Apple Pay Coming Soon to Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain

Apple Pay is now available at more than 2 million retail locations, with merchants such as Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A and Au Bon Pain set to accept the system in stores imminently, reports The Business Times.

Online clothing retailer Zappos.com also added Apple Pay to its iPhone and iPad apps on Tuesday, following a number of requests from customers to use the feature.

The announcement by Apple comes alongside news that the mobile payment service exceeded the company’s goal to make it available at 1.5 million locations by the end of 2015. In-app purchases using the service also more than doubled in the last six months of 2015 compared with the first half, says the company.

Despite the upbeat announcement, Apple still has work to convince U.S. customers to use Apple Pay at retail stores. According to a survey by consumer researcher Pymnts and InfoScout, 16.6 percent of people who own newer iPhones tried Apple Pay in October, an increase from 9 percent in November 2014.

Apple Pay is set to expand to China early this year, making it the fifth country to adopt the payments service since its U.S. launch in October 2014. The service expanded to the United Kingdom in July 2015, followed by Australia and Canada last November in partnership with American Express. Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain are also expected to gain support later this year.

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Apple Adds 20 New Flyover Locations Around the World, New Maps Info in Taiwan and Finland

Apple today added 20 new Flyover locations to Apple Maps on Mac and iOS, highlighting landmarks and features across several countries including France, Italy, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the UK, South Africa, and the United States.

For those unfamiliar with the Flyover feature in Apple Maps, it lets users see photo-realistic 3D videos of select locations, with tools for zooming, panning, and rotating to get a closer look at notable landmarks and points of interest. Some of the locations listed may have previously been available as Flyover destinations, but were just added to Apple’s list of Flyover locations.

The full list of new Flyover locations is available below:

Adelaide, Australia

Amiens, France

La Rochelle, France

Nantes, France

Toulouse, France

Berne, Switzerland

Bremen, Germany

Columbus, Ohio

Louisville, Kentucky

South Bend, Indiana

Springfield, Missouri

Tucson, Arizona

Dresden, Germany

Eindhoven, Netherlands

Johannesburg, South Africa

Middlesbrough, UK

Salzburg, Austria

Taormina, Italy

Toyoma, Japan

Virgin Islands

Flyover was first introduced in 2012, but over the last four years, Apple has steadily added new Flyover locations to the Maps app. In 2015, Apple updated some major Flyover locations with real-time animated landmarks, making the Flyover experience even more immersive. Many Flyover locations have an additional City Tour feature that walks users through different landmarks in each city.

Along with new Flyover locations, the Maps app has been updated in Taiwan and Finland. In Taiwan, iOS users now have access to traffic information, and in Finland, the Nearby feature introduced in iOS 9 is now active, allowing users to get information on local businesses located near them.

Tags: Apple Maps, Flyover
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Apple’s ‘Back to School’ Promotion in Australia and New Zealand Offers Free Beats Headphones

Apple today launched its annual „Back to School“ promotion in Australia and New Zealand, offering higher education students, faculty members, parents of students, and select other staff a free pair of Beats Solo2 on-ear headphones with the purchase of a qualifying Mac with education pricing between February 3 and March 21.

Eligible models include the iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Pro, including configure-to-order versions, while the Mac mini and refurbished Macs do not qualify for the offer. The eligible Mac must be purchased from the online Apple Store for Education or by calling 133-622 in Australia or 0800-692-7753 in New Zealand.

The qualifying student or faculty member will receive one pair of free Beats Solo2 on-ear headphones in Gloss Black, Gloss White, Gloss Red, or Gloss Blue, as an instant credit. Apple also offers a credit of AU$259.95 or NZ$339.95 for Beats Solo2 Wireless on-ear headphones, with the customer responsible for paying the remaining difference.

Apple’s „Back to School“ promotion in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and elsewhere last July and August also offered students a free pair of Beats Solo2 headphones with a qualifying Mac purchase. Last year, students in Australia and New Zealand were offered an Apple gift card worth between $25 and $100 with the purchase of a qualifying Mac, iPad, or iPhone.

Read the terms in conditions in Australia and New Zealand for complete details.

