AWT News Update: March 8, 2016

I LOVE my new 5.8-inch iPhone!

I LOVE my new 5.8-inch iPhone!

In today's Apple news:

  • French lawmakers move forward with plans to fine and offer jail sentences to executives of companies like Apple or Google that don't provide open "back doors" for law enforcement
  • Google updates a few iPad apps, but still leaves out some much needed features 
  • Just for fun, we have a really stupid rumor for you
  • Hoops fans! Get a 4th-generation Apple TV before next Tuesday when March Madness begins. Why? There's an app!

The text edition is available below. 

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 8, 2016

Remember hearing last week about the extreme French Socialist MP Yann Galut, who proposed legislation that would punish companies like Apple and Google if they don’t give French officials backdoor access to suspected terrorists’ phones? Well, today the word is that French lawmakers have actually backed a similar plan, with the lower chamber of parliament clearing the bill on first reading by 474 votes to 32. The proposal from lawmaker Philippe Goujon would fine a company operating in France €350,000 (about $386,000) and its executives could be jailed up to five years if it denies investigators access to data. In addition, any person who refuses to share information relating to an investigation could be sentenced to two years in jail and fined €15,000. So what are companies like Apple and Google supposed to do? Either stop selling their products in countries like France and close all business in those countries, or open the back doors wide for hackers, terrorists, governments and worse. We live in interesting times.

A pair of Google apps have received updates today, both bringing some support for the iPad Pro in the process. The apps are Docs, Slides and Sheets, and they’re both compatible now with the higher resolution of the iPad Pro display. However, Google still neglected to provide support for Split View or Slide Over multitasking. In addition to the native resolution support, Docs also provides a word counter now. Whoopee.

There are rumors, and there are stupid rumors. One of the latter, unsurprisingly from of the usually unreliable Taiwanese site DigiTimes, is now saying that Apple will “launch a 5.8-inch iPhone featuring rigid AMOLED display panels in 2018 or even earlier in 2017”. This rumor has all sorts of fun stuff in it, including that 50 million of these big phones will be sold in the first year, Samsung will supply the initial batch of displays, and other suppliers will appear later. This rumor has some little grains of truth in it; Apple will probably migrate iPhones to OLED displays eventually because of their ability to save power. But it’s ridiculous to believe that Apple would want another screen size for a phone or phablet, considering the company currently has phones with 4, 4.7, and 5.5 inch screens and tablets with 7.9, 9.7 and 12.9 inch displays.

One week from today the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, otherwise known as March Madness, begins. And starting on March 15, college basketball fans will have a new way to watch those games - on their fourth-generation Apple TVs. Turner Sports and CBS Sports have teamed up for the new NCAA March Madness Live app, which not only lets fans look at all of the games that they can watch, but game recaps as well. What’s really cool is a split-screen feature that lets fans watch a pair of games simultaneously, toggling back and forth to listen to commentary. The app is also designed to deliver alerts and updates to the Apple Watch. If you don’t already have a new Apple TV, you might went to get to your Apple Store soon.

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