AWT News Update: November 13, 2017

Kitesurfer and Great White Shark. NOT our guy with the Apple Watch Series 3, though. Photo via LOHESURF.EU

Kitesurfer and Great White Shark. NOT our guy with the Apple Watch Series 3, though. Photo via LOHESURF.EU

Welcome to another week! We have all of the fun stories to make your afternoon or evening more enjoyable, and it takes less than five minutes to hear 'em all.

  • Inventec's president says that "future smart speakers will have facial and image recognition"
  • A California-based kiteboarder gets rescued after a couple Apple Watch Series 3 calls
  • YouTube's working on fixing a bug in its iOS app
  • iOS 11.2 beta 3 provides explanatory dialogs for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in Control Center

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 Monday, November 13th, 2017. 

Apple’s HomePod still hasn’t shipped — it won’t until next month — but already there’s a rumor about a future update to the high-end smart speaker. David Ho, the president of Apple supplier Inventec, was making comments about smart speakers in general and threw out a comment that has been fueling speculation about a future HomePod with face recognition. Ho’s comment was rather innocuous; he said “We see trends that engineers are designing smart speakers that will not only come with voice recognition but also incorporate features such as facial and image recognition. Such AI-related features are set to make people’s lives more convenient and to make the product easier to use.” Considering that the first HomePod hasn’t been released yet, an update that would incorporate Face ID into the device isn’t probably in the cards until late next year. Apple is hoping to sell about 4 million of the pricy speakers in 2018. 

Remember seeing the preview videos for the Apple Watch Series 3? It seemed like just about every one showed someone on a surfboard, a paddle board, or some other watercraft making or receiving phone calls. Well, 49-year-old Jon Zilles of California apparently took the ads to heart, as he recently found himself stuck at sea after a kiteboarding crash about a mile off the coast of Ventura, California. That area is apparently quite popular with Great White Sharks, and Zilles found himself panicking about the thought of swimming a mile or so to shore. As he told the Daily Mail, “I started thinking about all the great white shark sightings in our area, and although I realized I could probably swim in, I couldn’t stop thinking about sharks - it was a real mind bender. I realized I had my watch - so I called the Ventura Harbor Patrol, explained my situation and asked for help.” The harbor patrol sent a boat, but Zilles noticed that it was heading the wrong way. He made a second call with the Apple Watch Series 3, and before long he was headed to shore and safety. 

Have you noticed that your iOS 11-equipped iPhone or iPad has been chewing up battery power like a binge-eating monster lately when watching YouTube videos? Apparently there’s a bug in the app and people have been griping about it loudly, so YouTube has announced that they’re working to resolve the bug. Some users are reporting that the problem not only causes the battery level to drop as much as 20 percent in about 30 minutes, but that their iPhones are also running hot while doing so. YouTube thinks the issue could be related to iOS 11.1.1, and it could be that the YouTube app simply needs to be optimized for the latest OS version. In the meantime, you can watch YouTube videos in the Web interface instead of the app, although not all features are available when doing so. 

Speaking of iOS, the third beta release of iOS 11.2 was released to developers today and one of the big additions is explanatory dialogs that tell users what’s happening when they click on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons in Control Center. There had been some concern, as using those buttons doesn’t really shut off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, only disabling them for certain things and for a specific period of time. Now, the first time those Control Center toggles are used, messages appear describing how Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are being utilized when disconnected. For example, when disconnecting Wi-FI, the message says “The current Wi-Fi network and others nearby will be disconnected until tomorrow. Wi-Fi will continue to be available for AirDrop, Personal Hotspot, and location accuracy”. For Bluetooth, the message shows that “Bluetooth will continue to be available for Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, Personal Hotspot and Handoff”. 

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