Apple screen supplier Japan Display could receive government bailout

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2016

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple supplier Japan Display could receive a bailout of around ¥75 billion ($703 million) from the government-backed fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), which is its largest shareholder with a 36 percent share.

People familiar with the matter said that the display maker might receive new financing from INCJ through an issuance of subordinated bonds and may possibly get “additional support” from the fund. Read More

 

Commuters struggling to register their train passes following Japan’s Apple Pay launch

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 25, 2016

Following its official launch in Japan, Apple Pay has experienced a rocky debut in the 127 million people market as commuters struggled to register their train passes onto iPhones for more than ten hours amid apparent system overload.

Many people in Japan use their rail passes that double as electronic money cards.

According to Bloomberg, the trouble started shortly after 9am in Tokyo as users began reporting issues adding their cards to Apple Pay. Read More

 

Apple Pay launches in Japan

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 24, 2016

Apple Pay today launched in Japan, one of Apple’s most important markets and home to population of 127 million souls. Marking its twelfth major market, Apple Pay permits Japanese customers to make private credit and prepaid card purchases in stores, online and in apps, plus commute and pay for everyday items with Suica from JR East.

To support the service, Apple today issued the free iOS 10.1 software update which has enabled support for transit directions in Japan to help users find ride details, including fare breakdowns that automatically show Suica pricing on their device. Read More

 

Apple Maps transit directions live for iOS 10.1 beta users in Japan ahead of launch

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 20, 2016

Apple is currently beta-testing the first major update to iOS 10 since its public release last month. Aside from a Portrait shooting mode for iPhone 7 Plus owners and a new toggle in Settings to allow Messages animations when Reduce Motion is enabled, the software update should bring official support for transit directions in Japan within the stock Maps application, Japanese blog Ata Distance said today. Read More

 

Tim Cook says Apple wants to use AI to boost iPhone battery life

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 17, 2016

Apple’s boss Tim Cook traveled around Japan on a bullet train last week as part of his whirlwind tour of the country, his first visit since becoming CEO.

Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook expressed hope that Apple Pay will help realize a cashless society and hinted that the company’s new research and development center in Yokohama, near Tokyo, would be “very different” from its Chinese R&D center as it would explore “deep engineering”.

He then said that Apple wants to use artificial intelligence to turbo charge the iPhone battery life. Read More

 

Tim Cook meets Nintendo’s games designer Shigeru Miyamoto during Japan visit

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 14, 2016

Apple’s boss Tim Cook met Nintendo’s legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto during a recent whirlwind tour of Japan.

As part of his itinerary, he also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and confirmed an upcoming technology center in Yokohama.

During the trip, Cook tweeted out a “good morning” message in Japanese and posted two images, one with Miyamoto and the other acknowledging that he had used Apple Pay to ride Japan’s famous Yamanote transit line. Read More

 

Spotify expands in the Japanese market

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2016

Spotify, the top music streaming service, today launched in Japan, the world’s third-largest economy by nominal GDP and home to population of 127 million people. The company announced at a press event in Tokyo that the service is currently available to music lovers in Japan on an invite-only basis before opening to all users. The service launched on mobile, tablet, desktop and PlayStation consoles. Read More

 

iTunes carrier billing expands in Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2016

Following initial launch of iTunes carrier billing in Russia with Telefonica’s O2 and in Germany with VimpelCom’s Beeline unit nearly a year ago, Apple has now brought this alternative option to customers in Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland, according to reports from CNBC and Mashable.

Carrier billing lets customers without access to credit or gift cards have their app and media purchases charged directly to their monthly mobile phone bill or deducted from their prepaid amount. Read More

 

Japan’s SoftBank is buying iPhone CPU supplier ARM for a reported $32 billion

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2016

Japan’s carrier SoftBank has announced it will be purchasing British fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings plc for a reported $32 billion, which is around a 43 percent premium on its closing market value of $22.25 billion on Friday. ARM confirmed the deal (PDF download) on Monday.

According to the statement, ARM’s board is expected to recommend shareholders accept the offer. Apple is an investor in ARM and licenses its technology as a basis for custom CPU designs for its own A-series chips which power iOS devices. Read More

 

Mittomo, Nintendo’s first app designed for iOS devices, hits US App Store

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 31, 2016

As promised, Japanese gaming giant Nintendo today released its first app designed for iOS devices, Miitomo, in the App Store in the United States and elsewhere following a recent soft-launch in the Japanese App Store.

The free-to-play title lets you customize your Mii avatars by mixing and matching from various costumes and styles. You can share your Miis with friends on social media and discover things that you share in common by engaging in conversations. Read More

 

Miitomo, Nintendo’s first iOS game, launches in US and other countries this Thursday

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 29, 2016

Following its soft-launch in Japan, Nintendo’s first mobile game for iOS and Android, Miitomo, will be hitting the United States and other countries this coming Thursday, March 31, the Japanese gaming giant announced in a media release issued this morning. A free-to-start social experience, Miitomo lets users spark one-of-a-kind conversations with friends in a whole new way using Mii characters, which first appeared on Nintendo’s original Wii console.

The game was downloaded more than one million times in its first three days of availability in Japan, becoming the top free app on the Japanese App Store. Read More

 

Miitomo, Nintendo’s first smartphone game, soft-launches in the App Store

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 17, 2016

As promised, Miitomo, Nintendo’s very first smartphone game, on Thursday released on the Japanese App Store ahead of its worldwide debut.

