this time reach a recording that says that the store is undergoing renovations and suggest that potential customers head to the Stanford Shopping Center outlet.

The burglary took place in the early hours of December 4, with a group of people smashing a rented Kia Soul through the facade. About 8 to 10 people then ran into the store and grabbed iPhones and Macs. Some of those devices were found later in a car parked in an alley a short distance away. As the burglary happened during the important holiday buying season, Apple reopened the store almost immediately with boarded-up windows.

In another Apple Store-related story, the iconic Fifth Avenue store in New York City will be closing on January 20 for renovations. The store, with a glass cube above ground and the business end underground, will temporarily relocate to the General Motors building that it is located in front of. It will take over space that was home to an FAO Schwarz toy store until the renovations are complete.

Although they’re not allowed on airplanes or cruise ships, and they were discontinued a few months ago, apparently there are still thousands of Verizon customers who are still using the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Verizon told Fortune that it’s prepared to take some drastic steps to disable the devices once and for all. The company issued a carrier update that essentially bricks the Note 7, but some customers figured out how to avoid installing that update.

The company will now make it so that calls made from the remaining devices only connect to Verizon customer service reps with the exception of 911 calls — that’s useful if your phone has flames shooting out of it… The company says it will also consider charging customers who keep using the device the full retail price of the phone, since it has already sent out refunds for the units. Samsung is expected to share the results of its internal investigation into the root cause of the Galaxy Note 7 fires on January 23.

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