Apple Pay now also at Germany’s Volksbanken

The customers of the 841 Volksbanken now have extended options for contactless payment

Frankfurt The German Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken are on Tuesday Apple Pay started. This was announced by the Federal Association of Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken (BVR). First the newsletter “Finanz-Szene” reported about it.

In addition to the 800 or so Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken, according to the BVR, for example, the cooperative PSD banks are also starting with Apple Pay – but only months after the competition. The Sparkassen as the strongest competitor and Commerzbank have been offering the payment service of the tech group Apple to their customers since December Deutsche Bank as well as among others the smartphone bank N26 and the online bank ING join in even longer. The cooperative banks also wanted to start in 2019, but postponed the start at the beginning of December.

Paying by smartphone is just beginning in Germany. In addition to Apple Pay was already in summer 2018 Google Pay started, and various banks had developed their own payment apps. So far, however, only a few consumers have used the smartphone to pay at the checkout. According to various surveys, the proportion is between three and 30 percent.

In the course of the corona crisis, however, payment behavior could change significantly – at the expense of cash and, above all, in favor of card payments, but also paying by smartphone. According to the consulting firm Oliver Wyman, the share of cash payments after sales could drop to 32 percent by 2025 – and thus significantly faster than previously expected. For the past year, they estimate the cash share at 47 percent.

For Apple Pay, however, users usually still need a credit card. The Girocard, better known under its old name “EC card”, is much more widespread with 100 million in circulation, but is not yet available for Apple Pay. Some banks, including Volksbanken, are now offering their customers digital debit cards from the credit card company Mastercard at.

In this way, they want to ensure that not only a small proportion of customers can use Apple Pay. The cooperative banks have around 26 million current accounts, but according to the BVR have only issued five million credit cards.

More: The limit for contactless payment by Girocard is expected to rise to 50 euros.


Despite surge in medical technology: Philips cancels annual targets

Frankfurt A sharp decline in the business with household appliances and consumer products due to the corona crisis has occurred in the Dutch PhilipsGroup slump in profit in the first quarter. In medical technology, however, the pandemic led to higher sales of ventilators and monitoring monitors for patients and ventilators, among other things. The demand for IT solutions for the healthcare industry and telemedical offerings also increased.

CEO Frans van Houten withdrew the annual targets still issued at the end of January, according to which sales should increase between four and six percent. Now the Philips CEO only expects a modest increase in sales and a similar improvement in the margin.

“Given the uncertainties and volatility, we cannot give a more specific outlook for 2020 at this point,” said van Houten. The company anticipates a further decline in business in the second quarter as the pandemic has spread worldwide since March. The company boss hopes for a recovery in the second half of the year.

The bottom line, the Philips boss sees the corona crisis as a confirmation of the corporate strategy of the past few years, in which the company has focused heavily on digital technologies. “We have always said that health IT and cloud-based solutions have to play a greater role in order to network providers with each other and with the patient.

The demand for such offers is now accelerating due to this crisis, ”said van Houten in an interview with the Handelsblatt. Among other things, Philips has developed a smartphone app that makes it easier for doctors to remotely care for Covid patients.

Nevertheless, medical technology was unable to compensate for the weak business with consumer products at Philips: Overall, sales in the first quarter remained almost stable at 4.2 billion euros. Calculated on a comparable basis – i.e. without currency effects and purchases and sales – sales shrank by two percent. Net profit decreased from € 162 million in the prior-year quarter to € 39 million.

Order intake increases by 23 percent

The first quarter results were below analysts’ expectations. Still, many stuck to their recommendations. Philips’ position as a manufacturer of urgently needed medical products will help the company to survive the crisis without major damage, say the analysts of the Commerzbank.

Positive news from Philips includes that order intake rose 23 percent in the first quarter. The company also adheres to the planned dividend payment of 0.85 cents, which is now to be paid out in shares.


At the Euronext in Paris, Philips’ shares temporarily rose by more than seven percent. The titles of other medical technology companies such as Drägerwerk and Siemens Healthineers won.

The fact that the corona crisis brings medical technology companies an order boost does not apply to all companies in the industry. Because the pandemic is delaying some predictable operations, which has negative effects on manufacturers of artificial joints and surgical equipment.

The US company, for example, had last week Johnson & Johnson significantly reduced its sales forecast for the medical technology division. The family-owned company B. Braun, whose subsidiary Aesculap manufactures artificial joints and surgical devices, also expects demand in this business area to decline temporarily in the regions affected by the Corona crisis.

Philips also feels that these predictable, so-called elective interventions are being postponed. Especially in the cardiovascular area. Many cardiovascular surgeries that are supported with Philips imaging technology are being put on hold.

