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Screenshot by Axios

Apple is finally rolling out peer-to-peer payments as part of its update to iOS 11, the company announced on Monday at its annual developer conference in San Jose. The feature is part of Apple Pay, the tech giant's digital payments service, and can be accessed via iMessage, making it easy to send money right from a chat conversation with another user.

Taking on the competition: The much-rumored feature puts Apple in direct competition with services like PayPal's Venmo app and Square's Cash. Apple Pay, which is already available as an alternative to credit cards for paying in store and online, has been steadily growing in popularity, so its new peer-to-peer feature is sure to make existing competitors nervous. With that said, the feature only works for Apple Pay users, so people will won't be able to use it for payments to or from Android users.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

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