Apple Pay coming to 200,000 vending machines, kiosks, paid parking & other self-serve locations

Apple Pay Vending Machine

While individual retailers have been announcing support for Apple Pay as more NFC terminals enable the service, it’s still hit and miss on vending machines and other self-serve, unattended hardware. USA Technologies today announced it’s bringing support to around 200,000 of these self-serve payment terminals that its customers use for everything from coffee brewers to vending machines, kiosks, laundry equipment and pay parking terminals. Read more

Apple Pay is secure, but weak ID checks by partner banks create vulnerability, claims report

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While Apple Pay is the gold standard for safe card transactions, some partner banks are leaving customers vulnerable to fraud via identity theft thanks to weak checks when cards are added to Apple Pay, according to mobile commerce consultants Drop Labs. Some partner banks are consequently seeing fraud rates six times higher than with physical cards.

For consumers, Apple Pay is extremely safe, thanks to the use of Touch ID fingerprint verification and single-use code transmission rather than sharing full card details. Drop Labs claims that the weak link in the chain is what happens when cards are added to Apple Pay …  Read more

Anticipated iPhone numbers would see Apple threatening Samsung’s smartphone lead

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If Apple does indeed report iPhone sales in line with analyst expectations of 66.5M units, the company could be closing in on the market share lead Samsung has held in the smartphone market since 2011, reports the WSJ.

Research company Canalys notes that Apple’s anticipated growth in iPhone sales coincides with a dramatic drop in sales of Samsung smartphones.

Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

While that still leaves Samsung well ahead for now, it’s a trendline which could see Apple regain the lead it once held …  Read more

Apple commissions another artistic mural for upcoming Chongqing, China retail store

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Last week Apple posted a video showing how the calligraphy mural painted at one of its upcoming Chinese retail outlets was created just days before that store opened to the public.

Today the company has posted a new video of a second mural, this time at its new Chongqing location. The store features a unique cylindrical entrance, and Apple commissioned two artists—a China-based painter and US-based photographer—to collaborate on the artwork.

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Apple shutting down legacy TestFlight next month following iTunes Connect integration

TestFlight iTunes Connect

Apple today began informing legacy TestFlight users that the services on TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26th, 2015. Apple bought the popular software testing distribution service through its acquisition of Burstly almost a year ago, and announced plans at WWDC 2014 to roll out its own version of the service in the future. Since then, Apple has integrated TestFlight beta testing for app developers with iTunes Connect. Read more

OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 to add iCloud Drive in Time Machine, Wi-Fi, security + VoiceOver fixes

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Update, Tuesday: It’s now available.

After existing in beta with developers for a few months, Apple is preparing to release the second update to OS X Yosemite in the coming days to customers. The OS X 10.10.2 update was seeded to Apple employees this week under the build 14C109, which is a bit newer than the most recent developer preview. Sources provided the release notes, and there are some notable feature additions and fixes…

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AAPL earnings will come in well above upper end of company’s guidance, say analysts, at $68.3B

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Fortune has done its usual analyst poll ahead of Apple announcing its Q1 earnings tomorrow, and Wall Street is expecting the company to significantly out-perform its earnings guidance of $63.5 to $66.5B.

The consensus among the analysts Fortune polled — 20 professionals and 15 amateurs — is that Apple’s total sales for fiscal Q1 2015 will come in at about $68.3 billion, up 21% year over year.

That would be $1.8B above the upper end of the expectations Apple set back in October …  Read more

Angela Ahrendts recruiting U.S. employees for China as new stores & initiatives revealed

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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts is continuing to go all in on growth in China. In video messages to employees in recent days and weeks, Ahrendts has been recruiting employees from United States-based Apple Retail stores to relocate to China to help build up Apple’s retail efforts in the region. In a note to employees late last week, sources say that Ahrendts reported that approximately 200 Apple retail workers from the U.S. have already offered to make the move. Ahrendts added that the offer to move to China “has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, so as your personal and professional life changes, just always keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you…”

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Apple now selling more iPhones in China than in US, say analysts

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Tim Cook said in October that it was “just a matter of time” before China overtook the USA as its biggest market, and it seems that time may be arriving sooner than expected – at least as far as the iPhone is concerned. The Financial Times reports that analysts expect tomorrow’s Q1 earnings call to confirm that Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the US.

Analysts at UBS estimate that China accounted for 36 per cent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared with 24 per cent for the US. During the same period last year, 29 per cent of units were sold in the US and 22 per cent were in China, UBS said.

The view was supported by Creative Strategies, which forecast that Apple has sold around 2M more iPhones in China than in the US in the final calendar quarter of 2014 (Apple’s financial Q1) …  Read more

Korean report supports KGI prediction that Samsung will make 75% of A9 chips for next iPhone

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Korean news site MK Business News (via Reuters) is reporting that Samsung will make 75% of the A9 chip for the next iPhone. This matches an earlier detailed prediction by KGI Research, which stated that the balance of the chips would be made by Global Foundry, and is in line with a statement by Samsung which last year confirmed it as a major supplier of the new chip.

The Samsung-fabbed chips will, says the report, be made in the USA …  Read more