Walgreens announced this morning that support for accepting its rewards card in stores through Apple Pay is now live. Loyalty cards have long been supported using QR cards with scannable barcodes, but iOS 9 enabled the ability to use loyalty cards with NFC just like Apple Pay payments. Walgreens notes that it’s the first retailer to make use of this feature. Other chains including Dunkin’ Donuts and Panera Bread are expected to follow.
Investigation shows ad blockers don’t just block ads – they block images, shopping carts & even entire websites
An investigation by Fortune into the effects of iOS ad blockers showed that they don’t just block ads (and thus prevent sites like ours from paying the bills), they also block images, prevent items from being added to shopping carts and in some cases block entire websites. The problem was first identified by ecommerce specialist Chris Mason.
Lots of sites will be missing content, have broken links or customers won’t be able to add certain items to their shopping carts. They’ll probably just think the site is broken, but it’s really their content blocker.
On the Bass Pro Shops site, product images were missing. On Lululemon, you could see product images but attempts to add products to shopping carts failed, and on sites like Sears and Walgreens, either the homepage or product pages were blocked entirely.
If you do choose to press ahead with ad blockers despite such issues, we encourage you to whitelist those sites whose content you enjoy to ensure that they are able to continue to provide free content.
Atari is releasing a new fitness app today called Atari Fit that lets users unlock classic Atari arcade games by working out.
The app acts as a personal trainer of sorts with over 100 exercises and fitness routines as well as integration with Apple’s Health app and fitness tracking wearables like Fitbit and Jawbone.
It also has a few interesting gaming features including multiplayer, online leaderboards, and the ability unlock classic Atari games like Pong, Super Breakout, and Centipede:
Multiplayer – Play with friends all over the world anytime. Join a team and workout together or race against each other. Track your stats as a group and encourage each other to workout. Compete to become the fittest team of gamers worldwide!
In addition to unlocking games using points earned by working out, Atari is teaming up with Walgreens to offer Walgreens Balance Rewards loyalty program points as in-game rewards.
The Atari Fit iPhone app is available for free on the App Store.
Western Union announced today that it’s now accepting Apple Pay, Apple’s new iPhone-based NFC payment service, across all of its flagship locations in the US.
That means you can now use the contactless payment service to send money and pay bills through Western Union stores as well as kiosks in around 7,600 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores.
A new report from ITG has revealed that Apple Pay was responsible for 1% of the total digital payment dollars spent in November. The study also found that 60% of new Apple Pay customers used the service multiple times throughout the month, while competing services like PayPal see only 20% of customers do the same.
Additionally, the research found that shoppers who took advantage of Apple Pay used the service for around 5.3% of their future credit card transactions, accounting for about 2.3% of the total dollars spent on their credit cards.
MCX, the retailer consortium behind the CurrentC mobile payment system, has responded to the controversy over its members being required to block Apple Pay or face fines with some unconvincing ‘assurances.’
The first sign of trouble between MCX and Apple Pay was when CVS disabled NFC functionality from its payment terminals. When Rite Aid joined in, consumers responded by threatening to boycott MCX members.
The launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s NFC and Touch ID-based mobile payment solution, is upon us. Apple has begun preparing for the launch by kicking off Apple Pay training programs for its own group of retail store employees and by working with retailers to prepare for the debut later this month. The training materials, shared by a reliable source, for the Apple Pay launch at Apple retail stores have also detailed some new specifics regarding the Apple Pay setup and transaction processes both on customer iPhones and in Apple retail stores…
Apple has reportedly been working with several national retailers about supporting its mobile payment system, and now a new report suggests that two pharmacy chains, CVS and Walgreens, have agreed to join up with Apple to roll the system out in their stores. The system is expected to be built into the iPhone 6 when it launches later this month.
Re/code notes that while Apple and Walgreens decided not to comment on the matter, CVS apparently issued a bit of a rebuttal, indicating that the company had no idea what type of payment system Cupertino was working on and had no way of knowing if they’d be able to support it.
Walgreens-owned drugstore chain Duane Reade announced today that it’s updating its iPhone app with support for iBeacons it recently installed in 10 of its New York city locations. It and Walmart are just two of the latest big name chains said to be testing the technology, while Motorola Solutions announced today its own indoor location platform that includes a combination of Bluetooth iBeacons and Wi-Fi based features.
Like other implementations that we’ve seen in retail and grocery stores, Duane Reade has installed the Bluetooth iBeacons in order to beam offers, coupons and product info to customers in proximity that have the company’s iPhone app installed:
9to5Mac once again gathered the most noteworthy apps that announced news, launched, updated, or went on sale recently and added them in our usual roundup below.
Today’s selection includes a new Japan-only app by Nintendo, updates to popular games like Kingdom Rush HD, and notable iOS and Mac app price drops including big cuts by TomTom for its popular line of GPS apps. Keep checking back for more, though, as we continually update this list throughout the day.
1. Pokédex | 170 Yen (about $2.06 USD)
Japan-based Nintendo just released its first paid iOS app, called “Pokédex“, in its home country. According to EuroGamer, a version of the existing 3DS Pokédex app is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPhone in Japan’s App Store. The Pokédex app is initially Japan-only, but it comes with the full Pokémon encyclopedia, and users could purchase four additional monster packs for about $6.18 USD each. The paid app is not Nintendo’s sole iOS app, however, as the game developer also released a Japan-only free app, called “Pokémon Say Tap“, for a limited time last year.
Check out more below.
Texas-based shell company Lodsys has often been accused of being a patent troll for its various attempts to take legal action against app developers and companies that it claims uses its technologies. Most notably, the company last year attempted to get iOS and Android developers to pay royalties over in-app purchasing before Apple’s legal team eventually intervened on behalf of developers. Now, after recent threats from Lodsys to Oracle customers such as Walgreens over a web-chat technology, Oracle is suing Lodsys in an attempt to invalidate its patents. GigaOM reported:
Oracle has decided to weigh in because Lodsys “has repeatedly threatened numerous Oracle customers” such as Walgreens over the use of a web-chat feature Lodsys claims to own. Oracle is asking the court to declare that the four patents Lodsys is using to bully its customers are not new inventions. The patents, including US Patent 5,999,908 (“customer based design module”), came to prominence last year when Lodsys used them to sue Best Buy, Adidas and others.