AWT News Update: August 16, 2016

What's happening in the world of Apple today? A lot, including news of a recent Apple Store opening, the upcoming iPhone launch, and a new video calling app from Google:

  • We tell you about last weekend's opening of the new One World Trade Center Apple Store in NYC, which features many of the new design cues found in recently built and renovated stores worldwide
  • An AT&T employee scheduling document may provide clues as to the preorder and availability dates for the iPhone 7
  • Google enters the video calling market with a new app called Duo

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 August 16, 2016.

Apple’s newest store in the Big Apple opened over the weekend at One World Trade Center, inside the Oculus, which is the new transportation hub at the location. As you’d expect for a new Apple Store in a major metropolitan area, it’s pretty impressive. Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was on hand for the opening, talking with customers and posing for selfies with the staff. Like many of the new stores and renovated older facilities, the WTC store uses terrazzo flooring for easy maintenance and longevity and arranges tables into what are called Avenues. Each avenue ends at a wall display called a “Window”, where you can look at a particular theme or product, then select one for purchase. There’s no Genius Bar, but tables have seating for Apple employees to provide assistance or conduct workshops. The oak topped tables in the store feature hidden power and Ethernet ports that open with a touch in the right place. The new store also has a Forum, an easily rearranged location where customers can take workshops or just sit for awhile. The seats in the store are near a giant 6K display on one wall for watching videos or events, and there’s another wall that is living - yep, it’s covered with plants and can be moved around the store if desired. Since New York is a very cosmopolitan city, the 257 employees at the new store were chosen for their ability to speak multiple languages. As a group, they can converse in 25 different languages. If you’re in NYC soon and visit the store, please be sure to take some photos and send them to us at [email protected]

Despite a pretty good rumor that pointed to an iPhone launch on September 16, it looks like it could be as late as September 23 that we get our hands on the fabled iPhone 7. This info came from an AT&T employee schedule that called for merchandising resets; in other words, getting the new phones available for sale. The first is on September 9, which could be the day that preorders begin, while the second is on September 23. These dates are consistent with last year’s launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, which had pre-orders beginning on September 12 and shipped on September 25.

As if we don’t have enough video calling apps for iOS with Skype and FaceTime, now Google’s entered the market with an app called Duo. The app is designed for simplicity, requiring only your phone number and access to your iPhone’s contacts list. Call quality is designed to adjust resolution up and down automatically depending on available bandwidth. One feature of Duo that’s actually pretty cool is a feature called Knock Knock. When someone calls you, you see live video of the caller before you answer so that you can get a hint about why they might be calling. The calls are encrypted end to end for privacy, and Duo is expected to be up and running for users worldwide within a few days.

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