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Banks 'scrambling' to combat Apple Pay identity fraud - report

Mar 02, 2015 - 2:09 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple Pay has proven to be a venue of convenience for criminals focusing on identity fraud, a new report suggests, with many fraudsters taking advantage of lax customer verification controls put in place by Apple's partner banks to make brick-and-mortar purchases using stolen credit cards via the growing mobile payment service.

Apple Pay itself has not been exploited, according to The Guardian, with issues instead arising at the issuing banks. The problem centers around the processes those banks use to verify customers' identity when adding a card to Apple Pay.

When adding a card, banks can reportedly choose to accept it immediately — using a so-called "green path" — or require additional verification, via a "yellow path." Apple provides the banks with contextual information, such as the name of the device Apple Pay is being configured on, the device's current location, and data about the length of iTunes transaction history, during setup to help identify cases where more stringent checks are required.

The yellow path processes have apparently been found lacking in some cases, with unnamed partner banks asking only for relatively easily-obtainable information, such as the last four digits of the customer's social security number. Once approved, criminals can then use Apple Pay to purchase products at retail, later selling them for cash — with Apple retail stores apparently a particularly attractive target.

Apple is said to have initially made the yellow path optional for banks, changing its mind to require such a process less than one month before Apple Pay's debut. That left banks little time to sort out a solution, with many falling back to call center-based procedures.

As part of their Apple Pay agreements, issuing banks agreed to accept liability for fraud through the platform. Thus far, that amount is thought to have risen into the millions of U.S. dollars, and banks are working on fixes.

"These are probably just some teething problems," Tim Sloan, an executive at financial consultancy Mercator Group, told the paper. "If the banks can nail down the authentication, they should see less fraud on Apple Pay," he continued, adding that "battle plans always look great until you meet the enemy."



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Apple takes over homepage to promote photos taken by iPhone 6 around the world

Mar 02, 2015 - 12:25 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple has taken over the front of its homepage to highlight a new section on its website rounding up photos taken around the world by the iPhone 6/6 Plus’s camera. The website highlights several photographs taken across the globe, from places like Halong Bay (Vietnam), Pamplona (Spain), and The Cairngorms (Scotland). Alongside each piece of media, Apple includes a brief blurb describing the photo as well as the name of the application in which the photo or video was taken. Most of the photos were taken in the iPhone’s bundled Camera application, but the website notes some edits made in Instagram, Snapped, and Adobe Photoshop Express. The entire gallery is well worth a visit. Apple has also published a new page in the App Store to highlight photography apps. Of course, this new iPhone 6 promotion has coincidentally launched on the same day as the Galaxy S6.



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Apple puts Environment VP Lisa Jackson in charge of boosting accessibility efforts

Mar 02, 2015 - 12:18 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple Watch Accessibility Settings

Apple told employees during a week at the flagship Berlin Apple Store in Germany that the company will increase its focus on product accessibility by putting executive Lisa Jackson in charge of the efforts, according to people in attendance. Asked by an Apple Store employee if the Apple Watch will include accessibility features, Cook reportedly replied:

Yes is the short answer. In every product we do, we want it to be accessible for everyone. This is not something that we sit around and figure out what the ROI is. I can give a rats what the ROI is. It’s one of those things that goes in the just and right column. So we want all of our products to accessible. In the point that you we are on, I think we need to raise the awareness of accessibility, and I’ve asked Lisa Jackson to work on this. She’s done a great job on the environmental impact, and I tend to think we can do the same thing with accessibility and create an even better environment than what other companies do. The Watch will start with doing some things, but it will become better at more things over time. You can make a call from the Watch… You can interface with Siri. Siri with this point comes back in a textual mode, but we’d like to do something different with that over time. But it’s cool for all of us, but I think it is going to be profound for some people. More on this.

