AWT News Update: February 6, 2017

No, not THAT kind of jawbone. Image via

No, not THAT kind of jawbone. Image via

Happy Monday! We're back for another week of podcast fun with three stories:

  • Accessory manufacturer Jawbone is quitting the activity tracker biz and trying to reinvent itself for the fourth time
  • One research firm thinks Apple could start building the 2017 iPhones as early as June to get a head start on inventory and issue resolution
  • Apple has told accessory manufacturers about a new Ultra Accessory Connector it would like to see on headphones and headsets

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 6, 2017. Congratulations to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for not only winning Super Bowl LI yesterday, but also overcoming a big deficit to do so.

Remember Jawbone? The company started by making Bluetooth headsets, then moved to speakers, and then finally started making wearable fitness trackers at about the same time everyone else on the planet decided to do the same. The company has apparently run out of money, and is seeking investors so that it can try another market — devices for healthcare providers. Jawbone is the latest company that has run up against the activity tracking juggernaut called the Apple Watch. It is planning — provided it survives — to create software-based services that will go along with the healthcare-oriented devices it will build. Jawbone believes this will be a successful change as it moves to higher margin products rather than cheap consumer activity trackers, and provides services with a continuing revenue stream as well. It seems that this may be a lot of wishful thinking, as Apple already has armies of developers creating apps that integrate with HealthKit and ResearchKit. We wish Jawbone luck as it attempts to reinvent itself for the fourth time.

BlueFin Research Partners thinks that Apple will start production of the iPhone 8 earlier than expected — possibly in June — for an anticipated huge response to the drastically redesigned phone. By starting three months before the expected release of the new phone, Apple can improve yield rates, work out manufacturing glitches, and have a lot of devices on hand at launch. Rumors that we’ve covered before seem to think that the next-generation iPhone will have an edge-to-edge OLED display with curved edges, a glass back and a Touch ID Home button built into the display. Other concepts such as wireless charging, a faster A11 processor, facial recognition or iris scanning, a new Taptic engine and improvements to 3D Touch, and camera improvements are being bandied about for the new phone as well. Hold on to your seats, as the rumor mill is just starting to spin up for the 2017 product season.

9to5Mac seems to have outed a new Ultra Accessory Connector for headphones and headsets made under the Made for iPhone licensing program. The connector, known by the acronym UAC, is smaller and thinner than existing Lightning and USB-C ports, and would be used only on accessories — not on Apple’s devices. Manufacturers could outfit headphones and headsets with the space-saving port, then create Lightning to UAC, USB-A to UAC and 3.5mm jack to UAC cables. It’s odd that Apple is developing yet another cabling standard after the response to removal of the 3.5mm audio jack from last year’s iPhone 7.

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