Hilton confirms malware attacks on payment system

Hilton Worldwide has issued a statement confirming that payment card information of some of its guests has been compromised due to malware attacks on its payment system since last year. Read more…

Microsoft slashes the price of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL in the UK

Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 flagship smartphones, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, are yet to go on sale but they have already received a price cut in the UK by £50 and £20 respectively. Read more…

Discover Rolls Out Apple Pay Support for iOS 9, Offers 10% Cashback Bonus for Apple Pay Purchases

As promised earlier this year, Discover has rolled out support for Apple Pay as of today for users running iOS 9 betas or the golden master. Other users will be able to add Discover cards once iOS 9 launches to the public in a few hours. With the addition, Discover cardholders will be able to take advantage of Apple Pay to make secure, contactless payments using Apple’s payment service.

To encourage users to give Apple Pay a try, Discover is offering a deal for all of its U.S. cardmembers. Any customer who uses their Discover cards through Apple Pay will get a 10 percent Cashback Bonus through the end of 2015. Cashback Bonuses are available on up to $10,000 of in-store purchases, and Discover it Miles, Miles, and Escape cardmembers will earn an extra 10 miles per dollar on up to $10,000 of in-store purchases.

„We are excited for Discover cardmembers to have the ability to use Apple Pay. Rewards have always been important to our cardmembers, and we want to make sure they receive a generous offer for shopping with Discover and Apple Pay,“ said Heather Roche, vice president of rewards at Discover. „We want to encourage new and existing Discover cardmembers to add their Discover card to Apple Pay with a few simple clicks using our mobile app, take advantage of this 10% Cashback Bonus, and experience the ease and convenience of using Apple Pay.“

According to Discover’s Apple Pay press release, Discover members who want to use their cards with the service will need to update to Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 9, and then add their cards to the newly renamed Wallet app (formerly Passbook). From there, adding a card to Apple Pay is as simple as scanning it in and verifying it, as seen in our how to on using Apple Pay.

With Discover now supporting Apple Pay, all of the four major credit card networks in the United States work with the payments service. MasterCard, American Express, and Visa have worked with Apple Pay since the service launched in October of 2014.

Since Apple Pay first became available, Apple has worked with hundreds of banks and credit unions to expand Apple Pay support. A full list of supported banks in both the United States and the United Kingdom is available on Apple’s website.

Apple Pay is compatible with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus. Apple Pay is also available on an Apple Watch paired with one of the aforementioned devices or an iPhone 5, 5c, or 5s.

(Thanks, tmiw!)



Apple May Be Returning to Glass-on-Glass Touch Panels for iPhone 7

A new rumor out of Apple’s supply chain in Asia suggests that the company could be returning to using ultra-thin glass-on-glass touch panels for next year’s line of iPhones, but will remain using in-cell touch panels for the „iPhone 6s“ and „iPhone 6s Plus,“ both predicted to launch this month (via DigiTimes). The sources cite Apple’s issues with production bottlenecks of the in-cell technology which prevent the company from „adding new features as well as increasing resolutions.“

Makers have already begun sending samples of fully laminated G/G technology to Apple and Corning along with Asahi Glass have also reportedly sent glass samples.

Market observers have recently noted that Apple is in discussions over whether to go back to G/G instead of in-cell technology for future iPhone devices as in-cell technology is currently struggling with various production bottlenecks that are preventing Apple from adding new features as well as increasing resolutions.

Notably, the improvement in glass-on-glass production technology could grant Apple the ability to create a bezel-free iPhone that in-cell panels currently limit. The possibility of a full 4K ultra HD screen would also be in the cards according to the sources in the company’s supply chain, again pointing to current limitations on in-cell touch panels themselves, and their production.

G/G touch panels may also help Apple develop bezel-free smartphones as in-cell touch panels reportedly are struggling with touch sensitivity on the edges. Additionally, in-cell touch panels also make it difficult for vendors to pursue higher resolutions including Ultra HD (4K) due to current bottlenecks, the observers said.

Apple used glass-on-glass touch panels in its iPhone line until the iPhone 5 came out in 2012 with in-cell panels. The new line of iPhones predicted to be announced at next week’s September 9 media event will undoubtedly continue to use in-cell panels, with stronger 7000 series aluminum shells, Force Touch, an improved 12-megapixel camera, all housed in a similar design to last year’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models.



App Store’s Emphasis on Chart Positioning Squeezing Out Developers and Media Publications

When the App Store launched in 2008, it provided an exciting new way for developers to distribute third-party apps and games on the iPhone. With the release of iPhone OS 2.0, developers were no longer constrained to web apps and could take advantage of the possibilities afforded through fully native apps. At the time, it was an exciting and opportunistic new chapter for iPhone users, developers and mobile gaming websites.

As the App Store continues to grow in size, however, the landscape has begun to change. While the App Store was once a relatively even playing field, with a balanced mix of indie developers, mid-size studios and large publishers, the storefront now suffers from increasing disparity, a problem that is suffocating for many developers, enthusiast media publications and the broader ecosystem.

Clash of Clans, Game of War and Candy Crush Saga are top grossing iPhone apps
The shift away from paid apps towards free apps monetized with in-app purchases or mobile ads has driven the popularity of addictive games such as Clash of Clans, Game of War, Candy Crush Saga and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and the deep-pocketed developers behind each title will go to extreme measures to ensure their continued success, even including unthinkably expensive Super Bowl ads.

