Review: Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is the best iPhone speakerphone you can fit in your pocket

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini Black (3D View) 02

The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide StereoRead more

Apple Pay already works abroad on supported NFC terminals w/ US-based cards

Following yesterday’s launch of Apple Pay through participating card issuers, banks and retailers in the US, some users have discovered that the payment service is also already being accepted through some retailers abroad. 9to5Mac readers report using Apple Pay loaded with a US-based credit card at retailers in Australia and Canada… Read more

Apple issues 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report, highlights its significant advances in clean energy usage

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Apple updated its Environmental Initiatives website and has issued its 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report today. Today’s update fulfills a promise from Earth Day in which Apple said that it would more frequently update consumers on its environmental progress. Apple has always been focused on the environment, but it has pushed its attention to new levels with the hire of former EPA head Lisa Jackson last year.

Today’s report has several updates. First, Apple says that it will now be providing carbon emissions data to the Carbon Disclosure Project at the request of shareholders. Apple says that it has made this data public for the past 6 years, but today’s change is the planned submissions to the aforementioned CDP. Apple also announced that it has re-calculated its 2012 emissions data and has found that its carbon footprint actually shrank (for the first time) 3% between 2012 and 2013:

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Strong iPhone 5s sales sees Apple gain market share in Japan, Australia, UK, France & Spain

kantar

Kantar data showed that Apple saw its smartphone market share rise in five out of nine countries surveyed “primarily due to the strong performance of the iPhone 5s.”

The iPhone gained market share in Japan, Australia, UK, France and Spain, with its strongest growth in Japan, where first quarter market share grew by 8.6 percent, from 49 percent in 2013 ro 57.6 percent in 2014. Apple’s success in the country followed a deal with Japan’s largest wireless carrier, DoCoMo.

Japan’s love affair with Apple shows no sign of fading. Even though the iPhone has now been available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for a number of months Apple still accounts for more than 40% of sales on the network. The success of the iPhone is also filtering through to the iPad, with almost a quarter of Japanese iPhone owners also owning an iPad. With smartphone penetration in Japan lagging well behind Europe and the US, Japan will remain a key growth market for Apple …

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Apple meeting with UK ad agencies in preparation for iTunes Radio rollout

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Apple appears to be readying for an UK iTunes Radio launch in the near future. As indicated by this tweet, Apple’s director of iAd Paul Wright has recently been visiting media marketing agencies to discuss iAd in relation to iTunes Radio.

Bloomberg said that Apple was planning to launch in the UK in ‘early 2014′ last October, but so far this has not happened several months into 2014. Although many people have seen iTunes Radio sporadically appear on their devices in recent months, it is has only officially expanded to Australia beyond the US launch alongside iOS 7.

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Apple under fire for Australian profit-shifting scheme that moved $9 billion in untaxed profit to Ireland

Image of CFO Oppenheimer and CEO Cook

Image of CFO Oppenheimer and CEO Cook

Following the announcement that Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer will be retiring in September, the Australian Financial Review has uncovered evidence of a scheme that it says has allowed Apple to move around $9 billion in untaxed Aussie profit to Ireland. The program has allowed Apple to get away with paying only $200 million in taxes on $8.9 billion in profit over the past ten years or so.

Here’s how the whole thing works: Apple has created an Ireland-based company known as Apple Sales International which contributes money toward the research and development budget in Cupertino. This allows the company to legally claim an economic stake in these products and gives ASI partial ownership of the intellectual properties that comprise Apple’s products.

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Apple’s iTunes Radio launches internationally, starting with Australia

iTunes Radio

Apple has finally taken its iTunes Radio streaming music service internationally: starting with Australia. The service, which launched in the United States late last year, works on iPads, iPhones, iPods running iOS 7, the Apple TV, and on iTunes 11 on the Mac or PC.

Apple® today announced iTunes Radio™ is now available to music fans in Australia. iTunes Radio is a free Internet radio service featuring over 100 stations and an incredible catalog of music from the iTunes Store®, combined with features only iTunes® can deliver. When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac®, PC or Apple TV®, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized just for you. iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes. iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive “First Play” premieres from top selling artists, plus the ability to tag or buy anything you hear with just one click.

Like in the United States, iTunes Radio in Australia is supported by advertisements. However, iTunes Match subscribers can listen to iTunes Radio without ads. Apple is yet to announce any other international iTunes Radio countries, but evidence and reports suggest that Canada, New Zealand, and some European countries will be gaining the feature soon.

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New flagship Apple Store in Brisbane, Australia set for Jan. 17th opening

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Apple has announced on its retail website that the forthcoming flagship Apple Store in Brisbane, Australia will have its grand opening on Friday, January 17th. The store will open at 10 AM on that date, with regular business hours beginning at 9 AM Monday through Saturday. The store will always open up at 10 AM on Sundays. The closing hours are shown in the image above from the store’s official website. Late last year, Apple teased the opening of this store with a Twitter hashtag and colorful barricades.

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Watchdog group forces Apple to change Australian refund policy, review two years of possible violations

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a business competition watchdog organization, has forced Apple to make modifications to its refund policy in order to comply with consumer protection legislation, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. According to the group, Apple misled customers with regard to what types of refund or repair they were entitled to.

According to the claims, the U.S.-based company did not provide customers with sufficient compensation for faulty devices to comply with Australian law. Now Apple has been forced to re-evaluate its practices and will have to re-examine countless potential violations that took place over the past two years. Failure to comply with the new policy could result in a massive class-action lawsuit against Apple.

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Apple increases Mac mini pricing in multiple countries

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Alongside the new iMacs, Apple has silently raised the prices of all Mac mini models in both Australia and Brazil. In Australia, the prices were formerly A$699 and A$899 for the standard configurations, and the Mac mini Server model was priced at A$ 1,099.00. Now, the machines are priced at A$749, A$999, and A$1249, respectively.

Here are the new prices in Brazil (up R$ 300, 400, and 500 respectively):

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The prices for the Mac mini have also been raised in Portugal and Malaysia, multiple tipsters have noticed.

These are notable price increases, but it is unclear if there is reasoning for the change beyond standard currency fluctuations. The iMacs pricing was also tweaked when it was updated yesterday, but the Mac mini has not been altered. No other Mac prices in Australia nor Brazil have changed.

The Mac mini is presumably due for a hardware update with 802.11ac WiFi, new Fusion Drive options, and Haswell processors to match the new iMacs. Thanks, James and Joao! 

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Long lines forming at Apple Stores around the globe for iPhone 5s/5c retail launch

As online sales for the iPhone 5s begin to go live in Australia, Asia, and now the UK, lines outside of Apple stores around the world are starting to grow in anticipation the September 20th, 8AM retail launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c. Shipping times for the 5c have been slipping since preorders went live last week, but Apple seems to be in even shorter supply of the iPhone 5s as shipping times are starting at 7-10 days in most countries where online orders have already kicked off.

If you’re expecting to queue up to get your hands on an iPhone 5s like the many customers pictured below, you might want to get in line soon. We learned earlier today that retailers, including Apple stores, are getting little to no Gold and white iPhone 5s units, and will mainly have just the new Space Grey model available in store. However, as we’ve seen following launches in other countries today, the 5s in all colors seems to be in shorty supply even for online orders.

The September 20 iPhone 5s and 5c retail launch will take place in the US, Australia, China, Canada, Germany, France, Singapore, UK, and Japan.

Head below for a look at the long lines starting to form outside Apple Stores around the globe: Read more

iPhone 5s sales go live, with 7-10 day shipping estimates in Australia, Chinese Apple Store quoting October delivery

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Update:

In the UK, the iPhone 5s has just gone on sale. Shipping estimates stand at 7-10 days. At the time of writing, all models are expected to be delivered in the first week of October.

The iPhone 5s has just gone on sale in Australia. However, as has been noted several times, supply of the 5s is extremely constrained. As a result, Apple is already quoting 7-10 day shipping estimates for the device. The prolonged availability applies to all models and all colors. 5s cases are similarly low in supply, to a similar extent, quoting 3-5 day shipping times.

Supply issues seem to apply to all countries. In the UK, O2 has announced that they will have no 5s’ in stock, but will order it for when it becomes available. Via CZ on Twitter, for the Apple Store in Hong Kong, the 5s has already lapsed into October for shipping.

The iPhone 5s becomes available in the US at 12.01 Pacific Time tonight.

Thanks Sonny Dickson.