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About Alex Heath

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior 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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The awesome apps you might have missed last week

Visa, MasterCard follow Apple Pay’s lead with beefed-up security

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

The industry is embracing tokenization and biometric security, both of which are Apple Pay’s marquee strengths. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple wasn’t kidding when it said Apple Pay would transform mobile payments. Built around easy of use and security, Apple Pay is the industry’s first solution that benefits users and banks.

The security aspect of Apple Pay has been especially crucial to its early success, and now the big credit card companies have been spurred to follow suit. Today both Visa and MasterCard announced new security initiatives to protect against cyberattacks. Visa in particular has borrowed one of Apple Pay’s key ideas: tokenization.

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Apple in talks with banks to bring Apple Pay to Brazil

Apple Pay is setting the gold standard for mobile payments. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Although Apple Pay has seen rapid adoption, it’s still only technically available in the United States. Credit cards issued by U.S. banks have been reported to work with NFC terminals around the world, but no international banks have supported the mobile payments solution yet.

Apple is already working on rolling out Apple Pay in Europe and China, and now it’s been reported that the company is in talks with banks in South America.

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Darkroom is like having the best of Adobe Lightroom on your iPhone

Darkroom

Adobe’s Lightroom app for iOS is actually pretty good, but you have to pay for a Creative Cloud subscription to use it.

What if you could have the power of an editing suite like Lightroom without all of the extra fuss? You want just one app for editing pictures on the go, but it needs to be easy to use and full featured.

Enter Darkroom, the hottest new photography app for iPhone.

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Apple makes devs happier by adding group beta testing to TestFlight

Apple's TestFlight is used to beta test apps before they're ready for prime time.

Apple’s TestFlight is used to beta test apps before they’re ready for prime time.

Along with doubling the max file size of apps, Apple introduced something else today for its third-party developer community.

TestFlight, the Apple-owned service devs use to beta test their apps before submitting them to the App Store, can now do controlled group testing.

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App Store doubles max app size to a whopping 4GB

Apple is finally on the "same planet" as iPhone 6 demand. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Since the App Store’s debut in 2008, apps have never been able to be larger than 2GB. Today that changes.

Apple has notified third-party developers that they can now submit apps that are a max of 4GB in size. The change reflects the needs certain apps, namely games, have for larger file sizes as iOS becomes a more mature platform.

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King of Thieves, the addictive new game from the makers of Cut the Rope

The latest from one of the App Store's premiere game studios.

The latest from one of the App Store’s premiere game studios.

I’m not what you would consider a “gamer.” I dabble in mobile titles like Monument Valley and occasionally play Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart with friends, but few games manage to grab my attention for very long.

Yet there’s a new iPhone game I haven’t been able to put down for the past two weeks.

It’s called King of Thieves, and it’s from ZeptoLab, the maker of the hit App Store game Cut the Rope.

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U.S. carriers must unlock cellphones, starting today

How many iPhone users are in your state? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Some U.S. carriers have historically been more lenient about unlocking phones than others, but starting today they are all mandated to provide unlocking once a customer’s contract is up.

Legislation put in place by the Federal Communications Commission back in 2013 takes full effect today, and carriers must comply with new policies on unlocking.

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Apple bans ‘bonded servitude’ in its vast supply chain

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

What if you had to pay a month’s wages up front just to get a job?

It’s a concept that’s largely foreign to Western culture, but bonded servitude is still rampant in other parts of the world, namely Asia. That also happens to be where much of Apple’s supply chain is located, and starting today the company is cracking down on the corrupt practice.

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Apple’s massive cash hoard makes it richer than 141 countries

apple-2

All hail the Apple Empire.

It’s hard to truly understand Apple’s astronomical size until you put things into context. With $178 billion in cash as of last quarter, you can start easily comparing the company to the gross domestic product (GDP) of large countries.

In fact, Apple would be the world’s 55th richest country right now, according to the latest data from World Bank.

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