Transactions on supported cards limited to $100, points to ApplePay.ca
One of Canada's major banks -- and one with deep links to its US version -- may have revealed that Apple Pay is about to start up in Canada, at least on a limited basis as predicted by recent reports. TD Canada Trust's website recently listed Apple Pay as a "way to pay" under it's "Electronic Banking" page (now removed), and also listed several cards that are said to support the mobile-payment technology. The US version, known as TDBank, has had Apple Pay support on its cards for some time.
Westminster gives approval for makeover of London's first Apple Store
Calling the current Regent Street Apple Store's interior "tired and outdated," the City of Westminster has granted Apple authorization to make significant changes to the store, including a rare granting of permission to make some exterior modifications. The renovations are thought to be intended to bring the London store more in line with the latest design template, which has recently been showcased with a new Apple Store in Brussels. The company expects, according to plans put forth last May to remove double the size of the entrance, remove the front portion of the mezzanine, and change the current staircase from one into two, among other changes.
Best Buy Canada to follow US stores by a week with Apple Watch sales
Following the US electronics chain Best Buy's announcement that direct Apple Watch sales would begin August 7, the Canadian branch -- which recently took over the existing Futureshop chain there -- has revealed that it will begin its own sales of the device starting one week later, August 14. The company says it will offer Apple Store-like "try-on" sessions at 20 stores, and sell the product at 50 store initially, as well as on the online site.
Roaming changes announced alongside T-Mobile subscriber increases
T-Mobile is allowing some of its subscribers to use their smartphones abroad in some countries without extra charges, under "Mobile Without Borders." As part of T-Mobile's Un-Carrier Amped announcements, users of the carrier's Simple Choice plans will be able to roam in Canada and Mexico for free, starting from July 15, with both prepaid and postpaid customers being able to use calls, texts, and data in the countries under their existing calling plans.
Law unclear on whether new device is Bluetooth accessory or hand-held device
A man in Quebec, Canada has been ticketed with a potential fine of $120 for using his Apple Watch to manually change songs remotely on his nearby iPhone, sparking a debate about whether the Watch can be as distracting as the smartphone it ostensibly replaces in such situations, and opening a discussion about the nature of "no handheld devices while driving" laws which are widespread throughout North America. Defendant Jeffrey Macesin, who admits the case will clarify the existing law, is contesting the citation.
Different new channel options depending on region, from sports to art
Apple has added a handful of new channels to Apple TV units in the US, Canada, the UK, French- and German-speaking regions in Europe, and Australia today. Starting immediately, US owners can now watch CBS Sports (which does not require a cable subscription login) or USA Now, which does require a login. In Canada, viewers will now see either CraveTV (if they are Bell subscribers) or Showmi (for Rogers or Shaw cable customers). Other countries have also received different new channels.
Cricket Wireless adds Canada calls, texts to Smart, Pro plans
Cricket Wireless is upgrading some of its plans to include unlimited international calls and texts to Canada. The $50 Smart Plan and the $60 Pro Plan will gain the extra calling option, joining its existing Mexico calling option, with both new and existing customers receiving the benefit. Customers on the $25 Talk & Text and $40 Basic plans will not receive the upgrade.
Company currently in negotiation with country's six major banks
A new report suggests that Apple is currently in negotiations with Canada's six major banks to bring Apple Pay to the country as early as November. With UnionPay negotiations with China currently stalled, Canada could be one of the first countries outside the US to get Apple Pay. The six major banks -- BMO, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, ScotiaBank, and TD Canada Trust -- account for 90 percent of retail bank accounts, and are also the primary banks behind the country's Interac debit card system, and Interac Flash contactless payment system, which Apple Pay would have to support.
Drone delivery tests carried out away from restrictive FAA regulations
Amazon's attempts to test its drone-based Prime Air delivery service on a larger scale are being carried out in secret in Canada, according to a report. The retailer has apparently tested out the drones outdoors in British Columbia on a frequent basis, in order to sidestep the restrictive rules that apply to commercial drones in the United States, hampering development of the potential service.
Apple Canada moves headquarters to smaller but downtown location
Apple Canada has opted to downsize, despite record sales in the country. The company is said to be selling its former headquarters in the Ontario suburb of Markham for a smaller set of offices on Bremner Boulevard, near the Air Canada Centre. The move brings the administrative offices for Canada's Apple subsidiary close the company's Toronto store at Eaton Centre, now just blocks away and due to be renovated into a flagship store in the near future.
Code-Name Levitation collects file download data indiscriminately
Canada's Communications Security Establishment (CSE), the Canadian equivalent to the US's National Security Agency (NSA), has been collecting data from roughly 15 million file downloads per day according to The Intercept journalists Ryan Gallagher and Glenn Greenwald, and CBC News. The surveillance operation, called Levitation, was revealed in a collection of files provided by Edward Snowden.
