Aug 29

Apple today made a submission to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), arguing that Australia’s “Big Three” banks’ request to collectively negotiate over Apple Pay is ultimately harmful to consumers, would stifle innovation in mobile payments, and would avoid competitive dynamics (via AppleInsider).

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The Cupertino company argues that each of the big three banks (Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac) have resisted “serious engagement” with Apple on Apple Pay for the past two years.

Apple claims that they have tried and failed to negotiate with all of the banks, save for one bank who refuses to sign a confidentiality agreement that would allow Apple to send over its initial terms. Apple says that collective bargaining would slow negotiations further, dragging the collective to the level of the least willing member.

The collective, Apple argues, means that each of the banks has no fear of its competitors offering Apple Pay. Thus, the banks wouldn’t fear a potential loss of consumers over the feature. This harms consumers by avoiding competitive dynamics, according to Apple.

The move would also stifle innovation in mobile payments, erasing incentives for existing players in Australia to build on top of or compete with Apple Pay. However, a spokesman for the banks told AppleInsider that they, alongside Australia’s merchants and payment processors, have been working on contactless payments before Apple Pay.

The banks say that, unlike Android or Samsung, Apple blocks access to NFC payments and “wants to leave users with no choice but to use Apple Pay.” They want to negotiate with Apple to offer other integrated wallets within Apple Pay. Last week, Australia’s retailers and payment processors sided with the banks to collectively negotiate.

Apple’s submission comes 10 days after the ACCC denied interim approval of the collective negotiations. The banks first issued their joint application in late July. The ACCC will make a final decision in October. Most recently, Australian bank ANZ expanded support for Apple Pay to MasterCard, adding to the already-supported Visa and American Express.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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Aug 29

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Apple in a recent filing with Australia’s antitrust watchdog slammed a request from the country’s three top banks for collective negotiations over third-party access to Apple Pay NFC technology, saying a threatened boycott would not only harm consumers, but hinder mobile wallet adoption and innovation.

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Aug 29

Sonoma Wire Works has released DrumCore 4, the highly anticipated AAX/VST3/AU plug-in for Mac OS and Windows. An upgrade to the award-winning DrumCore 3 and KitCore 2 plug-in drum instruments, DrumCore 4 now works with most popular 64-bit recording software, and includes 24-bit audio loops, MIDI loops, multi-velocity sampled drum kits, groove browser, song timeline, mixer, effects and more. Includes royalty-free, tempo-adjustable recordings of celebrity drummers in many styles.

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Aug 29

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Alphabet executive David Drummond, leads a number of Google investment arms including GV, recently stepped down from Uber’s board as the two companies work to bring their respective self-driving car projects to market.

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Aug 29

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On Monday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the dismissal of a 2014 Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against AT&T, which had accused the company of misleading marketing in throttling data plans it sold to the public as "unlimited."

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Aug 29

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Apple is working to release a fresh batch of Mac hardware including a standalone 5K display made in partnership with LG, MacBook Air and iMac refreshes, and new iPad Pro software catering to professional users, according to a report on Monday.

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Aug 29

Apple is planning to refresh its Mac lineup, including the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, as early as October, according to Bloomberg. The report also claims Apple is working on a standalone 5K display in partnership with LG Electronics, while it plans to update iMac models with an option for new graphics chips from AMD.

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The report reiterates that the new MacBook Pro will be thinner and include an OLED-based touchscreen strip along the top of the flatter keyboard, which will present functions that dynamically fit the current task or application, as well as integrate Touch ID to enable users to quickly log in using their fingerprint.

For example, if a user is on their desktop, the screen will show a virtual representation of the standard function row, which includes brightness and media controls. When in an application, the virtual row will show options specific to the task at hand, but volume controls and a switch to show the default functions will always be present.

Apple has reportedly named the feature “Dynamic Function Row” internally, but its official name may differ when announced.

The tweaked MacBook Air models, meanwhile, are said to include multipurpose USB-C ports, which makes the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 a possibility. No other details were shared about the planned MacBook Air and iMac refreshes.

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Apple’s plans to work with LG on a standalone 5K display surface two months after it discontinued the five-year-old Thunderbolt Display. It remains unclear if the monitor will be based upon the Retina 5K iMac, and it is also unclear if the report’s broad late 2016 timeframe for “some of the new Mac products” includes the display.

The report makes it nearly certain that the focus of Apple’s just-announced September 7 media event will be on the iPhone 7 and the second-generation Apple Watch, the latter of which has now been confirmed for the event. Apple will also provide updates about its software, including iOS 10, macOS Sierra, watchOS 3, and tvOS 10.

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Aug 29

ipad_apple_pencil_duoApple is planning new hardware and software features for iPad that cater to professional users, according to Bloomberg, including a a new iPad with faster display technology that allows for smoother on-screen zooming, panning, and scrolling.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said Apple would release a 10.5-inch iPad Pro model next year alongside a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2 and a “low-cost” 9.7-inch iPad model. The fate of the iPad mini remains uncertain, but it is presumable that Apple could discontinue the 7.9-inch tablet due to its lack of Apple Pencil support and relatively close proximity in size to 5.5-inch Plus-sized iPhones.

The new hardware will be completed by wider iOS support for the Apple Pencil, the report adds. Apple is reportedly planning to introduce the new software features in a subsequent iOS 10 update in the first half of 2017, but may decide to hold back on the improvements until iOS 11 is released later in the year.

Apple has considered allowing users to annotate objects in many applications across the whole operating system, including in Mail, the Safari web browser, and iMessage, similar to what Samsung Electronics Co. offers on its Note smartphones, the person said. Currently, Apple only supports Pencil functionality in specifically developed apps.

Apple saw its iPad revenue grow slightly for the first time in 10 quarters in July, and these improvements could help the company continue that trend.

Related Roundup: iPad Pro
Tags: bloomberg.com, Apple Pencil
Buyer’s Guide: 12.9″ iPad Pro (Neutral)

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Aug 29

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With just over a week to go before Apple is expected to announce an official macOS 10.12 Sierra release date, the company on Monday issued the latest beta versions of the operating system to developers and public beta testers for evaluation.

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Aug 29

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An app ostensibly for browsing Dribbble passed through Apple’s App Store review process despite coming loaded with a hidden feature that allowed users running iOS 9.3.3 or earlier to jailbreak their device.

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