Apple Pay Expanding to China, Possibly France and Canada’s Big Banks

Apple Pay has launched in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia to date, and the mobile payments service could expand to a fifth country this week: China. A customer service representative for China’s Guangfa Bank, using the bank’s public WeChat account, appears to have confirmed that Apple Pay will officially go live in the world’s most populous country on February 18 at 5:00 a.m. local time.

(Image: Sina via Tech in Asia)

Apple previously announced that Apple Pay will expand to China in early 2016 in partnership with UnionPay, a state-run interbank network that holds a monopoly on the country’s credit and debit card processing. UnionPay cardholders will be able to use Apple Pay on iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad – the latter for in-app purchases only. iOS 9.2 or watchOS 2.1 or later will be required, according to the screenshot.

In November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple reached deals with China’s big four state-run banks, including the Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and Agricultural Bank of China, to launch its iPhone-based payments service in the country. The report said Apple Pay could launch by the weeklong Chinese New Year, which concluded on February 13.

That prospective date has since passed, but a pair of YouTube videos surfaced in January that appeared to show Apple Pay working with UnionPay bank cards in China for both in-store and in-app purchases. It is possible that Apple soft launched Apple Pay in China with select participating issuers in order to test the payments service, ahead of its official launch in the country in a few days.

Meanwhile, French website iGeneration claims that Apple is preparing to launch Apple Pay in France and could make an announcement in the first half of 2016 – perhaps at WWDC in June. The report claims it is unclear when Apple Pay will become available in French stores, nor does it have information about which banks and participating issuers will support the service upon launch.

Last, new evidence has been uncovered that hints at Apple Pay support coming to Canada’s big banks. Specifically, Twitter user ChaseFromm2016 recently discovered a „NetworkInterac“ string hidden in iOS 9.2.1 code, as shared by the blog iPhone in Canada. The same string was also shared on Chinese website Feng last month, in the screenshot pictured right, according to the report.

(Image: iPhone in Canada)

Interac is Canada’s official debit card network, adopted by the country’s largest banks and credit unions nationwide, including BMO, CIBC, Desjardins, Meridian, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, and many others. TD Canada Trust already stirred speculation in October when it inadvertently listed Apple Pay as a method of payment on its website, before quickly removing it.

Apple Pay is currently limited to American Express cardholders in Canada and Australia, and the same partnership will be extended to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain later this year. Apple Pay is now available at more than 2 million retail locations, and Au Bon Pain, Crate & Barrel, Chick-fil-A, Cinnabon, Chili’s, KFC, and Starbucks stores now do or soon will accept the payments service in the U.S.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: China, Canada, France
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Apple Pay Expanding to China, Possibly France and Canada’s Big Banks

Apple confirms it’s working on a fix for ‘1970’ iPhone bug

Apple has acknowledged the existence of a somewhat bizarre bug which bricks any iOS devices that has its date set back to 1970 — and confirms that a fix is on the way. “An upcoming software update will prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices,” Apple notes on one of its support pages. While there’s […]

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


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Apple confirms it’s working on a fix for ‘1970’ iPhone bug

iPhone 7 Chip Manufacturer Counts Cost of Earthquake Damage

The sole company responsible for manufacturing the processor in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has reduced its shipping estimates after its facilities were damaged in an earthquake (via DigiTimes).

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) suffered the damage to its plants on February 6 when a 6.4-magnitude quake struck the southern part of the country.

Initially, TSMC reported that the damage incurred would reduce the amount of chips it could ship by less than 1 percent. However, this morning the company revised that estimate and said shipment numbers could be affected over the 1 percent mark, but stopped short of giving a specific number.

Mockup of iPhone 7 case showing flush rear camera and no antenna bands across rear

Despite the earthquake, TSMC stated it is confident of hitting target revenues of $5.9-6.0 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Whether the damage will affect production of the iPhone 7 chip, which is expected to begin in June, remains unclear.

