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The US government is going to accept Apple Pay mobile payments later this year, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. The mobile payments will be accepted for Social Security Benefits, National Park admission and other similar efforts starting in September.
Apple is working with the US government so procurement cards can be issued to federal workers. Actual Apple Pay use by consumers may be relatively low, but the company has reached deals with more than 2,000 banks across the country to adopt the service.
"Starting in September, Apple Pay will be available for many transactions with the federal government, like for example when you pay for admission to your favorite national park," Cook said during the cybersecurity summit at Stanford University.
Shell customers in the UK will be able to pay for gas at the pump using the Shell Motorist App or the PayPal App, providing drivers another method to pay. The service will be available at more than 1,000 Shell stations throughout the UK - starting with the Shell Drivers Club in April.
The PayPal App is available for Google Android, Apple iOS and Microsoft Windows Phone.
"At PayPal, we've always believed people will use their mobile phones to pay if there's a clear benefit," said Rob Harper, mobile commerce director at PayPal UK. "With today's announcement, we're offering drivers a faster way to fill up their car and pay, and get back on the road."
NVIDIA had a huge year last year, ending the second half of the year launching its new Maxwell architecture, giving birth to the great GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 cards. Well, the company has just posted its Q4 FY 2015 results, with revenues of $4.68 billion, up 13% from 2014.
The last three-month period was also a record for the company, with revenues of $1.25 billion, up 9% from the previous year. Gross margin for Q4 2015 was $699 million, or 55.9% which is up 1.8% over Q4 2014, and 0.7% up from Q3 2015. When it comes to the GPU business of NVIDIA, Q4 saw the company launch multiple GPUs in its GTX 900 series, with GPU revenue reaching $1.073 billion for Q4 alone, a nice 8% increase over Q3 2015, and a year-over-year gain of 13%.
The mobile sector of NVIDIA didn't do too well, with Tegra sales falling over the quarter, after multiple quarters of increasing amounts of shipments. Tegra revenue was just $112 million for Q4 2015, down from $168 million in Q3, and $131 million from a year ago. This is a 33% drop in revenue quarter-over-quarter, and 15% year-over-year. Strong GPU sales were able to offset the slump in smartphone and tablet SoC sales, but the automotive sector for Tegra is doing well for the company. For Q1 FY 2016 (doesn't this get confusing, fast?) has the company expecting revenues of $1.16 billion, or so.
Apple has just announced it is investing $848 million into a First Solar plant in California's Monterey County, something that will generate enough electricity to power a huge 60,000+ homes.
Apple will receive a 130-megawatt supply from the solar farm which it will use to power its future campus, while the remaining 150 megawatts will find a home with Pacific Gas & Energy's grid. This is a big deal, as it represents the biggest commercial deal that has ever happened in the solar industry.
JetBlue customers will be able to use Apple Pay to purchase snacks, drinks and other amenities while flying, with the airline company becoming the first to accept the mobile payment service. Since 2007, JetBlue has been cashless for on-board purchases, and the addition of mobile payments seems like a natural progression.
The new service will begin on JetBlue transcontinental flights from New York to either San Francisco or Los Angeles later this month.
"The sky is definitely not the limit when it comes to mobile payments with Apple Pay," said Marty St George, SVP of commercial flights at JetBlue. "Customers want an easy and fast transaction when they decide to make an on-board purchase so that they can get back to enjoying their flight."
After a 14-month investigation, China has said that it has found that Qualcomm has engaged in anti-competitive practices in the country. This has seen Qualcomm entered into a settlement with the government of China's National Development and Reform Commission.
This settlement has seen Qualcomm hand over $975 million, and in addition to the near $1 billion, the company has said that it will change "certain of its business practices in China". Qualcomm has added: "Although Qualcomm is disappointed with the results of the investigation, it is pleased that the NDRC has reviewed and approved the Company's rectification plan".
Some interesting news has just appeared online, but first we'll tackle the business side of things. TSMC has said that it is investing a hefty $16 billion on creating a new chip factory, but there was some more interesting news that didn't seem to make the headlines.
TSMC will never make a 20nm GPU, with the reasoning behind this is that there are very low yields associated with the big cores and high performance requirements. Starting next year the Taiwanese giant will switch over to 16nm FinFET, but it wants to shift into 10nm as early as late 2016.
Intel is another player in the 10nm business, where it has invested $6 billion in fabrication facilities over in Israel. The chipmaker has already invested into the R&D of 7nm, which should happen before 2020. TSMC shifting to 16nm and then 10nm so quickly is a pre-emptive move against Samsung and Globalfoundaries, which have just joined forces in the R&D side of things.
Microsoft has reportedly acquire Sunrise, which is a calendar app maker for a swift $100 million. Both sides haven't confirmed the deal, but sources close to TechCrunch have said that the deal is wrapped up for over $100 million.
Sunrise was founded in 2012, where it has since raised $8.2 million from investors like Balderton Capital, SV Angel and BoxGroup. But what can make it an attractive acquisition target for Microsoft? Well, Sunrise consolidates calendars from various providers, making them available on different platforms like iOS, Android and the web.
The acquisition of Sunrise by Microsoft is an interesting one, as it shows that Microsoft is happy to support other, competing operating systems. If Microsoft does indeed acquire Sunrise and continues development of the application for iOS and Android like it does for Office, it could eventually lead to great things.
There are going to be big shifts in manufacturing nodes this year, with Samsung reportedly making 14nm FinFET chips for the three biggest players in the industry: NVIDIA, Apple and Qualcomm.
Samsung will be capable of doing this as the company only reached an important breakthrough recently, which has allowed the South Korean giant to increase yields, and reduce costs. On top of this, TSMC has been experiencing various delays which have seen big companies having to shift over from TSMC to Samsung. Qualcomm also reportedly stopped their production of 16nm FinFET chips at TSMC just three weeks ago, jumping over to Samsung and its next-gen 14nm FinFET processors.
Apple's upcoming A9 processor will be based on its main competitors technology, with Samsung making the 14nm FinFET A9 processor. NVIDIA had originally partnered up with TSMC to make 16FF+ GPUs, but then we have the legal battle between Samsung and NVIDIA stepping in the way. We don't know if Samsung will choose to make its discrete GPUs using Samsung's next-gen 14nm node, but right now NVIDIA will be making its next-gen GPUs with TSMC on its 16FF+ process. NVIDIA will be having its Tegra processors made over at Samsung, however.
It looks like Samsung is about to hit a bump in the road, with Kim Seok-pil resigning from his position as the executive in charge of the company's upcoming Galaxy S6 smartphone.
Seok-pil only joined the company in December, and was goign to take the company through the launch of the Galaxy S6, which should be unveiled on March 1. The launch of the upcoming flagship handset is being watched by many, after not-so-great things came from the Galaxy S5. December was a bad month for Samsung as it is, with multiple executives being laid off due to a planned restructuring process.
D.K. Lee left the company, with Seok-pil replacing him, but with Seok-pil now leaving the company, what happens now? For the meantime, Samsung Russia's boss, Lee Sang-chul will take over, until the South Korean giant can find a replacement.