THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

MacStadium

The Developer Cloud for Mac


Posts tagged with "apple pay"

Apple Recaps Its 2020 Services, Including the App Store’s Record-Breaking Holiday Season

In a press release today, Apple provided an update on its services. According to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services:

Now more than ever before, customers around the world have found inspiration and value in the breadth and quality of Apple’s services, which have impacted their lives in big and small ways every day. We’re incredibly optimistic about where we’re headed, and we believe that the opportunities for developers and the creative community are endless, as are the positive and meaningful benefits to our customers.

Among the highlights Apple shared are App Store revenue numbers for the 2020 holiday season, which were greater than 2019 for the same period and once again set an all-time record for single-day sales on New Year’s Day:

The trend continued over the holiday season, with App Store customers spending $1.8 billion on digital goods and services over the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, driven largely by spending on games. Customers ushered in 2021 by setting a new single-day spending record of over $540 million on New Year’s Day.

Apple also noted that developers have earned more than $200 billion since the inception of the App Store in 2008 and that it kicked off the App Store Small Business Program at the end of 2020.

In addition to apps, Apple recapped its other services:

  • Apple Music, which added several new features in 2020 that Apple says have been used by more than 90% of iOS 14 users
  • The Apple TV App, which debuted on new smart TVs and videogame consoles in 2020 and is now available on over 1 billion screens in more than 100 countries
  • TV+, which gained a dedicated tab in the TV app and was nominated for 159 awards, receiving 45
  • Apple News, which added local news for certain cities, included special coverage of the pandemic, the racial justice movement, and the US election, and added audio to News+ in 2020
  • Fitness+, which debuted just before the New Year
  • Apple Pay, which Apple says is accepted by more than 90% of US stores, 85% of UK stores, and 99% of Australian stores
  • Apple Arcade, which now has more than 140 games with games that have received more than 50 award nominations
  • Apple Books, which has over 90 million monthly active users
  • Apple Podcasts, which is available in 175 countries and 100 languages
  • iCloud, 85% of whose users have enabled two-factor authentication

Every year I’m struck that the App Store continues to set holiday season records for sales. The success of the App Store has been nothing short of remarkable, but as Apple’s press release demonstrates, Apple’s current services story today extends far beyond apps.


Apple Announces Partnership with (RED) to Combat HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 and Highlights Its PPE Donations in Zambia

Apple announced today that it is expanding its partnership with (RED), a relationship that spans fourteen years and has raised nearly $250 million to fund HIV and AIDS programs around the world, offering prevention, testing, and counseling services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted HIV/AIDS programs around the world, so earlier this year, Apple’s (RED) contributions were redirected to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV/AIDS programs.

According to Apple’s press release:

These funds have allowed for additional contact tracing in South Africa, helped secure critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and emergency medical equipment in Ghana, and enabled the purchase of motorbikes to deliver HIV treatment to local communities that have been unable to seek in-person health services due to COVID-19. Apple also donated millions of PPE units to the Ministry of Health in Zambia, including both surgical masks sourced from its supply chain and face shields designed and produced by Apple.

The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6.

The PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 12 and Apple Watch Series 6.

Apple’s support of (RED) continues this year with donations of 100% of all eligible proceeds from PRODUCT(RED) devices to the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response through June 30, 2021. The company will also donate $1 of every purchase made using Apple Pay on apple.com, or in the Apple Store app or an Apple retail store through December 7, 2020.

Apple is working to raise awareness of World AIDS Day too with red logos and window displays in retail stores, features on the App Store, tie-ins with Apple Music and The Ebro Show on Apple Music 1, and a special Watch Now collection in the Apple TV app.

A Zambian healthcare worker wearing an Apple-produced face shield.

A Zambian healthcare worker wearing an Apple-produced face shield.

Separately, Apple issued a press release about its donation of PPE to healthcare workers in Zambia to help them combat COVID-19 and HIV. Working with Zambia’s Ministry of Health, Apple donated:

millions of units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Ministry of Health in Zambia. That includes both surgical face masks Apple sourced from its supply chain as well as face shields designed and produced by Apple.

As the press release explains, the donations have protected front-line healthcare professionals and provided patients with the confidence to continue their treatments for HIV.


Express Mode for Apple Pay Now Available with Transport for London

Benjamin Mayo, reporting for 9to5Mac:

If you are in London, you can now travel using Apple Pay on the Underground network without having to use Touch ID or Face ID authentication.

This means that you don’t need to hold up the queue at the turnstile when travelling the Underground. You can simply tap and go with either iPhone or Apple Watch.

Express Transit has been a feature since iOS 12.3 but it requires partnerships with the transit networks in order for the feature to work. Apple announced the new support for the London Underground today with a new web page and sending out notifications to iPhone and Apple Watch users in the United Kingdom.

One particularly interesting detail about Express Mode is that it enables a special Power Reserve state for your iPhone or Apple Watch. When your device is set up for Express Mode, and its battery is close to depletion, iOS and watchOS will automatically save a certain amount of power so you can still use your device for transit access for another five hours after Power Reserve kicks in. This will undoubtedly reduce a lot of anxiety for people who regularly deplete their battery, and would otherwise want to keep an alternate transit access method as a backup. Power Reserve is available on the iPhone XR and newer, and Apple Watch Series 4 and newer.

Even setting aside Power Reserve, the convenience of no longer needing to pre-authenticate with Express Mode is a significant user experience improvement for transit customers. The feature’s also available in my home of New York City, but only in an extremely limited rollout; I can’t wait for it to be part of my daily commute.

Permalink

Apple Card Now Available for All US Customers, Adds New 3% Daily Cash Partners

Following a limited preview earlier this month, Apple has today opened up applications for Apple Card to all US customers. Users can apply through the Wallet app on an iPhone running iOS 12.4 or later, and in most cases receive instant access to Apple Card if approved. Opening the Wallet app then tapping the plus button in the top-right leads to the option to add Apple Card.

Alongside Apple Card’s wide release, Apple is announcing that its Daily Cash program is getting better thanks to a new partner that supports the highest 3% Daily Cash rate which was previously exclusive to Apple purchases.

Apple Card is extending 3 percent Daily Cash to more merchants and apps. Starting today, customers will receive 3 percent Daily Cash when they use Apple Card with Apple Pay for Uber and Uber Eats. Customers can request a ride through Uber in more than 700 cities across the globe and order a meal through Uber Eats in more than 500 cities around the world. Apple Card will continue to add more popular merchants and apps in the coming months.

Apple has never before mentioned that it would be seeking additional partners to support the 3% Daily Cash rate. Initially that rate was limited to purchases from the Apple Store, Apple.com, the App Store, and other Apple services; 2% is the standard Daily Cash rate available for Apple Pay transactions, and 1% for everything else. Adding Uber and Uber Eats to the 3% pool, with “more popular merchants and apps” in the pipeline for future partnerships, makes Apple Card’s Daily Cash program more attractive than before – a welcome surprise for the card’s wide release.


Apple Card Available Today in Phased Rollout, Full Launch Coming Later in August

Today Apple is officially launching its latest service, Apple Card, but only to a subset of users ahead of a broader rollout later this month. The new credit card is limited to US users running at least iOS 12.4, and today it will only be available to certain people who signed up on Apple’s website to be notified about Apple Card. If you’re part of that chosen group, applying for Apple Card can be done right inside the Wallet app, where the card will be added for immediate use upon credit approval; a physical credit card is also mailed out if you choose to receive one, built from titanium. For those who don’t get invited for early access, the full Apple Card launch will arrive before the end of August.

Read more


Matthew Panzarino Explains How the Apple Card Will Work

The Apple Card has been the subject of a lot of attention and speculation since it was announced at Monday’s Apple event. The US-only card won’t be out until this summer, but Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch’s Editor-in-Chief, has details on exactly how the card will work that weren’t covered during the keynote.

