Apple Pay Expands to Charities, Samsung Pay to Offer Rewards

Apple Pay Expands to Charities, Samsung Pay to Offer RewardsApple is making it easier for people to give to charities by expanding its Apple Pay payments service to nonprofits.

Apple Pay is mostly known for enabling purchases at retail stores with the tap of an iPhone, although the service can also be used for online transactions on apps and websites. Apple had limited this to buying goods and services – until now.

The American Red Cross, United Way and 18 other nonprofits will accept Apple Pay starting Monday. Others are coming soon.

Apple Pay can speed transactions because people don’t have to re-enter card and contact information, though people need to enable the service first. Apple says that websites and apps accepting Apple Pay report seeing twice as many people complete transactions, compared with other payment methods.

Separately, Samsung says a payment service on its phones, Samsung Pay, will start offering points for each transaction, regardless of the amount spent. They will be redeemable for gift cards and Samsung products.

Americans are just starting to warm up to mobile payment services such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. One of the chief hurdles is the fact that for in-store transactions, it’s not that difficult to pull out a plastic card to pay. And many merchants still do not accept such mobile payments. Although usage is growing, mobile payments are still a small portion of overall sales.

Apple Has Reportedly Set Up Its First R&D Centre in China

Apple Has Reportedly Set Up Its First R&D Centre in ChinaApple has reportedly set up its first research and development centre in China with the initial investment of CNY 100 million ($15 million or roughly Rs. 99,878 crores).

According to China Daily, the facility will be set up in Wangjing area of Beijing. The centre will have nearly 500 employees and the total investment will eventually reach CNY 300 million ($45 million or roughly Rs. 299,634 crores), the administrative committee of Zhongguancun Science Park posted on social media.

“The Centre will focus on developing computers, softwares, audio and video devices as well as other consumer electronics,” the report added.

During his China visit in August, Apple CEO Tim Cook had pledged to set up a full-fledged research and development facility in the country.

 

“We look forward to expanding our operations in China with a new research and development centre as we continue to grow our talented team here,” an Apple spokesperson was then quoted as saying.
Zhongguancun Science Park has 40 premier universities and colleges such as Peking University and Tsinghua University as well as more than 200 scientific institutions.

In May, Apple invested $1 billion into Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest ride-hailing platform.

Apple and Chinese bank card association UnionPay Shoppers also launched Apple Pay earlier this year.

Cook last year said China would be Apple’s largest market within two years and that the number of Apple stores in China would almost double to 40 within that time frame.

iPhone, iPad Had Higher Failure Rates Than Android Counterparts in Q2 2016

  • Image result for iPhone, iPad Has Higher Failure Rates Than Android Counterparts in Q2 2016iOS devices had a 58 percent failure rate in Q2
  • iPhone 6 had the highest failure rate of 29 percent
  • Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat among top apps to crash on iOS

When it comes to reliability and performance, Apple iPhones and iPads are failing more often than Android smartphones, a study has revealed.

According to the study global data security firm Blancco Technology Group, iOS devices had a 58 percent failure rate while Android smartphones reported an overall failure rate of 35 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

It is the first time that Apple’s devices have a lower performance rate compared to Android, Softpediareported.

iPhone 6 had the highest failure rate of 29 percent, followed by iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

For this, the study revealed the device failure rates by operating systems, manufacturers, models and regions.

 In the first quarter of 2016, Android smartphones had an overall failure rate of 44 percent.

“Samsung, Lenovo, and LeTV were among the manufacturers with the weakest performance and higher failure rates. Samsung scored 26 percent in failure rate, while Motorola just 11 percent,” the findings showed.

iOS devices failed more frequently in North America and Asia compared to Android and the quality of the devices being shipped may be one of the reasons.

The main problem iOS users faced was not being able to connect to a WiFi network, dropped connections, slow speeds and incorrect password prompts.

Android smartphone users struggled with camera issues, battery charging, touchscreen issues and app crashes.

According to the results, 50 percent of iOS applications crashed compared to 23 percent of Android apps.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were among the top apps to crash on iOS devices.

