AWT News Update: November 8, 2016

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Have you voted? Well, it's probably too late for some of you to get to the polls if you haven't made it there yet, but for those on the West Coast and in Alaska and Hawaii, there's still time. While you're standing in line to make your choice for the lesser of two evils, listen to the AWT News Update and get some news about everyone's favorite tech company -- Apple.

  • Apple has begun selling refurbished iPhones at a nice 15% discount and with a full one-year warranty
  • A new Apple Support app has been released in The Netherlands, and may soon be available around the world
  • Apple's new MacBook Pro is a speedster, and it turns out that part of the company's engineering of the new models portends even higher speeds in the future

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 8, 2016. For all of our listeners in the USA, we hope you got out and voted today.

Our sponsor this week is 4K Video Downloader for Mac. Grab video from YouTube, Vimeo and other sources automatically for offline viewing at your leisure. For a limited time, 4K Video Downloader for Mac is available at half-off, just $9.95. [Check out the link in the show notes for details.]

Apple has begun selling refurbished iPhones through its online store. Previously, you could purchase Macs, Apple TVs and iPads that had been returned to the company and then run through a rigorous refurbishment process. Now the company is selling iPhones, in particular the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. In the future, you can expect that the iPhone SE and iPhone 7 will arrive in the store, but not right now. Pricing isn't as good as you'd find from Gazelle or Nextworth and the like, but you can still save 15 percent off of the full retail price. That's $449 for the 16GB iPhone 6s and $589 for the 64GB iPhone 6s Plus. The price includes a full one-year warranty from Apple.

If anything goes wrong with that refurbished iPhone or with any of your Apple gear, there's now a new iOS app rolling out around the world simply called "Support". The app works on iPhone and iPad, offering links to support articles and access to AppleCare services. Apple describes the Support app as follows: "Need help? Apple Support app is your personalized guide to the best options from Apple. Find answers with articles tailored to your products and questions. Call, chat or email with an expert right away, or schedule a callback when it’s convenient. Get a repair at an Apple Store or a nearby Apple Authorized Service Provider. Apple Support is here to help." The app knows what Apple devices are registered to your Apple ID to ease access to support information and services for your exact model of device. It's apparently not in the US app store yet, but expect to see it soon.

Even though the new MacBook Pro models are already a lot faster than their predecessors, it appears that Apple has prepared the platform for the future XPoint-based Optane SSD technology. That technology could make access times and transfer speeds much faster than those seen with current conventional solid-state drives. How did Apple do this? They implemented NVMe storage across the PCIe bus, which allows the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Function Keys to have 2.2 GB/sec write speeds and 3.1 GB/sec read speeds. The rest of the industry is using the old tried-and-true SATA-III SSD interfaces, which are limited to speeds around 575 MB/sec. The Intel Optane SSD lines will be much faster still, and the new technology could now easily be used in a 2017 MacBook Pro, most likely installed right onto the motherboard.

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