AWT News Update: February 16, 2017

An AM/FM/Cassette Sony Walkman. Find out what this has to do with today's podcast!

An AM/FM/Cassette Sony Walkman. Find out what this has to do with today's podcast!

Today we have a wide spectrum of Apple and industry-related news items for your listening pleasure:

  • The chairman of the FCC wants the FM radio receivers in most smartphones enabled
  • Facebook may soon become THE place to look for and apply for jobs
  • Touch ID is passé - here comes 3D laser scanning for facial recognition

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll 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 for February 16, 2017.

One thing that very few smartphone owners know is that just about every smartphone, whether iPhone or Android, has an FM radio receiver built into the LTE modem that powers the voice and data communications. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, made remarks at the opening of the Future of Radio and Audio Symposium in Washington D.C. yesterday stating that he’d like to have those receivers activated. This would allow owners to listen to FM radio over the air, but would require carriers and phone makers to enable the functionality. Right now, most iPhone owners and many Android phone owners listen to FM broadcasts over streaming data on Wi-Fi or cellular networks. Pai said that “We could be doing a lot better. It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman.” Among the advantages of activating the FM receivers in iPhones would be battery life savings, less data usage, and the ability to receive emergency alerts over radio without cell or Wi-Fi service.

Looking for a job? Facebook announced that businesses in the US and Canada will soon be able to post job listings on their Facebook pages, and that potential new hires can browse openings in their locale through a “Jobs” bookmark. That capability is to be rolled out over the next few weeks on the iOS and Android apps, as well as on the website. The Jobs capability is targeted at small business owners who might have problems hiring talent for certain positions. Once they post a job on Facebook, employers can review applicants, contact them securely through Facebook Messenger, and set up interviews. Applicants will see job postings in their News Feed, in the Jobs bookmark tab, and with other posts on the business Facebook page. Clicking an “Apply Now” button pre-fills information from the user’s Facebook profile, and applicants can edit that information before submitting it. With the addition of these “help wanted ads”, it looks like Facebook is quickly supplanting the newspapers job-seekers use to scour for open positions.

Another Wall Street Analyst has been heard from for a rumor of the day on the iPhone 8. Rod Hall, analyst with JPMorgan, says that the upcoming phone will use a 3D laser scanner for facial recognition to replace Touch ID. Apple’s planning to remove the Home button on the new iPhone to allow for an edge to edge display, and it’s thought that the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus might also use the scanner. The scanner would add anywhere between $10 and $15 to the iPhone 8’s cost, not including the extra costs for an OLED display, glass casing, and increased production costs. Thats why rumors have said that the US pricing for the iPhone 8 could be upwards of $1,000. Hall also thinks that the switch to facial recognition would resolve current issues where Touch ID doesn’t work when the hand or phone is wet. Facial recognition will also be even more secure than Touch ID, which could help increase Apple Pay adoption. But the big selling point is that the 3D laser scanner could be used for augmented reality in the future.

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