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Identity Wars: Why Apple Pay Is About More Than Payments

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Editor’s Note: Patrick Salyer is the chief executive officer of Gigya, a customer identity management company.

There’s been no shortage of attention paid to the launch of the new iPhones, with their array of shiny new features, bigger screens and better hardware. Early reviews seem to indicate that the company has, yet again, come through with another massive success.

Many of those who stood in around-the-block lines or refreshed their Internet browsers incessantly just for the pleasure of pre-ordering probably were thinking about the differences between the two new phones: Do I get the model with the 4.7-inch screen or the 5.5-inch screen? Do I go with the space gray, gold or silver finish? Do I really need the 1920-by-1080-pixel camera resolution?

All perfectly fair questions to ask when buying a new phone but not as important as this: When you buy the new iPhone, you’re not just purchasing your next phone; you’re making a decision about the future of your digital identity.

Back in June when Apple announced the release of Touch ID for developers at WWDC, the company shrewdly made its entrance into the consumer identity market. And with good cause. Apple is one of the world’s most trusted and revered brands (even after the infamous iCloud celebrity photo leaks), has over 200 million credit cards on file from iTunes accounts and a bevy of devices that users need to authenticate their identities on.

Yet for the longest time, ­Apple was, in my opinion, missing a huge opportunity by not offering Apple ID as an identity provider on apps and websites and gaining a share of a market hotly contested by the likes of Facebook and Google.

Now, with the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple finally has the pieces together by combining NFC, seamless authentication and relationships with leading financial institutions. With this combination, it seems Apple has set its sights on ensuring that Apple ID is the identity of choice – not just for payments but for everything.

Consumers have been longing to get rid of passwords for years. Ad nauseam, we’ve heard the clamors for the end of passwords because of the deluge of usernames and passwords we have amassed and the inherent security issues and frustration they create. Imagine never needing to create another user name or password again for any site or app by using your Apple ID. That’s what Touch ID promises.

Ultimately, Touch ID and Apple Pay are proxies for Apple ID, which is becoming paramount to what is sure to be a strategy to overtake other identity providers.

Consumers will love using Apple ID for authentication on sites and apps because of the seamless experience – imagine being able to authenticate quickly not only at point-of-sale systems and mobile apps using your thumbprint but also on third-party sites just by having your phone in close proximity to your computer.

Businesses, or relying parties, will love it because they’ll get more registrations, identify more customers across devices, and have lower shopping cart abandonment. Apple, in turn, will establish more permanence with users, further entrenching them into the Apple ecosystem.

Furthermore, Apple will gain more complete customer understanding by seeing how Apple users interact online. That’s potentially valuable if Apple ever wants to move into advertising to compete with Facebook and Google. All this while providing high security and a “non-social” option for authentication that ties hardware and software together – a critical combination that today’s leading identity provider, Facebook, doesn’t have.

While this may not be the death knell for Facebook’s short-term dominance in identity, all one has to do is look around the industry to see where authentication is heading and see that Facebook is missing a piece of the puzzle.

Google/Google+ ID has gained steady momentum over the last few years and the fact that it has tied identity to its own set of phones (Android) will be important in continuing that growth. Similarly, Amazon, which became an identity provider with the release of Login and Pay with Amazon in 2013, has also taken on the hardware + software identity strategy with the launch of Fire Phone handsets.

And while rumors have swirled for years, Facebook doesn’t seem to be interested in launching a handset, instead opting to produce a layer for Android via Facebook Home, which has seen relatively paltry adoption thus far.

Digital identity is evolving quickly, and as consumers are presented with a greater variety of authentication methods, the competition to become the de facto identity provider among some of the world’s biggest companies is heating up. Apple’s entrance, with Apple Pay/Touch ID as its Trojan horse will put pressure on many of these other providers to offer features like payments or even mobile phones, with features like biometric authentication.

Facebook and Google might have a foothold on identity right now, but it won’t be long before people start logging into sites and apps with their Apple IDs, and when they do, I believe Apple will start to seriously challenge these players. Identity is a fascinating space right now and I can’t wait to see how Apple pushes the other players to get even better.

