AWT News Update: May 11, 2015

The Apple Watch continues to lead the news this week:

  • Apple displays Apple Watch banner ads on the top of the YouTube home page
  • Two big solar farms and an initiative with the World Wildlife Fund are announced by Apple for China
  • A blogger performs water torture tests with the Watch... and it survives
  • Ten years after VoiceOver appears for Mac, Microsoft Office finally supports the accessibility tool

The full text version of the podcast script is available below.

Text Version

Steve Sande here from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for May 11, 2015.

YouTube gets millions of visitors every day, and Apple is now taking advantage of that fact with a series of video banners atop the YouTube homepage touting the Apple Watch. The videos take just a few seconds to watch and are shortened versions of the TV ads that have been taking to the airwaves lately. At the end of each banner ad you’ll see a specific Apple Watch version with a different band, and be invited to visit the Apple website for more information. The Watch is seeing some intensive marketing at this time, with not only TV and Internet advertising but celebrity product placements, special events, and fashion magazine covers as well.

Apple is expanding its renewable energy and environmental protection initiatives in China. The company is planning two 20 MW solar farms providing up to 80 million kilowatt hours of energy every year. 87 percent of Apple’s global operations run on renewable energy right now, and the goal is to reach 100 percent soon. The new Sichuan Province solar project will help Apple increase that level. The company is also partnering with the World Wildlife Fund to help protect up to 1 million acres of managed working forests in China for pulp, paper and wood products. China is the world’s biggest timber importer, and it’s hoped that the initiative will help reduce clear-cutting in other countries.

Tech blogger Ray Maker has posted several Apple Watch related videos, all showing just how waterproof the device is. Maker started off with about 25 minutes in a swimming pool including a 1,200m swim workout, and the Apple Watch had no problems. Next, Maker took two dives off of a 5 meter diving platform and one off of a 10 meter platform, once again with no ill effects on the Watch. Maker’s third test was performed in a waterproof test chamber that he built to simulate different depths beneath the surface of the water. The Apple Watch is only rated for 1 meter of depth, but Maker sent the Watch down to 40 meters twice during his tests. The big surprise? Nothing failed and the watch continued to run just fine. It appears that the Watch is much more resistant to water than anyone ever expected.

The latest beta of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac is now mostly accessible with VoiceOver. Ten years after the iconic screen reader's release, Microsoft has finally added support, allowing Office to join the accessible apps party, if a little late. Independent testing by our own Alex Jurgensen confirms that the build, identified as Version 15.9.0 (150408), provides screen reader support. He urges fellow VoiceOver users to test the beta and provide feedback to Microsoft.

We’ll be back tomorrow with another AWT News Update.