Apple World Today News Update: June 15, 2018

Intel's speedy XMM7560 modem chip

Intel's speedy XMM7560 modem chip

Before you head off for your fun weekend, be sure to load this episode of the Apple World Today News Update podcast so you can be up to speed on the latest news in the world of Apple and the telecom industry:

  • Apple debuts a new portal for the Apple Online Store that features a modern design that's clean and easy to use
  • The HomePod can now read the news in Canada, France and Germany
  • 5G networks are coming, and it looks like the 2018 iPhones may use a new modem chip from Intel that not only supports 5G and all existing wireless standards, but also runs on both CDMA and GSM networks
  • Time Warner has now officially been devoured by AT&T, and T-Mobile and Sprint will file their merger application on Monday

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 Friday, June 15th, 2018. This week’s podcast is sponsored by PDFelement 6 from Wondershare. It’s the most powerful and popular PDF creation, editing and sharing app for Mac and iOS, and you can download a free trial. Read all about it on Apple World Today.

Apple today updated the Apple Online Store portal with a new design, making it a lot easier to not only see your orders — both current and in the past — but providing larger product pictures and easy-to-read fonts. Clicking on a product image shows details, complete with a large, bold-face note about delivery date and a horizontal timeline that shows where the product is in the process of being readied for shipment or being transported. The page uses mobile responsive design, so all of the sections of the portal are visible simply by swiping between pages.

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is now able to read the news in Canada, France and Germany, three days ahead of its scheduled launch date in those countries. Apple has added support for a number of news sources in each country: for Canada, CBC, Global TV, CTV and CNN are included, while Deutschlandfunk, Tagesscau in 100 (Einhundert) Sekunden, ZDF heute Express, and Weltnewscheck are the sources in Germany.

5G is the next generation of cellular wireless systems, and it should start arriving in the US in limited test areas as soon as the end of 2018. The organization that makes the standards for the world of mobile phones, 3GPP, recently announced that it has finalized its specification for what’s known as 5G NR (New Radio) that can not only provide cellular data at up to 1 Gbps speeds, but will be used in automotive systems to allow vehicles to communicate with each other. A story out today says that Intel has started manufacturing 5G capable modems that will reportedly be used in the 2018 iPhone refresh this fall. The XMM7560 modem chip is most likely what Apple will move to, both to achieve the speeds and bandwidth the next generation networks will offer and to give Apple a chance to move away from Qualcomm’s `chips. The XMM7560 supports both GSM and CDMA technologies, meaning that one modem would work on all cellular networks.

A couple of big mergers in the telecommunications space made the news today. The $85 billion acquisition by AT&T of Time Warner was completed today, with Time Warner’s media properties — HBO, CNN, Warner Bros and so on — now under AT&T’s control. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says that the content from Time Warner will let AT&T bring a “fresh approach” to how the media and entertainment industries work for consumers, content creators, distributors and advertisers. The other merger news has to do with T-Mobile US and Sprint — they will formally file their application for a merger on Monday. It’s thought that the companies will pitch the FCC about their support of prepaid and wholesale customers as an incentive to merge, as well as their desire to “be the best and first 5G network in the US”.

Join me Monday afternoon for the next edition of the AWT News Update.