Graham Spencer

899 posts on MacStories since January 2011

Graham is a regular contributor to MacStories, a law and economics student at university, and a fan of great TV shows. With a particular passion for telling stories with the aid of data and visualizations, there is a high likelihood that he wrote a story if you see a graph on MacStories.

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Apple Pay Now Supported by ANZ in Australia

ANZ has become the first Australian bank to support Apple Pay, turning on support today for most customers with ANZ Visa credit or debit card and ANZ American Express cards. Although Apple Pay technically launched in Australia in November 2015, until today support was extremely limited to just those with an American Express issued card (a similar situation exists in Canada and Singapore).

ANZ is one of the "big four banks" in Australia, and as ANZ gleefully (I assume) point out in their Apple Pay terms and conditions, the other three do not support Apple Pay:

Apple Pay is not currently available at NAB, CommBank or Westpac.

The full list of supported ANZ cards are listed here.

It is interesting to note that most of ANZ Visa cards are supported, but no ANZ MasterCard cards are supported. Interestingly, last week's launch of Apple Pay in Singapore revealed that Visa support for Apple Pay in Singapore is coming soon to three of their domestic banks.

However, Apple's Australian website does note that MasterCard support is "coming soon".


Logitech Introduces iPad Pro Smart Connector Charging Dock

Logitech have today introduced a new charging dock for the iPad Pro. The Logi Base is rather unique in that it uses the iPad Pro's Smart Connector to charge the device. To date, the Smart Connector has only been used by Apple's Smart Keyboard and Logitech's keyboard case.

The minimalist looking dock will work with both the 9.7" and 12.9" iPad Pro, with magnets on the Logi Base helping guide the iPad Pro into the correct position for charging via the Smart Connector. Using the 12W power adapter and no apps running, Logitech advises that it will take 7 hours to charge the iPad Pro. The stand places the iPad Pro at a 70-degree viewing angle, and it is compatible with the iPad Pro Silicone cases from Apple.

The Logi Base is available to order from today for $99 from Logitech's website. If you're looking for more information, Chance Miller at 9to5Mac has a review of the Logi Base.

I've just been using my iPad Pro Smart Keyboard as the "dock" for my iPad, but I'm really tempted by the Logi Base. It looks really elegant and just being able to drop the iPad down onto the dock, without fiddling with a lightning cable, would be great. But the lengthy charge time and hefty price are dampening my enthusiasm.

[via The Verge, 9to5Mac]


Apple Updates MacBook: Faster, Longer Battery Life, Rose Gold Option

Apple has today updated its MacBook line with faster processors, an extra hour of battery life and the option to pick a Rose Gold finish. The MacBook now comes with the sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors that go up to 1.3GHz, with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz. It also now comes with faster PCIe-based flash storage and faster 1866MHz memory.

“MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac we have ever made and it’s our vision for the future of the notebook,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are going to love this update to MacBook, with the latest processors, faster graphics, faster flash storage, longer battery life and a beautiful rose gold finish.”

Graphics performance has also been improved by up to 25 percent on the refreshed MacBooks as a result of the inclusion of an Intel HD Graphics 515 card. With the improved battery life, the refreshed MacBook should last up to 10 hours for web browsing and up to 11 hours of movie playback.

US Prices for the MacBook are unchanged and start at $1,299 for a MacBook with a 1.1 GHz Intel Core m3 processor, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage.

The MacBook Air has also received a minor refresh, with 8GB of memory now standard across all configurations of the 13-inch MacBook Air.

You can read Apple's full press release here.


Apple Pay Expands to Singapore Through American Express Partnership

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors, reports that Apple Pay has today launched in Singapore:

Apple today updated its website and its Apple Pay support document to note the expansion of the Apple Pay payment service to Singapore. With the addition of Singapore, Apple Pay is now available in six countries, including Canada, China, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Apple Pay is available in Singapore through a partnership with American Express, first announced by Apple in October of 2015. By partnering with American Express, Apple has brought Apple Pay to Singapore, Canada, and Australia and will expand it to Hong Kong and Spain later this year.

Unfortunately, Apple's partnership with American Express is once again limited to those who have a credit card issued by American Express for now. Those with an American Express card issued by their local bank will not be able to use Apple Pay – it is the same situation to Apple Pay in Australia and Canada. However, things may soon change, as Apple has listed on the Singaporean Apple Pay website that Visa support is "coming soon", as well as support for DBS, UOB and Standard Chartered.

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Apple Launches Developer Insights Webpage

Alongside yesterday's WWDC 2016 announcement, Apple also added a new webpage providing tips and insights from other developers.

The App Store makes it simple for users around the world to discover, download and enjoy your apps. Grow your business with resources designed to help you create great apps and reach more users.

The featured developers and topics are Seriously (focusing on building a brand), Grailr (bringing CARROT Weather to Apple Watch), Evernote (localising its app for Japan), and Smule (growing a thriving community of loyal users).