Tags: Beats, Australia, New Zealand, Back to School promotion
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Apple Ceases Free iTunes Radio Streaming Worldwide

Apple today officially ended free streaming of its iTunes Radio channels worldwide, incorporating the catalogue of stations into its subscription-based Apple Music service.

The change follows Apple’s announcement earlier this month that its free radio-listening feature would be discontinued at the end of January but would remain available to Apple Music subscribers.

As of this morning, iOS Music app users who tap on a radio station are bounced to a screen prompting them to join Apple’s premium streaming music service.

Likewise, iTunes users on a Mac who attempt to access the stations or create their own are met with a dialog window asking them to „Get on Our Wavelength“ and join Apple Music.

Users with an iTunes Match subscription are also no longer able to access the stations. However, Apple’s Beats 1 radio channel remains available to iTunes users worldwide as a free listening option.

Apple had quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music on June 30, 2015. However, after the company’s decision to wind down its mobile iAd platform, the feature was already being limited in other regions to those who pay for Apple’s streaming music service.

iTunes Radio was originally released with iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7 as a free ad-supported service, offering music discovery through featured and genre stations provided by Apple or through the creation of new stations based on a specific artist or song.

Tags: iTunes Radio, Apple Music, iAd
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Apple Pay Gains Over 50 New U.S. Banks and Credit Unions

Apple updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list today with 51 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has over 950 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.

The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it’s worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple’s website.

The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:

Achieve Financial Credit Union

Advantage Federal Credit Union

Alloy Federal Credit Union

Altoona First Savings Bank

Altura Credit Union

Amalgmated Bank of Chicago

Associated Credit Union of Texas

Bank of Ann Arbor

Beehive Federal Credit Union

Brand Banking Company

Business Bank of St. Louis

Capitol Credit Union

Charlotte State Bank & Trust

Citizens Bank (AL)

Citizens Savings Bank

Community Credit Union

Credit Union of Texas

Earthmover Credit Union

Employment Security Credit Union

Family Trust Federal Credit Union

First Community Bank of Beemer

First Interstate Bank

First Service Federal Credit Union

First State Community Bank

Fort Community Credit Union

Georgia Bank and Trust

HomeStar and Financial Services

Houston Highway Credit Union

IDB-IIC Federal Credit Union

Katahdin Federal Credit Union

Lion’s Share Federal Credit Union

Mainstreet Community Bank of Florida

Marine Bank & Trust

Marine Federal Credit Union

Monona State Bank

Navy Army Community Credit Union

Northway Bank

Plaza Park State Bank

Reliant Community Credit Union

Security Bank and Trust Company

Silver State Schools Credit Union

Spencer County Bank

Summit Community Bank

Sundance State Bank

The Commerce Bank of Washington

Tioga State Bank

Torrance Community Credit Union

Total Community Credit Union

Triangle Credit Union

United Community Bank

USNY Bank

Apple is committed to an international expansion of Apple Pay, having launched the mobile payments service in Australia and Canada in November in partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is also coming to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain this year, and the service will launch in China in early 2016 in partnership with UnionPay.

Apple Pay gained support for BJ’s Wholesale Club private label credit cards and 66 new U.S. issuers on December 15, plus nearly another 60 issuers on January 5. On the merchant side, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Domino’s, KFC and Starbucks will support Apple Pay in the U.S. starting this year.

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Apple Ending Ad-Supported iTunes Radio Stations at End of January

As part of the winding down of its iAd platform, Apple today sent out a notice to customers who listen to its radio service letting them know the radio feature is being discontinued at the end of January.

In the email, Apple says that Beats 1 radio will be the only free listening option available to those who do not subscribe to the Apple Music service. Customers who listen to radio stations sans ads with an iTunes Match subscription are also receiving the emails and will no longer be able to listen to radio stations as an iTunes Match perk.

Apple has quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music, but with the end of its current iAd platform on the horizon, the feature will be limited to those who pay for Apple Music going forward. Customers in Australia are receiving emails stating the radio service will end on January 29, while U.S. customers are receiving emails that suggest it will no longer be available as of January 28.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed reporter John Paczkowski said that Apple was working towards dismantling its in-house iAd sales team in favor of a more automated platform. This afternoon, Apple announced the end of its iAd App Network, and it’s likely there will be additional changes to products and services as the iAd platform is revamped.

