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Apple World Today News Update: April 19, 2018

Wow, lots of interesting news in the world of Apple today (except for AAPL’s share price tanking, but…) — Apple’s environmental report for 2017 shows significant progress, FoundationDB goes open source, there’s good news for snorers, and don’t tear apart an iMac Pro and expect Apple to repair it…

  • Apple is making good progress on all environmental fronts, including a goal to plan to eventually eliminate the need for mining for materials for its products
  • Apple’s FoundationDB is now open source, so perhaps developers can add the Dropbox-like sharing functionality to it that we need
  • Keep waking up your partner with your snoring? Sleep Cycle will now wake you up with a tap on the wrist from an Apple Watch, so you can change position and hopefully stop snoring
  • A YouTube vlogger is griping that Apple won’t repair the iMac Pro that he tore apart for an online review

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Thursday, April 19th, 2018.

Each year, Apple shares an environmental report with the world, showing all of the improvements that the company made to decrease its environmental impact. This year’s report shows the location and size of renewable energy projects being run by the company or suppliers, and details the emissions before and after accounting for Apple’s renewable energy program. As an example, for 2017 the company would have had emissions of about 700,000 metric tons of CO2; after the renewable energy program is taken into account, the actual number is about 80,000 metric tons. The company also took time in the report to tout its new recycling robot, named Daisy. Daisy can take apart 200 iPhones per hour, and removes and sorts components from each iPhone and allowing Apple to collect more materials than it would get from traditional recyclers. By using Daisy, Apple made progress towards its goal of manufacturing its products without mining materials from the earth — what’s called a closed loop supply chain. The company is focusing on aluminum, cobalt, copper, glass, rare earth elements, steel, and tungsten at the time, and is aiming to eliminate plastics in its products. The goal was announced last year, and the company already uses 100 percent recycled tin for the solder on the main logic board of the iPhone 6s. Apple is also using recycled tin for solder in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and 8 and 8 Plus.

In 2015, Apple acquired a company named FoundationDB and all of its intellectual property in order to improve and expand the iCloud infrastructure. Today, FoundationDB announced that its distributed datastore technology has been turned into an open-source project. The source code is available on GitHub and there are official forums on which developers can communicate. FoundationDB is perfect for large-scale low-downtime systems like iCloud as it is designed to be deployed on hardware clusters and can easily handle adding new hardware or recovering from hardware failures. So why did Apple put the core of FoundationDB out as open source? The company expects that the “quantity and variety of layers” — that is, scaled functionality — will “develop rapidly”. This is similar to what Apple did with the Swift programming language it developed. It’s now being pushed in colleges and high schools around the world, and while the company says it is doing that to bolster coding skills, it’s also going to benefit as more developers use the language to write apps for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Perhaps this open-source push will result in more and better iCloud functionality in the future.

Here’s an app that spouses around the world will want their Apple Watch-wearing partners to start running. Sleep Cycle is an alarm clock app from Swedish developer Northcube, and it was updated this morning with support for watchOS. You can use Sleep Cycle to wake you up with a tap from the Taptic Engine in your Watch, but its new Snore Stopper feature is the big improvement. It will now nudge you to change position if you start snoring. Since over a third of the adult population snores on a regular basis, this could be a huge selling point for the app and may save a lot of relationships!

A popular YouTube channel called Linus Tech Tips posted a video critical of Apple this week, complaining that the company won’t fix an iMac Pro that had received “accidental damage”. Well, it’s not accidental damage, which might be why Apple is refusing to repair the machine. The channel purchased an iMac Pro when the speedy computer first became available, then disassembled it for a review and video. When the vlogger tried to reassemble the iMac Pro, he damaged the display, logic board and power supply. The vlogger has now offered to pay for all repairs and has acknowledged that he is at fault, but Apple is still refusing to repair the computer.

That’s all the news for today – join me tomorrow afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update.

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the authorSteve Sande
Steve is the founder and former publisher of Apple World Today and has authored a number of books about Apple products. He's an avid photographer, an FAA-licensed drone pilot, and a really bad guitarist. Steve and his wife Barb love to travel everywhere!
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