AWT News Update: December 1, 2015

It's the first of December, the start of meteorological Winter, although the Winter Solstice won't occur for another three weeks. In non weather-related news, we have some good Apple (and general tech) stories for you:

  • Congress is hoping to pass a new bill that will revise the 1986 Electronic Communication Privacy Act and bring it into the 21st Century
  • Apple's Personal Pickup program is now available in six new European countries
  • British Airways updates its boarding pass scanners at the terminals at Heathrow to better accommodate its Apple Watch app
  • The death of Adobe Flash may be coming sooner than we think

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for December 1, 2015. A quick note for potential advertisers or sponsors; you can now buy a sponsorship for this podcast through Cast.Market. Click the link for details.

Here’s some welcome news on the privacy front. There’s a bill before the US House of Representatives that will hopefully revise the 1986 Electronic Communication Privacy Act and make it necessary for law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before reading online correspondence. The bill has the support of 304 members of Congress, aided by lobbying from a large coalition of companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo. Google’s director of law enforcement and information security Richard Salgado was at a House Judiciary Committee meeting today and said "Users expect, as they should, that the documents they store online have the same 4th Amendment protections as they do when the government wants to enter the home to seize documents stored in a desk drawer. There is no compelling policy or legal rationale for there to be different rules."

Apple has added six new European countries to the Personal Pickup program. That’s the program where you can order something online, then pick it up within an hour or so at your local Apple Store. The new countries are France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The program has been running in the US for five years, and recently expanded to the UK, Canada, and Australia.

And speaking of the UK, do you ever fly on British Airways? The airline has found that the Apple Watch and its mobile app are quite popular, so they’re introducing new scanners to their check-in systems that work well with the digital boarding passes that show up on the Apple Watch display. 136 of the scanners have been installed at check-in desks at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3 and Terminal 5, and passengers will be able to use the new systems starting on December 15. The Apple Watch and iPhone app allow users to scan their boarding pass from the device screen, and customers can also print their own baggage tags. British Airways has seen usage of its Apple Watch app increase by 386 percent between June and October of 2015.

It appears that another nail has been hammered into the coffin of Adobe Flash. As part of a group of updates to Creative Cloud, Adobe announced that it is rebranding the Flash Professional CC software as Animate CC, to highlight the move away from Flash to HTML 5. The new Adobe Animate CC app will be available in January. It’s great to see this continued move toward killing Flash altogether. Apple of course refused to support Flash on iOS devices, and Adobe actually eliminated its Flash player for mobile devices in 2011. Most major websites have transitioned away from Flash due to the many security vulnerabilities, and Amazon no longer accepts Flash ads. Hopefully, the arrival of Animate CC will be the last straw.

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