11 things you need to know in tech today

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1. Apple launching a credit card?

MasterCard Credit Card

Apple and Goldman Sachs are readying to issue a joint credit card within six months, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • “As iPhone sales cool, Apple is turning to fee-generating services,” writes WSJ.
  • We’ve known about a music and video-streaming service coming in March.
  • With Apple Pay already testing the waters using other company cards, and Apple taking a little pocket money from each transaction, the move towards a more complete banking solution has always seemed like a possibility.
  • Now a bank ‘lite’ approach looks like a distinct possibility.
  • The WSJ indicates employee testing will begin within weeks, with a release sometime in ‘spring’ in the US.

Why would Apple owners join up?

  • No doubt Apple hopes to simplify and secure the banking process more than it could from Apple Pay, but it will still use the MasterCard network.
  • The report suggests the card will integrate closely with the Apple Wallet app which will offer more and better services for setting financial goals, tracking rewards, managing balances, and so on.
  • Crucially, it may offer some discounts and benefits, such as earning cashback of “about 2% on most purchases,” and “potentially more on Apple gadgets and services.
  • Cashback for purchases outside of Apple might be a game-changer.
  • Some questioned if Apple would hurt its brand by doing this, and wondered if Apple has the adoption rate to make this successful, as well as wondering if Goldman Sachs is the right partner, given neither have consumer-facing credit card success. Goldman is also not a popular brand with millenials.
  • Apple tends to win those arguments in the end. Even its worst releases – Apple Music in 2015 was a buggy reskin of iTunes Match – in the end, win out. (It has 56 million subscribers, Spotify 80m – Billboard.)
  • But there are other forces. As noted, Apple does risk really (really) annoying the various international banks it partnered with, whose cards account for the bulk of the transactions running over Apple Pay already.
  • If those banks then drop Apple Pay in retaliation, it may anger consumers who enjoy the conveniences of the service.
  • It’s a delicate setup, but at the end of the day, cashbacks, bonus schemes, no annual fees, and convenience generally prevail. If Apple is offering all of that, who knows what kind of power it might obtain.
  • Questions: will this be a physical Apple MasterCard, or just a virtual/digital offering for now? Who is offering the credit? And how far will Apple go into offering financial products, given its privacy stance?
  • Amazon already offers its own credit card.
  • Will Google react? Samsung?

2. The problem with the Galaxy Fold (Engadget). “Samsung Unpacked was a masterclass in showing your good side.” As Adam mentioned in the podcast last night, it doesn’t fold flat. If it rocks while unfolded on your desk, that’s going to be a Bad Thing.


3. DxOMark: Galaxy S10 Plus is the best overall smartphone shooter (Android Authority).


4.  Light to partner with Sony to improve phone cameras (AA).


5. Facebook will shut down its spyware VPN app Onavo (TechCrunch).


6. Everything you need to know about Spotify’s latest changes (Lifehacker).


7. Doug Bowser is the new president of Nintendo of America and the jokes are rolling in (Mashable).


8. Google may show off its own games console at GDC 2019. Google gaming hardware! Codenamed ‘Yeti’: (AA).


9. A study found people ask Dr. Google lots of health questions before going to the hospital, and tried to figure out what that means for healthcare in the future (EurekaAlert).


10. The surprising reason zebras have stripes (The Atlantic). (Biting flies don’t land as much, it seems. The camouflage angled was debunked years ago – who knew?)


11. The Google Doodle is for Steve Irwin’s 57th birthday today (Google.com).


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via Android Authority

February 22, 2019 at 05:28AM