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JCPenney Now Accepts Apple Pay Nationwide, Integrates With Own Credit Card and Loyalty Program

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk American department store chain JCPenney today announced it now accepts Apple Pay at all of its stores across the United States. The retailer said Apple Pay in the JCPenney app for iPhone and iPad is coming soon as well.



JCPenney also said it will make its credit card available on Apple Pay, which enables customers to earn shopping points through its JCPenney Rewards loyalty program, directly in the Wallet app on iPhone.

JCPenney point-of-sale registers now process all Apple Pay supported credit and debit bank cards, including the Company’s credit card and co-branded Mastercard, both issued by Synchrony Bank and available to use with Apple Pay. Customers simply add their JCPenney credit card as a payment option to Apple Pay using the Wallet or Apple Watch app on their iPhone. Plus, coming soon, customers with the JCPenney app on iPhone and iPad will have the option to complete their purchases using Apple Pay.

JCPenney started testing Apple Pay in the Dallas—Fort Worth area in late 2015. The retailer joins the likes of Kohl’s and Walgreens with Apple Pay support for store-branded credit cards and customer loyalty programs.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: JCPenney

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Apple Teams Up With Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for Siri Movie

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson today announced that he’s teamed up with Apple for a movie that co-stars Apple’s AI-based personal assistant, Siri.

According to the poster tweeted by Johnson, the movie is called "The ROCKxSIRI Dominate the Day." There are no details on how long the film is or what it’s about, but it apparently debuts tomorrow on Apple’s YouTube channel.



Based on the image, it appears to feature car chases, space travel, an alien fight, and a concert performance. In a Facebook post, Johnson calls it the "biggest, coolest, craziest, dopest, most over the top, funnest" movie ever.

I partnered with #Apple to make the BIGGEST, COOLEST, CRAZIEST, DOPEST, MOST OVER THE TOP, FUNNEST (is that even a word?) movie ever.

And I have the greatest co-star of all time – #SIRI.

I make movies for the world to enjoy and we also made this one to motivate you to get out there and get the job done.

I want you to watch it, have fun with it and then go LIVE IT.

The film will premiere on Apple’s YouTube channel on Monday, July 24, but it’s not yet clear what time it will debut.

This is the second time Apple has teamed up with a partner to release a short film. Last month, Apple highlighted "Détour," a film French director Michel Gondry shot on the iPhone in partnership with Apple and in a decidedly more Apple style.

The project with Dwayne Johnson is unusual, but it comes at a time when Apple is preparing to release the Siri-based HomePod, so that may be why the company has decided to promote its personal assistant in a fun and unique way.

Tag: Siri

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Latest Drone Footage Reveals Landscaping Progress in Apple Park’s Inner Circle

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Drone videographer Duncan Sinfield posted a new video on his YouTube channel today, offering a "late July" bird’s eye view of Apple Park, the company’s new headquarters in Cupertino, California.



Sinfield’s video reveals landscaping around the campus has picked up momentum in the last few weeks, with a large grove of trees in the inner circle of Apple Park being the clearest sign of progress.

When finished, Apple Park will be surrounded by some 9,000 trees. The landscaping is being overseen by an arborist personally chosen by the late Steve Jobs, who believed trees would be one of the most important parts of the Park and represent a microcosm of the old Silicon Valley, when there were said to be more fruit trees than engineers.



Tantau Avenue, which runs along the east side of the campus, has been closed to vehicle traffic for much of July as Apple works rapidly to finish the Visitor’s Center ahead of the official opening day. Apple started hiring employees last month for the Visitor Center, which will include an Apple Store and a public cafe.

Earlier this month we got a glimpse of Apple Park’s Glendenning Barn, a historic landmark that the company carefully dismantled piece by piece and relocated to another part of the site, which was formerly a HP campus.

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Apple Stores Getting All-New ‘Lead’ and ‘Schedule Planner’ Positions

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple today internally announced it is introducing two all-new Apple Store positions named Lead and Schedule Planner. Applications open Monday, July 24 for existing Apple retail employees, although it appears that select stores started interviewing candidates as early as a few weeks ago.



Apple says the Lead position will give team members the chance to learn the ins and outs of running an Apple Store firsthand. The majority of a Lead’s time will be spent as the Support Leader on the Floor, responsible for managing employee breaks and zoning in the store, and addressing customer concerns.

Support Leader on the Floor also entails communicating daily objectives, reinforcing store policies, and motivating team members by delivering feedback for career development, according to one employee’s LinkedIn profile.

Apple says Leads will also support opening and closing, and perform a number of other administrative responsibilities, suggesting these employees could be key holders, count and balance cash, and be able to perform overrides when necessary. These have typically been duties carried out by the Store Manager.

It appears that Store Managers will continue to perform some of those responsibilities, in addition to HR and store development.

Meanwhile, working closely with Store Leaders, Apple says the majority of a Schedule Planner’s time will be spent planning and creating the weekly schedule for the entire store. Schedule Planners will also identify trends and make resourcing recommendations to improve team and customer experiences.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: Apple retail

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Verizon Throttling Netflix Traffic as Part of Temporary Video Optimization Test

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Some Verizon Wireless users this week began noticing throttled streaming speeds when watching content from streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, and Verizon today confirmed to Ars Technica that it has indeed been throttling speeds as "part of a temporary test" of a "new video optimization system."

