Banks did it Apple’s way in payments by mobile

New York Times:

JPMorgan Chase’s chief financial officer, Marianne Lake, took the stage at a financial conference on Tuesday under strict orders not to mention her company’s involvement in Apple’s new payment system.

But when Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, at a news conference in California at the same time, finally brought up Apple Pay, one of Ms. Lake’s deputies in New York took a green apple out of her bag and put it on a table on the stage, signaling that Ms. Lake was free to discuss the service.

“So we are very excited about Apple Pay, and Chase customers will be able to participate in that,” Ms. Lake said, noting the appearance of the apple with a nod of her head.

The elaborate measures that Ms. Lake took to keep Apple Pay under wraps until the chosen time underscore the degree of preparation — and investment — that went into a partnership that has the potential to transform one of the banking industry’s most fundamental business lines.

I love these insider stories about how Apple cajoles, forces, convinces and beguiles companies into doing the things Apple wants to do in the ways Apple wants to do it.

Why Apple Pay could be the mobile-payment system you’ll actually use

Macworld:

Near Field Communications (NFC)—the technology behind those swipe-free terminals and now Apple Pay—is nothing new. The technology has existed since the late 1990s and appears in many forms, including key fobs, payment cards, and even (on certain phones) Google Wallet. It isn’t necessarily the most widely deployed payment technology, but it certainly isn’t new.

Which begs the question: Why all the hype about Apple Pay? Is it merely the Reality Distortion Field hyping something that’s actually ho-hum? Or is there something deeper here?

Rich Mogull is my go to guy when it comes to Apple security and issues surrounding it. As usual, he writes well and simply about a complicated topic.

Letter of recommendation

Chris Breen:

I admit that seeing my colleagues leave has been a bit like having everyone around you suddenly raptured while you stand gawking with a ham sandwich shoved halfway in your mouth.

But I’m not here to feed Internet tittle-tattle. Rather, as someone who’s been with Macworld (and MacUser before it) for a very long time, I’d like to provide potential employers (and those who are simply interested in their favorite writers) some details about my departed colleagues.

Chris Breen is the only “big name” left at Macworld and his tribute to his former fellow employees is touching. And, having known personally many of the people he writes about, I’d say his assessments are 100% correct.

Tim Cook: “This is epic”

USA Today:

“If there was a lot of emotion in my voice today, it’s because we’ve all been waiting for this day for a long time. It felt so great,” Cook, 53, told USA TODAY. “The people at this company are doing the best work of their lives, the best work that Apple has ever done.”

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to switch people from Android to iOS. So yes, this is epic. It is epic,” he says.

I made mention of this both on Amplified and Your Mac Life yesterday. Cook seemed genuinely excited up on stage.

This guy’s replies to 9/11 brand Tweets sum up everything that’s wrong with 9/11 brand Tweets

AdWeek:

Sean Bonner says, “There’s no way for a brand to “insert themselves into a conversation” about a tragedy like this without it being bad.

“Today (or whatever other tragedy this kind of thing has happened with) isn’t the time for marketing. It isn’t the time for branding or getting people to pay attention to companies. It’s a time for people to interact with each other, and the only respectful thing for brands to do is stay out of it and wait for tomorrow to get back to business.”

I see these kinds of marketing “tributes” all the time in these situations and Bonner and Monteiro are right – if you are a brand, just STFU.

For London’s cabbies, the world’s hardest geography test

National Geographic:

The Knowledge of London is a real-time, street-level test of memorization skills so intense that it physically alters the brains of those who pass it.

To qualify for that elusive green badge, you need to learn by heart all 320 sample runs that are listed in the Blue Book, the would-be cabbie’s bible. You will also have to commit to memory the 25,000 streets, roads, avenues, courts, lanes, crescents, places, mews, yards, hills, and alleys that lie within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

I am severely directionally challenged and couldn’t complete The Knowledge on pain of death but reading about the process they have to go through is fascinating.

Here’s how Apple will convince you to buy a smartwatch

.

New York magazine:

It will start with a friend. A friend who lives in San Francisco, maybe. Or who works as a venture capitalist. Or who recently had a birthday.

And then, sometime around June, you’ll get an unexpected infusion of cash — a security deposit you forgot you’d paid, or a few hundred dollars from your tax return. And you’ll find yourself on Apple.com late at night, admiring the watch, wondering if the $349 you’d spend would ever really be worth it.

What the hell, you’ll say. Add to cart.

It won’t work this way for most people but this will be a process very similar to what many have gone through in the past with Apple products and certainly will with the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch: The Musical

This guy has actually done a pretty good job on this video. It’s very amusing.

Comments on Apple “newest” digital device

Here are some comments on the announcement of Apple’s “newest” digital device:

“I was so hoping for something more.”

“Great just what the world needs.”

