AWT News Update: March 14, 2017

Happy Pi Day! We're hoping that you do something irrational today, like subscribe to the AWT News Update podcast or even become a Team AWT member:

  • Samsung plays catch-up to Apple in terms of smartphone security updates
  • Russia rules that Apple engaged in price fixing for iPhones
  • You've heard of Apple Park, but what about Apple Campus 3 at Central & Wolfe in Sunnyvale, CA?
  • A working Apple-1 computer will be up for auction in May

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 Pi Day, March 14th, 2017.

Unlike Apple, Samsung hasn’t been exactly on top of it in terms making security updates to its phones. Today, Samsung announced that it will be providing monthly security updates to unlocked Galaxy smartphones in the US to bring the level of maintenance up to a level comparable of that provided by Apple for its iPhones. The issues keeping Samsung from making those updates in the past included the fact that unlike iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy phones are often loaded with junk apps and skins from each carrier, so it has to test updates with each carrier. Also complicating matters is the fact that Samsung uses a custom version of Android on its devices. That’s why Apple is able to get security updates pushed out quickly, since they control both the hardware and the software. Aren’t you glad you own an iPhone?

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service ruled today that Apple engaged in price fixing by ordering 16 Russian retailers to lock in specific prices for iPhones. Retailers that were discovered selling iPhones at “unsuitable” prices were contacted by Apple and asked to change the price or risk losing sales deals. Apple has agreed to change its future practices in the country, although it does maintain similar price controls in many markets — including the US — for the first months of an iPhone product cycle. The pricing controls allow Apple to steer more customers towards its retail outlets, since there is no price incentive for people to go elsewhere and Apple usually has better inventory on hand. Once an iPhone is further along the product life cycle Apple does allow for discount pricing to keep sales going and reduce inventories.

We’ve heard a lot about Apple Park, which has the spaceship-like building as a centerpiece of an environmentally designed campus. However, very few people are aware that another group of buildings at Central and Wolfe in Sunnyvale, California — about three miles from Apple Park — is currently under construction to house Apple employees at what is unofficially known as Apple Campus 3. The main building is a looping design that looks oddly like three-quarters of a Mac command key, and like Apple Park, the facility features grassy spaces and trees all around. In addition, the 770,000 square-foot building will feature underground parking and the brochure for the building shows “potential for solar installations” like those at Apple Park. There’s no word on when the Central and Wolfe facility will open, but the construction is pretty far along at this point.

If you have $320,000 or so, you can put in a bid for an auction for an Apple-1 computer in May. German auction house Team Breker is selling the classic from its original owner, a computer engineer from Berkeley, California. The device is reported to be in complete working condition and is one of only 8 working Apple-1 computers in existence. What else do you get with the computer, its power supply, a cassette interface and cassette player, and a tiny monochrome monitor? The original manual with the original Isaac Newton Apple logo, circuit diagrams, a receipts for the motherboard and cassette interface. There’s also an original letter from Apple customer care telling the customer that the computer could not be upgraded to an Apple II, and has a collection of notes from phone calls with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak made in 1977. Given the fact that the Apple-1 is in working order, it’s possible that the device could fetch far more than the estimated $320,000. In late 2014, an Apple-1 was purchased at auction for $905,000 by The Henry Ford organization.

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