AWT News Update: May 8, 2017

Microsoft Invoke

Microsoft's Smart Speaker

It's Monday, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. At least you have another episode of the AWT News Update to listen to!

  • AAPL closes at $153.00 per share, with a record market cap of $811 billion
  • Microsoft announces a Cortana-based "smart speaker" to compete with Amazon and Google products, as well as Apple's rumored device
  • Apple will present plans tonight in Washington D.C. regarding its planned renovation of the historic Carnegie Library into a retail outlet 
  • The cost to break into the San Bernardino terrorist's iPhone 5c? $900,000

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for May 8th, 2017.

And the hits just keep coming. Apple closed at another new high today on the stock market, with a nice even share price of exactly $153.00, up $4.04 from Friday’s close and allowing the company to attain a market capitalization of $811 billion at the close as well. That makes Apple the most valuable company ever.

Apple hasn’t yet unveiled a rumored Siri-based smartspeaker device, but already Microsoft has a competitor in the market. Microsoft and Harmon Kardon today jointly announced the Invoke, a device based on Microsoft’s Cortana. The Invoke will support playing music, access calendar and reminder functions, and supply information on traffic and news. Allegedly it will also support smarthome controls, but Microsoft didn’t reveal what platforms or accessories it will support. The standout feature for Invoke is native support for hands-free calling through Skype. Pricing is unknown, although Invoke should be able to command a premium price with three woofers, three tweeters, two passive radiators, and a metal cabinet.

Tonight, Apple will present plans to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in Washington, DC about its plans to restore the historic Carnegie Library and turn it into an Apple retail outlet. The new Genius Grove, which is part of new flagship Apple stores, will be located where the book collection of the library was previously housed. Apple will try to preserve the historic nature of the facility while adding some modern changes like a skylight above a central events area. One thing you won’t find on the building will be huge Apple logos. According to Apple Retail senior design director B.J. Siegel, “Rather than plastering the buildings with the company’s logo, Apple’s designers say they will focus on restoring the building’s historic character. It can take a little work to find the store’s signage and logo — which is the point. ‘For us, it wasn’t about coming in and leaving our mark,’ Siegel said. ‘It was about bringing the history back out and respecting it. We’ve discovered that big garish logos on historic buildings don’t work very well, so often we try to find more subtle ways to brand the building.” No opening date for the Carnegie Library location has been set.

It appears that the FBI apparently paid $900,000 to a third-party to break into the iPhone 5c of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook. That number has been under wraps for some time, but while grilling FBI director James Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee, California Senator Dianne Feinstein spilled the beans on the number. The recipient of the money is thought to be Israeli firm Cellebrite, although that company has not corroborated rumors. As you’ll remember, Apple was under pressure after the shootings in San Bernardino to build a software workaround or backdoor into iOS. Apple refused, saying that it would compromise the security of iOS. Other officials in the US and abroad want Apple and other parties to make some sort of backdoor available for gathering intelligence, while the companies want to keep strong encryption for privacy and security purposes.

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