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WWDC 2015: Apple Adds New Retailers, Features to Apple Pay

WWDC 2015 Apple Pay Square

Apple today announced that more than one million locations will accept Apple Pay as of next month, just one of many new features arriving on the mobile payment service between now and the arrival of iOS 9 this fall.

Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi handed WWDC 2015 stage over to Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey, who announced that retailers including Best Buy, Trader Joe’s, Big Lots, Forever 21, and JCPenney are all now on board with the service, along with Discover, who will support Apple Pay this fall.

Payment startup Square is also getting into the Apple Pay business with a new tap-and-pay reader later this year. New apps are also coming into the fold, including Pinterest, who will launch “buyable pins” from stores like Macy’s and Nieman Marcus later this month.

As rumored, Apple Pay is also expanding to United Kingdom in July with eight of the most popular banks on board, and even more coming later this year. Included on the list is HSBC, MBNA, American Express, Santander, and Halifax. Apple Pay will also work on London’s transportation system as well.

Apple Pay will also now support store credit and rewards cards, with Kohl’s, Walgreens, and Dunkin Donuts all supporting the new feature at launch. Along with these sweeping changes, Bailey announced that Passbook is being rebranded as simply Wallet, presumably with the arrival of iOS 9 later this year.

Stay tuned for more details on WWDC 2015!

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



Morning Report: 12-inch MacBook Air Rumor, Disney World Adds Apple Pay

Apple Pay at Walt Disney World

Rub the sleep out of your eyes — the Christmas break is fast approaching, but the tech news never stops! Our Monday Morning Report has the details on a new 12-inch MacBook Air said to finally be entering production as early as next month, Apple Pay arriving at Walt Disney World this week, and the latest Hollywood starlet vying for a role in the Steve Jobs biopic. You can’t read about it if you don’t click forward!

12-inch MacBook Air Reportedly Entering Production in Q1 2015

If you’ve always felt like an 11-inch MacBook Air display was a little too small and 13-inch was simply too big, Apple may soon hit the sweet spot at last. DigiTimes today reported that Cupertino is expected to “enter mass production” on a 12-inch MacBook Air sometime during the first three months of next year, following what was apparently a successful pilot production prior to the close of 2014.

“Apple’s new MacBook Air features Intel’s Broadwell processors and a new chassis design to reduce the device’s overall thickness and weight, but the start of mass production has been hampered by low yield rates,” unnamed sources within Apple’s upstream supply chain told DigiTimes. “As the yield issue is gradually being resolved, mass production is expected to come in the first quarter of 2015.”

Quanta Computer is expected to manufacture the 12-inch MacBook Air, which is expected to be targeted more to the “high-end market segment.” The same sources also reconfirmed that Apple Watch manufacturing will also kick off sometime during the first quarter of 2015, which is the only vague launch date Apple has confirmed to date.

Walt Disney World Firing Up Apple Pay on Christmas Eve

Spending your Christmas at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida this year? According to WDWMagic.com, you’ll be able to breeze your way through the park and resort without ever having to take a credit card out of your wallet, thanks to Apple Pay support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus being enabled at “most stores, quick service restaurants, bars, and ticket sales booths.”

Walt Disney World previously announced Apple Pay support would arrive “before Christmas,” with the Mouse House squeaking the service in just under the wire on Christmas Eve, December 24. Portable payment terminals such as those as table service restaurants won’t be added at this time, and those traveling to Disneyland in Anaheim, California will have to wait until next year to use Apple Pay.

Kate Winslet Latest Starlet in Talks for Jobs Biopic

Hollywood has faced quite a few speed bumps on the way to putting Walter Isaacson’s biography on Apple co-founder Steve Jobs up on the big screen, but the road to production finally seems to be getting smoother. Variety reported Friday that Titanic star Kate Winslet is the latest Oscar-winning actress “in negotiations” for the lead female role in Universal Pictures’ biopic. Starring Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs and Seth Rogen as co-founder Steve Wozniak, the big-budget film version is written by Aaron Sorkin and is being directed by Danny Boyle. The Newsroom star Jeff Daniels is also eyeing a potential role as former Apple president John Scully, although it’s unclear at this writing which role Winslet may be in talks for.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Image courtesy of WDWInfo.com)


Cloud Updates: Dropbox Beta, SugarSync Remote Wipe, LogMeIn Adds Cubby

Dropbox before & after

This week, three of the bigger cloud storage providers updated their client apps with new features: Automatic screenshots for Dropbox, remote wipe for SugarSync and Cubby is now bundled with LogMeIn.

