Self-Checkout with EasyPay

One of the most frustrating aspects of shopping in a brick and mortar store, is perhaps the waiting. Queuing for the checkout registers is one of the most annoying parts. Especially when the person at the head of the queue is asking a handful of questions, and you only have one thing you want to buy and take away.

Several months ago, Apple introduced the idea of ‘EasyPay’, where you get to be your own self checkout; take out your iPhone and you can scan and pay for accessories yourself. Great if you know exactly what you’re after, have no questions, and you just want to get there and then go.

First up, you’re going to need to install the Apple Store app; this works on the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad if you’ve got a camera.
You also need to have location services enabled if you’ve turned them off, and you need to connect to the ‘Apple Store’ WiFi network.
This is how Apple can verify you are actually at the Apple Store!

Upon opening the app, you should see ¬†the store you’re in displayed;

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Unlocking your iPhone

Since there doesn’t seem to be an easy and straight through guide for unlocking your iPhone, thought I’d quickly throw something together.

Unlocking your iPhone is great. It allows you to put in other carrier’s SIM cards. This is great if your telco isn’t cutting it and wish to move networks and keep your phone. It’s also handy for when you travel; picking up an international SIM is much cheaper than using your local SIM card and then roaming overseas. Oh, and it increases the resale value; anybody on any carrier in the world can use it now!

Around the world, most telcos will allow you to unlock your iPhone. Here in Australia, all telcos will unlock a post-paid iPhone for free. If you’ve picked up an iPhone (3GS) prepaid, you’ll have to cough up an unlocking fee. Overseas, companies such as AT&T will only unlock your phone when you’re at the end of your contract (officially). Apple has a list of carriers that will unlock your iPhone on their website.

If you contact your carrier today, chances are they’ll tell you it may take a few days (up to 72 hours) for things to happen, and at that point you need to connect to iTunes and restore.¬†However, as of iOS 5, and the new PC-free initiative and methods, unlocking has become much easier. There’s no need to do a great big backup, and then restore just to unlock your phone.

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Checking out with Google Wallet

One of the coolest (and hence, most hyped) uses of NFC would have to be the use of it for contactless payments.Just like your MasterCard or Visa card with PayPass or payWave.

The most widely known example of using your phone as your wallet is probably Google’s Wallet app. After installing it on your Android phone, you’re all set to tap away.

But the problem with Google Wallet is that Google wants to control the whole experience, so you can only install it officially on a handful of devices, has only integrated tightly with Citibank, and so only a handful of customers can actually use Google Wallet.

Thanks to the internet however, it’s possible to shoehorn Google Wallet on to devices that aren’t ‘technically’ supported and tap away.

Since grabbing my Galaxy Nexus, Wallet was one of the most exciting things I was looking forward to trying, and surprisingly getting it going wasn’t much effort at all.

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Looking at iMessage number merging

iMessage is probably one of the most notable and widely used new features that Apple introduced with iOS 5. ‘Free’ messaging to anyone else with an iOS device without having to think. But it was fiddly; it required effort to set things up to get them as Apple described; the ability to sync messages and pick up where you left off on your other iOS device (and now, your Mac).

There was also that bug where an iPhone could continue to receive messages for a number associated with a SIM card… that wasn’t even inside the phone anymore.

iOS 6 finally attempts to fix both of these annoyances.

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