Cult of Mac’s day with Apple Pay

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Apple Pay is finally here and now that retailers are letting use iPhones instead of credit cards, the Cult of Mac team is heading out into the real world to put Apple’s mobile payment solution to the test to see how it works in the real world.

Leander will be shopping around San Francisco. Alex is testing Apple Pay in the backwoods of Kentucky. And I plan to sputter around Phoenix in search of a burrito shop with Apple Pay.

How easy will it be to use? Do retail staff even know what is? We expect there will be some bumps along the way on the first day, but we can’t wait to be able to burn our wallets. Keep an eye on this page throughout the day as we test whether the wallet-less future of buying stuff with your iPhone is truly here.

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New iOS 8.1 features you need to know

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iOS 8.1 is now available to the public. Along with bringing Apple Pay into the wild, this major update is packed with new features that bring harmony to your iPhone and Mac workflow. Instant Hotspot and SMS Relay connect your iPhone like never before, and there are a few other sweet new features you probably haven’t heard about yet.

Here are the biggest features in iOS 8.1 you need to know:

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Everything you can buy with Apple Pay starting today

Apple Pay starts replacing your wallet on October 20th. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay starts replacing your wallet on October 20th. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay is finally here, and while Eddie Cue says in-app purchases will make up most of the purchases during launch, there are tons of things that you can buy in the real world right now.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners looking to toss their wallets in favor of Apple Pay can go into hundreds of stores today and purchase everything from clothes, toys, gas, or even furniture. Not all stores are supporting Apple’s mobile payments platform, so knowing which retailers accept Apple Pay will be half  the battle toward replacing your wallet. Luckily, we’ve compiled this list of everything you can buy today with Apple Pay.

Here’s what you can buy starting day:

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Get iOS 8.1 now for Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library and more

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple just released iOS 8.1, bringing Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library and other new features to the mobile operating system.

Available now via Software Update, iOS 8.1 will let you quickly set up Apple Pay on compatible devices. Upgraders running OS X Yosemite will also notice additional Continuity features that let iOS 8 work with the latest version of the Mac operating system.

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Enter to win a 27-inch Thunderbolt monitor and more with The Dream Desk Giveaway [Deals]

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Got a MacBook that you just love but find that the screen sometimes leaves you wanting more? Ever dream about owning a huge 27-inch Thunderbolt monitor so you can work with every pixel unhindered?

You could make that dream a reality by entering The Dream Desk Giveaway at Cult of Mac Deals today.

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Apple could sell record-breaking 62 million iPhones this quarter

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus may be Apple’s best-selling iPhones in history, racking up a massive 10 million+ sales in their first weekend alone, but how does this massive success translate into numbers going forward?

Ahead of today’s Apple earnings call, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has taken a shot at forecasting how the rest of the year may play out, in a research note to investors. His guess? All in, Apple can expect to sell between 56.7 million and 62.7 million iPhones this quarter.

If Munster’s on the money, that means unit sales of the iPhone could leap between 25 to 45% compared with the previous quarter last year. Not bad, huh?

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Apple aiming for $5 Beats Music streaming subscriptions

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Beats Music could cost as little as $5 per month. Photo: Beats/Apple

Having helped pioneer the concept of the $0.99 music track on iTunes, Apple is now trying to bring down the price of streaming music.

According to a new report published by Re/code, Apple is pushing music labels for extensive price cuts that would bring the cost of a Beats Music subscription from its current $10 price point all the way down to $5.

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You can no longer add more RAM to the Mac mini

Upgrading the Mac mini's RAM yourself is no longer an option. Photo: iFixit

Upgrading the Mac mini’s RAM yourself is no longer an option. Photo: iFixit

Thinking of buying Apple’s new Mac mini? Make sure you get plenty of RAM when you place your order. Unlike its predecessors, the new machine’s RAM is soldered to the logic board, so you’re unable to add your own later on.

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Authorities allegedly spying on iCloud users in China

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iCloud users in China are apparently contending with a man-in-the-middle attack designed to steal personal data. Photo: GreatFire.org

The Chinese authorities are staging a “man-in-the-middle” attack on Apple’s iCloud service in an attempt to steal username and password information, according to anti-censorship watchdog group GreatFire.org.

As per Wikipedia, a man-in-the-middle attack “is a form of active eavesdropping in which the attacker makes independent connections with the victims and relays messages between them, making them believe that they are talking directly to each other over a private connection, when in fact the entire conversation is controlled by the attacker.”

GreatFire.org first noticed the apparent attack when it became aware of the fact that certain connections made to Apple’s iCloud site in China no longer responded with a trusted digital certificate, thereby risking decryption.

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How Siri became a 10-year-old autistic boy’s best friend

A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

In Spike Jonze’s film Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” played by Scarlett Johansson. But falling in love with Siri doesn’t just happen in the movies. In The New York Times, there is a beautiful piece about a 10-year-old autistic boy named Gus whose best friend is Siri.

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