Apple Daily Report for Feb. 2, 2018

The AWT News Update is on hiatus while my compadre, Steve, deals with a death in the family. Prayers go out to the entire Sande family. In the place of the AWT News Update, I’ll offer a text-only (no podcast) summary of breaking stories with a tip o’ my hat to my former website, Apple Daily Report.

Some folks who ordered the HomePod last week (including Yours Truly) have seen their credit cards charged for the wireless speaker purchase, so they should be shipping soon.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says Apple Pay is coming to Brazil soon, which means another country will be able to take advantage of the contactless payment system.

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During Apple’s Q1 2018 earnings call on Thursday, Cook addressed Apple’s on-going iPhone battery replacement program and controversy concerning its practice of slowing down iPhones with aging batteries. The CEO said Apple didn’t consider what the battery program would do for upgrade rates. 

To mark American Heart Month, which promotes cardiovascular health, Apple is launching a special Activity Challenge for the Apple Watch, which comes with a badge and three animated iMessage stickers for whoever completes it.

Two employees at an Apple store in Hong Kong were taken to the hospital after inhaling smoke given off by a mobile phone battery.

Apple is offering certified refurbished Apple TV 4K with prices starting at $149. Both the 32GB and 64GB models are available for 15% off.