AWT News Update: August 2, 2017

"iPhone 8" mockup by casemaker Nodus, via Forbes.

"iPhone 8" mockup by casemaker Nodus, via Forbes.

Apple's well on its way to becoming the world's first trillion-dollar company. That and more Apple news coming your way:

  • AAPL closes at $157.14, giving the company a market cap of $819.3 billion.
  • "Firmware mining" has brought some clarity to features expected in the upcoming iPhone 8
  • Was Microsoft working on a Bluetooth keyboard for iPad?

The text version of the podcast can be read 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 August 2nd, 2017. 

Apple’s share price closed at $157.14 today, up 4.73% from yesterday’s close. That puts the company’s market capitalization at $819.3 billion, and it’s thought that Apple could very well be on the way to being the first company on Planet Earth valued at $1 trillion. Investor billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway made over $1 billion on the rise in share price today. The company bought about 73 million shares of Apple stock in the first quarter of 2017, just about doubling its stake in Apple, and that bet definitely paid off for Berkshire Hathaway.

Earlier today we reported on how developers digging around in a pre-release version of Apple’s HomePod firmware found a number of nice sound files that will play when the device does certain things. Now we’re hearing of more little tidbits that came out of the firmware mining. The camera in the iPhone 8 may provide “SmartCam” scene selection that will be used by the new Camera app to capture the best possible photos when users are taking photos of certain things like fireworks and sunrises. The SmartCam code found by Guilherme Rambo references different possible scenes like “Baby”, “Bright Stage”, “Document”, “Fireworks”, “Foliage” and more. It’s assumed that the iPhone camera software would analyze a scene, then select the best capture settings for each photo. Apple currently uses object recognition in photos for searching and to create Memories, and Apple has talked about using a dedicated processor in the future for machine learning tasks. It could be that one of these “Neural Engine” processors is included in the next iPhone. Other items found in the HomePod code include what appears to be facial recognition instead of Touch ID in the new phone, inductive charging, and even a 6.5-inch Retina display. The last item is puzzling, as the iPhone 8 is expected to have a 5.8-inch bezel-less display. Perhaps there is going to be an iPhone 8 Plus as well… 

OK, this is a weird one. We know that Microsoft has done a lot with iOS software, but the company may have either been thinking about or is planning on releasing a screen cover and keyboard for the iPad. The Microsoft Touch Cover for iPad was listed on a web page that lists products with integrated lithium batteries. This would mean that such a Touch Cover — like those created for the Microsoft Surface in the past — would use Bluetooth for connectivity rather than the Smart Connector found on the iPad Pro series. The original Touch Cover for Surface was a 3-millimeter thick keyboard that did not have real keys and was largely derided by critics. Since then, Microsoft has redesigned and rebranded the Touch Cover as the Surface Type Cover and provided actual keys. Since the listing uses the Touch Cover branding it’s likely that the listing on the website is out of date and the product was never released by Microsoft.

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