CurrentC exclusivity contract at MCX merchants to expire in matter of months

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 11:34
Category: iOS, iPhone, News, retail

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The conflict between MCX’s CurrentC and Apple Pay may be short lived, as an exclusivity agreement that has caused some merchants involved in the MCX consortium — notably drug store chain CVS — to abruptly pull support for NFC-based payment systems, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, is set to expire in “months,” according to a new report.

Per Re/code, the consortium, which is made up of a number of major retailers including CVS, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart, instituted the exclusivity contract to provide “breathing room” for the development of the CurrentC ecosystem, said MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson. That contract is set to expire in “months, not years,” Dekkers added.

Confirmation of the exclusivity agreement comes one week after the arrangement was first uncovered, following reports that CVS had disabled NFC terminals in its stores to prevent customers’ use of Apple Pay.
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Rumor: Apple Watch steel model to begin at $500, gold model to retail between $4,000 and $5,000

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Date: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 10:00
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

Apple is far from releasing its price points for its upcoming watch, but the rumors as to the cost are starting to pour in.

Per 9to5Mac, French website iGen.fr, reported on Tuesday that the steel Apple Watch will start at US$500 alongside a gold model that will retail for between US$4,000 and US$5,000. Apple previously claimed at its September event that the Apple Watch would start at US$349, but did not disclose further pricing information.

The report claims that the stainless steel Apple Watch in polished steel or black will cost US$500, while the gold Apple Watch Edition will be the more expensive version at between US$4,000 and US$5,000. That price range would be nearly half the estimated US$10,000 price that some other reports have suggested.

In terms of a launch date, the report claims that the Apple Watch will launch in time for Valentine’s Day, but that was the most specific date given. An internal memo from Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts was recently published in which she wrote that the Apple Watch will launch in the “Spring” following the Chinese New Year.

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Intel launches Broadwell Core M processor, chip could find its way into rumored 12-inch MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 13:30
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

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Intel’s next generation of processors won’t ship until early 2015, but there’s some interesting news on the processor that could wind up in the 12-inch MacBook Pro notebook.

Per MacRumors, the company began shipping some ultra low-power Broadwell chips known as Core M a couple of months ago. These chips are designed to run at just 4.5 watts and are intended for next-generation fanless PCs and tablets, fitting perfectly with circulating rumors of a thinner, fanless 12-inch MacBook Air, potentially with a Retina display.

The first batch of Core M chips launched in early September consisted of the 5Y10/5Y10a running at a base frequency of 800 MHz with a maximum of 2 GHz turbo, along with the more powerful 5Y70 running at 1.1 GHz with a max turbo of 2.6 GHz. Intel now appears to have quietly added several new processor options to the Core M family. Internal roadmaps had targeted an early 2015 launch for these chips, but Intel’s chip database shows the new chips as having launched this quarter.

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Christian Bale no longer slated to play Steve Jobs in upcoming Aaron Sorkin movie

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Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 10:31
Category: News

Well, it would have been an interesting casting choice.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and The Hollywood Reporter, actor Christian Bale has pulled out of the Aaron Sorkin penned Steve Jobs biopic. The report claims that Bale decided to withdraw from the film because he felt he wasn’t right for the role.

Sources say Bale, after much deliberation and conflicting feelings, came to the conclusion he was not right for the part and decided to withdraw. The script is said to be divided into three acts that detail Jobs preparing for three presentations that came to define his life and the life of the company he co-founded, lost and came back to.

Not even a week ago, Sorkin explained that Bale secured the Jobs role without even so much as an audition.

“He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined,” Sorkin said. “There isn’t a scene or a frame that he’s not in. So it’s an extremely difficult part and he is gonna crush it.”

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Rumor: Apple to discontinue iPad mini in favor of larger 12-inch “iPad Pro” model

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Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 10:00
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

It’s just a rumor, but it’s got some decent sources behind it.

Per AppleInsider and Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, a rumor out of East Asia on Monday claims Apple is looking to wind down iPad mini production in favor of a 12-inch tablet, a response to flagging sales and growing consumer interest in larger-screened devices.

Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, the Economic Daily News reports the company is looking to discontinue iPad mini sales when the tablet lineup is refreshed next year and will instead concentrate on production of a new 12-inch format being called “iPad Pro.”

The shift in tablet strategy is said to be in reply to a shifting smartphone market, which has seen consumers gravitate toward devices with screens larger than 5 inches when measured diagonally. Apple itself has seen unexpectedly high demand for the new 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the company’s first “phablet” handset.

Also cited as a catalyst for change is increasingly aggressive competition in the tablet sector, with competitors like Samsung slowly nibbling away at Apple’s dominant marketshare. For the most recent fourth fiscal quarter of 2014, Apple moved 12.3 million iPads, down 17 percent from 14.1 million year-over-year.

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Starwood Hotels launches SPG Keyless entry system for iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 10:58
Category: iPhone, News, Software

As of now, you can officially open your hotel room in a Starwood Hotel with your iPhone.

And, come the spring, you’ll be able to do it with your Apple Watch.

