AWT News Update: July 16, 2015

St. Jude's Spinal Cord Stimulation Trial System

St. Jude's Spinal Cord Stimulation Trial System

What's the Apple news today?

  • e-SIMS
  • A class action lawsuit against Apple by disgruntled California Apple Store employees
  • The latest accessory for your iPod touch: a spinal cord stimulation trial system
  • Misfit's Flash and Flash Link put the cheap in activity tracking

Listen to the podcast below, or read the text version below that.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for July 16, 2015.

The lions are laying down with the lambs, or something like that. Archrivals Apple and Samsung are in talks with telecom operator around the world to launch electronic SIMs (or subscriber information modules) to replace those physical cards that we’re so familiar with. This provides much more flexibility for users, since you’d be able to sign up for a new plan or switch carriers instantly. Carriers who are apparently working with the two consumer electronic firms on the e-SIM initiative include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Whampoa, Orange, Telefónica, and Vodafone. It’s expected that the partnership will be formalized soon, and the first devices with e-SIM cards may start showing up in 2016.

You might remember an AWT News Update story from a month ago about Apple Store employees who sued Apple over bag searches at the company’s stores in California. Well, that case has now been certified as a class action by a federal judge. This moves the original 2013 lawsuit closer to trial, in which Apple will most likely argue that the searches took a small amount of time that doesn’t deserve the compensation being asked for.

St. Jude Medical of St. Paul, Minnesota today announced that its new wireless spinal cord stimulation trial system has been approved by the FDA. The device uses Bluetooth and works with iOS devices to provide doctors and patients with control. The device lets patients test spinal cord stiumlation devices before having permanent devices implanted in their back. As a result, the treatment can be tested on a patient without any invasive surgery. Patients use an iPod touch to control the amount of pain-relieveing stimulation that’s being provided, while doctors have separate controls on an iPad mini.

Misfit is a company that was co-founded by former Apple CEO and the person who fired Steve Jobs, John Sculley. Its claim to fame is that it makes fitness trackers that are basically a thin, smart shell around a CR2032 battery that runs it for six months or so. Well, the company is starting to drop prices on its trackers in the hope that they’ll gather some market share. The devices work with the iPhone and least expensive model with a wristband — the Misfit Flash — now costs just $30 and performs step counting and sleep tracking. That’s not the cheapest model, though. If you get the $20 Misfit Flash Link and just slip it into a pocket, you get step tracking, sleep tracking, and a smart button that works with a companion Link app that can activate an iPhone camera and control music playback. The company is promising integration with IFTTT and Logitech Harmony remotes in the near future.

We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon for another edition of the AWT News Update.