Frans Van Houten believes the impact on imaging techniques is quite large. For this reason, Philips expects sales in the Diagnostics & Treatment business areas to decline overall. “We expect these patients to come back in the third quarter when the situation normalizes,” says van Houten.

Production capacity is greatly expanded

In order to meet the significantly increased need for ventilators and patient monitoring systems, Philips is investing more than 100 million euros in expanding production capacities in the USA and also at the German location in Böblingen.

For example, the production of clinical ventilators is expected to increase fourfold by the third quarter. Among other things, Philips wants to serve a major order from the US government for 43,000 respiratory advisors and at the same time supply other regions with the urgently needed medical equipment.

Despite its corona crisis, Philips is sticking to its plan to split off the household appliances division. The company announced in January that it was parting from the 2.3 billion euro business with coffee machines, deep fryers and vacuum cleaners because it does not fit the company’s medical technology focus.

“We are making progress with the preparations to split off the household appliances division. We said the process takes 12 to 18 months. We are on target. ”Although the division saw double-digit sales losses in the first quarter, Houten does not believe that this will have a negative impact on price negotiations in a possible sales process.

“The household products business is a strong business. We know from previous crises like the SARS pandemic or the economic crisis how quickly business is recovering. We have a strong brand, ”the Philips boss is confident.

More: Philips CEO: “There will be no Google model in the health sector”


Ceconomy apparently wants to apply for KfW loans

Decline in profit at Ceconomy

The parent company of Saturn and Media Markt wants to apply for aid loans, according to media reports.

(Photo: dpa)

Dusseldorf The parent company of Saturn and Media Markt, Ceconomy apparently wants to apply for aid loans in the amount of two billion euros. The Bloomberg news agency reports with reference to insider sources. Accordingly, the group is currently in talks with the KfW development bank to provide the loans. According to a scenario, KfW could take on up to 80 percent of the outstanding loans. The rest would be taken over by private banks.


Corona crisis: Ceconomy wants to apply for KfW loans

Decline in profit at Ceconomy

The parent company of Saturn and Media Markt wants to apply for aid loans, according to media reports.

(Photo: dpa)

Dusseldorf The troubled electronics trading holding Ceconomy and mother of Media Markt and Saturn is seeking help from the state in the face of the burden of the corona crisis. The company announced on Saturday that the group had decided to apply for KfW funding. Ceconomy did not disclose the amount.

According to an insider, it is about two billion euros. The Bloomberg news agency had previously reported this. The stores of Media Markt and Saturn are closed due to the corona crisis in Germany and other European countries.


Amazon says the Pentagon’s JEDI revision keeps Microsoft in the driver’s seat

WASHINGTON – Inc. accused the Pentagon of trying to manipulate its review of a huge cloud computing deal to drive the award to rival Microsoft Corp.

In a court made public on Tuesday, Amazon urged a federal judge to request the Department of Defense to conduct a larger review than it proposed.

Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith …


Google IO 2020 canceled, will not be hosted online

Sundar Pichai, Google CEO

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google’s big annual I / O developer conference is now completely canceled, Google said on Friday. On March 3, the company moved the event in person to an exclusively online affair over growing concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. But now those sessions are also canceled.

Facebook, Microsoft and Apple have all moved their similar developer events to the online-only state, but Google is the first to completely cancel it.

Due to concern for the health and safety of our developers, employees and local communities – and in line with the Bay Area local government’s “on-the-spot” requirements – unfortunately we will not hold an I / O event in any way this year, “Google said in a tweet.” Right now, the most important thing we can all do is focus our attention on helping people with the new challenges we all face. We will continue to do everything we can to help our communities stay safe, informed and connected. Please note that we are committed to sharing ongoing Android updates with you through our developer blogs and community forums. “

Google typically uses its I / O event to talk about updated software and sometimes even reveals new hardware products. Last year, Google talked about the update to Android, Google Search and Google Search, among other things. It also announced Nest Hub Max and Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL phones. At the beginning, several thousand people were expected.

Google should have announced the successors of those phones and probably could have used it to talk more deeply about the new features coming to Android 11, which launched to developers in beta in February. Google typically releases its new big version of Android for everyone in the fall, however, so it has plenty of time to offer smaller press conferences for product updates if it decides to do it instead of an online sketch event.


Apple MacBook Air 2020 review: the keyboard is fixed

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The MacBook Air is Apple’s most popular computer. Now there is a new model and Apple has sent me one to review. It might look the same as older models, but it does have some great updates.

The processors are now the best available from Intel, there is a lot of space on the entry-level model and, yes, Apple finally repaired the keyboard.

It is a difficult time to start a new computer. People are worried about the coronavirus and cannot go to the Apple Stores to play with the new models (they are closed indefinitely in the United States). They may also be concerned about where their next salary will come from.

