A report by Hi-Tech Mail (via PhoneArena) indicates that the Russian cellular carrier Beeline (through parent company VimpelCom) has decided against renewing its contract with Apple, making it the last of the country’s three major iPhone carriers to do so. Beeline has made a deal to offer Samsung devices on their network in place of Apple’s smartphone.
Today, Apple has finally launched a version of its official online store for customers in Russia. The online store is similar in style to Apple’s online stores in other countries. Customers in Russia are now able to order iPhones, iPads, iPods, Macs, accessories, and more directly from Apple to their homes. Apple is celebrating the launch by taking up Apple Russia’s homepage to announce the new store (image above)…
Hot off the heels of the iTunes 11 launch last week, Russia looks to be gaining the service very soon. According to a forwarded invite obtained by TechCrunch, Apple is holding a small iTunes event at the local GUM shopping center in Moscow’s Red Square tomorrow evening. Rumors of the launch have been ongoing for a few months, as App Store users in the country were beginning to see music searches appear at very low prices.
According to a November report by Russian language publication vedomosti.ru, citing industry sources, Apple will sell songs cheaper in Russia for 11- to 20 rubles each, which translates to roughly 35- to 65 cents USD. Additionally, another report from Vedomosti claimed iTunes senior executive Eddy Cue and iTunes Europe Director Ben King went to Russia for the launch originally scheduled for Nov. 20. However, in November, the newspaper also cited sources close to Apple as saying the launch is now scheduled for the first week of December—possibly to coincide with the launch of iPhone 5 in the country. Today’s event invite seems to confirm at least the iTunes bit. We are working to gain more information. [TechCrunch]
Русский itunes store, работает пока только через поиск в музыке http://t.co/KChGajzX—
Kirpichev Ivan (@Ivan_Kir) November 19, 2012
Update, Nov 2o: RIA Novosti reported today, citing sources familiar with Apple’s product plans in Russia, that iTunes music in the country could be “delayed indefinitely” as Apple runs into issues getting necessary licensing from artists. Another report from Vedomosti claimed iTunes senior executive Eddy Cue and iTunes Europe Director Ben King went to Russia for the launch originally scheduled for November 20. The newspaper also cited sources close to Apple as saying the launch is now scheduled for the first week of December, possibly to coincide with the launch of iPhone 5 in the country.
In September, a report from Russian language publication vedomosti.ru cited industry sources and noted Apple was preparing to launch iTunes music in Russia by the end of year. The report also noted that songs would be sold for less than their 99-cent U.S. counterparts, somewhere between 11- to 20 rubles each (roughly 35- to 65 cents USD). It appears Apple is getting ready to launch the service today, with several Russian readers reporting music is now searchable on the App Store in the country. The search provides users with a link to “Continue search in Store…”, and Twitter seems to confirm that many Russians can access music using this method.
Interestingly, as noted in previous reports, iPhones.ru confirmed songs are indeed listed for less than the U.S. store, with most songs currently selling for 15 rubbles (roughly 50 cents USD). We expect Apple to roll out full access the store in Russia shortly.
Unlocked iPhone 4S is priced out of reach of average folks in India.
Currently available in 44 countries, Apple’s iPhone 4S is patiently awaited in 26 additional territories as Apple makes good on its promise to have the device available in over 70 markets and on 100 carriers before end of the year. iPhone 4S has been well received in Japan and Singapore and pre-orders sold out in Hong Kong in 10 minutes, but reportedly not so much in South Korea… Read more
Bloomberg points at an RBC Daily story which claims that Apple could begin selling iPhone 5 in Russia this November, “almost immediately” after sales begin in the US. The Russian newspaper’s story is sourced from unnamed handset retailers. Bloomberg notes:
Russian cellphone operators are in talks with Apple about speeding up deliveries, as previous iPhone versions were introduced in Russia much later than in the U.S., causing a large volume of unauthorized sales, the newspaper said.
So, the Russians likely won’t be getting their hands on iPhone 5 the same day as their American counterparts. On a brighter note, it took the country three months last time to get iPhone 4 so this would be an improvement (Hope Russian President gets his iPhone unlocked this time) It is interesting that Apple is allegedly prepping to open its first Russian store inside the trade gallery of the reconstructed Hotel Moskva, near Kremlin, in late 2011.