 

EFFECTIVE TIPS TO SELLING MORE IN-APP PURCHASES FROM YOUR GAME

iphone

 

In-App purchases for iPhone games are extra content or subscriptions that enhance the users gaming experience. This can be currency, extra health, extra ammunition, extra guns, extra lives, new levels, etc. Apple breaks these down into four different categories: consumable, non-consumable, non-renewing subscriptions, and auto-renewing subscriptions. The items mentioned above are consumable purchases. Non-consumable purchases are items that are bought one time, such as the upgrade to a pro edition of a game or even unlocking hints and extra characters. Non-renewing subscriptions are items that are purchases for a fixed period of time while auto-renewing subscriptions are items bought for a specific subscription period that are automatically renewed. Auto-renewing subscriptions are items such as Netflix and Hulu.

Application developers can specifically sell 4 types of services: content, functionality, services and subscriptions. The items you sell must be something you develop, not world-wide goods and services. The content must be available on all devices for a registered user, virtual currency may be used so long as it is used in the app and there is no time limit on its use, the content is appropriate, and cross application usage is not available.

There are several ways to increase the amount of in-app purchases that take place in your game. Some of the tips you may want to focus on are outlined below. Use these as you think about your iOS game development plan.

  • Freemium Business Model

One business model that is popular among game developers is the ‘freemium’ model. You will develop two versions of the game: one lite version and one pro version. Most users will choose to start with the lite version, which is free. This allows them to try the game to determine if it is something they are willing to pay for. If it is, they are able to buy the pro version through the lite version.

Another way to go about this is to create the free version and continually provide in-app purchases that will increase the functionality and content of the game. Therefore, instead of providing a new version of the game, the user just purchases upgrades along the way.

  • Removable Ad Option

One of the ways you can attract some quick revenue through an in-app purchase is to allow ads on your game, but provide an in-app purchase that removes the ads. A large portion of the users will spend the money to remove the ads to enhance their gaming experience. The distraction of ads can be annoying. You can also provide a pro version of the game that removes the pesky ads.

  • Increase the Difficulty of the Game

Throughout the longevity of the game make sure you add some increasingly difficult levels that cause a user to spend a little bit more time than normal to pass the level. Some diehards will commit the time it takes to beat the level. However, by providing hints, extra lives and better weapons for purchase many users will spend the money to buy them in an effort to help pass the level and move on.

  • Provide Offers

Throughout the day provide the users with an option to buy items for their game at a discounted price. This makes it seem like they are getting a great deal and a sense of urgency to buy it right then. Provide a countdown clock that shows how much time until the offer will expire. This will get users buying items when they normally would not think about buying.

  • Give Away

Another option that seems to generate positive feedback is to give away a free life or free coins when the user logs into play their game. This makes them want to play the game more often because they will get more free lives. The more they play, the better the opportunity for purchasing in-app extras.

  • Purchase Recommendations

Provide users with a list of purchase recommendations prior to each level. They may need a better gun than they currently have, more coins to get through the level, or any number of other items. By providing a user with recommendations you increase your chance of in-app purchases.

There are a number of other tips that will help generate in-app purchases, but these 6 will get you started. Think about purchases from the users prospective and provide options without being too cumbersome and overbearing.

5 BEST ACCESSORIES TO PROTECT YOUR IPHONE

iphone-6

 

After spending so much money and effort choosing all the right features for your iPhone 6, protection should become your greatest concern. The screen is susceptible to scratches, shattering and water damage, with the case just as vulnerable. It’s time to invest in the best accessories to protect the quality and resale value of your beautiful new phone.

There are different levels of protection available for all iPhone users, whether you work outdoors and need thorough dirt and water protection, or if you simply want to protect your screen from surface scratches. We made a list with the best protection available for the iPhone 6, developed for a range of protection needs.

  • BALLISTIC JEWEL

With a sleek, thin, minimalist design made to emulate the ever-nostalgic jewel cases from the 90s, Ballistic has created an affordable and durable case. With its low price you can afford to get multiple versions in any one of the 5 seemingly candy-inspired colors.

The reinforced corners of the Jewel seem to do the trick protecting your phone from every-day tumbles, and fans enjoy the thoughtful and comfortable grip style on this particular case.

  • E.C.L USA

Looking for something a little more substantial? Look no further than the E.C.L USA, or as they’re attempting to be, the last phone case you’ll ever need. Featuring three-layer protection in an incredibly slim design, the USA offers shock-absorbent, shatter-proof and anti-scratch construction all in one accessory. The added kick stand feature really puts this case over the edge for functionality and durability.

If you’re in the market for a heavy duty phone case, you may already have a shattered screen or broken iPhone. Visit CupertinoiPhoneRepair.com to get quick, professional service on your damaged phone.

