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About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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CVS and Rite Aid block Apple Pay as mobile wallet war heats up

A war for mobile wallet dominance is on the horizon. Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A war for mobile wallet dominance is on the horizon. Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Two major pharmacy chains have stopped supporting Apple Pay as merchants in the U.S. take sides on which mobile wallet platform to embrace.

Reports from a couple days ago revealed that Rite Aid had started disabling its NFC terminals, thereby forbidding the use of Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Now CVS has reportedly started shutting down its NFC terminals.

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AT&T locks Apple SIM in new iPads, thereby defeating its purpose

Once you go AT&T, you can't go back. Screenshot: Apple

Once you go AT&T, you can’t go back. Screenshot: Apple

The Apple SIM in the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is based on an awesome idea—who doesn’t want to switch carriers with a tap of the screen? But the actual utility of the Apple SIM is pretty muddled, as evidenced by AT&T locking the SIM to its network.

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Amazon Rewards credit card now supports Apple Pay

Amazon Rewards Visa in Passbook. Screenshot: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

Amazon Rewards Visa in Passbook. Screenshot: Alex Heath/Cult of Mac

Amazon added Apple Pay support today for its Amazon.com Rewards Visa.

Since Chase, the Amazon rewards card issuer, was an Apple Pay launch partner, some speculated that Amazon intentionally opted out of Apple’s mobile payments system. But Amazon quickly confirmed this week that it was working on adding support for its credit card in the near future. Now it’s followed through.

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Why Christian Bale will play an amazing Steve Jobs

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Christian Bale is Steve Jobs. The Oscar-winning actor has officially signed on to play the late Apple co-founder in Sony’s upcoming movie based on Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay. Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle is attached to the project, but no other cast or crew members have been confirmed.

A lot of big Hollywood actors, including Leonardo DiCaprio, have been in talks to play Jobs at some point, but Bale’s name stayed in the hat till the very end. Looking at Bale as an actor, it’s easy to see why. Here’s why he will play the perfect Steve Jobs.

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TestFlight brings iOS beta testing to the masses

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

A crucial part of making apps involves the beta testing process, and Apple has released a new tool to help streamline the process for everyone.

After initially previewing TestFlight for third-party developers alongside iOS 8 at WWDC in June, Apple made it available for use today. Developers can now invite up to 1,000 beta testers, including non-developers, to try early builds of their apps before they hit the App Store.

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Apple might have snatched up Pin Drop team to boost Maps

pindrop

Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

Apple appears to have acquihired the small team behind Pin Drop, a location-bookmarking app set to close down at the end of the month.

Based on redacted information, Cult of Mac has reason to believe that at least some members of Caffeinehit, the London-based development team behind Pin Drop’s iOS and Android apps, will soon be part of Apple’s iOS engineering team.

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Now Fantastical can truly replace Apple’s Calendar app in iOS 8

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 1.22.29 AM

A Today widget, optimizations for the latest iPhones, and more.

Thanks to how apps can hook into each other with Extensibility in iOS 8, third-party developers are able to rival the systemwide functionality of Apple’s stock apps like never before.

So is the case with Flexibits, maker of the popular calendar app Fantastical. In a big 2.2 update today, Fantastical has not only been optimized for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but it’s received a number of iOS 8-only features.

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Early reviews of latest iPads praise new hardware, but wish for more

Order your new iPad now! Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 will start arriving on doorsteps as soon as tomorrow, and now a flood of early reviews has hit the web.

There’s a general theme throughout these dozen or so reviews of Apple’s newest tablets: boring. While these are unequivocally the best iPads every (like every year since the original), that’s not quite enough anymore.

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Apple explains how to keep yourself safe from phishing hacks on the web

The trusty green lock you should be paying attention to while surfing.

The trusty green lock you should be paying attention to while surfing. Screenshot: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

Recent reports of iCloud phishing attempts in China illustrate just how important it is always verify that you’re logging into legitimate websites before you enter your precious passwords.

To help, Apple today outlined how users can protect themselves from phishing attacks, in which bad guys pose as legitimate entities in an attempt to gain sensitive data on the web. Apple’s simple PSA page shows how web surfers can verify the authenticity of any website.

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Dark Sky is the best weather app for iOS 8

widget-precip

This morning I woke up and slide my finger down my iPhone’s lockscreen to see the weather. With a single line of text, Dark Sky told me what it felt like outside and that it would be overcast for at least the next hour. No need for sunglasses then.

There are a lot of weather apps out there to choose from, and I’ve tried a lot of them. But in terms of features, design, and actual usefulness, none comes close to being as good as Dark Sky.

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