The iPhone just made room keys obsolete at Starwood hotels

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Your iPhone is now a hotel key too: Photo: Starwood Hotels
Your iPhone is now a hotel key too: Photo: Starwood Hotels

The dream of replacing all the pieces of plastic in your wallet with your smartphone got a little closer to reality today as Starwood hotels announced that its new keyless entry system – SPG Keyless – is rolling out to hotels worldwide.

Guests at Aloft, Element, and W Hotels around the globe can now use their iPhone and the SPG app to skip the hotel front desk altogether, walk straight to their room, and unlock it, no key required.

Apple wants to replace transit passes with iPhone 6’s NFC

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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

iPhone 6 owners have only started using Apple Pay to buy items at local stores, but Apple is looking to expand the technology behind its mobile payments system to eventually replace everything from building security cards, subway passes, and bus tickets.

Apple representatives have reportedly been talking to potential partners about using the iPhone 6’s NFC for other uses, reports The Information, with the aim to replace all the tickets and passes you carry in your wallet too.

Apple and Android fanboys unite to boycott NFC payment blocking

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Just like one of The Avengers — where bickering superheroes team up to fight a far more oppressive evil — Apple and Android fans on reddit have united forces to boycott what they see as the unethical blocking of NFC payment systems by a number of different retailers, affecting users of both Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

The reason for this blocking of the NFC service is that the retailers in question — including Gap, Old Navy, 7-Eleven, Sears, Kmart and others — are part of an organization called Merchant Customer Exchange, which uses its own payment system called CurrentC.

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

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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.

Why Apple Pay is the future

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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.