AWT News Update: March 2, 2016

In today's news from around the world of Apple:

  • It looks like AMC and Sling TV are coming soon to the 4th-generation Apple TV
  • Third-party resellers are having issues with inventory of the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, a solid sign that a replacement is on the way
  • Apple Pay is popular with merchants who are on the way to updating their systems to accept NFC-based mobile wallets
  • The CEO of Fiat Chrysler has words of warning for Apple if the company is thinking about building its own car
  • TSMC is about to double capacity of 16nm chips this month, leading so speculation that the company is ramping production up for iPhone 7 production

The text of this podcast may be found below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 2, 2016

A couple of leaks today indicate that owners of the 4th-generation Apple TV may soon be able to watch AMC — American Movie Classics — on the device. A representative for the network noted that an AMC app will be “released shortly” although it is unknown if other networks that are part of the AMC Network — like IFC or BBC America — will be included in this app or would be targeted with separate apps. Another fun app also appeared for a short time this morning on the tvOS App Store. Several people reported seeing a Sling TV app, although it disappeared shortly thereafter. Sling TV offers bundles that stream live TV channels at less cost - starting at about $20 per month — than cable or satellite packages, and it could be that Apple would find the app to be competition for a similar inexpensive package it wishes to launch.

If you were thinking about getting an iPad prior to this month’s expected announcement of a successor to the iPad Air 2, you may find it difficult to find the model that you want. A number of iPad models are currently on backorder or listed as sold out, particularly the iPad Air and iPad Air 2. Those are the two models that are most likely to be replaced with a new model, either called an iPad Air 3 or a 9.4-inch screen iPad Pro. It’s still possible to find adequate stock at most Apple Stores and the online Apple Store, but third-part retailers are seeing inventory constraints.

A lot of people have been requesting that merchants provide them with more options to pay with NFC-based mobile wallets, something that should make all of the e-wallet vendors quite happy. Piper Jaffray took a poll of 507 resellers and independent software merchants about mobile payment technology, and the news is great for Apple Pay. Apple Pay was given the thumbs up by 67 percent of those merchants, with about 16 percent wanting Android Pay, PayPal grabbing about eight percent, and Samsung Pay getting about seven percent support. In actuality, just about any contactless card or NFC payment system will be able to handle all four of those platforms.

At this week’s Geneva International Motor Show, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler said that Apple should think about collaborating with existing carmakers and not build its own car without assistance. Speaking to journalists at the show, Sergio Marchionne said that carmakers have the capacity to handle Apple’s demand, and turning to those companies would make sense in such a complex business. Marchionne got a few laughs when he said “If they have any urges to make a car, I’d advise them to lie down and wait until the feeling passes. Illnesses like this come and go, you will recover from them, they’re not lethal.”

Finally, Apple processor supplier TSMC reported that it will double its production capacity for 16-nanometer chips in March, leading to speculation that this is a buildup for this year’s rumored iPhone 7. Currently the company has capacity to make about 40,000 12-inch wafers from which a number of processors are extracted. By the end of the month, that number should top 80,000. It’s been rumored that TSMC will be the sole supplier of the A10 processors for the newest flagship iPhones, meaning that it would be best for the supplier to begin mass production as soon as possible.

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