AWT News Update: April 19, 2016

Here's your daily dose of fresh news from the world of Apple:

  • Apple testifies in front of Congress about encryption
  • Intel, which makes processors for Macs, will lay off 11% of its workforce
  • Pinterest updates its iOS app with a little help from the original Mac icon designer
  • Apple Pay expands to its sixth country and adds more US banks and credit unions
  • Picking up a new MacBook tomorrow? There's an update for it already

The text version is available below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for April 19, 2016.

Apple recently released figures showing that the company received over 30,000 requests from US law enforcement agencies in 2015 to turn over user information, and complied with nearly 82% of those requests. Now word is coming out during testimony in front of Congress regarding encryption that the company has been asked by Chinese authorities to turn over source code twice in the past two years. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell told lawmakers that the company refused in both cases. Sewell noted in a separate panel today that building any back door into Apple products would create problems for “one hundred percent” of its users.

As expected, Intel today announced that a major restructuring effort between now and mid-2017 will result in 12,000 employees — or about 11% of the total workforce — being laid off. Most of the layoffs will happen in the next two months. Intel says it is evolving “from a PC company to one that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices.”

Pinterest is a popular social network with over 100 million users who pin ideas to their pages to share with others. Today, the company launched a new iOS app to improve the user experience on all devices and in all languages. Original Macintosh icon designer Susan Kare designed new icons for the app and refreshed existing ones for the update, and the designers handpicked a set of 300 colors to use throughout the app in transitions and animations. While the look of the app has improved, even more was done behind the scenes. Tapping on a pin now provides 10 times faster responsiveness and scrolling is much smoother. The home feed loads up to 3 times faster on all devices, readability has been improved for every language. The framework used for the iOS app will be rolled out to the web and to Android in the future.

Apple Pay expanded to its sixth country yesterday, with Singapore being added to the list. For the US, more than 50 new banks and credit unions were added to the list, meaning that even more customers can add their debit and credit cards to Apple Pay for contactless and in-app payments at a growing number of locations.

As you know from reading Apple World Today, Apple updated the MacBooks today with gains in battery life, CPU speed, SSD write speed, and even a new color option. If you rushed out today to buy one of the new devices, you’ll find that an update specifically for the MacBook is already available. There’s a 157.8MB software update that improves compatibility with third-party Bluetooth devices that will appear in the Mac App Store immediately.

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