Monday Morning News
Those crazy Americans. Or rather, insane retailers, who seem to think that anything besides taking their customer’s money is the way to run a successful business. I’m referring to how pharmaceutical chains CVS and Rite Aid have disabled NFC entirely to prevent Apple Pay, which works in their stores because Apple Pay is compatible with existing PayPass/PayWave/ExpressPass implementations, despite not being on Apple’s list of retailers supporting the technology. Instead of choosing to go with Apple Pay — who some think Apple want to become synonymous with contactless payments — they’re choosing to back a mobile payments solution based on QR codes, as detailed by Daring Fireball.
IFixit’s teardown of the new iPads showed that the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 have very similar NFC hardware as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but only to support Apple Pay within apps, not so people can pay with their tablets at check-out. If only Apple had added that as a feature, it would easily have eclipsed iPad photography as the most ridiculous thing to do with an iPad.
The Wall Street Journal claims sales of music via the iTunes Store have dropped as much as 14% this year, as music streaming services have taken off. They’re also saying Apple will rebuild Beats Music and relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, perhaps in more countries — Beats is only available in the US, and Australia is the only country outside of the US with iTunes Radio.
TestFlight beta testing has gone live for all iOS developers, with developers now able to add up to 1,000 users to try out their apps by sending out invitations from iTunes Connect. Gone are the days of digging up UDIDs for devices or doing the insanely complex provisioning profile dance.
Jason Snell’s review of the iMac with Retina 5K display says it’s the fastest iMac paired with the best possible display. Unfortunately, that also means you won’t be able to take the display with you when you outgrow the hardware, but with a few smart choices and a little more cash, you can get a machine that will last a long, long time.
Khoi Vinh has some words to say about the look and feel of OS X Yosemite, likening the latest version of OS X to how iOS 7 started out — lacking in polish, “full of awkward decisions and unresolved tensions”. I haven’t seen anything (yet!) in Yosemite that deserves the same criticism suffered by the iOS 7 icons, but there are definitely some strange design decisions. But if there was something that did deserve the same criticism as the terrible iOS 7 app icons, the off-centre close button would be it.
Lukas Mathis says some of the interface is a step backwards in terms of glance-ability, with many interfaces being a sea of blue icons that makes it hard to distinguish what you’re actually looking at. That said, Apple’s focus on translucency adds a touch of personalisation to OS X that wasn’t present there before, and that’s definitely a good thing.
TidBITS has a few details on under the hood changes to Wi-Fi in Yosemite. WEP is completely gone, and ad-hoc networks now have no encryption whatsoever. But for the first time, there’s a way to disconnect from Wi-Fi networks that doesn’t involve turning (Wi-Fi) off and on again.
Wired tells us law enforcement agencies hate the fact that iPhone data is now encrypted by default in iOS 8, which now makes decrypting information on iPhones and iPad an insurmountable task. The change heralds a return to the crypto wars, which means as long as you’re not vulnerable to eavesdropping from any one particular agency, you’re secure against all of them, as detailed by security expert Bruce Schneier.
The state of iOS 8 on the iPad is that Apple could be doing so much more than they are. Beautiful Pixels gazed into the crystal ball, talking to Australian developers Marc Edwards and Russell Ivanovic about what the future holds for iOS 8 on the iPad.
Depending on how you look at it, Apple has this habit of keeping older devices around for longer than strictly necessary. It’s nothing new as Apple has always offered previous-gen devices to the education market, but the recent trend of keeping last year’s models around as a cheaper alternative is hurting Apple. Ben Brooks disagrees, seeing the zombie iPad as an opportunity for Apple.
In case you missed it, one member from the app review team at Apple went rogue after reviewing a thousand Flappy Bird clones and sent porn to developers who had submitted an app for review. At least, that’s how I want to imagine things going on. Warning: there’s a censored image at the link over at Medium which is not safe for work.