AWT News Update: October 7, 2015

Today's news sounds more like Apple is a media company than a consumer electronics firm:

  • Amazon is rumored to be in discussions to bring a competing live TV streaming service to its world, similar to the service that will be available for the 4th-generation Apple TV
  • ABC News shows video of a "kinder, gentler" Steve Jobs prior to this Friday's limited distribution kickoff of "Steve Jobs"
  • The movie's director thinks Apple and other tech companies are scary
  • Synology is known for making network-attached storage, but they've just announced two new watchOS apps.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 7, 2015.

The battle between Amazon and Apple seems to be heating up. Last week we told you how Amazon kicked the forthcoming 4th-generation Apple TV out of the Amazon online store over “incompatibilities” with the Prime Video service. Now, Bloomberg is reporting that the online retail giant is in talks with CBS and Comcast’s NBC Universal about the possibility of a live streaming TV service. Does this sound anything like a rumored service that’s supposed to be coming to the Apple TV soon? Yes it does.

Monday, ABC News showed clips from an internal Apple video that showed Steve Jobs one day before the launch of the first-generation iPhone. The video, shown on the fourth anniversary of Jobs’ death, shows the “softer side” of the Apple co-founder’s personality. It’s fairly obvious that the company has released the video in order to deflect some of the stories about Jobs that are coming out with the release of the Aaron Sorkin-scripted film Steve Jobs and the recently released Alex Gibney documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. Both films have been widely criticized by Apple executives as being inaccurate and showing Jobs as a tyrant. In the video, Jobs is seen encouraging people to hug Apple Store employees, thanks staff for their hard work on the iPhone, and even jokes about similarities between his management style and the Beatles. So why did ABC get the nod to show the video? ABC is owned by Disney, a company that counts Jobs’ widow — Laurene Powell Jobs — as one of its largest shareholders. Disney CEO Bob Iger is also on the Apple board of directors. It will be interesting to see if any other news outlets decide to pick up the video in the next few weeks.

Speaking of the Steve Jobs movie that goes into limited distribution this Friday, October 9 and then wider distribution one week later, the movie’s director thinks that Apple and other tech giants have “tremendous, terrifying power.” In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Danny Boyle is quoted as saying ““These companies are so powerful now that governments are running scared. They have such influence around the world, they’ve replaced petrochemical companies, pharmaceutical companies, they’re bigger than all of them put together and they have tremendous, terrifying power and it’s important that artists and writers are not cowed by them and if that means they’re accused of being opportunistic then so be it.” He adds: “It’s important that we put these people in the spotlight for the reasons of their own business reasons or visionary reasons and we need to keep an eye on them.”

Now that watchOS 2.0 is available, we’re beginning to see some really innovative and interesting Watch apps hitting the App Store. Today, network-attached storage vendor Synology announced two Watch apps that make it possible for owners of the company’s NAS products to do some amazing things with a flick of the wrist. The company will be updating its DS audio and DS note apps for compatibility with the Watch. DS audio will provide users with a way to control playlists and playback of media stored on a Synology NAS from their Watches. DS note lets users record new items for their to-do lists, synchronize those to Note Station automatically, and then view notes and to-do lists right from the Watch. By the way, if you’re ever curious about creating your own cloud services instead of using those from Apple, Google, Dropbox, Box and a variety of other vendors, be sure to check into Synology’s product line.

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