Apple Slices: Bite-sized Apple News of the Week

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Time to start up Apple Slices, our series covering some of the wide variety of Apple news of the week, for 2018. We have more on the battery throttling story that just won’t go away, Apple making big commitments here in the US,  the coming HomePod, and more. Time to eat!

Tim Cook simultaneously apologizes, announces a new feature, and deflects blame for their battery throttling woes in a recent interview 

In an interview with ABC News, Tim Cook again apologized to customers who are angry over Apple’s throttling of processors in response to battery wear. He went on to announce that the company would be adding a setting to disable battery throttling in the next iOS 11 update. This new offering is in addition to their discounted $29 battery replacements. However, Cook still held the party line that this isn’t recommended, and he cautioned that users who do disable throttling will be at risk of sudden device shutdowns due to CPU or GPU thermal overload.

However, Cook inexplicably said that Apple had let users know what was going on when the original “feature” was released in iOS 10. However, said mention was in the release notes, which are rarely read by anyone other than developers and tech writers. There is also some controversy as to whether the notes contained a mention of power management changes at release, or if that language was actually added at a different time. I have a feeling this statement will continue to get coverage, despite Apple finally giving unhappy users what they want.

Apple announces plans to open a new US campus

In a press release earlier this week, Apple announced plans to both open a new US campus and to contribute $350 billion to the nation’s economy over the next five years. The new facility will reportedly house technical support operations. As for the large contributions, those will be accomplished through payments to US-based suppliers and manufacturers, the creation of 20,000 US jobs, and $5 billion in investments in their already created Advanced Manufacturing Fund.

Tim Cook and the company have openly supported Donald Trump’s business tax reform policies so that they could bring that money back to the US.. The fact that these announcements come on the heels of its passage and Apple’s repatriation of overseas-based cash reserves and their massive one-time payment of taxes on that money is no accident. Despite the fact that Apple has been one of the biggest tax payers in the US for several years despite their overseas holdings, they have still taken flak from the media over the perception that they were “dodging” paying their fair share. These commitments feel like a promise fulfilled after the tax bill passed, as well as a way for Apple to show their critics a stronger commitment to investing in US.

Apple has received FCC approval for the HomePod

Apple’s HomePod has been approved by the FCC, which is one of the last hurdles to be cleared for any device release. This is yet another indication that the news of a 4 to 6 week release window for the HomePod is accurate, and that we could get a release announcement anytime within the next month.  

Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile will now allow unlocked iPhones  to be ported over to their service

I am a Comcast customer, so I looked into their wireless service when it was announced. Unfortunately, while their data pricing actually looked pretty enticing, they required new, locked phones to be purchased. There was no way I was going to sell my family’s five different phones so that we could switch from AT&T, so I have watched and waited.

This week, Comcast announced that they will allow unlocked iPhones to be used on their network. This means that anyone who has paid off their phone on their current service can get them unlocked by their carriers and bring them over. Anyone who, like me, uses Apple’s iPhone Replacement Plan or buys their iPhones outright from Apple already has an unlocked device, and won’t have to do anything to switch.

Comcast’s cell service isn’t going to be for everyone. However, for any existing Comcast customers, their pricing is attractive enough to be worth a good, hard look. We have one phone that is being paid off on an AT&T Next plan, so we will have to either pay that off, or wait until the payment plan is complete to switch. However, if the pricing is still this good when that happens, we will probably switch.

Apple’s iPhone was the most activated smartphone during the last quarter

According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), the iPhone was the most activated smartphone in the US last quarter. They accounted for 39% of all activations between October and December of last year. Samsung came in second with 32% in this survey of 500 people who activated new or used devices in this time period.

That’s it for this edition of Apple Slices. I’ll be back with more bite-sized Apple news in the coming weeks.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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