AWT News Update: April 18, 2017

This is a Galaxy Note 7 "Flambé", not a Galaxy S8+...at least not yet

This is a Galaxy Note 7 "Flambé", not a Galaxy S8+...at least not yet

Death, taxes, rumors, taxes, more rumors, and more flaming batteries? That's what we might have today on this Tax Day, 2017:

  • Using smartphones while driving is probably behind the first rise in motor vehicle deaths in 40 years
  • Bloomberg says there are multiple iPhone 8 prototypes under consideration, but we think their assertion that Apple would ship a "top of the line" iPhone without Touch ID is stupid
  • Will the 2017 iPhone crop come with the Lighting to 3.5mm headphone adapter? That's the important question!
  • iFixit found that the battery used in the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ is almost identical to those in the Galaxy Note 7 "burner phones" last year

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 April 18th, 2017.

For the first time in 40 years, last year saw a rise in motor vehicle deaths. What’s the cause of the 6% increase? The National Safety Council believes it’s distracted driving caused by using smartphones behind the wheel. The NSC found during an analysis of 3.1 million drivers that they make at least some use of phones while driving during 88% of all trips, spending at least 3.5 minutes per hour using the smartphone while driving. This data doesn’t note whether usage is at highway speeds or while at traffic lights, nor does it say whether users were simply tapping an acknowledgement button in a navigation app, texting while driving, or just talking on the phone. But the biggest factor has to be distracted driving. A study by Oregon State University showed that glancing away from the road for two seconds or longer can increase the risk of an accident from 4 to 24 times, while texting on a cell phone is the equivalent of driving drunk. Stay safe out there, folks!

Bloomberg is back at it, with rumors about the iPhone 8 that cite “people familiar with the matter”. The latest rumor? Now the device will have a stainless steel frame sandwiched between symmetrical glass on the front and back. Conceptually, this is somewhat similar to the iPhone 4 design. As other rumors have noted, the new iPhone will have an OLED display covering almost the entire front of the device, with the cover glass curving into the stainless steel frame along the edges. More rumors are saying that at least one prototype has dual lenses like the iPhone 7 Plus, but positioned vertically instead of horizontally. And if that wasn’t enough of a camera rumor, Apple is also said to be testing dual lenses for a new front camera. And once again, it’s unsure if the iPhone fingerprint scanner can be built into the larger screen. I frankly don’t see Apple shipping an iPhone without Touch ID, and I sure wouldn’t buy a model without it. So why are these rumors important? They corroborate other rumors that have been floating around, and seem to show that there are multiple prototypes that can explain the conflicts between rumors.

Speaking of rumors, we always love it when one of our favorite Wall Street analysts contradicts another source. In this case, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis says that the all-important Lightning to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter will continue to be shipped with the new iPhone models launching later this year. But, says Curtis, that will go away at some point in 2018. The little adapter is making a lot of bucks for Cirrus Logic, which provides some of the audio circuitry inside that adapter. Now the Barclays report contradicts those folks at the Japanese Mac Otakara site, which says that the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus and iPhone Edition or iPhone 8 — take your choice — will NOT come with the $9 adapter.

And one final word today. iFixit tears down all new smartphones, tablets, and computers to see how easy they are to fix and what kind of components are being used. They tore down the new Samsung Galaxy S8+ and guess what? It’s using a battery that is “virtually identical” to the Galaxy Note 7 batteries that were catching fire last year. Samsung says that the battery issue was a manufacturing quality assurance issue, and since the design surrounding the battery — where it is installed in the Galaxy S8+, the spacing, and reinforcement — is almost identical to the Note 7, they’d darn well better be right.

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