Apple Restricting Use of NFC Antenna in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to Apple Pay

September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

The NFC antenna found on Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will only be used with the company’s “Apple Pay” mobile payment solution and will not be available to developers for use in third-party apps, reports Cult of Mac. The confirmation comes by way of an Apple spokeswoman, who also declined to comment on future plans for the technology’s use in other instances.

The move is similar to the Touch ID sensor’s debut on the iPhone 5s last year, as Apple restricted its use to iTunes purchases and device unlocking. However, Apple announced at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference that developers would be able to integrate Touch ID into their iOS 8 apps. It is possible that Apple will allow NFC to be used with third-party apps at some point in the future, however it appears that the company is focused on polishing the technology for use with its own services.

Apple Pay will first launch in the United States next month as an update to iOS 8, and will be featured in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as the Apple Watch when it launches next year. The service will be compatible with American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards, with 220,000 U.S. retail stores listed as partners. Apple will also be launching an Apple Pay API for developers to integrate the service into their apps.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

PayPal Launches Ad Subtly Attacking Apple for Recent iCloud Photo Leak [iOS Blog]

September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Following the unveiling of Apple Pay last week, PayPal has gone on the offensive, taking out a full page ad in The New York Times that slams Apple for its recent iCloud photo leak while promoting PayPal’s own security.

“We the people want our money safer than our selfies,” reads the ad first shared by Pando Daily. “PayPal, protecting the people economy.”

The ad alludes to a recent attack on celebrity iCloud accounts, which saw hundreds of celebrity photos released on the Internet. Since the attack, Apple has gone to great lengths to point out that the leak was tied to weak usernames and passwords rather than an iCloud security breach, as the incident occurred just before plans to unveil Apple Pay.

The company released a public statement after an investigation, and then Tim Cook did an interview with The Wall Street Journal to let users know about plans to broaden the use of two-factor authentication and to send security emails when a device is restored, iCloud is accessed, or a password change is attempted.

On its Apple Pay website, Apple also goes into detail about the security of the service, pointing towards unique Device Account numbers, the iPhone’s Secure Element, and the ability to put a phone in Lost Mode if it goes missing, protecting all information including payment data.

Apple also says that all transactions are private, as the company does not store any details at all. Payment information is also directly stored on a device (within the Secure Element) and not in iCloud, making it inaccessible from a remote location.

Apple doesn’t save your transaction information. With Apple Pay, your payments are private. Apple doesn’t store the details of your transactions so they can’t be tied back to you. Your most recent purchases are kept in Passbook for your convenience, but that’s as far as it goes.

It’s no surprise that PayPal has launched an ad that subtly attacks Apple as it is facing significant competition from the company. In addition to allowing users to make purchases in retail stores with their iPhones, Apple Pay also lets users buy items in supported apps using a credit card or debit card connected with an iTunes account.

PayPal works in a very similar way, letting users attach a credit or debit card and then make purchases through the service, alleviating the need to enter credit card details. Major credit card companies, banks, and multiple retailers are also already on board with Apple Pay.

App developers have been instructed to use several different payment platforms in their APIs, including Authorize.Net, Chase Paymentech, CyberSource, First Data, Stripe, and TSYS. Noticeably absent is PayPal, though the service’s credit card processing subsidiary, Braintree, has pledged support for Apple Pay.

PayPal has had its own security issues in recent months, most recently facing a significant problem with its two-factor authentication system.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Tim Cook Speaks on Privacy in New Interview: ‘We Try Not to Collect Data’

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with Charlie Rose in a two part-interview, and the second segment of the show is airing tonight. In the second half of the interview, Cook focuses on the driving force behind Apple, his own personal values, and the company’s thoughts on privacy.

Cook’s first comments are on Apple’s privacy views, and he says that the company tries to collect as little data about its users as possible and that he believes that people “have a right to privacy.”

Our view is that when we design a new service we try not to collect data. So we’re not reading your email. We’re not reading your iMessage. If the government laid a subpoena on us to get your iMessages, we can’t provide it. It’s encrypted and we don’t have a key.

Our business is based on selling [products]. Our business is not based on having information about you. You are not our product.

As he has stated previously, Cook says that no one has backdoor access to Apple’s servers. “We would never allow that to happen,” he says, repeating his prior statement on the issue. “They would have to cart us out in a box before we would do that.”

On his values, Tim Cook says that he believes in treating all people with dignity, regardless of color, religion sexual orientation, and gender. “Everyone deserves respect.” Cook goes on to say that Apple is driven by a goal to enrich people’s lives and change the world, not to be the largest company.

You know, I was at — I was at Compaq at a time where the objective was to become a $40 billion company. Well, employees don’t get excited about that. This isn’t something you wake up and you go, “I’m going to take the hill today to do 40″ — I mean, you know? It’s just not that. But changing the world? These are the things that people work for. And this pushes people. And so, this is who we are as people. And it’s the values of our company. It’s been the values of our company forever. And it’s to Steve’s credit. He put these values in the company… I know I probably said it too many times, but it’s a privilege of a lifetime to be there, because I think there’s no place like it on earth.”

The first part of the Charlie Rose interview aired on Friday, with Tim Cook speaking about Steve Jobs’ continued influence on Apple Products, the company’s thoughts on the Apple TV, and the decision to buy Beats Electronics.

During the first half of the interview, Tim Cook also said that Apple is working on products that “no one knows about” and that “haven’t been rumored about yet,” noting that some of the products may go on to be released while others will be shelved.

