AWT News Update: August 4, 2017

A short Apple World Today News Update podcast for you today:

  • Not only is the 3rd-generation Apple Watch expected this fall with an LTE chip inside, but now rumors are flying that it will sport a new design as well
  • Some DirecTV Now users are getting invitations to beta-test a new DVR capability, with the function being available on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV
  • OpenSignal finds that 4G LTE download speeds have slowed measurably since last year, mainly due to increased data traffic from unlimited plans launched in February

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 a short AWT News Update for August 4th, 2017. 

We’ve heard rumors for a while that Apple is going to release the third-generation Apple Watch this fall, complete with an LTE cellular modem so that it can be used without an attached iPhone. Now rumors are flying that the device will come with a new form factor, giving the Watch an all-new look for the first time since being introduced in 2015. Other than those two rumors, we haven’t heard too much about what could be added to the device. Smart bands that would add glucose monitoring for diabetics and sleep tracking capabilities are among the biggest functionality additions that have been talked about.

Do you have a DirecTV Now account and an AT&T account as well? If so, you can sign up to be a beta tester for the new Direct V Now DVR capability. The signup page asks which platform users wish to test the service on, with iPhone, iPad and Apple TV among the choices. While the existing DirectTV Now service uses its own account, the beta requires either an AT&T Wireless or Internet account. You can find out more if you’re asked to participate; that’s right, AT&T will send you an email if you’re already a DirecTV Now account and have been chosen for the beta.

If it seems like your AT&T or Verizon 4G LTE downloads have slowed down since February, you’re not imagining things. OpenSignal did a study of carrier speeds and noted that both carriers have experienced slower speeds since February when they both reintroduced unlimited data plans. OpenSignal blames the slowdown on increased data demand now that data caps are gone. Between October 1 and December 31 of 2016, AT&T’s average LTE download speed was 13.86 Mbps and Verizon clocked in at 16.89 Mbps. Between April 1 and June 30 of 2017, the same carriers were measured at 12.92 Mbps and 14.91 Mbps. T-Mobile remains the fastest LTE carrier in the United States, while Sprint is the slowest. 

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