AWT News Update: February 23, 2016

With today's Apple news, you can breathe a sigh of relief if you're an iPad Pro owner:

  • Apple says full functionality will be coming back to the iPad Pro for using the Apple Pencil for navigation
  • The YouTube app receives a minor update for iPad Pro
  • Apple delivered all of the public betas for OS X, iOS, watchOS and tvOS one day before we expected them
  • FreshBooks gets a card reader

Text of the podcast can be found below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for February 23, 2016.

A lot of Apple sites were sending out angst over the past few weeks, noting that the iOS 9.3 betas were pulling away a key piece of iPad Pro functionality — the ability to use the Apple Pencil to control the operating system. In several versions of the beta, including the most recent beta 4, the Apple Pencil would only function properly when used with a compatible app like Procreate and could not be used to tap on the virtual keyboard, select buttons, and so on. Well, after a lot of unnecessary hue and cry, Apple today told The Verge that the feature was temporarily pulled while the company worked on improving navigation functionality. A company spokesperson said “We believe a finger will always be the primary way users navigate on an iPad, but we understand that some customers like to use Apple Pencil for this as well and we’ve been working on ways to better implement this while maintaining compatibility during this latest beta cycle. We will add this functionality back in the next beta of iOS 9.3.” So, iPad Pro users with Apple Pencils, don’t worry. As soon as the next beta of iOS 9.3 arrives, you’ll once again be able to select text, scroll, swipe between apps, access menus, and do other general editing functions just like you do now in iOS 9.2.

iPad Pro owners will also be thrilled to know that the YouTube app has been updated to run at the 2048 by 2732 pixel resolution of the device, properly scaling videos to the larger size of the screen. The app still doesn’t support Picture-in-Picture or Split View, but Google at least made one welcome fix.

Apple surprised all of us, by the way, by releasing the fourth public betas of iOS 9.3, watchOS 2.2, tvOS 9.2 and OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 today rather than tomorrow. If you’re on the public beta program, be sure to download the updates today and give ‘em a try.

FreshBooks, which is a cloud-based small business accounting service with an iOS app, today launched an iPhone based credit and debit card reader. The reader is available for $29, plugs into an iPhone headphone jack, and integrates with the FreshBooks software by updating invoices and financial reports in real-time. Both chip and stripe-based cards are supported, but the reader doesn’t support Apple Pay or other contactless payment systems. Merchants who use the reader will be charged $0.30 for each transaction, plus 2.7 percent for MasterCard or Visa and 3.4 percent for American Express.

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