Dramatic price jumps likely to hurt foreign sales, but preserve profit margins
Apple has issued an overdue correction to a number of non-US markets in response to the strengthening US dollar, which is gaining favor in currency trading circles again due to the recovering US economy and reduced deficit situation. The news is bad for Apple buyers outside the US, however, as dramatic price jumps of nearly $100 for unlocked iPhones and $400 increases in the price of some Mac hardware are likely to hurt foreign sales, at least in the short term.
Startup aims to bridge digital currencies, normal currencies, loyalty points with debit card
A startup is attempting to make it easier for people to pay for goods and services using digital currencies. Shift Payments, backed by Y Combinator, is testing a debit card which lets users spend Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as if it is a normal fiat currency, with a view to allowing customers to switch between virtual currencies, normal funds, and loyalty points in the future.
Reminds consumers Internet currency is a target for hackers, comes with additional cost
The US Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a warning on virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin on its website today. In the warning, the CFPB sounds off some well-known issues that generally circle around Internet currencies, such as the risk of hacking, fraud and lack of regulation in holding houses.
Coinbase partnership allows travel booking company to accept online currency
Travel reservation company Expedia has jumped aboard the Bitcoin train to allow travelers to book their hotel stays with the virtual currency. Teaming up with Coinbase, Expedia will now show Bitcoins as a payment option up against other payment forms, such as credit cards and PayPal. Expedia joins the likes of Overstock.com and Dish Network in allowing their customers to pay with the Internet currency.
Kik messaging app launches its own virtual currency
Canadian start-up Kik has launched a virtual currency for its messaging app with built-in browser. Kik users can now earn "Kik Points," which both incentivizes in-app activity and allows for buying content. Points can be earned by executing specific tasks, such as inviting friends to the beta, and in turn "buy" in-app content like stamps. Kik is available for download across operating systems.
Bitcoin miners required to declare earned virtual currency
The Internal Revenue Service has declared that Bitcoin should be classed as property for tax purposes, and not as a currency. The ruling, which clarifies the tax-related standings for its supporters, can be applied to virtual currencies, with the US government agency also stating that owners may need to pay more tax or deduct a loss depending on what happens to the value of the currency as it is owned.
Total Bitcoins loss said to be 850,000 due to system weakness
Troubled Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan on Friday, breaking the silence on the company's position since suspending trading on February 24. The firm admits that it may have lost nearly half a billion dollars worth of the virtual currency when its systems were compromised by hackers. Mt. Gox is said to have $64 million in debts.
Fox Sports set to stream Super Bowl on its site and its iOS app February 2, 2014
Fox Sports has confirmed that it will stream this year's Super Bowl, as it has the past two years. Super Bowl XXVIII -- featuring Bruno Mars' halftime show -- will stream online from Fox Sports' steaming site as well as its iOS app at 6:30PM ET on February 2.
MTV releases Android app offering full TV show episodes, bonus content
MTV has released an Android app on Google Play for its programming, bringing it in line with the version for iOS devices. The free app lets users watch recently-broadcast TV shows on a mobile device, though only after the user has authenticated a cable subscription with the app, reports Android Community. Other users can watch smaller video clips, see extra show content, view show-specific Twitter feeds, and read music and fashion news.
Google adds Designed for Tablets section to Play Store
The Google Play Store has been updated to showcase apps "Designed for tablets," something Google announced it would do last month. Tablet users will see the tablet-aimed apps as the default view in Google Play, according to an Android Developers Google+ post, with apps that do not meet specific criteria to be "Designed for tablets" to be marked as "Designed for phones" instead.
SEC suit against Bitcoin hedge fund forced district court ruling
Bitcoin is a recognized currency that is subject to the laws of the United States, according to a federal judge ruling over a lawsuit by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against a Bitcoin hedge fund owner. Judge Amos Mazzant in Texas declared Bitcoin as "a currency or form of money," paving the way for government regulation in the virtual currency.
New payment system to work on Xbox Live, Windows Store, Windows Phone Store
Microsoft may be scrapping its Points virtual currency in favor of local currency pricing, according to a report. The rumor, which has surfaced a few times in the past, is now bolstered with new claims that the new system would work across platforms, with Microsoft preparing to reveal it at the E3 game show later this year.
Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD owners receive 500-coin gift
Amazon has launched its virtual currency in the United States, and has provided Kindle Fire owners with an initial credit on their accounts. The 500 Amazon Coins, valued at $5, can be used to buy apps from the Amazon Appstore as well as in-app items, along with an incentive to continue buying packs of the virtual currency instead of usual cash transactions.
Follows rumors of changes to non-U.S. Mac prices
Apple has been adjusting international pricing in its non-U.S. app stores -- both the Mac and iOS versions -- to more closely match currency differences, resulting in most countries outside North America getting a price "cut" on Mac and iOS apps, though some countries are seeing a price increase (depending on the currency in question), 9to5Mac reports. The action follows reports that Apple hardware pricing may also soon be adjusted to reflect changes in currency differences.
Currency Assistant 3.1 ($19) allows users to convert values between 175 world currencies (all major circulating currencies plus the 16 Eurozone legacy currencies). The software also automatically updates exchange rates over the Internet using the rates published by the European Central Bank, the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank of Italy. The new release allows the Rate indicator and the Rate pop-up menu to show either currency
names or ISO codes. Users can also now display the names of the currencies in a converter by placing the mouse pointer over its Switch Currency pop-up menus. [Download - 2.2MB]
Xmart Volume, iWorkService
Currency Assistant 3.0 ($19) allows users to convert values between 174 world currencies (all major circulating currencies plus the 16 Eurozone legacy currencies). The software also automatically updates exchange rates over the Internet using the rates published by the European Central Bank, the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank of Italy. In the latest release the software has been rewritten as a Universal Cocoa application, the currency conversion calculator has a fully revised interface and introduces several other new features. [Download - 2MB]
Synium unveils iFinance 2
Synium Software today unveiled iFinance 2, an update to its personal finance management software. After a long beta test throughout last year, the final release version offers powerful tools for cash flow management and financial analysis. iFinance features built-in diagramming, auto-categorization, and smart imports from CSV files. Colorful charts allow users to visualize current and future cashflow, by coloring bars a solid color for existing data, while projected values are faded. Synium will be at Macworld Expo to demonstrate this and other titles; iFinance 2 is available for $20.