But the terrible situation we are in now also means that millions of people work at home. Students and workers may need new computers powerful enough to do their job, keep them entertained at night and last as long as possible. So maybe Apple has an opportunity here.

The brand new MacBook Air is a great laptop, so put it at the top of your list.

Here’s what you need to know.

What’s good

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The MacBook Air has always been known to be super thin, light (weighing just 2.8 pounds) and powerful. Apple invented the super-thin laptop category with its first MacBook Air in 2008. The design of this model is relatively unchanged from the 2018/2019 versions, but Apple has made some important updates.

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple now offers 256 GB of storage in the $ 999 entry-level model. It’s double what you used to get, and it’s the right move as apps are getting bigger and Apple’s push for services the amount of content that people may want to download is increasing.

For example, Apple TV +, which is free for a year with most purchases of new Apple products, including Air, allows you to store movies and TV shows for viewing when you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection. Apple Arcade ($ 9.99 per month), offers many games to download.

Apple has also added Intel’s latest 10th generation Core processors, which offer faster Wi-Fi, better performance, faster photo rendering, and more. The entry-level model comes with a Core i3, but the model I tested included the more powerful Core i5 option, which is a $ 100 upgrade. It seemed fast enough for me and I didn’t see any slowdown while doing a lots of apps, like Apple TV +, many tabs in Chrome, Slack and photos simultaneously.

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Apple included a Core i5 chip in the $ 999 model but it told me that this Core i3 chip is a big update over the Core i5 2018, so most people should still see an increase in performance. But if you want a computer that will run modern apps for several years, you should at least consider getting the Core i5 model, just for a little bit of future and extra power. And speaking of power, while I was unable to test it without owning a 6K display, the MacBook Air 2020 is the first to support displays up to 6K, a nod to the new Intel Iris graphics included in all models.

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The speakers are fantastic, even if they are not quite as good as the stellar speakers on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which I reviewed last year. But you will like them: they are full, sound balanced and not too thin like most laptop speakers.

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The 13-inch Retina display is crisp and colorful and has the True Tone technology that Apple offers on the iPhone and some iPads. This wasn’t in my 2018 MacBook Air, but it was added to the MacBook Air update in 2019. It’s a pleasant update and looks more comfortable to look at, as whites balance so subtly according to your environment . It’s a feature that I love, and it’s a big hit if you come from a MacBook Air 2018, as I am.

I only had the new MacBook Air for about a day, so I’m still fiddling with the battery life to see how long it will last. It takes more than a day. But it seems to be good enough to spend most of the working day as long as it keeps the brightness at about half the maximum. Stay tuned for more information on battery life in a couple of days as I use it longer.

What about that keyboard?

I am happy to report that the new keyboard is a big improvement.

I have been using a 2018 MacBook Air for two years and, over time, it has started to crash due to the old butterfly design. The keyboard design is much more superficial and helped Apple create ultra-thin laptops, but in the end it was frustrating to type because the key presses weren’t always recording.

The scissor switch design in the new MacBook Air has a proven track record in other machines. It worked well in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and is based on the design of the popular Magic wireless keyboard that Apple sells as an accessory.

Just for a quick comparison, here’s the MacBook Air 2018. Note how the keyboard is it seems really similar:

The keys on the keyboard require some adaptation.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

But the new one is much more pleasant to write. The keys feel like they have more to give when you press down, and I was typing immediately with fewer typing errors.

So far they haven’t stuck on me. Furthermore, the problem has not occurred for about a year after I purchased my latest MacBook Air, so it will take longer before I know for sure how reliable it is.

What’s wrong

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The complaints I have about the MacBook Air 2020 are relatively minor.

The first is the same complaint I had with the MacBook Air 2018: the webcam is still only 720p. Okay, but not exceptional. I wish Apple would update it to at least 1080p for sharper video chats. It seems that space is there.

Also, I would like Apple to include Face ID on its computers. Microsoft supports “Windows Hello” on some Windows 10 computers, which includes the option to unlock some laptops just by looking at them, just like Face ID on an iPhone or iPad. The MacBook Air does not include this option, although the fingerprint reader works perfectly. Plus, it’s easy to set it up to unlock it if you’re nearby with an Apple Watch, which is nice.

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Buying a Mac gives you access to the entire Apple ecosystem, such as Messages, Apple News and Apple TV +. But some people prefer Windows over Mac OSX. If you’re not a Mac or don’t have a real preference between the two systems, there are some really nice Windows 10 laptops you should know.

