AWT News Update: July 31, 2017

The late Steve Jobs (left) and Laurene Powell Jobs (right)

The late Steve Jobs (left) and Laurene Powell Jobs (right)

The last day of August, the first day of the week, and a day full of good news and rumors:

  • Steve Jobs' widow Laurene Powell Jobs buys a majority stake in The Atlantic
  • Log files, rumors, and now listings in the iTunes Store are all pointing towards release of a 4K HDR-capable fifth-generation Apple TV
  • Spotify announces that it has 60 million paid subscribers -- over double the number of Apple Music subscribers
  • Developers find code pointing to a small multicolor display in the top of the Apple HomePod, which will be quite the powerful smart speaker

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 31st, 2017. 

The widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, is now the majority owner of The Atlantic. There’s an interesting connection in the purchase; the magazine was founded 160 years ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the namesake for her philanthropic organization The Emerson Collective. Powell Jobs has a net worth of more than $20 billion, made up of her stakes in Apple and Disney. Re/Code has reported that David Bradley will remain as chairman of the publication for the next three years. Bradley noted that he and his wife realized their children had no interest in “media ownership,” causing the couple to look further for owners for the magazine. The magazine doesn’t exactly pull in a huge amount of income, earning only about $10 million a year in profits. 

An interesting tidbit has shown up for several iTunes users who have purchased movies from the service. Some movies, the 2016 film “Passengers” being foremost in the list, are beginning to show a new media type in iTunes — 4K, HDR. This isn’t showing up in all countries for all users at this point, but it does seem to indicate that a 4K-capable Apple TV is in the works and that Apple is beginning to look at supporting 4K and HDR in iTunes content. Back in February, Bloomberg reported that Apple was testing a fifth-generation Apple TV that could be released this year. Developers have also seen a new device identified in logs as “AppleTV6,2” that appears to be located at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, so testing is most definitely underway. The current Apple TV is listed as AppleTV5,3 in logs. 

Music subscription service Spotify expects to go public in 2018, and it’s shares are certain to be snapped up when it does. The company today announced that it has 60 million paid subscribers, over double the number of subscribers for Apple Music, which is about 27 million. Spotify offers a free ad-supported service in addition to the ad-free subscription — when that tier is added in, Spotify has over 140 million worldwide subscribers. Apple Music does not have an ad-supported service tier, but it does give users three months to try the service for free before opting for a $9.99 monthly fee. Spotify’s paid tier also costs $9.99, and its revenue grew over 50 percent last year to $3.3 billion. When Spotify goes public it expects to do so through a direct listing, which makes existing Spotify shares available to the public instead of through an IPO.

More details are beginning to leak out about Apple’s HomePod speaker, which will launch in December. Developers have discovered that the HomePod has a touchscreen atop the device that displays a multicolor waveform when Siri is listening but can also be used to display virtual buttons. The HomePod will run iOS and is essentially an iPhone without cellular connectivity or a full Retina display, with 1GB RAM and an A8 chip, it’s going to be quite the powerful smart speaker. 

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