AWT News Update: October 20, 2016

The AWT News Update is back to the short & sweet again today, with four stories that cover the world of Apple, and beyond:

  • AT&T is reportedly in talks to merge with Time Warner
  • Intel modems used in some versions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are showing poor performance compared with modems built by Qualcomm
  • 2016 12-inch Retina MacBooks are having issues when connected to external HDMI monitors with an Apple adapter
  • IBM is saving anywhere from $273 to $543 per installed Mac over a four-year lifetime...and they have a ton of Macs

This week's podcast is sponsored by Spidercase. Be sure to check out this rugged protective case for your iPhone today.

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for October 20, 2016. This week’s podcasts are sponsored by Spidercase, a rugged protective case for your iPhone that won’t cost a bundle.

Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T is in talks with Time Warner about a possible merger of the big telecommunications company and the cable and content firm. Time Warner has been looking for a buyer for quite a few years, and Fox made an acquisition offer in 2014 of $85 per share that was turned down by the Time Warner board. AT&T is seeking Time Warner and other similar companies in order to add content and original programming to its portfolio. The company acquired DirecTV last year, but the Time Warner acquisition would be much larger. There is a bit of a sticking point in that AT&T doesn’t have a large amount of cash on hand, so any deal with Time Warner would have to be consummated with a stock deal or other financing. At one point earlier this year, reports were circulating that Apple was interested in Time Warner for the HBO and Turner properties, but that deal apparently collapsed.

Some versions of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus use cellular modems from Intel, while others use modems from Qualcomm. Apple opened the doors to Intel’s modems after using Qualcomm exclusively for years, ostensibly to ensure that it wasn’t tied to a single component vendor. Well, research published today by Cellular Insights is showing that LTE performance in areas with faint signals is much better with the Qualcomm modems than on iPhone 7s with the Intel modems. How much better? The Qualcomm units had throughput rates almost 30 percent higher. Cellular Insights found the difference to be so large that it thought the Intel-based iPhone 7 Plus used for testing was defective, so it bought a second unit and found the results to be almost identical. The Intel modem only supports GSM-based networks like AT&T and T-Mobile, while the Qualcomm modem can be used with CDMA networks like Verizon as well. Oddly enough, iOS 10.0.3 — which was released this week — is designed to fix cellular connectivity issues with iPhone 7s on the Verizon network, so it appears that each modem has its own quirks.

Do you own one of the 2016 12-inch Retina MacBooks? If so, be on the lookout for an issue that is being reported on Apple’s official support website. When Apple’s USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is used with the device, external HDMI displays show noticeable flickering. The issue doesn’t happen with the 2015 model, but this year’s MacBook definitely has the problem. This affects MacBooks running either macOS or Windows. One possible fix is quite simple — some people report that by blowing into and clearing dust or lint out of the USB-C port, they’re able to stop the flickering. Others say that the easy fix doesn’t work. We’ll let you know if we hear of a fix.

Apple World Today’s Dennis Sellers has been at the Jamf Nation User Conference in Minneapolis this week, and one of the big success stories he reported on was the massive deployment of Macs at IBM. Some of the numbers provided by Fletcher Previn, the VP of Workplace as a Service at IBM, talked about what’s going on with their Mac deployment, which is the single largest deployment in the world. IBM found that Windows PCs drive twice the number of support calls, and those calls are more expensive. IBM’s numbers show that they’re saving anywhere from $273 to $543 per Mac compared to a PC over a four-year lifetime. 73% of employees at Big Blue say that they want their next computer to be a Mac, so things will only get better as the current 100,000 Mac headcount rises, hopefully up to the 400,000 level — one Mac per IBM employee.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.