AWT News Update: June 14, 2017

The $1,599 (and up) Nativ Vita. You want it, don't you?

The $1,599 (and up) Nativ Vita. You want it, don't you?

It's all about sound today...well, almost. We have stories about the popularity of HomePod, an alternative device from Nativ, and more:

  • A marketing survey shows that the pricy HomePod does have a lot of consumer interest, especially among those who value sound quality over price
  • Electronics manufacturer Nativ introduces the Vita, a very pricy Apple Music-compatible device with its own screen and up to 4TB of storage
  • Comments from Wistron CEO Robert Hwang seem to validate the rumors of wireless charging in this year's iPhones

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Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for June 14th, 2017.

A bit over a week after Apple announced the Siri-based HomePod smart speaker, a survey by Morning Consult showed that there is some interest in the new device when it comes out late this year. Polling of 2,200 adults showed that 33 percent were interested in the HomePod. When the same group was shown a comparison of pricing and features with other smart speakers including the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the number dropped to 30 percent. Unsurprisingly, people who already own other Apple products had a 45 percent interest level before the comparison, with the number dropping to 40 percent after comparison to competitors. At this time, it appears that price might be the main driver for smart speakers, as 57 percent of respondents felt that price was “very important” when choosing a device. That could hurt the HomePod, as it will be priced at $349 at its December launch, while a full-fledged Echo is running $139.99 and the Echo Dot comes in a $39.99. Another factor that is in Apple’s favor is that 51 percent of respondents felt that speaker quality was important. The HomePod basically knocks out the competition in this area, with a 4-inch woofer, seven tweeters, beam forming, and automatic balancing with room acoustics.

The iPhone 8 leaks are starting to speed up, with CEO Robert Hwang of Wistron saying that the new model will be waterproof and have wireless charging. It was in the statements Hwang made after the company’s shareholder meeting that Hwang told reporters that “Assembly process for the previous generations of iPhones have not changed much, though new features like waterproofing and wireless charging now require some different testing and the waterproof function will alter the assembly process a bit.” Hwang also noted that Wistron’s India facility is currently making just a “small number” of handsets for Apple, with full-scale manufacturing hinging on relations between Apple and the Indian Government. Earlier today, another Apple supplier — Largan — confirmed that 3D depth-sensing lenses would be shipped in the second half of 2017. There was no confirmation that those lenses are destined for Apple products, but it seems likely as rumors keep pointing to the use of such lenses to provide a second level of authentication when using Touch ID through iris and face recognition.

Looking for a high end home music player before the Apple HomePod appears? Today, electronics maker Nativ launched the Vita. It’s a high-end touchscreen-equipped music player and server that — unlike most other competing products — has build-in support for Apple Music. The unit is quite attractive using an 11.6 inch 1080p display, and is perfect for streaming music in that it supports not only Apple Music but Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, Google Play Music and SoundCloud. The $1,599 base model has a beautiful oak stand, while units with storage installed can go up to $3,099 — that’s for the version with 4TB of storage. Vita supports the MP3, OGG, AIFF, WAV, FLAC and ALAC file types, and can pump the sound out in quality levels up to 32 bits and 384 kilohertz. It can also stream music videos to is own screen or a TV, with TV connectivity through HDMI or Google Cast. The Vita is meant to be attached to your own speakers, and you can find out more about the device at nativsound.com.

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