Apple expands 3D Flyover coverage in Maps to Paris, France and surrounding areas


3D-Flyover-Paris-FranceApple has steadily been making improvements to its Maps data following a controversial launch. Last year Apple pushed out major updates to its 3D Maps coverage, adding a number of new cities in the US, UK, France, and Canada, while just last March it quietly pushed out some big improvements to Maps data in Japan. Today our friends over at igen.fr point out that Apple has just pushed out another big update to its 3D Flyover mode, this time bringing new content to more locations across France. Some of the new coverage areas include Paris, Versailles, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Disneyland Paris and to The Hay-les-Roses. Currently, Apple only lists support for 3D building coverage for Lyon, France.

We can’t be sure that France is the only location to get new 3D Maps data today, so let us know in the comments if you notice any additions in your city.

In somewhat related Maps news, TechCrunch has confirmed earlier reports coming from Israeli publication Calcalist that Facebook is currently in discussions with mapping company Waze to acquire the company for close to $1 billion. You might recall that Apple is currently using Waze data in its Maps application and for a brief while was rumored to be in talks to acquire the company. Apple could presumably replace Waze’s free crowd-sourced map data with another Maps provider that offers similar data, but it’s unclear at this point how important Waze is as a Maps source or if an acquisition might affect Apple’s Maps app.

France calls Apple’s decision to remove AppGratis ‘extremely brutal and unilateral’, will ask EU for tighter regulation

AppGratis-645x250Following a controversy in which Apple removed app discovery service AppGratis from its App Store for breaking Apple’s guidelines, Reuters reports today that regulators in France are planning to ask the European Commission and EU member states for better regulation of technology companies. The statement was made by French junior minister for digital economy Fleur Pellerin on a recent trip to AppGratis publisher iMediapp. Fleur described Apple’s decision to pull AppGratis as “extremely brutal and unilateral”:

“This behaviour is not worthy of a company of this size,” Pellerin said. She added that certain Internet companies were guilty of “repeated abusive behaviour” and said she would ask the European Commission and EU member states to better regulate digital platforms, search engines and social media.

The decision comes as Apple is drawing some heat for its broad App Store guidelines that have allowed it to remove some apps that promote App Store content but not others. Apple originally said that AppGratis was removed for breaking a guideline that warns against “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store.” Apple also said AppGratis was in violation of guideline 5.6 that says “apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.

AllThingsD reported that sources have indicated Apple’s removal of AppGratis is part of a broader crackdown on app discovery applications, but a grey area still remains regarding how Apple decides which apps are approved and which are removed.

Apple told Retuers today that it had discussions with AppGratis prior to the removal and that the developers had “disregarded its technical specifications.” Read more

iMac shipping times continue to slip in EU to 4-6 weeks, as iPad mini shipping estimates improve

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We told you last month that shipping times for Apple’s new 21.5-inch iMacs slipped from an estimated delivery of 7 to 10 business days to 2 to 3 weeks. Today, iMacs are continuing to experience supply shortages with shipping times on many international Apple Stores once again pushed back. As noted by French language blog macg.co, Apple’s online store is now listing the 21.5-inch iMac as shipping in 3 to 4 weeks and the 27-inch model as available in 4 to 6 weeks in at least France. While Apple has yet to update its U.S. website with the new shipping times, Apple stores in Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, the Netherlands, and many other European Union countries are now listing the longer wait times for new iMacs.

We heard that Apple expects to reach a supply and demand balance for the new iMacs (and iPad mini) within the next couple of months, but CEO Tim Cook recently noted that supply constraints will most likely continue into Q1. The same thing goes for Apple’s new iPad mini that, as of this week, is now shipping with an improved delivery time of 1 to 3 business days in at least the U.S. and Canada:

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Apps & updates: Pixelmator, Amazon Cloud Player, Reeder, Dropbox, more

We already told you about some big app news today with an updated Twitter iOS client and the release of popular MMO Guild Wars 2 for Mac. Below is the rest of the notable apps and updates hitting the App Store today:

Pixelmator version 2.1.1: A big update today goes to version 2.1.1 of the Pixelmator Mac App Store app. The updated app includes a new Healing Tool that’s up to 20x faster than the previous version, UI improvements for Retina MacBooks, and a number of fixes and performance enhancements. A full list of changes is here.

