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Swatch seems to have acknowledged the difficulty of competing with the Apple Watch, announcing today that it would be focusing its smartwatch efforts on its low-cost plastic models before making a move into its more expensive brands. The¬†WSJ notes that the Swatch Group owns¬†Omega, Longines and Tissot.
Swatch Group AG on Thursday said it would focus its smartwatch technology on its plastic Swatch brand in response to devices launched by Apple Inc. and others before considering installing it in its pricier brands […]
The Swatch Bellamy, a version of its eponymous plastic Swatch watch that uses near-field communication technology, sells for ‚ā¨80 ($88) to ‚ā¨100.
This is hardly a smartwatch at all, comprising a dumb watch with an NFC payment chip embedded beneath the dial.¬†The company plans to make further low-end smartwatch launches in the U.S., Brazil and Switzerland.
‚ÄúWe are not talking about competing with Apple,‚ÄĚ said the colorful Mr. Hayek, who was dressed in a plaid shirt and scarf, occasionally donned a pair of Swatch sunglasses and puffed on a big cigar during the news conference. ‚ÄúThey are consumer-electronics people and we don‚Äôt want to get into that sector.”
Swatch hasn’t exactly set out to make friends with Apple. It’s believed that the company’s trademarking of ‘iSwatch’ prevented Apple using iWatch as the name for the Apple Watch, and the company last year trademarked ‘One More Thing.’
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As anyone who lives in a big city can attest, public transit can be something of a logistical pain. Delays and overcrowding issues aside, riders always need to make sure that they not only have their transit card handy, but also that they have sufficient funds on the card in the first place. While the frustration associated with transit cards varies by city (some are more forward-thinking than others), I think it's safe to say that life would be just a tad more convenient if everything transit related was directly connected through your smartphone.
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KGI’s¬†Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a good track record on what if not when, says that Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone will “resemble an upgraded iPhone 5s,” but will get some new internals. Externally, he suggests¬†the main visible difference will be similar curved-edge glass to the iPhone 6/6s.
Beneath the hood, he says the phone ‚Äď expected to be dubbed the iPhone 6c ‚Äď will get an A9 processor and NFC chip to support Apple Pay. The camera will, however, be identical to that in the 5s. Kuo’s investment note¬†also¬†supports recent reports that the 6c will get a metal case, stating that it will be available in at least 2-3 colors.
Kuo expects the phone to hit in the first quarter of next year, but does think that it¬†may generate relatively modest sales¬†…¬†
The note estimates that the new model ‚Äď expected to be priced at $400-500 ‚Äď will account for 8-9% of next year’s iPhone sales, but says that there is still good reason for Apple to launch. There is still demand for 4-inch phones, and it will help Apple extend its penetration into emerging markets and consumers on tighter budgets.¬†Supporting Apple Pay will also strengthen the Apple ecosystem.
Kuo believes that while the usual seasonal effect will see iPhone sales slowing early next year, the new model could reduce the scale of that¬†slowdown.
The note supports the theory we expressed yesterday that the new phone will replace the iPhone 5s in the line-up.
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Coin, the company behind the innovative¬†electronic card that aimed to consolidate your wallet into a single card, has today announced the 2.0 version of its offering. The first iteration of Coin began shipping in April 2015 and anyone who owns the first generation of the product is eligible for a free upgrade to Coin 2.0. Coin 2.0 includes a variety of enhancements, most important of which comes with the addition of NFC.
Coin 2.0 ships with NFC technology in “Early Access Mode,” which means the feature will work at a variety of retailers, but not all locations until partnerships to enable EMV compatibility are finalized. When those partnerships are established, over-the-air updates will be available. Contactless EMV is the same technology that is already used by Apple Pay and Android Pay, which makes it very easy for Coin 2.0 to be accepted at a variety¬†of retailers.
Other features of Coin 2.0 include the ability to give payment cards a 4-character nickname, an improved electronic stripe, a display that is two times as fast as its predecessor, and a design that is 8 percent thinner on average. Coin also touts that the software update that brings EMV capabilities could¬†include other new features, as well.