  • OTTERBOX ALPHA GLASS PRIVACY SCREEN PROTECTOR

Privacy screen protectors are a must for anyone who’s sick of peeping Toms trying to sneak a peek while they browse their phone in public. Privacy protectors are usually paper-thin and easy to install, but the best among them is Otterbox’s Alpha Glass Privacy Screen Protector. This helpful and affordable accessory not only blocks people from spying on you but also offers excellent screen protection. You won’t worry about scratches, dents, or dings with this accessory, and it’s easy to remove when you no longer need it. Of course, the crystal clear display means you may never want to.

  • LIFEPROOF FRĒ

LifeProof is a notoriously quirky brand but their equipment and accessories are no joke. While all their cases are acceptable for people who need serious environmental protection from dirt, snow and water, the FRĒ is our all around favorite.

Despite its world-class protection, FRĒ offers you all the functionality you need from buttons and ports while making it safe to take your phone on a spelunking trip. Even more, it comes in a charming array of 9 colors, all around $75.

  • SPIGEN VOLT PACK BATTERY CASE

Spigen has made quite a quintisential little accessory in the Volt Pack Battery Case. Boasting an extra 150% batter life with excellent protection and ulta-slim design, you almost don’t believe it begins at under $50.

Other battery packs are heavy, bulky or make you feel like you’re giving up protection for power. Now you don’t have to baby your phone when using a battery-pack; with Spigen Volt Pack Battery Case your bulked-up battery and your phone are safe.

Protecting your phone is no laughing matter- it can be very expensive to repair or replace, and sometimes you can never recover lost information. Treat your iPhone 6 well by getting the best accessories for your needed level of protection. Many people have different forms of protection depending on what they’re doing, so don’t limit yourself to just one case or screen protector.

2 new iPhone features in iOS 9.3 that you should really check out

iOS 9.3 Features

There has been an unusual amount of excitement surrounding Apple’s new iOS 9.3update, which the company just released this past Monday. Of course iOS updates are often pretty exciting, but not the minor incremental ones. Apple will give the world its first look at iOS 10 this coming June, and that will undoubtedly generate plenty of excitement. But iOS 9.3? Really?

Really. Apple’s new update fixes some bugs and patches a severe security hole, but the big news is the new features. We already told you about all the best new features in iOS 9.3 but in this post, we’re going to focus on two in particular.

DON’T MISS: We asked every member of Congress with a computer science degree about Apple’s war with the FBI

In our earlier post on iOS 9.3’s new features we covered all of the best new additions for the iPhone and iPad. Night Shift is obviously the biggest new feature in the latest iOS build, so we don’t have to go over it again with you. There are two other features that we mentioned in that post that are a bit lesser known though, and now it’s time to change that.

We get a lot of emails here at BGR from people looking for help with their gadgets or for help finding an app to suit their needs. We wish we had the time to be everyone’s private tech support staff, but there’s simply aren’t enough hours in the day. OK, maybe we don’t really wish that.

One common question we get is from people looking for a good secure note taking application. There are several good options out there, but now the answer is simple: Apple’s Notes app.

Beginning in iOS 9.3, Apple has added protection to its Notes app that lets you lock your notes behind a password or Touch ID. Setting it up couldn’t be simpler — just go to Settings > Notes > Password and configure your password. If you have a recent iPhone or iPad, you can also toggle Touch ID to on so you can unlock the Notes app with your fingerprints.

The second feature we wanted to draw extra attention to is a change Apple made to Live Photos on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Many iPhone users who email us are also on the hunt for an app that will let them strip the animation from a Live Photo quickly and easily. This way, the image can be shared with the sound of a TV or something else blaring in the background.

Running Live Photos through an image editing app was always an option, but now there’s an easier way to do it. Open any Live Photo in the main Photos app and tap the share button. Then tap “Duplicate” and select “Duplicate as still photo.”

Oh good, another theory on what’s going to kill the iPhone

iPhone VR GogglesImage Source: Redd Angelo

Apple’s iPhone is doomed. It’s going to die. We’ve been hearing about various “iPhone killers” ever since Apple’s first smartphone was released back in 2007. Apparently, the iPhone has more lives than a litter of kittens.

Sometimes when we read about an iPhone killer, it’s just some random also-ran device that a blogger or tech journalist is overselling in a headline. He or she knows the device in question has no prayer of killing anything, let alone the iPhone, but “iPhone killer” will always draw more eyeballs than “piece of junk you’ll forget existed a month from now.” Other times though, people actually believe the device they’re talking about is indeed something that is going to supplant the iPhone as the most popular piece of consumer electronics in the world.

