AWT News Update: December 8, 2015

Along with all of the Apple operating system updates today (four in total), there were a slew of improvements to some of the functions and apps associated with those apps. We'll cover some of those changes and other news:

  • The News app gets some updates for both readers and publishers
  • AT&T NumberSync means you'll be able to call from your iPad, Mac or Apple Watch... even when your iPhone isn't around
  • Mail Drop comes to the iOS 9.2 Mail app
  • tvOS 9.1 brings Siri Voice Control and searching to the Apple TV, and lets you actually type text into text fields on the Apple TV from the Apple Remote app for iOS
  • Apple's shutting down One to One group training soon
  • The 28th Apple Store in China opens this Saturday

Text is below, and the video of today's recording may be viewed here.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for December 8, 2015.
 As you probably were aware of with all of the updates to Apple World Today earlier in the day, Apple chose December 8 to update all of its operating systems. Some of the features and apps were updated as well, so let's talk about some of those in more detail, particularly in iOS 9.2.

The News app, which just about everyone hates, now includes lists of top stories curated by Apple editors and published a couple of time a day. While that probably still won't turn me into a News app fan, it's a step in the right direction. Publishers also got a treat with the News app, as Apple announced that it's implementing integration with Comscore. On the other hand, that feature -- like most of the other things Apple has been doing with News -- is only useful for large publishers who have access to the full News Format tools used to create beautifully formatted content. The rest of us have to be happy with just having our RSS feeds repeated in the app.

AT&T NumberSync is another new feature and an expansion of Wi-Fi calling. You know how you can use the Continuity feature to pick up a call that's going into your iPhone on an iPad or Mac? Well, AT&T NumberSync takes that one step further, as you'll now be able to make and receive calls on your AT&T number even when an iPhone isn't nearby or even turned on. NumberSync works with iPads, Apple Watches and Macs with El Capitan.

Apple also added the Mail Drop feature to iOS Mail. This feature was only available on Macs before today, and now allows iOS devices to send large attachments through Mail by sending the recipient a link to the file that is then uploaded to iCloud.

On the Apple TV front, the fourth-generation set top box received a bump to tvOS 9.1 today. As Dennis pointed out earlier, the update adds support for using Siri Voice Control with Apple Music. The device now also supports the Apple Remote app on iOS, meaning that you can now use the iPhone or iPad keyboard to type text into text fields on the Apple TV.

Apple announced today that it is ending its One to One group training on December 17, after shutting down personal tutoring earlier in 2015. Apple is asking subscribers to the service to download notes they've saved from previous sessions before the 17th. The One to One program offered training to users for a $99 annual subscription, but is no longer relevant due to themed workshops that Apple offers in most Apple Stores free of charge.

Would you believe that Apple is opening its 28th retail store in China this Saturday? The new store will be in Nanning, called China's Green City and located near the border with Vietnam. The city has about 6.6 million inhabitants, and will be located in the upscale MixC Complex in the Qingxiu District. The complex hosts a high-end shopping mall, a 5-star hotel, upscale offices and a luxury residential building. It sounds like just the place for a new Apple Store.

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