Apple doesn’t want you hacking around its Watch, so it was kind of a deal when an accessory maker discovered a diagnostic port that would enable just that. The company, Reserve Strap, now has a video (below) that proves direct charging via the port is about 5 percent faster than the standard inductive way. While that might not sound like a lot, it confirms that it’ll be relatively easy to build straps that add battery life and other functionality. In fact, Reserve Strap pivoted on its own $249 design ($250 on preorder) after making the discovery, as shown below. If that’s too rich for your blood, we imagine other accessory makers will now follow suit.
Via: 9 to 5 Mac
Source: Reserve Strap
The Apple Store app now offers same-day delivery service through Postmates, the same company bringing Big Macs to New York City homes and Starbucks coffee to households and offices in several US cities. To be clear, the two companies have been working together long before this, and you can actually order Apple products from Postmates’ iOS app if you live in one of the many locations where the company operates. This new on-demand delivery option, however, is available only to San Francisco Bay Area residents willing to pay a fee to get their items ASAP.
So long as you live in the region and what you’re buying is available from a nearby store, you’ll see an option that says “Delivers Today within x hours.” The value of “x” varies and could be an hour or four, based on the examples we’ve seen. After you order, you’ll get notifications containing the package’s estimated delivery time and tracking number, though you can track it live directly on the Apple Store app. Cupertino hasn’t officially announced the service yet, but the driver that dropped off Mac Rumor’s order said it’s brand new and has just begun today.
[Image credit: Shutterstock / 1000 Words]
After testing the waters on Mac and iPad successfully, Pixelmator is now bringing its highly rated image editor to Apple’s iPhone. Finally. Most notably, the application will feature new editing elements to assist while you’re on the go, including a distort tool that lets you warp a photo to your liking and see the changes in real-time. The soon-to-be universal iOS app is going to be available for $5 starting tomorrow, or as a free update to people who already own the iPad version. Oddly enough, the Pixelmator app seems to have disappeared from the App Store in recent hours, but we’re sure it’ll be back there in time for tomorrow’s scheduled launch.
Via: The Verge
As we suspected, you’ll be hearing more about the new Android Pay setup — announced a couple of months ago during Mobile World Congress — during the Google I/O event this week. According to a New York Times report, Android Pay will let retailers take payments from inside their mobile apps, use it at brick-and-mortar retail locations, and automatically update the customer’s status in store loyalty programs. Like Google, retailers are interested in using those loyalty programs to track trends among their customers, and the report goes on to claim that Apple Pay will add a similar tie-in within the next month or so. So what will become of Google Wallet? Apparently, it will be reintroduced with a focus on sending money directly between two people to go along with being preinstalled on carrier phones. The mobile payment wars are just beginning, and potential competitors like Facebook and Samsung have their own plans too — expect more details from all sides soon.
[Image credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Source: New York Times
Target CEO Brian Cornell spoke at Re/code‘s Code Conference in Palos Verdes, California today, where he confirmed that the company plans to offer in-store support for Apple Pay in the future. According to Cornell, while he’d love to have Apple Pay available “right now,” support will not be coming until Target upgrades its system to support integrated circuit credit cards to comply with new standards.
Integrated circuit cards (or chip-and-PIN cards) replace the magnetic stripe on a credit card or debit card with an embedded microchip. The microchip communicates with a supported point-of-sale system and transactions are authenticated through a PIN instead of a signature.
Chip-and-PIN cards are already used in many countries around the world because they’re believed to be more secure than traditional credit cards. In the United States, retailers are being encouraged to adopt point-of-sale systems that support chip-and-PIN cards by the end of 2015. As of October 2015, the four major credit card companies in the U.S. are introducing policies that will cause retailers who don’t support chip-and-PIN transactions to be responsible for any fraudulent charges made with chip-and-PIN cards.
Target is especially eager to move to a more secure transaction system following a major data breach in late 2013 that saw hackers obtaining payment information for approximately 40 million of its customers. The move is a major transition for Target, and Cornell says he doesn’t want to “distract the team” with work on other payment systems.
“Our focus is on getting chip-and-PIN in place in time for the holidays,” Cornell said at the second annual Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. “Down the line we want to accept all the types of payments that our guests want. But this decision was all about focus. … It is a major undertaking to convert to chip-and-PIN, and I decided that we can’t distract the team.”
Cornell says he has met with Apple CEO Tim Cook, and once the chip-and-PIN transition is completed, Target will be “open-minded” about supporting additional payment systems like Apple Pay. Target already supports Apple Pay in its iOS app.
Apple plans to introduce a new rewards program for Apple Pay at WWDC next month, reports The New York Times. In a piece covering upcoming mobile payment upgrades from Apple and Google, the site suggests that Apple will announce details about enhancements to Apple Pay at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Few details are known about the rewards program that Apple plans to implement, but it is said to offer “perks” to customers who make purchases using Apple Pay.
But analysts have noted that a missing piece from Apple Pay was a rewards program to keep users returning to participating merchants. People familiar with Apple Pay said that next month, Apple will announce such a program offering perks to consumers who make purchases with the service, though they declined to reveal details.
There have been rumors about a rewards program for Apple Pay since before Apple Pay launched in October of 2014. In September, a report suggested Apple was working on a pilot program that could see it partnering with multiple third-party retailers to form an Apple Pay loyalty program.
Further rumors suggested the system could tie into iAd, delivering targeted ads to consumers via iBeacons and Bluetooth LE with coupons for free or discounted products, but it is not clear if that’s how Apple’s finished rewards program will work.
