Tag - Australia
Negotiations between Apple and some Australian banks over Apple Pay have recommenced, prompted by the first bank to enable the payment platform's apparent success. ANZ Banking Group started offering payments via Apple Pay from late last month, but the customer response and a sudden surge in applications for bank accounts and credit cards has apparently forced competing financial institutions to reconsider whether or not to accept Apple Pay transactions.
Streaming services are helping drive music revenues in Australia, echoing similar industry changes in other regions, a recent report has claimed. Services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, is being credited by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for helping push music revenues for the country to $333.8 million, a 5 percent year-on-year increase, and the first upwards trend in the annual wholesale figure for the region's music industry since 2012.
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look back at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Sony is said to be thinking about making PlayStation VR work with PCs, Konami and Tencent tease Contra Mobile, and Valve's Steam store faces two issues stemming from a vulnerability and an Australian court's ruling over refunds.
The lack of support for Apple Pay by Australian banks has forced regulatory bodies to examine the reasons behind the slowness. The Reserve Bank of Australia has been called upon to look into alleged anti-competitive behavior in the card-free payments market, over claims banks are not signing up for Apple Pay support in favor of using their own systems, something which is said to damage customer choice for mobile payment services.
In addition to today's update of the iOS 9.2 beta, Apple has also released a developer-only third tvOS 9.1 beta. The upcoming update, expected to be released early next year, will add promised but thus far missing features such as Siri control of Apple Music (Apple has already added Siri control of general searches and iTunes Match support). Also found in testing was some support for "app folders" as seen in iCloud.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has responded personally to the allegations of racial discrimination in the Melbourne, Australia Apple store. Saying that "none of us are happy with the way this was handled" the CEO reminded all Apple employees that "Apple is open" and that "this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores."
An Apple Store in Australia has come under fire this week, for allegedly racially profiling a group of teenagers. A video has been posted online showing a member of staff at Melbourne's Highpoint Shopping Centre store telling six students to leave the store on Tuesday, under the grounds that security guards at the store are "just a bit worried about your presence in our store," and that the students could potentially "steal something."
Apple is expanding the number of countries Apple Pay will operate within, via a partnership with a credit card company. Advised as part of today's earnings call, Apple Pay will be usable in Australia and Canada for American Express customers before the end of this year, with American Express users in Spain, Singapore, and Hong Kong also expected to be able to use the payment service when it becomes available next year.
Apple has launched a corporate bond sale in Australia managed by Goldman Sachs, Commonwealth Bank, and Deutsche Bank, marking its first such sale in Australian dollars. Launched as a "benchmark-sized" sale, one which would usually involve raising somewhere between AU$500 million and AU$1 billion ($365 million and $730 million) , the orders for this particular sale reached AU$1.2 billion ($877 million) within just two hours of being available to purchase.
Apple Pay's entry into Australia may face delays, as negotiations with financial institutions are allegedly stalling over money. Major banks are pushing back over how much of the interchange fees, charges paid by merchants to use a card payment platform, will end up being handed over to Apple, as apparently the fees collected by Australian banks are far less than those collected by platforms operating in the United States.
Now AAPL Stock: 100.35 ( -0.06 )
Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for €30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives