AWT News Update: July 19, 2016

Blue checkmarks, tripod mounts, free iTunes gift cards, and grumpy Brazilian judges are all on our short 'n sweet AWT News Update today:

  • Twitter streamlines its verified accounts program
  • Studio Neat is back with a new Kickstarter for its latest Glif
  • Pay with Apple Pay, get a $5/£5 iTunes gift card
  • WhatsApp, blocked? Yes, in Brazil.

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for July 19, 2016.

Want that little blue checkmark on your Twitter image so that you look like “somebody”? Twitter today announced that they’re opening up their verified accounts program to folks who fit their criteria for verification. To do so, you must provide quite a bit of personal information as well as a photo of a current ID and a 500-character maximum reason as to why you want the blue checkmark. If you’d like to give it a try, here’s the link to the online form.

Back in 2010 a company called Studio Neat opened up a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to fund its invention — the Glif. The Glif is now in its third or fourth iteration as a really cool tripod mount for your iPhone, and the company is back on Kickstarter with an all-new version. The new Glif has a quick release lever that makes it simple to get your iPhone in and out of the Glif, there are multiple mounting points for landscape or portrait orientation of your iPhone camera, and you can attach other accessories like lights or microphones to turn your iPhone into a portable movie studio. They’re also selling a handle and wrist strap to make holding and carrying your little studio a lot easier. The new Glif will be $25, the handle and wrist strap will cost an addition $25.

Want a $5 or £5 iTunes gift card? Apple retail stores are offering one if you use your iPhone or Apple Watch with Apple Pay to pay for a purchase. If you’re someone who doesn’t currently use Apple Pay, the Apple Store employees will help you get set up in exchange for the gift card. Pretty nice little perk, and if you’re not already using Apple Pay, you should be — it’s fast and convenient.

If you’re planning on chatting with your friends while you attend or participate in the Rio Olympic Games next month, you’re outta luck. A Brazilian judge has ordered the five cellular carriers in the country to block access to Facebook’s WhatsApp service, which will block tens of millions of people from using the popular chat and Voice over IP app. The court wants access to some unspecified data for an investigation that’s underway, and Facebook is refusing. Not only will WhatsApp be blocked for the 100 million plus users in Brazil, but Facebook is being forced to pay a fine of R$50,000 or about $15,273 per day while it fails to comply.

That’s all for today; We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.