AWT News Update: May 31, 2017

As we say goodbye to May and look forward to the month of June, we have some great stories to share with you:

  • Two accessory manufacturers announced Thunderbolt 3 enclosures that should be out soon
  • Like platformers? Chameleon Run is available for free download, but you'll need to have the Apple Store app installed to get it
  • Microsoft announced that Microsoft Planner for iOS is now available to select subscription plans
  • New public betas for macOS and iOS are out now

Count down to the events in your life that matter with Looking FWD. It’s free to try, customizable, colorful and fun to use! 

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers 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 31st, 2017. 

One theme that seems to be coming out as part of the pre-WWDC press releases we’re receiving is that support for Thunderbolt 3 devices from third-party vendors is growing quickly. First, Zotac announced a pair of Thunderbolt 3 enclosures. One, the Thunderbolt 3 External Graphics Dock, is meant to let a MacBook Pro power an external graphics card. Zotac says that the dock can hold cards up to the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and Tom’s Hardware says that it can support cards up to 9 inches in length. The second device is called the Thunderbolt 3 External Box and is designed to house other types of PCI-e hardware. That means it could use PCI-e solid state drives or multiple port network cards. There’s no word on the price or availability of the Zotac enclosures. The second vendor to announce is Promise Technology, which will be bring the Pegasus3 with Thunderbolt 3 to market. These storage solutions can bring 40Gb/second performance for rich media workflows. Sounds like fun!

We all love countdowns, and a new iOS app from indie developer John Mackay called Looking FWD now gives you the power to set up countdown clocks for every important date in your life. Whether you’re counting down the days until a wedding, anticipating a much-needed vacation, or just want to answer the question “How many days until Christmas?”, Looking FWD is there for you. Using a bright and colorful user interface with emoji for instant identification, Looking FWD shows your countdown clocks in chronological order in both the app and Notification Center. Try the app for free and try three countdown timers, and if you’re as hooked on it as we were, you’ll want to buy the $1.99 in-app purchase to add an unlimited number of timers. Many thanks to John and Looking FWD for sponsoring the Apple World Today News Update this week.

The only thing better than a runner game is a free runner game. Apple named Chameleon Run the Free App of the Week a while back, but if you forgot to download it back then, you can now get it for free in the Apple Store app. The app is smooth and fast, requiring you to switch the color of your character to match the ground as you run and jump from platform to platform. It has simple two-button controls, special moves like “double jumps” and “head jumps”, non-linear levels, and more. Oh, and it’s great on the fourth generation Apple TV, too. Just launch the Apple Store app, tap the discover tab at the bottom of the app, then scroll down to find the Chameleon Run offer. Have fun!

Microsoft seems to have embraced the iPhone and iPad when it comes to productivity apps, with the full line of Office 365 apps slowly but surely making their way to the iOS devices. Today, Microsoft Planner has been added to the list of apps. It’s a project management tool that can be used to organize tasks into different buckets, then assign them to members of a project team. The team members see a list of the tasks allocated to them and the status of tasks being performed by others, and can update the task. Photographs relating to a project can be added as well. Planner is available for those who have the Office 365 Enterprise E1 through E5, Business Essentials, Business Premium and Education subscription plans, but personal plan subscribers are left out. For them, something like Trello is probably a much better solution and is free to use.

Apple has released the second macOS 10.12.6 and iOS 10.3.3 public betas, so if you’re doing the beta thing to get a heads up on new features before anyone else, be sure to check the Mac App Store and the System Update pane in iOS to get the latest version. In addition, Apple also released Safari Technology Preview 31 for macOS Sierra. The new preview has fixes for security, JavaScript, media and more. 

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