AWT News Update: August 3, 2017

Today we look at employment possibilities with Apple, Fitbit's upcoming smart watch, and one blogger's view of how Apple accidentally leaked details of the upcoming iPhone:

  • Are you a mapping expert? Check out the 70+ job listings Apple has for those who have background in geospatial information services, navigational aids and fleet management
  • Fitbit says it will have its "Apple Watch-killer" smart watch ready for the holiday shopping season
  • Daring Fireball's John Gruber speculates on how Apple accidentally spilled the beans on some details of the upcoming 10th-anniversary iPhone

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 3rd, 2017. 

If you’re a map expert with background in geospatial information services, navigational aids or fleet management, Apple’s looking for you. CNBC reports that Apple has been hiring mapping whizzes like crazy lately, with more than 70 current listings for people who have the necessary background. According to CNBC, this isn’t just to make the Maps app for iOS and Mac better. They say that “Adding more map-tech talent to its ranks won’t just help the company make Apple Maps more competitive with Google Maps. The new hires could also help Apple deliver on two big promises: to become an important player in augmented reality and ‘autonomous systems.’”

Fitbit is the company that really started the wearables trend, and it was doing fine up until Apple came out with a multi-function wrist device called the Apple Watch that’s now grabbing the market. Well, Fitbit thinks it still has a chance in the health and fitness wearables category, with CEO James Park saying that the company is planning to release its own smartwatch ahead of the holiday season. Park says he believes the new Fitbit watch will “deliver the best health and fitness experience in the category,” and that the company is “uniquely position to succeed by leveraging our brand, community, and data to drive positive health outcomes.” Park made the comments during Fitbit’s Q2 2017 earnings call, which showed that the company did actually sell more devices in the second quarter than it did in the first. However, the company showed a net loss for the quarter. It will be interesting to see if Fitbit can make a comeback with its smartwatch, or if the device will just be a footnote in the history of a company that failed to compete with Apple.

People have been wondering how Apple — a company that prides itself on secrecy before new product releases — could have leaked the information about the HomePod and the upcoming iPhone that we talked about on this podcast. Daring Fireball blogger and friend of Apple John Gruber says it this way: “How in the world does something like this happen? My understanding is that Apple is (or at least was) on the cusp of a widespread deployment of prototype HomePods to employees. Someone prepared an over-the-air software update and because it was intended to be distributed only to Apple employees, the OS was compiled without all the usual flags set to omit code that pertains to unreleased hardware. (Kind of makes sense, insofar as HomePod itself is unreleased hardware.) Building the OS without those flags set may not have been a mistake. But distributing it via a world-readable server was.” In my opinion, the mistake still doesn’t give us key details about the new iPhone, although it does dissipate the fog surrounding some things like how Touch ID appears to be ready to be replaced by Face ID. In the future, though, leaks like this will be a lot less likely to happen. 

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