Featured Image: Derek Hatfield/Shutterstock (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/16DqwdPVq1o/


Twitter Experiments With Engagement Stats Directly In Tweets

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Want to know just how many people actually care about what you’re tweeting? A new Twitter experiment spotted by ex-Twitter platform head Ryan Sarver will show many you how users are clicking on the links in the updates you post, with a handy link directly in the expanded Tweet view in the iOS application. As usual with Twitter’s features, this is limited to a small sample pool of users at first, but could roll out more widely if deemed successful.

At the bottom of the tweet view, for those with this feature enabled, you’ll see a “View Analytics Details” link, which takes you directly to a synopsis of the overall interaction with said tweet, including overall impressions, and “engagements,” which includes how many people actually clicked on a link you shared, how many expanded the tweet and more.

The quick glimpse at how your tweet is faring seems like something that would be very useful for brands and others who thrive on social media success – but the question is whether they might reveal a little more than Twitter is comfortable sharing with a general audience. The feature is out-of-the-way enough that it will probably go unnoticed or unused by most who don’t care about that kind of thing, however.

Quick access to analytics without having to resort to an external dashboard is actually incredibly handy, but again, these tests don’t necessarily always bear fruit in terms of broad feature launches, so don’t hold your breath if you’re not already in this particular test bucket.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/tlHYsuBawMQ/


Spend Your Black Friday Funds Helping Crowdfund A Mission To The Moon

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You have enough towels already. And owning more gadgets just means more under-utilized stuff gathering accusatory dust. So why not spend the Black Friday funds you’d set aside to spend on sales tomorrow helping to crowdfund a mission to The Moon instead?

Yes, this is one very ambitious crowdfunding mission — with an estimated delivery schedule of, ooooh, a decade hence. You really gotta respect a Kickstarter that lays out a 10-year delivery plan.

But this is not the average crowdfunding project, trying to drum up interest in a better kind of butter knife or a remote controlled cat toy. This is *science* that’s hoping to be majority-funded by public interest in space exploration.

Governments aren’t overly keen on stumping up the cash to burn rockets into space these days, so getting the public to club together might be the best way to push forward space exploration. It’s either that or letting corporate mega-billionaires burn mountains of their own money trying to lift their egos into the upper atmosphere.

The team behind the Lunar Mission One, as they’re dubbing their first probe, are looking for £600,000 (~$943,000) in crowdfunds for the initial planning phase of the project — which isn’t bad when you consider a plastic bangle with an LCD screen which pings you when you have a new email raised multiple millions via the same funding funnel in recent memory.

At the time of writing the Lunar Mission One team has pulled in more than £371,000 so there’s a ways to go to kickstart this Moon mission, and 20 days left for their campaign to get there.

The mission’s aim is to send an unmanned probe to a previously unexplored region of the Moon — the South Pole — with a launch pegged for 2024 if the project gets successfully financed and all the technical stuff goes to plan (so that’s likely a pretty moveable feast — but hey this is The Final Frontier!).

Once the probe lands the intent is to drill down further into the lunar surface than humans have drilled before. Boldly going and all that jazz. How far? Up to 100 meters, but at least 20 meters, so at least 10 times deeper than prior drilling.

Samples will then be collected. And rock that’s 4.5 billion years old analyzed by the probe’s on board instruments. The probe will also put seismometers into the borehole to take geological readings.

The scientists backing the mission want to improve the understanding of the link between the Moon and the Earth’s formation — so helping to illuminate the origins of life on Earth, much like the recent Rosetta probe mission.

They note:

Studying rock from deep below the surface will allow us to understand, better than ever before, the geological composition of the Moon, the relationship it shares with our planet and the effects of the late heavy bombardment period on the inner solar system. Ultimately, the project will improve scientific understanding of the early solar system, the formation of our planet and the Moon, and the conditions that initiated life on Earth.

The probe will also contain instruments allowing it to measure local environmental conditions on and above the Moon’s surface. And will be looking to assess the composition of the dust on the Moon’s surface — seeking to sniff out oxygen and hydrogen to consider the South Pole’s suitability as a location for a future human Moon base.

