AWT News Update: April 26, 2016

Some fascinating news in the world of Apple and tech today. Have you joined Team AWT yet? It's our new subscription service for supporters, bringing benefits that casual readers and listeners don't have access to. 

  • YouTube updates its iPhone and iPad app with bigger thumbnails and a powerful deep neural network back end
  • iOS 9.3.2 beta 3 makes it to developers today
  • Nokia is buying health and fitness accessory manufacturer Withings
  • Will the iPhone 7 include Smart Connector charging?

The text version of the podcast can be found below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for April 26, 2016. Just a reminder to our listeners that Apple World Today now has a new subscription service called Team AWT. For your support at the $5 per month or greater level, you’ll get access to member-only discounts and giveaways, the Team AWT Slack channel, our weekly Patron Podcast, and a regular newsletter with fresh content not available on the site. You can find out more by clicking the link at the top of the page at AppleWorld.Today.

YouTube updated its iPhone and iPad app with some new features today. First, the YouTube home screen now provides bigger thumbnails in a continuous feed instead of being split up by different categories. But the biggest change is the way that YouTube will recommend videos to watch based on machine learning. To quote Google, YouTube’s owner, “This isn't just a new coat of paint on the same old Home—we've coupled a fresh design with more relevant personalized recommendations that make it easier to discover videos you'll be excited to watch. The new recommendation system is based on deep neural network technology, which means it can find patterns automatically and keep learning and improving as it goes. Every day, we recommend hundreds of millions of different videos on Home, billions of times, in 76 languages.”

iOS 9.3.2 beta 3 was delivered to developers today. That means that we’ll probably see the latest betas of tvOS, watchOS and OS X soon, first sent along to developers and then to public beta testers a few days later.

Anyone who owned a cell phone prior to the release of the iPhone probably remembers Nokia, the company that made a pile of money back in the day before really underestimating the impact of the iPhone. The company is trying to expand into other areas after failing to capture the imagination of the post-iPhone world, and it announced today that it will be buying French health and fitness accessory manufacturer Withings for €170 million. Nokia didn’t say whether it will be keeping the Withings brand — frankly they should, since it is very well known to iPhone and Android users — or integrate the brand under Nokia labeling in the future. Withings devices are well-designed and include activity trackers, smart weight scales, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, and home and baby monitors. Probably the biggest thing Nokia is buying, though, is the health platform that Withings has put together, with more than a hundred compatible third-party apps. No offense to Nokia, but I hope you don’t ruin a good thing.

We always like to keep you in the loop on the latest rumors, and there are a number of people who now think that Apple’s going to use the Smart Connector found on the iPad Pro as the way to charge the upcoming iPhone 7. This would make it possible for the device to be dropped into a simple magnetic dock for charging without plugging a cable into it, and if that’s the case, Apple could theoretically do away with the Lightning port. They won’t, of course, but they could. Rumor also has it that Apple wants to make the device waterproof to compete with the top end Samsung phones, so the fewer ports it has, the easier that would be to accomplish. Why not just use the port-less Smart Connector for charging and syncing, then use Bluetooth to connect to headsets? We’ll see for sure this fall.

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