Apple on Thursday announced the iOS 8.1 update bringing Apple Pay, iCloud Photo Library beta, Camera Roll, Continuity features and more. The update rolls out on Monday, October 20, and is available for iPhone 4S and later models, iPad 2 and later models, fifth-generation iPod touch, and third-generation Apple TV. The company also released OS X Yosemite, and introduced the new Mac Mini and iMac with Retina display, apart from the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.
With iOS 8.1, the Apple Pay mobile payment service is rolled out to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The service for now (until the roll-out of the Apple Watch) is only supported by the two new iPhone models, as it uses the dedicated secure chip and NFC connectivity in the new smartphones to communicate with retail terminals. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus feature a ‘Secure Element’ to store credit card data on the smartphones, as well as a ‘Device Account Number’ unique to each iPhone.
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The Apple Pay payment system works with Touch ID authentication and NFC to complete the process. As yet, Apple Pay supports credit and debit cards from American Express, MasterCard and Visa, issued by banks including Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo, representing 83 percent of credit card purchase volume in the US. Apple on Thursday said it has tied up with 500 banks for the service.
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Apple had also re-introduced ‘Camera Roll’ gallery in iOS 8.1, which it first introduced in iOS 7 but then dropped in iOS 7. The feature helps users see their recently taken images, and was much-missed by users who weren’t comfortable with or didn’t know about the new ‘Recently added’ section in the new Photos app.
The Cupertino firm has also introduced the public beta of the iCloud Photo Library cloud storage with iOS 8.1, a service that lets users store or backup all their photos across their iCloud-enabled devices. The service also enables new sharing features. Apple also announced the pricing plans for the iCloud Drive service, offering the first 5GB for free, 20GB for $0.99 (approximately Rs. 60), 200GB for $3.99 (approximately Rs. 240), and tiers all the way up to 1TB.
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Along with the release of OS X Yosemite on Thursday, Apple with iOS 8.1 has enabled several of the Continuity features it announced back at WWDC, allowing users to seamlessly continue work between OS X and iOS devices, accept phone calls on Macs, and SMS Handoff – which lets users respond to SMSes and iMessages on Macs.