Tim Cook talks racial equality, gay rights, and education in speech at Alabama capitol [video]

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Earlier today, Apple CEO Tim Cook was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor today, and during his acceptance speech he took some time to address several issues. The first issue was that of racial equality and his admiration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts to promote equal treatment for all.

Cook moved on to slam the state of Alabama, saying that “our state and our nation still have a long way to go before Dr. King’s dream is a reality.” He said that Alabama specifically had taken “too long” to begin making changes and that its progress was “too slow,” noting that it wasn’t until 2000 that interracial marriage was legalized in the state.

Read more for the video…

Facebook releases updated iOS client with improved support for sharing multiple photos

Facebook has announced that it will be releasing an updated version of its mobile application later today that will improve the process of sharing multiple photos in a single post. The new composer will allow users to choose multiple images from their device’s photo library or camera, then show a preview of the post with each image in the order they were selected.

From here users will be able to add captions to each photo, write an introduction for the post, or rearrange the order of the photos. The post will show up in friends’ news feeds as a photo collage rather than a horizontal group of photos.

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iOS developer makes our iOS Apple Watch home screen concept a reality

Last week, I posted a concept of what the iPhone’s home screen could look like if influenced by the Apple Watch’s design ideas. Inspired by that concept, iOS developer Lucas Menge has made the concept a reality (above), creating a functional app that simulates the Apple Watch UI adapted for the iPhone. Very neat.

Now available on Github.

Apple responds to CVS & Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay for CurrentC

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Apple has provided the following statement to Business Insider when asked about CVS and Rite Aid both blocking Apple Pay at their checkout terminals:

The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic. We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations.

Earlier today CVS confirmed in a statement to CNBC that it will not be accepting Apple Pay after users previously reported being able to the chain’s NFC terminals: Read more

Wells Fargo offers up to $20 credits for Apple Pay users, says business Visa support coming next month

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As others have in promotion of Apple Pay service, Wells Fargo is offering customers up to $20 credits on their bill just for trying out the new NFC-based payments service. Readers sent in screenshots of an email (pictured above) that Wells Fargo has sent out to customers informing them of the credits in a promotion that will last until November 30. The company also confirmed that Apple Pay support for its business Visa cards is arriving next month… Read more

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

Leading NFC terminal maker Verifone encourages merchants to enable Apple Pay

If you’ve ever made a contactless credit card payment in a retail store, you’ve likely run into a VeriFone NFC-terminal: recent estimates put it at approximately 60% global market share for EMV payment terminals, for example. Today, the company is launching a new campaign along with payment processing company Vantiv that encourages Verifone’s massive network of clients to upgrade their terminals and get ready for Apple Pay: Read more

iPad Air 2 anti-reflective screen a ‘major innovation’ but last-gen brighter/more efficient

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Today DisplayMate Technologies published its usual detailed analysis of Apple’s latest product releases with an in-depth review of the display technology in the new iPad mini 3 and iPad Air 2 displays.

One of the more notable improvements in the new iPad Air 2 display is the anti-reflective coating that, according to DisplayMate, “reduces ambient light reflections by about 3:1 over most other Tablets and Smartphones (including the previous iPads), and about 2:1 over all of the very best competing Tablets and Smartphones (including the new iPhone 6).” Read more

Apple in talks to expand NFC in iPhone 6 beyond Apple Pay, replace building keycards and transit tickets

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The Information is reporting that Apple is actively scouting out partnerships to increase the utility of the NFC chip inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Right now, the chip can only be used for payments through Apple Pay as the API is not available to third-party developers.

The Information says that the company is talking to potential partners about using the technology for things like building security, public transit tickets and more. The report names that Apple has already been in talks with HID Global and Cubic, who make electronic ‘keycard’ secure building access and transit fare systems.

The Apple representatives have talked to technology providers like HID Global and Cubic, which enable secure access to buildings and transit fare systems, respectively, said people briefed on the discussions. Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment about any discussions with Apple, but executives there discussed how they could integrate their systems with the iPhone.

In fact, Apple has already announced a similar partnership with Starwood Hotels, where Apple users can replace hotel keycards with their Apple Watch, although this uses Bluetooth rather than NFC technology.

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Fitbit moves from fitness band to true smartwatch territory with $250 Fitbit Surge

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With Apple Watch official and expected early next year, it’s likely too little, too late for Fitbit, but the company is finally moving beyond simple fitness bands to a fully-featured smartwatch in the form of the $250 Fitbit Surge.

The Surge is the company’s first device to display text messages on-screen, as well as the ability to control music on your iPhone. The move may explain rumored Apple plans to remove Fitbit from its stores (something which hasn’t yet happened), though these may also reflect the lack of Health app integration …  Read more

CVS and Rite Aid Apple Pay blockade official as iOS and Android users unite in rare showing to fight NFC ban

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The NYT reports that Rite Aid has joined CVS in disabling Apple Pay as a payment method in its stores. Like CVS, Rite Aid is a member of the Merchant Customer eXchange (MCX) consortium promoting a rival mobile payment service, CurrentC.

Consumers are responding by threatening to boycott stores which disable Apple Pay, with more than 2,000 comments across several Reddit threads on the topic. Android users are joining in, as disabling NFC also blocks alternative mobile payment services offered by higher-end Android handsets …  Read more