Apple objects to ‘free ride’ requests by Australian banks to open up NFC on iPhone — Apple has complained to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission over the resistance of major banks in the country using Apple Pay, with a recent filing claiming a request to open up access to the iPhone’s NFC controller would effectively allow banks to avoid using Apple Pay entirely.
In New Zealand only ANZ – an Australian bank – has implemented Apple Pay.
VR evangelist doubles down on rumor that Apple AR headset is inbound, moves date up to 2017 — Augmented and virtual reality herald Robert Scoble has amplified his predictions about an Apple partnership with Carl Zeiss on a pair of smart glasses, and is predicting an announcement of the technology possibly as early as the middle of 2017.
Scoble expects a very lightweight pair of glasses, with the electronics on other places on your body, such as in an iPhone or other wearable.
iOS 10.3 for iPhone and iPad adds Find My AirPods feature — If you’re worried about losing your fancy new AirPods, Apple has your back — or your ear. iOS 10.3, which was released as a beta to developers on Tuesday so will be with general users soon, includes a newFind My AirPods feature to help you track down your wayward wireless earpods.
Apple Pay use is on the rise — Consumer spending analytics company TXN says that Apple Pay is on the rise, based on data from its panel of over three million consumers. Analysis of credit card bills from banks that distinguish Apple Pay transactions suggest that usage of the payment method grew by slightly over 50% in the 12 months ending December 2016.
Apple allowing developers to respond to user reviews in App Stores with iOS 10.3, more improvements coming — As part of feedback collected by Apple, when iOS 10.3 ships to customers the company is adding the ability for an app’s developer to respond to complaints or praise, with the response available for all to see in the App Store —and more improvements for developers are coming.
New microchip could bring portable spectroscopy to iPhone, Apple Watch — Si-Ware on Tuesday revealed an iPhone-compatible spectroscopy chip, the NeoSpectra Micro, which could potentially expand the uses of both mobile devices and wearables in areas like health, science, and nutrition.
Apple Watch to get Theater Mode, more in watchOS 3.2 — Your Apple Watch is about to become far less annoying in movie theaters because the Theater Mode feature rumoured to be coming to the iPhone is actually destined for your wrist. Apple tipped off developers to that feature and more in an overview of what’s coming in watchOS 3.2.
Apple has released two new products for iDevices — One is a faster USB 3.0 Lightning to SD card reader for iPad Pro, since the Pro has a faster USB 3.0 port hidden within in. This is its first official accessory: a new Lightning to SD card reader that takes advantage of the next-generation port exclusive to Apple’s jumbo-sized iPad.
The second is an Apple iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case. The US$99 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case in charcoal or white costs NZ$189 in New Zealand. With it you can reportedly charge your iPhone and battery case simultaneously for increased talk time up to 25 hours, Internet use up to 18 hours on LTE, and even longer audio and video playback.
Apple Maps gets more than five billion map-related requests each week — Apple tells the Associated Press that its Maps app is now used more than three times as often as its next leading competitor (that would be Google Maps) on iPhones and iPads, with more than five billion map-related requests each week. comScore says Maps has a “modest lead” over Google on iPhones in the US, though the research group measures how many people use a service in a given month rather than how often. [I haven’t used Google Maps in years.]
Modern Family co-creator details episode shot entirely with Apple products — In a behind-the-scenes look at an upcoming Modern Family episode shot completely on iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2, co-creator and executive producer Steve Levitan said using the iOS devices didn’t dramatically change the production process, and revealed that tomorrow’s show is not the first time producers turned to Apple’s handset for in-show footage.
Apple Pay adoption keeps climbing: Chase says 1 million customers are now on board — Chase’s early numbers on Apple Pay adoption are promising: more than a million of the bank’s customers have added debit and credit cards to the service since it launched last October.
Five apps for signing documents with your iPhone and iPad —These five that cover all the bases, letting you sign, fill out forms, connect to your cloud storage accounts, and use’s iOS 8’s share extension, among other features.
Microsoft Band adds MapMyFitness & HealthVault support, but still no Apple HealthKit — The wearable fitness tracking Microsoft Band received an update this week adding support for biking, and integration with MapMyFitness and Microsoft’s own HealthVault service, but it still lacks compatibility with Apple’s HealthKit tools and Health app for iOS 8.
