Supporting payment infrastructure for Apple Pay will be in place in Europe by mid-April

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Visa Europe has announced that its European contactless payment terminals will support the tokenization service used by Apple Pay by mid-April. This would allow Apple to introduce Apple Pay to Europe anytime from this point on. MasterCard has advised us that it already supports tokenisation globally.

Tokenisation technology will be at the heart of new mobile payment solutions and has been hailed as one of the best data protection and fraud prevention methods available. The new service will be available for financial institutions [in Europe] from mid-April 2015.

Although Europe has had contactless payment cards for several years, these currently transmit the actual card details to the terminal. Apple Pay, in contrast, transmits single-use codes which card companies can map back to the actual card, a functionality currently only available on the Visa network in the USA. As of mid-April, that functionality will be available in Europe too …  Read more

Apple reportedly acquired audio software developer Camel Audio in January

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Audio software developer Camel Audio announced in January that it would be shutting down for good and removing its software from sale, but no one knew quite why. However, it now appears that the company has been acquired by Apple.

Today Camel Audio updated some of its corporate information, including its address and directors, as listed on the UK government’s Companies House website. The new address is 100 New Bridge Street in London, which also happens to be the address of Apple’s UK offices.

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Apple to overhaul Genius Bar, changing appointments and using phones as pagers

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Apple will soon make a significant change to retail store Genius Bar appointments to improve the customer experience, according to several sources briefed on the upcoming shift. During the week of March 9th, Apple’s United States stores will launch a new initiative called “The new Concierge” that replaces traditional walk-in Genius Bar appointments. Currently, a customer seeking Genius Bar assistance can walk into an Apple Retail Store, explain the issue to a check-in assistant, and get a specific time to return for an appointment…

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Opinion: Should Apple improve iPhone battery life, or just battery cases?

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As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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Siri learns Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai and Turkish for iOS 8.3 beta 2

In addition to Wireless CarPlay, more diverse Emojis, and improved logging in for Google services, iOS 8.3 adds a major new feature: several new languages for Siri. Over three years following the initial Siri beta in 2011, iOS 8.3 adds support for the following languages in Siri: Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and English for India…

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Apple releases iOS 8.3 beta 2 for iPhone, iPad with new Emojis, new Apple TV beta OS

Screenshot 2015-02-23 13.04.27Two weeks following the first beta, Apple has released iOS 8.3 beta 2 to developers for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. As we reported upon the first beta, the upcoming release includes a Wireless CarPlay feature, a new Emoji picker, improved login for Google services, an updated voice for Siri, and support for Apple Pay in China. iOS 8.3 is coming later this year, and sources say that Apple will release a public beta of iOS 8.3 alongside the third beta in mid-March. Apple is also working on iOS 8.4 with a new streaming music service and iOS 9.0 with bug fixes and performance enhancements as a tentpole feature. iOS 8.2, which currently stands at beta 5, will be released in March. There won’t be additional developer betas, sources say. Apple today also released a second beta of OS X 10.10.3 with the new Photos app. We’ll keep updating this post as new features are found in the latest beta. Apple has also released a new beta OS for the Apple TV.

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Review: Truffol’s Intelli Classic iPhone 6 leather wallet case features RFID card protection

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Contactless credit and debit cards are only just starting to take off in the USA, but with Apple Pay driving merchants to introduce contactless payment terminals, you are increasingly likely to find that RFID symbol on your bank cards when you receive replacements.

We’ve had contactless cards in Europe for a few years now, and they’re even more convenient than Apple Pay for low-value transactions. For anything up to £30 ($46), you don’t need to verify the transaction in any way: just tap your card against the terminal. You can even do this without taking the card out of your wallet. (Bank guarantees protect you against fraudulent transactions.)

Convenient, that is, unless you have more than one contactless card in your wallet. This can either lead to the wrong card being debited or, more usually, cause the transaction to fail. Truffol has come up with an iPhone 6 wallet case specifically designed to solve this problem …  Read more

Report: Apple poaching Samsung engineers w/ chip & battery expertise

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While Apple has notably been engaged in a back-and-forth poaching war with electric vehicle maker Tesla in recent months, a new report from The Korea Times claims that Apple has also been targeting “experts in next-generation technology” from Samsung Electronics. Citing an anonymous official from Samsung, the report highlights that the iPhone maker has a history of picking off chip experts from the Korean company using competitive compensation and “greater independence” as engineers. Read more

Review: Lenmar’s Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 streamlines a familiar design, offers 112% extra power

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Featured in our guide to the best Apple device batteries, the one-of-a-kind MacBook external battery pack ChugPlug demonstrated that Lenmar knows how to make unique accessories. By comparison, Lenmar’s new Maven Battery Case for iPhone 6 ($100) isn’t quite as distinctive. It’s basically a softer-curved and more powerful version of the company’s iPhone 5/5s battery case Meridian, which makes it extremely similar to numerous rival iPhone 6 battery cases I’ve tested from other companies.

But with four color options, the ability to refuel itself at 2-Amp speeds, and better button openings than certain lower-priced competitors, the 3,000mAh Maven does have some merits. Here’s a more detailed look at what makes this case blend in and stand out…

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