Apple Music’s Three-Month Trial is No Longer Free in Australia, Spain, and Switzerland

Since launching in June 2015, Apple Music has offered a free three-month trial in the United States and over 100 other countries around the world. In some countries, such as Ireland and the Netherlands, the free trial is for one month.


According to Apple's website, however, the trial now costs 99 cents in Australia, 0,99 € in Spain, and Fr. 0.99 in Switzerland. Based on our spot check, the trial remains free in all other countries where Apple Music is available.

The reason why Apple has started charging a nominal fee for the trial in Australia, Spain, and Switzerland is unclear. The trial was still free in those countries as of May 14, according to archived versions of Apple's website.

Apple Music rival Spotify's three-month trial also costs 99 cents in Australia, 0,99 € in Spain, and Fr. 0.99 in Switzerland.

(Thanks, Alex!)


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Apple Maps Transit Directions Now Available in Adelaide, Australia

Apple Maps has been updated with comprehensive transit data in Adelaide, Australia, enabling iPhone users in the city to navigate with public transportation, primarily including Adelaide Metro buses and commuter trains.


Apple Maps gained a Transit tab in iOS 9. The feature lags several years behind Google Maps, but Apple's public transportation support is exhaustive, mapping all station entrances and listing departure times.

At launch, the feature was limited to Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and over 300 cities in China. Since then, Apple has been working to expand support for public transportation to other cities around the world.

Newer additions include Atlanta, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kansas City, Manchester, Melbourne, Miami, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Montréal, New Orleans, Paris, Portland, Pittsburgh, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver, B.C.

A complete list of cities that support Transit in Apple Maps is available on the iOS Feature Availability page of Apple's website.

(Thanks, Bernd!)


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Australian Banks Seek Open Access to NFC Functions of Apple Pay in New Application

A group of Australia's biggest banks have again applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in a bid to negotiate with Apple over Apple Pay. The banks -- including Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Westpac -- today announced that they have "narrowed" their application with the ACCC to focus on gaining open access to the NFC function integral to Apple Pay.


The new application echoes the banks' original, filed last July, which also included gaining access to the NFC-based mobile payments software in iPhones. Apple currently only allows its own mobile payment system to access the NFC-hardware in its iPhone devices, which banks argue is an anti-competitive restriction that hampers consumer choice. The banks say that while Apple has a "stranglehold" on this technology, no actual competition can take place in the mobile wallet marketplace.
Open access to the NFC function on iPhone is required to enable real choice and real competition for consumers, and to facilitate innovation and investment in the digital wallets available to Australians. Without open NFC access on iPhone, no genuine competition in the provision of mobile wallets is possible and Apple will have a stranglehold on this strategically important future market.
Previously, the coalition of banks also sought to challenge Apple on Apple Pay due to the service's fees. In the new application, the banks decided to eliminate arguments over fees and any other items "the ACCC considered may lead to a public detriment." Prior to the new application, the ACCC had denied the banks' request to negotiate over Apple pay two times last year.
“The applicants are ready, willing, and able to participate in Apple Pay, alongside being able to offer their customers their own mobile wallet products,” payments specialist and spokesperson on behalf of the applicants, Lance Blockley, said.

“This application has always been about consumer choice, and allowing competition between the makers of mobile wallets to offer the best products and features they can to determine which mobile wallet consumers will use. The applicants want to put up their digital offerings head to head with Apple Pay, and let the market and individual consumers decide which best suits their needs.
According to the banks, full access to NFC on iPhone devices "would enable the delivery of substantial public benefits to Australian consumers," across a variety of categories other than mobile payments, including loyalty programs, member security, and other NFC-related cases. Because of these benefits, the banks said they they "have again been supported by nearly all of Australia's leading retailers."

Last week, Apple responded to the Australian banks' continued obstruction of Apple Pay by saying it was damaging to consumers and small business alike, ultimately referring to their request for access to NFC as a potentially hazardous "Trojan horse" scenario. In today's applications, the banks referred to Apple's comments as a "conspiracy theory" and dismissed it as "fantasy."
The applicants flatly reject Apple’s unsupported assertions that the application is about an objection to the fees that Apple wishes to impose, rather than NFC access. Apple’s conspiracy theories about “Trojan horse fees” are similarly dismissed by the applicants as fantasy.
According to Blockley, who spoke on behalf of the banks, the NFC-targeted application is not an attempt to delay Apple Pay's wider support in Australia as it would be offered alongside other mobile wallets -- similar to how Android supports open access to the NFC function. "Any delay or frustration will be as a result of Apple refusing to negotiate," Blockley said.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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Apple’s Jennifer Bailey Says Customers Are Willing to Switch Banks to Use Apple Pay

Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey believes that Apple Pay is valuable enough that "customers will say they are happy to switch banks to use it."


Bailey claims Australians are using Apple Pay more frequently than customers in any other countries, which she said "is in large part due to Australia being a recognized global leader in contactless payments and usage."

