AWT News Update: August 4, 2016

Photo via TCPalm/KELLY TYKO/SPECIAL TO TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS

Photo via TCPalm/KELLY TYKO/SPECIAL TO TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS

Some great Apple-related news stories today, straight from Steve's mouth to your ears:

  • A video showing what appears to be the next iPhone being tested surfaces on the web today
  • Apple's Apple Store app (try saying that quickly three times) got an update today
  • We tell you how many contacts, calendar events, reminders, and bookmarks you can store in iCloud
  • The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern shows just how slow chip card transactions are, and why services like Apple Pay are the answer

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 August 4, 2016.

As usual the month before a new iPhone is released, we’re starting to see video of the new iPhone 7 or whatever it is called that actually looks quite authentic. The video was released on French Apple rumor site Nowhereelse.fr today, and shows a device being used to test the camera. There are also photos that show the device running Apple’s SwitchBoard test suite, which lends some validity to the images and video. As expected, the device doesn’t look all that much different from the existing iPhone 6s series, with the exception of what appears to be a haptic Home button, a larger camera lens on the back of the device, no headphone jack, and antenna bands that have changed locations on the back of the device. It’s expected that an announcement will happen sometime the second week of September, with pre-orders starting on September 9 and availability on September 16.

Apple revised the Apple Store app for iPhones and iPads today, adding a new recommendation system that suggests products and accessories based on Apple’s knowledge of the devices you already own and have linked to an Apple ID. When in an Apple Store, the app can be used to scan a product and check compatibility with your known devices, then purchased with a tap. The app provides information on workshops and events at local stores, times for reservations and Personal Pickup orders. If you have items saved to Favorites, the app notified you if something is in stock at the Store you’re currently at. Apple has also redesigned the Account tab of the app, making it simpler to find or change things like shipping and billing information.

Have you ever wondered just how many contacts, calendar events, reminders and bookmarks you can store out in iCloud? Loop Insight’s Dave Mark pointed to an Apple knowledge base article today that shows the limits for each iCloud account if you wish to keep things in sync. For example, your total number of calendars, events and reminders can’t exceed 25,000, and you can’t have event attachments totaling over 300 MB in size. How many contact cards can you have? 50,000, but your photo on a contact card can’t exceed 224 KB in size. And if you find yourself bookmarking every website you visit, you might be upset to find out that you can only have 25,000 bookmarks. Thanks for pointing that out, Dave.

Finally, here’s a quick note on something that may very well make contactless, card-free payments with something like Apple Pay more popular in the near future. Joanna Stern at the Wall Street Journal timed how long it takes to make a purchase with a chip card (otherwise known as an EMV card), with a card swipe, and with systems like Apple Pay. Stern noted it took an average of 13 seconds for the chip card to finish a transaction, after which she got that soulless honking noise to tell her to take her card out. Swiping a card took an average of 6 seconds, as did making a payment with Apple Pay. In some cases, she timed Apple Pay transactions as fast as 4 seconds. Stern’s article also shows that the swipe method is the least secure, that EMV chip cards have stronger security, but that smartphone payments are the most secure as they require a biometric or PIN approval from the user. Stern ends her post with a request for people to ask “Can I pay with my smartphone?” every time they see a chip-card terminal. I agree, and I do that every time I need to make a purchase.

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