AWT News Update: January 17, 2017

On today's Apple World Today News Update, we talk about obsolete networks, smash and grabs, store renovations, and the idiots who keep using the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones:

  • AT&T's 2G network shut down on January 1; nobody seemed to notice, but you can't use your original iPhone anymore...
  • The Apple Store Palo Alto (CA) is currently undergoing renovations due to an early December smash-and-grab burglary.
  • The "glass cube" 5th Avenue Apple Store in NYC will be closed starting on Jan. 20 for renovations.
  • Verizon is planning to take drastic measures to stop people who are still using their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 17, 2017.

If you’re one of the handful of people who still use an original iPhone in the U.S. on the AT&T network, you’ve probably noticed that you can no longer make or receive phone calls on the device. That’s because the original iPhone, also known as the iPhone 2G, ran on AT&T’s 2G wireless network, and that network was shut down on January 1, 2017. The device can still be used on Wi-Fi networks, although it has been officially obsolete since 2013 and hasn’t received software updates since 2009 with iOS 3. By shutting down the 2G network, AT&T has opened up the spectrum for future network technologies including 5G. The company says that the spectrum will be repurposed for LTE.

Apple fans in Palo Alto, California, have had to travel further to get their Apple fix this week, as the Apple Store in that town has been closed. It’s apparently shut down due to the aftereffects of a burglary last month in which a vehicle rammed through the glass facade at the front of the store. Calls to the store at this time reach a recording that says that the store is undergoing renovations and suggest that potential customers head to the Stanford Shopping Center outlet.

The burglary took place in the early hours of December 4, with a group of people smashing a rented Kia Soul through the facade. About 8 to 10 people then ran into the store and grabbed iPhones and Macs. Some of those devices were found later in a car parked in an alley a short distance away. As the burglary happened during the important holiday buying season, Apple reopened the store almost immediately with boarded-up windows.

In another Apple Store-related story, the iconic Fifth Avenue store in New York City will be closing on January 20 for renovations. The store, with a glass cube above ground and the business end underground, will temporarily relocate to the General Motors building that it is located in front of. It will take over space that was home to an FAO Schwarz toy store until the renovations are complete.

Although they’re not allowed on airplanes or cruise ships, and they were discontinued a few months ago, apparently there are still thousands of Verizon customers who are still using the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Verizon told Fortune that it’s prepared to take some drastic steps to disable the devices once and for all. The company issued a carrier update that essentially bricks the Note 7, but some customers figured out how to avoid installing that update.

The company will now make it so that calls made from the remaining devices only connect to Verizon customer service reps with the exception of 911 calls — that’s useful if your phone has flames shooting out of it… The company says it will also consider charging customers who keep using the device the full retail price of the phone, since it has already sent out refunds for the units. Samsung is expected to share the results of its internal investigation into the root cause of the Galaxy Note 7 fires on January 23.

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