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Tag - Starbucks
Another 66 banks, credit unions, and financial institutions have been added to Apple's US Apple Pay partners list, bringing the total (including two store-issued cards, Kohl's and the newly-added BJ's Wholesale Club) to 857 partners listed on the Apple Pay site. Starbucks and some other merchants have already announced plans to add their virtual loyalty or discount cards to Apple Pay and the Wallet app for iOS sometime next year, and American Express has recently begun expanding support for its cards to other countries.
The Starbucks iOS app available in the Canadian App Store can now be reloaded using Apple Pay, and the virtual card can also be added to Wallet on the iPhone 6 or later, including the Apple Watch. Users in Canada can simply open the app and use the Reload button, choosing Apple Pay as the method of payment. Presently, Canadians must use either an Amex card or a US-based card that is supported by Apple Pay to take advantage of the feature, but the Starbucks virtual card itself can be loaded into Wallet or used directly from the app to pay in stores, using a barcode reader.
Apple VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey announced at the Code/Mobile conference on Thursday that direct Apple Pay payments would begin to be supported at Starbucks and other restaurant chains such as KFC and Chili's in pilot programs beginning later this year, with a full rollout for all 7,500 of Starbucks' company-owned stores happening across 2016. The coffee chain, which has supported online Apple Pay for reloading its virtual loyalty card app but not direct payment, will now be able to take Apple Pay without a loyalty card or app if desired.
Sprint is preparing to increase the cost of its unlimited plan for a single line. While it is currently priced at $60 per month for unlimited calls, texts, and data, the carrier will be raising the plan's monthly charge to $70 from October 16 for new customers. Existing customers on the plan will continue to pay the $60 monthly rate, with Sprint advising they can also activate a new phone and remain on the same $60 Unlimited Plan, as long as they still meet the plan requirements and are either purchasing or financing a phone.
Starbucks has made its Mobile Order & Pay system available to all customers across the United States, following tests in a number of US markets. The feature, available in both iOS and Android versions of the Starbucks app, lets customers place their order from within the app, with the estimated time for order completion provided once it has been placed. There is also the ability to pre-pay within the app itself, saving customers more time. Starbucks is aiming to bring the same feature to select company-owned stores in the United States and Canada next month.
Starbucks is expanding its rewards program to allow patrons increased access to the New York Times, on top of the 15 free pages already provided through the Starbucks Digital Network. Starting in the first half of 2016, My Starbucks Rewards members will be able to view the top news of the day from the publication, as well as a selection of other articles, via the Starbucks mobile app.
Starbucks employees will be able to have more control over in-store music provided by Spotify, the two companies have revealed. A multi-year deal struck between the coffee chain and the music streaming service will also do more than provide music, with it opening up the Starbucks loyalty program to allow Spotify subscribers to increase their rewards balance and eventually earn free drinks.
JetBlue has announced that, starting next week, passengers will be able to pay for items such as food and beverages in-flight using Apple Pay. Items range from amenities like headsets and food items, to upgrading to a premium seat. The service will begin with cross-country flights between New York and California, then expand to other routes. Flight attendants will use Apple's iPad mini, which will be specially encased to take credit cards as well.
Two companies, Square and Starbucks, have launched new iOS options for food orders. Square has introduced a free app for Caviar, the delivery service it bought out in August. Caviar users can have food delivered from partner restaurants in select areas. So far the list of regions includes San Francisco and the Bay Area, plus Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington DC.
Starbucks is expanding its wireless charging efforts, by adding more Duracell Powermat charges to 200 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, ahead of plans to offer it across the United States and possibly in Europe and Asia by next year. For customers without a compatible wireless charging device, Duracell Powermat "Rings" will be available to borrow and return for each visit, or can be bought for $10 each.
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Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X
Bambooti wooden skins for MacBooks
Bambooti has introduced premium wooden skins for Apple laptops that allow users to customize any design or logo directly on the case. Each Bambooti skin is handcrafted from sustainably managed forests, and are hand sanded and spray-finished to create an ultra smooth exterior. Bambooti's wooden skins start at $65 on the fully-funded Kickstarter which includes a custom design or logo of the user's choice that will be engraved on the product. http://kck.st/1PhE6Sb
Apple Music in Taiwan, now up to 113 countries
Apple Music has now added its 113th country, Taiwan, to its expanding list of areas where it offers its paid subscription service. The price in the country will start at NT$150 (about $4.50 US) for an individual subscription, and that now includes (as it does in the rest of the world) the formerly free-but-ad-supported iTunes Radio feature, which as in other countries will be customized somewhat to offer channels of locally-popular music styles. Apple Music is now available in 16 countries and regions -- including China, India, Russia, and Japan -- where Spotify has not yet arrived.
Invisible wall mount for iPad Pro, mini
Computing hardware mounting company Wall-Smart has announced the availability the new "invisible" wall mount, with models for the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 -- all with no bezel. The invisible mount includes Power Over Ethernet to USB, which allows charging while in-wall, and is available for both drywall and solid surfaces such as solid wood panels or partition walls. Prices vary widely by iPad model, and required mounting hardware. http://bit.ly/1SE5jCO
Kingston buys IronKey secure USB tech
Kingston Digital today announced it has acquired the USB technology and assets of IronKey from Imation. In addition to Kingston's acquisition, encryption services leader DataLocker has purchased the IronKey Enterprise Management Services platform which provides centralized management to encrypted USB drives. Kingston and DataLocker claim that there will be no interruption in service provided, or available products as a result of the consolidations. http://bit.ly/1QQk9SZ