AWT News Update: October 2, 2017

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Another month has passed, and we're now in October! We have a new sponsor for this month and a handful of interesting news bits for your listening pleasure:

  • Like iMessage? Try two new products from It's About Time Products made especially for your messaging pleasure -- Color Text Bubbles and WordSwipe. Find out more here!
  • Apple will announce the fourth quarter 2017 fiscal year results on November 2, 2017
  • LG has released a new version of its Mac utility for the UltraFine 4K and 5K displays
  • DJI is providing an update to its apps to prevent drones from connecting to the internet and sharing location data to servers
  • Safeway has announced that it's rolling out Apple Pay 

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

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for October 2nd, 2017. Our sponsor this month is It’s About Time Products, and this week we’re focusing on their two new products for iMessage: Color Text Bubbles and WordSwipe. Check out the sponsorship post on Apple World Today for more information, and we’ll give you details on both apps later in the week. 

It seems like only yesterday that Apple was announcing its earnings for the third fiscal quarter, and today the company announced that it will hold its fourth fiscal quarter 2017 earnings call on November 2. That call usually begins at about 2 PM PT, and we’ll have all of the info on how the company is faring as soon as the company releases the data. We also listen in on the earnings call and pass along the news about Apple’s fortunes so you don’t have to listen to Wall Street analysts asking silly questions. 

Remember when Apple started selling those LG UltraFine 4K and 5K displays and there were some issues with them? Well, they were eventually fixed, and many Mac users now buy them since Apple no longer makes its own ultra high definition displays unless you count the 5K screen in the 27-inch iMac. Anyway, LG has released a new version of a utility for the UltraFine displays that improves on how the integrated speakers, built-in web camera, and USB ports work. Version 2.08 is High Sierra-compatible, and allegedly improves connectivity quality on the USB-C ports. The integrated camera software has been tweaked to improve performance in low-light conditions. The speakers on the displays can now be more precisely controlled with the Mac’s volume controls and attached keyboards. The LG Screen Manager for Mac is a 26-megabyte download, and we have a link in the show notes.

Do you have a DJI Drone like the Mavic Pro, Spark, or Phantom 4? DJI is rolling out a new Local Data Mode update to prevent controlled drones from connecting to the Internet and sharing location data with servers. The company has made the update already in its CrystalSky monitors for its in-house controllers, and it’s expected that the update will soon be available for the iOS DJI Go 4 app. Why is the company doing this? Enterprise customers, including the US Army and Navy, were upset with “cyber vulnerabilities” because the drones could send sensitive flight location information to DJI servers in China and other countries. The Army, for example, directed all commands to stop using the drones, uninstall all DJI apps, remove batteries from the drones, and secure the equipment. One odd side effect of the update is that DJI drones will no longer automatically comply with flight restrictions or no-fly zones, and telemetry data on flight logs like altitude, distance and speed will remain stored on the aircraft even after a user deactivates Local Data Mode. There’s no word on whether or not the armed forces will put the DJI drones back into use for sensitive work, or when the iOS update will be available to drone pilots. 

Another big grocery retailer has announced that it’s rolling out support for Apple Pay at its stores. Safeway, which has over 900 grocery stores in the US, is already supporting Apple Pay at some stores and will be finishing its rollout during October. It’s good to see that one of the old, established chains is adding Apple Pay support. Grocery chain ALDI added support last month, Lucky supermarkets have supported Apple Pay for a while, and Amazon’s Whole Food Markets have been Apple Pay-friendly since it launched.

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