Lisa Jackson joined Apple in 2013 as its Vice President of Environmental affairs, previously serving as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson’s experience in raising awareness of global issues, combined with her government and industry connections, makes her a prime candidate for boosting Apple’s efforts in accessibility…

While Cook did not go into detail about the Watch’s Accessibility features, the Apple Watch Companion application that we detailed earlier this year sheds some light on Apple’s plans. Here are the bullet points for accessibility that we covered in that earlier article:

To access Accessibility Settings on the fly, users will triple-click the Digital Crown.
The Apple Watch will have a VoiceOver feature that can speak text that is displayed on the screen. Users will be able to scroll through text to be spoken using two fingers. VoiceOver can be enabled either by merely raising a wrist or by double tapping the display.
Users will also be able to zoom on the Apple Watch’s screen: double tap with two fingers to zoom, use two fingers to pan around, and double tap while dragging to adjust the zoom.
There will also be accessibility settings to reduce motion, control stereo audio balance, reduce transparency, switch to grayscale mode, disable system animations, and enable bold text.
As Cook said, more enhancements will come over time in future generations of the Watch’s hardware and software. For context, Apple tends to add new accessibility features to iOS for the iPhone and iPad year-after-year via the major annual upgrades. The National Federation of the
... [Read More]
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Apple's next Chinese Apple Store to open in Chongqing on March 7

Mar 02, 2015 - 12:12 PM - by sparkyscott21

As part of plans to triple its retail presence in China by mid-2016, Apple on Sunday announced that Chongqing's MixC mall will play host to the country's next Apple Store.

According to an update posted to Apple China's website, the company is slated to hold a grand opening event at a new Apple Store location in the MixC mall in Chongqing on March 7. The outlet will be Apple's third in the city.

The MixC location debut comes a little over one month after Apple's most recent Chinese retail spot opened in Chongqing at the end of January. That particular Apple Store boasts an iconic cylindrical glass entryway similar to the flagship IFC outlet in Hong Kong.

When it opens this weekend, the MixC store is set to feature the usual sales floor and Genius Bar, as well as an area for customer workshops and One to One lessons. The free sessions, which are scheduled to start on March 8, cover iPhone, iPad and Mac hardware and software, but online reservations are already filling up.

Apple is looking to grow the number of Apple Stores in China to 40 over the coming months and expects to hit that goal by mid-2016. Retail chief Angela Ahrendts said in January that the company would open five new locations within China before Chinese New Year on Feb. 19, though it appears the opportunity was missed as only two stores were inaugurated in Hangzhou and Chongqing.

Like other Chinese Apple Stores, the MixC outlet will be open everyday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. The grand opening will take place at 10 a.m. on March 7.



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Sources: Apple's 2015 'iPhone 6s' models to gain Force Touch but no dual-camera syste

Feb 28, 2015 - 12:24 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple's 2015 family of iPhones are expected to adopt features first introduced in other Apple products, such as the dynamic Force Touch input found on the Apple Watch, but won't include a recently-rumored multi-camera system, AppleInsider has been advised.

People familiar with development of Apple's next-generation handsets — internally codenamed "N71" for the 4.7-inch model and "N66" for the 5.5-inch version — say they're bound to hit the market under the expected "iPhone 6s" naming convention and retain the same two screen sizes and casing enclosure designs first introduced this past September in the iPhone 6 lineup. Those customers clamoring for a return to a smaller iPhone in the 4-inch range won't hear their cries answered — this year, at least.

Instead, those familiar with existing prototypes say Apple's current plans call for both the new 4.7-inch model (N71) and the 5.5-inch "iPhone 6s Plus" (N66) to gain Force Touch, a capability Apple debuted with the Apple Watch when it was announced in September. Their arrival on the iPhone product line would come roughly one year later, falling in line with the company's historical pattern of first debuting new cutting edge technology on one iOS device (iPhone) before extending it to another (iPad) the following year.

With variable forces, a message notification might trigger a tapping sensation, while pressing down on the Watch's digital crown or screen to trigger Force Touch would invoke completely different tactile sensation. How Apple might implement the dynamic new touch input method on the iPhone — whether paired with its haptic feedback engine or otherwise — is unclear.

Apple has called Force Touch its "most significant new sensing capability since Multi‑Touch," lending some amount of credence to the idea that it could expand beyond the Apple Watch. Such a move could also require a corresponding switch to a flexible display material, however — electrodes surrounding the Apple Watch's OLED display detect the level of deformation caused by the user's press, a measurement not possible with rigid displays.

One person — who has recently proven extremely knowledgable regarding Apple's forward-looking plans — said the company toyed with putting Force Touch in the iPhone 6 last year, but "calibration" issues led to the feature being pulled from the device during its development cycle. With the Apple Watch release imminent, any issues preventing a potential iPhone debut have presumably been resolved, as the company's current roadmap calls for its extension to the 2015 iPhones.

The Apple Watch, seen in this September 2014 staff photo, will be the first Apple product to hit the market with Force Touch this April.

People familiar with the ongoing development of N71 and N66 have also dismissed the... [Read More]
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