The team also wants to investigate the viability of putting a future radio telescope on the Moon to conduct low frequency astronomy from the Moon — something they note is not possible from Earth.

Of course they are going to need a serious amount more cash than the initial £600,000 Kickstarter goal. In fact the full mission cost is closer to $5 billion. But they have a plan for raising the rest of the money — by selling storage space in a “memory box” time capsule that will be placed below the lunar surface as part of the mission.

The public will be able to buy digital space within the time capsule to store whatever content they fancy, text, pictures and so on, and also even purchase a tiny bit of physical space to store a strand of human hair. The capsule will be placed into the drillhole one the probe has done its analysis and the hole sealed up again, with the time capsule tucked out of harms way from more minor meteorite strikes.

That memory box sale will come later, but current Kickstarter pledgers can reserve a voucher for the time capsule sale by pledging £60 or more at this stage. The more cash you pledge, the more storage space you reserve in the capsule.

At this point, the Lunar One Mission has already been seven years in the making, funded by its founder David Iron, along with backing from the UK Space Agency — which originally commissioned concept studies and a technical feasibility report, plus a small number of private sponsors. It has also received support from companies operating on “a pro-bono and at risk basis”, according to a spokesman.

The ambitions of the team stretch past just the one mission — to a Lunar Mission Two and beyond. For instance, if they can raise more funds in future they say they would plan to be able to return the rock core samples gathered by the probe back to Earth for more detailed analysis. But that’s going to require more money, and more patience from project backers.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Lunar Mission One right now — a decade out from any possibility of touching down on the Moon’s surface — is the potential the team sees for crowdfunding as a means to fund space missions. If you’re tired of waiting for governments to invest more resources in scientific endeavors, rather than pouring public money into vast surveillance infrastructures that spy on citizens or spending billions fighting ideological wars on foreign soil, well here’s a chance to bypass the politics and shoot for the Moon. Literally.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/5sTmhXlrwYE/


Windows Phone 8.1 Finally Breaks The 50% Market Share Threshold

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Windows Phone 8.1 accounted for more than 50 percent of all Windows Phone usage in November. It closed October with 46.7 percent of the market.

Windows Phone 8, its predecessor, still controls 33.5 percent of the Windows Phone base. That amount will decline as more carriers update phones that were initially sold with an earlier version of the Windows Phone platform.

Here’s the chart [Data: AdDuplex November preview. Via: Neowin]:

Also worth noting in the above data is the 95 percent of the market that Microsoft controls. Microsoft wants both its gross sales figures to rise, and its percentage of the Windows Phone market to decrease. Microsoft would be far happier to sell twice the phones, at 80 percent of the market, than sell a few more, and control 95 percent — third-party OEM support is critical to the long-term health of Windows Phone. That’s not conjecture. The company wouldn’t be working to expand OEM uptake of Windows Phone if it didn’t want to see a more diverse manufacturer base for the platform.

At the same time, for us nerds, the 95 percent figure — and its likely only small change in December — means we’ll be able to quickly estimate the total Windows Phone handsets sold in the current calendar fourth quarter, Microsoft’s fiscal second. Extrapolating from Microsoft’s raw reported unit volume to the entire market’s size is simpler the larger the company’s personal market share remains.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if HTC can expand its own Windows Phone market share to the 5 percent mark inside of the first half of 2015. It’s 62 percent of the way there already. Or, if another OEM could race it to the mark and win. We’ll see.

For now, stop reading blog posts and go hug someone you love.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/FOaEWZ_93cQ/


These Aren’t The Drones You’re Looking For

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As we approach the holiday season, San Francisco startup Doorman has been getting a lot of attention from the press — after all, by delivering packages when you’re actually home, rather than when it’s convenient for the delivery service, Doorman should reduce the risk that your gifts will get stolen while they’re sitting on your doorstep.

I was actually quoted in an ABC segment about Doorman — not that I’m particularly knowledgeable about the industry, but I am willing to blather about it on camera. Most of the coverage, however, has failed to mention a cool new service called Doorman Blade.

We’ve written previously about how, despite hype from Amazon and Google, urban drone delivery probably won’t become a reality anytime soon. As you can see in the video above, Doorman has beaten those bigger players to the punch — not with advanced technology, but simply by slapping a propeller hat on a delivery guy and calling it a drone.

