Pence vows to defend U.S. elections against foreign meddling

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence vowed on Tuesday to protect domestic elections from foreign interference, hours after Facebook said it had identified a new effort to use its site to influence November’s U.S. congressional elections.

Apple Pay is finally coming to CVS and 7-Eleven, and will soon expand to Germany

Longtime Apple Pay holdout CVS will finally be adding support for Apple’s mobile payments platform this fall, along with 7-Eleven, Apple CEO Tim Cook said this afternoon on the company’s earnings call. The news is particularly notable because CVS was one of the first major retailers to snub Apple Pay, choosing instead to launch its own barcode-based mobile payments solution “CVS Pay” back in 2016, following the failure of the retailer-backed Apple Pay rival CurrentC.

CVS Pay had become the first mobile payments solution the pharmacy chain adopted, after having purposefully avoided support for Apple Pay or any other rival NFC (tap to pay) technologies at its register. The company believed there was value in offering its own end-to-end solution to customers that combined both payments and loyalty, it had said.

In addition, CVS had earlier backed an Apple Pay alternative called CurrentC, which was developed by the merchant consortium MCX, led by major retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Rite Aid and others. The QR code-based payments solution was designed to challenge Apple’s potential dominance in mobile payments. Many of the retailers even blocked Apple Pay at their stores in advance of bringing CurrentC to market.

However, CurrentC eventually failed and the technology was sold off to JPMorgan Chase in 2017. Some of its backers — like Best Buy and Rite Aid — had also relented, by allowing Apple Pay into their stores. But CVS did not. It instead moved forward with its own solution.

That it has now decided to also support Apple Pay is a major win for Apple, as is the addition of 7-Eleven to the list of retailers that will soon offer Apple Pay at checkout.

The retail expansions weren’t the only big Apple Pay news announced on the call.

Cook also said that Apple Pay would launch in Germany — but didn’t offer a timeframe for this launch beyond “later this year.” And he noted that Apple Pay saw more than 1 billion transactions in the third quarter of 2018. That’s triple the number from a year ago, and more mobile transactions than Square and PayPal, he noted.

The news follows a new forecast released by Juniper Research which now estimates Apple’s Pay will account for 1 in 2 contactless mobile wallet users (in OEM-provided wallets) by 2020.

With its expansions, Apple Pay’s global traction is growing. The service is now live in 24 markets worldwide, with more than 4,900 bank partners. Apple Pay will also go live on eBay in the U.S., Cook said, as previously announced by eBay last week.

Spotify now offers motion comics starring Archie

Spotify has been experimenting with incorporating non-musical formats over the last couple of years, including videos and multimedia podcasts. Next up: Motion comics based on new Archie stories.

For those of you who haven’t been keeping track of the comics incarnations of Archie and his friends, the title was recently rebooted by writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and artist Fiona Staples (Saga). While I was initially skeptical about the need to mess with the characters’ classic designs, I found the first collection to be a perfectly enjoyable combination of teen comedy and soap opera.

Now, as announced in Nerdist, the first six issues have been transformed by digital comics startup Madefire with music and voice acting.

It’s still a comic book, and you can still see Staples’ gorgeous art, but it’s a story that you hit a “play” button to experience, rather than turning any pages. (Madefire and its CEO Ben Wolstenholme prefer the term “motion books” to distinguish the format from the cheesy motion comics of the past, but I suspect the distinction is lost on most readers.)

You can find them on Spotify as Spotlight: Archie — The New Riverdale.

Archie Comics CEO Jon Goldwater told Nerdist that “Archie has always been about trying to find new ways to get comics to fans and readers,” and said that working with Spotify was “a perfect match.”

Apple’s Services Revenue Up 31% Year-Over-Year in 3Q 2018, Company is ‘Thrilled’ About Upcoming Services Pipeline

Apple’s services category continues to see rapid growth, further cementing its position as an important revenue driver for Apple.

During the third fiscal quarter of 2018, Apple’s services revenue brought in $9.55 billion in revenue, up 31 percent from the $7.27 billion in revenue services earned in the third quarter of 2017.

The services category includes iTunes, the App Store, the Mac App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, Apple Pay, and AppleCare.



According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple “feels great” about the momentum in its services business, and the company saw double digit growth in its active services installed base. This quarter’s growth was driven by strong performance in a number of area.

Subscriptions from Apple and third parties have surpassed $300 million, an increase of 60 percent year over year. Cook called the revenue from subscriptions “significant” and an “increasing portion of services.”

There are now nearly 30,000 apps that offer subscriptions, a number that continues to see strong growth.

Cook said that App Store revenue, which set a new June quarter revenue, had exceeded Apple’s “wildest expectations.” Customers around the world are visiting the App Store more often and downloading more apps than ever before. Citing third-party research, Cook said pointed out that the iOS App Store saw twice the revenue of Google Play.

Apple has seen rapid growth in revenue from App Store search ads, with a recent update expanding search ads to Japan, South Korea, France, Germany.

Apple Music grew by more than 50 percent year-over-year, and AppleCare grew at its highest rate in 18 quarters. Apple’s cloud services revenue was up 50 percent year over year, and communications services, including FaceTime and Messages, are hitting all time usage highs. Siri requests have exceeded 100 billion, and articles read on Apple News have doubled year over year.

Apple in 2017 set itself a goal to double its services revenue to $14 billion per quarter by 2020, and the company is well on its way to reaching that goal.

Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicted that over the course of the next five years, services revenue growth will contribute more than 50 percent of Apple’s total revenue growth.

Huberty estimated that services revenue is at $30 per device, with just 18 percent of Apple’s total device install base subscribing to paid services, leaving plenty of room for growth in the coming years.

Apple is working on bolstering its services category, with rumors suggesting that a new TV streaming service for its original TV shows is in the works, along with a magazine subscription service based on its April Texture acquisition.

In response to a question about Apple’s future services plans, Cook said that Apple is “thrilled” with its upcoming product pipeline and the new services that are included with it, hinting at that rumored TV service.

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Apple At An All-Time High In The Aftermarket On Better Than Expected iPhone ASP And Revenue Guidance

With better than expected iPhone ASP, strong services & China revenue growth and better than expected September revenue guidance the stock is trading at a new all-time high in the aftermarket.

Apple Pay Coming to Germany, Also Set to Launch at CVS and 711 Later This Year

During today’s earnings call for the third quarter of 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple plans to bring Apple Pay to Germany later this year.

Apple Pay support in Germany has been rumored for some time now as Apple has been working to establish deals over fees and other factors with German banks.



Apple did not provide details on exactly when Apple Pay will launch in Germany, but it could come potentially with the debut of iOS 12 in September.

In addition to announcing Apple Pay’s upcoming German launch, Cook also said that Apple Pay will be rolling out at CVS drug stores and 711 convenience stores in the United States later in the year.

There were upwards of 1 billion Apple Pay transactions in the third quarter of 2018, triple the amount from the year ago with growth accelerating from the March quarter. Cook said that in Q3 2018, there were more Apple Pay transactions than Square transactions, and more mobile transactions than PayPal.

Apple Pay is now available in more than 20 countries, including United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland, Hong Kong, France, Russia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, UAE, Brazil, Ukraine, Norway, and Poland.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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