Wednesday Morning News

Apple has announced a new series of educational sessions running at Apple Stores. Starting in May, “Today at Apple” will provide hands-on experiences at all 495 Apple stores worldwide on a range of topics, including photo and video, music, art, design, and more. Some cities will have renowned artists taking the class, with the whole idea being that Apple Stores become the new town square where people come to connect, discover a new passion, or learn something new.

In an interview with CBS, Apple SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts talks about the biggest change to Apple Stores in 15 years. Ahrendts describes Apple Stores — for better or for worse — as a combination of hardware and software, with the hardware being the physical store and its layout, while the software is what happens within the store. Apple has made a few changes to some of its Apple Stores in terms of the hardware, but all stores will be getting this new software.

Apple has also unveiled the Dubai Mall store, set to open tomorrow. Apple’s Dubai Mall location has an impressive curved glass front that has views upon the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain, features eco-friendly carbon-fiber “solar wings” that are really just foldable and retractable panels, but hey, the look cool and keep the store cool.

Former Google executives have left the company to work at Apple. Apple’s hiring of John Fenwick and Michael Trela is intriguing, as both were execs within Google’s satellite division, suggesting Apple has plans for space — or as Bloomberg puts it, at least an interest in some kind of satellite broadband project currently being investigated by Boeing.

Not only that, but Apple’s latest hirings also include Jeff Norris, a former AR and VR expert at NASA. It’s widely suspected he’ll be doing much of the same at Apple, working under Mike Rockwell on some kind of AR project.

On Monday a story about Uber doing dodgy stuff on the iPhone came from the New York Times, somehow identifying and tagging iPhones even when the Uber app had been removed from the iPhone in question. They stopped after a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook threatened App Store removal, but even though we don’t have all the information, it’s not hard to question what other dodgy stuff Uber has been doing, given recent articles on the subject.

Apple has made the decision to cut affiliate commissions for app and in-app purchases on the App Store. Apple’s monthly affiliate newsletter broke the bad news: “starting on May 1st 2017, commissions for all app and in-app content will be reduced from 7% to 2.5% globally”. It’s a massive cut that only affects apps and in-app purchases, not other iTunes Store content such as books, movies, or other media. It’s a move that doesn’t really make sense; Apple doesn’t need the extra cash, but the sites that cover apps do.

Reuters says Apple’s Carpool Karaoke series will be delayed until later this year, with no real explanation on why. It’s possible that this is just Apple deciding it needs to focus on a few other things before it launches some of its upcoming original programming.

The Guardian is pulling out of both Apple News and Facebook’s Instant Articles after an “extensive trial”. It’s possible that they’re just not happy with the deals they’re being provided, or it could be that it doesn’t find value in those outlets when it could be focusing on in-house subscriptions or other, more direct, revenue streams.

Six Colors writes about one podcaster’s fruitless quest to replace Skype as the voice-over-IP communication method of choice.

One outlet is claiming Apple will release two models of iPhone later this year, unlike the three that we’ve been hearing about thus far. It’s possible that Apple could release an “iPhone 7s” alongside the iPhone 8, but that just seems unlikely now given how much we’ve already heard about the all-singing, all-dancing iPhone.

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