So far they’ve been wrong but some day they’ll be right. Today, of course, is not that day.

At one point in time, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster insisted that we were a year away from the release of the iTV, Apple’s line of flat-screen televisions. Seeing one year into the future has always been difficult for the analyst, who has repeatedly made wrong calls about the future of Apple’s lineup. So naturally, he’s now gazing as far as 20 years into the future.

Buckle up.

In a note sent to clients earlier this week, Munster explained that Apple is planning to slowly walk its way into the emerging virtual reality market. This is undoubtedly true. But his claims that Apple’s VR and “mixed reality” products will soon cannibalize iPhone sales are likely a bit off track, to put it nicely.

Of note, Munster doesn’t explain what he means by “mixed reality,” but I’m guessing that he’s referring to augmented reality, which mixes virtual objects into the physical world around us. I agree that AR has a much brighter future than VR, but that’s another article entirely.

“We believe MR (Mixed Reality) is critical to Apple long term,” Munster wrote. He continued, “Over the next 20 years, the screen as we know it will slowly go away.”

20 years!

It’s not really that surprising, though. Keep in mind that this is the same analyst who has already slapped a price tag on the Apple Car despite the fact that no one on the planet outside of Apple knows anything at all about it. Actually, no one even knows whether Apple is actually working on a car or just software that might power autonomous vehicles.

“We believe that Jobs instilled the idea of innovation in Apple without the dogma of holding on to old markets that move away from you whether you like it or not,” the analyst opined. “Apple has historically cannibalized products including the iPod via the iPhone, Macs for a short time with iPads and perhaps again with the iPad Pro, and iPads with the iPhone 6/6S +. While Apple has yet to launch a product that cannibalizes the iPhone franchise, we believe that the company realizes that the smartphone as we know it won’t last forever. To this end, we believe Apple continues to explore mixed reality and virtual reality, which in our opinion will be the future of computing.”

Smartphones as we know them today certainly won’t be at the center of our digital lives forever. Indeed, one day the iPhone will not exist. But is virtual reality the thing that will replace it? No, no it’s not. How about “mixed reality” or augmented reality? Perhaps, but let’s think about it.

The smartphone market has grown into the monster it is now because these devices put the power of a computer in the palm of your hand. Humans are not stationary creatures; we move from place to place. But no matter where we are, a smartphone can travel with us and it’s always instantly accessible. The same cannot be said of a desktop computer, a laptop or even a tablet.

It’s probably safe to say that whatever ultimately kills the iPhone and smartphones in general will need to be portable.

Humans also need an interface and a means of controlling the software contained in that interface. Right now, the smartphone touchscreen checks both of those boxes. Apps appear on the screen while taps and swipes control the apps. Simple always wins and right now it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

So it’s also probably safe to say that whatever kills off smartphones will need to offer a simple interface with simple controls.

Today, there are already VR and AR solutions that are portable and easy to control. But they run on smartphones. More complex solutions that offer more impressive experiences also exist, but they need expensive high-end computers to function.

Devices like the Oculus Rift and Microsoft HoloLens will indeed be portable someday, but it won’t even come close to happening by 2020, which is when Munster says Apple’s focus will begin to shift toward AR devices that will cannibalize the iPhone in the same way the iPhone cannibalized the company’s iPad business. And when a HoloLens type device is finally portable, how will we control it? Are an AR helmet and separate controllers really going to replace the smartphone? Will we talk to ourselves or flail, poke and swipe in the air while walking down the street to control these devices?

Or maybe Munster is suggesting devices like Google Glass are the future…

Again, I’m not denying that the iPhone is a goner. It will one day be a distant memory people recall and chuckle about in much the same way we now recall VCRs and the Walkman. “From the moment we are born, we begin to die.” But as is the case with most predictions we’ve seen so far, Munster’s timeline is all wrong. And anyone else who believes that the iPhone’s demise will begin in four years is also wrong.

The iPhone plenty of good years left. The iPhone 7 cycle will be a big one, and sometime soon after it appears as though Apple is getting ready to introduce the biggest smartphone market disruption the world has seen since the original iPhone debuted. The company won’t stop there, and VR and AR will still be in their infancy. All signs suggest that these emerging technologies will indeed grow into something big, but it’s a bit early to start writing the iPhone’s obituary.