Now, you might be thinking that this is just a goofy publicity stunt, and, well, that’s completely accurate. But hey, it’s Thanksgiving, and rather than give you real news, I figured I’d try to make you laugh.

On a slightly more serious note, I should probably point out that at the moment, Doorman is only available in San Francisco. (A similar service called Parcel has launched in New York.) Oh, and the Doorman team wants me to tell you that it’s releasing an Android app next week, and that it’s working to add features like instant delivery and package return scheduling.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/C5qbTdp1F9E/


A Gift Guide For Watch Loving Ladies

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While almost anyone can wear any watch – some watch companies aim traditionally female watches at men with small wrists – a dedicated woman’s watch is beautiful, well-made, and timeless. Here are some of my favorites for the past year.


Longines PrimaLuna

Legible and elegant, the PrimaLuna collection by historic Swiss watch maker longines offers a variety of styles with both mechanical and quartz movements as well as all steel or two-tone cases. Many women’s watches are really just scaled down men’s pieces but what is nice about the PrimaLuna is that is feminine from the ground-up and nevertheless appropriately conservative. $1,100 – $6,400


Zenith Captain Ultra-Thin Lady Moonphase

Decorative items such as a mother-of-pearl dial and diamonds mask what is actually a very sensible timepiece in the Captain Ultra-Thin Lady Moonphase watch by Swiss Zenith. It begins with an in-house produced Zenith Elite automatic movement that also features an indicator for the phases of the moon. Legible and classy the 33mm wide steel case is elegant enough for evening attire but wouldn’t look out of place when worn casually. Think of it as a fashionable item for serious watch lovers. $9,600.


Chanel Premiere Chain

While Chanel is mostly known for their popular ceramic-cased J12 collection watches, a solid favorite is the Premiere which blends French romance with a youthful style that tends to still look good on women of all ages and styles. The distinctive watch case is borrowed from the cap of the famous Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle, which is itself borrowed from the shape of the Place Vendome area in Paris. Offered in a few styles with or without diamonds and in steel or 18k gold, the Premiere on the newer chain bracelet is among the most attractive women’s timepiece of late. $4,750 – $31,000


Cartier Tortue Medium

“Tortue” means “tortoise” and refers to the shape of this iconic Cartier timepiece. New for the brand is the Tortue Medium size which marries a humble 39mm wide case with a Cartier manually-wound mechanical movement. Extremely demure, the Tortue Medium recalls traditional luxury with its gold case, classic Cartier dial with blued steel hands and Roman numeral hour markers, as well as a sapphire crystal in the crown all matched to a brown alligator strap. This is a watch that speaks luxury and status without wishing to show it off flamboyantly. $15,600

Splurge:
Buccellati

Widely considered to be Italy’s finest and most exclusive producer of jewelry and silver items, Buccellati also has a boutique watch making facility and craftspeople who hand-produce the cases of each model. Unlike French jewelry companies Buccellati products are typically more densely decorated with engravings and lots of details. Many of their jewelry items are also one-of-a-kind. For the ultimate classic timepiece visit one of the few Buccellati boutiques around the world or visit them in Milan to have a custom-made women’s timepiece complete with an elaborate design and a healthy amount of precious stones. Their prices are even more “reasonable” than those of the bigger names in France.

Budget:
Bulova Accutron II Alpha 97A111

For 2014 Bulova returns to the classic 1960s “Spaceview” collection in part of the fresh Accutron II collection. Those familiar with original Accutron Spaceview watches will recall that they contained electronic turning fork movements that pre-dated quartz movement technology. A hallmark was a sweeping seconds hand similar to that of mechanical movements. The Accutron II collection makes use of a modern quartz movement exclusive to Bulova known as the Precisionist. In short, it also offers a sweeping (versus ticking) seconds hand and actually more accuracy than most standard quartz movements. The distinctive shield-style case and open dial are reminiscent of the original 1960s models and while this is a men’s watch it gets a bit more girly on the white strap. $499

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/FgdUPVKdXfQ/


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