British Airways app takes off on Apple Watch

Apple’s refusal to release any hard and fast Apple Watch figures (it has most likely sold in the region of 7 million) has led some people to dismiss it as a failure, despite the companies saying otherwise. Now British Airways has thrown out its own stats — noting that its Apple Watch app saw usage […]

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


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Apple Pay Launches in Australia for American Express Cardholders

Apple Pay has launched in Australia in partnership with American Express, expanding iPhone-based mobile payments to a fourth country following Canada earlier this week. The service can be used at Coles, Harvey Norman, Kmart, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Woolworths and other select Australian stores that accept American Express and have NFC-equipped payment terminals.

American Express cardholders can add credit cards in the Wallet app on iOS 9.1 by tapping the „Add Credit or Debit Card“ option. This functionality may still be rolling out to all iPhones set to Australia under Settings > General > Language & Region, but should be live for all Australian users by Thursday evening.

American Express is not as popular or widely accepted as MasterCard or Visa in Australia, but the partnership could place pressure on negotiations between Apple and Australian banks like Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac. Bank-issued debit and credit cards do not support Apple Pay in Australia at this time.

Australia, like Canada and many European countries, has been well prepared for Apple Pay, as many retailers and businesses have the required contactless payments infrastructure in place. The country has also adopted Chip-and-PIN cards, and Apple Pay is a natural extension of that functionality.

Apple has slowly rolled out Apple Pay since announcing the service, starting with the U.S. in October 2014 and expanding to the U.K. last July. Beyond Australia and Canada, Apple is also partnering with American Express to bring Apple Pay to Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong next year.

Apple Pay recently gained support for Tesco Bank and TSB in the U.K. and over 90 new participating U.S. issuers. Yesterday, Apple confirmed that Apple Pay support is also coming to Domino’s and Cinnabon in the U.S. by yearend and 2016 respectively. Starbucks, KFC and Chili’s locations will adopt Apple Pay next year.

Apple’s website has a new page with more details about Apple Pay in Australia.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tags: Australia, American Express
Discuss this article in our forums

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Apple Store Once Called ‘World’s Biggest’ Opens in China on October 24

Apple has announced that it will be opening its 21st retail store in China in Dalian, a major port city in southern Liaoning Province, on Saturday, October 24 at 9:30 AM local time. The new store will be located in the six-floor Parkland shopping mall at 19 Jiefang Road in the urban Zhongshan District.

Parkland six-floor shopping mall in Dalian, China (Image: yongonthego)
In early 2012, Apple promotional signage in Dalian stated „Apple’s world’s biggest flagship store will be coming soon to Parkland Mall,“ but it’s unclear if that claim remains true over three years later. More recent rumors suggest the first Apple Store in Dubai, which opens October 29, may now be the „world’s largest“ store.

2012 signage advertising upcoming Apple Store in Parkland mall as „world’s biggest“
The new Parkland store will be open Monday-Sunday from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM local time and offer traditional Apple Store services, including the Genius Bar, Workshops, JointVenture, events and seminars. The closest Apple Store was previously in Shenyang, China, the capital city of Liaoning Province, located nearly 250 miles northeast.

Dalian, a city of 4 million people with a total of over 6.5 million people in the region, is located on the Liaodong Peninsula separating the Bohai Sea from Korea Bay in northeastern China. It is a major seaport, financial center and tourist magnet for the region, drawing significant numbers of visitors from China, Japan and Korea.



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Inside iOS 9: Apple Maps Gains Transit Mode and Nearby Search

Apple Maps launched in September 2012 as the default mapping app on iPhone, but soon faced widespread criticism for having incomplete data, providing incorrect directions and lacking features over Google Maps. The controversial launch resulted in Apple CEO Tim Cook issuing a rare public apology, while former iOS chief Scott Forstall was ousted from Apple just one month later.

While there is still room for improvement, Apple Maps has gained several new features over the past three years. iOS 9 continues that trend, adding a long overdue Transit routing and new Nearby search mode alongside existing features such as turn-by-turn navigation, real-time traffic information, Flyover photo-realistic 3D views of select metro areas, Siri, local search and iCloud support.

Transit

Apple Maps is now a multi-modal mapping app with the addition of public transit routing via bus, subway, light rail, train and ferry. You can view entire stations or individual lines on a map to choose the best possible route.

Apple Maps transit directions are currently available in Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Washington D.C. and several cities in China.

Some extended areas of Connecticut and New Jersey near New York City and Southern Ontario cities near Toronto such as York Region, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton and Waterloo Region also support transit.

Nearby

You can now search Apple Maps based on categories such as Food, Drinks, Shopping, Travel, Services, Fun, Health and Transport, and within each category you can search deeper for specific places.

If you tap on Food, for example, you can then filter your results based on Popular, Restaurants, Groceries, Fast Food, Cafés, Bakeries and Desserts. A list of locations is displayed with aggregated Yelp data.

Nearby categories such as Food, Fun, Shopping and Travel can also be accessed from the Spotlight Search menu on iOS 9.



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Apple Expands Seattle Presence With New Lease at Two Union Square

Apple has agreed to lease office space in the Two Union Square skyscraper in downtown Seattle, according to Bloomberg. The report claims that Apple will occupy the 44th floor and half of the 45th floor in the 56-story office building, which is a roughly 30,000-square-foot space that can house 120 to 200 employees based on standard corporate leasing ratios.