Tim Cook’s full commentary on Apple and privacy issues will be available when the complete second part of the interview airs later tonight on PBS.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ Accessed Over 33 Million Times Since Start of iTunes Promotion [iOS Blog]

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Six days after it began offering U2’s latest album “Songs of Innocence” for free to 500 million iTunes customers, Apple has announced (via the Associated Press) that over 33 million customers have accessed the record.

In a statement, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software and Services Eddy Cue called the numbers record-breaking, and said that the numbers include users who downloaded the album from their iTunes account, streamed it, or used iTunes Radio to listen to it.

Earlier this morning, Apple also released a tool for customers to delete the U2 album off of their iTunes accounts, as some users were upset with it being added to their devices without their knowledge.

Last Friday, it was reported that Songs of Innocence was downloaded 2 million times after three days of being made available. The album will be free for iTunes customers until October 13.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Apple Watch Already Facing Questions Concerning User Privacy

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Though it won’t be released until early 2015, Apple’s new wearable device is already facing public scrutiny over privacy issues. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking several questions about how the Apple Watch will operate and requesting a meeting with Apple representatives.

In the letter, Jepsen addresses several issues he has with the Apple Watch, and requests that Apple explains what data the device will collect and how the information will be stored, along with its policies on apps that access health information.


In his letter, the Attorney General noted several areas of concern, including:

-Whether Apple will allow consumers to store personal and health information on Apple Watch itself and/or on its servers, and if so, how information will be safeguarded;

-If and how Apple will review application privacy policies to ensure that users’ health information is safeguarded;

-If and how Apple intends to enforce policies that require the rejection of applications that provide diagnoses, treatment advice, or control hardware designed to diagnose or treat medical conditions that do not provide written regulatory approval;

-What information Apple Watch and its applications will collect from users, and how Apple and application developers will obtain consent to collect and share such information from these individuals; and

-How Apple intends to monitor and enforce applications’ compliance with its guidelines concerning users’ health information.

Many of these questions actually seem to pertain more to Apple’s HealthKit APIs, and several of the answers are detailed in Apple’s Review Guidelines for developers that were updated in June.

In the document, Apple says that HealthKit information will not be stored in iCloud and that apps attempting to store health data in iCloud will be rejected. It also states that apps will not be able to share data with third parties without express user consent and that all apps that provide diagnoses or treatment advice will be rejected.

Introduced on September 9, the Apple Watch is designed to be both fashionable and functional, aiming to encourage its users to be more active. It includes an accelerometer and four lenses designed to monitor heart rate, with the information collected displayed in several accompanying fitness apps. The heart rate and fitness data will also likely integrate with the Health app in iOS 8, which is designed to aggregate health and fitness data from a wide range of devices that have taken advantage of the HealthKit API.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

Macy’s Announces iBeacon Expansion, Support for Apple Pay [iOS Blog]

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Macy’s today announced plans to expand its partnership with Shopkick, which will see more than 4000 shopBeacon devices installed in Macy’s stores across the United States by the end of September.

Macy’s and Shopkick originally teamed up in November of 2013 to roll out the first retail based iBeacons, allowing customers to access location-specific deals, discounts, and recommendations in the Shopkick app while in a Macy’s retail store. Customers will get these types of notifications in all Macy’s locations beginning this fall, and in early 2015, Macy’s will be able to offer discounts tailored by specific departments in each store.

Along with plans for an iBeacon expansion, Macy’s has also announced that both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores will be some of the first retailers to support Apple Pay, Apple’s new mobile payment service. With Apple Pay, customers will be able to pay for purchases in stores using an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or Apple Watch.

As announced on Sept. 9, 2014, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores will be among the first retailers to support the new Apple PayTM mobile payment system which will be available beginning this fall on new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus mobile devices, as well as on the newly unveiled Apple Watch. The convenience of mobile payment at the point-of-sale is becoming increasingly interesting to customers, and Apple Pay offers an opportunity to further simplify the point-of-sale process in Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores in an easy, secure and private manner. More details will be available in October, when the new service is scheduled to launch.

Macy’s has also announced several other plans for technological improvements across its retail stores, including revamped apps, same day delivery in select markets, new handheld point-of-sale devices, smart fitting rooms, and more.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Models Popping Up in China, Vietnam Ahead of September 19 Launch

September 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

Though the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are not expected to be delivered to customers and released to stores until Friday, September 19, some devices have already begun showing up in Vietnam and China.

According to Dan Tri [Google Translate] an iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were spotted in a Red River restaurant in Vietnam by an AP reporter, who confirmed the legitimacy of the devices.

The reporter is said to have tested features like Messages and Siri to confirm that the devices seen in Vietnam were real, and Dan Tri snapped several photos of the two phones. The images show off the size difference between the two models and how the devices fit into a pocket.

Dan Tri also shares some details on the two new devices, suggesting that despite the size increase, the iPhone 6 Plus is comfortable to hold and feels like “a miniature mini iPad.” The cameras, though protruding, are not much of a hinderance, and two phones are “fast” and quick to open apps.

iPhone 6 models have also appeared in China, with users on the forums sharing several photos of the devices.

Apple was unable to keep a tight rein on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus this year, with several parts leaking out ahead of the iPhone announcement. Enough parts leaked, in fact, that Feld & Volk was able to assemble a functional iPhone well ahead of release, and the weekend before Apple unveiled the two devices, a fully functional version of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was shared by a Chinese user.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be in retail stores beginning on Friday, September 19. Early pre-orders placed on September 12 will also begin arriving on that date, though a few lucky customers often get their devices delivered early due to shipping errors and the logistics of delivering hundreds of thousands of devices simultaneously.

from MacRumors: Mac News and Rumors – All Stories