AWT News Update: April 20, 2015

On today's show:

  • Porsche announces CarPlay for upcoming vehicles
  • The NAB wants Apple to enable the FM radio built into every iPhone
  • Samsung is so hated in Japan that the company is removing its logo from the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge when they are released in the country this week
  • Accessibility seekers trying out an Apple Watch can use Siri to enable VoiceOver.

A text version of the podcast is now included at the end of this post for those who would rather read than listen to the news (or watch it on Periscope). 


This is Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for April 20, 2015. Help support our sponsor for this week — It’s About Time Produts, developers of Desk App for Mac, a great way to get rid of unneeded space grabbing files on your Mac and the best two bucks you can spend.

Porsche is the latest car brand to announce upcoming support for the iOS-based CarPlay infotainment system. Apple CEO Tim Cook reported last month that all major car manufacturers intend to incorporate the platform in models rolling out of factories this year. Volkswagen Group, the owner of Porsche, is offering CarPlay support across its sub-brands including Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Suzuki, and Volkswagen. 
Did you know that you have an FM radio inside your iPhone? As part of the Murata 339S0228 chip that provides your phone with WiFi and Bluetooth, there’s an FM receiver. However, the functionality has been switched off by Apple, but the National Association of Broadcasters is asking the company to enable FM on iPhones. The NAB says that listening to streaming radio drains batteries three to five times faster than listening with the FM chip, and the ability to use the phone to listen to FM broadcasts could be critical in the event of an emergency. Several commenters on Reddit note that this might not be doable just by flipping a switch through a software update, since an antenna and amplifier chip would also be required. Some other folks have tried using a headphone cable as an antenna on rooted Android phones using the same chip and report good success. Whether or not this is a feature that Apple will take advantage of in fture iPhones is unknown, but it’s fascinating to know that it is a possibility. 

Apple’s iPhones are extremely popular in Japan, with the company holding a 40.8 percent share of the market last year followed by home-grown companies Sony with 18.1 percent, Sharp at 12.4 percent, and Fujitsu at 8.8 percent. Is there a large global phone manufacturer whose name you didn’t hear in that list? Yes, Korea’s Samsung. The company is so despised in Japan that the company is removing the Samsung logo from the Galaxy S6 and Edge smartphones set to go on sale in the country later this week. Patently Apple notes that the move openly insults the Japanese consumer, and that only Samsung could see it otherwise. The phones will be marketed as the Galaxy by carriers Docomo and AU.

And now an accessibility update courtesy of AWT accessibility editor Alex Jurgensen, who notes that “Customers who have gone into Apple Stores since the Apple Watch went on preview on April 10 and who have been disappointed by the fact that the demo units disabled accessibility features can breathe easier. While apple is planning to role out an official solution to this problem by the end of this week, a work around now exists to enable some of the accessibility features of the watch. Simply tell Siri to “turn on VoiceOver”, substituting the name of any other features as desired. To find out more, including some of the limitations of this work-around, check out yesterday's post over at Apple World Today's Accessible Apple column.

Alex also notes that taking selfies will become easier with the Apple Watch, as the Camera app on the watch will let you trigger the camera shutter remotely and the Watch app includes viewfinder capabilities. 

We’ll be back Monday with another AWT News Update.