AWT News Update: December 11, 2017



A light news day today after the big stories about Shazam, macOS 11.3.3 beta, and so on.

  • Three US airlines are banning "smart luggage", luggage with lithium-ion battery packs built-in
  • A fake cryptocurrency app was removed from the App Store after the operators of a legitimate Ethereum wallet service complained to Apple about the fake
  • Beginning in April of 2018, US and Canadian citizens will no longer need to sign for purchases made with American Express, MasterCard or Discover debit and credit cards...or Apple Pay payments made with those cards

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 December 11, 2017.  

Do you have any smart luggage? These are suitcases that have built-in batteries used for recharging your devices while sitting at an airport. Well, starting on January 15, three airlines — Delta, American and Alaska — will ban smart luggage. This doesn’t include any suitcases with removable battery packs, as those can be taken with the passenger onto the aircraft. The ban is meant to reduce the risk of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, and it’s easier for a crew to handle a fire from a faulty battery when it’s in the cabin than under piles of bags in the cargo hold. 

Since cryptocurrencies have been skyrocketing this year, it’s not surprising that some scammers want to try to steal some of that precious virtual gold. Apple removed a fake cryptocurrency app from the App Store, but before finding out that it was fake, the developers managed to get an ad and the app climbed to third place in the App Store Finance category this weekend. There is a genuine service called MyEtherWallet that handles Ethereum wallets, and the developers of that service notified Apple on Sunday that a fake version was in the App Store. The app was selling for $4.99, and about 3,000 downloads were made. The developer was someone named “Nam Le”, and the app allowed people create or import a wallet for cryptocurrencies and saving the keys on the iPhone. That’s potentially dangerous for users, as the developer could have harvested the data. One other concern is that cryptocurrencies are free, open-source platforms, and the fake software was making money. That’s frowned upon in the cryptocurrency industry. 

One of the most annoying things about using a credit or debit card, or a contactless payment service like Apple Pay, is that you often need to sign a slip or scrawl your signature onto a digital signature line. There’s good news today — in April of 2018, American Express, MasterCard and Discover will no longer require a signature. The reason they’re switching over is to allow for a more consistent, streamlined and speedy checkout experience for merchants and cardholders. New technologies like Apple Pay and the adoption of EMV chip technology have made signatures a thing of the past for these companies. We’re just hoping that Visa joins the group by April. 

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