AWT News Update: September 29, 2016

We want to thank our listeners -- old and new -- for pushing our podcast numbers to a new record in the month of September. Since July, our number of monthly listens has risen 261%, all thanks to you. In other Apple news today:

  • Some BMW owners and Verizon customers are having issues with the new iPhone 7s
  • The FCC voted to make major improvements to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, so you'll now get photos of wanted suspects and links to more info
  • The FCC delayed a vote on allowing consumers to bypass cable and satellite company set top boxes by using devices like Apple TVs to watch their favorite shows
  • A new Kickstarter wants you to support an unsightly dongle for your iPhone 7 so you can listen to your old headphones and charge the phone at the same time. Our solution? Just go wireless. 

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for September 29, 2016. As we near the end of September I want to thank all of our new listeners, who along with those who have listened to the podcast since the beginning back in February of 2015, just pushed our monthly listener numbers to a new high. We’re actually up 261% since July, all thanks to you. Please pass along the word about the AWT News Update to anyone and everyone you know who uses an Apple product.

Whenever a new iPhone appears, there’s always at least one little issue that pops up and ruins the day for a few people. That’s the case with the iPhone 7, which is reportedly causing issues with Bluetooth connections in BMW automobiles as well as with LTE connections to Verizon. BMW drivers have issues with the iPhones failing to connect to their cars or losing audio playback after just a few seconds, and there’s no word on when this will get fixed. The Verizon issue causes LTE connections to just randomly drop out. Those affected by the issue may still have 2G or 3G data but can’t get connected back to LTE. Reportedly, a small number of AT&T customers are also seeing similar issues. Verizon and Apple are apparently working on a fix, and some iPhone 7 owners say they’re regaining LTE connectivity with a rest, a SIM swap, or toggling Airplane Mode on and off.

The United States Federal Communications Commission has voted to make some major improvements to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, providing messages with more content and detail and some interactive elements. At the present time, alerts can contain only up to 90 characters. That will be increased to 360 characters, and carriers must support features like embedded phone numbers and links or photos of missing people. Alerts will target more granular geographic areas, so you won’t be getting an Amber alert for a city in the next state, and can be pushed in Spanish when appropriate. A new type of alert called the Public Safety Message will provide explanations of steps people should take when faced with a natural disaster or other conditions.

And speaking of the FCC, they also decided to delay a decision on allowing cable and satellite subscribers to access and watch cable content on any set-top box — including the Apple TV — instead of having to lease a set-top box provided by their cable company. It’s not to say that they won’t make that decision eventually despite huge opposition from cable providers, but this delay isn’t making it look good to replace that Comcast box with an Apple TV loaded with apps.

Finally, if you’re unhappy with the iPhone 7 because of its lack of a 3.5mm headphone port and the inability to charge the phone while listening to music, you may be in luck. Now Apple does provide a Lightning to 3.5mm Headphone Jack Adapter with each iPhone, but that only allows you to listen to music or make calls; you can’t charge the device at the same time. A new Kickstarter campaign for the iLDOCK wants to bring you a small dongle that not only adds back the 3.5mm headphone jack, but also has a Lightning input for charging. A “plus” version of the iLDOCK will supposedly add USB and both SD and microSD card slots. Or you could just go wireless, which a better solution all around.

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