Upcoming Apple Pay competitor CurrentC offers a built-in rewards program that’s able to incorporate loyalty cards and discounts for individual merchants, and CurrentC executives tout this as one of the major differentiating features of its system. With its own rewards program, Apple Pay will be better situated to compete with the reward-based features of CurrentC.
It is not known if Apple has plans to introduce additional Apple Pay features at its Worldwide Developers Conference, but it’s possible that it could share details on an expansion of the service to additional countries like Canada. Canada is expected to be one of the first countries beyond the United States to gain Apple Pay support.
Beware if you have any jokester friends with iOS devices — they might just have a way to ruin your day if you have any iOS gadgets of your own. Apple has confirmed that it’s fixing a recently discovered bug that crashes iPhones and other iOS 8 hardware the moment you get a carefully crafted set of Unicode characters in iMessage and other communication apps with notification previews. It’s not clear when that fix will be available, but the only existing safeguard is to turn off those previews. Otherwise, you may have to bend over backwards to make sure that those rogue messages don’t cause further chaos. While this isn’t the biggest iOS glitch we’ve seen lately, it’s definitely the most annoying.
Earlier this month, the team behind the battery-boosting “Reserve Strap” for the Apple Watch suggested it was possible to use the hidden 6-pin diagnostic port in the Apple Watch to charge the device, and today they’ve backed up their claims with a video demonstration.
In the video, an Apple Watch charging on a standard inductive charger is depicted next to one said to be charged through a power supply connected to the 6-pin port on the device. The watch being charged through the port charges slightly faster than the watch on an inductive charger, reaching a 95 percent charge at the same point the other watch reaches a 90 percent charge.
The team behind the Reserve Strap for the Apple Watch plans to use the port to create a band with a backup battery inside, allowing the Apple Watch to be charged while it’s on the wrist. The product is still in the early stages of development, but it’s available for pre-order for $250 from the company’s website.
The Reserve Strap is not currently certified under Apple’s recently released accessory program for the Apple Watch, which will allow manufacturers and accessory makers to create approved third-party bands for the device. Apple has outlined a specific set of rules for Apple Watch bands, preventing them from blocking any sensors on the device, but its guidelines do not mention bands that access the 6-pin port. For that reason, Apple’s position on Reserve Strap’s use of the 6-pin port is unclear.
Apple has not confirmed what purpose the 6-pin port serves, but speculation has suggested it is used by the company for diagnostic purposes. Apple may also be using the port internally for charging, as detailed in documents covering the function of its in-store Apple Watch displays.
It is not known if Apple has plans to expand the usage of the 6-pin port in the future, but TechCrunch has hypothesized that the port could eventually be used for “smart band” accessories to bring additional functionality to the Apple Watch.
Apple appears to be offering same-day delivery of certain products in its Apple Store app, through a partnership with Postmates. In cities where Postmates operates, the Apple Store app is offering a same day delivery option on products that are available in local Apple Stores.
For example, ordering an Apple TV in the San Francisco Bay Area results in a four-hour same-day delivery window, as does an order for a Lightning cable. In some areas, like San Francisco, delivery turnaround times are as fast as an hour, but for some products, delivery times can take up to a day.
Customers who have Postmates delivery options available to them will see same-day delivery options listed whenever they search for a product that is available for purchase in a nearby Apple Store. After an order is placed, the Apple Store app offers live tracking options that let customers know where an item is and track it as it progresses from the Apple Store to the delivery location. The app also delivers notifications with estimated delivery times and tracking information.
Customers who do not live in an area where Postmates delivers will not see same-day delivery options for Apple products, instead receiving only standard shipment delivery times without an option for Courier Delivery.
Apple products have long been available for order through Postmates’ own iOS app, but this is the first time that Apple’s offered same-day delivery on orders in its own Apple Store app. All deliveries carry a $19 fee, regardless of item price.
Postmates operates in several major U.S. cities, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Denver, San Diego, Orange County, Portland, Phoenix, Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Minneapolis, and Charlotte.
It is not clear if all of the areas where Postmates operates offer Apple Store app item delivery, and we have reached out to Apple for clarification.
Apple’s and Google’s in-car efforts aren’t mainstream just yet, but manufacturers have given us a glimpse at how these features will work going forward. Soon enough, most automakers are expected to support CarPlay or Android Auto, even though others like Toyota won’t be playing along anytime soon. Chevrolet, meanwhile, announced today that 14 of its 2016 models, including cars, trucks and crossovers, will be compatible with CarPlay and Android Auto, making it easy for people to enjoy either platform based on which smartphone they own. What this means is that buyers don’t have to worry about choosing one over the other; instead, Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system is compatible with both simultaneously.
Let’s say you have an iPhone 6, for instance. All you have to do is plug it in via USB and, in a matter of seconds, the console will automatically recognize it as a CarPlay device, after which you’ll have access to select core applications. The same goes for drivers who own an Android handset (running Lollipop or above), but with Android Auto showing up on the 7- or 8-inch screen, depending on the vehicle. Obviously, one of the concerns here is data usage, so Chevrolet is letting users pick between what’s being provided by their carrier or one of its OnStar 4G LTE plans — if the latter option is chosen, you’d simply need to connect your smartphone to the car’s WiFi hotspot.
Chevrolet won’t be limiting the functionality to its cars in the US, either. The company says it will be available in the same places as Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto — great news for everyone who’s a fan of the recently introduced Spark or Malibu. Unfortunately, there’s no backward compatibility, so you’ll need one of the 2016 models if you want to have this on your Chevy.