We are bursting with pride to tell you that this is the best and the fastest Healing Tool in the world. Pretty sophisticated algorithms and the latest OS X technologies have allowed us to create a tool that performs at an incredible speed. We hope you’ll be as excited about it as we are… A lot of other good things are here, too: the ability to temporarily hide the Alignment Guides with the Command key, significant performance improvements, the effects you’ve missed, and much more.

Amazon Cloud Player version 1.2.4: Amazon updated its Cloud Player app for iOS today, which allows users to stream and download music from their Amazon Cloud account. The biggest news in the update is that Cloud Player is now available in the UK, Germany, and France. Amazon is also introducing support for French and German languages.

Reeder version 3.0.4: The iOS Fever, Readability, and Google Reader client was updated today with a few new features. Included is enhancements bringing full support for iPhone 5 and iOS 6. The update means Facebook sharing becomes an iOS 6 only feature after updating. The developers have also included a fix for issues with Fever syncing and missing folders.
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New Apple Stores coming to UK, France, Canada, Salt Lake City, & more

Apple announced its plan last year to spend roughly $900 million opening 40 new retail locations in 2012. In March, we told you new stores were coming to Germany, Spain, Australia, and France‘s Burgundy wine region, and several reports this week confirmed a handful of new locations for the United Kingdom, France, and Canada. Ten of the 40 stores Apple planned for 2012 will début in the U.S., and recent reports indicated two of those U.S. stores will be located in California and Salt Lake City… Read more

Upcoming Apple Stores: Germany, Spain, Australia, and France’s Burgundy wine region

We already knew from Apple’s 10-K report in October that the company planned to spend approximately $900 million on retail stores during 2012. The investment would account for the opening of roughly 40 new locations throughout the year. At least some of that investment will be going toward three new stores in Germany, one in the northwest region of Spain, and others in Australia and France’s Burgundy wine region.

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Apple offers royalty-free licensing of proposed nano-SIM to competitors (Updated)

Update: Nokia has responded to reports that Apple is offering to license its nano-SIM patents royalty-free by claiming Apple does not have patents “essential to its nano-SIM proposal” (via ITworld):

“We are not aware of any Apple Intellectual Property which it considers essential to its nano-SIM proposal. In light of this, Apple’s proposal for royalty-free licensing seems no more than an attempt to devalue the intellectual property of others.”

In recent weeks, reports popped up that suggest Apple is attempting to push a new standard for miniaturized SIM cards. In May 2011, Reuters reported Apple “submitted a new requirement to (European telecoms standards body) ETSI for a smaller SIM form factor.” More recent reports from the Financial Times confirmed other companies, including Motorola and Nokia, were attempting to push their own “nano-SIM” design. At the time, FT said Apple had support from “most of the European operators.” Ahead of the Smart Card Platform Plenary meeting with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute this Thursday and Friday, Foss Patents reports Apple is promising the ETSI it will license any Apple-owned patents related to nano-SIM free of charge to its competitors:
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Apple’s Time Capsules go missing from retail stores globally

Shipping times for Time Capsules are increasing steadily across regional online Apple stores in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France and other territories. While the 3TB version of Time Capsule is in stock at certain online Apple Stores, most now list the wireless backup appliance with up to one to three weeks delivery time. Meanwhile, 2TB Time Capsules in some stores take one to two weeks. Over at Amazon (temporarily out of stock) and Best Buy (sold out) things are not looking peachy either.

This is similar to the AppleTV shortages we noted over the weekend but may not be for the same reason.

Time Capsule constrains could be linked to the Thai floods that have led to global shortages of hard drives and subsequent jacked prices by as much as 28 percent. A disruption in the hard drive supply already affected the 27-inch iMac. That, plus the fact that other AirPort-branded products stay in stock only reinforce the notion that constrained supplies of Apple’s Time Capsule is likely caused by global hard drive shortages.

