AWT News Update: August 19, 2015

In today's top Apple news stories:

  • Major League Baseball coaches and team personnel can wear Apple Watches in the dugout
  • Wired has a cool idea for secure communications - use an iPod touch
  • Apple will avoid "Bendgate" with future iPhones by using a new aluminum alloy

The transcript of today's podcast can be found below...

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for August 19, 2015.

It’s official - Major League Baseball is going to allow coaches and team personnel to wear Apple Watches in the dugout during games as long as the devices aren’t used for communication. The issue of allowing the Watch during games came up when Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost was seen wearing his Apple Watch during a game against the Cincinnati Reds. He had received the watch — only a Sport Edition, by the way — from MLB after being the American League manager in this year’s All-Star Game. As Yost noted, the device is merely a watch when it’s away from an iPhone, and cellular phones are already banned from the playing field. Things may change later this year when watchOS 2 brings expanded Wi-Fi connectivity to the Apple Watch platform.

Wired Magazine’s Joseph Cox has an interesting idea for those who want the most secure communications on the planet — use an iPod touch. The fact that it doesn’t use cellular networks, plus the nice feature of having excellent encrypted comm apps in the App Store, makes the iPod touch the perfect communicator for those who must keep their calls secret. Of course, you’ll need to be near a Wi-Fi network and keep it updated, but if you can lock down the device with a strong password, keep all automatic iCloud backups and sharing apps off of the touch, and use a dedicated device for nothing but communications, you’re in business. Cox suggests an app called Signal from Open Whisper Systems that encrypts instant messages and voice calls with ephemeral keys that change. Since all iPods are now being banished to the accessory racks at Apple Stores, you may need to look closely to find an iPod touch, but if you really have a need for private communications, it’s a pretty good way to go.

It appears that Apple wants to avoid the non-issue of bendgate, which was the alleged problem with the original iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in which the devices would bend if put under enough pressure. Well, someone at Unbox Therapy got their hands on an supposed iPhone 6s shell and it appears that Apple is now using 7000-series aluminum, an alloy used in the Apple Watch Sport Edition. The alloy is much harder than the original aluminum used, and a YouTube bend test shows that the new shell is much stiffer than the original.

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