Don’t want retailers shutting down NFC? Tell them with your Apple Pay-powered wallet!

by News on October 25, 2014, no comments

By Rene Ritchie

Apple Pay launched last week. In store, it’s a secure way to pay for items using existing NFC technology, authorized by Touch ID fingerprint technology. It in no way precludes the use of other NFC-enabled payment systems, including credit and debit cards, or other platforms or apps. It’s easy to use, lightning fast, and extremely customer friendly. It’s also private, not releasing transactional information beyond what the retailer needs to process the payment. So, CSV and Rite Aid are both going so far as to disable NFC support in general just to make sure no one tries to use Apple Pay in their stores. Yes, they’d rather hobble their transactional systems entirely than let their customers use Apple Pay. They’d rather use their own system, CurrentC, which looks about as insecure, non-private, and poorly architected as you’d imagine it would.

While I’m sure retailers want transactional data, I don’t think they really need it. Most customers will willingly give away far more personal information in exchange for “loyalty program” participation anyway, and market basket analysis is sophisticated enough that retailers can get significant marketing data anyway. CurrentC smells like a way to get loyalty-level data without having to provide commensurate rewards, and if there’s a holy grail in retail, it’s the lowest possible offer.

Also last week, Apple shipped the iPad Air 2 with an Apple SIM. It allows customers to choose their carrier and plan dynamically and, theoretically, change their carrier as their needs or location change. Most carriers around the world don’t support it. Verizon in the U.S. doesn’t support it. AT&T does support it, but decided to lock it to their network the moment you choose one of their plans, effectively rendering its dynamism useless. Yes, they’d rather waste SIM cards then let their customers shop around.

Neither of these are new or novel occurrences. The entertainment industry has, for example, tries to foist several dodgy digital-rights management schemes on us over the years, which have done little more than ensure legitimate customers have had poor to terrible viewing experiences. Witness Ultraviolet.

The result is I refuse to use Ultraviolet. If and when Apple SIM or Apple Pay come to Canada, I will refuse to use any carrier or retailer that doesn’t support them.

Apple is currently deploying technologies that are in my best interest as a consumer. (They can afford to based on their hardware-centric business model.) Those who aren’t supporting those technologies are doing it for their own, often diametrically opposed, best interests. If they won’t support the technologies that support me, I won’t support them.

I understand they fear what they can’t control. I understand they want to profit off my private information. I understand they want to take years to deploy inferior, sum-of-all-compromises systems.

I just don’t care. And I’ll tell them that with my voice and with my wallet — my hopefully soon-to-be Apple Pay powered wallet.

If you want to tell them as well, support the retailers who support the technologies you want to use, and tell the ones who don’t that, if they want your business, they better change their priorities. You can also contact them directly to voice your concerns. Please remember to be polite; the person reading your correspondence is just doing their job.

  • @cvs_extra, email form, 1-800-SHOP-CVS (1-800-746-7287), CVS Corporation Customer Relations, One CVS Drive, Woonsocket, RI 02895
  • @riteaid, email form, 1-800-RITE AID (1-800-748-3243), Rite Aid Customer Relations, P.O. Box 3165, Harrisburg , PA 17105

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Best iPhone and iPad apps of the week: Inbox by Gmail and more!

by News on October 25, 2014, no comments

By Simon Sage

It’s been another week, and another batch of awesome apps and games are ready for the downloading. We’ve got apps from big names like Google, Jawbone, and Facebook, as well as a smattering of games ranging from sports to rhythm-based surgery.

Grab your iPhone or iPad and dive into our top ten favorite new iOS apps.


Retry

Retry features the one-touch controls and sensitive impact areas of the insanely difficult physics game Flappy Bird, but lathers on retro graphics, an old-school aviation theme, and a much wider variety of levels. Very simply, try to land your plan at the end of the stage without crashing on any obstacles in between. Easier said than done. Gluttons of punishment will want to get started with Retry now.

