Asia Stories April 2, 2014

Turkish websites DonanimHaber and iPhoneTurka provide our first look at Apple’s first Turkish store now the covers have been removed, revealing a mostly-glass design. Like the iconic 5th Avenue store in NYC, what is visible above ground is simply an empty glass space, though in this case it’s a lower and more subtle skylight than the famous glass cube.

More photos below …  expand full story

Asia Stories March 3, 2014

Apple adding hundreds of new engineers and operations staff in China to speed development of larger iPhones

Apple is on a mass hiring spree for Asian staff, beginning in the middle of last year, as noted by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal says that Apple is trying to speed up product development in China and Taiwan to help launch a larger lineup of devices. Apparently, the company is aggressively hiring away from HTC and other firms to form strong product teams in Asia.

Asia Stories February 4, 2014

A Turkish government website reporting on Tim Cook’s meeting with President Abdullah Gül says that the country’s first Apple Store will open in Istanbul in April. Istanbul, which uniquely straddles Europe and Asia, is one of the largest cities in the world by population with over 14 million residents.

In addition to a rumored $4 billion plan to put iPads into Turkish schools, it was said that the two discussed the amount of sales taxes levied on iPhones and iPads and when Apple might include Turkish in the languages supported by Siri with at least some suggesting that the two issues might be linked … expand full story

Asia Stories January 21, 2014

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: expand full story

Asia Stories January 16, 2014

Apple keeps its options open with patent for iBeacon- & NFC-compatible secure payment system

While it seems likely that Apple is intending to eventually establish iBeacon as a wireless electronic wallet system, rather than the existing NFC system commonly used in parts of Europe and Asia, a patent filing published today incorporates both protocols. It also allows for other forms of Bluetooth payment.

The secure payment system Apple describes would work in much the same way as the chip-and-PIN cards which are well-established in Europe. Instead of transmitting your actual card details to the payment terminal, the card details are used to generate an encrypted code which is sent instead. The terminal is able to validate the code and identify the account without ever having access to the card details themselves.

As we always note with patent stories, Apple patents huge numbers of things, most of which never make it into products. But while Apple is adopting its usual wait-and-see policy where new technologies are concerned, the question of using iPhones for payment is almost certainly when and how rather than if.

Asia Stories January 6, 2014

Apple announces January 10th ‘Red Friday’ sale for its Asia online and physical stores

Apple has announced its “Red Friday” sale for the Asian online and physical retail stores. The sale will offer one-day discounts on Apple products, much like “Black Friday” in the United States, to celebrate the new lunar year at the end of January.

Apple hasn’t specified exactly what specials will be offered, but price cuts on Macs and mobile devices is the usual for these sales.

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