Category Archives: Front Page

Square Announces Plans to Begin Accepting Apple Pay in 2015

Speaking with CNN, Square founder Jack Dorsey confirmed that the payment processing service will support Apple Pay in the coming months, bringing Apple Pay to small business owners. In the interview, Dorsey reiterates his opinion that he does not view Apple Pay as a competitor and wants to add the mobile payments service as an available option for Square users.
"We're not building a credit card. We're not building a payment device. We're building a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments," Dorsey told CNN in an interview.
While the existing Square Reader can process credit card payments via an iPad or iPhone, the hardware is not equipped to handle the wireless transactions required by Apple Pay. In order to support Apple's mobile payment technology, Square will need to introduce all new hardware with built-in NFC connectivity.

squarereader
Apple Pay launched last month alongside iOS 8.1 and is available only in U.S. with global expansion planned in the future. The payment service is supported by a number of large retailers, major banks and restaurants including the recently added Disney Store, Sephora, SunTrust Bank, and Levi's Stadium,.


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Chase Offers Apple Pay Users Free David Guetta Songs as More Retailers Jump Onboard

Credit card issuer and major bank Chase has been one of the highest profile Apple Pay partners since the service was announced in September and launched one month ago. This weekend, the bank has launched a plan to entice more Chase Visa card holders into Apple Pay with a free early-access music download.

david_guetta_chase
From November 21-23, users who add a Chase Visa card into Apple Pay will receive exclusive early access to fourteen songs off of David Guetta's new album "Listen." Apple Pay users can receive their iTunes Store redemption codes through the Chase app, which received an update today that is required for the Apple Pay promo to appear.

chase_david_guetta
The new album from Guetta officially launches on Monday, and is currently available for pre-order through the iTunes Store for $11.99. The Chase offer includes 14 of the 18 songs from the deluxe version of the album, omitting the four tracks that are currently available for advance purchase through iTunes.

Chase is not the first major bank to try to entice customers to try out Apple Pay, with Wells Fargo offering $10-$20 credits just for making an Apple Pay purchase on a Wells Fargo card by the end of this month.

Apple Pay has seen a number of other enhancements in recent days, including the addition of in-app Apple Pay support in the Disney Store app, another of the service's key partners mentioned alongside Apple Pay's unveiling. Apple Pay had already been accepted in Disney's retail stores, with Apple's own Eddy Cue showing off the service in a Disney Store earlier this week.Version 3.2.1 of the company's app, landing just before the holiday season rush, brings support for Apple Pay for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Despite Apple Pay being supported available for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, the iPad version of the Disney Store app does not yet include it.

Another of Apple's early in-app partners, Levi's Stadium, rolled out Apple Pay support earlier this week as well for visitors to the San Francisco 49ers home stadium in Santa Clara.

On the in-store front, a number of new retailers also rolled out support for Apple Pay, including several grocery store chains and just today Sephora announced (via TechCrunch) an early rollout in its Manhattan and Bay Area stores ahead of a full rollout in the near future.

With the recent release of the WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch to app developers, and Apple's promise that Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will be closely tied, the retailer and app support of Apple Pay will no doubt continue to grow.

The Chase Mobile [Direct Link], Levi's Stadium [Direct Link], and Disney Store [Direct Link] apps can all be downloaded from the App Store for free.


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Chase Offers Apple Pay Users Free David Guetta Songs as More Retailers Jump Onboard

Credit card issuer and major bank Chase has been one of the highest profile Apple Pay partners since the service was announced in September and launched one month ago. This weekend, the bank has launched a plan to entice more Chase Visa card holders into Apple Pay with a free early-access music download.

david_guetta_chase
From November 21-23, users who add a Chase Visa card into Apple Pay will receive exclusive early access to fourteen songs off of David Guetta's new album "Listen." Apple Pay users can receive their iTunes Store redemption codes through the Chase app, which received an update today that is required for the Apple Pay promo to appear.

chase_david_guetta
The new album from Guetta officially launches on Monday, and is currently available for pre-order through the iTunes Store for $11.99. The Chase offer includes 14 of the 18 songs from the deluxe version of the album, omitting the four tracks that are currently available for advance purchase through iTunes.

