AWT News Update: March 16, 2017

Colorware's iPhone 7 Plus Retro Edition

Colorware's iPhone 7 Plus Retro Edition

Steve was out making some tax accountants rich today, so we have a short version of the AWT News Update for your listening pleasure:

  • Swatch announces plans to create its own open-source smartwatch OS
  • Get an iPhone 7 Plus "Retro Edition" for only $1,899! It looks surprisingly similar to many Apple products of the 1980s
  • Alexa has sneaked onto your iPhone, provided you're using the Amazon app

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 March 16th, 2017. Even though tax day in the USA is about a month away, it was my day to visit tax preparers so this is going to be a short podcast by default.

Sometimes we hear news at Apple World Today that sounds like a ticket to financial disaster, and that’s where we’ll put this story. The Swatch Group, which makes those inexpensive watches that have been popular for the past 25 years, is planning on competing with Apple’s watchOS and Google’s Android Wear operating systems by develop its own custom OS. Swatch owns its own brand as well as high-end brands Tissot and Omega, and it’s not only working on a new OS focused on data privacy and low energy use, but also working with the Swiss research institute CSEM on a complete internet-of-things ecosystem that it wants to launch in late 2018. Swatch CEO Nick Hayek told Reuters that the company has had requests from a number of US startups that want an open-source watch operating system, and Swatch’s OS would work for those companies as well and provide an alternative to Android Wear. At this time, Apple is thought to be the world’s leading smartwatch vendor, so Swatch has its work cut out for it.

If you were a big fan of Apple design in the early 1980s and have a lot of money lying around, you’re going to love a new product from ColorWare. The company, which creates custom-painted Apple devices, is offering an iPhone 7 Plus “Retro Edition” for just $1,899. It’s an unlocked, SIM-free Plus with 256GB of storage, and it is beautiful. With a multicolored Apple rainbow logo, a beige body, and darker “air vent” type stripes on the sides, the Retro Edition looks great and will definitely be the envy of your Apple-lovin’ buddies. ColorWare also offers AirPods in any of 58 colors for $289, and you can check out their site at colorware.com.

Siri has a little more competition on the iOS platform today. Amazon’s iOS app now has Alexa built in. You’ll notice a small microphone icon to the right of the search field - tap it and ask a question, and Alexa will let you shop, answer your questions, play music, and do much more. It’s not as convenient as Siri for most requests, but then again, it IS more useful when shopping for just about anything. If you’ve been thinking about trying out Alexa but don’t want to spend money on an Amazon Echo device, this is a perfect way to give Alexa a full workout.

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