The freemium title, billed as “a friendly conversation starter,” is based on the Mii universe and invites gamers to customize their Mii avatars by mixing and matching from a bunch of costumes and styles to make it their own.

Your Mii characters created in the iOS app can then be easily shared with friends on social media. And by asking and answering questions, you can find out unknown aspects about your friends along with things that you share in common. “Your friends’ Mii characters will also visit you when you play,” said Nintendo. Read More

 

Apple Stores in Japan are now offering iPhone screen protector installation service

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 5, 2016

As first noted by MacOtakara, employees of Apple Stores in Japan have now received specialized Belkin tools to install screen protectors on iPhones in-store, though it’s unclear if this iPhone screen protector installation service might soon expand to other Apple Stores around the world.

Using Belkin’s TrueClear Pro device, store employees are able to apply a screen protector in a straightforward and easy manner. Prices range from 2,180 yen to 4,280 yen, depending on material and device size, which works out to about $19 to $37. Read More

 

Using Apple Music with a foreign Apple ID can open up a wealth of interesting new music

By Jeff Benjamin on Oct 4, 2015

As many of you guys know, I have an interesting taste in music. I like old-school R&B, a smattering of rap, love some 90’s alternative, and am really into EDM. I grew up listening to the likes of Phil Collins, Olivia Newton John, The Police, Michael Jackson, Oasis, Run DMC, The Cranberries, The Fat Boys, Nirvana, and many others. Needless to say, my taste in music can be pretty random at times.

One of my guiltiest pleasures when it comes to music genres is without a doubt Japanese pop music. Actually, I no longer feel guilty about it at all, I downright love Japanese pop, or J-Pop as it’s better known as. I’ve been listening to J-Pop since the late 90’s, starting with the likes of Hikaru Utada, m-flo, Ayumi Hamasaki, and other, more obscure J-Pop artists.

One of the downsides to liking foreign music like J-Pop, is that it can be difficult to find. You’ll find a smattering of it on services like Spotify, but it’s usually music that has already been sold or localized for the States. Of course, one can always import a CD, but CDs are ridiculously expensive in Japan, so that’s not really an option for me. Plus, who wants CDs nowadays anyway?

Streaming music is where it’s at, and it presents the perfect opportunity for finding different types of music from other countries. I’ve found that Apple does a pretty good job with this already. I’ve been able to find music that I’ve never been able to find on other streaming services. That said, it’s still painfully obvious that a large divide exists, and J-Pop and other foreign music is more or less hard to come by.

The thing is, the music is already there, it’s just restricted to accounts for certain regions. But it is possible to get around these restrictions if you’re willing to make some compromises… Read More

 

Apple Maps Flyover coverage expands to new locales in France, Germany, Japan and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Apple has added a bunch of new cities and landmarks around the world to its three-dimensional Flyover views in Maps. The new locales in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Australia, Mexico and the United States are now available in Apple Maps on both iOS and OS X platforms. Read More

 

Japanese manufacturers banding together to secure more iPhone orders

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 1, 2015

Though designed in California, the vast majority of Apple’s products are being assembled in China using parts predominantly provided by the vast network of suppliers from Taiwan.

But that may be changing now as Japanese manufacturers are reportedly making a concerted effort to secure more iPhone orders from Apple, according to DigiTimes on Monday.

Citing industry sources, the trade publication claims that Japan-based printed circuit board manufacturer Ibiden has bolstered up its manufacturing capacity as it hopes to solicit more orders from Apple. Read More

 

Apple-IBM partnership provides iPads to elderly via Japan Post Group tie-up

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 30, 2015

Apple on Thursday announced in a press release a move that will see the firm partner up with Japan Post Group to deliver iPads to the country’s growing population of elderly citizens over age 65.

Billed as a first-of-its-kind initiative, it’ll provide iPads to millions of senior citizens after Japan Post Group piloted iPads and apps custom developed for the elderly earlier this year.

These iPads come preloaded with IBM-developed apps and analytics to connect people with services, healthcare, community and their families. The staggered release will see between four and five million Japanese customers get their iPads by 2020. Read More

 

Apple building futuristic looking technology center in Yokohama, Japan

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 25, 2015

Apple is building a futuristic looking, large-scale technology development center in Yokohama, Japan, home to nearly four million people, reports the NHK News website. The city of Yokohama held a press conference today to announce the project.

City officials have even provided renderings depicting the scope of the project and Apple’s unusual design for a massive, environment friendly R&D building. Read More

 

Twitter to start selling ads outside of Twitter, starting with Flipboard and Yahoo Japan

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 3, 2015

Twitter, the popular micro-blogging platform, said on Tuesday that it will be pursuing ads outside of Twitter for the first time, with plans to sell Promoted Tweets on the popular news reader app Flipboard as well as on the Yahoo Japan website.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the company will permit advertisers who are already buying ads on the service to start running Promoted Tweet ad units on other people’s apps and sites that display tweets, with undisclosed revenue sharing between Twitter and partner websites/apps. Read More

 

Here’s a look at Apple Japan’s 2015 ‘Lucky Bags’

By Jake Smith on Jan 1, 2015

Apple kicked off its 2015 annual “Lucky Bag” promotion in Japan on Thursday, giving customers big discounts on Apple products and accessories. A “Lucky Bag” is a Japanese New Year tradition, also known as a Fukubukuro, that offers a bag for a set price filled with unknown random items, sold for a discount. Read More

 
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