Chase is not the first major bank to try to entice customers to try out Apple Pay, with Wells Fargo offering $10-$20 credits just for making an Apple Pay purchase on a Wells Fargo card by the end of this month.

Apple Pay has seen a number of other enhancements in recent days, including the addition of in-app Apple Pay support in the Disney Store app, another of the service's key partners mentioned alongside Apple Pay's unveiling. Apple Pay had already been accepted in Disney's retail stores, with Apple's own Eddy Cue showing off the service in a Disney Store earlier this week.Version 3.2.1 of the company's app, landing just before the holiday season rush, brings support for Apple Pay for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Despite Apple Pay being supported available for the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, the iPad version of the Disney Store app does not yet include it.

Another of Apple's early in-app partners, Levi's Stadium, rolled out Apple Pay support earlier this week as well for visitors to the San Francisco 49ers home stadium in Santa Clara.

On the in-store front, a number of new retailers also rolled out support for Apple Pay, including several grocery store chains and just today Sephora announced (via TechCrunch) an early rollout in its Manhattan and Bay Area stores ahead of a full rollout in the near future.

With the recent release of the WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch to app developers, and Apple's promise that Apple Pay and the Apple Watch will be closely tied, the retailer and app support of Apple Pay will no doubt continue to grow.

The Chase Mobile [Direct Link], Levi's Stadium [Direct Link], and Disney Store [Direct Link] apps can all be downloaded from the App Store for free.


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iWork for iCloud Updated with Eight New Languages, 50 Fonts and Improved Document Editing

Apple today updated iWork for iCloud with support for up to eight new languages and more than 50 new fonts. The changes were added to the cloud-based versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote and were first reported by German blog Macerkopf.

iwork_icloud_deutsch-update
New iCloud languages include French, German, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Chinese, Arabic (Pages only) and Hebrew (Pages only) with Pages receiving 8 new languages and Number and Keynotes now supporting six. Apple also expanded the number of available fonts, adding 50 new font types that improve the creative options available to users as well as add support for the new languages. Other changes include a revised main toolbar that now allows users to easily change the name of a document and other-app specific improvements like the ability to undo the deletion of section breaks while editing in Pages.

Apple introduced iWork for iCloud at WWDC 2013 and has been steadily improving the service with small, but regular updates. The company still maintains a desktop version of the productivity suite and recently updated its iWork apps with new features and a redesign for OS X Yosemite.



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'WALTR' for Mac Lets Users Upload Any Media File to an iOS Device for Native Playback
'Sync Solver' Allows Fitbit Users to View Fitness Related Data in Apple's Health App
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SteelSeries Stratus XL iOS Gaming Controller Launches on Apple Store
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iPhone 6 Plus Shipping Times Improve Slightly, Now 7 to 10 Days for 16GB Model

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, Apple Store shipping estimates for the iPhone 6 Plus have improved slightly, with the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus in all colors and from all carriers now carrying a shipping estimate of 7 to 10 days in the United States. Shipping estimates for the 64GB iPhone 6 Plus in all colors and from all carriers have also seen improvement, going from 3 to 4 weeks to 2 to 3 weeks.

While shipping estimates for the 16GB and 64GB iPhone 6 Plus have improved, shipping estimates for the harder-to-find 128GB iPhone 6 Plus remain at 3 to 4 weeks, suggesting the higher-capacity model is the most constrained.

iphone6plusshippingimprovements
Apple is also seeing improved supply of the iPhone 6, and the 16GB device now has a shipping estimate of 5 to 7 days, down from 7 to 10 days. Higher-capacity 64 and 128GB iPhone 6 models continue to ship in 7 to 10 days.

Many other countries in Europe and Asia are also seeing the same improved shipping estimates from the online Apple Store, as are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

In store supply of the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus also appears to be improving somewhat, as many stores across the country list availability of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 16 and 64GB configurations. Apple Stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments on a regular basis, but stock can go quickly because many retail locations are still seeing lines more than two months after the phones first went on sale. Tracking tool iStockNow can be used to find where iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices are available.

iphone6plusstockinstore
During Apple's fourth quarter earnings call on October 20, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was "far outstripping" supply, and that the company was "not close" to having a balance between supply and demand at that time. Apple has, however, been working hard to improve iPhone 6 and 6 Plus supply, reportedly delaying mass production of the rumored iPad Pro in order to focus its resources on higher iPhone 6 Plus output.

