AWT News Update: March 15, 2017

Kind of a slow news day today...but we've got three interesting little stories for you anyway:

  • The battle between Apple and a cartel of Australian banks continues over control of the iPhone's NFC chip
  • McDonald's will be rolling out a new app to allow pre-ordering and pre-payment of food prior to arrival at a restaurant
  • First they thought the iPhone 8 would have a curved OLED screen, then a flat OLED screen. Now the rumor is that it will be curved, but not insanely so

The text version of the podcast can be viewed below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Note to Apple News readers: you’ll 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 for March 15th, 2017.

The Apple Pay fight in Australia keeps getting weirder every day. Most of the major Australian banks have refused to set up Apple Pay for their customers simply because they want complete control. The cartel made up of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, the National Australia Bank and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank want to have full access to the NFC controller chip in Apple’s iPhones so that they can compete with Apple Pay. Apple doesn’t supply that access to any other banks, nor is it likely to. Yet the same cartel has recently said that Apple Pay alternatives such as Android Pay are unrealistic in their market. This fight is likely to go on for a while longer, with both the banks and Apple refusing to budge on their particular sides of the argument.

Soon, you may be able to order food from the McDonald’s app before arrival at the restaurant. The app is currently being tested in areas of Washington and California, and the company hopes to roll out the feature later this year around the world. Users will enter an order, confirm it, and pay for it using the app, then the app will track the location of the user to make sure they’re heading to the correct restaurant. The location tracking also makes sure that the order is prepared a short time before the customer arrives, timing the order’s completion for their arrival for the freshest food possible. The final version of the app will include options for table service in the restaurant, counter pickup, drive-through pickup or curbside delivery. McDonald’s believes that if 20% of drive-through customers used curbside pickup instead and another 20% used the drive-through lanes for pickup only, each restaurant would be able to serve another 20 cars per hour. Drive through business is the largest revenue source for McDonalds at about 70 percent of sales.

Today’s iPhone 8 rumor comes via the Nikkei Asian Review, which is — like most US Apple sites — expecting Apple to release not only an iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, but a premium iPhone 8 model. Part of the rumors going around have said that the iPhone 8 might or might not have a curved OLED display. Now Nikkei is saying that it will have a curved OLED screen, but that it won’t be curved as much as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge handsets. Allegedly, the new phone will not offer any “significant new functions”, so items like text banners on the sides of the new display are out of the question. Apple is expected to introduce wireless charging, even better water resistant than that found on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, a new function area on the 5.8-inch display that would result in 5.2 inches of usable space, and possibly a 3D sensing front-facing camera.

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