AWT News Update: February 3, 2016

We've made it to mid-week, and though the news cycle has been a bit slow today, there are still some fun and fascinating stories in the world of Apple:

  • Sony CFO says "major smartphone players" will soon be using the company's dual-lens camera technology
  • SwiftKey is purchased by Microsoft
  • iPhone storage upgrades on the Shenzhen, China
  • Lynn University will equip undergrads and faculty with iPad Pros

Text is below, video is here

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for February 3, 2016. Our sponsor this week is [Winning WordPress], a fantastic resource for everyone who runs a WordPress site or is thinking about it. Check it out on the AWT website today, or click the link found in today’s show notes.

There’s more on the rumored dual-lens camera system that might end up on a high-end iPhone in the next year or so. This time Sony, which is Apple’s supplier for image sensors, has said that its dual-lens technology will be launched by “major smartphone players” in the next year. The word came from Sony CFO Kenichiro Yoshida during the company’s latest results call, who said “our so-called dual-lens — dual camera platform will be launched by, we believe, from major smartphone players”. Yoshida went on to warn that the market for high-end smartphones is slowing down and that “we believe the real start, the takeoff of smartphone with dual-lens camera will be in the year of 2017.” A dual lens system could be used for optical zoom capability, offering an ability to do 2 - 3 times zoom without resorting to digital zooming that adds grain and other artifacts to photos.

If you use the SwiftKey app to replace your standard iOS keyboard, you’ll be interested to know that Microsoft has purchased the company. The SwiftKey founders are reassuring both iOS and Android users of the app, saying “Our number one focus has always been to build the best possible products for our users. This will not change. Our apps will continue to be available on Android and iOS, for free. We are as committed as ever to improving them in new and innovative ways.” Microsoft is reportedly spending about $250 million to acquire SwiftKey.

So, you bought a 16GB iPhone and now you’re regretting that decision. Well, if you happen to be going to Shenzhen, China anytime soon, you can get an upgrade to 128 GB for just $60. A team of iPhone repair specialists in Shenzhen has started an upgrade business that takes just a half hour of time, during which they’ll take apart your iPhone, solder in more storage, and then hand the device back to you while demonstrating that it now has 128GB of internal storage. The shop gets about 50 customers a day, although some models of iPhone are excluded due to limited parts availability. Note that this kind of intrusive upgrade will void your Apple warranty, but if you’re in Shenzhen and don’t mind voiding that warranty, the upgrade is definitely cheaper than the $300 additional cost for getting an iPhone from Apple with the extra storage.

Students at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida have more than just the great weather year-round to be happy about. The university is deploying the iPad Pro, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard to all undergraduate students and faculty. The university was early to introduce what it calls iPad-powered learning in 2013, and the school touts the technology as retaining students, raising inquiries from prospective students, and improving student outcomes. Lynn was recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for innovation, leadership and educational excellence after it replaced traditional textbooks with iPad minis in 2013. That one move saved students up to 90 percent on core curriculum textbook costs and provided better accessibility in student-to-teacher communication.

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