Apple’s market-leading tablet share falls to 22% against growing cheap media consumption options

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Worldwide unit shipments for the top 5 tablet plus 2-in-1 device vendors over last five quarters

New data from IDC tracking worldwide tablet shipments shows that Apple has maintained its lead during the third quarter despite “a decline in overall iPad shipment volume in 3Q14.” Specifically, Apple grabbed 22.8% of the market with 12.3 million shipments during the quarter compared to 14.1 million units and 29.2% share in the year ago quarter. That compares to Samsung at 18.3% of the market and 9.9 million units shipped up from 19.3% and 9.3 million units shipped in the third quarter last year: Read more

Apple Pay fans express displeasure at MCX in app ratings; consortium suggests possible future switch to NFC

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While the MCX consortium’s CurrentC mobile payment service isn’t due to launch until next year, it has been carrying out limited trials, facilitated by placing the app in the iTunes store. iPhone owners have been expressing their displeasure at the blocking of Apple Pay by MCX members by rating and reviewing the app.

At the time of writing, the app had accumulated 2,856 1-star reviews against a total of just 30 reviews giving it 2 stars or more …  Read more

MCX: Merchants accepting both CurrentC and Apple Pay ‘entirely possible’ in the future

Apple Pay CurrentC

Earlier this week, retailers CVS and Rite Aid blocked NFC payments at their stores following the launch of Apple Pay because of their existing commitment to MCX’s CurrentC platform. Nevertheless, MCX CEO Dekkers Davidson assures that merchants accepting both CurrentC and Apple Pay “could be entirely possible” in the future.

The blockade has ignited somewhat of a controversy between Apple Pay and MCX, only worsened by the fact that it was confirmed that CurrentC suffered a security breach earlier this morning. MCX, or Merchant Customer Exchange, consists of a number of high-profile retailers that grouped together to work on their own CurrentC contactless payments platform. Read more

MCX’s CurrentC, the infamous Apple Pay competitor, says its already been hacked

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CurrentC, the much discussed infamous competitor to the Apple Pay mobile payments platform, has some more bad press coming its way. According to an email sent out this morning to its pilot program customers, the MCX service has already been hacked. According to the notice, “unauthorized third parties” obtained email address information for an unannounced number of users:

Thank you for your interest in CurrentC. You are receiving this message because you are either a participant in our pilot program or requested information about CurrentC. Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of you. Based on investigations conducted by MCX security personnel, only these e-mail addresses were involved and no other information.

In an abundance of caution, we wanted to make you aware of this incident and urge you not to open links or attachments from unknown third parties. Also know that neither CurrentC nor Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) will ever send you emails asking for your financial account, social security number or other personally identifiable information. So if you are ever asked for this information in an email, you can be confident it is not from us and you should not respond.

MCX is continuing to investigate this situation and will provide updates as necessary. We take the security of your information extremely seriously, apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your support of CurrentC.

For those not following the MCX vs. Apple Pay saga, MCX powers a payments platform utilized by key retailers such as WalMart, CVS, and RiteAid. After initially supporting NFC-based payments via Apple Pay and Google Wallet, those aforementioned retailers shut down their industry standard NFC-based payment processing systems in favor of the CurrentC app from MCX.

MCX has since responded to this controversy on its website, and Apple CEO Tim Cook referred to the entire situation as a “skirmish.” Meanwhile, reports have indicated that retailers are playing along with MCX in order to avoid fines discussed in early contractual agreements. Nonetheless, Apple Pay has already amassed over a million activations, becoming the most ubiquitous mobile payments platform in just about a week.

MCX has confirmed that the email to customers is legitimate and said the following:

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LG announces impressive 31-inch 4K monitor with Mac compatibility for $1,399

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Click to enlarge, note Mac interface for scale

Update: The monitor doesn’t actually cost $2,499—that is the Australian price. In the U.S., the monitor will be shipping for a much more reasonable $1,399.

