By Cody Lee on Jul 15, 2014
Apple has launched a new service in Japan called iTunes Pass. The program is actually quite interesting, as it appears to allow customers to purchase iTunes Store credit from an Apple retail store, using Passbook instead of physical gift cards.
Users have long been able to store gift cards in Passbook, but we’ve never seen a direct-to-Passbook service like this, without the need to redeem a code. It almost looks like this could be a prequel to Apple’s oft-rumored mobile payment system… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jul 9, 2014
Folks in Japan may have noticed that newer Disney movies like Frozen and Thor: The Dark World have been unavailable for purchase in iTunes over the past few days. You could rent the titles, but the option to buy them had been removed.
Good news this morning though, as it looks like Disney has resumed iTunes sales in the country. Variety is reporting that the temporary halt was due to difficulties in negotiations over the renewal of the old contract between the two firms… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jun 12, 2014
Last night, Apple posted a video to its official YouTube channel showing off its newest retail store in Japan. The store is located in Omotesando, Tokyo, and it includes a brushed aluminum staircase and other unique architectural features.
Photos of the outside of the store surfaced in May, showing what appeared to be a power-saving green curtain of foliage draped down one wall. But this new video from Apple takes you on a brief virtual tour of the entire multi-floor building… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 30, 2014
Last week, Apple’s Lisa Jackson spoke at the Fortune Brainstorm Green conference about the company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. She noted that all of its data centers run on renewable energy, and it’s working toward a similar goal with its retail stores.
And today we get a glimpse of those efforts with photos of a new Apple Store in Tokyo, Japan. The store, which is expected to open next month, features an eco-friendly design with a curtain of thick vines on at least one wall that will help control the store’s climate… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 28, 2014
Apple just issued a press release, announcing that it will begin offering NTT DoCoMo versions of its iPad Air and Retina iPad mini in Japan next month. The carrier, which is the largest in the country, began offering the iPhone for the first time last fall.
The new iPads will be available for pre-order starting June 2, and will officially launch in retail stores a week later on June 10. Those interested in picking up one of the tablets can choose from a variety of purchase plans, some of which call for $0 down… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 14, 2014
According to a new report from Bloomberg, the iPhone now accounts for more than one-third of Japan’s mobile phone market. Citing data from MM Research Institute Ltd, the outlet says shipments for Apple’s smartphone jumped to 36.6% in the year-ended March.
That’s a sizable jump from the previous year, where the iPhone held some 25% of the market, and it’s all thanks to NTT Docomo. Last September, Apple inked a deal with the company—which is the largest carrier in Japan—to finally start officially offering its handset… Read More
By Cody Lee on May 1, 2014
Apple continues its international expansion of iTunes services this afternoon, with the launch of iTunes Match in Japan. iOS users in the country can now access the service, which first launched in the United States back in 2011.
For those unfamiliar with the service, iTunes Match allows users to ‘mirror’ their music libraries to the cloud. This enables them to access their songs from any compatible device, without having to spend hours uploading them… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 28, 2014
Apple is currently putting the finishing touches on its next-generation iPhone. And if the flurry of rumors and so-called insider reports are to be believed, the handset is going to feature an Ultra Retina display that will come in two sizes: 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch, among other improvements.
With that in mind, you can understand why this new 5.5-inch panel from Japan Display—a long time Apple supplier—is so interesting to us. Unveiled this week, the panel measures 5.5-inches and is of the Quad HD (aka WQHD) variety, with a resolution of 1,440 x 2,560 and a ppi of 538… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 27, 2014
Japanese news outlet Nikkei threw its weight behind a popular rumor today, reporting that Apple’s next-gen iPhone will come in both 4.7- and 5.5-inch models. The theory that the company is working on two new larger-sized handsets has been reiterated several times over the past 6 months.
Citing sources within Apple’s supply chain, Nikkei says that manufacturers have already begun making components for the new smartphones, like fingerprint sensors and chips for liquid-crystal drivers, and Sharp, Japan Display and LG will begin mass-producing their panels as early as April… Read More
By Cody Lee on Mar 13, 2014
During a television interview with Charlie Rose that aired this week, SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son told an interesting story of how he landed the iPhone in 2008. Apparently Son met with Steve Jobs two years before Apple launched the infamous handset to discuss…smartphones.
Son told Rose that he arranged a meeting with Jobs solely to show him a crude sketch of an iPod with mobile capabilities. Obviously, since the iPhone project was already well underway, Jobs didn’t need the drawing, but the meeting still spawned a relationship between the two… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Feb 20, 2014
Following a flurry of reports which criticized various security holes allowing hackers to break into people’s Apple ID accounts, Apple in March of 2013 finally stepped up account security by rolling out two-step verification for Apple IDs in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.
Two months later, the feature launched in nearly a dozen additional countries: Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland and Russia.
And now, as part of the third wave of expansion, the firm is enabling stronger account security for Apple ID users located in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy and Spain… Read More
By Cody Lee on Jan 9, 2014
As promised, Apple kicked its ‘Red Friday’ sales event off today in several Asian countries to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Unlike the recent Black Friday event it held here in the US, Apple is offering cash discounts on its products—not gift cards.
Also different is the fact that the Red Friday promotion includes price cuts on all current iPhone models and the new Retina iPad mini. Apple doesn’t usually discount its handsets, as they are extremely popular and provide (by far) the largest margins… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jan 2, 2014
As announced a week ago, Apple today kicked off its Lucky Bags promotion in Japan. The 36,000 yen (approximately $345 USD) mystery bags filled with randomly picked Apple products and third-party accessories are being offered today only to customers in select Apple retail stores across the 128 million people country.
Also known as Fukubukuro, or Mystery Bags, Japan’s annual New Year’s Day tradition entices shopper with grab bags containing unknown contents. Although buyers can’t tell what they’re actually getting until they look inside, these mystery bags contain a selection of products worth more than the value of the Lucky Bag.
Here’s what fans in Japan are finding in their Lucky Bags from Apple… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 26, 2013
Apple has confirmed that its retail stores in Japan will be kicking off the holiday ‘Lucky Bag’ promotion next Thursday, January 2, 2014. The country’s annual sales event is something of a local tradition and Apple has made sure to delight its loyal fans with mystery bags filled with randomly picked products.
These bags are discounted so the customer typically ends up paying less than the total combined value of the included goods. The trick is that shoppers can’t really tell what’s inside a bag until they have bought it… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 5, 2013
Google issued a major mid-August update to its free Search app for the iPhone and iPad with new Google Now cards for flights, reservations, package delivery information and more.
And last month, the firm followed up with another sweet update that implemented ‘OK Google’ hands-free voice control functionality, support for single sign-on, reminders, alerts for delayed flights and upcoming appointments/events and other perks.
This afternoon, the Internet giant pushed a minor update which expands international support to three new languages: French, German and Japanese… Read More