UK

Apple Store promo: sign up for Apple Pay and get $5/£5 iTunes gift card

Apple is running a new promotion in its retail stores in the United States and United Kingdom, treating anyone who’d sign up for Apple Pay this week to a free $5/£5 iTunes gift card, according to MacRumors which first caught wind of this news.

Free money is always appreciated, more so given that iTunes credit can be used for any purchase made in an Apple Store, whether purchasing an accessory, an Apple product or an iTunes/Apple Store gift card.

Check out Euro 2016 Easter egg surprise hidden on Apple’s website

Apple hid a nice Easter egg surprise on its website for fans of soccer who are currently following the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Apple websites in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe now sport an updated Choose Your Country selector with Euro 2016 country groups and schedules.

As reported on by Dutch blog iCulture, the Cupertino firm even temporarily added a few new countries that it does not have regional websites for—like Albania, Iceland, Northern Ireland, Ukraine and Wales—to ensure that the groups and bracket are filled out properly.

Barclays confirms Apple Pay rollout in late March

Barclays, a large British multinational banking and financial services company headquartered in London, has confirmed that it will be rolling out support for Apple Pay sometime in late March.

In an email dated January 12 and sent to customer Oli Foster-Burnell, a copy of which was shared on Twitter and obtained by Engadget, Barclays CEO of Personal and Corporate Banking Ashok Vaswani said they will launch Apple Pay “within the next 60 to 75 days”.

MasterCard now offering free public transit to Apple Pay users in London

As part of its Fare Free Mondays promotion, global financial services corporation MasterCard is now offering Apple Pay users free public transit in London for a limited time. The promo starts today, November 23, and is valid over the next four consecutive Mondays ending December 14, 2015.

During those Mondays, customers in London can take advantage of Apple Pay on their iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch to use London’s public transit network at no charge. That is, up to £27.90 in daily fares per customer is included in the form of refundable funds.

UK’s TSB and Tesco Bank now support Apple Pay

In addition to adding Canada as the third country where Apple Pay is available (limited to American Express cardholders at launch), availability of Apple’s mobile payments service in the United Kingdom, where Apple Pay launched this summer, increased today with financial institutions TSB and Tesco Bank now supporting the service. This leaves Barclays as the last UK major bank without support for Apple Pay.

Samsung tries to troll iPhone 6s launch outside Apple’s flagship London store

Here we go again…

In what could only be described as a continuation of its miserable anti-Apple advertising campaign, Samsung has hired people to wear backpack-mounted banners advertising its Galaxy smartphones to folks who queued up for iPhone 6s launch this morning outside the Apple Store in London’s Regent Street, The Inquirer reported.

The banners promote Samsung’s latest Galaxy S6 edge and S6 edge+ flagships and carry the provocative tagline “The itch to switch just got bigger.” In addition, International Business Times is reporting that Samsung even gave queued customers bright blue pillows and bottles emblazoned with the hashtag #NextIsNew.

But wait, there’s more.

Apple Watch availability expands to UK’s John Lewis and Currys department stores

The Apple Watch world tour continues unabated with confirmation that the wearable device is slated to go on sale this week at John Lewis, the department store in the United Kingdom, Wearable reports.

Currys, another mainstream UK-based department store, also announced on its website that it would be selling the Apple Watch “soon.”

Both John Lewis and Currys will provide online support for Apple Watch sales as well.

Apple Pay transaction limit in UK raises to £30

When Apple Pay launched in the United Kingdom in mid-July, it was limited to transactions up to £20 without entering in a PIN number or signature, a cap imposed on almost all contactless payments in the country. Tuesday, the cap rose to £30 per touchless payment without entering a PIN number or providing your signature.

As noted by The Verge, the new £30 cap is applied to all contactless payments in the United Kingdom, including those made via contactless cards that work without any other authentication.

Gorgeous floral installation comes to life in London to promote Apple Watch

Apple Watch advertising has been amped up quite a bit with news of a remarkable eye-candy floral display which promotes the wearable device at Selfridges, a chain of high end department stores in the UK founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge.

According to design outlet Wallpaper, two dozen floral displays that wrap around Selfridges’ flagship store in London sport blooming flowers and other floral motifs directly inspired by the Motion face on the Apple Watch.

HSBC and First Direct customers in the UK can now use Apple Pay

Two weeks after Apple Pay launched in the United Kingdom, HSBC and First Direct customers can now use the service. Both banks were originally supposed to support Apple Pay at launch, and were even mentioned in Apple’s support document listing participating banks, but were delayed due to “some issues” until late July.

Apple Pay in the UK imposes a £20 transaction limit as a security measure due to outdated POS terminals. Apple said the £20 limit will increase to £30 in September. The cap will go away once retailers roll out more modern contactless payment terminals.

Athlete shows off Apple Watch with custom red Sport Band and folding charging plug

With such a high-profile launch of a new-category (fashionable) gadget on its hands, little wonder Apple is admittedly enlisting help of the world’s top fashion editors, celebrities and athletes in an unprecedented attempt to position the gizmo in the public’s consciousness.

The latest in celebrity Watch signings came via British professional rugby player and captain turned cyclist, Will Carling.

Earlier today, Carling on Twitter showed off his stainless steel Apple Watch sporting what appears to be a bespoke red Sport band.