GoCardless the company that is revolutionising on-line payments has just released its Paylinks system. This allows anyone with a UK bank account to receive payments through a website. It is a very simple sign-up process that asks for an email/password and then a driving license or passport number and address/date of birth etc. Then back account details. You get a confirmation email and that it everything is done. The PayLinks site then prompts for an amount, whether it's a single payment or recurring (weekly, monthly, annually) and then it generates a unique URL that can be added to a site. Anyone clicking on the link will be prompted for their details and that's it a payment is made to the GoCardless user's account. GoCardless will hold payments for 7 days to ensure that nothing dubious is going on (probably earning interest for them too). GoCardless only charge 1% of the transaction or £2.00 whichever is less. GoCardless already offer what amounts to direct debit payments for merchants (i.e. no credit cards requited, just bank details) and this will just add to their disruptiveness and other payment providers must be quaking in their boots.
Plessey Semiconductor have announced the release of an ultra low-cost version of their EPIC sensor for consumer applications (the PS25451). The chip is being aimed at consumer devices such as interactive toys, computer games, TVs, monitors and such like. The chips detect variance in the electronic potential in vicinity of the sensor and can detect the presence (or disappearance) of people. Thus can be used to automatically switch on lights or even detect multiple people for computer games. The original EPIC sensor used titanium dioxide electrodes which are expensive, but can be used in medical applications. These have been replaced by a novel cheaper electrode for the consumer device. It will cost under $1 in 50,000 units.
Apple forces all iOS developers to use Apple's payment systems inside any iOS app and disallow the use any other method for in-app purchases. If Apple finds apps using 3rd party payment systems they will reject the app or remove it from the app store if it's already there. This has recently happened to app developer Vemedio who's Instacast app (an iOS podcasting aggregator) added Flattr support in Feb 2012 and auto-Flattr later allowing users to automatically donate to podcasts after they were playing and the update was rejected. On May 24th Apple forced Vemedio to remove Flattr support completely. The only way for apps to use 3rd party payment systems is to direct them to a website via Safari where payments can be made. Apple acknowledge that this may not provide the easiest flow for the user (as they have to leave the app, do whatever they need to do on a website, then return to the app), but it's the only way to ensure compliance. Flattr are in discussion with Apple to see if there is a solution that will satisfy Apple.
On Monday 28th May 2012 LG announced its new 5 inch display that will handle full HD at 1080p (1920 x 1080) at 440 pixels per inch (ppi). This improves on the iPhone's display which is 326ppi. The panel uses a technology known as Advanced Hi Performance In-Plane SwitchinG (AH-IPS) that is meant to support a wide viewing angle, lower power consumption and brighter light transmission which means it can be used outside. This just means that Apple's competitors can now provide great display s on their devices, though other technologies are sure to come out further increasing ppi, further decreasing power consumption and increasing brightness.