AWT News Update: September 24, 2015

Image Credit: Atomic 212

Image Credit: Atomic 212

It's iPhone 6s Eve, and all around the world people are happily awaiting the arrival of the latest iPhones. We have other news, too:

  • Crystal ad blocker may not be blocking all ads...
  • The USA is ranked 55th in terms of 4G LTE performance
  • An Australian woman has a telepresence robot holding her place in line at the flagship Sydney Apple Store

The text version of the podcast is just below the podcast player.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for September 23, 2015. We have a new sponsor this week: Bushel, providing organizations of all sizes with Mobile Device Management tools that are low-cost and easy to use. Learn more at

Tomorrow’s the day that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus will be available for those who pre-ordered the device. We’re also hearing that there may be some availability at carrier stores and resellers like Best Buy tomorrow, or you can always stand in line at an Apple Store and try your luck. As for me, I’ll be hanging out at home waiting for the UPS man…

Have you loaded an ad blocker onto your iOS 9 device yet? If you’re using the Crystal ad blocker, you might start seeing ads again. The developer of Crystal is accepting payment from a consortium of advertisers to allow its ads to make it through the blocker. Allegedly, the ads have been screened to make sure that they are not large, animated, video or otherwise obnoxious — the exact ads that we don’t want to see.

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like you’re waiting forever to get data on your LTE-connected iPhone or iPad in the US? There’s a reason for that: the United States is ranked number 55 in terms of LTE performance. The average download speed on US 4G LTE networks recently hit 10 Mbps, but that’s nothing compared to what is found in other countries. New Zealand has the highest average speed — 36 Mbps. Korean smartphone users must like their 29 Mbps average speed, while those in Singapore are getting 33 Mbps downloads. Looking at individual US carriers, T-Mobile and Verizon are both quite speedy with 12 Mbps average speeds, while AT&T poked along at 8 Mbps and Sprint dropped the ball at 6 Mbps. The biggest issues? The US carrier networks are not only more heavily-used than those in other countries, but the carriers are not using what is called Carrier Aggregation to combine multiple spectrum bands into a much wider data pipe to your phone. Hopefully we’ll see some improvements soon.

Kudos to the Australian woman who is using an iPad-equipped telepresence robot to hold her place in line in front of the flagship Sydney Apple Store. The woman, Lucy Kelly, not only has the robot hanging out in line but has a tent set up with a charger so that the robot can — well, gain sustenance during the overnight wait for an iPhone 6s. Kelly works for a media agency that owns six of the robots, and they offered her one of them so that she could virtually camp out for the phone and still be at work. She’s hoping to purchase an iPhone without human interaction, although she didn’t divulge her plan on how that would work. The first person in line at that store has already been there for 17 days — Kelly’s virtual self is fourth in line.

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