Per 9to5Mac, Starwood Hotels has officially launched its SPG Keyless service, allowing guests to use their iOS device to open their doors. The boutique hotel group first announced the project back in January.

The process goes as follows:
1. After booking a reservation at a keyless hotel, SPG members are invited to opt-in to SPG Keyless and register their phone through the SPG App.

2. Approximately 24 hours before arrival, the guest receives his/her room number and Bluetooth key via the app.

3. Upon arrival at the hotel, the guest can completely bypass the front desk (where available) and go directly to his/her room.

4. Then, after ensuring his/her Bluetooth is enabled, the guest simply opens the SPG App, taps the smartphone on the door lock, waits for the green light and enters the room.

The service went live on Tuesday at three Starwood brands: Aloft, Element and The W.

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Apple retail exec Ahrendts indicates “spring” launch date for Apple Watch

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Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 11:16
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Wearables

The latest word is that the Apple Watch will launch next spring.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts, stated the device’s release timeframe to retail employees in a video message, a transcript of which was provided by a source. While explaining that employees need to conserve energy for upcoming shopping seasons, Ahrendts stated, “we’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring:”

Up until this point, Apple has consistently said that the Apple Watch will ship in “early 2015,” without specifying a day or month. The broad window was announced at the Apple Watch’s unveil in September, is stated on Apple’s website, and was reiterated by Apple executives last month. Sources indicated in September that Apple would struggle to hit a Valentine’s Day release, which now appears to be even more unlikely. Spring begins on March 20th and lasts until June. If Apple considers late March to be “early 2015,” there may have actually been no change in plans. However, Ahrendts clearly states the launch is after the Chinese New Year (February 19th), so it appears the launch will miss Valentine’s Day regardless.

Last year, a report indicated that Apple planned to ship the wearable in fall 2014, but engineering difficulties delayed the launch to 2015. Subsequent reports confirmed that battery issues were partially to blame for Watch delays, and sources tell us that Apple is still working out kinks in the device’s battery system. Tim Cook has noted that Apple intends for the first-generation model to last all day and be charged each night. While Apple has reportedly hit that particular goal, the company is still working to speed up the amount of time it takes the inductive MagSafe charging system to fully juice up the product.

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Rumor: Apple designing larger, thinner “iPad Pro” tablet for education market

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Date: Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 10:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, Rumor

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The new iPads are out.

That doesn’t stop the rumor mill speculating about the next generation of the tablets.

Per AppleInsider and Macotakara, the latest rumblings surrounding the anticipated release of a larger, education-focused iPad next year suggest the device may touch down with Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 in its crosshairs, sporting a super-slim form factor, enhanced audio, and a slightly more compact 12.2-inch display.

Macotakara has cited its own sources as saying that iPad maker is specifically designing the device to play into the same markets as Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3, but adds that the company may choose to employ a slightly more compact 12.2-inch display than the 12.9-inch option that is widely rumored and also used by the Surface Pro 3.

The overall design of the iPad Pro itself is said to largely resemble a jumbo iPad 2 with two additional speakers (and an additional microphone) located at the top of the device, which “might” make the iPad Pro “capable of supporting stereo audio.” It reportedly won’t be as thin as the 6.1mm iPad Air 2, but will still be as slim as an iPhone, measuring somewhere between the iPhone 6′s 6.9mm and the iPhone 6 Pro’s 7.1mm at its thickest point.

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Circuit court ruling states that police can require fingerprint, not pass code, for cell phone entry

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Date: Friday, October 31st, 2014, 13:24
Category: iPhone, Legal, News

This could open up a whole new can of worms.

According to HamptonRoads.com, a Virginia Beach, Virginia, Circuit Court judge has ruled that a criminal defendant can be compelled to give up his fingerprint, but not his pass code, to allow police to open and search his cell phone.

The question of whether a phone’s pass code is constitutionally protected surfaced in the case of David Baust, an Emergency Medical Services captain charged in February with trying to strangle his girlfriend.

Prosecutors had said video equipment in Baust’s bedroom may have recorded the couple’s fight and, if so, the video could be on his cell phone. They wanted a judge to force Baust to unlock his phone, but Baust’s attorney, James Broccoletti, argued pass codes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits forced self-incrimination.

Judge Steven C. Frucci ruled this week that giving police a fingerprint is akin to providing a DNA or handwriting sample or an actual key, which the law permits. A pass code, though, requires the defendant to divulge knowledge, which the law protects against, according to Frucci’s written opinion.

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Walgreens weighs in on Apple Pay, CurrentC conflict, offers snarky response to competitors CVS and Rite Aid

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Date: Friday, October 31st, 2014, 11:51
Category: Uncategorized

It’s not a huge step in the squabble between Apple and retail chains like CVS and Rite Aid who are opting out of Apple Pay to keep using CurrentC, but it is another chain taking advantage of the conflict.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, CVS competitor Walgreens has chosen its weapon for the battle, and that weapon is snark.

The company is currently promoting the following Tweet on Twitter.
Hey, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users! The choice is yours: Use #ApplePay today at any of our stores!

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