Rumour: Apple Pay set for 18 October launch

Apple Pay, the company's new payments service, could launch on 18 October, according to a leaked memo sent to Walgreens employees.

Walgreens, a popular US drug store, has already been confirmed as one of Apple Pay's major launch partners and a note sent round to its staff, and reported by MacRumors, suggests that the service could be available before the end of the week.

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A Saturday launch would be unusual, but it has been suggested that it would give consumers more time to try the service as it is primarily designed for in-store shopping. It is also possible that the platform will launch at Apple's 16 October iPad event, with Walgreens support coming a couple of days later.

The Cupertino-based firm is expected to reveal a new iPad Air, Retina iMacs, and the final preview of OS X Yosemite during the event, so it wouldn't be a surprise if it announced the launch of Apple Pay as well.

Aside from Walgreens, a number of other major brands have already announced support for the upcoming e-payments service including McDonalds, Macy's and Staples.

Apple fans trying to nail down the release date of the payments platform also had to contend with the news earlier this week that the USAA said it would be supporting Apple Pay from the 7 November. However, it is thought that the USAA and other banks will support the service at different times after the launch.

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If Apple Pay does launch at the end of the week, iPhone 6 users will have two reasons to get excited as it means they'll also be receiving the iOS 8.1 update required to activate the service.