AWT News Update: May 28, 2015

Today in the world of Apple...

  • Apple may announce a reward system for frequent Apple Pay purchases
  • Augmented Reality company Metaio was acquired by Apple... and the world is just finding out about it
  • Two more Apple Stores are set to open in New York, one in a few weeks, one later this year
  • Guess what company will be the world's biggest Mac-supporting company soon? IBM

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I’m Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and this is the AWT News Update for May 28, 2015.

Apple Pay is a simple and fun way to pay for goods and services at a number of merchants in the US, but it will face some competition now with the introduciton of Android Pay at the Google IO Conference today. Of course, Apple has a lot at stake with the payment system, so the New York Times says that the company will announce enhancements to the service at the Worldwide Developer Conference early next month. One of the carrots that Apple will dangle in front of consumers is expected to be a rewards program. It’s unknown exactly what the rewards will be, although the company will offer some sort of perk to frequent users.

TechCrunch today reported that Apple has acquired Metaio, a German augmented reality company that had it roots in a side project at Volkswagen. TechCrunch became aware of the acquisition through a Twitter post that showed a legal document confirming a transfer of shares from Metaio’s holdings to Apple. The AR firm has also canceled its user conference next month, disabled its Twitter accounts, and posted a notice on its website that announced an end to product and subscription sales. Apple apparently has a team dedicated to AR deployments, so Metaio will be a good fit for the firm. Apple has a portfolio of AR patents already, including uses in mapping solutions, virtual displays powered by an iPhone, and transparent displays.

New Yorkers will soon have two more Apple Stores. First, the Upper East Side Manhattan store at 940 Madison Avenue — the corner of Madison Avenue and East 74th Street — will be opening on June 13. Apple actually created a web page celebrating the Upper East Side with amazing black and white photos taken with the iPhone 6. The second store, expected to open later in 2015, is at the Queens Center mall in Queens, New York. This store will be the biggest New York Apple Store in a mall, and the company apparently expects it to generate as much revenue as some of the flagship stores in the Big Apple.

Back when I worked for IBM for 9 years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, employees had one choice of computer manufacturer — IBM. Of course, the company sold off its PC manufacturing business to Lenovo late in my tenure, but that didn’t matter - I always missed having a Mac. Big Blue’s close ties with Apple are having a big impact, with the company announcing that starting today IBM employees have a choice of a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or a PC when they’re getting new or updated workstations. All Macs come preloaded with VPN and security tools, and the company already has about 15,000 Macs deployed through its bring-your-own-device program. The company expects to deploy about 50,000 MacBooks by the end of the year, which will make IBM the world’s biggest Mac-supporting company.

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