Apple Pay adds 18 more banks & credit unions, 100 institutions supported

Apple Pay Apple Watch

Ahead of Apple’s ‘Spring forward’ event on Monday where we expect to hear much more about the Apple Watch, more than a dozen new banks and credit unions have added support for Apple Pay. The Apple Watch will support the mobile payment service and extend Apple Pay support in stores beyond the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and iPhone 5s when paired. Following the addition of 18 new banks including credit unions for American Airlines and IBM today, Apple Pay is now supported by nearly 100 institutions. Here’s the list of newly added banks: Read more

Koenigsegg includes CarPlay in crazy (and gorgeous) new 1782bhp hybrid hypercar

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You’d think putting three electric motors into a sportscar to generate a total of 697bhp would be pretty impressive in itself, as would a 1085bhp 5-litre V8 gas engine, but no: Koenigsegg had to combine the two. The exclusive Swedish supercar manufacturer’s new Regera hybrid delivers a total output of 1782bhp.

With all that power, it might be a little hard to hear the stereo over the engine noise and tire screeching, but Koenigsegg has fitted a CarPlay unit to the car for those times when you’re taking things a little easier …  Read more

Does Pebble’s new gold-colored Time Steel smartwatch look familiar to you?

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A week after Pebble announced a color-screen version of its popular smartwatch, the Pebble Time, it has now announced a stainless steel model: the Pebble Time Steel. The metal version is available in silver, black and … gold finishes. Wonder where they got the inspiration for a gold finish with red strap?

The Time Steel will retail at $299–a hundred bucks more than the plastic original, but still $50 less than the plastic-strap model Apple Watch. It’s available on Kickstarter for an early bird price of $250 …  Read more

Apple hanging billboards on skyscrapers and buildings around the world to showcase iPhone 6 photography

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As part of its Shot on iPhone 6 campaign promoting iPhone photography, Apple is now hanging billboard advertisements around the world. The ads feature the photographs in full bleed with a simple ‘Shot on iPhone 6′ tagline. The posters are going up around the world, including some dramatic large billboards on the side of skyscrapers. Pictured above is one such poster (photo taken by Jimmy Grewal on Twitter) being setup on a skyscraper in Dubai.

In total, the campaign will showcase 77 different individual’s images spanning 24 countries. Users on Twitter have been posting sightings of these ads from all over the world …

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Apple Stores will now allow customers to test in-ear headphones before buying

Apple has always allowed customers to test over-ear headphones

Apple has always allowed customers to test over-ear headphones (Getty)

Apple will begin allowing prospective customers to test out in-ear headphones prior to purchase within Apple Stores, according to several employees. Due to sanitation concerns, Apple has been reluctant to allowing customers to try out in-ear headphones, but a new solution called Demo Kits will solve this problem. Beginning this week, when a customer is interested in purchasing in-ear headphones, an Apple Store employee will have the ability to create a custom Demo Kit that holds up to six different models of in-ear headphones. These kits will include a fresh pair ear tips and alcohol cleaning wipes so that the try on process is sanitary…

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Apple releases first OS X 10.10.3 Public Beta with new Photos app

Apple today released the first Public Beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.3. The new release includes the iCloud-based Photos application for the Mac, new Emojis across the system, and simpler login to Google accounts for profiles with two-factor authentication enabled. This beta is labeled as build 14D87, which is the same as the second 10.10.3 beta for developers, which was released a week ago. The Public Beta is available in the Mac App Store Software Update tab for registered beta users. Apple plans to release the first Public Beta of iOS 8.3 in mid-March, according to sources. Thanks, DJ!

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Cook teases ‘ton’ of Apple Watch announcements, including Panera Bread, Salesforce enterprise & fitness apps

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In addition to discussing the international Apple Watch launch and accessibility efforts at a briefing in Germany, Apple CEO Tim Cook teased “a whole ton of announcements coming shortly about all of the apps coming” for the Apple Watch, according to employees in attendance. Cook first highlighted the use of the Apple Watch in hotels by saying that “some of the best hotels in the world” will allow Apple Watch users to use the wearable to unlock room doors.

Additionally, Cook said that the Apple Watch hotel applications will even be able to replace the check-in processes for some hotels. “So people are beginning to think about doing not only cool things with their apps, but how it changes their whole business,” Cook said. As highlighted at the first Apple Watch event in September 2014, Starwood Hotels has already announced that it is working with Apple on an app for the Apple Watch…

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Apple puts Environment VP Lisa Jackson in charge of boosting accessibility efforts

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Apple Watch Accessibility Settings

Apple told employees during a week at the flagship Berlin Apple Store in Germany that the company will increase its focus on product accessibility by putting executive Lisa Jackson in charge of the efforts, according to people in attendance. Asked by an Apple Store employee if the Apple Watch will include accessibility features, Cook reportedly replied:

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Tim Cook says Apple Watch will be available outside U.S. in April

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Speaking at the Berlin flagship Apple Store last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that the Apple Watch will not be exclusive to the United States in April, according to employees in attendance. Specifically, Cook said that the Apple Watch will launch in Germany during the month of April. It’s possible that the Apple Watch will launch first in the United States in early April, with Germany and other countries following later in the month, but it definitely appears that the Watch’s rollout will be more aggressive than the first iPhone and iPad launches…

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Apple & IBM partnership delivers 3 new enterprise iOS apps

Apple IBM Advisor Alerts

Apple and IBM today unveiled three new enterprise apps developed for iOS as part of their ongoing ‘IBM MobileFirst for iOS’ partnership. The new apps include Advisor Alerts, Passenger Care, and Dynamic Buy. The three apps, a combination of both iPhone and iPad software, join the original set of 10 announced last year and another new app recently announced bringing the collection of apps announced under the deal to 14 total across eight industries including retail, banking, and transportation.

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Apple Watch tour of world’s fashion magazines reaches Hong Kong (and new cover in China)

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Apple may be able to scale back its advertising budget for the Apple Watch: so far the device appears to be doing just fine in getting multi-page editorial coverage in the world’s fashion magazines. The latest fashion title to run a major feature on the watch is Hong Kong’s East Touch magazine, which is running a four-page spread–and has since made a cover appearance on China’s YoHo! magazine.

The Apple Watch has so far been featured Vogue China, Vogue France, the USA’s Self and the UK’s Style, as well as fashion titles in France and Germany. Apple did, however, have to pay for advertising in the US edition of Vogue. A contributing editor to Vogue also described the Apple Watch as “terrific.”

Check out the other photos from East Touch, and the YoHo! cover, below …  Read more

Tim Cook talks Snowden, Apple Car and Steve Jobs as the best teacher he’s ever had

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Tim Cook appears to be using his international tour, which so far includes Israel, Germany and the UK, to push a second product every bit as hard as the Apple Watch: privacy. In an interview with the German newspaper BILD posted yesterday (paywall), Cook went as far as to praise Edward Snowden for his role in prompting discussion of the issue.

If Snowden did anything for us at all, then it was to get us to talk more about these things. [Apple’s] values have always been the same.

The comments follow a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at which data privacy was reportedly a key topic. Cook also told the Telegraph last week that “none of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information.” Cook has in the past resisted FBI pressure to compromise its strong encryption, and was the only tech CEO to attend a recent White House cybersecurity summit.

In the BILD interview, Cook reiterated Apple’s stance on privacy, and also said that as Apple had grown larger, it had taken deliberate decisions to be less secretive about some aspects of its business …  Read more