AWT News Update: June 1, 2017

Photo via Twitter user  @TachibanaKaoru

Photo via Twitter user @TachibanaKaoru

Thanks for another record month of the AWT News Update podcast in May! Here are today's stories:

  • Decorations are popping up around the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA in preparation for WWDC next week
  • Developers have now received $70 billion on payments from Apple
  • Those Nike+ Apple Watch bands that matched some Nike shoes? They're now available...but sold out in many locations
  • A digital camera site has posted a review of Halide, a new iPhone app that lets photographers take more control of the photo-shooting process

Many thanks to Looking FWD and indie developer John Mackay for sponsoring this week of Apple World Today.

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 June 1st, 2017. We want to thank you for making May a record month for listeners. Please be sure to leave a review of the podcast on iTunes, and tell your friends who are Apple fans to tune in every weekday.

Just like you can tell when it’s getting close to Christmas by all of the decorations that start popping up everywhere, you can definitely tell that it’s only three days and a few hours until WWDC 2017 kicks off at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. Apple has been putting decorations throughout the area near the convention center in the form of huge banners on the building, lamppost banners, and even pillar wraps at light rail stations. We’ll have plenty of coverage of the event next week, particular on Monday when WWDC kicks off with the keynote at 10 AM PDT. We’ll be posting a series of updates during the keynote as announcements are made, but the major fun will come at 6:30 PM PDT / 9:30 PM EDT on AWT TV when the AWT staff gets together to do a live dissection of the announcements. We invite you to join us on Monday evening by visiting our YouTube page at

Speaking of developer news, Apple announced that it has passed $70 billion in payments to app developers. That number is surprising considering the recent slowdown in smartphone purchases, but Apple has reported that downloads from the App Store are up over 70 percent in the past year. One trend that is growing is subscriptions, with Apple having opened all 25 app categories to subscription purchases now. Developers like the idea of subscriptions, as the percentage taken by Apple is only 15% for subscriptions over one year in duration. That’s half of the cut that Apple takes on regular in-app payments. We’re sure to hear even more news about the size and strength of the Apple developer community next Monday during the WWDC keynote.

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.

You might remember a post last week when we noted that Nike was going to ship four new Nike+ Apple Watch bands in colors that matched its line of Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit “Day to Night” shoes. Well, guess what? The new bands are now available for purchase. The bands cost $49 each and are made of the same fluoroelastomer material that Apple uses for its Sport bands. These Nike bands have large perforations that are used for ventilation, hoping to keep that sweat from building up behind the band. The shoes are a bit more expensive at $190 per pair, and word has it that many of the matching Nike+ bands and shoes are already sold out.

There are so many camera apps in the iOS app store that it really takes a unique app to capture the attention of bloggers, especially those in the digital photography market. Yesterday, reviewed a new iPhone app called Halide ($2.99, price rises to $4.99 on June 6) that is getting a tremendous amount of favorable press. The idea behind Halide is simple; give photographers more control over the process of taking photos. Halide has a smart auto mode, but with a tap a manual mode appears, providing a way to manually adjust ISO, shutter speed and white balance. Many of the gestures used with the default iPhone Camera app work in Halide as well, so there’s not as much of a learning curve as you find for apps like Camera+. It doesn’t do video, nor does Halide capture panoramas or HDR images. It does have a real-time live histogram, and you can do RAW capture.

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