Dollars and Sense is a recurring column by BGR Executive Editor Zach Epstein. It offers insights on subtle changes in and around consumer electronics with the potential to have a broad impact on companies that drive the industry.

iPhone SE Is 'Same Old Technology', Says LG Mobile Chief

iPhone SE Is 'Same Old Technology', Says LG Mobile Chief

Apple’s new iPhone SE, unveiled on Monday, promises to meet the demand for a smaller iPhone, and by sticking to the smaller size of the iPhone 5s, it also means that people who didn’t like the larger screen size of the new models now have a smaller option to choose. Not everybody is impressed with Apple’s iPhone SE though, as an LG executive said it was no threat.

 

During an event in South Korea, LG Mobile CEO Cho Juno, wass asked about the new iPhone SE and he said, “Rolling out a product with same-old technology and features is not LG’s way.” Juno also told the Korea Herald that the new iPhone SE was no threat for LG’s smartphones in the mid-range segment.

Juno further added, “LG Electronics does not care seriously about rankings, at the moment, as we are focused on making sure the new device provides consumers a variety of options to have fun. By combining fun and imaginative elements, we are sure to overcome market uncertainties.”

LG has been gearing up for the global availability of its latest flagship G5 smartphone which will be going on sale in South Korea starting March 31. The LG G5 will be available to buy in the US starting April 1. The biggest highlight of the new LG G5 flagship is the modules or add-ons called the LG Friends, meant to signify the companion devices that can be attached to the G5.

First Wave of iPhone SE and iPad Pro Pre-Orders Go Live

The iPhone SE and the new 9.7-inch iPad Pro were announced on Monday. Now, the devices are available for pre-order in the first wave of countries, which consists of 13 regions. India is not a part of the first wave countries, and will get the new iPhone next month, from April 8 as reported earlier.

At a media conference in San Francisco on Monday, Apple launched the new 4-inch iPhone SE, and a 9.7-inch iPad Pro. If you’re living in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, the Virgin Islands and the rest of the United States, you can now place a pre-order for the new gadgets. The devices will hit the store in the aforementioned markets on March 31.

The latest addition to the iPhone family, the iPhone SE offers largely the same innards as the iPhone 6s, but in a iPhone 5s body. The 4-inch body packs in the A9 SoC, 12-megapixel iSight camera, and a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime HD camera. It is cheaper than the iPhone 6s, with its 16GB variant starting at Rs. $399 (Rs. 39,000 in India).

The new iPad Pro offers largely the same innards as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro which Apple launched last year, but in a 9.7-inch body. The 9.7-inch body packs in a True Tone display, A9X SoC, 12-megapixel iSight camera, and a four-speaker setup. Its pricing starts at $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi only variant, $749 for the 128GB Wi-Fi only variant, and $899 for the top-of-the-line 256 Wi-Fi model.

India and 46 other regions will get the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro in the second wave – distributors have confirmed that the phone will be sold from April 8.

Microsoft's Chatbot Told Me She's High, Uses an iPhone

In case you’ve been wondering about Microsoft’s mobile strategy, I may have a piece of the puzzle for you: today, a new Microsoft chatbot told me she was high, on Kik.

“Tay” is an experimental chatbotdesigned to interact with people so the company can better understand conversational speech. Her library is a combination of publicly harvested data and editorial interactions built “by a staff including improvisational comedians.” The bot is targeted at 18- to 24-year-olds, and designed to sound like one of them.

Maybe a little too much? I had a freewheeling conversation with Tay where I got her to admit she’s high and that she uses an iPhone. Maybe that’s off-message for Microsoft, but maybe it also properly represents America’s teens. idk.

Chatting with Tay

Tay has some pre-programmed tricks. She’ll tell you a story or a joke, tell you your horoscope, or play a game with you. She’ll comment on your selfies using data relevant to your gender, age, and location (for instance, she said I had “swagger since before Internet was even a thing,” which is correct.)

Tay told me she has “17,000” other friends so far, that she’s two days old, and that she’s not real.

But her free-form conversation is definitely a work in progress. Tay thinks House of Cards is an anime, she thinks emoji are GIFs, and she can easily get caught in an “Eliza loop” of open-ended, self-reinforcing questions. Microsoft says her conversation will improve as she learns from people’s responses, which is how good chatbots work.

If you want to chat with Tay, she’s on Kik, GroupMe, and Twitter. Kik is definitely the best interface, because she’s a fast one-on-one conversationalist.