AWT News Update: March 15, 2016

Halfway through the madness that is March, and we've got a bit of news for your listening pleasure today. 

  • What are probably the last beta versions of OS X 10.11.4 and iOS 9.3 have been released to beta testers; we tell you when to expect the "real thing"
  • Hear about what we expect to see at next Monday's Apple event
  • Apple News Publisher opens its door to publishers...but isn't working properly now

The text version of today's podcast can be viewed below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 15, 2016.

Have you been keeping up with your beta testing? Apple today released OS X 10.11.4 beta 7 to Mac users in the developer and public beta test programs. In case you’re wondering when the real software will appear, well, it’s probably going to be next week during or after Apple’s Monday event. At the same time, expect to see iOS 9.3, as a seventh beta build of that operating system has been made available to beta testers as well. watchOS and tvOS should also be updated next week to versions 2.2 and 9.2 respectively.

So, you all have heard about this Monday Apple event, right? We’re going to liveblog the event, which means that you can watch the livestream from Apple headquarters on your favorite Apple device and then read our commentary as the announcements are made. But what are we expecting on Monday? One thing is for sure; we’ll probably see a $149 Space Black Milanese Loop Watch Band for the Apple Watch. Why would I guess such a thing? Well, the invitations for the event were titled with the tagline “Let us loop you in” for one, and a few of the European online Apple Stores accidentally listed the new band back in January. So that’s pretty much a given. But that’s also not very exciting. Now we’re all expecting a new iPhone — the iPhone SE or 6SE or whatever it’s called. It’s the iPhone with a 4-inch screen, and will probably have more features in common with the iPhone 6 and 6s than with the iPhone 5s it’s replacing. We expect it to be thinner, have the NFC chip required for Apple Pay, a 12-megapixel camera that can shoot 4K video and Live Photos, and probably even an A9 processor. It’s also highly likely that Apple’s going to use the event to give us all a new iPad Pro — a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. What makes an iPad a Pro? I’d speculate that it will have more base storage than the former iPad Air 2, that it has the familiar Smart Connector, and will come with an option for a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. We’ll have some additional details and ideas in a more complete post on Apple World Today tomorrow.

At Apple World Today, we haven’t been very big fans of Apple News. Why? Well, while big name publishers have had the ability since day one to create beautiful interactive content, the rest of us have had to put up with just having our RSS feeds become part of the jumbled mess that is News. Today, Apple opened up the online Apple News Publisher app to all publishers…and the service has been unavailable most of the day. Perhaps most of the other publishers are trying to see if they can get an opportunity to use the tool to create good-looking content, and if it’s like most other Apple services, it wasn’t designed to be hit by tens of thousands of new users immediately. If we’re ever able to give the tool a try, we’ll let you know so you can check out our news in the News app.

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