Reserve Bank of Australia asked to examine anti-competitive bank behavior
The lack of support for Apple Pay by Australian banks has forced regulatory bodies to examine the reasons behind the slowness. The Reserve Bank of Australia has been called upon to look into alleged anti-competitive behavior in the card-free payments market, over claims banks are not signing up for Apple Pay support in favor of using their own systems, something which is said to damage customer choice for mobile payment services.
Hints of long-awaited support for 'app folders' seen in 9.1 beta code
In addition to today's update of the iOS 9.2 beta, Apple has also released a developer-only third tvOS 9.1 beta. The upcoming update, expected to be released early next year, will add promised but thus far missing features such as Siri control of Apple Music (Apple has already added Siri control of general searches and iTunes Match support). Also found in testing was some support for "app folders" as seen in iCloud.
Letter to entire company addresses Australia student incident
Apple CEO Tim Cook has responded personally to the allegations of racial discrimination in the Melbourne, Australia Apple store. Saying that "none of us are happy with the way this was handled" the CEO reminded all Apple employees that "Apple is open" and that "this was an isolated incident rather than a symptom of a broader problem in our stores."
Apologies offered after Melbourne Apple Store ejects student group
An Apple Store in Australia has come under fire this week, for allegedly racially profiling a group of teenagers. A video has been posted online showing a member of staff at Melbourne's Highpoint Shopping Centre store telling six students to leave the store on Tuesday, under the grounds that security guards at the store are "just a bit worried about your presence in our store," and that the students could potentially "steal something."
Five markets to get Apple Pay earlier via partnership with American Express
Apple is expanding the number of countries Apple Pay will operate within, via a partnership with a credit card company. Advised as part of today's earnings call, Apple Pay will be usable in Australia and Canada for American Express customers before the end of this year, with American Express users in Spain, Singapore, and Hong Kong also expected to be able to use the payment service when it becomes available next year.
Australian bond orders pass $1.2B in under 2 hours
Apple has launched a corporate bond sale in Australia managed by Goldman Sachs, Commonwealth Bank, and Deutsche Bank, marking its first such sale in Australian dollars. Launched as a "benchmark-sized" sale, one which would usually involve raising somewhere between AU$500 million and AU$1 billion ($365 million and $730 million) , the orders for this particular sale reached AU$1.2 billion ($877 million) within just two hours of being available to purchase.
Transaction fee collection said to be sticking point with major Australian banks
Apple Pay's entry into Australia may face delays, as negotiations with financial institutions are allegedly stalling over money. Major banks are pushing back over how much of the interchange fees, charges paid by merchants to use a card payment platform, will end up being handed over to Apple, as apparently the fees collected by Australian banks are far less than those collected by platforms operating in the United States.
Apple Music offer suggests Australian carrier will use carrier billing
Australian carrier Telstra is offering free subscriptions for Apple Music to its customers. Subscribers acquiring the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus from the company on a 12-month or 24-month Go Mobile plan will be able to use the Apple-powered music streaming service for one year without paying a separate subscription, with the carrier's marketing suggesting it will be implementing carrier billing of Apple Music once the free period is over.
Buyers must purchase online, but can pick up in stores; UK stores follow suit
Apple Stores in Australia and the UK are now preparing for in-store Apple Watch sales, which is likely foreshadowing the arrival of such sales in the US as well. Not all models are yet available, but Sport and regular (stainless steel) Watch models are showing as being in stock at most stores, while other models are still only available for online ordering. Customers must make a reservation online and then schedule an in-store pickup time.
Different new channel options depending on region, from sports to art
Apple has added a handful of new channels to Apple TV units in the US, Canada, the UK, French- and German-speaking regions in Europe, and Australia today. Starting immediately, US owners can now watch CBS Sports (which does not require a cable subscription login) or USA Now, which does require a login. In Canada, viewers will now see either CraveTV (if they are Bell subscribers) or Showmi (for Rogers or Shaw cable customers). Other countries have also received different new channels.
Women's fashion targeted in Australian magazine spread on Apple Watch
Following recent magazine features that focused on the fitness and athletic aspects of the Apple Watch, and a recent spread showcasing the Watch going with men's fashion, another recent foreign-magazine spread has returned the device back onto the wrists of female models, with suggestions on how to dress to best highlight the image the Apple Watch conveys. Elle Australia's fashion editor and editor-in-chief weigh in on the device.