TSMC reached a deal with Apple only last week to become the sole manufacturer for the iPhone 7’s processor, partly thanks to its 10-nanometer manufacturing process. Apple used both Samsung and TSMC to manufacture the chips for the iPhone 6s, perhaps in a bid to lower risks, but the arrangement caused some controversy after benchmarks indicated performance variances between the companies’ processors.

The processor in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is likely called the A10. Both devices are expected to debut in September. Leaks of the phones’ design suggest that it may have a flush rear camera and a lack of antenna bands on its back. Other rumors indicate that the 7 Plus may feature a dual-lens camera system and that it may be waterproof and not have a headphone jack.

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Tags: TSMC, A10
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iPhone 7 Chip Manufacturer Counts Cost of Earthquake Damage

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Tech Travel Vest From AyeGear

For this week’s giveaway, we’ve teamed up with AyeGear to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a V26 Travel Vest, which is a tech vest that’s able to hold an iPhone, an iPad, a Retina MacBook, and a huge number of accessories in its dedicated pockets.

There are 26 total pockets in the Travel Vest, with seven on the outside and 19 on the inside. The two largest inner pockets can hold dual iPads or an iPad and a 12-inch MacBook, and there are also two smartphone pockets with transparent touch pockets for housing an iPhone. With the transparent fabric, the touchscreen of the iPhone is usable while it’s tucked away and earbuds can be routed through the top of the vest for listening to music.

Internal wire management keeps cords from getting tangled, and there are pockets that will hold a range of accessories like credit cards, cash, glasses, a passport, a camera, a water bottle, and more. The vest itself is waterproof, breathable, and windproof, so it can be used in all weather conditions.

According to AyeGear, the Travel Vest is ideal for outdoor activities like walking, hiking, and backpacking, but it’s also useful for airline travel or professions where multiple accessories and devices need to be on hand at all time, such as photography.

The AyeGear V26 Travel Vest can be purchased from the AyeGear website for GBP99.99​​ or $145, but one MacRumors reader can win one through our giveaway. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prizes.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveawayThe contest will run from today (February 12) at 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time through 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time on February 19. The winner will be chosen randomly on February 19 and will be contacted by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond a before a new winner is chosen.

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Japan Display’s Upcoming Touch Screens Feature Slimmer Bezels, Wet Finger Support

Apple supplier Japan Display revealed some details on its second-generation „Pixel Eyes“ LCD modules over the holidays, providing us with a look at some of the ways the display industry is advancing. Japan Display’s „Pixel Eyes“ modules incorporate touch functionality into the display, and in the second-generation model, there are some exciting improvements.

Using a new sensor structure and new materials, Japan Display has managed to decrease the thickness of the bezel, going from 0.8mm to 0.5mm. A deeper black level is available, and the display can accept input with a stylus as narrow as 1mm for finer detail when drawing or writing.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature in the LCD module is its ability to operate with wet fingers. Many current smartphone screens are unable to work accurately under water and when fingers are wet as water is capacitive and confuses the built-in touch sensors.

iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch, for example, don’t respond well to touch with wet fingers or when placed in water, so technology like this could be essential if Apple wants to have a functional display in a device advertised as „waterproof.“ Some iPhone 7 rumors have indicated the next-generation iPhone could be a waterproof device.

In a report earlier this week, The Motley Fool highlighted Japan Display’s second-generation „Pixel Eyes“ technology and the possibility it could be included in the iPhone 7. Volume shipments on the displays will begin during the current quarter, making them available for possible inclusion in the iPhone 7 when Apple begins ramping up production during the summer months.

While Japan Display is one of Apple’s suppliers, it is not entirely clear if Japan Display screens are used in the iPhone and if the second-generation Pixel Eyes display technology will be used in future products. There have been rumors suggesting Apple and Japan Display have partnered up for a $1.7 billion display plant to produce screens for iPhones in 2016, so it’s not out of the question that we’ll see Japan Display screens in the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7s.

