AWT News Update: July 10, 2017

Image via Vegas Insider Tours.

Happy Monday! We start off this week with a new sponsor, a new region with Apple Maps transit directions, a deal on Oculus Rift, and a new rumor about the iPhone 8:

  • A big welcome to AWT sponsor of the week EverWeb
  • Vegas, Baby! And Reno, Sparks and Carson City, too! They're all covered by transit directions in Apple Maps now
  • There's a sale on Oculus Rift VR headsets and Oculus Touch controllers this week, $200 off the regular price. Get it now, because it will probably work with Mac soon
  • Bloomberg says the iPhone 8 might come with advanced facial recognition to replace Touch ID

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 July 10th, 2017.

Mac users who want to design and maintain high quality websites without coding should look no further than to EverWeb. EverWeb makes it simple to create great-looking and functional websites for any purpose you can think of. Develop a site through a drag-and-drop interface, then publish it to any server with just a click. Learn more about the powerful capabilities of this week’s Apple World Today sponsor EverWeb today at everwebapp.com

Planning on going to Las Vegas soon to gamble away your life savings? At least if you have to pawn your car for cash, you’ll be able to take public transit and get directions from Apple Maps…provided you don’t lose your iPhone as well. Apple added public transit directions for Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks and Carson City to Apple Maps, and the Las Vegas directions even include the special Deuce and SDX shuttles. Those shuttles are useful for people touring the Strip or who need to go to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Additionally, the new instructions add Silverado Mainline buses for traveling around Nevada, and even Amtrak trains. 

It’s time for another story about VR! Apple is of course adding support for VR to High Sierra, and with an external GPU card enabled by that operating system and connected to a Mac with Thunderbolt 3, you should be able to use both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets. Now Oculus Rift is quite famous for Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s snarky comment that Oculus Rift would never work with Macs because they weren’t powerful enough, but recent work shows that the Oculus Rift functions in the SteamVR beta provided you have an eGPU Developer’s Kit connected to a Mac running High Sierra beta. Why is this important? Well, you can get the Rift headset and two Touch controllers for just $399 right now on Amazon, which is much less expensive than the $799 HTC Vive kit and $200 off the regular price. Full support for VR in macOS High Sierra isn’t expected until next spring, but if you’re a gamer or developer interested in VR, you might want to pick up this deal while it lasts. 

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve supplied you with some good iPhone 8 rumors, so here’s a fun one. Bloomberg is reporting that the iPhone 8 may do away with a fingerprint scanner altogether for Touch ID, instead using a new face recognition feature that is so good it can authenticate a user in a few hundred milliseconds. Allegedly the system can even work when an iPhone is laying flat on a table instead of being held in front of a user’s face. The system is also supposedly so secure that it can replace Touch ID altogether, which may be a good thing considering that Apple is apparently having issues embedding Touch ID into the iPhone 8’s OLED display. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company is working on a forward facing 3D camera array that allows for powerful facial recognition, but he thinks those will be used for augmented reality apps, not for a Touch ID replacement. Whatever happens, we should find out about Apple’s next flagship iPhone in about two months.

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