AWT News Update: March 4, 2016

As we head into the weekend, I start off today's Apple World Today News Update with a request for our listeners -- help us grow our audience by telling friends and co-workers about the podcast, and also please leave a review of the podcast out on iTunes.

  • Apple's @AppleSupport Twitter account is popular and busy!
  • ApplePay gets more regional and one big multinational bank; the focus is starting to move towards getting more merchant support
  • Gene Munster speaks up on Apple's capital return program

Text version of the podcast is below.

Text Version

Hi, I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for March 4, 2016

Before we get started, I’d like to ask all of our regular listeners to help out with something very easy — getting even more listeners. How can you help? Two ways. First, if you like the show and what I provide every day in the form of quick news bites, please tell a close friend or two and help them to start listening to the podcast. Next, and even more important, please take a few minutes from your busy day, head out to iTunes, search for AWT News Update in the list of podcasts, and leave a review — hopefully a good one. Both can help us build our audience. Thanks.

Wow, it seems like it was only yesterday that Apple launched its new support account on Twitter…wait, it WAS yesterday that @AppleSupport launched. Well, the Twitter account has now locked up over 125,000 followers in just one day, and has made over 2,750 tweets. That means that the team is responding to almost 100 customer tweets per hour. The account will respond to your questions each and every day between 5 AM and 8 PM Pacific time, and they’ll also share tips, tricks and tutorials that have to do with Apple products and services. You can also get your Apple support fill on the web, by phone, by email or by scheduling a Genius Bar appointment.

Apple Pay added another 27 US credit and debit card issuers today, adding not only a big list of credit unions and banks, but one big multinational bank as well. PNC Bank’s Global Investment Servicing cards are now supported. Apple’s now starting to change its focus from card issuers to merchant partners. American Apparel is planning on picking up Apple Pay later this year, along with Crate & Barrel, Chick-Fil-A, Cinnabon, Chili’s, Domino’s Pizza, JCPenney, KFC and Starbucks.

Piper Jaffray analyst and Apple bull Gene Munster believes that Apple is going to revisit its capital return program next month, using the opportunity to ratchet up its quarterly dividend payout and share buyback allotment. Munster thinks that Apple will increase its dividend anywhere from 5 to 10 percent in 2016, following its lead for the previous two years. He also thinks that the company will add between $30 and $50 billion to its share repurchase program, which will add about 5 percent earnings per share growth in each of the next two years.

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