AWT News Update: October 14, 2015

Among the tidbits of news we've gathered today:

  • The launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus has been delayed in Turkey due to last week's deadly terrorist bombing in Ankara
  • You won't need to be an Apple executive to be granted blocks of Apple stock
  • Bell Canada is being fined for having employees make fake ratings of its app in the App Store
  • August announces a HomeKit-friendly version of the August Smart Lock

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 14, 2015.

As a result of a deadly terrorist bombing in Ankara, Turkey that killed 97 people last week, Apple has delayed the launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Originally, the new phones were to launch in the country on October 16, but will now be delayed until October 23. In an email to Turkish website Apple Toolbox, an Apple Turkey spokesperson was quoted as saying that “We have decided to postpone iPhone 6s sales due to the tragic attacks last weekend.” On October 12, Apple CEO Tim Cook offered “Prayers, condolences, and hope for all those affected by the bombings in Turkey” in a public tweet. It’s speculated that Apple could be concerned about maintaining security for the launch, as the two Apple Stores in Istanbul might be considered prime targets for terrorists if there are long lines. This is one of the few product launches that has been delayed after a public announcement of an official date; the Japanese launch of the iPad 2 was postponed after the country was affected by a massive earthquake and tsunami.

One of the big perks of being an Apple executive has always been the ability to get Restricted Stock Units or RSUs, a way of keeping talented employees for a long period of time by offering them grants of shares of Apple stock. 9to5Mac is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to all employees today saying that it’s now possible for just about any employee to receive RSU grants. The grants aren’t as huge as those afforded to executives, but the company started distributing some to employees in Apple Retail in the range of $1000 to $2000 worth of shares. That’s an impressive benefit that very few major corporations offer.

The big phone company in the Great White North, Bell Canada, is being fined $1.25 million as a penalty for encouraging its employees to post positive app ratings and reviews for its free MyBell Mobile and Virgin My Account apps. As soon as the fake reviews were discovered, the company acted quickly to remove the reviews and ratings. Bell Canada said that “the postings were the result of an overzealous effort on the part of our service team to highlight the apps”. Several other penalties have been handed down by the Canadian government’s Competition Bureau, including a focus on “prohibiting the rating, ranking or reviewing of apps in app stores by employees and contractors” and also having the company “sponsor and host a workshop to promote, discuss, and enhance Canadians’ trust in the digital economy, including the integrity of online reviews.”

August is the company behind the popular August Smart Lock, and the company today announced a second-generation product that includes support for Apple’s HomeKit home automation framework. With Siri support, August owners will now be able to use voice commands to lock, unlock or check the status of their doors. August also added two new products, the August Smart Keypad and the August Doorbell Cam. The Smart Keypad can be used alongside the August Smart Lock for entry without having a smartphone present, while the Doorbell Cam works with the Smart Lock to let users see and speak with visitors from anywhere. Once a person is identified via the August app, the user can unlock the door remotely for them.

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