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Apple Daily: Free on iTunes, Apple Pay and Photo IDs, Photos for iCloud.com

Apple hasn’t apparently turned its back on free stuff, after all, even though it seemed a little iffy after the disappearance of the free iTunes Single of the Week. In other news, a Missouri lawmaker wants users to produce photos IDs every time they use Apple Pay and similar services in his state, and Apple introduced some simple but useful tools for its Photos for iCloud.com app.

Apple Introduces ‘Free on iTunes’ Section

For a few days there, it looks as though the free U2 album kerfuffle had soured Apple on the idea of free products forever, but a new “Free on iTunes” section of iTunes shows that’s far from the case. Many longtime users were initially sad to hear about the sudden disappearance of the “iTunes Single of the Week,” but, if anything, this replacement — which includes songs as well as TV shows — makes the experience even better.

Sorry, international users — at least for now, the page only works for customers in the United States. But if you’re a resident of Apple’s home country, you’ll be able to sample free episodes from SyFy’s 12 Monkeys, MTV’s Eye Candy, and others. More interested in music? Check out the offerings from bands like Jauz. Purity Ring, and Asking Alexandria.

Apple hasn’t revealed a schedule for the new service, but it’s likely that the Cupertino company will update the new section every week, judging from its own traditions.


Missouri Lawmaker Wants to Require Photo IDs with Apple Pay, Similar Services

You’d think that Apple would have already sufficiently demonstrated that using your fingerprint for Apple Pay is “identification” enough, but at least one Missouri lawmaker (via AP) is having none of it. If Democratic Rep. Joshua Peters of St. Louis has his way, in fact, Missourians would be required to show their IDs to clerks when using Apple Pay (and any other mobile payment service, for that matter).

It’s actually more complicated than that. Not only would our hypothetical Missourian have to show her driver’s license or similar documentation, but the clerks would also have to write down the ID number of the person making the purchase and keep it in their records. If they don’t, they’re entirely accountable for fraudulent transactions.

There’s a couple of flaws here in that it’s already uncommon for clerks to check ID cards for normal credit card purchases, and most mobile payment systems have some kind of enhanced security wall (such as Apple Pay’s Touch ID) that keeps crooks from having a field day with spending. What’s more, as 9to5Mac points out, it’s far easier to fake an ID than a fingerprint.

The retailers themselves don’t seem terribly concerned. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal this morning, suppliers of point-of-sale systems saw a massive bump in interest following the release of Apple Pay in October. Brendan Lauber, an executive at Harbortouch, said that only 22 percent of the company’s customers had mobile payment receptors installed prior to the release of iOS 8; following the launch of Apple Pay, 68 percent asked for systems that support mobile transactions.

“It’s like night and day,” said Lauber.


Photos for iCloud Updated with New Features

The Photos app for iCloud.com got a little better this weekend, as Apple upgraded the service to allow users to send photos from their iCloud library to anyone via e-mail. In addition, you can now zoom in on photos in the iCloud Photo Library itself (via iFun.de).

The actual pace of Apple’s updates for its iCloud Photos app might leave a little to be desired, but at least the iPhone maker has started a trend of packing worthwhile features into each patch. Last November, for instance, Apple enabled users to upload their own photos to the site from their computers. According to some supposedly inside sources, the reason for the relatively few updates pertaining to iCloud as a whole lies in a culture of excessive fragmentation within Apple’s walls.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.


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