Company steps up community involvement initiative, soon to ramp to worldwide
On Monday, Apple launched a new program aimed at helping employees find ways to volunteer in their communities, which will further qualify to receive matching gifts from Apple's existing Matching Gifts Program, which has handed out more than $78 million to various charities and non-profits in the past four years. The Apple Global Volunteer Program will launch soon in the US and select cities in Australia and Ireland before rolling out worldwide, for both corporate and retail employees.
Switches to Apple Store gift cards for bonuses
Apple has launched the Australia and New Zealand editions of its annual Back to School promotion. Qualifying university students, parents, and educational staff are being given gift cards matched to the device they buy; unlike last year, though, the cards are for the Apple Store, rather than for the Mac or iOS App Store. A similar change was made last year for the American Back to School promo.
Amount still more than double paid in 2013
Apple paid about A$80.3 million in taxes to the Australian government last year, despite pulling in A$6 billion in revenues in that country, according to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. While the company's actual tax bill must legally be kept confidential, an expense figure has to be produced for the sake of annual accounts. The A$80.3 million sum is over twice the A$36.4 million Apple paid in 2013, when it actually took in more revenue, A$6.1 billion.
Company is one of many under investigation for aggressive-but-legal tax avoidance
Apple paid more than twice as much in taxes in Australia for 2014 as it did in 2013, but still managed to grow profits in the country -- despite increasing scrutiny about its legal but aggressive tax avoidance techniques. According to documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Apple paid AU$80.4 million in taxes for 2014 ($64 million US) compared to just AU$36.4 million (roughly $32 million US at the time) in 2013.
Photos web app gets zoom, quick email sharing
Apple has upgraded the iCloud.com Photos app with a couple of new features, users note. The first is a zoom slider for uploaded content. People can also more easily share photos via email, using a new pop-up window on the site. Access to Photos requires activating the iCloud Photo Library beta through iOS' Settings app, and will remove any images on a device that were synced via iTunes.
Term is essentially ruled too generic due to popularity of concept
On Wednesday in Sydney, Australia, a court ruled against Apple in an appeal by the iPhone maker to overturn a previous ruling that denied the company a trademark on the term "app store," despite the fact that Apple had clearly invented the term back in 2008. The fundamental problem Apple has had in trying to secure a trademark on the term is two-fold: the word "app" as short for "application" had been coined far earlier by others, and the burgeoning popularity of the phrase almost from the get-go has turned it into a generic description.
Netflix launching video streaming service in Australia, New Zealand from March
Netflix is planning to expand its service to Australia and New Zealand from early next year. Starting from March 2015, the streaming video service will be available in the two countries, complete with 4K video playback with compatible devices, though The Next Web notes the inclusion of "a curated selection" in the announcement points to a more limited TV show and movie collection at launch than in other territories.
Company working on improving appeal of service to clients
The iAd network is now available in another 70 countries, bringing the total up to 95, according to an Apple announcement to developers. The company hasn't identified which regions are new except for Australia, but says the remainder are spread across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The change should increase the potential reach of existing iAd campaigns and enable new ones.
Devices must also be set to US region
Even though Apple Pay -- launched yesterday with iOS 8.1 -- is nominally supposed to be US-only at the moment, it's already working overseas, anecdotes indicate. In particular, the service is functional in Australia, as long as a person is using both US credit cards and region settings on their iPhone. The region toggle is needed to make Apple Pay show as an option.
New Zealanders must wait an extra week for first shipments
While buyers in North America must wait until tomorrow for the launch of Apple's new iPhone 6 lineup, Australia -- by dint of being on the other side of the international date line -- becomes the first country in the world to launch the new iPhones. A MacNN staffer visiting the Penrith Apple Store in New South Wales near Sydney has reported a "massive" lineup, consisting of hundreds of buyers outside the store.
Priced at A$129 each, service fees vary per device
As anticipated, Apple has introduced AppleCare+ plans to Australia. Separate plans cover the iPhone, iPad, and iPods. Each plan is priced at A$129, but has different service fees for accidental damage. The iPhone fee is A$99, whereas it's just A$65 for an iPad. iPods are subject to a A$45 fee.
Could be harbinger of expansion to other countries
AppleCare+ plans should be on sale in Australia in the next few weeks, a source says. Apple Store workers are expected to start sales training within days. Unlike regular AppleCare plans, AppleCare+ options include reduced fees for fixing accidental damage to iPhones and iPads. It's not clear what those fees might be in Australia, nor what the overall plans will cost.
