United Kingdom Stories December 10, 2015

AAPL: 116.17

0.55

The British government is considering a proposal to give iPads to prison inmates so that they can continue their education when confined to their cells, and also keep in touch with family members via FaceTime and Skype.

The Telegraph reports that the recommendation was made by an adviser to the Ministry of Justice, and is being considered by Justice Minister Michael Gove. A spokesman said that the government wanted to improve educational opportunities so that prisoners were less likely to re-offend following their release.

There does appear to be some support for the idea … 

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United Kingdom Stories October 7, 2015

AAPL: 110.78

-0.53

Lobbying group Citizens for Tax Justice has called out Apple, Google and Microsoft and others for what it described as “accounting tricks” in which companies “pretend” to be based overseas for tax purposes. The claims were made in a report entitled Offshore Shell Games 2015.

Many multinational corporations use accounting tricks to pretend for tax purposes that a substantial portion of their profits are generated in offshore tax havens, countries with minimal or no taxes where a company’s presence may be as little as a mailbox. Multinational corporations’ use of tax havens allows them to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year.

The group said that Apple has paid “a miniscule 2.3 percent tax rate on its offshore profits,” many of which have been entered into Apple’s books in Ireland. CTJ says that if Apple paid U.S. tax rates on those profits, it would owe $59.2 billion.

The controversy over the legitimacy of Apple’s overseas tax arrangements is not, of course, anything new …  expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

United Kingdom Stories September 14, 2015

AAPL: 114.21

1.64

UK PSA: Apple Watch on sale in John Lewis this week, with free extended warranty

Any UK readers planning to buy an Apple Watch this week may want to hold out until Friday, when it goes on sale in 37 branches of the department store John Lewis. The company offers free extended warranties on the electronic items it sells, ranging from two years for small items to five years for TVs. The Apple Watch is likely to be offered with the same two-year warranty as iPads.

Although EU law declares that almost all products sold in the UK have to be offered with a minimum two-year warranty, and some have successfully used this to make claims from Apple Stores after the company’s own one-year warranty has expired, it’s always likely to be less hassle claiming from a company that explicitly promises it.

The news follows shortly after Currys/PC World announced on its website that it would be selling the Apple Watch “soon.” Apple’s wider roll-out of the Watch beyond its own retail stores and selected upmarket launch partners began with Best Buy in the U.S., the same chain in Canada and then other chains in Australia, France and Germany.

Digital Spy via Engadget . Photo: Evening Standard.

United Kingdom Stories June 24, 2015

Apple Pay is going international starting with the United Kingdom next month. The precise nature of how Apple Pay will work in the UK has been murky, with banks saying different things. Apple has now posted a FAQ to explain the situation.

Apple Pay will work with any current contactless reader. By default, it uses the same technology as other UK contactless cards. This means that performing an Apple Pay purchase will not require a PIN (as is standard with UK Chip and PIN payments). However, the usual £20 limit on contactless transactions does apply … for the time being. When Apple Pay launches in July, almost all merchants will only allow Apple Pay purchases up to £20 …

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United Kingdom Stories June 17, 2015

The chairman of the British music industry lobby group UK Music says that independent labels may not agree to Apple’s terms for inclusion on Apple Music. Andy Heath told the Telegraph that receiving no payment during the free trial period could leave indies, which include big-name artists like Adele and the Arctic Monkeys, “completely screwed.”

Heath said that while Apple’s argument is that it will pay slightly more once the free trial is over, smaller labels may be concerned that they will see fewer download sales during the free trial – and that this could put smaller companies out of business.

If you are running a small label on tight margins you literally can’t afford to do this free trial business. Their plan is clearly to move people over from downloads, which is fine, but it will mean us losing those revenues for three months.

While this argument wouldn’t apply to big-name artists signed to indie labels, some of them have in the past taken a stand against terms they consider unfair, such as the low payments from Spotify’s free members. Adele famously refused to allow her hit album 21 to appear on Spotify until long after its release …  expand full story

United Kingdom Stories May 9, 2015

The recently released 12-inch MacBook will be available for purchase at all Apple Stores globally beginning the week of May 25th, according to a memo from Apple to its retail staff issued earlier today. Because of supply constraints, not unlike those for the also recently-launched Apple Watch, sales of the new MacBook have been mostly restricted to Apple’s Online Store…

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