Forcing iCloud Contacts & Calendars to Sync — If your iCloud calendar or contact data isn’t syncing between your devices, an important troubleshooting step is to figure out where the bottleneck is. Here’s how to fix it.
Wacom Bamboo Stylus Fineline —Steve Sande reviews the new fine-tipped, pressure-sensitive stylus.
Apple introduces emoji diversity options with latest iOS 8.3, OS X 10.10.3 betas — Starting with the latest betas of iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3, new alternate skin colour options are available when selecting emojis of people and faces. In addition, Siri has added a host of new languages on iPhone and iPad.
Tweetbot for iOS gets Twitter video and GIF support in latest update — Developer Tapbots has released an update to its popular iOS Twitter client Tweetbot for iOS, bringing playback support for videos and GIFs hosted by the ubiquitous microblogging network.
Adonit’s Forge app is built for iPad brainstorming — Adonit is tired of sitting on the sidelines as others build software to work with its line of iOS styluses. Forge, the company’s first app, has been two years in the making, but it’s more than a simple sketch app — it’s a brainstorming tool.
Pro lens kit for iPhone 6 — The just released ExoLens kit for the iPhone 6 (iPhone 6 Plus lenses will come in May) is a professional pair of lenses, 3x telephoto and wide angle that attach to the iPhone 6 with a sturdy lattice mount. The mount is also threaded with a standard 1/4″-20 tripod connection. The system is designed for growth.
Apple bumps approved size for iOS apps, lets them eat twice the memory — People looking for richer mobile apps may cheer Apple’s decision to double the size limit of those approved for sale. But those whose iPhones and iPads have smaller amounts of memory will need to download carefully because Apple is bumping up the maximum size of apps from 2GB to 4GB , marking the first time Apple has expanded the size limit since the App Store’s 2008 debut.
New photo editors —Now owned by Adobe, Aviary Photo Editor is more than just a basic photo editor; the app includes a variety of artistic filters and other editing tools to transform a plain photo into something beautiful. Meanwhile, Macworld’s weekly roundup of apps includes two new offerings for editing and sharing images captured on your iPhone.
Apple Pay keeps expanding in the US — Apparently Apple Pay negotiations are going on between Apple and several banks in Brazil, while in the United States the federal government has announced it will support Apple Pay with its own payment cards and that Uncle Sam is going to start accepting Apple Pay for various purchases.
Vainglory, Apple’s iPhone 6 showcase game, offers great, gorgeous MOBA action — Apple chose Vainglory to spotlight the strength of the iPhone 6 — and iOS 8’s Metal graphics tech — at September’s big event, and it’s been one of the most anticipated mobile games on the horizon since. Andrew Hayward finds it lives up to the immense hype and expectations cast upon it by Apple’s smart showcase move.
Fleksy breaks Guinness World Record again — The Fleksy Keyboard for iOS 8, which we reviewed here, has broken a Guinness World Record for texting speed on a touchscreen device. The previous record holder? Fleksy Keyboard.
Marcel Fernandes Filho, 17, was able to use Flesky on his iPhone 6 to type a sentence in just 17 seconds.
Pixelmator for iPad is an affordable image editor that packs a powerful punch — From cropping and straightening to colour correcting, retouching, and painting; from creating selections to combining imagery; from blending layers to adding slick effects, shapes, layer styles, and highly customisable text, Pixelmator for iPad truly does it all…for a mere NZ$6.49.
Online retailers who support Apple Pay in iOS apps will boost sales this holiday, study says — While most of the buzz surrounding Apple Pay is focused on its use in person at retail, the most popular application this holiday season may be in securely authorising online purchases, a new study shows.
Wolfie allows beginners to learn piano with advanced tools — This educational music app teaches students how to play piano and helps instructors teach them as well. Plus, it has technology to guide you along as you play. Wolfie is a free iPad app with in-app purchases requiring iOS 7.0 or later, and comes with an entire catalogue of sheet music to download and learn how to play. There’s over 750 choices and your first two are free, so choose wisely because the others aren’t cheap.
Apple iSight supplier Sony unveils new 21MP CMOS sensor with 4K video, phase detection AF — Apple partner supplier Sony on Monday announced an upcoming 21-megapixel CMOS sensor with onboard plane phase detection autofocus signal processing, 4K video output and still image HDR, all features that could trickle down to a future iPhone model.
