AWT News Update: April 30, 2015

A quiet day in the world of Apple, but enough to generate a four-minute long AWT News Update!

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple Watch Taptic Engines made by supplier AAC Technologies failed reliability tests, forcing Apple to destroy some early Watches and move to another supplier
  • More Flyover locations are available in Apple Maps
  • Time Warner CEO thinks Apple will be launching a streaming TV product
  • VoiceOver celebrated a decade of helping the blind and visually impaired yesterday
  • Netflix is adding more audio description tracks to TV seasons and films in its library

The full text version of the podcast script is available below.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for April 30, 2015. Our sponsor this week is Juicy Bits Software, developers of the new WhereNotes app for iPhone and Apple Watch. Juicy Bits is also the company behind the amazing and fun Halftone and Halftone 2 apps, perfect for whipping up your own comic books or scrapbooks. You can find all their apps at, and be sure to tell them you heard about their products on Apple World Today.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Apple Watch Taptic engines produced by AAC Technologies of Shenzhen China started failing reliability tests after Apple started mass production of the Watch in February. The taptic engine is what provides the feeling of being tapped on the wrist by the Watch, one of its more unique and well-received features. Apple did the right thing, destroying some completed watches that weren’t working correctly or had a chance of failing early. Apple’s now relying on another supplier, Nidec in Japan, for the majority of the Taptic engines as they don’t have the same issue.
Would you like to visit Arches National Park in western Utah, but you just can’t take the time to travel there? There’s now an easy way to visit the park and 19 other new locations around the globe, as they were just added to the Flyover feature in Apple Maps. If you search for a location in Maps and see the Flyover bar with a start button, you’ll know that the site has been added to your Apple Maps app. There are now a total of 141 Flyover locations you can visit for a little bit of virtual tourism. 

We’ve heard about a potential Apple streaming TV service for years now, and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes is now bullish on the possibility. During Time Warner’s earning call, Bewkes said that “We think Apple is very forward-thinking about television. It’s no surprise to anyone that Apple would be interested in launching a TV product.” Rumor has it that the service could have as many as 25 channels available at launch, with a monthly price tag of $20 to $40. 

And now some Accessible Apple news from Apple World Today accessibility editor Alex Jurgensen:

Happy Birthday, VoiceOver! Apple's screen access technology came out of beta with the release of Mac OS X Tiger 10 years ago yesterday, April 29th. During this time it has matured greatly, expanding to support all of Apple's products, most recently the Apple Watch. Along the way, VoiceOver has made a difference in the lives of many visually impaired and blind Apple customers, pioneering many technologies that are now industry standards. Furthermore, inclusion of VoiceOver into Apple's entire lineup of products was one of Apple's largest steps towards making accessibility features mainstream, something competitors have struggled to match to this day. Here's to the next decade of innovation!

Netflix continues to add audio description tracks for the visually impaired and blind to its catalog. The service now boasts 41 described TV seasons and films combineed in the US. In Canada, the number is lower at 23, and in the UK there is 13.

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