The introduction of Apple Pay last Monday was widely described as the dawn of a new era for smartphone payments. But within a week, two major pharmacy chains, Rite Aid RAD and CVS CVS, rejected Apple’s AAPL version of the future: Both disabled Apple Pay as well as other tap-to-pay mobile payments systems Google Wallet and Softcard. As expected, customers took to Twitter to complain, and they almost universally sided with the smartphone company over the drugstores.
CVS hasn’t publicly explained itself. Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower defended the company in an e-mail to Bloomberg Businessweek. “We are continually evaluating various forms of mobile payment technologies, and are committed to offering convenient, reliable, and secure payment methods that meet the needs of our customers,” she wrote.
Apple reported its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter results on Monday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, iPad sales are down again.For the third consecutive quarter, iPad sales have declined year-over-year. On a call with analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook positioned the decline in sales as “a speed bump, not a huge issue.” Still, Cook conceded that this isn’t where Apple wants to be. “We want to grow. We don’t like negative numbers on these things.” That need for future growth is probably one of the reasons Apple realigned its iPad offerings last week.
Go ahead and forget your wallet. Apple’s new mobile payment system, Apple Pay, launches today Oct. 20, and while some have questioned whether the technology is safe, security experts say it may actually be safer than swiping your credit or debit card.
Apple Pay lets iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users make purchases in stores with their smartphones, using near-field communication NFC technology. A tiny antennain the phone transmits encrypted credit card data without consumers having to swipe their card.
NFC technology isn’t new; it’s used to make mobile payments from Android phones with apps like Google Wallet and Softcard. But Apple’s mobile wallet might be more secure than those other options, according to Martin Ferenczi, the North American president of Oberthur Technologies, a French electronics security company.
As part of the roll out of the iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch, Apple announced that it was adding U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ to every Apple iTunes library automatically as a ‘gift’. There was an immediate uproar from Appleland that became so raucous that eventually Apple created a page to tell people how to remove the album from their accounts (yes, there’s an app for that), culminating in Bono himself apologizing for the entire fiasco.
The main complaint of the Apple community was that, a) they didn’t want Apple deciding what takes up space on their iTunes account and, b) they hate U2. There was a lot of counterpoint from Apple / U2 loyalists that thought Apple had done a good thing. ‘If some gives you a gift, you say thank you.’ The response from the aggrieved was ‘If someone gives me something I don’t want, it’s not a gift.’
To be sure, the bundle fest that was the iPhone 6 launch was intended to be a slick cross marketing event. A ‘free’ gift, it was not. U2 were well compensated for the release rights of the album. In addition, everyone that isn’t an Apple customer will pay for it. Apple gave it away for marketing purposes. The question is why would Apple want to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to do this.
Apple’s new ad for the iPhone 5S is called “Dreams,” though it might have been called “In Your Dreams.
“Like other recent iPhone spots and iPad spots, for that matter, it shows people using the device in pretty amazing ways—to measure wind speed, to plot the course of an airplane, to place a diamond in the setting of a ring. At the 37-second mark, a woman places her iPhone against the rib cage of a horse they don’t even bother to explain it, really—all you need to know is the iPhone is horse compatible, and it hits you. You’ll never use your iPhone for any of this stuff well, OK, the audio translation app looks pretty rad.
Is an advertisement aspirational when you don’t necessarily aspire to many of the behaviors it depicts? It’s a key question for Apple, which is riding that line between rarefied and relatable in its marketing.
Monday kicks off Apple’s annual week-long developer conference, WWDC. At its opening keynote, the company will surely offer a sneak peek at the next generation of Mac and iOS software. But Apple often gives us a first look at new hardware and partner products too, like the MacBook Pro with Retina Display in 2012 and last year’s onstage debut of Anki Drive.So what’s in store for this year’s keynote? Based on what we know about Apple, iOS, Mac OS X, as well as whispers from various “inside sources” in Cupertino, we can expect big news around health and home automation platforms, as well as a preview of next-generation mobile and desktop software. Here’s a rundown of the possibilities:
Apple’s rumored decision to purchase Beats Electronics for a vast $3.2 billion has puzzled many across the tech sphere. But, there may be a simple answer: Purchasing the Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre empire may give Apple a slice of the millennial pie.
“I got teens, and they don’t listen to anything unless it’s with those headphones. The association that Beats has with teens is it’s cool. Apple is the brand of your mom,” Jonathan Adams, digital agency iCrossing’s head of media in North America, said.
Adams points out that Apple obviously doesn’t have a brand problem and is still profitable. But, it can’t champion that spritely youthful image that wearing a pair of the bombastic headphones, which have become a fashion accessory, has. And, it seems Apple wants its mojo back, as noted by its tepid dip in the Tumblr waters in March.