AWT News Update: September 13, 2017

Can you guess where this QR code will point you?

Can you guess where this QR code will point you?

Suffering from a post-Apple event hangover? We'll sooth your aching brow with a few good stories about all that new Apple gear:

  • iOS 11 has a chance to make QR codes and NFC relevant again
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone X both support quick charging, but you'll need to purchase some other accessories to do so
  • The Apple TV 4K loses one port, but gains another
  • Are you part of the iPhone Upgrade Program? Apple wants you to do some prep work if you're planning on pre-ordering an iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 plus early Friday morning

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 podcast for September 13, 2017. 

iOS 11 has a lot of new features that will be getting people excited, but there are two items in the update coming next Tuesday that are quietly going to make a big impact. The first is the built in QR code reader that’s in the Camera app. QR codes are those odd two-dimensional bar codes that you’ve seen for at least ten years or so, but haven’t been able to read with your iPhone until now. Thanks to no support from Apple, QR codes have somewhat died in the marketplace, but it’s very possible that iOS 11 will revive the format. Basically, all you’ll need to do is aim the camera on any device running iOS 11 at a QR code, and when it recognizes the code, it will open a website or an app based on what it reads. The second change is that iOS 11 will allow iPhone 7, iPhone 8 and iPhone X devices to read NFC tags. NFC stands for Near Field Communication, and to this date the only use we’ve seen of this technology in Apple products is for Apple Pay. Like QR codes, NFC has been available in Android phones for years. NFC can provide such capabilities as verifying that physical goods aren’t counterfeit or transmitting directions to your iPhone when you wave it at an information kiosk. Whether or not the adoption of these two mature technologies by Apple will boost them into the mainstream is unknown, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Here’s another piece of information that is good to know. The iPhone 8 and iPhone X will both support quick charging. That means that your device can be charged from 0 to 50% in just 30 minutes. However, to do so you’ll have to buy some accessories that add up. You can’t use the 5W adapter that’s included with the phone to do a quick charge, so you’ll need to use one of Apple’s USB-C power adapters and a USB-C to Lightning cable. Apple charges $49 for the 29W USB-C Power Adapter and $25 for the USB-C to Lightning cable, so you can count on at least a $74 investment — before taxes — to get that quick charge.

Apple giveth, and Apple also taketh away. People looking at photos of the new Apple TV 4K noticed that one port has been removed, but another one has been added. The Apple TV 4K comes with a power supply port, an HDMI 2.0a port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Gone is the USB-C port that is on the fourth-generation Apple TV, which was used by developers and others to load software and configuration profiles, as well as take screenshots. Gigabit Ethernet provides much faster network connectivity than Wi-Fi, so that’s a welcome addition over the 10/100 Ethernet found on older Apple TVs. The Gigabit Ethernet should be very useful for watching 4K HDR streams on the device. 

Thinking about pre-ordering an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus at 12:01 AM PT this Friday, September 15? Apple is inviting some iPhone Upgrade Program members to get ready by getting “prep work” done now with the Apple Store app to make the order go through quickly. Launch day iPhone units are usually in short supply, and quite often popular models or colors can be sold out in minutes after the start of pre-orders. That’s why Apple wants you to be prepared and use the app. It can check for your eligibility for a new iPhone by scanning your device’s serial number and IMEI. Note that you can also get prep work done for other purchases like the Apple Watch Series 3 by making your selection of case color and band, and then placing it in your “bag” for purchase first thing Friday morning. 

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