On Tuesday Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) reported that dozens of companies have signed up for Apple Pay over the past several weeks. The list of companies accepting Apple's e-wallet, which started with financial giants Visa, Mastercard and American Express among others, has grown continuously since the project began in early 2013. When it went live in October, over a million credit cards were registered within the first three days, which rocketed its status to the largest mobile payment system in existence.
According to The New York Times, recent sign-ups including Barclaycard, SunTrust, USAA and ten banks, including TD Bank, all support the payment system as of today. Other new additions include Staples, which now accepts Apple Pay at 1,400 of its locations, grocers Winn-Dixie and Albertsons, and the AmWay center, home of the Orlando Magic. A list of financial institutions that already support Apple Pay can be found here.
Large swings in the value of Russian currency have prompted Apple to stop sales on its online store in the country. An Apple spokesman told Bloomberg the company was going to "review pricing" after the ruble plummeted almost 20 percent yesterday.
While there are still no retail stores in the country, the Russian Apple Online Store has been in business since June 2013. The suspension of sales is not the first time Apple has taken currency-related action. In November Apple increased iPhone prices in Russia after monitoring changes in the ruble.
Apple shares (NASDAQ: AAPL) continued to slip last week, closing at $109.73, almost ten dollars below the all time high close of $119 on the day before Thanksgiving. In fact, the share price has dropped about 8% since then. There is no clear reason as to why this is happening, as profits have certainly not slowed, holiday sales are in full swing, and the Apple Watch is just around the corner. Perhaps some investors just want to cash in on some of the big earnings Apple has seen in 2014. Analysts aren't panicking and neither should you.
One of Apple's new products that could be a boon for business is its joint venture with IBM, MobileFirst for iOS. The two companies announced the first generation of MobileFirst apps last Wednesday. The project aims to attract enterprise clients with industry specific applications specifically made for iOS devices. As part of the agreement, IBM will sell both iPhones and iPads to clients.
No major news came out of Cupertino last week, but there were several noteworthy items. Topping the list was the release of iOS 8.1.2 on Tuesday, which fixed a bug that caused purchased ringtones to disappear from people's devices. Although Apple has not divulged the update's security content (if there was any), it apparently did not patch the TaiG jailbreak.
A day after the 8.1.2 update, Apple released the iOS 8.2 beta 2 to developers. The update mainly pertains to the WatchKit SDK, including some new features for the API and some bug fixes.
It's unclear why anyone would want to watch a live webcast of T-Mobile's Un-carrier 8.0 event, but the option will be available to those who do, thanks to Yahoo! News. The event will take place on December 16, at 10:30am EST / 7:30am PST. T-Mobile CEO John Legere will be answering questions live during the event. You can visit newsroom.t-mobile.com for a link to the live webcast starting tomorrow morning, and tweet your questions to @TMobile with the hashtag #Uncarrier8, once the event kicks off.
T-Mobile promises to deliver all the details on their "next market changing move" during the live event.
“Uncarrier 8.0 is ready to roll, and you’re invited to join us for the unveiling of one of our biggest and boldest moves yet. This one is so big we had to keep it a surprise.”
Verizon Wireless customers with devices running iOS 8 can now get data plan usage statistics right in the Notification Center. The latest version of My Verizon Mobile, available free on the App Store, provides a data usage widget. Once the widget is added, current data usage for the billing period is displayed when Notification Center is invoked.
My Verizon Mobile already provides many functions for iPhone and iPad users looking to pay their bill, check voice calling and text message statistics, and manage features on their accounts. Getting the data meter is as simple as updating the app to version 3.13.4 or later, and then adding the widget to Notification Center.
Click here for more information on how to add widgets to Notification Center.
Holdouts with iOS 7 installed on their iOS 8 compatible devices now account for just 33 percent of total users. Apple metrics collected on the App Store point to a slowdown in iOS 8 installations, which initially soared in the early days after release. Still, the number of iOS 8 adpotions continues to tick upward.
The total number of iOS compatible devices running iOS 8 currently stands at 63 percent. This leaves only four percent of newer hardware running iOS 6 and earlier firmware. The jump from iOS 6 to iOS 7 was a more dramatic redesign, with users installing the update at a much faster clip.
This is the last week for developers to submit their apps and app updates before the App Store is closed down for the winter holidays through December 22-29. It is kind of shocking that more apps weren't released this week, and makes one wonder if we will see an influx of apps released next Thursday. This also means there will be no App Store Recap on Saturday, December 27th.
The biggest App Store news of the week revolved around the newly released iPad version of Papers, Please and nudity. The hit PC game was initially rejected by Apple for containing "pornographic content" due to it offering a "nudity option". In the game players take on the role of a border patrol agent for the fictional state of Arstozka and can choose to submit people to invasive procedures such as full body scans. Developer Lucas Pope told Ars Technica that his "main concern with creating an iOS version of Papers, Please was that Apple would decide the game was strongly political and reject it outright," not that it would be rejected for its pixelated nudity. Apple "censoring" the political game sent the internet into a tizzy which made Pope rethink his own position and contact the company. Yesterday Pope announced that Apple said its "initial rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part," and suggested he resubmit the app with the nudity option.
Apple's iTunes Connect will be shut down starting December 22-29 for the winter holidays. Developers will not be able to submit any new apps or app updates during the blackout. This means there will be no new games released to the App Store in 2014 after next week, and that it is the perfect time to announce our favorite iOS games of the year.
This is just five our favorite games based on a very small sampling of the thousands of titles released to the App Store in 2014.
What if your iPhone protected itself from damage automatically when dropped? A patent awarded to Apple seeks to build this functionality directly into future mobile devices, analyzing sensor data to detect free fall. The concept continues from there, imagining a system that would react physically to reposition the iPhone in space to minimize damage on impact.
Physics could save the day, along with movement within the iPhone to change the orientation of the falling device. Existing technology could be used, such as the vibration mechanism inside the phone. Alternatively, a headphone jack that is in use could lock around the plug, giving the owner time to catch the headphone cable and cut the fall short. AppleInsider explained the patent titled “Protective mechanism for an electronic device” was awarded this month after being filed early last year.