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Speed is the secret sauce in Taco Bell’s tasty new app

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Photo: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

It’s not like bagging a burrito at Taco Bell takes a long time, but the fast-food chain’s hot new mobile app makes ordering unbelievably fast and frictionless.

The app promises that you’ll be able to order anything off the menu, pay for it, and have it prepared for you when you arrive. Not quite revolutionary, but a deliberate stab at modernizing the drive-thru experience. Order from your iPhone, and you get to skip the line.

It’s not every day that I get to write about Taco Bell, so I jumped at the opportunity to give it a test drive. Here’s my experience with the Taco Bell app from start to finish:

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Glitchy MacBook Pros were doomed from the start, lawyer claims

Photo: Raj Dsouza

Photo: Raj Dsouza

A number of users have experienced graphics issues with their 2011 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models, and following a Facebook group and change.org petition which have gathered a collected 25,000 names, law firm Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on behalf of affected consumers.

“I’ve been involved with a number of lawsuits with Apple, going back decades, and I’m not aware of one that affected so many people, that Apple refused to do anything about,” says Gary E. Mason, the Managing Partner of Whitfield Bryson & Mason, speaking with Cult of Mac. “At the very least these consumers are entitled to a discount on a new laptop to help them transition to a serviceable device.”

Mason says that while only tens of thousands of customers have come forward so far, the affected number of consumers could be in the hundreds of thousands.

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Why the Apple Pay War is doomed

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 brewing. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s mission to replace your wallet with Apple Pay began just last week with support from more than 200,000 stores in the United States, but some merchants have already launched a war against the new payment platform.

Over the weekend, CVS and Rite Aid stores blocked Apple Pay access at their registers, marking the first counterattack in what will likely be a fierce battle to own your digital wallet. Apple Pay’s growth is unprecedented, but the anti-Apple Pay group is backed by a superhero-size team of retail megastores conspiring to make debit and credit card fees extinct. They’ll stop at nothing to see it happen, even it means hurting Apple (or themselves) in the process.

Here’s everything you need to know about the war on Apple Pay and why it’s doomed to fail.

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More tips and tricks for mastering OS X Yosemite

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Whether you’re a Mac novice or a seasoned veteran, there are a ton of tips and ticks out there for mastering OS X Yosemite. In Part 2 of our Yosemite tip series, we gather more of the very best.

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Meet the origami kayak that makes adventure easy

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Taking the Oru Kayak for a ride. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

I consider myself to be “the adventurous type” but I’ve never once kayaked, thanks to two big hurdles: I live in the desert, and I drive a tiny Fiat that barely fits four grown humans in its cramped interior.

Water activities in these parts of Arizona require a gas-guzzling truck and a garage big enough to store your boats, putting kayaking out of reach for most urban dwellers. Oru Kayak destroys both those necessities with a foldable boat that’s strong enough to take on a lake or river, while also compacting into a box small enough to fit in your closet.

Before the Oru Kayak glided into my life, my go-to outdoor activity was hiking. Point me to a waterfall 15 miles away in the desert and even if that AZ ‘dry heat’ was boiling the tar on the highway, I was totally there. Now that there’s a boat that fits in my car, everything’s changed.

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Breaking down Apple’s 2014 earnings report

There's money in them Cupertino hills. Photo: Kevin Spencer/Flickr CC

There’s money in them Cupertino hills. Photo: Kevin Spencer/Flickr CC

Following on from last week’s expectations-defying earnings call, Apple has filed its annual 10-K report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating just how rosy things are looking in Cupertino.

Net iPhone sales up up by 12%, with global earnings of $102 billion in 2014 versus $91 billion last year. iMac sales are up by the same 12%, too, with 24 million units sold this year compared to 21.5 million in 2013.

The iTunes Store is doing its bit as well, with a total of $10.2 billion in net sales, up from $9.3 billion in 2013. Apple says that app sales are up, but also acknowledges that this increase is partially offset by a decline in digital music sales.

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7 biggest takeaways from Tim Cook’s interview at WSJD Live

Photo: WSJD

Photo: WSJD

Tim Cook gave a rare public interview on Monday night at the Wall Street Journal’s new tech conference, WSJD. The Apple CEO touched on a range of topics, including Apple Pay’s success, a big potential partnership, why the iPod classic was discontinued, and more.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Cook’s comments:

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Apple rewrites history to remove ‘It’s road trip’ gaffe from iPad event

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As was the case with “Scarfgate” following Apple’s September media event, the special guest appearances by developers can often often be the unintentionally comic highlights of Apple keynotes.

That’s exactly what happened at last Thursday’s otherwise fairly predictable iPad event, when two French developers accidentally titled their montage video app presentation “It’s road trip” instead of the intended “Utah road trip.”

Yes, it’s a minor glitch, that does at least show that all demos take place live, but it was amusing nonetheless — particularly the disgusted face exhibited by the typist, who appears to be inwardly kicking himself over screwing up the presentation.

Apple, however, seems to not have been quite so amused by the glitch, since someone at Cupertino has sprinkled some postproduction magic on the Replay demo, meaning that when you watch the keynote on Apple’s website or the Apple TV app, it now reads “Utah road trip” as was intended.

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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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Why Apple Pay is the future

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

About to test Apple Pay at the local Walgreens. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Critics are fond of saying Apple doesn’t innovate any more. But Apple’s new electronic payment system, Apple Pay, is innovation of the highest order. After a relatively smooth rollout this week, I honestly believe Apple Pay is the future of payments.

Even so, Apple Pay must clear some big hurdles if it’s to become the universal standard. For now, it’s limited to Apple’s latest iPhones and a relatively small number of retail partners, but the basic system — using your fingerprint to validate a purchase on your mobile phone — is the way we will pay for goods and services in the future.

Once again, Apple has shown the world how things should be done.

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