Apple World Today News Update: February 1, 2018

 Google Street Maps view of Apple Kärntner Straße location by Javi Arji 

Google Street Maps view of Apple Kärntner Straße location by Javi Arji 

Welcome to the shortest month of the year...that usually feels like it's two months long. Our February coverage of Apple starts with five stories from around the world of Apple:

  • Uber's latest iOS app update disabled the ability to hail a ride from within Apple Maps or using Siri
  • India builds another barrier to entry for Apple by raising custom duties on imported mobile phones from 15 to 20 percent
  • A new setting in iOS and macOS makes it possible for enterprise administrators to delay updates for up to 90 days
  • Only a little over three weeks until the first Apple retail store in Austria is set to open in Vienna
  • Slack is the latest company to do away with an Apple Watch app

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 Thursday, February 1, 2018.  

Not all updates are good things, as we have learned over the years. The latest misfire comes from ride-sharing company Uber, which updated its iOS app on January 22nd. The update somehow disabled compatibility with Apple Maps extensions, which means that those trying to hail a ride within Apple’s mapping app are out of luck until the issue is resolved. The problem also takes away the ability to use Siri to call an Uber car. Fortunately the app still lets you get a ride; you just can’t grab a ride from with Apple Maps or with Siri. A fix is apparently on the way.

Just when Apple seems to be making inroads into the smartphone market in India, the country does something new to erect a new trade barrier. The country is now raising custom duties on imported mobile phones from 15 percent to 20 percent in order to promote domestic manufacturing. While Apple is producing a limited number of iPhones in the country at a plant operated by manufacturing partner Wistron, the Indian government seems to be doing everything possible to make it difficult for Apple to do business in the country. Apple will most likely stick it out, though — India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market.

Administrators who keep an eye on a large quantity of iOS and macOS devices often have to struggle with users who update their devices the second they see that an update is available — even before the administrators have had a chance to make sure that the update doesn’t break existing apps or settings. Now Apple has added a new variable in iOS and macOS to the latest versions that are currently in beta test that allows a device management administrator to configure how many days an update will be delayed. Once the new “enforcedSoftwareUpdateDelay” restriction is set, users of the devices don’t even see the update listed on their devices until the specified number of days has passed. The default setting is off, but once enabled in iOS 11.3 or macOS High Sierra 10.13.4, the delay is set for 30 days. Admins can max out the delay at 90 days.  

Apple’s first-ever retail store in Austria is set to open on Saturday, February 24 at 9:30 AM local time. The store, referred to as Apple Kärntner Straße, is located in Vienna. Four long blocks away is the Hotel Sacher, so you can pick up a new Mac or iPhone, then drop by to pick up some Sacher torte before heading to the Vienna State Opera.

If your company or workgroup uses the Slack messaging platform, you may have used the Apple Watch app provided by the company to check out notifications. You won’t be able to for much longer; Slack version 3.36 for iOS was released yesterday and in the release notes, Slack noted that it will no longer support standalone Apple Watch software. You’ll still be able to get notifications, but they’ll be pushed to the Watch by the iOS app. Without a native Apple Watch app, Slack users will need to use the iOS app to read direct messages. You’ll also no longer be able to use the Watch version to switch workspaces, view the number of unread messages in a particular workspace, and more. 

That’s all the news for today’s update - join me tomorrow for another edition of the AWT News Update.