AWT News Update: October 5, 2016

Photo by airline passenger Brian Green, via The Verge.

Photo by airline passenger Brian Green, via The Verge.

Today we welcome Pagico 8 as our sponsor of Apple World Today and our podcasts. Be sure to check out this cross-platform data and task management app that will keep you and your business running smoothly. In our Apple-related news bits today:

  • A Samsung Galaxy Note 7 owner moves to iPhone 7 after his replacement phone catches on fire and a plane is evacuated as a result (see photo above)
  • Apple assembly partner Foxconn now has 40,000 robots working in factories
  • Apple's first iOS Developer Academy opens this week near Naples, Italy
  • Apple assures everyone that the iPhone 7 camera lenses are indeed covered with sapphire

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 5, 2016. This week we welcome our sponsor Pagico 8, a powerful, cross-platform data and task management application that will keep you or your business running smoothly. Find out more about Pagico 8 for Mac, Windows and Ubuntu Linux, as well as Pagico Plus for iOS and Android by visiting our website at the link above.

We don’t want to do any Samsung-bashing here at Apple World Today, because we know just how easy it is for tech products to run into issues. But it appears that Samsung’s recall of the Galaxy Note 7 isn’t working too well. This morning, a Southwest Airlines flight that was fortunately still on the ground in Louisville, Kentucky was evacuated when a replacement Galaxy Note 7 owned by Brian Green started smoking and popping. Green had powered down the phone as requested by the flight crew and put it into his pocket…only to see smoke coming out. He dropped the device onto the floor of the plane where what he referred to as a “thick grey-green angry smoke” started pouring out of the phone. The phone burned through the carpet and scorched the subfloor of the plane. Green says that the phone was a replacement that he picked up on September 21st, that it was only at about 80% of battery capacity when the incident occurred, and that he had only used a wireless charger — not a plug-in charger — since receiving the phone. Samsung says they’re not sure that the phone is one of the new models that aren’t supposed to explode; The Verge ran the phone’s IMEI number through Samsung’s recall checker and found that Green’s phone is not on the list of affected devices. Green has done the smart thing; he’s replaced the phone with an iPhone 7.

Activists who think that Foxconn, Pegatron and other Chinese manufacturers of Apple products are unfair to their employees, overworking and underpaying them, might want to realize that their efforts have had unintended, but completely expected consequences. Foxconn is Apple’s primary assembly partner and reported today that it has installed 40,000 product robots across China in order to minimize the number of humans that it employs. The robots are being built in-house, and each robot has the ability to replace a number of human workers. Foxconn manufactures about 10,000 robots a year, and at a Foxconn plant in Kunshan (that’s not necessarily an Apple plant), Foxconn was able to cut jobs for 60,000 workers. Due to rising labor standards brought on by activist groups and a lack of interest from young workers, companies like Foxconn are now beginning to make larger and more frequent investments in automation.

Apple’s first iOS Developer Academy will open this week at the University of Naples Federico II’s San Giovanni a Teduccio campus located near Naples, Italy. This year, 200 Italian students will learn how to write iOS apps during a nine-month course, and each has received a current-generation MacBook, iPhone and iPad along with tuition — all for free. Unsurprisingly, over 4,000 students applied for 200 spots. Next year, the academy plans to accept 400 students in total. Apple designed the large open-plan classroom to be used, with small groups of students sitting at round tables equipped with special sound systems so the instructor can speak with each table about their work. The course will be taught in English as it will be open to students from around the world, and English is a type of lingua franca for app developers. Congratulations and good luck to all of the academy students.

Finally, YouTubers wasted no time in destroying the iPhone 7s and 7 Pluses that the rest of us were so happy to get our hands on. One of them, by the name of JerryRigEverything, did a series of decidedly non-scientific scratch tests a while back and then concluded that despite Apple’s assurances, the camera lenses on the new devices were not made of sapphire or even glass coated with sapphire. Well, Apple responded to a request for information from iMore, stating that the lenses are indeed covered with sapphire and that the results of Jerry’s test were flawed from the start. To quote iMore, “Apple confirms the iPhone 7 camera lens is sapphire, and under proper testing conditions achieves the hardness and purity results expected from sapphire.” Basically, iMore implies that the testing wasn’t done scientifically enough at the proper force level, and just watching the YouTube videos appears to bear out that conclusion.

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