"We’ve been doing network testing over the past few days to optimize the performance of video applications on our network," a Verizon spokesperson told Ars. "The testing should be completed shortly. The customer video experience was not affected."

Reports of throttled speeds first surfaced on reddit earlier this week, after Verizon users noticed that Netflix’s speed test site was returning streaming speeds limited to approximately 10Mb/s, while other speed test tools, like Ookla Speedtest, were returning normal results. Similar throttled speeds were also seen when using YouTube and the actual Netflix service.



It wasn’t clear what was going on until this morning, when Verizon told Ars Technica that it was conducting a temporary test of a new optimization system. According to Verizon, the optimization test did not impact actual quality of video, which is true in most cases, but some YouTube users noticed downgraded quality resolved through using a VPN. Other video services, including Verizon’s own Go90 video service, are also impacted.

With Netflix, the 10Mb/s limit doesn’t impact Netflix video quality when watching on a mobile device, but it has the potential to be an issue when tethering and watching on a device that can stream Netflix’s Ultra HD 25Mb/s video. According to Verizon, the video optimization limits are used regardless of whether a user is tethering.

But will that actually harm your Netflix video? Probably not, as long as you’re watching on your mobile device and not tethering. Netflix says its Ultra HD quality video can require 25Mbps but that’s apparently just for non-mobile devices. For mobile devices, Netflix offers a few quality settings including "Unlimited," which it says "may use 1GB per 20 minutes or more depending on your device and network speeds."

When Verizon introduced its unlimited streaming data plan in February of 2017, the company said it would not throttle video or manipulate data, and Verizon was noncommittal when asked by Ars Technica if the alleged "temporary test" marked a change in policy. "We deliver whatever the content provider gives us," the company said. "We’re always looking for ways to optimize our network without impacting our customers’ experience."

As The Verge points out, what customers experienced appeared to be more of a hard cap than network optimization, raising some questions about Net Neutrality.

Verizon says its testing should be completed shortly, after which speeds will presumably go back to normal.

Tag: Verizon

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Apple Appoints Deirdre O’Brien to New ‘Vice President of People’ Role

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple today announced that it is promoting Deirdre O’Brien to a new head HR role, "vice president of People." O’Brien, who previously served as vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations, has been at Apple for nearly 30 years.

According to the news release, O’Brien will lead all HR functions, like talent development, recruiting, benefits, compensation, and business support, plus she’ll oversee Apple University, where employees are trained. She will be reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

"As long as I’ve been at Apple, Deirdre has been the glue that bonds our operations, sales, marketing and finance teams to deliver products to our customers," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. "Deirdre deeply understands Apple’s unique culture and that people join Apple to do the best work of their lives. She is a superb leader and I’m thrilled she will be bringing her experience and talent to this critical role."

O’Brien first joined Apple in 1988 and has had a "key role" in each Apple hardware product launch over the past 20 years. She will start her new position as vice president of People in the fall.

"I love Apple and, like so many of my colleagues, I’m honored to have made it my life’s work," said Deirdre. "I’m excited to begin this new chapter, supporting 120,000 incredibly talented people around the world who are motivated to do amazing things every day. It is a privilege to work among such a diverse and talented team, and to help them thrive here at Apple."

Apple has recently taken to announcing high profile hires and promotions on its news site, most recently sharing the hiring of Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two former Sony Pictures executives who will lead Apple’s original programming efforts, and the promotion of Isabel Ge Mahe to Managing Director of Greater China.
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Apple Has Spent Record $2.2 Million Lobbying Trump Administration Over Past Three Months

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http://ift.tt/1ZNziIk Apple spent an all-time high $2.2 million lobbying the Donald Trump administration in Washington D.C. between April 1 and June 30, 2017, according to a disclosure form filed by the Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Image: Drew Angerer—Getty Images


That amount is by far the most Apple has ever spent on lobbying in a single quarter, eclipsing the previous record of nearly $1.4 million spent during Trump’s first three months as President of the United States. Apple has now spent nearly $3.6 million on lobbying during the first six months of his term.

The extra $800,000 that Apple spent between April 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to January 1 to March 31, is its largest ever quarter-over-quarter increase in lobbying expenses. Apple had never increased its lobbying spending by more than $330,000 from one quarter to the next before now.

Apple’s surge in spending is perhaps no surprise, as the company has disagreed with Trump on a number of fundamental issues, ranging from his temporary immigration ban to withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.

"There are clearly areas where we’re not nearly on the same page," said Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in a recent interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. Nonetheless, Cook has showed a willingness to work with Trump so far.

By comparison, Apple spent $1.12 million lobbying between April 1 and June 30 of 2016, the final year of Barack Obama’s administration, meaning it has nearly doubled its spending in just one year. Apple spent around $730,000 during the first six months of Obama’s presidency, according to 2009 disclosure forms.

Apple continued to lobby the government about issues related to corporate tax reform, climate change, diversity in the workplace, green technology, patent reform, privacy, education, accessibility, music licensing, and regulation of mobile medical applications, according to the latest disclosure form.

Apple has gradually increased its lobbying spending over the past decade. In 2007, the final year of George W. Bush’s administration, the company spent $1.3 million, compared to nearly $4.7 million in 2016. Apple is well on pace to smash that record this year after spending $3.6 million in the first six months alone.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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