That's good news for ING Direct and Macquarie, which have announced they will enable support for Apple Pay in Australia by the end of February. Both banks are listed as "coming soon" on the Apple Pay website in Australia, alongside ANZ, Bank Australia, Beyond Bank, P&N Bank, and over 30 other smaller banks.


Bailey's comments, made in an interview with the Australian Financial Review, appear to be directed towards three of Australia's "Big Four" banks that refuse to accept Apple Pay, namely Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac. The fourth bank, ANZ, has supported Apple Pay since April 2016.

The trio of banks, along with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, instead turned to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in an attempt to gain access to the NFC hardware in the iPhone. The banks want access to the NFC chip so they can offer their own existing bank-run mobile payments services.
"While initially, in many markets, there have been banks that have initially been wary about working with a company as large as Apple, once they begin to work with us and understand the Apple Pay platform, they see the benefits of it," said Bailey. "That hasn't fully happened with the ACCC applicants, because the conversation is happening through the ACCC process, compared to what normally happens, which is we have the conversation bilaterally."
The ACCC denied rejected the application from the banks in November as part of a draft ruling, and its final decision will be announced in March.

Last year, Apple told the ACCC that "allowing the banks to form a cartel to collectively dictate terms to new business models and services would set a troubling precedent and delay the introduction of new, potentially disruptive technologies."
Apple upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments. Providing simple access to the NFC antenna by banking applications would fundamentally diminish the high level of security Apple aims to have on our devices.

Unfortunately, and based on their limited understanding of the offering, the [banks] perceive Apple Pay as a competitive threat. These banks want to maintain complete control over their customers. The present application is only the latest tactic employed by these competing banks to blunt Apple's entry into the Australian market.
Earlier this week, the banks said they are fighting to provide "real choice" and "real competition" for consumers.
The application has never been about preventing Apple Pay from coming to Australia or reducing competition between wallets. It has always been about providing real choice and real competition for consumers and facilitating innovation and investment in the digital wallet functionality available to Australians. Apple's statement that the application is fundamentally about an objection to the fees that Apple wish to be given rather than NFC access, is incorrect and unsupported.
Despite the ACCC negotiations and apparent ill-will, Bailey said Apple still wants "to work with the banks in Australia to bring Apple Pay to our customers, in a way that advantages many of the things they are offering through their banking apps, which we have done already in other markets."

"That's why the announcement about these new banks is important and we are continually on that path – because as more banks get on the platform, I think there is more of an industry understanding about how Apple Pay really compliments their services," she added, referring to ING Direct and Macquarie.

Commonwealth Bank, NAB, Westpac, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank reportedly serve two-thirds of Australian cardholders.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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Apple Launches ‘Back to Uni’ Promotion in Australia and New Zealand, Offers Up to $100 Apple Store Gift Card

Apple today launched its annual "Back to Uni" promotion in Australia and New Zealand, offering students and select other educational employees a $70 to $100 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a qualifying new Mac or iPad Pro.


Apple is offering a A$100 or NZ$105 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a new Mac, including the iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and built-to-order versions of those models. Refurbished models and the lower-cost Mac mini do not qualify for the offer per usual.

Meanwhile, students and teachers who purchase any new iPad Pro model will receive a A$70 or NZ$75 Apple Store gift card.

In Australia, the promotion is available to full-time or part-time students aged 18 or over studying at an accredited Australian university or other Apple-approved institution. Lecturers and staff members at accredited Australian universities or Apple-approved educational institutions are also eligible.

In New Zealand, the promotion is available to students attending or accepted into a higher education institution, faculty members and staff members of higher education institutions, any employee of a public or private K–12 institution, and parents purchasing on behalf of a current or accepted student.

The promotion runs between February 7 and March 17 in both countries on Apple's website and at Apple Stores in Australia. Eligible customers can also call 133-622 in Australia or 0800-692-7753 in New Zealand. The promotion can be combined with Apple's standard educational pricing discounts.

Apple today also launched a similar promotion in Japan, offering students an ¥8,500 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of a new Mac and ¥5,500 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of any new iPad Pro.


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Apple Hits Out At Australian Banks For ‘Trojan Horse’ Argument Over Mobile Payment System Access

Apple has fired the latest salvo in its continuing battle with Australia's banks over the future of mobile payments, accusing the industry of continually trying to obstruct the expansion of Apple Pay into the country (via Bloomberg).

In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published on Monday, Apple said the banks' attempts to delay or even block the expansion of Apple Pay was damaging to consumers and smaller card issuers who could use the system "as a means of securing a digital presence in competition with the big banks".


In July of last year, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank sought to enter into group talks with Apple to negotiate access to the NFC hardware in the iPhone so they could offer their own mobile payments services using the iPhone's NFC chip. Apple argued that giving the banks such access would "undermine the security and simplicity" of its system. The ACCC later drafted a ruling that refused to grant the banks permission to negotiate collectively.

