Apple World Today News Update: March 27, 2018

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Today's Apple educational event is over, but the impact on school administrator spending habits remains to be seen. Today's Apple World Today News Update podcast discusses:

  • The news announced at the event in one very concise statement
  • A rumor of a slightly larger Apple Watch screen coming this fall
  • App Store and iTunes Store outages have been occurring today, most likely due to the mass downloading of iWork updates
  • We correct a statement that many websites are making about iBooks Author and Pages for ebook development

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 Tuesday, March 27, 2018.

The big news today is, of course, about Apple’s announcements at the educational event in Chicago. As expected — and as I mentioned yesterday — the company released a new iPad model that features a Retina display with identical resolution to the Chromebook Tab 10 mentioned yesterday, better cameras, an A10 Fusion chip with embedded M10 motion coprocessor for excellent Augmented Reality support, and support for the Apple Pencil. For schools, the price is $299 for a Wi-FI only, 32GB iPad — that beats the Chromebook Tab 10 by $30. While the pricing and power of the device is impressive, other announcements touted enhancements in Apple’s Classroom app (including a new version for Mac) , a new app called Schoolwork used to assignments and tracking student progress, and the Apple Teacher training program. These are all powerful features that aren’t matched in any way by the Google Chrome OS. In addition, Apple has not only been successful with its Everyone Can Code initiative and Swift Playgrounds, but is now introducing a new curriculum called Everyone Can Create. This curriculum is focused on four areas; music, video, photography and drawing. Time will tell if today’s announcements can make a dent in the purchase decisions of school administrators, but it’s a good start.

With all the hoopla about a new basic iPad, some news about other Apple products was overshadowed today. KGI securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo apparently said that a new design is forthcoming this fall for the Apple Watch Series 4. He believes that the new design will feature a display that’s 15 percent larger, possibly by reducing bezel size rather than increasing the size of the watch. Kuo also thinks that the new Watch models will have longer battery life and improved health monitoring capabilities. While Kuo didn’t say what those capabilities would be, recent rumors have pointed in the direction of continuous electrocardiograph monitoring for better detection of heart conditions as well as non-invasive monitoring of blood glucose levels.

With the many software updates today from Apple, the App Store and iTunes Store have been suffering from outages. Apple’s status page has shown frequent scattered outages of the iTunes Store and App Store for iOS, Mac and Apple TV since the announcement with the message “The iTunes Store is unable to process purchases at this time” being prominent on the Mac. It’s most likely due to everyone trying to download the iWork updates at the same time.

Several websites have mistakenly stated that iBooks Author is being replaced by the updated versions of Pages for iOS and Mac. That’s not exactly true… iBooks Author will continue to move forward and be used for professional ebook development, particularly in cases where authors want to add many of the multimedia features that are available in the tool. The big change is that the ePub 3 publishing features that have been in the Mac version of Pages for a while are now added to the iPad version. In addition, Apple has added new ebook templates to the iPad version as well. If you only need to create simple ebooks, an iPad is all you need.

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