Coin heavily touts that security is the primary focus for the company, which means every Coin 1.0 wonder will be able to update to Coin 2.0 for free. Users can do so by heading into the settings menu of the companion Coin app on their mobile device and following the steps there.
Coin 2.0 units will begin shipping today. You can signup to purchase¬†the card here. View the video below for details on how Coin 2.0 works:
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Apple Pay‚Äôs fingerprint authentication is already miles better than the laughable magnetic strip on our credit cards. But to try and create the
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Apple appears to be planning to enable its Apple Pay iPhone mobile payments service in the United Kingdom on July 14th, according to sources at multiple retailers. Apple has informed some Apple Retail employees in the U.K. that Apple Pay support will go live on that Tuesday, while an internal memos for supermarket Waitrose¬†plus an additional retail partner indicate the same date…
Apple will also begin training its U.K staff on supporting Apple Pay on July 12th. Apple has begun enabling its mobile point of sale systems in England-based stores to take NFC payments and has been preparing materials to promote the Apple Pay launch in stores. It is plausible¬†that different stores will have different launch dates, but the presence of the same, at least tentative, date makes July 14th a very possible widespread start date.
Announced for July at the June Worldwide Developers Conference, the U.K.’s Apple Pay launch will mark Apple’s first expansion of the service outside of the United States. Like in the U.S., a PIN won’t be required for usage, but the launch will include a ¬£20 cap per transaction, as also noted on the above¬†memo¬†sent to us and posted across the web. However, a source tells us that U.K. systems¬†will be updated in the fall to process higher¬†values. Apple is also currently working on bringing the service to Canada later this year in addition to China and South Korea in the future.
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Our look at the upcoming “iPhone 6S” continues today with a discussion of new internal components that are expected to be inside Apple’s latest smartphone.¬†In addition to expected changes such as a¬†Force Touch display, upgraded camera system, and new Qualcomm LTE chip for up to twice-as-fast data speeds, the next iPhone¬†will likely include updated¬†NFC hardware, fewer and¬†more efficient chips, and new flash memory that¬†may nonetheless remain at a 16GB minimum capacity.
These conclusions are based upon¬†new¬†images showing a prototype of the¬†next iPhone’s logic board, as well as a joint analysis undertaken by 9to5Mac and Chipworks, an¬†Ottawa-based company that partners with technology companies across the globe on patent intelligence and competitive technical intelligence needs. Keep an eye out for their usual technical teardown of the new iPhone in September or sign up to be notified here.
New NFC Processor + Noticeable Reduction in Chips:
A new NFC¬†chip inside the iPhone 6S is from NXP and labelled 66VP2, said by Chipworks to be an upgrade from the NXP 65V10 NFC processor found inside the iPhone 6.¬†It’s unclear what the new 66VP2 may change in the¬†iPhone, but it is¬†likely to add a secure element processor, reducing the need for a separate chip. Apple added NFC to the iPhone in 2014 for Apple Pay, but used a part that dated back to 2012; the 66VP2 appears to be a brand new chip.
Along with a slight shrinkage¬†in size of the iPhone 6S’s logic board, Apple also appears to be aggressively reducing the number of chips it’s using. One section of the board that previously had in excess of 10 components has been pared down to 3 main chips, simultaneously cutting¬†the number of parts and¬†increasing the power efficiency of the ones that remain. Other necessary and remaining¬†chips, such as the flash memory and CPU, notably benefit from smaller manufacturing processes that enable the iPhone 6S to offer the same or faster functionality with smaller, less power-hungry parts.
It appears that Apple will preserve a Cirrus Logic audio chip, a Murata Wi-Fi module,¬†and wireless power amplifiers from RFMD, Triquint, Avago and Skyworks within the iPhone 6S.¬†Although¬†the prototype includes what appear to be similar Bosch and InvenSense accelerometer and gyroscope parts to the iPhone 6, ChipWorks speculates that a tiny new alternative¬†from STMicroelectronics could replace it on the final logic board, having debuted in the Apple Watch.