LG Electronics on Tuesday unveiled its new 31-inch Digital Cinema 4K monitor (4096×2160 px) for $1,399. Apple users will be pleased to hear that the monitor is compatible with both Mac and Thunderbolt. The monitor includes a Mini DisplayPort (in addition to 2 HDMI ports and 1 DisplayPort), which uses the same physical port as Thunderbolt enabling Mac users to drive the 4K display over a single Mini DisplayPort 1.2 cable.

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FTC suing AT&T for throttling unlimited data user speeds, carrier calls claims “baseless”

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it is suing AT&T for “deceptive and unfair data throttling”. The FTC’s announcement seems to target AT&T’s practice of lowering data transfer speeds for customers with unlimited data plans versus customers with tiered data plans now offered. From the FTC’s press release:

“AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

AT&T has called the FTC’s allegations baseless adding that the carrier has been “completely transparent” with its subscribers.

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Apple profiles its effort in Obama’s ConnectED education program: 114 schools receiving Macs, iPads, & Apple TVs

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The White House shared earlier this year that Apple is a participant in President Obama’s ConnectED education program focused on bringing Internet access and technology to schools in need, and today Apple has provided a micro site profiling its effort in the program.

While it was already known that Apple has pledged $100 million to provide iPads, MacBooks, and other products toward the program for schools across the United States, Apple has shared that Apple ConnectED grants are being received by a total of 114 different schools across the country with these schools spread out across 29 states. Apple added that “92% of students from our partner schools are of Hispanic, Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, or Asian heritage.” Read more

Alpine announces 7-inch iLX-007 aftermarket receiver, its first CarPlay display

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Alpine today announced its first aftermarket in-dash receiver with support for Apple’s CarPlay feature for iPhone users. The new Alpine iLX-007 will be the company’s first display to support CarPlay following Pioneer’s rollout of the feature to its latest NEX displays earlier this month. Alpine’s new in-dash receiver features a 7-inch capacitive touch screen comparable to Pioneer’s high end NEX8000 CarPlay compatible model ($1,400), but at a much lower price point of $800 as it lacks other hardware features.

Alpine’s CarPlay offering is still one of the first on the market yet and joins Pioneer in allowing drivers to have CarPlay without buying a new car. Several automakers have already announced CarPlay availability on certain models of new cars, some of which are already on the road, but will require firmware updates in the future before CarPlay is present. Read more

Preorders for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus top 100,000 in South Korea, ‘outpacing’ Galaxy Note 4 on Samsung’s home turf

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The WSJ is reporting that Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus went on preorder in South Korea on Friday, following their official launch this Friday, October 31st, as part of the next wave of iPhone rollouts. Analyst estimates show that presales for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus topped 100,000 units. By comparison, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 recorded a third of that number (around 30,000) in preorders in a similar timeframe when it launched in September.

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CVS begins disabling NFC terminals in stores to cut off Apple Pay support in favor of ‘CurrentC’

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CVS Pharmacy has decided to disable all NFC terminals in all of its stores after it was discovered that Apple Pay would work with the hardware. CVS sent a memo to its stores, which was posted by SlashGear, saying that Apple Pay was not a supported payment type and that customers would have to choose some other payment method in order to check out.

The notice also explains the reason for the change: CVS is currently part of a consortium of retailers attempted to create an alternative mobile payment method called CurrentC. The new system isn’t based on NFC. It is, however, based on something you’ve probably seen before…

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Apple SIM simplifies buying international data plans with supported carriers, internal document clarifies

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An internal Apple sales document clarifies the possible uses of the Apple SIM, which is included in cellular versions of the iPad mini 3 and Apple iPad Air 2. The Apple SIM launched with several supported carriers: T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint in the US and EE in the UK.

Given that EE is the only available carrier in the UK, the purpose of its existence in the region was unclear. However, this document confirms that customers travelling between the US and the UK can benefit from the deal.

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