Katie's Week in Review: September 4, 2016

Next week is it! Apple’s long awaited product drought is (hopefully) coming to an end and we will finally have new product news to discuss. Until then, here are the links of note for the week ending September 4, 2016:

  • See you on the 7th: Apple’s iPhone event is confirmed - As expected, Apple has officially invited the press to attend a special event on September 7th at 10 a.m. pacific/1 p.m. Eastern a San Francisco at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. As Catilin McGarry of Macworld reports, the invitation was emailed to media outlets on Monday morning. Widely expected is a new iPhone and iPhone Plus. Other possible announcements include a major revamp to the MacBook Pro line and possibly a new Apple Watch.
  • Apple releases Security Updates for El Capitan, Yosemite, and Safari - On the heals of the iOS 9.3.5 update released last week, Apple has released security updates for El Capitan, Yosemite and Safari that address the same exploit. Susie Ochs of Macworld explains that Safari 9.1.3 update is available for El Capitan, Yosemite and 10.9.5 Mavericks. If you haven’t already, time to head over to the Mac App Store and get updated.
  • Apple Owes $14.5 Billion in Back Taxes to Ireland, E.U. Says - As reported by James Kanter and Mark Scott of the New York Times, the European Union has ordered Ireland to collect $14.5 billion in alleged unpaid taxes from Apple. The taxes are a result from what the EU calls inappropriately low-tax deals that Apple made with the Irish government . Notably both the US government and Ireland has said that the E.U. is overstepping its bounds and Ireland is planning to contest the ruling.
  • A Message to the Apple Community in Europe - Apple CEO Tim Cook has written a public response on Apple’s website. He calls the European Commissions ruling an “effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws and upend the international tax system in the process.” In an Investor FAQ posted to Apple’s site, Apple has said that it expects the appeal of the tax ruling to take “several years” and doesn’t anticipate this will have any impact on its near-term financial results.
  • Apple Adds 2TB iCloud Storage Plan - In advance of its September 7th Announcement Apple has quietly added a 2TB option for iCloud storage pricing. The cost of 2TB of iCloud data costs $19.99 per month. Still, no word on the ability to share iCloud storage among family members.
  • A Sizable Cleanup - Earlier this week Apple announce several App Store improvements it says will make it easier for customers to find great apps and to ensure that apps available are functional and up to date. Developer David Smith has some additional thoughts and analysis of exactly what this cleanup might mean. David estimates that if Apple were to eliminate apps that did not support 64-bit (a requirement since June of 2015) that this alone could eliminate over 500,000 apps, or roughly 27% of all apps. I’m excited about this cleanup as it could eliminate some cruft from the App Store and incentivize developers to keep their Apps updated.
  • Apple Is Working on iPad Upgrades and Refreshed Mac Lineup - Mark Gurman and Jungah Lee of Bloomberg report that Apple is working on new Macs and new features for the iPad to cater to professional users. Gurman says the new Macs, including new iMacs, a new MacBook Pro and a new MacBook Air are slated to ship as soon as late 2016. But, he doesn’t expect to see these new Macs at the September 7th Apple event. Gurman says the new iPad features will come in the first half of 2017 and there is scuttle of possibly replacing the 9.7“ iPad pro with a 10.5” display. I personally hope that Gurman is wrong and that we will see new Macs at this September event, even if they aren’t shipping until later in the year. It’s just been too long and this is an awfully big stage from which to launch a radically redesigned MacBook Pro.
  • Samsung is recalling all Galaxy Note 7s globally after identifying a battery flaw - It’s been a bad week for Samsung. Ina Fried of Recode reports that after reports of some batteries on the new flagship phone exploding, Samsung has stopped selling the phone and issued a recall. Samsung reports there have ben 35 cases of battery-related issues globally. Customers who have the phone can expect a replacement with a new one in the coming weeks.
  • Plex DVR is here - Plex just keeps getting better. Thomas Ricker of The Verge details the new partnership between Plex and HDHomeRun for a new DVR service for Plex Pass subscribers to allow them to record and access free over-the-air TV shows using the HDHomeRun digital tuner and an antenna. Once shows are recorded, Plex DVR users can view their shows on any Plex supported devices, online or off including iOS Android, Mac or PC, Roku, ChromeCast FireTV, Apple TV and more. If I wasn’t already setup in the TiVo universe with a lifetime subscription and a fairly new Roamio DVR I’d give this serious consideration.
  • September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - My friend Stephen Hackett’s family has a very personal connection with childhood cancer. Each September he raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research hospital. His goal this year is to raise $8,000 to celebrate his son Josiah’s 8th birthday. I’m sure this community can help him achieve far beyond this goal. If you can contribute, please do.
  • Timing, the automatic time tracking app for OS X. - My thanks to Timing for sponsoring KatieFloyd.com this week. Timing automatically tracks how you spend your time, logging which apps you use, which websites you visit, and which documents you edit. If you have a product or service you'd like to feature on this site, you can learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.
  • I love my Amazon Echo - but I’ll admit it’s not the best speaker in the world. All my friends rave about their Sonos speaker systems. It looks like Sonos and Alexa are about to come together. Your move, Apple.