AWT News Update: December 4, 2017

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Tax protestors, OS updates, Target apps, and survey results are all in the headlines today's episode of the Apple World Today News Update.

  • French anti-globalization protestors occupy a Paris Apple store today demanding that the company pay EU back taxes
  • iOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2 have arrived!
  • Target introduces an in-house mobile payment system in its iOS app
  • A Barclays survey sounds bullish on Apple

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for December 4, 2017.  

A group of about a hundred protestors crowded the Paris Opéra Apple Store today with the demand that Apple pay the billions of Euros the European Union says it owes in back taxes. The peaceful protest disrupted business at the retail store, with the protestors refusing to leave the premises until they received a promise of a meeting with Apple executives. A spokesperson for the anti-globalization group Attac was quoted as saying “We received a formal commitment from an Apple manager that we would be granted a meeting with national leadership within 15 days. If this meeting does not take place, we will come back before Christmas." So what brought on the protest in the first place? In August of 2016,  the EU claimed that Apple had accrued a total of €13 billion of unpaid taxes — that’s about $14.5 billion — by processing its earnings through a number of different countries. Those countries include the island of Jersey, which is an independently administered Crown dependency that doesn’t usually tax corporate income and is not subject to EU tax regulations. Apple says it has followed the tax laws of each country in which it operates. 

As we expected, the updates to Apple’s operating systems have begun to arrive. On Saturday — which is a very unusual day for Apple to release an OS update — the company issued iOS 11.2. tvOS 11.2 was delivered today, meaning that macOS 10.13.2 will probably be the next operating system to be updated. On Friday, we mentioned that iOS 11.2 adds Apple Pay Cash, a peer-to-peer payment system that works in the Messages app, and faster 7.5W wireless charging for iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Just in time for Christmas shopping, retailer Target has introduced an in-house mobile payment system today called Wallet. It can be found in the official Target shopping app for iPhone and iPad, and it works with REDcards — those are Target-branded credit or debit cards that are linked to special offers. When checking out, Target shoppers just open the app, let the checker scan barcodes for coupons, and then scan a bar code for payment. For frequent Target shoppers, this adds a 5 percent REDcard discount to every purchase in addition to Cartwheel savings and weekly ad coupons. Target says it will be adding the ability to store and redeem Target GiftCards with Wallet in the future. If the convenience of Apple Pay outweighs the extra savings from the various coupons and discounts, you can still use Apple Pay in the Target app on iOS.

Barclays did a survey of about 1,000 consumers from around the world, and it looks good for Apple. First, 62% of respondents said they’d be upgrading their smartphone in the next year, with 72% planning on doing so in the next 18 months. Next, Apple was the most popular choice of smartphone, with 54% saying they planned to get an iPhone. But the really good news for Apple is that 35% said they’d be buying an iPhone X. Back in August of 2017, a similar Barclays survey found that only 18% of prospective iPhone buyers said that they’d pay $1,000 or more for an iPhone. Now that number has doubled.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.