Apple’s Jony Ive reveals Apple Watch w/ exclusive collection of Sport band colors at Milan Design Week

Apple’s PR tour for the Apple Watch doesn’t appear to be slowing down with Apple’s design chief Jony Ive showing off the device and revealing an exclusive collection of never before seen Sport band colors tonight in Milan. Apple this morning kicked off a showcase of the device at Milan’s Salone Del Mobile Design Fair in Itlay, which was attended by Apple executives including marketing head Phil Schiller and designer Marc Newson.

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Apple Watch will be showcased at Salone del Mobile design exhibition in Milan, Italy

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The Apple Watch may not be available in Italy at launch, but Apple will be showcasing its new device at the upcoming Salone del Mobile in Milan on Friday. According to the design-centric magazine Wallpaper (via Tim Bradshaw), Apple is planning a one-day only preview and try-on event at the design exhibition on April 17th. The Apple Watch’s presence will mark Apple’s first time attending the design fair.

While Apple was noticeably absent from last month’s Baselworld luxury watch trade show, Apple’s Design VP Jony Ive expressed his excitement over the Apple Watch being featured during the upcoming design exhibition.

Says Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design: ‘Salone del Mobile has such a deep-rooted history of embracing excellence in design so I’m particularly excited to celebrate our newest and most personal product, alongside our friends and fellow designers, at this special event.’

Ive went on to describe the marriage of technology, craftsmanship, and utility that went in to the Apple Watch:

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Apple launches in-store Android trade-in program to boost iPhone sales

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In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

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Fourth Swiss Apple Store coming to Basel on July 12th

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Apple will be opening up its fourth official retail store in Switzerland this weekend. A new store in the city of Basel will see its grand opening on Saturday, July 12th, according to a notice on Apple’s Retail Store website. Job listings for the store first appeared earlier this year on Apple’s jobs website. Apple has already surrounded the store with a black banner promoting the store’s website. Apple is also planning several new stores in China, Italy, and the United States under the guide of recently appointed retail head Angela Ahrendts.

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All Apple websites could be blocked in Belgium over AppleCare controversy

Image: belgium-iphone.lesoir.be

Belgian Apple Store concept image: belgium-iphone.lesoir.be

A Belgian judge is reportedly considering ordering local ISPs to block access to all Apple websites in the country in response to a long-running dispute over the company’s promotion of AppleCare warranties, according to local newspapers cited by Tech.eu.

A case brought by the consumer protection group FPS Economy argued that Apple misleads consumers by claiming a standard warranty of one year, and selling an optional AppleCare extension, when EU law means that manufacturers are legally obliged to offer a minimum warranty of two years as standard …  Read more

Apple’s iBooks Textbooks & iTunes U Course Manager hit new markets in Asia, Latin America, Europe

iTunes U, Text Books

Update: Apple says iBooks Textbooks are available in all countries with a paid iBooks store and that a full updated list of countries with access to iTunes U Course Manager can be found on its enrollment website.

Apple just put out a press release announcing that it’s expanding availability of its educational content– iBooks Textbooks and the iTunes U Course Manager– into new international markets. Starting today, both of the services are rolling out to new countries in Asia, Latin America, and Europe, bringing the total number of countries with textbooks up to 51 and the total number with access to the iTunes U Course Manager to 70. Apple also shared some stats on the growth of iBooks Textbooks, which now cover 100 percent of the US high school core curriculum: Read more

Apple offering 0% financing on online hardware purchases in most European countries, ends 10th January

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Today, Apple has launched a promotion for online purchases, offering 0% financing on any purchase above £449 (or €400). The deal is on offer across most of Apple’s European websites, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

In the UK, for instance, a customer can buy any product above that value and spread repayments across ten monthly instalments with 0% interest. In other countries, such as France or Spain, the repayment is window is slightly longer at twelve months.

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Apple under investigation in Italy for unpaid taxes on $1.34B

Image of CFO Oppenheimer and CEO Cook

Image of CFO Oppenheimer and CEO Cook

According to a report from Reuters, Apple is apparently under investigation in Italy related to unpaid taxes on more than $1.34 billion. The report quotes a “a judicial source with direct knowledge of the matter” and noted that the investigation is currently underway with authorities in Milan.

Milan prosecutors say Apple failed to declare to Italian tax authorities 206 million euros in 2010 and 853 million euros in 2011, one of the sources said, confirming a report by Italian magazine L’Espresso.

“The Apple investigation is under way,” the judicial source said on Wednesday, without giving details.

Reuters notes that Italian authorities in June handed down prison sentences and hundreds of million in fines for unpaid taxes to fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

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AppleCare+ launch in UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, & Switzerland ‘imminent’

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In line with a rumor from earlier this week, we’ve heard from our sources that AppleCare+ is indeed set to soon launch in Europe. AppleCare+ is Apple’s premium support service, and it provides customers with technical support for both the iPhone and iPad for two years from the original purchase date. AppleCare+ also provides support for up to two instances of accidental damage.

We understand that the launch is “imminent,” but no formal launch date has been announced internally. Apple, this week, has begun training its AppleCare support and Apple Store Genius Bar employees on the upcoming launch of the support initiative. At first, the European launch will occur in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and Switzerland…

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Apple takes AppleCare off the shelves in Italy following antitrust investigation

Last we heard, Apple was being threatened with closure of its Italian operations if it did not make necessary changes to its warranty policies following an investigation by the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato. The authorities had previously fined Apple $1.2 million, claiming the company failed to inform consumers about a two-year warranty mandatory by EU law. Now it appears Apple has officially taken its AppleCare Protection Plan products off the shelves in Italy with only online versions of the product still available to Italian customers.

setteB.IT shared the image above showing what is apparently an email from Apple Distribution International in Ireland to Apple resellers in Italy. Apple informed resellers that it would stop selling all AppleCare Protection Plans in Italian Apple Stores as well as through authorized resellers. From the email, it also appeared Apple will no longer offer AppleCare-related services over the phone in the country.

setteB.IT also noted Apple has updated the terms for AppleCare on its Italian website. Rather than a “1 year warranty”, the website now reads “AppleCare plans benefits are added to the 2 year warranty of the seller, required by Italian regulators to protect the consumers.”

A full translation of the email is below:

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