AWT News Update: November 13, 2015

Merry (left) and Pippin at the AWT HQ office. Photo©2015 Steven Sande

Merry (left) and Pippin at the AWT HQ office. Photo©2015 Steven Sande

Happy Friday the 13th! While we're playing with black cats, smashing mirrors and working under ladders, we found this news for today's podcast:

  • A new Chrome beta is out for iOS, featuring some nice new goodies that are especially useful on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
  • Fossil Watches bought fitness and activity tracker maker Misfit
  • The iPad Pro has a USB 3.0 controller built in, a first for iOS devices... but will it ever be able to use USB 3.0 transfer speeds?
  • 128GB iPad Pros seem to be sold out, 32GB models are available, and no sign of Smart Keyboards or Apple Pencils

Text is below, watch the dashing Steve Sande on video here.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for November 13, 2015. Just a reminder, if you happen to run a company that’s looking for advertising or sponsorship opportunities, be sure to check out our sponsor page on the Apple World Today website. 

Today we’re all playing with black cats, working under ladders, and breaking mirrors on this Friday the 13th. Nothing seems to have happened yet, so here’s some news for you.

Google released a Chrome beta for iOS through TestFlight recently, and the new beta has some interesting features. For the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, there are now 3D touch features to bring up new tabs, new incognito tabs, or perform voice searches. If you’re using the Chrome beta on an iPad with a keyboard, there are additional Bluetooth keyboard shortcuts that have been added. Anyone who is interested in trying out the new app can visit the Google Chrome beta download page (see the link in the show notes) as it appears that Google has worked a deal to have more than just 2,000 testers. 

At last, it appears that we’ll start seeing a bit of consolidation in the wearable tech market as traditional timepiece makers start buying up the upstarts who are ruining their business. The first shoe dropped yesterday with the announcement that Misfit, makers of the Shine fitness and activity tracker and co-founded by none other than former Apple CEO John Sculley, had been purchased by Fossil Group for $260 million. Last week, TAG Heuer announced an Android Wear-powered watch with a unique guarantee — they’ll convert it to a traditional mechanical watch when the smartwatch craze dies off. Fossil says it will start integrating Misfit technology into its products, but for the time being Misfit products will still be sold and supported. 

We can’t let this week end without another piece of news about the iPad Pro. iFixit’s teardown of the new iPad shows that it uses a USB 3.0 host controller, which means that with the proper adapter, the device will be able to use the Lightning port for data transfers at faster speeds than the USB 2.0 speeds — 25 to 35 MB/s — available on other iOS devices. USB 3.o speeds would start at about 60 MB/s and could theoretically reach 625 MB/s. This should be useful for anyone who is planning on using iMovie’s ability to edit three simultaneous 4K UHDTV streams at once and then exporting to resulting movie to a Mac. No timeframe has been set for the release of the rumored adapters, or whether or not Apple will eventually sell USB 3.0 Lightning cables.

Finally, a quick look around shows that the iPad Pro is rather popular. Most Apple Stores are showing delivery times for the 128GB models in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions in the 12 to 15 day range with no way to pick one up at the store. 32GB versions are actually quite available, so most folks appear to have decided that a Pro device needs a Pro amount of storage. There is a lot of backlash about the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard being back-ordered at launch; my order for the two accessories shows a December 7 to 14 delivery date, which I’m hoping is a pessimistic estimate. 

I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.