Apple Pay grows, now supports 90% of U.S. credit cards

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Date: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, 11:48
Category: News, retail

applepayicon

Apple Pay is growing.

Per MacRumors and the New York Times,

With the list of Apple Pay-supported companies growing more every week, Apple has revealed that the new mobile payments service now supports cards representing about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the United States. This is up from the 80 percent figure cited at Apple Pay’s launch just two months ago.

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T-Mobile launches “Un-carrier 8.0″, data stash feature promotion

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Date: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, 11:32
Category: News, wireless

tmobilelogo

It might not be the most ground breaking promotion to ever exist, but it could come in handy.

Per 9to5Mac, wireless carrier T-Mobile announced its latest Un-carrier initiative on Monday with a new “Data Stash” feature that allows customers to bank unused data and carry it over month-to-month for up to a year.

The carrier is also offering 10 GB free for new and qualifying customers to kick things off, but it notes that the “data does not begin carrying over until after free 10GB runs out.” The free 10GB promotion will last until 12/31/15.

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GIFT GUIDE 2014 – HiRise Deluxe stand by Twelve South

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Date: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, 09:37
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPhone

HiRise Deluxe stand by Twelve South (Jason O'Grady)

What do you do with you iPhone when you sit down at your desk? You probably plug it in and leave it sitting flat on the surface of your desk. The problem with doing this is that your iPhone is practically invisible when it’s laying flat and not really that useful. If an alert comes in you need to pick up your iPhone to read the screen.

The HiRise Deluxe stand from Twelve South ($60) is a sleek stand that elegantly solves this problem. It allows you to dock your iPhone (or iPad) at a comfortable viewing angle making it more accessible while charging on your desk. It’s perfect for keeping an eye on push notifications while you get your work done, but it’s also convenient for making phone and FaceTime calls.

The new HiRise Deluxe stand features and easy-to-adjust rear support, making it easily to switch between an iPhone and an iPad of different thicknesses. The cable height at the bottom of the stand is also adjustable allowing you to use it with or without a case. If you’re using a thicker, impact-type case on your iPhone simply raise the height of the cable so that it reaches inside the case opening to properly charge the device.

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Google app for iOS, Android adds Google Nest controls

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 15:02
Category: Android, iOS, News, Software, Uncategorized

nest

This could prove nifty.

Per VentureBeat, Google has announced that its Nest thermostats can now be controlled with the Google app for iOS or Android. Users can also speak voice commands to ask Google to change or set their temperature.

To help users better manage their home’s temperature, the Google app brings up Now cards (suggested actions and settings based on time and location relevancy) they can use to adjust their temperature before even getting home.

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iPhone 6 optical image stabilization, NFC systems may be vulnerable to interference from strong magnets

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 11:37
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

senoriphone6

A powerful magnet can still screw up your day.

Or your iPhone 6′s camera stabilization and NFC systems.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of users have noticed issues with the iPhone 6 Plus camera and NFC on both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but the cause of the problem — interference from magnets and metal components in accessories — isn’t well documented.

The cause of the issue has been noticed by a small number of users online, and Apple does briefly warn users to avoid accessories that use magnets or metal components in a support document that was quietly updated in the months following the launch of the new iPhones. But it’s not something most users are aware of when purchasing accessories that might end up causing problems for their new iPhone.

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Leaked Sony Pictures emails show acrimony battles over upcoming Jobs movie

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 11:04
Category: News

sonypictureslogo

In as much as Sony Pictures didn’t want its emails leaked to the public, this may provide a good idea as to what’s gone on behind the scenes of the much-anticipated Steve Jobs biopic.

The answer is that a lot’s been happening, complete with name calling, insults, intimidation, lying, begging and name dropping as the studio vied to find the perfect lead for the part of Jobs himself.

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Gift Guide 2014: AudioEngine B2 Premium Bluetooth Speaker

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 11:19
Category: Accessory, Bluetooth, Hardware, music, Review

AudioEngine B2 Premium Bluetooth Speaker

If you’re looking for a compact Bluetooth speaker I recommend the AudioEngine B2 ($299). The B2 sounds great and has better range than other speakers I’ve tested because of its antenna and specially tuned transmitter. In a two-story, mostly stucco and brick house my iPhone 6 easily reached the B2 speaker on the second floor when I was on the first.

The B2 includes the aptX audio decoder and a 24-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for a beautiful, warm sound. The hand-built walnut cabinet is luxurious and dual front slots really pump the bass. I just wish that it had a battery so that I could toss it in a bag and drag it to the beach.

You can purchase the B2 Bluetooth Speaker in walnut (pictured), zebrawood or black ash from the AudioEngine website.

[Despite my aforementioned problems with Apple’s Bluetooth stack, I was still able to keep a reliable connection to the B2 speaker for over an hour. And to be clear, I think that that’s Apple’s problem and not AudioEngine’s.]

A picture of the backplane after the jump.

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How Apple blew it with Bluetooth

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 08:32
Category: Accessory, Bluetooth, iOS 8, iPhone

How Apple blew it with Bluetooth - Jason O'GradyI use Bluetooth every day.

Bluetooth was rock solid on my iPhone 5s running iOS 7.x. I never thought about about it. It just worked. Every day.

Now I hate all of my Bluetooth gear.

Bluetooth is crappy with my iPhone 6 and iOS 8.1.x. Every one of my Bluetooth devices cuts out, drops out or starts warbling within a couple minutes of use.

After upgrading to an iPhone 6 (and iOS 8.1.2):

  • my BT speaker starts cutting out after a minute or two of streaming
  • my BT earbuds drop out after a song or two, or during app switching
  • my BT headset disconnects one minute into every call

While this is my specific story, I’m not alone. Other people are having trouble with Bluetooth as well, especially with the newest iPhone hardware and iOS 8. I don’t use Bluetooth in my vehicle, but that’s another problem spot for iOS 8 users. The Apple discussion forums are littered with complaints about the iOS 8 Bluetooth stack and some users are having trouble with it on Yosemite (OS X 10.10) too.

I was hoping that iOS 8.1.2 would fix things with Bluetooth but the update did nothing to address my specific issues.

I’ve spoken with several OEMs that are patently furious with Apple over the Bluetooth fiasco, but most won’t speak out publicly for fear of losing access, distribution, etc. The hardware vendors probably have Dan Riccio and Craig Federighi on speed dial because Apple’s poor Bluetooth performance is making their products look bad.

Further reading:

(Blue tooth icon: TrySoda)

Apple releases Safari 8.0.2 update

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Date: Monday, December 15th, 2014, 04:32
Category: News, security, Software

Apple_Safari

It’s not a huge update, but it helps.

On Friday, Apple released version 8.0.2 of its Safari web browser.

The new version, a 53.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

- Fixes an issue that could prevent history from syncing across devices if iCloud Drive is not on.
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- Fixes an issue that could prevent a saved password from being autofilled after two devices are added to iCloud Keychain.

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Rumor: A9 processor production underway, Samsung could handle 100% of orders

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Date: Friday, December 12th, 2014, 13:52
Category: Hardware, Processors, Rumor, Uncategorized

a9processor

Despite years of legal acrimony between Apple and Samsung, there’s still money to be made in processor manufacturing.

Per 9to5Mac and Korea’s Electronic Times, industry insiders have stated that Samsung Electronics began production of Apple’s A9 in the Austin plant in the US using the 14nm FinFET technology. Samsung has production lines capable of FinFET process production in Austin, US and Giheung, Korea, but began to produce A9 only in Austin as it is in the initial stage.

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