Partner talks, promotional planning in progress
Apple Pay could arrive in Canada in early 2015, possibly as soon as March, sources claim. The people say that Apple is currently in negotiations with partners, and that those partners are already planning marketing and advertising material for March, presumably hinting at a launch target. Some of the sources indicate that Apple is indeed aiming for that month as well.
Apple blames shifting currency values
(Updated with detailed price increases) Apple has sent an email to developers, notifying them of App Store price hikes in Canada, Norway, and the European Union, according to the Vancouver Sun. The company blames the change on foreign exchange rates. It has not, however, said by how much prices will go up. While a detriment to the people buying apps, higher prices should benefit many developers.
US customers get holiday channels on iTunes Radio instead
As was the case last year, Canadians are once again getting a sale on selected albums in iTunes as part of a "Boxing Day" event, part of a traditional observance throughout Canada and a number of other Commonwealth countries. The UK iTunes Store is also having a sale on hit albums, but doesn't label the event as a "Boxing Day" sale. US users don't get a sale, but are instead enjoying special holiday channels on iTunes Radio, which remains unavailable in the UK and Canada.
East coast-based chain adds personal, business debit and credit cards to Apple technology
TD Bank, the US-based subsidiary of Canada's similarly-named financial giant, will "soft launch" support for Apple Pay in the US starting today, in accordance with earlier reports. Customers can now add any TD Bank Visa-branded debit or credit cards to Passbook, and use them to make purchases at supporting merchants with an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. While customers will have to call their branch to verify some details, both consumer and business cards are now supported.
Carriers may have been discouraged from selling rival phones
More details have emerged on the Canadian Competition Bureau's investigation into Apple's carrier deals, Reuters reports. Most important may be the Bureau's specific goals, which are to learn if Apple has been discouraging carriers from offering discounts or other incentives for competing phones, or even offering those phones at all. "The contractual obligations [with the carriers] may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services," reads an affidavit from Vincent Millette, the head of the Bureau's probe.
Faulty soldering once again blamed
A second class action lawsuit has been filed against Apple over the 2011 MacBook Pro. The new case originates in Canada, specifically from a Montreal-based lawfirm, Lex Group Attorneys. Like the original US case, the new suit states that Apple shipped MacBooks with bad soldering of an AMD graphics chip to the logic board, and that this led to a variety of graphics problems. To get it fixed, some customers were forced to pay out-of-warranty repair costs that could scale up to $600, despite Apple apparently being at fault.
Complaints say contracts may have been anti-competitive
The Canadian government's Competition Bureau is investigating complaints that Apple used anti-competitive clauses in the contracts it signed with phone carriers, Reuters reports. Although the Bureau stresses that it has yet to uncover any wrongdoing, it has only this week asked for a court order that would force Apple to turn over necessary documents. The organization hasn't said if it's pursuing similar orders for the carriers, which include Bell, Rogers, and Telus.
Bluetooth clock radio charges devices, uses ambient light, music to wake users
Audio company JBL has revealed a new clock radio that pairs the company's sound with a gentle way to wake up in the morning. The JBL Horizon is a compact alarm clock with an LCD display that uses ambient LED lighting that gradually brightens to wake users up. On top of the LED lighting, one of two alarms can be set to use a digital tone, music streamed from a smartphone, or an FM radio station to entice people to get out of bed. To keep with the basic needs of an alarm clock, the Horizon has a snooze/light bar.
Toronto, Vancouver-based Amazon customers can pay for same-day deliveries
Amazon is making some changes to its same-day delivery service, including covering two new cities in Canada. The rapid delivery option introduction in Toronto and Vancouver arrives at the same time as a report is published, claiming the retailer is testing the use of taxis for deliveries in some of the areas, with a view to using the cabs for more deliveries in the future.
Spotify opens Canadian streaming service to everyone
Spotify has opened up its service in Canada to all users, following a brief invitational period. The streaming music service boasts over 20 million songs served on 320kbps streams, with chief content officer Ken Parks claiming the collection has been "tailor made for Canadian music fans." Users have the same ad-supported free and paid service options as other regions, with Spotify Premium priced at $10 per month.
Breach confirmed for April forward as investigation continues, no evidence of PIN theft
An initial investigation by Home Depot into an intrusion of its payment data systems has revealed that its systems were indeed breached. The home improvement retailer began looking into the breach of its systems after it noticed irregular activity and subsequent sale of its customer data last week. Home Depot was apparently hit by the same malware responsible for the breach of Target's systems.
Trial period will be free, pricing expected to be similar to US premium cost
Roughly a month after first announcing its expansion into Canada, subscription streaming music service Spotify is now sending invites to people who signed up to receive notification when the service was imminent. Invitations are currently still on a limited basis, but the company is testing the service in Canada presently, Electronista has verified. Canada is not yet officially listed on the company's website as one of the countries it serves, but an official debut is expected in the coming weeks.
