AWT News Update: December 4, 2015

Rocky's crispy iPhone 6 Plus. Image via Channel Two Action News, Atlanta.

Rocky's crispy iPhone 6 Plus. Image via Channel Two Action News, Atlanta.

Friday afternoons are a great time for Swift Sandboxes, bad rumors, and pants catching on fire:

  • Apple makes Swift open source, IBM creates an online development tool (that isn't working today...)
  • Sony buys Toshiba's camera sensor manufacturing to bolster production for Apple
  • Digitimes has a dumb rumor...
  • A man has to pull his pants off in a Home Depot parking lot when his iPhone 6 Plus catches on fire

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Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for December 4, 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.

It’s somehow comforting to see how well Apple and IBM are getting along as part of the collaboration between the two companies. Yesterday, Apple made its Swift programming language open source. Within hours, IBM introduced the IBM Swift Sandbox tool, which allows developers to get started writing code through a web browser. Swift Sandbox was created at IBM’s Mobile Innovation Lab in Austin, TX and according to John Petitto of IBM, the sandbox runs on IBM Cloud in a Docker container, allowing testers to use both the latest versions of Swift and its standard library. IBM is embracing Apple’s programming language for iOS and OS X, and Petitto says that the tool “barely scratches the surface of what’s possible.” Oh, one note — the tool must be getting a real workout, as it is inaccessible today. Be sure to check it out next week.

Sony Semiconductor produces CMOS camera sensor for a number of companies including Nikon and Apple, which uses the sensors in its iPhone and iPad cameras. The company acquired Toshiba’s image sensor business in a $155 million deal, and will get the assets by March 31, 2016 provided that regulatory approval is given. Sony will take on 1,100 workers as part of the deal, and it’s expected that the increase in production capacity brought on by the deal will help Sony nab future orders from Apple since it will be able to meet the demand required by the iPhone maker.

One of the more ridiculous rumors we’ve heard recently came out this morning from the usually unreliable Digitimes, which says that a new fifth-generation Apple TV will be in production starting early next year with new internal circuitry to “drastically improve hardware performance and add new functions”. The report doesn’t say what “new functions” there are, but it’s just plain weird that Apple would launch a brand new Apple TV within six months of the fourth-generation device. The only possibility could be that Apple wants to have new hardware available for the streaming Apple TV channel service that has been rumored for years, which would allow the existing fourth-generation device to drop in price to $99. We suggest taking this rumor with a larger than usual quantity of salt.

An Atlanta man known to the world only as “Rocky” reported that he had to remove his pants in public after his iPhone 6 Plus caught fire in the front pocket of his jeans. Rocky told Channel Two Action News that “it was pretty humiliating having to take your pants off in a parking lot.” He was apparently loading his car at Home Depot when he felt a burning sensation and then saw smoke coming from his jeans. “When I saw the smoke, I undid my belt, I undid my pants,” he said. “I pushed it away, turned my head hoping it wouldn’t explode. It burned pretty much my whole front pocket, burned my boxers, started to burn my leg, but I had moved it away in time so it wouldn’t burn me.” Rocky wasn’t injured and isn’t seeking any compensation. He had purchased the iPhone from a refurbishing company, which sent him a replacement. Apple is investigating the fire.

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