AWT News Update: April 19, 2017

Apple news for the day is rather light, but we have some good stories to convey to you:

  • The glass cube at the Apple store on 5th Avenue in NYC will be least for a while
  • Apple Watch users should look for the Earth Day activity challenge that will appear soon
  • Apple Maps gains new EV charging station and bike rental/dropoff information
  • Hulu is on the verge of introducing its new streaming package 

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 19th, 2017.

Apple has been making renovations at the flagship 5th Avenue retail store on 5th Avenue, and it appears that the huge glass cube at the location will be removed…at least for a while. Apple is planning on increasing the size of the shopping area found below the cube from 32,000 to 77,000 square feet, and it could be that the cube just needs to be removed while excavation is done in the area beneath the plaza where the store will be. A new glass structure with similar dimensions is planned; my personal guess is that Apple will simply have the cube disassembled and stored until it can be replaced. A temporary store has been opened nearby for customers.

Apple does a lot to promote Earth Day, which of course is always on April 22. This year, the company wants Apple Watch owners to head to the great outdoors and complete 30 minutes of outdoor exercise to unlock iMessage stickers and gain a special achievement award. The Earth Day Challenge will most likely appear for US users tomorrow morning, as it has already been rolled out for customers in the eastern hemisphere.

Speaking of environmentally-related Apple efforts, the company today updated Apple Maps with new data for electric vehicle charging stations and bicycle rental and drop-off points. Apple has been showing location information for EV chargers in Maps since last July, and added ChargePoint stations in December. The new information benefits electric car drivers in the UK the most, thanks to new data provided to Apple by Moovility. For bikers, the rental and drop-off info covers three major cities — London, Paris, and New York. We’ve heard other rumors regarding Apple Maps that include indoor mapping of major buildings and shopping malls, better car navigation, and up-to-date content updates using drones to gather ground proof data.

You know how I keep harping on the fact that Apple could lose out on streaming video if it doesn’t get a service put together soon? Well, another major provider — Hulu — is scheduling a launch of a $39.99 monthly live TV subscription with existing Hulu on-demand content. Hulu is inking all of the deals that Apple seems unable or unwilling to: They have all four major networks, all of the A&E suite of channels, 21st Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company and Turner Networks. For those who are considering cutting the cord, the competition for your dollar is heating up and Apple still seems to be confused about where to go. On the other hand, if Apple can sign deals with a bunch of individual providers that result in being able to build your own bundles with only the stations you want, the Apple TV could rule supreme.

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