Stores receiving 'large quantities' of 5s screens
US and Canadian Apple Stores will finally start conducting iPhone 5s screen replacements on or around August 4th, sources say. Some US stores have been piloting the service for the past several months, but now Apple Stores are reportedly receiving "large quantities" of replacement screens. iPhone 5c screen services began in January.
Spotify starts accepting sign-ups for Canadian service pre-launch
Music streaming service Spotify is spreading into Canada in the near future, long after launching in a number of other major markets. While the exact date of the service's launch in the country is unknown, Engadget reports the company is accepting sign-ups for a queue to receive pre-launch invitations, suggesting that it is likely to go live for all potential users sooner rather than later.
Regular AppleCare plan vanishes
Apple is today making major changes to its AppleCare plans for iPhone and iPad buyers. When considering an AppleCare+ plan, shoppers now reportedly have a 60-day window after their iPhone/iPad purchase, instead of the previous 30 days. The one exception to this is in Japan, where the old limit is still in effect.
Docking Station coming Aug.15
The Surface Pro 3 is now available in Canada and the US, online and at retail, Microsoft has announced. Currently the only versions on sale are Core i5 models. Microsoft has solidified a release date for Core i3 and i7 models however, which should ship August 1st.
Includes separate iMovie, iBooks workshops
Apple has opened registration for the 2014 edition of its annual Apple Camps. The program is aimed at teaching creative projects to kids aged 8 to 12 while simultaneously promoting Apple products. This year, two sets of three-day workshops are available: one is dedicated to creating a short film using iMovie and the iPad version of GarageBand, while the other involves producing an interactive book using iBooks Author and illustrations done on an iPad.
Corsair launches palm-sized 1TB wireless hard drive
Technology company Corsair has announced the release of its palm-size wireless hard drive, the Voyager Air 2. Featuring 1TB of storage, the Voyager Air 2 offers additional file storage for tablets, phones and computers. Its rechargeable battery removes the need for cables, and its latest version software includes close synchronization, simplified media browsing and AirPlay streaming to Apple TV. The Voyager Air 2 functions with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 connections, and can be partitioned if desired. Priced at $180, the drive will be available this month.
Rule change allows passenger use of mobile devices throughout Canadian flights
Airlines operating in Canada could soon allow passengers to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing, thanks to a rule change. The exemption to the Canadian Aviation Regulations will now let passengers use devices throughout entire flights within the country's borders, though it will still require airlines to adhere to certain rules for it to be allowed.
Rogers, Fido among providers to see Sony phone by month end
Canadians holding out for one of Sony's latest phones need wait no longer than the end of May. The Sony Xperia M2, a mid-range phone with Xperia Z2 styling and less power, will be making it to Canada through carriers Rogers and Fido. An unlocked version of the phone is to follow, available through Sony's online store.
Canadian all access customers registering before June 30 receive discount
Google announced today that Google Play Music has finally jumped the Canadian border. The music streaming service, which features over 25 millions songs across multiple music labels and genres, is finally available in Canada for the first time. The service launched in the US in 2011.
Rogers begins 700MHz LTE rollout in Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver
Rogers is expanding the available spectrum for its LTE service in Canada, by turning on its 700MHz network. Engadget reports that areas of Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver will see the benefits of 700MHz at first, with subscribers and AT&T customers roaming in the region able to see Rogers LTE in indoor areas where the signal was previously inaccessible. While it does not offer specific timing, Rogers plans to roll out the extra spectrum bands across the country.
900 taxpayers lose social insurance numbers to OpenSSL flaw
Canada's tax administration has reported that around 900 people have had personal data stolen, with the miscreants making off with the data using the Heartbleed bug. Taken by the hackers are social insurance numbers (similar to Social Security numbers in the US), and potentially other data. The breach is the first directly pointing at the Heartbleed bug as the main vector of attack.
Sony's latest waterproof smartphone to be available in May through Bell
Sony and Bell announced today the exclusive availability of Xperia Z2 waterproof smartphone in the Canadian market. The Xperia Z2 has a 5.2-inch screen, is 8.2mm (0.33-inch) thick, offers 4K video recording, and can utilize new Xperia camera apps. Sony's Xperia Z2 will be available in black, white and purple across Canada from Bell Mobility in May 2014.
BlackBerry reaches agreement on selling majority of its Canadian real estate
BlackBerry announced last Friday that it has reached an agreement to sell the majority of its real estate in Canada, as part of its plan to balance finances. The company originally announced its plan to sell assets back in January, in partnership with commercial real estate service company CBRE. Several months ago, BlackBerry sold five of its buildings to the University of Waterloo for $36.44 million dollars -- much of the real estate that has been sold most recently is also located in Waterloo, Ontario, where BlackBerry's headquarters resides. BlackBerry plans to lease back a portion of the space being sold.