Early analysis has suggested that consumers in the U.S. are favoring the iPhone 6 over the 6 Plus by 3:1, but as supply of both models remains constrained, it is impossible to determine the true ratio of iPhone 6 demand vs. iPhone 6 Plus demand at this time.


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Apple Seeds First OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite Beta to Developers [Updated]

Apple today seeded the first beta of OS X 10.10.2 Yosemite to developers, just three days after releasing OS X 10.10.1 to the public.

The new beta, build 14C68k, is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store and should be available in the Mac Dev Center soon. The beta also includes Safari 8.0.2 and an update to the Mail app (version 8.2).

yosemite10102beta
Like OS X 10.10.1, as a minor update, OS X 10.10.2 is likely to bring bug fixes and performance improvements to the operating system. OS X 10.10.1 introduced several reliability enhancements, including improvements to Wi-Fi, but many users have still been reporting issues with Wi-Fi stability in Yosemite.

Update: It appears that OS X 10.10.2 is causing the latest version of Google's Chrome browser to crash. Retina iMac owners are also seeing display issues with the beta.


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Billboard 200 Chart to Incorporate Digital Track Sales, On-Demand Streaming Music

Billboard is planning a major overhaul of its Billboard 200 chart in the coming weeks, which will take into account the growing popularity of streaming music. Billboard's new methodology will shift away from simply tracking album sales, adding both digital track sales and streaming music into its algorithm.

Published weekly, the Billboard 200 is a chart that ranks the 200 best selling music albums in the United States. At the current time, the Billboard 200 chart only takes into account retail (both physical and digital) album sales, but the addition of digital track sales and streaming music from services like Beats and Spotify will allow the chart to give a clearer picture of overall popularity by taking into account consumption activity rather than measuring based on straight sales.

billboardtop200
Beginning on December 3, and measuring data during Thanksgiving week, the Billboard 200 will count 10 individual song sales or 1,500 song streams as a standard album sale. Billboard plans to incorporate data from every major streaming audio subscription service, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play, and Xbox Music. Ad-supported radio services like Pandora and iTunes Radio will not be counted, as Billboard is only planning to focus on on-demand services.
"Adding streaming information makes the chart a better representation of music consumption activity," says Silvio Pietroluongo, VP of charts and data development at Billboard. "While an extremely valuable measurement, album sales would mostly capture the initial impulse only, without indicating the depth of consumption thereafter. Someone could listen to the album just once, or listen to one track or a number of tracks 100 times. We are now able to incorporate those plays as part of an album consumption ranking throughout one's possession of an album, extending beyond the initial purchase or listen."
According to Billboard, incorporating individual song sales and streaming music could see some artists moving up the charts, including Ariana Grande and Maroon 5, both of which have higher streaming and digital song sales than album sales.

The methodology change was done under the guidance of music industry executives, to represent the growing popularity of streaming music services. According to Nielsen and Billboard's mid-2014 Music Industry Report [PDF] on-demand streaming music sales were up 42 percent year-over-year, with streams surpassing 70 billion songs.

On-demand streaming music services are now in over a hundred countries, and the most popular streaming service, Spotify, now has more than 10 million subscribers. Non-paid radio-style streaming services like Pandora have also exploded in popularity, with Pandora hitting 76.4 million active monthly users back in August.

Apple's own streaming music service, Beats Music, had only 110,000 subscribers when it was purchased by Apple, but it may see an explosion in growth next year as Apple is said to be planning to rebrand the service with a lower price. It may also be incorporated into iTunes and bundled onto iOS devices directly.

Though Billboard has plans to update its Billboard 200 chart with new methodology that takes into account streaming music services, a pure album sales chart called Top Album Sales will also be published to maintain the existing Billboard 200 methodology. Genre album charts will also continue to be sale-based at the current time.


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