As Apple Watch hits seven more countries, more coming on 17 July – inc Netherlands, Sweden & Thailand

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The Apple Watch, originally launched in nine countries, hits seven more today – with a further rollout on July 17th. Apple has so far added the July 17th date to its websites in the Netherlands, Sweden and Thailand.

The countries going live today include Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan …  Read more

Tag Heuer & Google fire opening salvo at Apple Watch at Swiss watch conference

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With the Swiss watch conference, Baselworld, underway this morning, we’re expecting to find out how traditional watchmakers are going to respond to the Apple Watch. Tag Heuer is first in line, announcing a smartwatch version of one of its best-selling models, the Carrera, in partnership with Google and Intel.

TAG Heuer, Google and Intel have announced a partnership to launch a Swiss smartwatch powered by Intel technology and Android Wear. The effort signifies a new era of collaboration between Swiss watchmakers and Silicon Valley, bringing together each company’s respective expertise in luxury watchmaking, software and hardware.

While the company did not go into details, Reuters reports that the watch “will be a digital replica of the original Tag Heuer black Carrera, known for its bulky, sporty allure, and will look like the original.”

Sincere or not, Tag Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver says that he welcomes the launch of the Apple Watch …  Read more

Apple adds vehicles to its list of company activities in Swiss legal filing

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Apple has officially added vehicles to the corporate documents describing the company’s activities, at least in Switzerland. The company’s lawyers added the following paragraph, reports Swiss site ApfelBlog.

Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.

It’s common to add catch-all terminology to company activities, so nothing should be read into the inclusion of ships and aircraft, though we’re sure there will be a breathless headline somewhere soon about an Apple plane …  Read more

Apple on Campus program reportedly no longer available in Belgium or Switzerland

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Mac4Ever is reporting that Apple has confirmed that the Apple on Campus program, allowing students to buy significantly discounted Macs and accessories via their college, is no longer available in either Belgium or Switzerland. The confirmation was provided in a one-line response by Apple Switzerland.

Yes, Apple on Campus was stopped. However, the Apple Education Store discounts are obviously still valid …

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Basel Apple Store opens to crowds as Apple promotes upcoming Edinburgh location

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In line with last week’s announcement, Apple’s fourth store in Switzerland opened this weekend in Basel. The store, like most Apple Stores, opened to significant crowds and Apple handed out commemorative shirts to celebrate. The interior of the store appears like most Apple Stores, and the location already has been equipped with the new interior visual design:

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Apple’s Volume Purchase Program for apps coming soon to 16 new countries

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Apple is about to roll out its Volume Purchase Program, which allows business and education customers to purchase and distribute iOS apps in bulk for deployed devices, into 16 new countries. Apple’s website for both the Volume Purchase Program for Business and for Education have been updated to announce the expansion and now list the following countries as coming soon to the program: Read more

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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iWatch “an opportunity for high-end watch brands” says analyst as Apple hires TAG Heuer exec

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CNBC reports that Apple has hired the sales director of luxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer for an iWatch marketing role. The hire was reportedly confirmed by the head of the parent company’s watch brands, Jean-Claude Biver.

Biver said the watchmaker’s sales director left as recently as last week, “to take a contract with Apple” in order to launch the iWatch. LVMH owns Swiss watchmakers TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith …

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Swatch CEO on rumored iWatch sounds a lot like Palm CEO before iPhone destroyed it

Nick Hayek, CEO of Swiss watchmaker Swatch, said today during a press conference for the company’s annual results that he doesn’t see a smart watch product from Apple being the “next revolution.” We can’t help but be reminded of Palm CEO Ed Colligan’s comments before the iPhone hit:

“We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,” Ed Colligan apparently laughed about with John Markoff last Thursday morning. “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

Hayek’s main reasoning is difficulty delivering compelling content on such a small display, something the company has explored with its Paparazzi line of watches in collaboration with Microsoft:

“Personally, I don’t believe it’s the next revolution,” the chief of the largest Swiss watchmaker said at a press conference on annual results in Grenchen, Switzerland. “Replacing an iPhone with an interactive terminal on your wrist is difficult. You can’t have an immense display.”

Hayek also reasoned that consumers often buy watches as a piece of jewelry and like to change them on any given day. The CEO claimed that Swatch has had talks with Apple over the years regarding “materials for products and so-called energy harvesting technology that would generate energy from physical movement.” Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device and more recently said Apple would launch its watch product some time this year.

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Apple reaches licensing agreement with SBB over classic Swiss Railway clock design

After allegations that Apple was copying the classic Swiss Railway clock design for its new Clocks app in iOS 6, Apple was expected to meet with Swiss Federal Railways SBB to presumably find some sort of resolution. SBB made an official announcement on its website (via TheVerge) today, claiming it has reached an agreement with Apple:

The Swiss Federal Railways SBB and Apple have reached an agreement on the use of the SBB station clock on devices like iPad and iPhone. That the two parties have governed in a license agreement.

Swiss Federal Railways is not disclosing how much the agreement is for, but it said Apple has agreed to its licensing terms for use of the Hans Hilfiker designed railway station clock design. There is also no word how this might affect Mondaine, the watchmaker that currently has rights to the design for its watch faces, but it looks like Apple won’t have an issue using the design in iOS: Read more