Program could reach Australia as soon as this week
Apple's official iPhone trade-in program has been expanded into Italy, reports say. While the company's local retail webpages have yet to make reference, the program is being advertised within the Apple Store iPhone app. During a trade-in, people can use an older iPhone -- going as far back as the 3G -- as credit toward the purchase of any current model.
Suspects caught withdrawing victims' money from ATM
Russian government officials say they have arrested two people accused of hijacking Apple devices in Australia and demanding ransom money. The scheme was reportedly lead by a 23-year-old man identified only as Ivan; an unnamed 17-year-old is said to have been his accomplice. Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs states that both are from Moscow, and were arrested during "operational activities" conducted by the Interior Ministry. One of them has already been tried in the past.
Raises minimum pay to $22.45 AUD
Apple retail workers and Apple Australia have come to an agreement on a new four-year employment contract, reports say. Under new terms set to take effect November 1st, entry-level pay will rise to $22.45 AUD ($20.95 US) an hour, while annual pay increases will be capped at 2 percent. The contract also restructures the hierarchy of Australian Apple Stores, defining specific responsibilities. Level 1 workers are those assigned to tasks like helping customers and doing repairs; Level 2 belongs mostly to supervisors, while Level 3 involves managerial positions like Business Leader, Store Leader, or Market Leader.
Owners with passcodes may be safe
A number of Australians are finding their iPhones, iPads, and/or Macs locked and held for ransom by one or more hackers, according to the Sydney Morning Herald and Apple's support forums. Victims are getting Find My Mac/iPhone notifications saying their devices have been hacked, and asking for a certain amount of money to be sent to a PayPal account before the hacker(s) will unlock them. A recurring name used in the attacks is "Oleg Pliss," but that's believed to be an alias.
Trouble may also be affecting iMessage
iCloud users in Australia and New Zealand have been experiencing outages for about half a day, according to complaints. Most affected people say they can't reach any iCloud functions, and some people complain that iMessage is failing as well. Apple's System Status page has made no mention of the downtime.
Newegg opens up store to UK, Australia with international shipping
Confirming rumors from the end of March, electronics retailer Newegg is expanding its reach from its existing online stores in the United States, Canada, and China into more international markets. In a pilot program, customers located in the United Kingdom and Australia will be able to order a limited range of items from the US store for dispatch to either country.
Prices dip in Israel, New Zealand
Apple is raising iOS and Mac App Store prices in several countries, according to an email memo sent to developers. The hikes will impact Australia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa. Apple blames the change on fluctuations in exchange rates, which the company adjusts for on a regular basis.
PayPal enables Pay at Table, Order Ahead in UK, Australia
Paypal is expanding the range of food-related payment options available in its apps in the United Kingdom and Australia. Already available in the United States, the Pay At Table and Order Ahead options in its iOS and Android apps are being enabled in the two countries, which allow users to pay for food at the table via the app itself, or to place orders for food for later pick-up from the location. Head of retail services for PayPal UK Rob Harper advised to TechCrunch the new features will be spreading to other European countries in the near future.
Practice is perfectly legal, admits government, but abused
Apple's practice over the past decade of funnelling all of its foreign profits through its international sales office in Cork, Ireland has allowed it to skip out on taxes in some other countries on billions of dollars in profits, according to an audit done by the Australian Financial Review. In Australia, Apple has paid only $200 million on ten years' worth of profits, totally nearly AUS $9 billion, the report said.
Canada, UK, New Zealand rumored to be coming soon
iTunes Radio is now available to people in Australia, Apple has announced. There the service is functionally identical to its American sibling, in that it's primarily supported by advertising, but free to people who have an iTunes Match subscription. To listen, people need a Mac or Windows PC with iTunes, an Apple TV, or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Visitors hoped to score exclusive t-shirt
The opening of Apple's new flagship store in Brisbane, Australia was met with unusually long lineups, observers note. People are said to have started forming a line almost 15 hours before the 10AM launch. Many of the people in line were reportedly aiming for the store's exclusive launch t-shirt; Apple regularly gives away custom shirts during the openings of high-profile outlets.
Countries operate on different sales timetable
Apple has begun its annual Back to School promotions for Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, Apple is offering a $100 App Store gift card with qualifying Macs, and a $50 card with iPhones and iPads. Equivalent cards are being given out in New Zealand, but with prices adjusted to $125 NZ and $65 NZ, respectively.
Remodeled historic WWII building faced numerous setbacks
Delayed by over two years from its initial projected opening, a new flagship store in Brisbane, Australia is finally set to open on Friday, January 17. The latest Brisbane store is housed in the historic MacArthur Chambers building, which was used as a base of operations during World War II and named for General Douglas MacArthur. The project was once thought abandoned due to a contractor's bankruptcy filing and difficulty in approving renovations, but the obstacles were eventually overcome.