Seattle has become a hotbed recently for Silicon Valley companies because of its talent pool and lower cost of living compared with the San Francisco Bay Area, with Amazon, Facebook, Google and Alibaba Group among the tech giants with offices in the region. Apple opened its first engineering office in the city last year after acquiring Union Bay Networks.

Apple has hired more than 9,000 employees in the last year and now has a worldwide headcount of about 115,000, according to the report. The company’s existing Seattle office focuses on core infrastructure services such as iCloud, suggesting the northwestern U.S. city could serve as a hub for its rumored high-speed content delivery network for faster cloud services.



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Banks in the U.K. Gearing Up for Apple Pay Launch as Santander Allows Customers to Register Cards

Apple Pay in the United Kingdom has yet to officially launch, but some banks are preparing for the upcoming release of the payments service and have begun allowing customers to register their cards for use with Apple Pay.

Several Santander customers on the MacRumors forums have been able to successfully add their cards to Passbook for use with Apple Pay, making the cards available on both their iPhones and their Apple Watches.

Customers registering their cards are also receiving confirmation emails from Santander, informing them that they’re now able to use Apple Pay. As of the time of writing, customers have not yet tested the Apple Pay service at a location that accepts Apple Pay. One customer was told the bank’s system is not live and that customers who were able to mistakenly register early would be de-registered, so it is not clear if the registered cards will be able to be used to make purchases.

Activating a Santander card with Apple Pay at this time requires U.K. users to set their region to U.S., add a card, and change their region back to U.K., at which point the card remains available in Passbook. It’s clearly a workaround, but a sign that banks are preparing to accept Apple Pay in the near future.

Other banks, like MBNA and Nationwide, are giving error messages like „Contact Card Issuer“ and „Your Issuer Does Not Yet Offer Support.“

It is not clear exactly when Apple Pay will become officially available in the United Kingdom, but during its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple said the payments service would launch in July. Recently released employee training documents have suggested the launch could come next week, on Tuesday, July 14. 250,000 merchants are expected to support Apple Pay in the U.K. when it is released.



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Apple Maps Transit Directions Work Across Much of Southern Ontario [iOS Blog]

Apple earlier this week announced that Toronto will be one of ten major cities in North America that will support Apple Maps transit directions on iOS 9 in the fall, but after early testing we can confirm that the new routing option for bus, subway, light rail, train and ferry directions will actually extend well beyond the city limits and TTC to cover much of the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.

Apple Maps transit directions on iOS 9 beta working in Waterloo and Barrie
A thread posted on Reddit first pointed towards the Apple Maps transit acknowledgments page, which has been updated with several Canadian transit operators outside of Toronto, but we dug further and found that Apple Maps transit directions work in even more cities. We were able to receive bus, subway, light rail or train directions between over a dozen Canadian cities and towns throughout Southern Ontario listed below.

List of Supported Cities:

Mississauga: MiWay bus directions where service is provided in Mississauga. GO Transit bus and train directions also available for traveling between Mississauga and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Oakville: Oakville Transit bus directions where service is provided in Oakville. GO Transit bus and train directions also available for traveling between Oakville and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Brampton: Brampton Transit bus directions where service is provided in Brampton. GO Transit bus and train directions also available for traveling between Brampton and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
York Region: York Region Transit (YRT) bus directions and Viva rapid transit directions where service is provided in Aurora, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and other areas within York Region. GO Transit bus and train directions also available for traveling between York Region and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario. There are also directions for TTC routes operating between York Region and subway stations in Toronto.
City of Hamilton: Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) bus directions where service is provided in Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas and Stoney Creek. GO Transit bus and train directions also available for traveling between Hamilton and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge: Grand River Transit (GRT) bus directions where service is provided in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. GO Transit bus and train directions where service is provided for traveling between Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Guelph: Guelph Transit bus directions where service is provided in Guelph. GO Transit bus and train directions also available for traveling between Guelph and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Niagara Region: Niagara Falls Transit, St. Catharines Transit, Welland Transit, Niagara Region Transit and WEGO bus directions where service is provided in Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Region. GO Transit bus and train (summer only) directions where service is provided for traveling between Niagara Falls and other Apple Maps-supported cities within the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.
Apple Maps also supports all other cities with GO Transit train and bus service, including:
Barrie
Pickering
Ajax
Whitby
Oshawa
Peterborough
Milton

List of Supported Transit Operators:

GO Transit (Buses & Trains)
Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)
MiWay — Mississauga
Oakville Transit
Brampton Transit
York Region Transit (YRT)
Viva Rapid Transit — York Region
Hamilton Street Railway (HSR)
Grand River Transit (GRT) — Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge
Guelph Transit
Niagara Falls Transit and Niagara Region Transit
St. Catharines Transit
Welland Transit
Niagara Region Transit
WEGO — Niagara Falls

Apple Maps will automatically provide with you the proper connection or transfer details when traveling through multiple cities. For example, traveling from Air Canada Centre in Toronto to Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls may require transferring from a GO train to Burlington Transit bus to a GO bus, and Apple Maps will figure out the most efficient route for commuting to and from your destination.

Apple Maps transit directions will also be available in Baltimore, Berlin, Chicago, London, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington D.C. when iOS 9 launches this fall. Presumably, transit directions may also be available in the metropolitan areas and surrounding regions of many of those cities as well, and more regions in the future as Apple secures more partnerships with transit operators.





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