Tag - Payments
The "Trade Up with Installments" plan from Apple Stores that allows customers to buy new iPhones with built-in yearly upgrade options for set monthly payments saw some minor changes on Tuesday. The new plans offer customers more flexibility in how they use the money they earn from trading in the older smartphone, but lowers the maximum value of a trade-in from $300 to $250. The changes are only for the Trade-Up option, and don't affect the similar iPhone Upgrade Program.
Two of the largest food-delivery services in the US, Grubhub and its subsidiary Seamless, have updated their iOS apps to accept Apple Pay payments, widening the circle of merchants who accept Apple Pay online. Grubhub generated $2.4 billion in sales in 2015, and 60 percent of that came from online ordering through its mobile apps, so the addition of Apple Pay may help further spur adoption. As recently reported, Apple Pay is highly-regarded among users and banks, but merchants in the US have been slow to adopt the technology, since it generally requires a change in point-of-sale (POS) terminals.
Apple Pay is being made available to more users in Singapore, courtesy of new partnerships forged with banks in the region. Following just a month after the mobile payment platform went live for American Express customers, the service has now expanded to work with cards using Visa and MasterCard for transactions, with five new banks joining the roster of financial institutions that will take credit and debit card payments via iPhones and the Apple Watch.
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.
Owners of iPhones in Canada are no longer restricted to using American Express cards for contactless payments via Apple Pay, after Apple has made agreements with major banks in the country to use the mobile payment platform in stores. Six months after the American Express deal that brought Apple Pay to Canada, two of the five major banks in the country has enabled support today, with others set to join the roster in the coming months.
Walmart is finally rolling out its competitor to Apple Pay to its mobile app, making it one of the last few major retailers to offer some form of mobile-based payment system in its stores. Walmart Pay will allow customers to register their credit, debit, and gift card details to an account in the app, which can then be used to make payments at the checkout at the retailer's stores across the United States, though when individual stores will gain the ability to accept the payments remains unknown.
Apple Pay has expanded into Singapore, bringing the mobile payment platform to its second market in Asia, but in a limited fashion. The expansion is being performed as part of a deal with American Express, which means that only owners of American Express credit cards will be able to use Apple Pay with contactless payment terminals in the country, in a similar fashion to how Apple Pay arrived in Canada and Australia.
Depending on how you look at it, Facebook is either planning to become a partner or a rival to existing mobile payment services like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and others. The social service is planning to being offering in-store purchases through its mobile Messenger app, and has indicated it would be willing to partner with some of the current players in the virtual-wallet space. Using a partner that has a good reputation for transaction security, such as Apple, would reassure users hesitant to share credit-card information with Facebook.
Apple Pay's launch in China is a success, after figures released by the China Merchants Bank confirmed the payments service enjoyed extremely high usage within the first few days of availability in the country. For the first two days after launch, the bank claims its customers connected 1 million bank cards to Apple Pay, which is said to represent approximately 35 percent of all cards used with the service, with the rest made up of cards from the other 18 Chinese banks supporting Apple Pay at launch.
Apple Pay could roll out in France by the end of this year, but Apple is still said to be in negotiations with major French banks over the matter. Sources of one French outlet claim the commission Apple receives on each Apple Pay transaction from the financial institutions is a sticking point, in that existing transaction fees for debit and credit cards are not much more than what Apple is said to be requesting as its own fee.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE