Russia

Spotify could finally turn a profit in 2017, expand to China, Russia & South Korea

Apple Music rival Spotify could finally turn a profit in 2107, one of its board members told the media Thursday. Asked if the Swedish music service could become profitable soon, Par-Jorgen Parson, one of Spotify’s first investors, told Reuters that it was “absolutely” the case.

Spotify currently operates in 60 markets and has more than 40 million paid subscribers. Apple Music is available in 115 markets and has 17 million paying customers and over 30 million songs in its catalog.

Apple Pay launches in Russia

Apple’s mobile payments service has officially launched in Russia, marking the tenth country where Apple Pay is now available. According to Reuters this morning, the service is available with support from MasterCard and Moscow-based Sberbank at launch. Users can add their credit or debit card to Apple Pay via the Wallet app on their iPhone or set up Apple Pay directly in the Sberbank Online mobile app.

Apple may be forced to open a center for iOS device repair in Russia to avoid lawsuits

Following a lawsuit filed against Apple last June by iPhone owner Dmitry Petrov, which alleged that the Cupertino firm had failed to provide proper product support in Russia because its resellers and chain stores lacked the proper equipment to repair smashed displays, Apple could reportedly be planning to open a full-fledged center for iOS device repairs in the country to avoid future lawsuits.

It is not known when Apple’s centralized repair center will open, but it will reportedly be “big and expensive”. According to a report by The Moscow Times, one unidentified employee of an Apple partnership corporation told Vedomosti that “he believes it will cost between $1 and $2 million.”

Apple launches carrier billing in Russia with Beeline

As it turns out, Apple has finally begun rolling out a new carrier billing option in emerging markets, starting with Russia. TechCrunch reported yesterday that Beeline, a mobile carrier in Russia, has now turned on the ability to make payments in iTunes through their billing system.

Carrier billing joins existing payment methods accepted on the App Store, iTunes Store and iBooks Store and was designed to allow customers to have app and media purchases and Apple Music subscriptions charged to their monthly mobile phone bill, or deducted from their prepaid amount.

Apple Watch goes on sale in New Zealand, Russia and Turkey

Earlier this morning at 7:01am local time, Apple’s wrist-worn device went on sale in three new markets: New Zealand, Russia and Turkey. The Apple Watch is available through the Apple Online Store in New Zealand, Russia and Turkey, in addition to select non-Apple locations.

In Turkey, for example, the device is also available via company-woned brick-and-mortar stores at the Zorlu Center and Akasya Shopping Center in Istanbul. In Russia, the Apple Watch is available for walk-in customers at iPort, Re:Store and C-store outlets. And in New Zealand, the Apple Watch can be purchased in select Apple Stores.

Apple Watch hitting Apple Online Store in New Zealand, Russia and Turkey on July 31

Apple on Tuesday announced a fourth wave of Apple Watch expansion as the device is scheduled to launch in New Zealand, Russia and Turkey on Friday, July 31. The wrist-worn gizmo will be available in these countries from 7:01am local time via the Apple Online Store.

Customers in Turkey will also have the option of picking up their watch in one of Apple’s brick-and-mortar stores at the Zorlu Center and Akasya Shopping Center in Istanbul, as first noted by MacRumors.

Apple said to be planning early international rollout of streaming music service

Russia is going to be among the first countries where Apple will launch its revamped Beats Music service, according to Billboard. The publication points to a report from local outlet Vedomosti, who cites several sources claiming that the company is in negotiations with Russian record labels regarding the service.

The fact that Apple is eyeing Russia for an early streaming music launch isn’t alone significant—its slowing economy and struggling ruble have deterred other services like Spotify from entering the countries—but what is interesting is that it sounds like the company is planning on a quick international rollout.

Apple expands CarPlay to 5 new countries

Apple on Thursday announced that it has expanded CarPlay availability to 5 new countries, including Russia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. This brings the total amount of CarPlay countries to 25.

Folks in these countries now have the ability to use Apple’s hands-free display-streaming feature with compatible vehicle models and head units, as long as they have an iPhone 5 or newer, running iOS 7.1 or later firmware.

Russian Online Store back for business with pricier products

After being offline for six days straight, the Russia Online Apple Store went back online Monday with expectedly higher price points for the latest iPhones and other products as a direct result of the country’s collapsing ruble currency.

The latest iPhone 6, for example, is now a whopping 54 percent pricier compared to Apple’s previous asking prices before the store went offline and will now set would-be shoppers 53,990 rubles for an entry-level model with sixteen gigabytes of storage, which works out to about $984 off-contract and excluding taxes.

Apps get pricier in Russia over collapsing ruble

Apple is increasing App Store prices in Russia over the plummeting ruble, the basic monetary unit of the 145 million people country and some other former republics of the USSR, reports 9to5Mac.

So after halting online sales due to the fluctuating currency, now Apple’s virtual store is feeling the repercussions of Russia’s troubled economy.

Russian ruble, and consequentially the country’s economy as a whole, have stagnated for months now due to the falling price of oil and economic sanctions imposed by EU and USA over President Putin’s annexation of Crimea.

Apple halts online sales in Russia due to ‘extreme’ currency fluctuations

Apple has halted all online sales in Russia this morning, due to “extreme” fluctuations in the country’s ruble currency, reports Bloomberg. Spokesman Alan Hely told the outlet that the company has decided to shutter the store while it “reviews pricing,” and it “apologizes to customers for any inconvenience.”

The Russian economy has been in trouble for months, but things have gotten significantly worse in recent days due in large part to the falling price of oil and economic sanctions. The ruble has plummeted a staggering 19% within the last 24 hours—the worst single day drop for the currency in the last 16 years.

Russia asks Apple for source code to alleviate espionage concerns

Russia’s Ministry of Communications and Mass Media has suggested that Apple, along with German tech giant SAP, open the source code for its software to ensure that it’s not enabling US intelligence agencies to spy on the country.

The request comes just a week after a security researcher accused Apple of building surveillance backdoors into iOS, and as the United States and Europe expand their sanctions on Moscow over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine affairs…