AWT News Update: February 5, 2016

CloudKit Dashboard

CloudKit Dashboard

The first week of February has come and gone. Today we have a few news items about upcoming technologies, as well as business deals gone bad:

  • CloudKit gets new server-to-server web service request support
  • Rumors on who might be Apple's partner for extended range wireless charging
  • The iTunes Movie Trailers app is updated for a BIG reason
  • Never sell out of a startup in exchange for a bicycle

Text can be found below, video is right here

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for February 5, 2016. Our sponsor this week is Winning WordPress, a powerful online resource for everyone who runs a WordPress site or is thinking about it. Check it out on the AWT website today, or click the link found in today’s show notes.

CloudKit is an Apple server-side Application Programming Interface or API, a part of iCloud. Today the company added support to CloudKit for server-to-server web service requests. Apple’s release notes say that “In addition to providing a web interface for users to access the same data as your app, you can now easily read and write to the CLoudKit public database from a server-side process or script with a server-to-server key”. This is important to developers for several reasons. First, CloudKit provides tools to developers for authentication, private and public databases, and storage of assets, so that developers can spend more time making the client portion of their apps more usable and attractive. But most importantly, a similar cloud framework called Parse is scheduled to shut down next year. That makes CloudKit the go-to cloud database engine for the future.

There have been rumors that Apple is working on extended range wireless charging for iPhones and other future products, but now there’s additional speculation that Apple has partnered with a company called Energous to bring the technology to life. Energous is behind an emerging wireless charging technology called WattUp that uses radio frequencies to let devices be charged from as far as 15 feet away from a charger. Now there’s no solid proof for a deal like this, other than in early 2015 the company signed a deal with an unnamed company said to be “one of the top five companies in the world”. Apple’s on that list. Bloomberg recently speculated that Apple wasn’t going to do wireless charging unless it could do away for the need to be near a special charging source or mat. The WattUp transmitters can charge up to a dozen devices simultaneously up to 15 feet away, as long as they require less than 10 watts of power. Whether we’ll see something like this in 2016 or have to wait a few more years for plug-free charging, it’s good to see that Energous and other companies are working hard to resolve the technical barriers to making it possible.

The iTunes Movie Trailers app has been updated today for one very good reason — the iPad Pro. The app has been fixed to make sure that the interface, movie posters, and video playback are all properly rendered on the Pro’s display. However, Apple didn’t find the time to add iOS 9 split-screen or picture-in-picture features. The app and the update are both free on the App Store.

We’ll finish this week out with a sad story. Remember our story about Microsoft buying SwiftKey for $250 million this week? Well, one of the co-founders, Chris Hill-Scott, didn’t like the startup life back in 2008, so he traded his shares in the company to his fellow founders Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds for a bicycle. Medlock and Reynolds reportedly walked away from the Microsoft deal with about $36 million each. This is a sad story, but not unknown in the world of tech. One of Apple’s co-founders I had the pleasure to meet and talk to while working at TUAW, Ronald Wayne, sold his 10% share of Apple for $800 less than two weeks after the company was formed. Wayne primarily dropped out of the company because he was concerned about the viability of Apple in those early days and he was the only partner who had personal assets that could be seized by creditors if the company went bust. Unlike Hill-Scott, at least Wayne got an additional $1,500 a year later, and then sold his copy of the original Apple company agreement in the early 1990s for $500. That contract was later sold at auction for $1.6 million…

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