AWT News Update: November 4, 2016

Image Credit: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

Image Credit: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

It's Slow News Friday™ other than the great stories coming out of the Windy City about the Cubs World Series victory parade. So what do we have for you today? A couple of stories about our favorite website and a look at some new smartphones coming from China soon:

  • Apple World Today made a bunch of changes over the past 24 hours, some that won't be visible (but should help speed up the site) and one that we'd like you to use
  • Have you joined Team AWT yet? Get premium content for just $60 and help support your favorite Apple site. And now, pay with Apple Pay!
  • You may not be familiar with the names Huawei and Xiaomi, but these two Chinese smartphone manufacturers are taking aim at the USA market

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

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for November 4, 2016.

There's very little Apple-related news today that we haven't already covered in several posts, and we have a full slate of reviews and articles coming this weekend, so today's AWT News Update starts out with two stories related to the website itself

During the past 24 hours we've made a few changes to the Apple World Today website to streamline administration and add a new way for readers to participate in conversations about the world of Apple. To begin with, we applied SSL -- that stands for secure socket layer -- to the entire site. While this may not appear to be much of a change, it does provide a more secure environment for readers by providing end-to-end encryption on the website. Next, we have moved to the popular website comment system Disqus. While this change regrettably required the loss of all previous comments made on the website, we anticipate that readers will find the new comment system more engaging and use it much more often. Feel free to start leaving your comments today and take part in active discussions about a number of topics.

The second big thing is related to our premium subscription service called Team AWT, which is designed to give readers an opportunity to help support the website in return for some additional content. That content consists of a weekly podcast, a twice-monthly (or thereabouts) email newsletter chock-full of stories and reviews not found on the website, and even giveaways that non-subscribers cannot participate in. We have been using the Patreon service to give our readers a chance to pay a $5 monthly subscription fee, but that service takes a surprising amount of our revenue. We decided to make signing up for a year of Team AWT as easy as possible, so we now offer a way to pay for your subscription with Apple Pay. Just follow the link in the show notes from Safari on macOS Sierra or iOS 10, and with a few taps you'll be signed up for the service.

And now a story on some news that both Apple and Samsung might want to pay attention to. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei will be coming to the US market in January, aiming at the premium smartphone market that is currently dominated by the iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line. While Apple is sure to lose some market share to the new market entry, Samsung really stands to lose out due to the issues with the Galaxy Note 7 that have tarnished its reputation worldwide. Huawei expects to make a big splash with the introduction of the Mate 9, which will sell for about $750 in the US. The device uses its own interface that leverages artificial intelligence to keep apps, photos and videos organized. It has a second-generation dual lens camera with hybrid zoom, and has a feature that can fully recharge the phone in just 20 minutes. To top it off, the display of the Mate 9 is a whopping 5.9 inches diagonally. Another Chinese manufacturer -- Xiaomi -- has the new Mi Mix smartphone that could make it to the US soon. That phone has an almost bezel-free design created in part by Philippe Stark, the same man who helped Steve Jobs obsessively design his personal yacht. 2017 could be a very interesting year in the smartphone business.

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