AWT News Update: December 21, 2016

On this day with the shortest amount of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere (yes, it IS the Winter solstice!), we have a variety of stories for you, all of which were sputtered out by Steve in between coughing fits that were thankfully edited out:

  • Kim Dotcom has a rumor -- Apple's going to buy a Hollywood Studio in 2017
  • Honda's new 2017 CR-V comes with support for Apple CarPlay
  • Super Mario Run was downloaded 40 million times in the first 4 days, a new App Store record
  • There's an update available for versions of the Apple AirPort Extreme
  • Apple's now selling refurbished Apple Watches online

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 December 21, 2016. For the third day in a row, I’m going to try my best to not cough as I do this podcast. My battle with what I’m going to refer to as the Brazilian Death Flu continues with no end in sight…

OK, it’s always fun to hear some really weird rumors, but this one is out there for sure. Internet entrepreneur and Mega founder Kim Dotcom (the doughy-looking guy in the picture at the top of this post) predicts that Apple will buy a major Hollywood studio in 2017. Dotcom made the claim in a tweet that was ended with the hashtag “InsiderIntel”, but that’s about as deep as the rumor got. Now Dotcom is known for hacking and espionage skills, so his info could actually be coming from inside a major studio. Personally, I think the rumor is completely out of line since Apple is in the business of distributing media, not creating it. On the other hand, the company is in production with a TV show called Planet of the Apps, and had a small presence at the Sundance Film Festival this year.

Honda today launched the 2017 CR-V, the latest edition of the venerable sport utility vehicle from the Japanese carmaker. What’s so exciting about that? The new CR-V offers support for Apple’s CarPlay on those models that are equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen and the Honda Display Audio system. Honda did not say what trims will have CarPlay as an option or what the cost might be. The CR-V joins the 2016 and 2017 Accord and Civic, as well as the Clarity, which is a fuel-cell powered sedan available only in California. At present, over 200 car models worldwide now offer CarPlay as an option.

Although it didn’t immediately appear that Nintendo’s Super Mario Run for iPhone and iPad was going to be a huge financial success for the gaming company, the app topped 40 million downloads in just 4 days. According to Apple senior VP of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller, that number of downloads set an App Store Record. What will be the deciding factor for Nintendo is how many people out of that 40 million end up paying for the $9.99 in-app purchase that provides access to all 24 levels of the game, new characters, and hidden levels.

Although we keep hearing rumors that Apple is dropping the AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi router, the company today released new versions of software for the devices. Version 7.6.8 for the 802.11n AirPort Extreme and 7.7.8 for the 802.11ac AirPort Extreme. The release notes state that the update fixes a problem where the routers won’t respond to the AirPort Utility when “Back to My Mac” is enabled, and also provides security fixes.

Finally, if you’ve been looking for an Apple Watch but don’t want the big price tag associated with it, Apple has begun selling some Series 1 and Series 2 Watches as refurbished. A fully refurbished 38mm Series 1 Apple Watch sells for $229, or 14% off of retail price with 42mm versions costing just $20 more. The refurbished models meet the quality standards of new equipment and come with the same one-year warranty as new Watches.

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