“Heres an idea Apple – rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why dont you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive line up? Or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?”

“I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares? I want something new! I want them to think differently!”

“Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!”

“Come on everyone, y’all are saying it sucks before you have even held it in your hand.”

“The reason why everyone’s dissapointed is because we had our hopes up for this incredible device.”

Pretty typical commentary.

Except, all of the above is taken from the forums at Macrumors and all of the above, and more, are referring to the launch of the original iPod.

Some things never change.

After 30 years, Macworld is no longer a magazine

Fast Company:

In January of 1984, Apple announced the Macintosh. Among the many things which made the launch memorable was the fact that the brand-new computer was accompanied by a brand-new magazine, IDG’s Macworld. Thanks to a deal hashed out by IDG’s David Bunnell and Apple’s Steve Jobs, the first issue debuted the same day that the Mac did, which means that there’s never been such a thing as a Mac market that wasn’t covered by Macworld.

Sadly, that long run is about to end.

The 800lb gorilla of Mac publishing just became a 4lb chihuahua. Sad day.

A watch guy’s thoughts on the Apple Watch

HODINKEE:

I do not believe it poses any threat to haute horology manufactures, I do think the Apple Watch will be a big problem for low-priced quartz watches, and even some entry-level mechanical watches. In years to come, it could pose a larger threat to higher end brands, too. The reason? Apple got more details right on their watch than the vast majority of Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those details add up to a really impressive piece of design. It offers so much more functionality than other digitals it’s almost embarrassing. But it’s not perfect, by any means. Read on to hear my thoughts on the Apple Watch, from the perspective of a watch guy.

Great perspective from “the other side of the fence” – how does the Apple Watch fit into the watch market? Thanks to Jared Earle for the link.

Inside Apple’s live event stream failure, and why it happened

Streaming Media:

Apple’s live stream of the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Watch was a disaster today right from the start, with many users like myself having problems trying to watch the event. While at first I assumed it must be a capacity issue pertaining to Akamai, a deeper look at the code on Apple’s page and some other elements from the event shows that decisions made by Apple pertaining to their website, and problems with how they setup storage on Amazon’s S3 service, contributed the biggest problems to the event.

Interesting take on the utter disaster that was the streaming video of this morning’s event.

Apple to release iOS 8 on September 17

Ars Technica:

Apple has officially announced a release date for iOS 8, the latest version of the operating system that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The new software launches on September 17, and as we’ve written before it will be available on the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, and 5S; the iPad 2, both Retina iPads, the iPad Air, and both iPad minis; the fifth-generation iPod touch; and all revisions of the third-generation Apple TV.

This was almost lost among the news of all the other cool things Apple announced today.

Apple Pay aims to disrupt payment industry

TidBITS:

With Apple Pay, Apple’s self-described mission is to replace your wallet, enabling you to pay a bill by holding an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, or the forthcoming Apple Watch, up to a payment sensor. No more fumbling with credit cards and signing receipts, or worrying about having enough cash. In theory, at least, Apple Pay both improves the payment experience and brings new levels of security and privacy to credit card payments.

Adam makes a very good point about wallets, too. This won’t replace it for most of us because we need to carry around other cards as well. But it’s a step towards an interesting future.

My question has always been, is using a credit card really all that difficult for most people that they need and want this kind of replacement?

The iPod classic plays its last

Macworld:

With the death of the iPod classic, we witness the last of the original 5GB white iPod’s line. No more hard drive. No more squarish screen. No more wheel control.

And, no surprise.

True but there’s still nostalgia for the little thing.

Apple Watch hands-on: a rounded, square wonder

The Verge:

The Apple Watch is amazing and boring at the same time.

After nearly two years of rumors, the Apple Watch has finally been unveiled.

Ignore the stupid words associated with this article but go look at the real world pics they have of the various watch faces and bands.

Compare iPhone models

Apple has posted a page with a good overview of the four iPhone models and their specs. The pics are interesting and the iPhone 6 Plus seems huge.

The hidden structure of the Apple keynote

Quartz:

One of Apple’s most successful products—which rarely gets recognized as such—is made not of aluminum and glass, but of words and pictures. The Apple keynote is the tool the company uses a few times a year to unveil its other products to millions of people.

To understand their hidden structure, Quartz reviewed more than a dozen Apple keynotes, logging and analyzing key elements. Here’s what we found.

Those of us who have attended these events in person have often remarked on the similarities in structure and tone from one to the next.

Star Walk 2 review: iPad app makes the night sky look better than ever

Macworld:

When Star Walk launched it was one of those “only on the iPad” kind of apps. Since then many have used it as their digital window to space.

Vito Technologies, which built the original, is back with Star Walk 2. While it may not seem like there is much to improve on, the developers have taken the time to find enough enhancements and new features to justify an entirely new app.

