AWT News Update: May 18, 2017

Tipping is not a city in China, a ban is averted...for now, and YouTube wants everybody to stream 24/7:

  • Social networks are under the Apple gun in China for the practice of app tipping, which is cutting Apple out of revenues
  • A proposed ban on laptops and tablets in plane cabins to/from Europe has been averted, at least for now
  • YouTube opens the floodgates on live streaming from mobile devices

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 May 18th, 2017.

Apple has cracked down on several social networks in China that provide payment services between users. These apps allow users to “tip” one another by using mobile wallets, which provides content providers with a revenue stream. These tips are made outside of the usual Apple payment system — otherwise known as in-app purchases — which tends to lock Apple out of the revenue for those services. As a result, Apple is telling WeChat and other companies to stick to App Store rules and turn the “tips” into in-app purchases with Apple getting a 30 percent cut. If they don’t, Apple could refuse to allow updated versions of the apps to appear in the App Store or even ask that the apps be pulled from the App Store entirely. The Chinese culture tends to see tipping as different from purchasing, with tipping being an appreciation for content offered after a user has “consumed” it. Apple will need to tread lightly with WeChat and other Chinese social networks, as these companies are huge - WeChat has 938 million monthly active accounts, and about half of its users spend 90 minutes per day in the app. If Apple can come up with a solution to make tips legal under its rules and also build an additional revenue stream, it will be a win-win for all the parties involved.

There’s good news today for travelers. US security officials had been looking into possibly extending a ban on electronics in aircraft cabins on flights from eight mostly Muslim countries to European countries as well. This was done in reaction to US intelligence reports that show that terrorists had determined a way to exchange laptop and tablet computer parts with explosives. The ban has resulted in passengers needing to place the laptops and tablets into checked luggage. The British Airline Pilots Association and other groups thought that this was a horrible idea, as the lithium batteries used in many consumer electronics products could cause more problems in a cargo hold than a small bomb. Steve Landells of the BAPA said that “Given the risk of fire from these devices when they are damaged or they short circuit, an incident in the cabin would be spotted earlier and this would enable the crew to react quickly before any fire becomes uncontainable. If these devices are kept in the hold, the risk is that if a fire occurs the results can be catastrophic; indeed, there have been two crashes where lithium batteries have been cited in the accident reports.” Apparently other measures to contain the possibility of laptops and tablets turned into terrorist bombs are still being considered.

Here at Apple World Today, we do YouTube Live streaming from our Macs every Monday night for AWT TV. But so far, we haven’t had the need to so from our mobile devices. Fortunately, YouTube made a change today in its policies for mobile YouTube Live streaming that could make that a possibility. Previously, YouTube limited live streaming from the YouTube mobile apps, initially to users with over 10,000 subscribers and then to users with over 1,000 subscribers. Now, anyone with a verified YouTube channel and no livestream restrictions on their account can livestream from their mobile devices. As soon as the feature is rolled out to everyone, live streaming your life — or perhaps just creating a live video version of your daily podcast — will be as easy as visiting the upload section of the app, tapping the livestream option, adding a thumbnail and title, and then getting the livestream going. If we decide to start live streaming the AWT News Update, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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