First up is a new “experimental build” of Dropbox for Mac and Windows which adds the ability to automatically upload new screenshots to your account as they are taken. Version 2.3.12 also introduces a new “Move to Dropbox” contextual menu, which makes it easier to relocate files into the parent folder of your account.

On the Mac, the latest build also introduces Import from iPhoto, yet another step Dropbox is making toward hosting all of your photos in the cloud. The feature only works with iPhoto 7.0 and above, and keep in mind, this is considered a beta build, so there may still be a few bugs lurking about.

Meanwhile, SugarSync announced Thursday that its latest Remote Wipe feature has now trickled down from business account customers to individual accounts, offering a way to remotely wipe the contents of any of the computers attached to your account.

To utilize Remote Wipe, you’ll need to have the latest version of the Mac or Windows software installed as well as being a paid personal SugarSync account holder — free users unfortunately won’t have access to this new security feature.

Last but certainly not least, LogMeIn announced that its latest iOS update integrates the company’s cloud storage service Cubby, allowing users to access their free 5GB of storage without taking a trip to the dedicated Cubby app. The two services already share a single login, so the inclusion of Cubby into the parent app will be a nice productivity boost for those who use it. The update is now available from the App Store.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



Plex Media Server 0.9.8 Adds Multiuser, Now Playing, Media Index Support

myPlex login screen

The folks at Plex have been working away on their media streaming solution for years and still haven’t reached version 1.0, but the latest Plex Media Server preview gets them pretty doggone close.

Plex announced a new build of Plex Media Server this week, introducing three welcome new features available for premium PlexPass members, as well as support for more secure HTTPS connections in future versions of the client applications.

One of the biggest changes for those who share Plex libraries with others is true multiuser support. Shared users will now have their own view state, which includes the ability to select audio streams or subtitles. For those with kids, that means keeping sections of your library hidden from the younger members of the family — a feature that already works in Plex/Web, iOS, Android and Roku clients once the latest server update is installed.

Plex/Web users will also see a new feature called Now Playing, great for seeing which users are watching content from your server library at any given time. Jumping into the Now Playing screen, you’ll even see additional details on the content and who’s viewing it, another welcome addition for those who share content with others.

Last but not least, a new experimental feature for creating media index files is available to PlexPass members who install Plex Media Server 0.9.8. This feature runs in the background and creates small thumbnails from each piece of content, which can then be displayed while fast-forwarding on Roku or even from the Now Playing screen.

Plex Media Server 0.9.8 requires a paid PlexPass membership, but its new features will ultimately roll out to all Plex users as the software continues marching toward the eventual 1.0 release.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



Streets 2.0 Adds Street View Coverage Layer, Google Vector Maps

Streets 2.0Longing for the grand old days of iOS 5 when Google’s Street View was baked right into the Maps app? You may not be able to go back in time, but for only 99 cents you can get Street View back with Streets 2.0.

FutureTap announced the release of Streets 2.0 on Wednesday, a rebranding of the company’s Street View which introduces a trio of big changes — and if you act quickly, this universal app can be yours for only 99 cents.

The first big change in Streets 2.0 is the introduction of a blue overlay to indicate street view coverage. No more guesswork! Blue and orange dots will also indicate user-contributed panoramas or businesses with indoor panoramas, respectively.

Streets 2.0 now uses Google’s vector maps and high-resolution satellite imagery in place of the stock iOS Maps, while offering even greater resolution and a wider zoom range for panoramas than the official Google Maps app.

Last but not least, panoramas can be shared with friends via email, iMessage, Facebook or Twitter, or even saved to the Camera Roll for future use, complete with geolocation data.

Streets 2.0 is now available from the App Store; the universal app features an introductory price of only 99 cents through the end of July, after which time it will return to the normal price of .99.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



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