According to an unnamed tip that 9to5Mac received this morning, several Apple outlets in Australia no longer have Time Capsules in stock:

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Apple is the only PC brand making progress in Europe (and that’s without iPad)

Research firm Gartner just released its estimates for PC shipments in the Western Europe region during the holiday quarter, and only Apple and Asus made any meaningful progress, with Apple recording the strongest gains in France and the United Kingdom.

While the Mac maker remained absent from the Top 5 rankings in Western Europe and Germany, it was a sole first-tier PC brand to grow sales in the United Kingdom during the holiday quarter. Specifically, Apple’s Mac business in the country grew 17.2 percent, enough to rank fourth with a 9.1 percent market share.

Everyone else’s business shrunk: Hewlett-Packard (No. 1) was down 27 percent, Dell (No. 4) declined by a whopping 32.2-percent, Toshiba (No. 3) fell 5.4-percent and Acer (No. 5) was by far the biggest loser with a 62.4-percent year-over-year decline. The same story is in France where Apple placed No. 5 by growing 15.3-percent for an 8.2-percent market share. Only Asus (No. 2) grew slightly faster than Apple at 17.4-percent, while shipments of PC desktops and notebooks from HP, Acer, and Dell plummeted.

If you include the iPad, Apple easily beats its rivals to the PC punch across the board.

More notes and charts are after the break.


Shipments of notebook and desktop PCs in the United Kingdom. Source: Gartner, February 2012

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Apple extends iPhone and iPad recycling program to UK, France, and Germany

Apple expanded its recycling program in the United States in August to give customers an opportunity to —well— recycle their used iPhones and iPads for Apple gift cards, and now the technology giant is extending the program  even further by launching a similar initiative in the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

According to its German website (Google translation),  Apple will not offer payment in the form of an Apple gift card, but rather as cash deposited into customers bank accounts in exchange for returned devices. Macworld UK  and Macerkopf.de (Google translation) confirmed that these same rules apply for the programs in France and the U.K.

“With the Reuse and Recycling Programme, you could turn your old equipment into a brand-new Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad,” announced Apple. “Whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC computer, working or not, we’ll take it and determine if it qualifies for reuse and has a monetary value. If it does, the amount will be credited directly into your bank account. If it doesn’t, you can recycle it responsibly through one of our free recycling programs.”

The recycling program is made possible through a partnership with Dataserv, and the  green measure contributes to Apple’s existing programs —as noted by its website— for recycling Macs, PCs, iPods, mobile phones, and batteries…

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Does Siri handle thick accents well? Not really…

We stumbled across this video on YouTube… and Siri clearly should not yet be used by non-native speakers of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, France, or Germany. As you can see in the video, the speaker is talking in English but with a foreign accent, and Siri does not understand one command. “Read dick”.

Update: Australian accent tested by Gizmodo AU below:

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Apple readying new web-based diagnostic tool for iOS devices?

France-based Hardmac reports that Apple is readying a remote iOS device testing tool for deployment to its service personell.  It is web based and will send the diagnostic information, relatively anonymously, to Apple technicians.  A tool of this sort is already in use by Apple technicians but Hardmac claims that this once can be used remotely.

Apple announced (internally) that they have put the final touch to the tools that will facilitate a diagnostic. It will be simple to use and can be used remotely.  In effect, this systems operates entirely online.  An email is sent to the device containing a URL (this can also be entered by hand) and the device will connect via Mobile Safari and the telephone to start internal checks and sends the result of it to the Apple servers to which the service centres are connected.

This would be a pretty clever and powerful tool to do basic diagnostics on iOS devices which could help technicians diagnose and fix  device problems over the phone, saving both the customers and Apple time and effort. Obviously, the diagnostics would only work on devices that were booting up and running Mobile Safari -which isn’t the case in most device repair situations.  The test can only identify the following information:

  • Health, level of load of the battery, duration passed since the last complete charge, 
  • Minimum level to which the battery was discharged,  
  • iOS version installed,
  • To know if the mobile was turned off normally the preceding time.

The tools should be available in the coming months and Hardmac doesn’t speculate whether the test will be able to detect if a device is jailbroken. Read more