Apple CEO Tim Cook cites over one million Apple Pay subscriptions in first 72 hours

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 15:48
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, News

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Apple may have gotten a pretty quick leg up in the NFC market.

Per AppleInsider and the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a recent interview today, stated that Apple Pay received more than one million registrations within the first 72 hours.

“The early ramp [of Apple Pay] looks fantastic,” Cook said in an interview with WSJ managing editor Gerry Baker.

Cook referred to recent revelations that Merchant Consumer Exchange retailers like Rite Aid and CVS are now blocking Apple Pay, characterizing the situation as a “skirmish” that will ultimately be decided by consumers “over the long arc of time.”

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The Mac mini’s Intel GPU won’t cut it as a 4K media center

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Date: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014, 07:18
Category: 4K, Apple, Hardware, Mac mini, Television, UHD, Yosmite

Yosemite's 4K support is pretty poor - Jason O'Grady

I purchased a Samsung 4K television (a UN65F9000) for our family room and was super-excited to buy a late-2014 Mac mini (Macmini7,1, model A1347) to complete our entertainment center. The problem is that the Mac mini’s anemic GPU can’t drive a 4K display at a fast enough refresh rate to play smooth video, which is a bummer.

I’ve used a Mac mini connected to a 1080p panel in my living room for years, and it’s always worked great. A Mac mini is great in a media center computer, there’s nothing like having a real web browser for watching live streams and video podcasts and VLC media player is the de facto standard for playing every video CODEC known to mankind. (Tons of people also swear by Plex but I haven’t taken the time to set it up.)

I was optimistic that Apple would properly support 4K (UHD, 2160p) after early Yosemite rumors claimed that it would. When connected to my 65-inch Sammy 4K TV, the 2014 Mac mini can only muster a paltry 30 Hertz refresh rate, which is unacceptable for video. It results in choppy, unwatchable playback. The mini’s poor video performance is a result of its underpowered Intel Iris Graphics.

If you’re thinking of connecting a Mac to a 4K panel, beware. The only Macs that will do 4K justice are those that have a discrete graphics card – and you’ll probably need a $3K Mac Pro to do it right.

I connected my MacBook Pro Retina 13-inch to the Samsung F900 panel and it too only supports 30 Hz output, which won’t fly for video playback. The 13-inch rMBP only has Intel Iris 5100 Graphics which isn’t enough to drive a 4K panel at 60 Hz. According to the Apple Discussion Forums:

  • the 15″ rMBP w/NVidia does support 60Hz
  • the 13″ rMBP w/Iris does not support 60 Hz

If you want to drive a 4K monitor at 60Hz from a Mac you’ll need one with a discrete GPU. Boom. Sounds like the best justification I’ve heard to purchase a Mac Pro yet.

What’s your Mac media center setup?

CVS, Rite Aid refusing to accept Apple Pay system, lend support to current CurrentC payment system

Posted by:
Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 16:32
Category: Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

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Call it a trade blockade of sorts, but you might not be able to use Apple Pay to purchase items at CVS or Rite Aid for a while.

Per the New York Times and 9to5Mac, Rite Aid has joined CVS in disabling Apple Pay as a payment method in its stores. Like CVS, Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer eXchange (MCX) consortium promoting a rival mobile payment service, CurrentC.

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets.

As with CVS, Apple Pay initially worked in Rite Aid stores, indicating that the company has made a deliberate decision to switch off support.

While Apple has declined to comment, MasterCard said that it was the wrong decision.

“We think consumers should have the ability to pay any way they want,” said Ed McLaughlin, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard.

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Rumor: Apple in negotiations to use NFC technologies as entry keycards, transit tickets

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:14
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

If NFC technology isn’t as widespread as it could be, Apple wants to increase its presence. According to 9to5Mac and The Information, Apple is actively scouting out partnerships to increase the utility of the NFC chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Right now, the chip can only be used for payments through Apple Pay as the API is not available to third-party developers.

Sources have stated that the company is talking to potential partners about using the technology for things like building security, public transit tickets and more. The report names that Apple has already been in talks with HID Global and Cubic, who make electronic ‘keycard’ secure building access and transit fare systems.

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The Apple representatives have talked to technology providers like HID Global and Cubic, which enable secure access to buildings and transit fare systems, respectively, said people briefed on the discussions. Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment about any discussions with Apple, but executives there discussed how they could integrate their systems with the iPhone.

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What a difference 30 years makes for image resolution…

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 24th, 2014, 07:34
Category: Fun, iMac

It’s more a picture than anything.

Over on Things of Interest, someone overlaid the original Apple Macintosh, which was released in 1984 and shipped with a black-and-white 512 x 342 display. Fast forward 30 years to the release of the iMac with Retina 5K display, which ships with a 5,120 x 2,880 display with support for millions of colours. That’s an increase from 175,000 pixels to more than 14.7 million – an 8,400% increase. 80 of the original Macintosh displays fit within a single Retina 5K display.