Panzarino sums up the card’s benefits nicely:

Overall the Apple Card has some relatively unique and interesting takes on data transparency for users, who are getting what appears to be an information rich but easy to interpret interface that rivals the best apps (like the AMEX app) out there for consumer cards. It’s also got a solid set of security features that are missing only a couple of small improvements like per-merchant or per-transaction numbers that would make them the best offering in the industry.

The security and financial tracking the card will enable is attractive and the cash benefits are competitive, but there are limitations that may be an issue for some potential customers. For instance, the Apple Card is a single-user card, which means multiple family members cannot use the same account.

Panzarino’s piece clears up misinformation that has spread since the keynote and uncovers other tidbits that make it easier to compare the new card side-by-side with competing offerings. If what you’ve heard about the Apple Card interests you, Panzarino’s article is an excellent one-stop destination to learn more.

Permalink

Apple Card: The MacStories Overview

This morning at Apple’s special event in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park, Vice President of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey took the stage to announce Apple Card. These “Apple” name prefixes are growing tedious, but Apple Card is looking to reduce the tedium which permeates the credit card industry. Apple is championing its credit card as a new industry leader in a variety of areas, including privacy, security, transparency, lack of fees, and fair interest rates. Apple Card gives rewards in cash rather than points, and these “Daily Cash” rewards are distributed to your Apple Cash account every day. If Apple Card can deliver on its promises, it shows real potential to be a disruptor in the often exploitative credit card industry.

Read more


iOS 12 AR Quick Look Demos

I recently came across a demo of AR Quick Look, an iOS 12 feature that allows apps to present 3D and AR previews for objects built using the new USDZ file format. Shopify, the popular e-commerce platform, is going to take advantage of AR Quick Look to let customers preview items in their surroundings directly from Safari, contextually to the shopping experience.

Here’s Daniel Beauchamp, writing on the Shopify AR/VR blog:

For the past three years, Shopify has been exploring how AR / VR will change the way consumers shop. Last year, we showed how Apple’s ARKit could be used to provide compelling AR commerce experiences. The main complexity was that ARKit needed to be run in an app. This meant that Shopify merchants looking to offer these experiences had to have their own unique mobile apps that customers would need to download.

With iOS 12’s AR Quick Look, 3D models of products in the usdz file format can be uploaded directly to online Shopify stores and viewed in AR right within Safari, without needing to download a separate app.

His video gives you an even better idea of the integration possible between Safari, ARKit, and Apple Pay in iOS 12:

Beauchamp argues that “the web is how AR becomes mainstream” – looking at these demos, it’s hard to disagree. Not having to install a dedicated ARKit app for every single online store we use and actually having the ability to share and preview models from Safari or Messages is going to remove a ton of friction from the current ARKit experience (as far as shopping is concerned). I can imagine that producing 3D objects at scale will be merchants’ biggest hurdle in the short term, though.

I wasn’t aware of this until I did some research, but Apple also launched an interactive AR Quick Look Gallery as part of their ARKit 2 mini-site. You can also test Shopify’s improved shopping flow featuring ARKit and Apple Pay here.

Permalink

Apple Publishes Video Promoting the Use of Face ID with Apple Pay

Following on the heels of last week’s video highlighting the power of Face ID as a way to unlock the iPhone X, today Apple released an ad promoting the technology’s use with its Apple Pay service. The new video follows in last week’s tongue-in-cheek footsteps.

Set to Back Pocket by Vulfpeck, the ad follows a young man as he walks through a crowded market. He sees a hat he likes, uses Face ID with Apple Pay to buy it, and the hat flies off the rack and onto his head. Next, he does the same thing with a pair of sunglasses he likes. From there, he uses Face ID and Apple Pay to try on a dizzying array of shirts, suits, and shoes. He even buys a chair as a gift that rockets away leaving a trail of flame. Like the video last week, the ad is fun and does a nice job of conveying how Apple Pay works and how easy it is to use, while also being entertaining.