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

Flurry of new Apple Stores on the way in Japan, France, China, Brazil & Italy

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Tokyo skyline: vacationadvice101.com

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is planning its first new store in Tokyo since 2005.

Apple plans to open a store in Tokyo’s upscale Omotesando shopping district as early as March, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Construction is scheduled to be completed by February, the person said, asking not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak for Apple.

Tokyo is noted for its high land values. Bloomberg estimating the cost of the land at around $164M with the finished store expected to be worth a staggering $256M …  Read more

France hits Apple with 5 million euro bill for unpaid taxes on 2011 iPad sales

Tim-Cook-WTF-01In the midst of the U.S. government’s interest in Apple and other large multinationals that “avoid” paying taxes in the U.S. or repatriating funds stored abroad, RudeBaguette.com notes that the French society of authors, composers, and music publishers (SACEM) has announced that Apple owes around 5 million euros in unpaid taxes.

The funds apparently come from unpaid royalties on iPad sales for 2011 that France and other EU countries, such as Germany, collect for devices capable of transferring and displaying copyrighted material:

To give a bit of a background, the copie privée is a tax in several countries including France & Germany that is applied to all digital devices that can transfer, read, or otherwise make use of copyrighted material. The tax goes to the SACEM, which then takes the lump sum of all the taxes collected and deals them out to authors, creators, producers, actors, etc. accordingly… the problem here isn’t so much the tax, but that Apple actually charged the consumers this tax, and didn’t pay it out to the SACEM.

The news comes as reports claim France is beginning to crack down on tax schemes of large companies with plans to force  Apple, Google, and others to disclose details of foreign business activities and tax practices: Read more

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:

Read more