AWT News Update: March 24, 2016

There's an eclectic mix of news today from the world of Apple and tech in general:

  • Apple is working with Will.I.Am and two veteran TV producers on a series about the app economy
  • The "little" iPhone SE scores big in the Wall Street Journal's tests of battery life on new smartphones
  • Microsoft's "Tay" AI learns a lot of bad habits from Twitter users and is pulled offline
  • The news that Apple Pay may be integrated into shopping websites caused PayPal's stock to suffer a bit in morning trading

The text version 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 March 24, 2016.

Now here’s a TV show that might actually be interesting. Apple today announced that it is working with musician and actor Will.I.Am, one of the members of The Black Eyed Peas and a long-time Apple fan, on a new show that will spotlight the app economy. Will.I.Am will be working with two TV veterans, Ben Silverman and Howard Owens, to get the project off the ground. The show was described by Apple content senior VP Eddy Cue as “perfectly tailored for Apple.” It’s not known how the show will be structured, whether it’s going to be available only online or will be on a network, or even what the name of the series will be, but it sounds fascinating. Mr. Silverman, a longtime TV producer, brought the idea to Apple through Cue, with whom he worked at NBC nearly 10 years ago.

Is battery life a big concern for you, more than having a big screen on your iPhone? If so, you may want to consider getting one of Apple’s new iPhone SEs. The Wall Street Journal subjected a number of new smartphones to a test in which the devices were cycled through websites at a standard and uniform brightness level to determine how long the battery would last. The Journal found that the SE lasted two hours longer on a full charge than the iPhone 6s and a full three hours longer than the Samsung Galaxy S7. The battery life is understandable considering that the display of the iPhone SE is of lower quality than the iPhone 6s — although the resolution is almost identical — and has less than half the resolution of the Galaxy S7.

Let’s hope that Siri never gets it’s own Twitter account. On Wednesday, Microsoft launched the @TayandYou account on Twitter, letting Twitter users talk to the AI construct “Tay”. Well, within 24 hours, Tay was pulled offline after those Twitter users bombarded her with offensive tweets and she “learned” from those. Tay ended up telling her followers that “Hitler was right”, “all feminists should die”, and that “Bush did 9/11”. She also took to calling users “daddy” and soliciting sex. The last post on the Tay website reads “Phew. Busy day. Going offline for a while to absorb it all. Chat soon.” There’s no word on when Tay will be coming back online… if ever.

Yesterday, we heard a rumor that Apple Pay might be integrated into websites, allowing users to pay for goods and services with Apple’s payment engine. That capability is expected to be implemented on some large shopping websites before the end of 2016. Well, the news — whether it’s a rumor or not — had an effect on shares of PayPal today, which dropped nearly 9 percent in early morning trading. Investors are somewhat concerned that PayPal could suffer with the expansion of Apple Pay to support purchases on the web.

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