AWT News Update: March 17, 2016

Remember the green iPhone 5c? Yeah, that didn't go over too well...

Remember the green iPhone 5c? Yeah, that didn't go over too well...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! In our roundup of news today there's a lot of talk of "the green" -- payments and money, that is. 

  • Not many of those chip-and-pin EMV terminals that we were hoping to use Apple Pay with are actually in use
  • The CEO of a French mobile carrier provides hope that Apple may be opening up third-party access to the iPhone's NFC chip
  • Ride many, pay one. Uber creates family profiles
  • Apple's lowering its data bill by moving some services from Amazon Web Services to the Google Cloud Platform

The text version of this podcast? Find it below!

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 17, 2016.

You know all of those EMV chip-card-compatible card readers that were supposed to go into service last year, hopefully making life a lot easier for those of us who like to use Apple Pay? Well, a survey done by MarketWatch says that of about 5 million of the card readers in use, only 1 million are actually being used for chip-and-pin purposes, and since EMV is required for Apple Pay, Apple Pay won’t work on those terminals. What is causing the disconnect? Apparently, most of the terminal units had issues with software that meant that they couldn’t actually accept the chip and pin cards. That explains the handmade signs you might be seeing on terminals, saying “chip cards coming soon”. When EMV is finally up and running on these devices, they also need to accept Near Field Communications to enable the tap to pay functionality of Apple Pay. Things are getting better, but the transition is just moving slower than expected.

On more tap-to-pay related news, the CEO of French mobile carrier Orange noted that the company’s proprietary wallet app Orange Cash will be available on the iPhone soon. That’s fueling speculation that Apple is opening up access to the NFC chip in iPhones to services other than Apple Pay. If this happens, being able to do things like use your iPhone as a secure building access key may become possible. Orange CEO Stephane Richard had been reaching out to Tim Cook asking for third parties to be given access to the NFC chip, and there was no response. Then suddenly Richard noted in a new interview that Orange Cash was going to be ready to go in a few weeks. Since Orange Cash requires NFC access, this could signal that the company has at long last opened the doors to NFC.

Want to make sure that the entire family has access to Uber rides, from the teens without drivers licenses to dear old grandpa? Uber is opening up its app to allow up to 10 riders to share the same payment method, meaning that not only can you stop being the family’s taxi service, but you can make sure that all the rides are being paid for on one account. In Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix, the Uber app now allows family profiles to be created so that the one payment method shows up for all family members invited to use the service. The ride service also released a new service this week called UberEATS, which allows customers to order meals from local restaurants for home delivery. UberEATS is currently available in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto, and is expected to expand to Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Melbourne, New York, Paris, Seattle and Washington DC soon.

Finally, Apple is moving iCloud and other online services away from Amazon Web Services to the Google Cloud Platform. The deal with Google is worth about $400 to $600 million, and the move isn’t completely dropping AWS — it’s just vastly reducing the use of the third-party cloud platform. Why the move? Apple probably looked at Google’s expanding fiber-based network infrastructure and realized it could get better bandwidth at a lower price. Apple, of course, has its own data centers, but doesn’t have the capacity for all of the various services that it provides.

We’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of the AWT News Update.