Apple TV (3rd Gen) updated to 7.0.2, no Patch Notes — Apple pushed an update out for Apple TV (3rd Gen) on Monday, version 7.0.2. We have no idea what’s in it because Apple hasn’t released patch notes yet. There are two versions: Apple TV 3 (AppleTV3,1) version 7.0.2 (Build 12B435) – (955.2MB download)
Apple TV 3 (2013) (AppleTV3,2) version 7.0.2 (Build 12B435) – (955.2MB download).
The updates are available through the Apple TV update interface, as well. Note that this update is for 3rd generation Apple TVs only.
Apple Pay now accounts for 50% of top-to-pay transactions at McDonald’s in the US — Apple Pay certainly wasn’t the first mobile payment platform to hit the market, but it’s increasingly starting to look like it will be the first to actually have an impact on the way consumers pay for goods and services. Just days after Whole Foods indicated that it has processed over 150,000 Apple Pay transactions, the New York Times reports that Apple’s new mobile payment platform has seen impressive adoption at McDonald’s and Walgreens.
Classiest iPhone 6 case so far looks after your Credit Cards too — The Leather Wallet Case 80° for iPhone 6 Plus (and 6) offers a very classy, slender package based on the concept of its popular predecessor. Redesigned to complement the larger iPhone 6 Plus, the new leather case from Dutch company Mujjo (check out the gallery at the site) is designed to be as slim as possible, and crafted from Mujjo’s signature high quality vegetable-tanned leather (pictured above). Placed at an 80° angle, a slant line marks the card pocket, placed at an 80° angle. This positions the cards to fit in at an upward angle, to keep them tightly secure and in place. It costs 49 euros (about NZ$77).
This company also makes gloves that work with iDevice touchscreens.
Apple strikes App Store deal with UnionPay, China’s massive bank card provider — Millions of Chinese will now be able to buy from Apple’s App Store through the country’s major domestic banking card provider, in a deal that could help the company squeeze even more revenue from one of its biggest markets.
Heyday is a wonderful, well-designed personal journal app for iPhone — Steve Sande reckons “Day One is one of my favorite apps both on iOS and OS X. But I’ve often wished for a way that my daily travels and photos could be automatically captured for posterity. That’s the idea behind Heyday, an iPhone app that’s billed as a ‘Smart Photo Organizer and Collage Journal/Diary’.” [Will your great grandchildren ever get to read it, though?]
Retailers report strong customer interest in Apple Pay after first weeks of service —It appears Apple Pay is off to a good start as participating retailers nationwide report the service is generating high levels of interest from customers looking to try it out, something heretofore unheard of in the mobile wallet space.
Apple’s A8X iPad chip causing big problems for Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia — Apple’s A-series Application Processors that power iPads, including the latest and greatest A8X in iPad Air 2, are inciting billion dollar losses for Intel and threatening major problems for rival tablet chips from Qualcomm, Samsung and Nvidia, along with all the companies that depend upon those vendors for their mobile chips.
Apple assures FTC that it will keep Apple Watch health data secure — With the Apple Watch capable of collecting sensitive health data, Reuters reports that the FTC has sought assurances from Apple that said data will not be used without the consent of the owners, will not be sold to third-parties, and above all, will remain safe and secure. Naturally, Apple has obliged, pointing out to the FTC that health data on the Apple Watch is encrypted.
Microsoft’s health tracking, iOS-compatible Band — The competitive price, strong feature set, and universal compatibility of the Microsoft Band will make it a compelling product for anyone in the market for a wearable fitness and health tracking device, though it does suffer from some of the expected shortcomings of a first-generation product.
The Scout navigation app adds chat, meetups and personalized traffic — Scout has always been a worthwhile free alternative for people looking for something beyond Google and Apple Maps. A just-issued update gives users predictive, intuitive traffic push notifications for users’ everyday trips, eliminating the need to manually check for traffic delays.
Distiller proves booze apps are no flash in the bottle — Communities of booze connoisseurs have existed on the Internet for ages, but they weren’t exactly easy to find or join. If you’re a casual whiskey drinker, you’re not going to ask a forum full of diehards if Jim Beam or Wild Turkey will go over better at your next dinner party. But a new breed of apps proves booze — from delivery to discussion — pairs well with technology.
