UK Apple Pay won’t require PIN but £20 contactless transaction limit does apply … for now

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Apple Pay is going international starting with the United Kingdom next month. The precise nature of how Apple Pay will work in the UK has been murky, with banks saying different things. Apple has now posted a FAQ to explain the situation.

Apple Pay will work with any current contactless reader. By default, it uses the same technology as other UK contactless cards. This means that performing an Apple Pay purchase will not require a PIN (as is standard with UK Chip and PIN payments). However, the usual £20 limit on contactless transactions does apply … for the time being. When Apple Pay launches in July, almost all merchants will only allow Apple Pay purchases up to £20 …

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Apple Music could lack Adele, Arctic Monkeys & other indie artists if free trial terms not agreed

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The chairman of the British music industry lobby group UK Music says that independent labels may not agree to Apple’s terms for inclusion on Apple Music. Andy Heath told the Telegraph that receiving no payment during the free trial period could leave indies, which include big-name artists like Adele and the Arctic Monkeys, “completely screwed.”

Heath said that while Apple’s argument is that it will pay slightly more once the free trial is over, smaller labels may be concerned that they will see fewer download sales during the free trial – and that this could put smaller companies out of business.

If you are running a small label on tight margins you literally can’t afford to do this free trial business. Their plan is clearly to move people over from downloads, which is fine, but it will mean us losing those revenues for three months.

While this argument wouldn’t apply to big-name artists signed to indie labels, some of them have in the past taken a stand against terms they consider unfair, such as the low payments from Spotify’s free members. Adele famously refused to allow her hit album 21 to appear on Spotify until long after its release …  Read more

All Apple Stores to begin stocking 12-inch MacBook at end of May

MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)

The recently released 12-inch MacBook will be available for purchase at all Apple Stores globally beginning the week of May 25th, according to a memo from Apple to its retail staff issued earlier today. Because of supply constraints, not unlike those for the also recently-launched Apple Watch, sales of the new MacBook have been mostly restricted to Apple’s Online Store…

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Apple launches in-store Android trade-in program to boost iPhone sales

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In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

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Millions of British Safari users able to sue Google over secretly-dropped cookies

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UK Safari users have been given the go-ahead to sue Google for continuing to drop cookies on their devices even after they had refused permission through their browser settings.

It was revealed in 2012 that Google bypassed the setting in Safari which instructed sites not to drop cookies, enabling it to deliver personalized ads. The FTC in the US fined the company $22.5M for the practice, with millions more in additional fines levied by 38 US states. There was no government action in the UK, but a group of British iPhone users took Google to court, seeking compensation for breaching their privacy.

Google had attempted to have the case dismissed, claiming that there was no case to answer as the plaintiffs had not suffered any financial harm, but the UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected this argument, allowing the case to proceed …

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Tim Cook: Apple Watch will replace car keyfobs, reward exercise, filter messages

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In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph newspaper, Tim Cook said that while people might see limited reasons to want an Apple Watch today, they will soon find lots of other uses for it. The interview took place during a London stop in Cook’s international tour.

This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons.

One of those reasons, he said, would be to replace your car keyfob …  Read more

Tim Cook’s latest stop in whirlwind international tour: London’s Covent Garden Apple Store

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Tim Cook’s international tour continues. After visiting BILDChancellor Angela Merkel and an Apple Store in Germany, and President Reuven Rivlin in Israel, he was photographed today in the Apple Store in London’s Covent Garden.

Business Insider pulled together a few tweets in which Cook gave Apple Watch demos to surprised customers, and posed for selfies with store employees …  Read more

UK launch of Apple Pay looks set for the first half of 2015 as bank talks underway

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Brits waiting impatiently for Apple Pay to launch in the UK may not have too much longer to wait, reports the Telegraph. Sources involved in talks taking place between Apple and “Britain’s top banks” have stated that the service is expected to launch in the UK in the first half of 2015.

A job listing revealed earlier in the month that Apple had a London-based team working on rolling out the service across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa …  Read more

Apple’s satellite office trend continues with announcement of R&D facility in Japan

tokyo-007

Apple’s apparent trend of expanding its R&D efforts beyond Cupertino continues with the announcement of a “large research and development facility” in Japan.

While few details were given in local media reports (via Reuters), the source of the information appears rather reliable – a statement by Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo …  Read more

EE launches the first 4G network in the UK today, plans starting at 500MB for £36 a month

Everything Everywhere, a 50/50 joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom, has launched the UK’s first 4G network today, citing speeds “typically ten times faster” than broadband. The 4G service is now available in 11 cities: Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, and Southampton. The rollout across the UK will continue 2,000 square miles every month to cover 98% of the country’s population by 2014, the company announced.

4G data plans on EE will start monthly at 500MB for £36, 1GB for £41, 3GB for £46, 5GB for £51, and 8GB for £56. There are six compatible phones that customers can purchase at T-Mobile and Orange stores to use on EE, and as announced last month the iPhone 5 is one of them, along with the iPad mini and 4th gen iPad in mid-November. 4G service will also be available in the UK from Vodafone, O2 and Three in May 2013, after dealing with government regulation.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee discussed the rollout: “But this is just the start as our 4G network will continue to grow stronger and wider by the day. We’re investing £1.5 billion in our network to be the first company to offer mobile 4G in the UK, alongside the biggest 3G network.”

Additionally EE launched 700 retail stores today, offering a place for customers to buy handsets and sign contracts for the 4G network. EE is calling it “one of the biggest and fastest transformations in UK retail history.”

More in the PR below:

Apple is the only PC brand making progress in Europe (and that’s without iPad)

Research firm Gartner just released its estimates for PC shipments in the Western Europe region during the holiday quarter, and only Apple and Asus made any meaningful progress, with Apple recording the strongest gains in France and the United Kingdom.

While the Mac maker remained absent from the Top 5 rankings in Western Europe and Germany, it was a sole first-tier PC brand to grow sales in the United Kingdom during the holiday quarter. Specifically, Apple’s Mac business in the country grew 17.2 percent, enough to rank fourth with a 9.1 percent market share.

Everyone else’s business shrunk: Hewlett-Packard (No. 1) was down 27 percent, Dell (No. 4) declined by a whopping 32.2-percent, Toshiba (No. 3) fell 5.4-percent and Acer (No. 5) was by far the biggest loser with a 62.4-percent year-over-year decline. The same story is in France where Apple placed No. 5 by growing 15.3-percent for an 8.2-percent market share. Only Asus (No. 2) grew slightly faster than Apple at 17.4-percent, while shipments of PC desktops and notebooks from HP, Acer, and Dell plummeted.

If you include the iPad, Apple easily beats its rivals to the PC punch across the board.

More notes and charts are after the break.


Shipments of notebook and desktop PCs in the United Kingdom. Source: Gartner, February 2012

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