Apple World Today News Update: January 12, 2018

Friday at last! Today we have stories about how "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson kept the screenplay safe, why you won't need to sign for Apple Pay purchases after April, and an interesting CarPlay app.

  • Rian Johnson ("The Last Jedi") used a remarkably low-tech method to keep the screenplay for the blockbuster movie safe from leaks
  • Visa joins the other major credit card companies in making signatures for chip card and contactless payments unnecessary after April
  • Gracenote's CarPlay app makes listening to radio stations easier, but it won't be in the App Store anytime soon

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Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Friday, January 12th, 2018.  

When you’re writing the script for a major blockbuster movie that is part of a classic movie franchise, there’s nothing that you or your studio want to do more than keep every detail of the movie secret. Rian Johnson directed the latest chapter of the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it turns out that he used a rather low-tech way of keeping everything under wraps. According to Johnson, “I typed episode VIII out on a MacBook Air. For security it was ‘air-gapped’ — never connected to the internet. I carried it around and used it for nothing except writing the script. I kept it in a safe at Pinewood Studios. I think my producer was constantly horrified I would leave it in a coffee shop”. Remember that the next time you’re working on your latest novel or blockbuster screenplay.

A while back, we covered a story on the podcast about how Mastercard, American Express and Discover cards were doing away with the signature requirement for Apple Pay and chip-equipped cards in the US and Canada. Today the last holdout, Visa, announced that it’s joining the crowd and will be eliminating signatures for chip-and-signature credit and debit cards as well as for contactless payment services like Apple Pay. All of this will happen starting in April, and it’s a welcome change for both customers and cardholders. Visa also announced that its EMV chip solution has helped decrease fraud by two-thirds at EMV chip-enabled merchants. Currently, more than 460 million EMV chip cards have been issued and there are chip readers at over 2.5 million locations.

If you have a car that supports Apple CarPlay,  you know how useful but frustrating the system can be. By frustrating, I mean that if you want to listen to a traditional AM/FM radio station in your area, you pretty much have to get out of CarPlay and revert to your car’s infotainment system to listen to those stations. Media indexing company Gracenote has demoed an app at CES that supports playing both streaming radio stations and local stations in CarPlay. You can search by location, genre and favorites with full integration of streaming and AM/FM stations, and the streaming capability means that listeners can often get local stations even while traveling. It’s even possible with Gracenote’s app to add a song that you hear on radio to your Apple Music library. With this great feature set, most of us would love to download this app immediately. Sadly, Gracenote says it won’t be making the app directly available to consumers, but rather working with car manufacturers to integrate the app on a case-by-case basis. 

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