BRUVELO would be your iPhone-powered coffee powerhouse — What is it with Apple fans and coffee? Perhaps it’s the fact that you can totally “geek out” on the process, the beans, the hardware and so on. Add your iPhone to the mix and you’ve got Apple-loving Coffee Nerd Nirvana.
App Store gamers are cheap, angry and whiny — Monument Valley developer Ustwo learned a harsh lesson about App Store customers this week when the group released a large update to its highly regarded iOS title. ‘Forgotten Shores’ added a further eight chapters to the popular puzzle game for $2.29, and if you had read any of the glowing user reviews for the game ahead of the expansion’s launch you’d probably have guessed more paid levels were exactly what everyone wanted. But no …
Office goes free on phones and tablets: what you get, and what you don’t — With the news that Microsoft is making all of its mobile Office apps free — the iPad and upcoming Android tablet versions — with a few caveats: Phone and tablet users will be able to view, create and edit documents for free, and they’ll be able to sync those documents with Dropbox or OneDrive cloud storage. Certain advanced editing features, such as the ability to accept or reject Track Changes in Word, will require an Office 365 subscription. And for commercial use rights, you’ll need Office 365 for Business.
[I am loving Microsoft’s re-engagement with the Apple world – better for all of us.]
Dan Frommer still likes his iPhone 6 Plus, and Steven Sandes loves his — Dan Frommer, writing over at Quartz, published a 30-day review of the iPhone 6 Plus today. The verdict? “After more than a month of everyday use, it has become even more of the pocket computer I’ve always wanted.” Steven Sande loves his too.
[I still love my slimmer 6 – the Plus is just too big for me.]
EFF ranks Apple’s iMessage, FaceTime “best mass market options” for secure messaging, ahead of BlackBerry Messenger, Google Hangouts, Facebook, Microsoft Skype —In its ranking of electronic messaging systems for safety and security, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said no mainstream products passed all of its criteria, but that Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime “stood out as the best of the mass-market options.”
Philips Hue iOS 8 Notification Center widget for connected lightbulbs now available — Users of Philips Hue connected LED lightbulbs can now quickly control their lighting and enable “scenes” with the new easy-access Hue widget, now available for iOS 8.
8 ways to take better photos with any camera — Now that ghosts and goblins have cleared the way for turkeys and reindeer, the prime holiday picture-taking season is upon us. To avoid getting disappointing photos that you can’t reshoot, you can follow these tips to increase your photographic prowess and take better pictures with any camera…including your iPhone.
Samsung Electronics’ heir apparent Lee Jae-yong profiled as silver spoon-fed product of corrupt nepotism with little real experience — When Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook came out as gay, jokes flew that Samsung might rush to announce it “was even more gay.” In reality however, Samsung Electronics is a step further behind Apple, having yet to officially name a successor to its ailing leader Lee Kun-hee, who at 72 remains hospitalised following a heart attack in May.
Jailbroken Chinese iOS devices fall prey to invasive WireLurker malware — Researchers at Palo Alto Networks said they’ve discovered an impressive malware attack against Apple devices, which for now appears to be limited to users of a Chinese application store. [Most people, don’t panic – your device is most likely not jailbroken, as that’s something you have to do specifically to your iDevice as a hack.]
Apple Pay dominates discussion at Money20/20 mobile payments industry conference — This week was the Money20/20 mobile payment conference in Las Vegas, Nevada and with over 7000 people in attendance, the hottest topic at the show was the recent launch of Apple Pay and what it means for the industry.
Leaf on the Wind is an engaging and very clever game — Mel Martin doesn’t do a lot of game reviews “because to me they usually are endless variations on a theme. Leaf on the Wind (NZ$3.79) is a clever exception, and a game I am really enjoying.”
Send your kid on a safari adventure with Trail the Tail — Trail the tail is an educational children’s app. It requires iOS 6.0 or later, is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and is optimised for iPhone 5. It’s a simple app with three short, fun, and educational games for young children in the main menu, a simple math game, and several other games involving various zoo animals on a side menu and costs NZ$3.79.
Google Maps app gets overhauled, adds Uber and Opentable — Google Maps, otherwise known as the mapping app that Apple Maps so desperately wishes it could be, got a little bit better today with an app refresh. The update brings with it a cleaner look and less clutter, which happens to match the post-iOS 7 aesthetic perfectly, along with support for third-party apps such as OpenTable and Uber.