Tags: iTunes Radio, Apple Music
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Glitch Caused Apple to Underestimate Apple News Traffic

Publishers who have been offering their content on Apple News have been receiving incorrect usage statistics from Apple due to an internal glitch that caused the company to miscalculate the number of people using the service, Eddy Cue told The Wall Street Journal in a statement this evening.

According to Cue, Apple has been underestimating the number of readers using the News app since it launched alongside iOS 9 in September. The problem went under the radar because Apple was busy working on improving other aspects of the service. Apple doesn’t know how exactly many people are using the News app, but the company is working to fix the problem.

„We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality,“ [Cue] said. „We don’t know what the right number is,“ but he added that it was better to undercount than overcount traffic.

In October, during Apple’s fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple News had approximately 40 million users, but he did not specify whether that number represented people who use the Apple News app on a regular basis or if it was a number reflecting the number of people who accessed the app at one point or another. Cue echoed that number in his comments to The Wall Street Journal, but it is not clear if that is an accurate figure given Apple’s current inability to calculate exact usage.

Despite not knowing how many people are using Apple News at the current time, Cue says that Apple News usage has „scaled very fast,“ and that the company is happy with the Apple News product’s progress thus far. After launching in the United States in September, Apple News expanded to the U.K. and Australia in October with the launch of iOS 9.1.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, accurate readership numbers are important to publishers because the figures impact advertising. Publishers who share content on Apple News are able to keep 100 percent of proceeds from ads sold on their own, or 70 percent from ads sold through the Apple iAd service. According to Cue, iAd has been popular enough with publishers that Apple will be expanding the platform with a self-service ad-buying feature in the next two months.

Apple has partnered more than a hundred publications for Apple News, including The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, Slate, and more. MacRumors is also on Apple News and can be subscribed to by clicking this link on an iOS device.

Tag: Apple News
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Apple Pay Gains 40 New Participating U.S. Issuers

Apple has updated its Apple Pay participating issuers list with 40 additional banks, credit unions and financial institutions supporting the contactless payment service in the United States. Apple Pay now has nearly 800 participating issuers nationwide, and several more plan to support the NFC-based mobile payment service in the future.

The newly added Apple Pay participating issuers are reflected below, although it’s worth noting that some banks, credit unions and financial institutions listed may have already had support for the contactless payments service and are only now being reflected on Apple’s website.

The full list of new Apple Pay participating issuers:

American Heritage Federal Credit Union

Associated Credit Union

Bangor Savings Bank

Bank of Bourbonnais

Bank of Clovis

Bank of the Pacific

Baton Rouge Telco Federal Credit Union

BHCU

Cardinal Bank

Corning Credit Union

First Financial Credit Union (IL)

First National Bank of Trenton

First Nations Bank

First Republic Bank

Flint Area School Employees Credit Union

Glass City Federal Credit Union

Guaranty Bank and Trust Company

Hawthorn Bank

Hills Bank and Trust Company

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

Leader Bank, N.A.

Michigan Tech Employees Federal Credit Union

Midcoast Federal Credit Union

Oatworth Capital Bank

Ohio Valley Bank

Partnership Financial Credit Union

Penn Liberty Bank

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union

Prime Merdian Bank

Reading Cooperative Bank

Republic Bank

Section 705 Federal Credit Union

Secured Advantage Federal Credit Union

Southern Bank

Southwest Missouri Bank

TowneBank

West Plains Bank and Trust Company

WesTex Federal Credit Union

Wilmington Savings Fund Society

WSFS Bank

Apple is committed to an international expansion of Apple Pay, having launched the mobile payments service in Australia and Canada last month in partnership with American Express. Apple Pay is also coming to Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain in 2016, and is rumored to launch in China by February 2016.

On the merchant side, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Domino’s, KFC and Starbucks will support Apple Pay in the U.S. starting in 2016.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
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Australians banks accused of freezing out Apple Pay

Australia may recently have said “G’day” to Apple Pay, but when it comes it the country’s overall embrace of Apple’s NFC payment platform, well, let’s just say that a few more shrimps could be tossed on the proverbial barbie. That’s because, despite now being available to Amex customers Down Under, Australia’s Reserve Bank is being pushed […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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