55-inch Ultra HD television shipping in Australia by late January
Australian hardware producer Kogan has used CES to launch two devices destined for sale in Australia. The company's first 55-inch Ultra HD television will be going on sale for $999 AUD ($900), and is accompanied on the show floor by the Agora HD Mini 3G tablet, an Android 4.2.2 device with a 7.85-inch, 1,024x768-resolution display.
A barricade sign has gone up for Apple's new store in Brisbane, Australia, reports note. While it doesn't mention a particular launch date, such signs typically appear about 10 to 14 days ahead of an Apple retail opening. Since the company normally prefers to debut stores on the weekend, January 10th or the 11th may be the most likely window.
24-month warranties to be provided after consumer watchdog investigation
Apple is being forced to comply with the Australian Consumer Law, in another legal argument over its warranties. An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) found that Apple staff in the country misapplied Apple's policies for 14-day returns and 12-month limited manufacturer's warranty, instead of ones required under the ACL itself.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Nokia phablet with 20MP PureView camera out in UK, Australia soon
The Nokia Lumia 1520 has landed in Australia, following its launch in the United States and other countries. Not to be outdone, the six-inch phablet with a 1080p display will also be heading to the United Kingdom for launch on December 6th, with both carriers and third-party retailers said to be stocking the device.
Promo image points at possible iPad, accessory discounts
Apple has begun teasing its annual Black Friday sales event on its international websites. While the company's US website has yet to mention anything, the Australian site notes that the event will take place this Friday both online and at retail, and that online orders will have free shipping.
Local site prices Amazon US Kindle Fire HD under Australian retailers
Amazon has made a large push in Australia for its Kindle tablet line. The retailer has launched its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX tablets in the country, coming shortly after the Kindle Paperwhite became available in stores, and is accompanied by a regional version of the Kindle Store, with Kindle Direct Publishing also opening up in the territory.
Apple 'investigating the cause'
The iPad that exploded at an Australia Vodafone store was an older model, and not the iPad Air, according to Vodafone. "It was an earlier generation iPad with Retina display model - not one of the more recently launched devices. Apple is investigating the cause," one spokesperson states. Another comments that "Apple has taken the device for investigation, so we won't know any more until they do."
iPad charging port claimed to be source of fire in store
An Apple iPad reportedly exploded in a Vodafone store in Canberra, Australia earlier this week, causing the building to be evacuated. A demonstration model used by the carrier at the store apparently caught fire at the charging port, as well as ejecting smoke and sparks, though it is not entirely clear what generation of iPad was at fault.
Location expected to become new Brisbane flagship
Apple has started posting job listings for its third store in Brisbane, Australia, reports note. The outlet will be based in the MacArthur Chambers building, a 10-story structure dating back to 1934. Previously-submitted plans indicate that within its space, Apple is expected to make some architectural changes affecting windows, a stairway, and a wall in the mezzanine.
Lines start forming around some retail outlets
(Updated with start of sales in some countries) Apple has begun temporarily shuttering some of its online stores ahead of tomorrow's iPad Air launch. Pages for regions like Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the Netherlands are now offline. The storefronts should go back online sometime after midnight local time, when online orders for the Air will open.
LG G Pad 8.3 heading to retail in the UK and Ireland
LG is launching its G Pad 8.3 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in time for the holiday shopping rush. The tablet, with an 8.3-inch 1080p display, a quad-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor with 2GB of RAM, 5MP and 1.3MP cameras, 4,600mAh battery and 16GB of storage, will cost £260 ($415) when it goes on sale.
US, Canada, China, Australia see new forecasts
Shipping times for the iPhone 5s have changed at Apple's online store, checks show. As recently as yesterday, the device was only listed as shipping in "October" for US buyers. Now orders are set to arrive in two to three weeks; the same forecast has been applied to the Canadian, Chinese, and Australian storefronts, and possibly others.
English-speaking and Nordic countries in initial rollout plans
Apple is expected to make English-speaking and Nordic countries the first wave of its expansion of iTunes Radio into non-US countries, pulling ahead of main rival Pandora in terms of international reach, Bloomberg reports. Citing "people with knowledge of the situation," Apple expects to bring the new streaming-radio feature of iTunes to Canada, the UK, several Nordic countries, Australia and New Zealand in a timeframe said to be aimed for early 2014.