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Apple Pay Launches Today in the UK

Update: Apple Pay is now available. But in a last minute change, Apple has removed HSBC and First Direct from its list of participating banks and they are now listed as "coming soon". We captured this image less than 24 hours ago which showed both these financial institutions as participating banks. One of our readers, Mitch got in contact with HSBC and they told him that support had been delayed by 2 weeks due to "some issues". We understand that HSBC and First Direct will support Apple Pay on July 24. One other minor change is that MBNA, which was previously listed as "coming soon" is now listed as a participating bank.

After weeks of speculation, The Telegraph reports that Apple Pay will be available today in the UK. The UK is the second country to support Apple Pay, following the initial launch in the United States in late October 2014. Earlier today, several users on Twitter began noticing Apple Pay setup screens on their iPhones, suggesting that Apple was getting ready to roll out the service.

The Telegraph quoted VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey:

“In America we’re not as advanced in using contactless as the UK, we’re only transitioning to chip and pin now,” she said. “Today there’s virtually no contactless from a card perspective - Apple Pay is the first contactless for the most part.”

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Design Your Next iPhone App with OmniGraffle [Sponsor]

Design your next iPhone app with OmniGraffle and a brand new iOS 9 stencil available to everyone on Stenciltown. (That’s right. Stenciltown.)

All the tools are included to do nearly anything involving shapes, design, layout, drawing, images, iconography – you name it. In practice, that means it’s easy to mock up your next iPhone or iPad app.

Download a free trial of OmniGraffle for Mac, or purchase for iOS and get started right away. And simply search for “iOS 9” in Stencils to start designing your next iPhone app.

Our thanks to OmniGraffle for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Apple Launching iOS 9, OS X El Capitan Public Betas Today

Following the official introduction at WWDC last month, Apple is launching the first public betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan today. According to Ars Technica, betas for the general public will be available later today; both iOS 9 and El Capitan public betas should be available to any user with an Apple ID interested in installing them.

The public betas will soon be available from Apple's Beta Software Program website and they follow the launch of the third developer beta seeded to registered iOS and OS X developers yesterday. With the public betas, Apple aims to offer a larger pool of users the possibility of testing the upcoming versions of the operating systems for Mac and iOS devices, with built-in tools to provide feedback and report issues during the beta testing period. As usual, Apple recommends to keep a backup of a stable version of iOS and OS X before installing the public beta.

It's worth pointing out that, at this stage, third-party apps from the App Store can't be updated to take advantage of the new features in iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, which could limit the potential benefit of trying a public beta for some users. On iPad, for instance, only Apple's pre-installed apps can use the new multitasking features in iOS 9. For this reason, users interested in installing the public betas should also keep in mind that developers can't submit apps and updates with iOS 9 and El Capitan features to the App Store – therefore, it'd be best not to leave negative reviews for features missing in apps that can't be updated to take advantage of them yet.

Apple's public beta website with more information will be updated at this link later today. You can read our overviews of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan here and here.


OmniGraffle: Design How You Like [Sponsor]

Get creative with OmniGraffle – beautiful document creation on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone with a swiss-army-knife app designed for everybody: novices and pros alike.

All the tools are included to do nearly anything involving shapes, design, layout, drawing, images, iconography – you name it. In practice, that means it’s easy to mock up an iPhone app, whip up an organizational chart or brainstorm a bit with Automatic Layout, share rough web designs with a client, and even export assets for finished projects.

There’s a lot inside OmniGraffle, and it’s free to try out for Mac. Purchase it for iOS and get started now. Start-to-finish design. Mockups in minutes.

Our thanks to The Omni Group for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Jony Ive’s Promotion to Chief Design Officer Now Official, Alan Dye and Richard Howarth Assume Vice President Roles

Alan Dye (VP, User Interface Design), Jony Ive (Chief Design Officer) and Richard Howarth (VP, Industrial Design)

Alan Dye (VP, User Interface Design), Jony Ive (Chief Design Officer) and Richard Howarth (VP, Industrial Design)

Jony Ive's promotion to Chief Design Officer at Apple, first announced in a profile of Ive by Stephen Fry in late May, came into effect yesterday. Alongside Ive's promotion, and also telegraphed in Stephen Fry's article, Alan Dye and Richard Howarth also assumed their respective new roles yesterday as Vice President of User Interface Design and Vice President of Industrial Design.

All three promotions were made official yesterday with an update to Apple's Leadership page. You can read the updated profile pages for Jony Ive, Alan Dye and Richard Howarth.

In Stephen Fry's article from May, he asked Ive why he gave up control to Dye and Howarth:

When I catch up with Ive alone, I ask him why he has seemingly relinquished the two departments that had been so successfully under his control. “Well, I’m still in charge of both,” he says, “I am called Chief Design Officer. Having Alan and Richard in place frees me up from some of the administrative and management work which isn’t … which isn’t …”

“Which isn’t what you were put on this planet to do?”

