Apple kicks off iPhone 6 sales in 20 more countries starting w/ New Zealand

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NZ carrier Spark offers customers life-sized cardboard emoji characters to reserve their spot in line for iPhone 6

Apple’s second wave of iPhone 6 sales has just kicked off with customers in New Zealand getting access to the device through retail stores and online as we roll into the morning of September 26 in the country. We’re also approaching the launch in a total of 20 countries today as the device goes on sale the morning of September 26 local time in the following locations: Read more

Apple Store iPhone trade-in program launches in Italy, coming soon to Australia

Apple has added another market for its Apple Store iPhone “reuse and recycle” trade-in program: Italy. This is indicated by a new panel inside of the Italy Apple Store listings within the official Apple Store app. The app indicates that Apple is offering trade-ins of older iPhones models for up to €220. This converts to roughly 300 U.S. dollars.

According to a source, Apple is also planning to rollout the same program in Australia as soon as this upcoming week. Apple is said to have been training employees in Australia on the program over the course of the last several days.

The trade-in program allows a user of an older iPhone model (3G and up) to bring the phone in and receive gift card credit toward the purchase of an iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, or iPhone 4s…

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

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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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Beaconic announces availability of first Retail iBeacon Kits for Europe

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We’ve seen Apple’s new iBeacon technology in use at several retail stores and events here in North America— Apple Stores, Macy’s, CES, MLB— but adoption of the new Bluetooth low power technology has been slower overseas. Beaconic aims to change that with a new iBeacon Retail Kit that will make it easier for businesses in Europe to deploy the technology. The concept of iBeacons is simple: As you walk around retail stores or other locations, your iOS device will communicate with iBeacons in proximity and display notifications, promotions, payment options, or other info setup by whoever deployed the nearby beacons. Beaconic’s new Retail Kit will make it easier for small businesses to get setup and track usage, and its software is available in several languages: 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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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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More Apple retail stores planned for historic buildings in 2012; Stores approved in Germany, Canada, and Spain

Apple is not slowing down when it comes to opening more iconic brick-and-mortar retail locations. Three new retail locations all received recent approval: one located in a century theatre in Germany, and a second in London, Ontario, Canada, and the third in a historic 1860-era building in Madrid, Spain. The approvals continue Apple’s aggressive retail push after the opening of their new Grand Central store, and after meeting its goal of 30 new locations opened worldwide in the fourth-quarter of 2011.

Following over a year’s worth of discussions, TeleCinco (via ifoAppleStore) confirmed plans for an Apple Store in a 65,293 square-foot building in Madrid, Spain have finally been approved by city officials. The rendering above was released by the city and, despite not showing any Apple logos, it shows a classic Apple retail design meshed with the 1860-era building facade. The building was previously Hotel Paris, and according to ifoAppleStore, it will retain the massive, iconic “Tio Pepe” electric sign. The sign, not shown in the rendering, was removed for the construction process.

Located on the The Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, Germany, we already told you about rumors concerning Apple’s next store that will be located in a 5,000 square foot theatre originally built in 1912 or 1913. Berlin.de gave a break down of the building’s history. Until now, it was not exactly confirmed, but iFun confirmed that employment applications for the location have surfaced. It also seems as though construction is underway due to the front windows being covered (pictured right).

Another store set to open in 2012 is located in London, Ontario, Canada in Masonville Place shopping mall. Although it’s been rumored for years, we’re receiving several tips that it is set to open next year and the typically reliably ifoAppleStore has confirmed. The store will apparently take over the 6,176 square-foot space previously occupied by Eddie Bauer on the upper level. This would continue Apple’s steady retail expansion in Canada, currently sitting at just 22 stores across the country, nine of which are located in Ontario.

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iTunes Match (mistakenly?) begins rolling out to Europe for 24,99€/year, Canada and Australia too?

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We’re starting to get reports that Apple is sending out emails to users in Spain and elsewhere in Europe notifying them the iTunes Match service is officially available for 24,99 € per year (as shown above). One Twitter user also claims that he was able to subscribe to the service in Europe two days ago before iTunes told him it was a mistake and returned his money.

“I managed to buy iTunes Match in Europe two days ago. Now they told me it was mistake and returned the money.

The email he provides looks identical to the one above apart from the language. It’s of course possible this is a slip up on Apple’s part ahead of an official rollout in the near future. Let us know in the comments if you have access to the service, which you can try here.

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We’ve got reports coming in from Canada where it is listed at C$27.99/year and Australia where it is A$39.99.  In the UK, it is £21.99.

Last week Apple also opened up the cloud service to users in Brazil to accompany the launch of the iTunes Store in Latin America. Read more