In its latest submission to the ACCC, Apple argued that the banks' argument over access to the iPhone's NFC chip was a "Trojan horse" and that their wish to have the ability to charge consumers for using Apple Pay was "logically inconsistent", given that competition from other issuers like ANZ who do not charge for using Apple Pay would prevent them from doing so.
"Perhaps the explanation might be that this is perceived by the applicant banks as a way of introducing and then proliferating a new revenue stream in the digital payments age. It may well be that the applicant banks have taken the view that customers may be more willing to pay fees to use Apple Pay because of the ease and security of using Apple Pay and, on that basis, see an opportunity to introduce and condition the market to transaction fees for the use of Apple Pay, with the longer term view to setting a precedent for charging for mobile payments on other digital wallets, in the future, including the banks’ own proprietary wallets."
The banks responded later on Monday with a statement claiming Apple's interpretation was wrong:
The application has never been about preventing Apple Pay from coming to Australia or reducing competition between wallets. It has always been about providing real choice and real competition for consumers and facilitating innovation and investment in the digital wallet functionality available to Australians. Apple's statement that the application is fundamentally about an objection to the fees that Apple wish to be given rather than NFC access, is incorrect and unsupported.
According to the banks, the applicants would soon provide a response to the ACCC's draft decision that would further demonstrate the net public benefits of the application.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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Apple Hits Out At Australian Banks For ‘Trojan Horse’ Argument Over Mobile Payment System Access

Apple has fired the latest salvo in its continuing battle with Australia's banks over the future of mobile payments, accusing the industry of continually trying to obstruct the expansion of Apple Pay into the country (via Bloomberg).

In a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published on Monday, Apple said the banks' attempts to delay or even block the expansion of Apple Pay was damaging to consumers and smaller card issuers who could use the system "as a means of securing a digital presence in competition with the big banks".


In July of last year, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank sought to enter into group talks with Apple to negotiate access to the NFC hardware in the iPhone so they could offer their own mobile payments services using the iPhone's NFC chip. Apple argued that giving the banks such access would "undermine the security and simplicity" of its system. The ACCC later drafted a ruling that refused to grant the banks permission to negotiate collectively.

In its latest submission to the ACCC, Apple argued that the banks' argument over access to the iPhone's NFC chip was a "Trojan horse" and that their wish to have the ability to charge consumers for using Apple Pay was "logically inconsistent", given that competition from other issuers like ANZ who do not charge for using Apple Pay would prevent them from doing so.
"Perhaps the explanation might be that this is perceived by the applicant banks as a way of introducing and then proliferating a new revenue stream in the digital payments age. It may well be that the applicant banks have taken the view that customers may be more willing to pay fees to use Apple Pay because of the ease and security of using Apple Pay and, on that basis, see an opportunity to introduce and condition the market to transaction fees for the use of Apple Pay, with the longer term view to setting a precedent for charging for mobile payments on other digital wallets, in the future, including the banks’ own proprietary wallets."
The banks responded later on Monday with a statement claiming Apple's interpretation was wrong:
The application has never been about preventing Apple Pay from coming to Australia or reducing competition between wallets. It has always been about providing real choice and real competition for consumers and facilitating innovation and investment in the digital wallet functionality available to Australians. Apple's statement that the application is fundamentally about an objection to the fees that Apple wish to be given rather than NFC access, is incorrect and unsupported.
According to the banks, the applicants will soon provide a response to the ACCC's draft decision that would further demonstrate the net public benefits of the application.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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ING Direct Surveying Customers About Apple Pay in Australia

ING Direct appears to be sending a survey about Apple Pay to its customers in Australia, according to a tipster who sent us the photo below.

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While the bank has yet to officially accept Apple Pay, the survey suggests support could be imminent for its "Orange Everyday" debit and credit cards.

ING Direct Australia had nearly 420,000 customers with Orange Everyday accounts open as of December 2015. Here's a list of Apple Pay banks in Australia.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Australia

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People with disabilities want better tech and they know how to build it

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Eyes flickering along the alphabet, I can “type” my name without lifting a finger.

The sight-controlled keyboard following my gaze is being showcased by the Australian startup Psykinetic as part of the City of Sydney’s Unlimited Possibilities: Disability and Science Fiction Expo.

Nick Temple, a software engineer at Psykinetic, guides me through the process of calibrating the system. I explode red dots on a computer screen by concentrating my gaze, so the eye tracking system can get to know my habits. 

After that, I’m able to type short sentences in only tens of seconds.

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Orangutan surprises zoo by getting pregnant despite taking birth control

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It’s kinda like that film Knocked Up, but with primates.

Keepers at Adelaide Zoo in Australia have been taken aback by the news that its Sumatran orangutan, Karta, has fallen pregnant despite being on birth control. A baby is expected in mid-Jan. 2017.

The zoo’s Senior Primate Keeper, Jodie Ellen, shared the “nerve-wracking news” in a Facebook post. 

“Mother Nature actually intervened, and we’ve gone ahead with the pregnancy because Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered in the wild,” she said. 

There is a sad twist to this story, however, as 34-year-old Karta has lost six infants due to difficulties breastfeeding and stillborn births, since 1995. Read more…

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