AWT News Update: May 6, 2016

It's Friday again, with a quartet of news -- and rumor -- items from the world of Apple:

  • Clothier True Religion is rolling out Apple Watches to store sales associates
  • Now a Japanese Apple site is saying that the iPhone 7 will not have a Smart Connector, so basically they're saying nobody has any clue. We agree.
  • Streaming music services like Apple Music have become the main source of revenue for Warner Music Group
  • Tim Cook is racking up the frequent flier miles in May, with trips to China and the Netherlands planned

The text version of the podcast is on this page!

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for Friday, May 6, 2016.

California-based clothing retailer True Religion has begun to deploy Apple Watches to its retail store employees. No, they’re not trying to make sure that the employees get to work on time, instead, the devices will work along with iBeacons to let sales associates know with a tap on the wrist when members of the store’s loyalty program have entered the store. The associates can then engage the customers, and use a custom app made by Aptos and Formula 3 Group to access customer information that includes sales history, buying patterns, and suggestions for selling recommendations. Customers will need to option on the company’s app, and if they agree to share social media profiles, the associates can recognize the customer by sight and greet them by name. Currently, only the two flagship stores in New York and Los Angeles are set up with the Watches and the app, but the company will roll it out to 30 more stores this year.

It appears that it’s that rumor time of year, as we’re in between product launches and WWDC is still a month away. So one day we’re getting rumors of an iPhone 7 with a Smart Connector on the side, and today we’re hearing that Apple will not use the Smart Connector on the next iPhone. Japanese Apple site Macotakara says that it’s likely that the Smart Connector - which would probably only be used for charging accessories anyway — won’t make the cut, but will feature a clean back design, possibly a dual-lens camera on one model, and dump the headphone jack. But even the latter piece of rumor junk is up for grabs, considering that I’ve seen conflicting rumors up to this point. Sadly, we need to report on these rumors in order to keep a certain part of our readership excited, but the best thing would be to just sit tight until the actual product announcement later this year.

If you ever hear from an artist that his or her music isn’t making money because of streaming services, you have my permission to tell them to go take a hike. Warner Music Group, which is a major record label, said today that its largest source of revenue is now music streaming services like Apple Music. Warner CEO Stephen Cooper says that the group wishes to fight with streaming services to increase royalty payments to artists, which will of course result in higher subscription fees for users.

We’ve already reported that Tim Cook will be heading to China to meet with government officials this month. Now comes word that Cook will be heading to Amsterdam on May 24 to deliver a keynote address at Startup Fest Europe. Cook is scheduled to speak for about 35 minutes at the event. Other speakers during the five-day event include Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt, the Prime Minster of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

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