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Apple Pulls Third-Party Reddit Clients for NSFW Content

Update (4am PDT 12 April 2016): Some of the third-party Reddit clients have now returned to the App Store. Both Narwhal and Antenna are now available in the App Store, but both have been updated to remove the NSFW toggle that used to be in their apps. It is our understanding that Apple's objection is with the implementation of those NSFW toggles. Apple wants them removed from all Reddit apps so that if a user does want to view NSFW content, that toggle must be manually changed from the Reddit website.

Today, numerous third-party Reddit clients were removed from the App Store by Apple for breaching clause 18.2 of the App Review Guidelines. This clause states that apps will be rejected if they contain "user generated content that is frequently pornographic".

The official Reddit app, which launched last week and was featured by Apple on the App Store, currently remains in the App Store, but other Reddit clients including Narwhal, Antenna, Eggplant and BaconReader have all been removed for sale. These third-party Reddit clients were removed from Apple without any advance notice to developers, despite some of the apps being available on the App Store for well over a year. It should also be noted that many of these third-party apps, such as Narwhal, did have a filter to enable or disable NSFW content.

It is our understanding that Reddit did not ask Apple to remove the third-party Reddit apps. This aligns with Reddit's statement from last week (after the launch of the official Reddit app) in which Reddit's VP of Consumer Product stated "if you already have an app you like, you're free to continue enjoying it".

Rick Harrison, co-author of the Narwhal Reddit client provided this quote to MacStories:

It also seems that a few other popular third-party Reddit apps were removed from the store, but not the official Reddit app. I reached out to Reddit asking them if they knew anything, and they informed me that they did not request Apple to pull these apps, and they were also receiving issues from Apple about 18.2. I think that Apple did not pull their app because they are a big company and were recently featured. As shown time and time again, Apple does not really care whatsoever about indie developers. From taking 30% of barely any revenue to rejecting apps based on features that have been available for 18+ months.

It is too soon to say, but Apple's actions today may well be the latest example of policy and procedural failure on App Review. We covered this topic in detail in a story last month which chronicled the depth of developer frustration at App Review.

We will continue to monitor this story and provide further updates and details as we come across them.


Apple Pay Now Supported by Barclays in the UK

Barclays, the last of the United Kingdom's big four banks, has today finally added support for Apple Pay. With the addition of Barclays, there are now 15 banks in the United Kingdom that support Apple Pay today, nearly 9 months after Apple Pay launched in the UK.

As a quick status update, Apple Pay is today available in 5 countries; the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and China. Apple Pay is supported by virtually all banks in the United States (1,110 to be exact, as of today), and it is supported by 15 banks in China since it launched there earlier this year as a result of Apple's partnership with China UnionPay. By contrast, Apple Pay is not supported by any Australian or Canadian banks - in those two countries, Apple Pay is limited to those with an American Express-issued card.

[via MacRumors]


Apple Announces Q2 2016 Earnings Call for April 25

As noted by MacRumors, Apple's Investor Relations website was yesterday updated to note that Apple's earnings call for the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 (January, February and March 2016) will be held on Monday, April 25, 2016.

Apple's guidance for the second fiscal quarter of 2016 is revenue between $50 and $53 billion, gross margin between 39 and 39.5 percent, and a tax rate of 25.5 percent. But as is illustrated above, Apple's guidance in the past has often underestimated the actual results, sometimes significantly so.

As we have for previous earnings calls, MacStories will cover the conference call on our site’s homepage on April 25 starting at 2 PM PT, posting charts of the results, collecting key quotes from Apple executives and highlighting interesting Tweets from others.

[via MacRumors]


FBI Accessed San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone Without Apple, Drops Litigation

Sheera Frenkel and Hamza Shaban, writing for BuzzFeed:

The Justice Department (DOJ) announced Monday that it had successfully accessed data on the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters and that it was dropping its case against Apple to help unlock the phone.

Investigators are no longer seeking Apple’s help to penetrate the device, according to a court filing by the DOJ Monday.

A week ago the Department of Justice successfully postponed a court hearing after revealing that the FBI had been approached by a third party who had a possible method to unlock the iPhone (subsequently rumored to be Israeli firm Cellebrite). That method appears to have paid off, with the Department of Justice asking the court to vacate the order compelling Apple to assist the FBI and writing in its Status Report to the court that:

The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook's iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court's Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search dated February 16, 2016.

In response to the Department of Justice's Status Report, Apple issued a response to The Verge and other media outlets:

From the beginning, we objected to the FBI's demand that Apple build a backdoor into the iPhone because we believed it was wrong and would set a dangerous precedent. As a result of the government's dismissal, neither of these occurred. This case should never have been brought.

We will continue to help law enforcement with their investigations, as we have done all along, and we will continue to increase the security of our products as the threats and attacks on our data become more frequent and more sophisticated.

Apple believes deeply that people in the United States and around the world deserve data protection, security and privacy. Sacrificing one for the other only puts people and countries at greater risk.

This case raised issues which deserve a national conversation about our civil liberties, and our collective security and privacy. Apple remains committed to participating in that discussion.

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