Find out the week’s top mobile stories from around the world.

This week.. Apple wants to start making everything from recycled materials, Rural Indian women lag far behind urban counterparts in mobile phone usage, WeChat sees bigger spenders as China goes cashless and much more…

Apple wants to stop mining and start making everything from recycled materials

ars Technica

Today Apple released its Environmental Responsibility Report (PDF) for the 2016 fiscal year, detailing the progress of the company’s environmental initiatives and laying out some of its goals for the future.

Apple remains committed to reducing its carbon footprint (down 23 percent from 2015), pushing its suppliers to use renewable energy (96 percent of Apple’s own global facilities are renewable energy-powered), investing in wind and solar power, and in reducing the energy used to create its products and the energy the products themselves use.

The report also talks at length about Apple Park (née spaceship), which it calls “the greenest corporate headquarters on the planet.”

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Rural Indian women are lagging far behind their urban counterparts in mobile phone usage

Quartz

In India, less than 46% of women own and use a mobile phone, according to the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS) dated 2015-16.

This has had the effect of limiting independence for many women, as well as access to opportunities, and the problem is worse when the data is examined more closely. In urbanized centers, 62% of women use their own handsets, but in rural regions the figure is under 37%.

This stark discrepancy doesn’t exist in countries like the US, where rural and urban cellphone penetration is on par at close to 95% for both.

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WeChat sees bigger spenders as China goes cashless

Tech in Asia

China’s smartphone owners are way ahead of everyone else on the planet when it comes to paying for things with their phones.

How pervasive is that in every day life? Well, 45 percent of WeChat users pay for things in stores using the messaging app’s wallet feature because they don’t even carry cash. That’s according to a new survey out today from Penguin Intelligence.

Not bothering to carry cash is the third reason cited for using WeChat to pay for their Starbucks or the groceries – the speed and ease being the top two factors.

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WorldRemit partners Tigo Money for mobile transfers to El Salvador and Guatemala

Tech Crunch

Leading digital money transfer service WorldRemit announced today it has partnered with Millicom’s subsidiaries Tigo Money to open up new remittance routes to El Salvador and Guatemala, enabling Salvadorans and Guatemalans abroad to send money transfers instantly to more than one and a half million Tigo Money users in those countries, directly from the WorldRemit app.

Tigo Money is a leading provider of mobile financial services for customers across Latin America and is today the largest bill payments platform in El Salvador. There is one Tigo Money transaction per second in El Salvador, of which international remittances make a significant contribution. In Guatemala, Tigo Money covers 92% of the total territory, becoming the second largest physical distribution network in the country.

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No queues, no checkout – just technology: The future of retail is here

Information Age

Just like a love for tea and fish and chips, Brits have long been associated with the ability to ‘form an orderly queue’ in any situation. But is it still true? While admittedly the stereotype will continue to live on, developments in technology, for example, are shifting our appreciation of a good queue – a recent study found consumers are no longer willing to wait in line for more than six minutes.

Coupled with the rise of online shopping and an increase in market competition, today’s consumer is now more impatient than ever before. This poses a conundrum for the modern retailer as they are pushed to deliver both a time-effective yet personal experience for its customers just to remain relevant.

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AT&T Takes Heat over Its 5G Evolution Network

CIO Today

When is 5G not really 5G? When it comes from AT&T, apparently. The Internet is giving the carrier serious grief today over its claims that the latest improvements to its 4G network constitutes the launch of the nation’s first 5G network.The statement the company posted yesterday is both short and light on details, making it difficult to understand what AT&T is really offering customers.

The announcement suggests that some customers using certain equipment in certain markets will be able to access download speeds up to twice as fast as what is currently available through its 4G LTE service.

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LinkedIn Apologizes After Privacy Snafu

Info Security Magazine

LinkedIn has apologized after its latest iOS update prompted some users to OK a new feature designed to connect them to nearby strangers within Bluetooth range.

The privacy snafu was spotted by Trend Micro VP of global research, Rik Ferguson, who claimed the update was described by LinkedIn merely as containing “general bug fixes and performance improvements.”

Replying to his post on Twitter, several other users claimed to have been presented with the same pop-up following their download of the update.

It read: “LinkedIn would like to make data available to nearby Bluetooth devices even when you’re not using the app. We will help you connect with others that are nearby.”

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Hongkongers at home with mobile shopping

Enterprise Innovation

Mobile shopping in Hong Kong and has now become a vital part of local consumers’ online purchasing habits, with more than two in every five of them having made purchases via their mobile device in the last three months, according to the latest Mastercard Online Shopping Survey.

The survey was carried out across fourteen markets in Asia Pacific — Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore,   South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. A total of 8,738 consumers were polled online in November 2016.

Results show that well over three quarters (80%) regarded security of payment facility as a key consideration when shopping online.

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Propel raises $4M to make the social safety net more tech savvy and user friendly

Tech Crunch

Some big names are making an investment in food stamps — specifically in Propel, a startup that helps food stamp recipients manage their benefits.

Propel is announcing that it has raised $4 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Omidyar Network, Kevin Durant’s The Durant Company and Max Levchin’s SciFi VC, as well as previous investors Jay Borenstein, WinWin and the Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation.

“We’re excited to prove that venture-backed startups can responsibly address social issues, too,” founder and CEO Jimmy Chen told me via email. “In our business model, the best way to amplify our impact is to grow our business, by getting more users on the platform or by finding them more savings on groceries.”

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The Future of Cybersecurity is Mobile

Huffington Post

It’s no secret that technology has advanced over the past 20 years. Not only are we able to do more with our devices, they’ve also become more ubiquitous. Seventy-seven percent of adults in the U.S. own a smartphone, while 51 percent own a tablet. These are record numbers, and as technology continues to evolve, the amount of time we’re spending on our phones is only going to increase. Additional research from HootSuite found that active mobile social users increased by 581 million from 2016 to 2017, a rise of 30 percent. Don’t expect that increase to slow down anytime soon.

However, with this increased usage comes the increased potential for threats. We’re now seeing viruses and malware infecting phones. Think about how often we use our smart devices and the information we input into apps, emails and notes. Our devices hold plenty of data that’s valuable for cybercriminals. It’s more critical than ever to consider mobile cybersecurity, and there are several areas to focus on to help secure your mobile device.

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