The 13-inch HP Specter 360 2-in-1, for example, costs $ 1,299.99 and comes with a 512 GB drive and a Core i7 processor. It’s often on sale for $ 999 or less, but that same setup for a MacBook Air would cost you $ 1,449.00. Dell sells the XPS 13 2 in 1, another laptop that many reviewers like, with a Core i7 chip and 256 GB of storage for $ 1,399.99. These two laptops also function as so-called “2 in 1” computers that allow you to rotate the screen 360 degrees and support it in tent mode or use it as a tablet.

Should you buy it?

Apple MacBook Air 2020

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Yes. And it only took me one day to play with it to reach that conclusion.

Many people have asked me in recent months if they should “buy the MacBook Air or wait”. And I always said “wait”. The old model desperately needed a new keyboard.

It has finally arrived. This means that people who have the MacBook Air 2018, or even the 2019 model with the older keyboard, should seriously consider taking the new one. It’s only worth the processor bump, so there’s the new entry-level 256GB storage and a keyboard that you can actually write on. Add good speakers, solid display and light design and you will have the complete package.

Again, there areis several really good laptops available with Intel’s 10th generation chips. You may also want to look at the HP Specter X360 or Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 if you don’t need macOS. They are super nice.

But, if you are an Apple person, the new MacBook Air is the best laptop for most people.


Apple fined billions in France

Apple in Paris

In France, the US technology giant faces a fine of billions.

(Photo: dapd)

Paris The French competition authority has opposed Apple imposed a fine of a good EUR 1.1 billion for what they consider to be illegal distribution agreements. Apple had agreed with two wholesalers and thereby brought the market into line, said head of government Isabelle de Silva on Monday. In addition, the group ensured, among other things, through restrictive contractual clauses that devices from specialized Apple retailers were not sold cheaper than in its own stores. It is about various Apple products such as iPad tablets – but not about iPhones. Apple wants to file an objection.

For the French competition authority, Autorité de la Concurrence, this is the highest penalty ever against a single company. The two wholesalers Tech Data and Ingram Micro got away with significantly lower penalties of just under 63 and a good 76 million euros. The investigation triggered a complaint from Apple retailer eBizcuss in 2012. The company had withdrawn from France that year and is still active in Belgium.

Apple contested the allegations on Monday. The decision affects business practices that are over a decade old and contradicts more than 30 years of legal standards that all companies operating in France rely on.

Trading partners raise serious allegations

The competition authority denounced, among other things, that the role of the two wholesalers was reduced to the forwarding of quantities of items stipulated by Apple. There was no competition between them. Apple has set narrow limits for promotions at dealerships.

The agency quotes eBizcuss with the statement that Apple has asked Apple to increase prices if devices have been sold cheaper than the company itself. At the same time, Apple contractually prevented its specialized retailers from opening stores across Europe that sold exclusively competing brands.

Most recently, competition fines in Europe have cost billions Google get puffed up. The EU Commission accused the internet company of unfair competition for the Android smartphone system and the product search on its platform, among other things, and imposed fines totaling more than eight billion euros in three cases.

More: Apple on trial – A test case for EU tax rules


EU, Tech Firms renews the alert system to combat coronavirus disinformation

BRUSSELS – The European Union is re-launching an alliance formed last year with US technology companies to combat political disinformation online, now focused on false information about the coronavirus.

The European Commission, executive body of the blockade, has renewed a rapid alert system created with Facebook Inc., Google, Microsoft Corp., Twitter Inc. and Mozilla Corp. of Alphabet Inc. to ensure that measures against disinformation about the novel i coronaviruses are quickly shared with EU governments.


Apple says OK to clean iPhone with Clorox wipes

Apple has updated its website with instructions that say it’s OK to use disinfectant wipes to clean your iPhone and other Apple gadgets.

Previously, the Apple website advised against using cleaning products because they can sometimes damage the special coating on the screens which helps prevent fingerprints.

The change comes when more people try to keep their hands and phones free from germs, particularly as coronavirus spreads around the world.

By using a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfectant wipes, you can gently clean the hard and non-porous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other external surfaces, “says Apple’s website now.” Do not use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening and do not immerse the Apple product in detergents. Do not use on fabric or leather surfaces. “

The updated guidelines were first identified by the Wall Street Journal.

The indications are in line with what CNBC recommended last week in a guide on how to clean the phone to prevent the spread of germs. Here is a summary:

How to clean your iPhone

  • Turn off your iPhone.
  • If you are using a disinfectant cloth, gently wipe the hard surfaces with the cloth.
  • Make sure you don’t have any liquids in the charging port or other areas, such as speaker grilles.
  • If you do not have a disinfectant cleaner, consider using a soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Do not use paper towels or other products that could scratch the screen.
  • Do not spray cleaner directly on the phone or use anything with bleach.

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