AWT News Update: January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! We're back, and on a more normal podcast schedule than during the past two months. You can expect to hear us every weekday afternoon, and here are a few pieces of Apple news for your listening pleasure today:

  • Apple's pop-up shops that were set up to sell the high-end Apple Watch Edition are being closed
  • Apple Pay has added 47 more new US financial institutions during the past few weeks, bringing the total in the country to over 1,600
  • Apple chip manufacturing partner TSMC is reportedly on schedule to start testing production of a 7nm process that will produce more efficient CPUs for future products starting in 2018

The text version of the podcast can be viewed 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 January 3, 2017. Happy New Year, and we are finally back to a somewhat normal podcast schedule.

Back when Apple first introduced the Apple Watch, the company had high hopes for the high-end Apple Watch Edition. That version of the Watch was made from 18-karat gold and priced up to $17,000, but they never sold all that well so the company dropped them in September of 2016. Along with the Apple Watch Edition came a series of pop-up shops in high-end department stores, among them being Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and Isetan in Tokyo, Japan. Well, Apple shut down the Selfridges shop, which was located in the store’s Wonder Room, apparently due to poor sales. The shutdown was a bit of a surprise, as it had been rumored previously that the Paris pop-up would be shut down this month. Now it looks like both stores will be shuttered by the end of January. There’s no word on whether the Tokyo pop-up shop will stay open.

We love passing along word of new banks and credit unions supporting Apple Pay. During the past few weeks, Apple has added a total of 47 new US financial institutions that will support Apple Pay, as well as a number of banks in China. Apple Pay is supported by over 1,600 banks and credit unions in the US now, and is offered in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, France, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Canada. Apple reported at the end of December that about 35% of US retailers now support Apple Pay, and it expects to see growth in that area during 2017.

It’s always fascinating to hear about advances in processor technology, with one of the main changes these days being in the size of the process. Current Apple A9, A9X and A10 processors use a 16 nanometer process, but the company that produces those chips for Apple — TSMC — is on schedule to start using a 7 nanometer process for test production of chips for the 2018 iPad and iPhone models. So what’s the difference in the two manufacturing processes? Two identical chips using different die sizes will see less power consumed by the one with the smaller die, so the 7 nanometer chips should not only be more energy efficient, but also give off less heat. It’s expected that the 2017 iPhones that will come out in September will use a 10 nanometer interim manufacturing process.

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