AWT News Update: November 2, 2015

Welcome to November, everybody. Today's news update is all about Big Brother, rumors that are really rumor-ish, and little cellphone towers inside your house.

  • A bill to be introduced in the UK would force a government back door on several Apple products and services
  • Personal Pickup may or may not be expanded internationally in the near future
  • Sprint will let its customer roam in Cuba
  • T-Mo has little 4G LTE CellSpots to give you if your signal isn't the best.

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Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for November 2, 2015. Our sponsor this past week has been Tinderbox, a powerful personal content assistant that helps you visualize, analyze and share your notes. Find out more about Tinderbox today by checking out the website link in the show notes. Tomorrow we’ll have a new sponsor; if your company would like more information about sponsoring Apple World Today, please contact us via the website.

One of Apple’s selling points recently has been its take on privacy, in that the company’s devices can encrypt data through a password that the company and law enforcement officials cannot decrypt. A new bill being introduced in the UK on Wednesday would require Apple and other companies to hold a key to encrypted smartphones and services, in order to give access to government agencies when a warrant is issued. If the bill became law, Apple would have to stop encrypting iPhones, iMessage and FaceTime. The company has been fighting government encroachment on personal privacy, even to the point that the company — along with several other companies — has asked the White House to not back measures that would force the company to change its encryption policy. Big Brother wants to watch you, but Apple’s trying to keep that from happening. We’ll provide more information as this story unfolds.

I personally like to spend as little time in Apple Stores as I can, since that way I will hopefully spend less money. So when I need to buy something, I usually use the Personal Pickup option, where you can place product orders online and then pick up the items when they’re ready at a local Apple Store. Just show ‘em ID and you’re on your way. Well, MacRumors is reporting that the company may roll out Personal Pickup internationally as early as this month, but could push back the plans until later this year or beyond. Great way to cover your “rumor”, MacRumors.

Sprint today announced an agreement with the Telecommunications Company of Cuba that will let its subscribers roam in Cuba. Travel to Cuba from the United States is expected to explode in the next few years, due in part to changes in US-Cuban relations implemented by the US government. There’s no word on whether the Communist state has a decent telecommunications infrastructure in place, or if it’s stuck back in the 1950s like many of the automobiles that roam the country.

Speaking of mobile carriers, if you’re a T-Mobile carrier and live in a spot where your LTE signal is weak or nonexistent, take heart — T-Mo will be providing customers in low-signal areas with 4G LTE CellSpots. These are basically small cell towers that work in a home or office and provide up to 16 devices on T-mobile’s network with the ability to connect for voice calls, text messages and data service. If you’re a home user or small business with a postpaid T-Mobile plan, you can pick up a 4G LTE Cell Spot for just a refundable $25 deposit.

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