AWT News Update: June 19, 2017

Monday's here! We have a few bits of Apple news for you that weren't on the regular Apple World Today website, so listen up and you'll be informed:

  • Developer Beta 4 of macOS Sierra 10.12.6 was released to developers today
  • Apple's removed restrictions on NVMe flash storage, which means that next year's Mac Pro and the iMac Pro coming out later this year may be able to use many third-party NVMe drives for fast booting
  • There's a way to get Apple Music for less than $9.99 per month, and we tell you how
  • PayPal's CEO thinks that Apple's upcoming Apple Pay-based person-to-person payment system won't be able to compete with PayPal's Venmo

AWT is sponsored this week by Letter Opener, powerful macOS and iOS software for opening those winmail.dat, MSG, and XPS files from Windows PC users. Check it out online at

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 19th, 2017.

Things are moving along nicely with the Developer Beta of macOS Sierra 10.12.6 beta 4 shipping today. The Sierra beta has no new features listed for it, so it’s probably a maintenance release that will get rid of a few stubborn bugs in macOS 10.12 and add some new security patches as well. It’s expected that there will be absolutely no new features added to the Mac operating system in Sierra, with beta testing for its successor — macOS High Sierra — already under way. It’s widely expected that Apple will release High Sierra in September or October.

Apple has intentionally removed restrictions on NVMe flash storage, which could spell good news for next year’s Mac Pro and the iMac Pro that will be shipping later in 2017. An improved driver was found by hackintosh enthusiasts after the first release of High Sierra, and that driver allows third-party NVMe drives to work on compatible motherboards without a need to hack a driver. Support for bootable NMVe drives is currently limited to Hackintoshes, as no official Macs have a standard NVMe drive slot.

If you’re paying $9.99 each month for a single Apple Music subscription, you’re paying too much. Apple has quietly added a new annual subscription option that allows subscribers to pay $99 for a 12-month subscription. That’s the equivalent of $8.25 per month, a full $1.74 less than the cost when paying by the month. It’s apparent that Apple doesn’t want you to know about the lower cost subscription, as it is hidden quite well. What you’ll need to do to take advantage of the annual plan is open the App Store app, scroll to the bottom of the Featured tab, tap on your Apple ID, enter your password and then tap on “View Apple ID.” Next, tap the Subscriptions button to look at your Apple Music membership settings. In addition to the Individual $9.99 monthly plan, you’ll now see an annual option available to switch to.

PayPal has pretty much owned the person-to-person payment business for quite some time, and when it added the Venmo app, it gathered a lot more business. Well, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman doesn’t think that Apple’s Apple Pay-based person-to-person payment system is going to be able to compete. Schulman made comments in an interview with the Telegraph in which he said that “it would struggle to gain traction because it is not available on non-Apple devices, unlike PayPal. “We’re technology agnostic. Many individuals are multi-operating system; they can have an Android phone, a Microsoft PC and an Apple tablet. You don’t want a different payment methodology on each of things … you want a consistency across that.” Of course, Schulman seems to have forgotten that there are well over one billion Apple devices out there in the world, so take his comments with a grain of salt.

Ever received winmail.dat files in emails and wondered what they were hiding? They’re email messages from Microsoft Outlook that can’t be natively read by Macs, but there’s an easy solution: Letter Opener. Available for macOS, macOS Mail and iOS, Letter Opener makes the contents of winmail.dat, MSG and XPS files usable immediately. Go to for more information and links to download or purchase Letter Opener.

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