“Exactly. Those two are as good as it gets. Richard was lead on the iPhone from the start. He saw it all the way through from prototypes to the first model we released. Alan has a genius for human interface design. So much of the Apple Watch’s operating system came from him. With those two in place I can …”

[via MacRumors]


Apple Conspired with Book Publishers, Appeals Court Confirms

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today upheld 2-1 the 2013 verdict that found Apple and major publishing companies conspired to fix e-book prices.

As noted by Fortune, Apple's argument that the Department of Justice was misguided to target Apple when Amazon was dominant didn't convince the majority:

That argument, however, appears to have carried little sway with Judge Livingston who argued that Apple and the publishers could not rationalize their behavior on the grounds they were challenging Amazon:

“Plainly, competition is not served by permitting a market entrant to eliminate price competition as a condition of entry, and it is cold comfort to consumers that they gained a new ebook retailer at the expense of passing control over all ebook prices to a cartel of book publishers,” Livingston wrote.

There's no doubt that this is a complicated issue, fraught with many valid but opposing arguments. Ultimately though, I can't help but agree with the end result and this section was particularly persuasive to me, from page 98 of Judge Livingston's judgement (courtesy of The Wall Street Journal):

Because of the long‐term threat to competition, the Sherman Act does not authorize horizontal price conspiracies as a form of marketplace vigilantism to eliminate perceived “ruinous competition” or other “competitive evils.” Indeed, the attempt to justify a conspiracy to raise prices “on the basis of the potential threat that competition poses . . . is nothing less than a frontal assault on the basic policy of the Sherman Act.” And it is particularly ironic that the “terms” that Apple was able to insist upon by organizing a cartel of Publisher Defendants to move against Amazon — namely, the elimination of retail price competition — accomplished the precise opposite of what new entrants to concentrated markets are ordinarily supposed to provide. In short, Apple and the dissent err first in equating a symptom (a single‐retailer market) with a disease (a lack of competition), and then err again by prescribing the disease itself as the cure.

Apple could still appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but it is not a certainty that the Supreme Court would agree to hear the case. In response to today's ruling an Apple spokesperson issued this statement to Fortune:

“Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and this ruling does nothing to change the facts. We are disappointed the Court does not recognize the innovation and choice the iBooks Store brought for consumers. While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps.”

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Apple Releases iOS 8.4

Apple's new Music app.

Apple's new Music app.

Apple has released iOS 8.4 today, bringing a redesigned Music app with Apple Music support, audiobook listening features for iBooks and CarPlay, and iBooks Author textbook support on iPhone.

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Early Impressions of Apple Music from Re/code and Mashable

Apple Music and the Beats 1 radio station launch today in just a few short hours. But Apple yesterday gave Re/code and Mashable an early look at the new service and they've just published their first impressions.

Walt Mossberg at Re/code writes:

Apple has built a handsome, robust app and service that goes well beyond just offering a huge catalog of music by providing many ways to discover and group music for a very wide range of tastes and moods.

But it’s also uncharacteristically complicated by Apple standards, with everything from a global terrestrial radio station to numerous suggested playlists for different purposes in different places. And the company offers very little guidance on how to navigate its many features. It will take time to learn it. And that’s not something you’re going to want to do if all you’re looking for is to lean back and listen.

Christina Warren of Mashable also got an advance preview:

It's hard for me to over-stress how much I like For You. From the very beginning, the recommendations in playlists and albums that the app showed me were dead-on accurate, reflecting my various musical interests.

Straight out, I was given a recommendation of a Taylor Swift love ballad playlist and albums from The Kinks, Sufjan Stevens, Elliot Smith, The Shins, Miguel and Drake. So basically my musical brain.

Jim Dalrymple also got a chance to interview Apple's Eddy Cue and Jimy Iovine:

Jimmy shocked me a bit when he said, “Radio is massive.” I considered radio to be like magazines—steadily going downhill for the last decade or so. However, Iovine said that 270 million people in America still listen to radio, adding jokingly, “I didn’t think there were that many people that had a radio.”

Cue and Iovine explained that the problem with radio was not the fact that people didn’t like it, but rather that too much advertising and radio station research into what songs were popular was flawed. Songs that weren’t popular right away were pulled, based on research, so you listen to the radio and hear the same songs all the time.

As Cue pointed out, Technology limited the ads, but it also eliminated the DJ, something many people enjoyed.

Update: USA Today also got an early look:

Not all the artists whose music is available for purchase in iTunes are also available for streaming, most notably The Beatles: "There always some folks to come later that we would all like," Cue says. "Over time I certainly would expect the Beatles to be there." Of course if you own the Beatles music it can reside next to the on-demand tracks in the library.