16GB Base Storage Possible:
With the introduction of higher-quality media files and larger applications,¬†iPhone users over the past few years have noted that a 16GB base storage capacity may no longer be large enough for most users. However, it appears that Apple could launch¬†its next iPhone in a 16GB starting capacity, serving as an option priced below higher 64GB and 128GB options.
According to both our analysis and confirmation from Chipworks of the above Toshiba Flash Memory chip, the chip has a 16GB capacity and is¬†built with a 19nm production process. There is a¬†possibility that Apple may not ship this 16GB flash storage option, and was solely using it for early production and test models.¬†Apple has previously tested future iPhone hardware using smaller storage capacities prior to finalizing its production, so a last-minute upgrade to a higher capacity would not be unprecedented. However, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller recently noted that 16GB is still suitable for many users due to new cloud-based services like iCloud and Apple Music, in addition to iOS 9’s new app-slimming features.
iPhone 6 Design:
We have also separately received purported design drawings from a case maker showing¬†the new iPhone’s external design, corroborating our¬†images from earlier this week¬†that indicate a design essentially identical to that of the current iPhone 6. In line with our comments from earlier this week, these design drawings indicate that the iPhone 6S will likely be fully compatible with most of the existing iPhone 6 accessories on the market.
Apple’s¬†tolerance for measurement differences allows a 0.2mm difference between individual iPhone units, and it appears that the iPhone 6S, at maximum, may¬†be 0.13mm thicker than the iPhone 6. This¬†change would¬†be indiscernible to the human eye, and¬†Apple might¬†not specify any¬†thickness changes when it updates its iPhone technical specifications page in the fall.
In terms of the new 4.7-inch iPhone 6S’s height and width, we’re told there are similarly tiny differences from the current model. The 6S is claimed to be an indiscernible 0.16mm taller than the 6, as well as 0.13mm wider, differences that could be attributable to Apple’s tolerances, or reflective of tiny tweaks to the external casing. A report from last month indicated that the new iPhones could be slightly thicker to accommodate the new panel for Force Touch.
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Verifone will be among the first to enable its NFC terminals to support Apple Pay‚Äôs upcoming support for customer loyalty cards, the company announced today.
As part of its WWDC announcements on Monday, Apple said¬†that it would soon enable loyalty cards in Apple Pay as it renames the iOS Passbook app ‚ÄúWallet‚ÄĚ to better reflect the addition of payment services since its launch. But before that happens, payment terminal manufacturers will have to flip the switch on support for loyalty cards through their NFC terminals. One of the first companies to do that will be Verifone, one of the leaders in making NFC terminals.
The company announced today that it will enable support for loyalty cards on its¬†MX 915 and MX 925¬†terminals, allowing six national and global retailers to start accepting loyalty transitions and redeeming rewards through Apple Pay.
‚ÄúAdding loyalty to Apple Pay will open a world of opportunity for a wide range of merchants to engage consumers and grow their businesses,‚ÄĚ said Vin D‚ÄôAgostino, executive vice president of Commerce Enablement, Verifone. ‚ÄúWe are proud to support Apple Pay in expanding contactless payments to include loyalty. This is a powerful reminder of Verifone‚Äôs expertise and expansive client relationships, as we continue to simplify payments and enhance customer engagement opportunities for our merchants.‚ÄĚ
Verifone didn‚Äôt name an names, but¬†we’ve found out that the six retailers include¬†Dunkin‚Äô Donuts, JC Penney‚Äôs, Kohl‚Äôs, Panera, Wegman‚Äôs, and Whole Foods. The last on that list, Whole Foods, is one major retailer Apple didn’t mention during its announcement.¬†
During its announcement on Monday, Apple confirmed some of the first retailers that will support the feature this fall, including: Walgreens Balance Rewards, Kohl‚Äôs Yes2You Reward program,¬† Coca-Cola, Dunkin‚Äô Donuts, Panera Bread, Wegmans Food Markets, BJ‚Äôs Wholesale Club, and JCPenney.
The loyalty card support will officially arrive for Apple Pay this fall alongside iOS 9 and the new Wallet app.
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