Eli Hodapp, Editor-in-Chief at our sister website TouchArcade:

„iOS gaming has since been pushed to two extremes: The giant, multi-million dollar studios of the world, and supremely tiny indie developers hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a surprise viral hit they built in their spare time. The mobile gaming megacorps are operating on a financial level that’s hard to even fully comprehend, quite literally advertising during the Super Bowl, while the one-man indie studios typically can’t even afford an artist to help them with a better app icon.“

The main issue is not that multi-million-dollar game studios are spending considerably more money than independent developers, but rather the underlying App Store methodology that creates the artificial race to the top in the first place: chart positioning. Ranking near the top of the charts is still almost a must in order to be discovered within a sea of nearly 1.5 million apps and counting…

Hodapp explains that developers have resorted to performance-based marketing to ensure their apps remain at the top of the App Store for as long as possible:

„The absolute most important thing for developers on the App Store in 2015 is chart positioning. There is nothing more valuable than being near the top of the charts, and with quite literally billions of dollars on the line across the iOS gaming industry, developers will do anything to climb the charts and stay there.

This has given birth to an entirely new method of performance-based marketing known as user acquisition. In 2015’s App Store, games typically aren’t promoted through advertising on sites like TouchArcade and growing brand awareness in a traditional sense. Instead, developers pay countless different in-app advertising networks to just buy users and drive downloads directly.“

This is a significant problem for many indie developers, who do not have nearly the same budget or resources to put towards marketing, and do not gain considerable traction on their apps as a result. The disparity also places pressure on enthusiast iOS gaming websites such as TouchArcade, Slide to Play and Gamezebo, as large developers move away from traditional advertising and towards direct user acquisition.

Gamezebo editor-in-chief Jim Squires spoke to MacRumors about the situation:

„We’ve been hit just as hard by this as everyone else, and unless developers wise up and recognize the importance of supporting the ecosystem, there won’t be an ecosystem left to support. […] If the situation doesn’t change soon, the landscape of mobile games journalism is going to look very different very soon – and it won’t be for the better.“

Of course, there are the „supremely tiny indie developers hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a surprise viral hit,“ with Flappy Bird by Dong Nguyen being one of the most notable examples. Flappy Bird soared to the top of the App Store charts in early 2014 and was earning Nguyen $50,000 per day in ad revenue before he removed the game due to the overwhelming attention he received.

Flappy Bird defied the odds and was a smash hit on the App Store in early 2014
For many individuals whose jobs are dependant upon the App Store ecosystem, however, including developers and mobile gaming websites, making even a tiny fraction of the $50,000 per day that Nguyen was earning is becoming increasingly challenging. The lack of advertising income being collected by many of the affected publications is putting the future of their day-to-day operations at risk.

„The mobile gaming press is getting the life squeezed out of it by the lack of advertising income,“ wrote 148Apps founder and Slide to Play author Jeff Scott on his personal blog Appivore, explaining how the editorial-developer relationship is broken.

Apple, for its part, is shifting towards editorially curated lists on the App Store, but Gamezebo editor-in-chief Jim Squires believes that developers need to change the way they approach their App Store marketing efforts and stresses the importance of enthusiast iOS gaming publications.

„Apple doesn’t need to change the way they do things – developers do. And it’s happening. Monument Valley may have already been a big hit, but a brief mention in House of Cards saw a huge spike in downloads for developer ustwo. TIME Magazine selected inkle’s mobile gamebook 80 Days as their Game of the Year. TIME Magazine. We need to meet consumers where they are at to convince them to download the software they want. But while it’s hard for one of 500 games launching in a week to get a TIME feature, it’s much easier to get a feature in a site like Gamezebo or TouchArcade. And those TIME writers? They read us. More importantly, there’s good reason to believe Apple and Google do too. They count on sites like ours to filter out the filler and let the cream of the crop rise to the top.“

With few other options at this point, MacRumors sister publication TouchArcade has set up a Patreon page where readers, developers and other members of the community can help fund the website to ensure that its editorial staff can continue to cover the latest in iOS gaming. As of writing, the website has received nearly half of its $10,000 monthly funding goal that will help it remain sustainable in the months and years ahead.

Those interested in learning more can read articles on TouchArcade and The Guardian.





Is the Apple Watch too easy for thieves to swipe and wipe?

Your shiny new Apple Watch? It’s a lot more vulnerable to being stolen than you might know. Jeff Benjamin over at the iDownload Blog makes a great point: the Apple Watch is a step back for Apple when it comes…Read more ›



Steve Jobs business cards from Apple, Pixar, and NeXT are up for auction

; Steve Jobs memorabilia collectors can now grab the holy trifecta of business cards while also doing a bit of good along the way. Three Steve Jobs business cards from his days at Apple, Pixar, and NeXT are up for auction…Read more ›



Nvidia beta drivers now available for Windows 10 [Update: Mobile Series Too!]

Nvidia has released its first beta drivers for Windows 10 on its website supporting a large group of graphics cards from the 600, 700, 900, and mobile series of discrete graphics cards Read more…



You want friends on Steam? You’ll need to spend $5

Steam has started separating its users into two tiers, essentially creating a barrier between those that pay up and those that don’t. If you spend less than $5 your access to features will be limited. Read more…