The stats are astounding, but to really put things in perspective, take a look at the image below, showing the original Macintosh display overlaid on a promotional image that Apple has been using to showcase the massive size of the new iMac’s display. Click the image to link to the full, relatively massive original image.

comparison

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Christian Bale lands role of Steve Jobs in upcoming Sorkin biopic, didn’t need to audition

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Date: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, 14:47
Category: News, Uncategorized

Batman will be playing the part of Steve Jobs.

And he didn’t even have to audition.

Per Bloomberg, actor Christian Bale didn’t have to audition for the role of Steve Jobs in the coming biopic of the Apple Inc. co-founder, according to screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

“We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that’s Chris Bale,” Sorkin told Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang on a coming edition of “Studio 1.0.” “He didn’t have to audition. Well, there was a meeting.”

Sorkin, whose screenplay for “The Social Network” won an Academy Award, is working on an adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography “Steve Jobs” for Sony Corp. The film will begin shooting in the next couple of months, Sorkin said.

The writer is known for his fast-paced dialogue in shows such as TV’s “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom,” and in 2010’s “The Social Network,” about Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks earlier for the Jobs part. Danny Boyle, who won an Oscar for directing “Slumdog Millionaire,” is attached to the project.

OSCARS/
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Bank of America confirms double charges under Apple Pay, says fix is underway

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Date: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, 13:21
Category: Finance, News, Software

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You can call it an Apple Pay startup glitch or an evil conspiracy, both statements would have merit.

Per Re/code and 9to5Mac, some Bank of America account holders are now reporting that the new service is charging them twice for some transactions. It’s also been confirmed that Bank of America is in fact experiencing a technical error that is causing the double charges and is currently attempting to roll out a solution that will resolve the problem.

The glitch was apparently the result of a miscommunication between the bank’s systems and an unnamed payment network and wasn’t Apple’s fault according to the report. The bank said that only about 1,000 transactions were affected by the problem, which is a relatively minute number compared to the number of transactions likely being carried out nationwide today.

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Apple announces end to SSL 3.0 notifications on October 29th in wake of POODLE vulnerability

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Date: Thursday, October 23rd, 2014, 08:05
Category: iOS, News, security, Software

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Sometimes you’ve got to drop back and punt.

Per the Apple developer web site and AppleInsider, Apple announced on Wednesday that it will be removing support for the SSL 3.0 protocol on its Apple Push Notification server.

Apple will be switching off SSL 3.0 support in favor of the more secure transport layer security (TSL) protocol on Wednesday, Oct. 29, noting developers will have to build in support by that time to ensure uninterrupted push notification service continues.

Apps currently using both SSL 3.0 and TSL will not be affected by the change, but those using just SSL 3.0 will need to be updated.

Apple has disabled SSL 3.0 on the Provider Communication interface in the developer environment, offering developers a way to check their apps for compatibility. More information is available through Apple’s Developer Portal.

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Rumor: A8X processors allegedly feature three cores, 2GB of RAM

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Date: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, 17:47
Category: Hardware, iPad, Processors, Rumor, Uncategorized

While Apple has yet to reveal the exact specifications of its A8X processor, it seems to feature some sexy tech traits. Per AppleInsider and Gizmobic, a new benchmark purports to show the horsepower of the CPU, revealing a triple-core processor with 2 gigabytes of RAM.

The purported details on the A8X chip claimed to show a new “iPad5,4″ model. Based on Apple’s IPSW files available to developers, that model would be a LTE-capable iPad Air 2.

A separate test focused on RAM speed also appears to show that the iPad Air 2 has a full 2 gigabytes of RAM. In contrast, the A8 CPU found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus is a dual-core processor with 1 gigabyte of RAM.

The benchmarks published represent an out-of-date testing tool not optimized for assessing the performance of Apple’s latest hardware, which may explain why the iPad Air 2 performs poorly in some of the tests.

A8Xprocessor
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Apple replies to negative commentary over iPad sales, states that market “isn’t saturated”

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Date: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, 11:09
Category: Finance, iPad, News

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Apple posted great numbers across the board in yesterday’s fourth quarter financial statement, but there may be concerns about the iPad’s growth.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook explained why he remains “very bullish” about iPads de spite the tablet’s sales not maintaining the growth rates of iPhones or Macs in every region.

In the September quarter, Apple sold 12.3M iPads, versus 14.1M in the year ago quarter. While lower than last year, iPad sales were slightly above Wall Street’s expectations. Apple continues to sell more iPads each month than the combined tablet sales of the rest of the top five tablet vendors, globally: Samsung, Asus, Lenovo and Acer

Addressing iPad sales in response to an analyst’s question, Cook stated, “I know that there’s a lot of negative commentary in the market but I have a little different perspective on it.

“Instead of looking at it every 90 days, if you back up and look at it, we’ve sold 237 million in just over four years. That’s about twice the number of iPhones we sold in the first four years.

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