Not only has Star Walk been my go to astronomy app, it was the app I always used to “show off” how cool the iPad was. I’ll be buying this version, too.

The World of competitive “Rock, Paper, Scissors”

Priceonomics:

Rock Paper Scissors has serious players, organizing leagues, and sponsored tournaments that draw hundreds to compete for cash prizes. In 2006, Bud Light sponsored a tournament and offered a $50,000 cash prize.

While RPS advocates are eager to validate it as a serious pursuit, they also intend to have a good time. That said, if during a tournament you try to throw some sort of fourth move like dynamite that beats rock, paper, and scissors, you’ll be asked to leave.

Leave it to Canadians to come up with competitive “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and tie it into drinking beer.

The iPhone 6: from Louis Vuitton to Chanel

Stratechery:

Conspicuous consumption and status-seeking are major drivers of the Asian market in particular, and are why Asians make up over 50% of the luxury market by nationality. In the case of handbags, you absolutely are saying something with your selection: a Louis Vuitton bag is many people’s first luxury purchase, and shows you have some means; a Chanel bag, on the other hand, signifies you are at least upper middle class, maybe even rich.

At the top of the heap, though, is Hermès: sport a Birkin bag and there is no question as to your status.

While I don’t agree with all of his points, it’s a very instructive way to look at Apple and perhaps how and where they see their place in the market.

Apple courts fashionistas as smartwatch expectations mount

Reuters:

Apple has invited top fashion editors and bloggers in unprecedented numbers to its Tuesday launch gala, further evidence that the iPhone maker is preparing to take the wraps off a smartwatch.

“It confirms that they have a play in wearables and that they want to appeal to the fashion world, and not just technology consumers,” said Lauren Indvik, editor in chief for Fashionista and another first-time invitee.

The event next week gets more and more interesting every day.

Marc Newson to Join Apple’s design team

Vanity Fair:

Designer Marc Newson is joining Apple as part of senior vice president of design Jonathan Ive’s team, the company told VF Daily on Friday.

Newson, who will continue to be based in the United Kingdom, will be an employee of Apple, and will be frequently traveling to the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters. The industrial designer has had his work archived by MoMA, and has been commissioned by Ford, Nike, and Qantas Airways, among others.

Jonathan Ive you know. One of his best friends, Marc Newson, might not be quite as familiar a name to you but he is also a world-class designer.

The Aussie mindset: Working to live instead of living to work

Inc:

During my time in Australia, the relaxed lifestyle of the Aussies, Kiwis, and Europeans we met contrasted sharply with the “live to work” mentality so ingrained in American culture. To them, it isn’t about your place in life or how you make a living; it’s simply about living well.

Contrary to what many people think, this philosophy doesn’t have to clash with being ambitious. It just means making a fun, fulfilling life your first priority.

Living in Vancouver, I’ve met and known a lot of Australians and am always amazed at their wanderlust. There’s a lot of good advice in this column, particularly for those in college. Travel while you can.

Tim Cook says Apple to add security alerts for iCloud users

The Wall Street Journal:

Apple said it plans additional steps to keep hackers out of user accounts, but denied that a lax attitude toward security had allowed intruders to post nude photos of celebrities on the Internet.

To make such leaks less likely, Mr. Cook said Apple will alert users via email and push notifications when someone tries to change an account password, restore iCloud data to a new device, or when a device logs into an account for the first time.

This is just one of many steps Apple will take to protect themselves and users.

Will laser ‘tattoos’ replace fruit labels?

BBC:

Laser “tattoos” could remove the need for sticky labels during the sale of fruit, developers say.

The technology removes pigment from the fruit’s surface to show information such as the item’s sell-by date and price.

The process does not affect the taste or the lifespan of the fruit.

I’d never thought about how much those paper labels cost. This is a fascinating idea.

Parody YouTube channel inspires tighter logic in “Captain America”

Daily Dot:

Basically, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was too good to mock. And as it turns out, there’s a reason for that. The film’s directors are fans of Honest Trailers, and they purposefully engineered the film so it would be harder to parody.

In a recent interview with Collider, Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo were asked how they felt about achieving a positive Honest Trailers review.

I’m a huge fan of Honest Trailers and love the fact they had a positive influence on a summer blockbuster.

An algorithm to figure out your gender

BoingBoing:

Twitter opened its analytics platform to every user on August 27, allowing all of us — not just verified users and those with advertising accounts — to track how many people viewed and acted upon our tweets. But the “Followers” section, revealing demographics, provoked the most discussion. Alongside breakdowns in followers’ interests and location is a gender bar that splits followers into male and female.

How can Twitter offer this information when it doesn’t ask for you to indicate a gender when you sign up for an account?

My Twitter account is 86% male and 14% female. But how does Twitter deal with the (not insignificant) percentage of folks who don’t fall under traditional genera roles?