AWT News Update: March 21, 2017

Other than the rather mundane updates made by Apple early this morning, there wasn't a lot of Apple news for today:

  • Apple's announcements were...underwhelming to say the least
  • We have a story about Apple and AT&T cracking a case in which a tweet was used to induce a seizure in an epileptic journalist
  • Tim Cook's in China, having attended an economic forum over the weekend and visiting companies this week

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 21st, 2017.

Well, we’re all depressed around here after the lackluster Apple announcements today. Sure, there’s a new less expensive 9.7-inch iPad to replace the old iPad Air 2, but it’s thicker and weighs more and has only a slightly faster processor. The only things we got in the iPhone world were a PROJECT(RED) iPhone 7 and 7 Plus — both of which are actually quite attractive — and double the storage at the same price for the iPhone SE. The Apple Watch? 14 new bands. Whoopee. We won’t see the new Clips app for a few more weeks, and the iPad Pro and the Mac were both ignored. We’re hoping that changes soon.

Detective stories are always a lot of fun, and doubly so when they involve our favorite Apple devices. Today we heard from The Verge that Apple and AT&T teamed up to identify a man who is believed to be responsible for sending seizure-inducing tweets to Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald. Initially, the search seemed fruitless, as the anonymous Twitter account was tied to a prepaid SIM card that was bought with cash. Twitter was only able to come up with a fake email address, a mobile IP address, and phone numbers linked to the prepaid account. AT&T had no subscriber information, but was able to tell investigators that the SIM had been used in an iPhone 6. There was no identifying information tying the SIM to a particular phone, but Apple was served with a court order to see if the phone number had ever been tied to an Apple ID. Sure enough, Apple was able to provide police with account details for an Apple ID. The number was linked to an iCloud account owned by John Rivello of Salisbury, Maryland, and searches of iMessages and photos in the account showed that Rivello was interested in Eichenwald. So now you know — inserting a SIM card, even a prepaid one, into a device associates an iCloud account to a specific phone number.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been visiting China, and today he visited two companies in the country while posting all about it on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo. One of the companies he visited was a bike-sharing startup called ofo, which Chinese car-sharing company Didi Chuxing has invested money into. Apple, of course, invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing in May of 2016, and would be interested in Ofo because an iPhone app is used to find, unlock and rent bikes. Last weekend, Cook attended an economic forum sponsored by the Chinese government. Cook spent time at the event promoting globalization, while keeping quiet on topics of privacy and encryption that the communist government of China isn’t happy about. Cook also spent some time at fitness company Keep today, and told folks about the translation of Swift Playgrounds into simplified Chinese that will become available tomorrow.

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