AWT News Update: January 9, 2017

Happy 10th Birthday, iPhone! We have a few news stories that deal with things other than Apple's ubiquitous smartphone today, and one that looks at possible display technology for future iPhones:

  • A rumor about a lack of repair capability for the 2016 MacBook Pro turns out to be just that; a rumor...
  • Remember the Finder for AirPods app? Apple has yanked it from the App Store (see image at top of post)
  • A charging stand for AirPods? Yep.
  • An OLED plant being built in "iPhone City" may point to future display tech for iPhones

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Text Version

Hi, this is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for January 9, 2017.

Don’t believe everything you read on Apple websites. Japanese-language site Macotakara — which is usually quite accurate in both news reporting and rumors — claimed that tools needed to diagnose and repair the 2016 MacBook Pro were not available at Apple Stores or Apple Authorized Service Centers. AppleInsider went straight to Apple to check into this and found that not only is all of the necessary gear on hand, but that staff have been trained in fixing the new units. What may have confused the Macotakara folks is that some MacBook Pros may be fixed using what are called depot repairs, where the device or a specific part is sent overnight to a facility for repair rather than being repaired onsite. AppleInsider found that most MacBook Pro issues are either resolved with an exchange at the store within 10 days of original purchase or replaced, with the faulty units being returned for inspection by Apple engineers.

Just last week, a developer by the name of Deucks began selling Finder for AirPods in the App Store. The $3.99 app was designed to monitor the strength of the Bluetooth signal transmitted by AirPods, ostensibly to find a lost one. Well, if you didn’t get the app — which is a bargain compared to replacing a lost AirPod for $69 — you’re out of luck. Apple pulled the app from the App Store, with the developer saying that there was nothing functionally wrong, but that Apple didn’t like the “concept” of people finding their AirPods and thus calling it “inappropriate” for the App Store.

Whenever a new Apple product is released, it seems to be only a matter of days or even hours before third-party accessories make their debut. That’s the case with the new AirPods Stand from Spigen, which is a charging dock for Apple’s AirPods. The AirPods Stand holds the rounded AirPods charging case snugly, allowing it to be charged vertically. You’ll need to use your own Apple Lightning cable, but the small Stand looks like it will be perfect for keeping the AirPods case and AirPods charged up. The Spigen AirPods Stand is available for preorder for $11.99…or you can just use your existing Apple iPhone Lightning Dock and have it do double duty.

It’s the tenth anniversary of the original announcement of the iPhone, and we all know how popular the devices are. Current iPhones are built in Zhengzhou in northern China at a Foxconn facility known by locals as “iPhone City” at a rate of up to half a million devices per day. Well, a report today from Japan-based Nikkei notes that Foxconn — which purchased display manufacturer Sharp last year — is planning on setting up a production line for OLED displays in Zhengzhou, most likely for the purpose of supplying OLED panels for future iPhones. While the plant is not expected to be fully up and running until 2019, another Foxconn company is expected to start volume production of OLED panels next year.

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