First international expansion of Google Chromecast since US launch
Google is performing its first major international expansion of its Chromecast streaming HDMI dongle, making it available to purchase outside of the United States for the first time. Residents in a total of 11 more countries can now buy the device through Google Play and retailers, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and a number of other European countries.
Secondary-school stores have until end of May to sell hardware
Only a day after analyst Charlie Wolf noted that Apple's North American education-segment sales had hit an all-time quarterly record, Apple has reportedly declined to re-authorize contracts permitting Apple Authorized Campus Stores across Canada, effectively ending the program -- allegedly due to declining on-campus sales. The current contracts are scheduled to end with the current school year, beginning in June.
Device now reaching smaller niches worldwide
The iPhone will soon go on sale in two previously unreached countries, Serbia and Lebanon, according to several announcements. Serbia's Mobile Telephony -- also known as mt:s -- today revealed plans to carry the iPhone via Twitter, while rival Vip Mobile made an announcement through its website. The latter says it is only waiting on certification by RATEL, the agency that regulates electronics in Serbia.
Initiative making gradual international expansion
As anticipated, the iPhone Reuse and Recycling program has been introduced at Canadian Apple Stores. The option lets people trade in an old iPhone for a gift card, usually to put towards the purchase of a new phone. In Canada, Apple is promising "up to $275" for previous devices.
Program still in limited reach internationally
Apple's iPhone Reuse and Recycling trade-in program will be launching in Canada in the next few weeks, a source says. The person explains that staff training is due to begin this week. As elsewhere, the backend of the program is expected to be handled by BrightStar.
Rogers Next will offer 12-month upgrades for $25 monthly fee
Rogers of Canada is following the lead of its American carrier counterparts, by offering customers an earlier upgrade via an extra subscription. Rogers Next, similar to T-Mobile Jump, AT&T Next, and Verizon Edge, will allow customers to trade in smartphones every 12 months for a new device, with no up-front charges on a large number of devices, no connection fees, nor early upgrade fees.
Supporting regions still under a dozen
Apple has brought its two-step verification process to several more countries, the company's support pages show. Until today, only the US, UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand were supported. Now however the list also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain.
KitKat update for Android starts North American roll-out
Owners of the HTC One in Canada have started to receive the Android 4.2.2 update to their devices, despite it only entering carrier testing late last week. At the same time as Canada's rollout, the Android KitKat update for Sprint subscribers has been made available to download, though as a "customer initiated request" rather than a pushed update.
Delays follow path of international storefronts
Apple's online stores in the US, Canada, and Mexico now listing "March" shipping times for the 2013 Mac Pro, shoppers note. Until recently, the stores were quoting February delivery dates. The new times are however consistent with changes at Apple's international storefronts.
Testing of hands-free Beacon system expands
Transaction service PayPal has started testing a new web feature called In-Context Checkout, reports say. Normally, web-based PayPal transactions have to be completed at paypal.com. With the in-context code in place, choosing PayPal checkout at a retailer's website will simply conjure a pop-up, where billing and shipping information can be entered. At the moment only a handful of retailers have the option, but PayPal is promising that more vendors will adopt it in the first half of 2014.
US residents enjoy special holiday 'channels' on iTunes Radio instead
While US residents can brag on their ability to listen to special "holiday" channels on iTunes Radio, other countries have their own iTunes celebrations going on -- the Canadian iTunes Store, for example, has launched a "Boxing Day" sale on select albums and songs, while the UK store has a similar sale (but not, strangely, labeled as "Boxing Day" related). In both countries and a few others, "Boxing Day" kicks off a week of sales from all manner of retailers.
Carrier promotes global data packages
AT&T has announced that its customers can take advantage of LTE roaming while traveling in Canada. The service is one of the first to enable LTE connectivity for US travelers as they head across northern borders, through a roaming agreement with Canadian carrier Rogers Communications.
Canadian stores typically opening later than in US
Only some Apple Stores in the US and Canada will be opening early on Black Friday, reports note. In the US a portion, generally ones inside malls, will be open at 6AM. Others will be open at their regular times, and/or between 7 and 9AM. Canadian outlets will be open no earlier than 7AM, but otherwise follow a similar pattern. Apple's retail website provides details for individual store hours.
National security concerns over telecoms infrastructure nixed buyout plans
Lenovo could have bought ailing smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry, but was denied by the Canadian government. Alleged interference of inter-company discussions by Ottawa government officials made it clear to BlackBerry executives that a takeover by a Chinese company would not proceed, due to potential national security concerns.