AWT News Update: June 2, 2017

Apple Park senior arborist David Muffly. Photo via Apple.

Apple Park senior arborist David Muffly. Photo via Apple.

Happy Friday! As we go into the last weekend before WWDC, we have some fascinating, funny, and even disturbing news to pass along:

  • Apple is wrapping up testing of a program in which freelancers will be hired to help correct or verify places in Apple Maps for $0.54 per location
  • Apple Park senior arborist David Muffly had a remarkable amount of similarity in background to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs...which is why he was hired
  • What happened to all those recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7s? It appears Samsung may flood the South Korean market with refurbed Note 7s in September in a feeble attempt to counteract the iPhone 8

Our thanks this week to indie developer John Mackay and his amazing Looking FWD countdown timer app for sponsoring Apple World Today and the News Update podcast.

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 2nd, 2017.

Monday, the Apple World Wide Developer Conference kicks off with a keynote and the start of developer sessions. 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

Apple appears to be near deployment of a program in which freelancers can make money helping to correct or verify points of interest or place marks in Apple Maps. French website iGeneration shows that a system called TryRating has been in testing since last year and will apparently launch in earnest later this month. Apple uses subcontractors in each country where the system is used to hire field workers, who then make about $0.54 per verification task for a maximum of 600 tasks per week. In each case, workers are given an area of a map and a search query which they then have to categorize in terms of quality, edit addresses or pin locations as required, and more. The same location might be given to many workers in order to increase the likelihood of precise results, and then the data is fed back into Apple Maps. Apple plans to improve the accuracy of Apple Maps with this system, and has been using a fleet of cars around the world to capture imagery and information that could be added to an Apple Maps “Street View” mode in iOS 11.

One of the more important persons involved with the construction of Apple’s new Cupertino headquarters campus Apple Park is the senior arborist, a man by the name of David Muffly. In 2010, Steve Jobs sought out Muffly after wondering who was doing such a great job taking care of hundreds of native oak trees on the Stanford University campus. Within minutes of meeting Muffly, Jobs discovered that the two had a lot in common; an interest in technology and engineering, a love for trees and foliage that was native to the area prior to the rise of Silicon Valley, and both having lived in tree-centered counterculture communes at one point in their respective lives. Muffly was then given the task of coming up with a list of plant and tree species for the huge Apple Park space, even to the point of making selections of individual trees. Muffly noted that Jobs had “a better sense than most arborists. He could tell visually which ones looked like they had good structure.” Muffly will have installed about 9,000 full-size trees on the campus by the time it opens, with a number of these being fruit trees that will be used to supply fruit for the campus cafeteria. A total of 37 varieties of fruit, including apricots, plums, persimmons and 17 varieties of apples and cherries, will be grown on site.

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’ll remember last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 7 disaster, in which numerous devices caught on fire and sometimes exploded. The result was that the devices were banned on airplanes and ships, and Samsung was forced to recall all of the Galaxy Note 7s that didn’t incinerate themselves. Did you ever wonder what Samsung was planning on doing with those old phones? A report says that the company is planning to flood the South Korean market with refurbished Galaxy Note 7s at a huge discount in September to try to slow down iPhone 8 sales. I’d think that most Korean consumers are either smart enough to remember the Galaxy Note 7 disaster and stay away, and will want an iPhone 8 enough to ignore the newer Samsung Galaxy S8 as well.

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