AWT News Update: May 9, 2016

A healthy dose of Apple news for you today, coming from all around the world of Apple:

  • The FCC and FTC are asking mobile carriers and smartphone/tablet manufacturers to provide info on how they handle fixes to vulnerabilities
  • The Opera Web Browser for iOS has been updated with its own free VPN
  • Periscope will soon save broadcasts indefinitely and allow drone broadcasting
  • A group of top podcasters recently met with voice complaints

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 May 9, 2016.

Bloomberg today reported that the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are asking a number of wireless carriers and smartphone and tablet manufacturers to reveal their processes for reviewing and pushing out security updates to customers. The FCC is concentrating on the carriers, including the big four AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, while the FTC has sent letters to Apple, Google, BlackBerry, HTC, Samsung, and others. The regulators are apparently concerned about vulnerabilities left open by delaying a fix. Apple and Android creator Google both issue point releases to fix bugs and close vulnerabilities, but they sometimes delay patches until a planned update is shipped. The FTC is requesting info on factors used in deciding whether or not to patch a hole, devices sold since August 2013 and the vulnerabilities that have impacted those products, and whether they have been resolved.

Speaking of security, the Opera web browser for iOS has been updated with a new capability called Opera VPN that funnels web traffic through Opera’s own servers to improve the security and privacy of web users surfing from the iPhone or iPad. Opera VPN works in the US, Canada, Germany, Singapore and The Netherlands, allowing users to anonymize browsing and bypass regional content restrictions. Opera VPN disables cookies as well, further enhancing anonymous browsing. The VPN is subscription free with no usage cap, although Opera’s SurfEasy team says they may add their own in-app ads in the future. Opera VPN is in the mobile browser now and must be enabled in the app’s settings.

You know Periscope, the app from Twitter that lets you broadcast live from just about anywhere? Well, the company will be rolling out some fun new features in the next few weeks. To start with, you’ll be able to search for broadcasts by title or topic, as well as save videos automatically beyond 24 hours. As Periscope points out, your broadcasts will be automatically saved indefinitely on Periscope and Twitter with comments and hearts, but if you still want to delete them at some future point, you can. But one of the greatest new features in my opinion is that you’ll be able to broadcast live directly from a DJI Phantom drone. Now, if some nice AWT News Update listener would like to get us a drone, we’ll be more than happy to send you sky-high video on a regular basis.

Apparently there was recently a secret meeting between seven top podcasters and Apple where the podcasters voiced concern over how Apple seems to be totally disinterested in the media despite having created the format in 2005. The podcasters, who are remaining anonymous, said that Apple’s process for promoting shows — basically they all have to beg one person for attention — and lack of tools for sharing and monetizing content are concerns to the podcasting community. Apple won’t let creators charge for paid subscriptions, doesn’t provide information on how many listeners there were for a particular episode, or provide other statistics like how many partial listens there are. The podcasters say that if Apple doesn’t step up its game, the company’s lack of movement could open the door to other competitors to take over the podcasting industry.

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