NBA 2K15

NBA 2K15 offers substantially improved graphics while playing on the basketball court, and a new MyCareer mode that has players work through a storyline by doing stuff like answering questions at press conferences and training their custom-made character. The soundtrack is curated by Pharrell Williams, which should keep gameplay moving nicely. NHL 2K also came out this week, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Doctor Bop

Doctor Bop is a fun little rhythm game where players conduct surgery by popping little legions growing inside patients in time with the music of the stage. Make sure to hit the extra bright dots early so all of the others on the board multiply in score value. Best of all, half of all ad revenue generated from this game is going towards Extra Life, which we’re big fans of.

Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge

Tilt to Live: Gauntlet’s Revenge, is the latest iteration in an excellent action game series. Instead of being stuck in a static arena and having to tilt your device around incoming enemies and towards power-ups, you have to work through a continually scrolling stage, similar to an endless runner. Gather blue cubes as best you can without getting hit. Take too many hits, and it’s game over. The finely tuned gyro controls make for a really tense and fast-paced game.

Sleep Attack

Sleep Attack is an interesting new tower defense game where player spin the entire battlefield to alter the route of incoming waves of enemies, while still building and upgrading towers as before. You’ll face 17 different enemy types across six surreal dreamscapes and face off against some fearsome bosses. If you’ve had your fill of the traditional tower defense formula, Sleep Attack really does add a new dimension.

Pixelmator

Pixelmator is a hugely popular photo editing and art app for Mac that has found its way to iPad this week. As you might expect, you can work seamlessly between the two devices, so you can keep working on your projects while on the go or at your desk. Correct colors, set white balance, blur, sharpen, distort, add text, and do just about everything else you could need to do with a big boy image editor.

Inbox by Gmail

Inbox is Google’s reimagining of handling e-mail, that bundles in reminders, and collapses similar messages together. Particularly important messages will bubble up to the top, and Google will go ahead and pull in useful information from outside sources for certain messages. You can also snooze e-mails and reminders, so you can tune out from threads you aren’t directly involved in, or tasks you can get to right now. For now, you need an invite to use Inbox, but Google seems to be giving those out pretty liberally.

Rooms

Rooms is an app from Facebook that brings back the old days of chat rooms. Join live discussion groups about any number of topics without having to register an account or anything. Photos, videos, and text can be shared with the room. Rooms is a fresh and promising way of staying anonymous while still connecting with like-minded people.

Photomath

Photomath is a next generation calculator where all you have to do to find a solution is take a picture of a math problem. After taking your shot, the app will run through some basic text recognition and give you a fast, accurate answer. Every step to the solution is shown so you know how it got where it did, and new math types are supported on a release-by-release basis.

Drop by Jawbone

Drop by Jawbone is a collaborative new way to build a playlist. Once connected to your social and music streaming accounts, friends can tweet at you to add songs to whatever’s playing at your event. Drop ties in with Spotify or Rdio, for which you need a premium subscription, but if you do, you’ll find your setlists becoming much more interesting.

Your favorite new iPhone and iPad apps?

Those are the best apps lauched this week as far a we’ve been able to see, but there’s a lot that comes out in a week. Let us know what you’ve downloaded to your iPhone or iPad lately!

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Review 37: Comic book shows

by News on October 25, 2014, no comments

By Rene Ritchie

Review is like app or game coverage but for movie series, television shows, comic books, and other geeky entertainment. It’s great stuff you can watch and enjoy on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV! On this week’s episode — From the Arrow premiere and Flash premieres, to Gotham and SHIELD, we’re talking comic book TV shows — and how they’re getting… better?! With Dave Wiskus, Guy English, Rene Ritchie, Dan Moren, Jay Torres


Show notes

Panel

Feedback

Leave a comment or yell at us via the Twitter accounts above. Loudly.

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Review 37: Comic book shows

by News on October 25, 2014, no comments

By Rene Ritchie

Review is like app or game coverage but for movie series, television shows, comic books, and other geeky entertainment. It’s great stuff you can watch and enjoy on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV! On this week’s episode — From the Arrow premiere and Flash premieres, to Gotham and SHIELD, we’re talking comic book TV shows — and how they’re getting… better?! With Dave Wiskus, Guy English, Rene Ritchie, Dan Moren, Jay Torres


Show notes

Panel

Feedback

Leave a comment or yell at us via the Twitter accounts above. Loudly.

Read more here:: iMore