AWT News Update: March 10, 2016

Our Apple news update spans the world of weirdness today:

  • Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt takes photos and texts folks at a South Korean Google event...with an iPhone
  • Apple announced it's upcoming product event on March 21, and we're not invited
  • Nest adds "Home/Away Assist" to its app with GPS support, so the furnace doesn't shut off when Dad leaves the home
  • Sonos makes a commitment to streaming music

Text version of this podcast is below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 10, 2016

OK, here’s a weird one for you. The former CEO of Google, ex-Apple board member, and current Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Eric Schmidt, was visiting South Korea this week for a press event. The big surprise? The big man was using an iPhone 6 or 6s to take photos and send text messages. Schmidt was known to use a BlackBerry for years after the launch of Android because he liked the physical keyboard; maybe he likes the security of the iPhone better.

As Apple World Today readers are well aware, Apple today announced a “Let us loop you in” event on March 21, 2016. At the event, Apple will most likely introduce a new 4-inch iPhone, is expected to possibly re-introduce the iPad Air as a new 9.7-inch iPad Pro complete with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, and some other products as well. So what does the “Let us loop you in” refer to? Rumor has it that the company will be introducing some new bands for Apple Watch, and my guess is that one of them will be a space gray or black Milanese loop. By the way, Apple’s continued ban on inviting anyone who ever worked for The Unofficial Apple Weblog seem to still be in place. Any readers who have an “in” at Apple who would care to shed some light on why an Apple website can’t get invited to an event like this when other much smaller sites that cover all of tech do get invitations, well, we’d love to hear from you.

Do you own any products from Google’s Nest company? They make a smart thermostat, a webcam called the Nest Cam, and Nest Protect, which is a temperamental fire and carbon monoxide detector. Well, the Nest app has always had a problem with determining if you or other family members are at home or not. The company is planning on implementing GPS support through the Nest app and a new “Home/Away Assist” feature. This now adds family accounts, so that Home/Away Assist only switches your devices to “away” mode if everybody in the family is away. In the past, when a key person left the house, the system would assume that nobody was at home and turned down the heat. The updated app for Next should be available today.

Apple Music is having an effect on one very big partner. Sonos revealed on Tuesday that the company is refocusing its efforts on streaming music services, and as a result, the company will be laying off some of its employees. Sonos Chief Executive John MacFarlane was quoted as saying “This past year, when Apple announced its entry with Apple Music, we saw and helped drive a dramatic acceleration of paid music subscriptions. With Apple’s influence, the entire ecosystem - labels, artists, management - began to embrace and advance streaming all over the world.” Apple Music was added as a Sonos streaming option in February, bringing Apple access to about five million households that use Sonos products.

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