Regardless of whether Japan Display’s technology ends up in the iPhone, the advancements made by the company serve as an interesting glimpse at features that could be adopted more widely by the display industry in the future, eventually making their way into Apple’s devices.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
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Japan Display’s Upcoming Touch Screens Feature Slimmer Bezels, Wet Finger Support

AT&T to Begin Testing 5G, 10-100 Times Faster Than 4G LTE

AT&T has announced that it will begin trialing 5G wireless technologies this year, including lab tests in the second quarter and outdoor tests over the summer. The carrier anticipates 5G speeds to be 10-100 times faster than today’s average 4G LTE connections, with reduced latency.

Customers will see speeds measured in gigabits per second, not megabits. For reference, at one gigabit per second, you can download a TV show in less than 3 seconds. Customers will also see much lower latency with 5G. Latency, for example, is how long it takes after you press play on a video app for the video to start streaming on your device. We expect 5G latency in the range of 1 to 5 milliseconds.

Worldwide standards are still lacking for 5G technologies, but the 3GPP group aims to complete the first phase of that process in 2018. The widespread rollout of AT&T’s 5G network will likely take until 2020, but the carrier plans to provide wireless connectivity to fixed locations in Austin before the end of this year. The carrier joins Verizon, who will also be field testing 5G solutions this year.

AT&T’s 5G network will be based on technologies such as millimeter waves, network function virtualization (NFV), and software-defined networking (SDN). The carrier has already migrated 14 million wireless customers to its virtualized network, and it says millions more will be added this year. AT&T plans to virtualize 75% of its network over the next four years in the lead up to 5G.

It remains too early to predict Apple’s roadmap for 5G connectivity. Apple was quick to support LTE-Advanced, a faster standard of 4G LTE, on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus or later, but 3G and LTE wireless technologies were both available for years before Apple adopted them. Based on AT&T’s and 3GPP’s timelines, a 5G iPhone may not be released for at least three to four years.

Tags: AT&T, LTE, 5G
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AT&T to Begin Testing 5G, 10-100 Times Faster Than 4G LTE

U.S. Apple Stores offer machine-applied protectors for iPhone

Apple Stores in the U.S. are now offering machine-applied screen protectors for iPhone. The service, which uses a Belkin protectors and the ScreenCare+ applicator tool, starts at $18 and is available for iPhone 6 and up. Apple Stores in Japan first began using Belkin’s tool to apply screen protectors last week, and now the service is […]

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


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U.S. Apple Stores offer machine-applied protectors for iPhone

New Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress to Block State-Level Efforts to Weaken Smartphone Encryption

A new bill introduced in U.S. Congress today by representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) would attempt to block state-level efforts to ban sales of strongly encrypted smartphones, reports Ars Technica.

The federal bill will need to pass the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and be signed by the president, in order to become law. If passed quick enough, the bipartisan legislation would set precedent over state-level bills.

California and New York assemblymen have introduced new bills over the past year that would require smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Google to create devices that can be decrypted or unlocked, or be subject to fines.

The virtually identical bills would require any smartphone manufactured after January 1, 2017 and sold in New York or California to „be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.“ Apple and others would face a $2,500 fine per phone in violation of the proposed law.

Apple is strongly against government efforts to weaken smartphone encryption. The company ceased storing encryption keys for devices on iOS 8, making it impossible for the iPhone maker to unlock content on passcode-protected devices under police request. Both iOS and Android share these default encryption settings.

In September, FBI Director James Comey expressed concerns that Apple and Google are „marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.“ Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook believes providing the U.S. government with back door access means the „back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.“

Read the full text of the „ENCRYPT Act of 2016“ for more details about the new house bill.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: Encryption
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New Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress to Block State-Level Efforts to Weaken Smartphone Encryption

Everything you need to know about iOS’ crippling ‘Error 53’

Apple is in the midst of an all-new controversy, thanks to the mysterious “Error 53” message that is bricking iPhones without warning. The problem can hit DIY types or anybody who has ever had a Touch ID sensor (or other iPhone hardware) replaced by a repair shop not authorized by Apple. When they update iOS, […]

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


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Everything you need to know about iOS’ crippling ‘Error 53’