AWT News Update: November 23, 2015

Today's AWT News Update goes from Black Friday to drone registration:

  • Check Apple World Today frequently for Black Friday deals
  • Fitbit does some app updating for its wearable activity trackers
  • Microsoft updates Skype for iPhone and iPad
  • A task force recommends what should be done in the US for drone registration

Text is below, and you can watch video here.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for November 23, 2015. 

We’re starting to post some Black Friday deals on Apple World Today as we hear about them. Be sure to visit the site frequently this week and through Cyber Monday as you’re sure to get some deals that are crazy good. 

Don’t have an Apple Watch because you’re wearing a Fitbit? There are three new features coming to the Fitbit app that make it easier to set and track exercise goals, and we all know how important that is at this food-crazy time of year. The first feature is available to all Fitbit owners, and it lets users set weekly exercise goals. The goals are based on the number of days per week you want to be active, with progress tracking visible in the Fitbit app. The two other features are targeted at the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge. First, the devices will be able to automatically track workouts by recognizing when you’ve done an exercise and identify the type of exercise. This SmartTrack capability works only with continuous movement activities like walking, running and cycling. The other feature is called PurePulse, which offers a better heart rate monitoring experience and improves heart rate tracking while in Exercise mode and multi-sport modes. 

Speaking of app updates, Microsoft today released updates to the Skype apps for iPhone and iPad, with data detection shortcuts that make it easy to pull information from Skype instant messages. The apps will now highlight phone numbers, addresses, times and dates. Tapping an address opens Apple Maps, while selecting a time or date launches Calendar and adds Skype chat URLs automatically. Tapping a phone number opens the dial pad, although you can only make a call if you have credit on your Skype account. Finally, there are updated multitasking features that let you tap an “Active Call” banner at the top of the screen to quickly return to Skype instead of using the iOS task switcher. 

If you currently own a drone or have been thinking about buying one of the increasingly more powerful flying camera platforms for Christmas, you might be worried about rumors that the United States Federal Aviation Administration is looking at registering all drones. Well, a task force has recommended that the agency only register pilots for drones weighing between 250 grams and 55 pounds, not the individual drones. The task force also suggested that owners would have to be at least 13 years old, but that a parent or guardian could register on a child’s behalf if he or she is younger. Other suggestions included free registration done via the web, with owners receiving a digital certificate unless they specifically ask for a paper copy. No flight tests or training would be required, although there might be online classes for safety that would need to be signed off on.

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