It has never been a question of if, but rather when Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) would embrace mobile payments and develop its own digital wallet. Since the iPhone 6 was first announced, many industry analysts have speculated that the new handset would incorporate an NFC chip to facilitate mobile payments; now the Wall Street Journal agrees, not only for the iPhone, but for the iWatch as well.
In Thursday's report, WSJ writers Greg Bensinger, Lorraine Luk and Daisuke Wakabayashi wrote that both as yet unannounced devices would incorporate near field communications (NFC) technology. According to sources close to Apple, "NFC wireless is central to Apple's plans to incorporate so-called tap-to-pay into its mobile devices, allowing users to pay for goods and services using credit cards stored with iTunes."
Apple today published a press release addressing the massive celebrity photo leak that broke the internet over Labor Day weekend. In case you've been living under a rock, an unidentified person published private photos of several high profile celebrities, like Jennifer Lawrence, to an infamous image board that we will not name. Several reports suggested that the hacker may have acquired the images through a security flaw found in Apple's iCloud or Find My iPhone services, but today Apple confirmed that there was no breach in any of its systems. Instead Apple said the celebrities were victim of a " targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions."
"We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source. Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved."
AAPL Weekly Financial News Roundup: Shares Reach Record High Again, iWatch to be Announced Sept. 9 and More
With iPhone 6 and iWatch excitement at a feverish level, Apple shares (NASDAQ: AAPL) once again closed the week at an all time high of $102.50. The buzz continued over the weekend as after hours trading led to a $103.06 opening price on Tuesday morning. At the time of this writing shares have been as high as $103.74.
The excitement stemmed from Apple's official announcement of a September 9th event in which the company will debut its flagship iPhone 6, as well as the iWatch (which, by the way, is not officially called the "iWatch" at this point). The event will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, which is a departure from the company's normal venue, the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It will start at 1 PM Eastern, 10 AM, Pacific.
AMA interviews on Reddit have become a popular way for artists, scientists, politicians and even normal people to interact with the Reddit community, promote upcoming projects and address social issues. Some may even argue that the Ask Me Anything threads are the only thing worth reading on the social news website. Maybe this is why Reddit has decided to launch an app solely dedicated to AMA interviews.
The new app from Reddit gives users an easy way to sort and access all the latest and past popular AMA threads posted to reddit.com. Users can search various categories like Entertainment or Science/Tech, or use the Hot tab to find the latest trending topics. The app also marks active threads and it allows users to up vote the best questions and content from their mobile devices.
Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino has seen two historic Apple events, and now a third is scheduled for September 9th at 10am Pacific Time. The original Mac was launched at this venue in 1984, and the iMac was revealed in 1998. Speculation is rampant that Apple has something big up their sleeve for 2014.
Invitations have been delivered to selected members of the media, confirming the date, time and venue but not much else. With a tag line stating "We wish we could say more," the fact that Apple is not using its preferred spot at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco this time around speaks volumes. While many agree a wearable device such as the iWatch is on its way, analysts are all over the map when it comes to predicting a timeline for release.
Older devices are no stranger to battery issues. As iPhones are charged and discharged, the battery will naturally lose some capacity over time. Apple has recognized that a range of iPhone 5 units with specific serial numbers can suddenly loose their charge.
For those experiencing the problem with their iPhone 5, Apple has offered to replace the battery free of charge. Since a specific range of serial numbers is affected, the company has set up a web page that makes it possible to check your device for eligibility under the replacement program.
Square has updated its money transferring app, Cash, to version 2.0. The update adds several improvements, like the ability to request or send money to anyone in your address book even if they do not have the app installed. The app has also received a makeover that promises to deliver a "faster sending interface". Other new features include the ability to import your address book, add notes to payments and receive push notifications for payments and requests.
Cash users have sent and received hundreds of millions of dollars through the app, according to Square. Square says people use their app to split dinner bills, group vacations and even pay for school supplies. Users can request money from up to 25 people at once, which is perfect for reminding the deadbeats in your fantasy football league that they still owe their entry fee.
It is going to be hard to top Star Wars: Tiny Death Star, but NimbleBit is going to try with Tiny Tower: Vegas. The new game in the popular Tiny Tower franchise will land on the Apple App Store this Thursday, August 28th.
For those who have never played Tiny Tower, it is a simulation game where players can build their own tower filled with tiny pixel people known as “bitizens”. The goal of the game is the build as many residential and commercial floors as possible to attract bitizens to move in and work in your tower. The game's developer, NimbleBit last year teamed up with Disney Mobile and LucasArts to release a Star Wars-themed version of the game called Tiny Death Star.
AAPL Financial News Weekly Roundup: Shares Hit All-Time High, iPhone 6 Sales Predictions Up and More
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) trading showed some increased activity early last week as share prices closed at an all-time high of $100.53 on Tuesday. Previously the highest price was $100.30 (adjusted for the 7-to-1 stock split). The bump was likely due to optimism from Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. In a note to investors, she wrote that iPhone 6 sales should be strong, but more interestingly, she expects Apple to ship 41 million iWatches by the end of the year, and possibly as many as 60 million. She also expects both products to enjoy healthy margins. Share price continued to rise for the rest of the week, closing on Friday at $101.32.
Morgan Stanley wasn't the only firm with a positive outlook on Apple. RBC analyst, Amit Daryanani, though he still holds his forecast at 56 million iPhone 6 sales before the end of the year, believes that new supply chain data could point to 70 to 80 million shipments by the end of 2014.
It was another slow week for App Store releases but there were a few noteworthy announcements made and trailers released this week. The biggest App Store news was the confirmation by the Pokémon Company that the the Pokémon Trading Card Game will be released to the iPad. This marks the first time a Nintendo-owned game will be ported to iOS.
Rovio finally announced an official release date to its Angry Birds spin-off Stella. The game will be available on September 4th. Nival announced its new RPG Etherlords will hit the App Store on the same day as Stella, and trailers for The Witcher Battle Arena and Mikey Boots were also released this week. You can see all of this week's trailers at the bottom of this page.