Apps were previously English-only
Google has updated its Android and iOS Search apps with voice support for French, German, and Japanese. The upgrades let people both speak commands and hear responses in the new languages. Previously, non-English speakers had to type in any search requests.
Most countries participating
Most of Apple's online storefronts for Europe have announced zero-percent financing deals, available today through January 10th. Some participating countries include the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The deals are only eligible on hardware purchases worth over â‚¬400, or Â£449, but let shoppers spread costs over time without incurring the interest Apple normally charges. Depending on the country, payments can be spread over 10 or 12 months.
Company may be shifting tax burden to shoppers
Apple has silently raised prices for the iPhone 5s and 5c in France, reports note. 16, 32, and 64GB versions of the 5s previously cost €699, €799, and €899. Now, however, they cost €709, €811, and €911, making even the cheapest 5s worth about $968. French iPhones are sold unlocked, but in the US, an unlocked 5s still starts at just $649.
Company fails to comply with demands
France's data-privacy watchdog, the CNIL (Commission nationale de l'informatique et des libertés), has moved forward with plans to sanction Google over the company's privacy policies. The agency in June ordered the company to implement a number of changes to comply with the French Data Protection Act, however the company reportedly failed to adjust its policies within a three-month deadline.
Probe believed to be separate from antitrust investigations
France's finance ministry is investigating contract terms between Apple and local carriers selling the iPhone, according to reports. The initiative is believed to be part of a broader look at contracts between carriers and phone makers. It's separate, however, from a European Commission investigation into Apple's contract dealings.
Leaves North America for first time
As anticipated, Apple has brought AppleCare+ plans to Europe for the first time. Initially, however, the option is only being sold in the UK, France, and Italy. In the UK, the fee to replace an accidentally-damaged iPad under the two-year plan is £39; replacing an iPhone is £55. Defective units should be swapped out at no extra cost.
Apple partnering with AIG
Apple's rumored European expansion of AppleCare+ will initially reach just six countries, sources say. A launch is reportedly "imminent" in Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the UK, although no exact dates are available. Apple is said to be partnering with AIG on the service; local AppleCare and Genius Bar workers started training for AppleCare+ earlier this week.
Apple makes heavy international push
Details have emerged on several new international Apple Stores. Aside from a new Tokyo location, Apple is reportedly working on another Parisian outlet, this time around Saint-Germain-des-Prés. It's not clear when Apple will move in, but the target building's current tenants are said to have staggered leave dates ranging from next month to the end of March 2014.
New countries to join August 16th
Apple is extending the number of eligible countries in its USB adapter takeback program. The program began in China August 9th, and is coming to the US on August 16th. Now also joining on the 16th will be Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
Google, Amazon app stores also under scrutiny
The French government's investigation of the iOS App Store is part of a broader probe into customers' inability to easily switch platforms, a spokesperson says. L’autorité de la concurrence -- France's competition regulation agency -- is targeting not just the App Store, but also other storefronts like Google Play and the Amazon Appstore.
Company unfairly favoring own stores over retail partners, complaints say
Apple's French headquarters was recently raided in the course of an antitrust investigation by the country's competition regulators, local reports say. Government authorities seized documents related to a complaint by Apple reseller eBizcuss, which went bankrupt last year. Following the bankruptcy, eBizcuss complained that Apple was engaging in unfair competition, making sure its own stores are well-stocked with new products while limiting what resellers have access to.
Extends coverage to two-year period demanded by EU law
Apple has updated its default warranties in Belgium, France, and Germany to reflect European Union law, reports say. EU regulations require covering the sort of goods Apple sells for two years. Until now, though, Apple only marketed its warranties as covering one year in the above countries, drawing criticism from governments and consumer groups. The company was only giving two-year warranties to people paying for extended AppleCare packages.
France's SACEM agency is asking Apple to pay 5 million euros, or about $6.5 million, for taxes still owed on 2011 iPad sales, reports say. The tax is one common across Europe, collecting money off sales of digital devices that can access copyrighted material. The money is then distributed to artists such as authors and actors.
May heighten tensions over tax avoidance in EU countries
French President Francoise Hollande is considering a new tax on tech products, the money from which would fund cultural projects. The move, which would be decided this summer and has been described as "minimal and widely distributed," may increase tensions between tech companies and the government of France -- along with other EU countries, many of which have complained that firms such as Apple and Google are gaming the system in order to avoid paying taxes that would normally be due.
Other regions might also have new 3D terrain
Apple has extended Flyover coverage in iOS 6 Maps to Paris and several surrounding areas, reports say. Aside from Paris, other new detail regions include Versailles, Aulnay-sous-Bois, Disneyland Paris, and L'Haÿ-les-Roses. Flyover renders scenery in a rough 3D state, clarifying maps and giving a better sense for what an environment will look like in person.
French developer admitted to breaking Apple's guidelines
Calling Apple's decision to pull AppGratis out of the App Store for its violation of the rules "extremely brutal and unilateral," a junior minister for the digital economy in France has said she plans to ask the European Commission to investigate "Internet companies" for "repeated abusive behavior" and called for tighter regulation of digital platforms, search engines and social media. The thinly-veiled attack on Apple, Google and social services like Twitter and Facebook comes on the heels of Apple's pulling of the France-based iMediapp's program.
Practice violates French law
Apple France must pay labor unions €10,000 ($13,000) in fines for regularly forcing retail employees to work after 9PM, a Parisian court has ruled. Agence France-Presse adds that for every subsequent violation, Apple will have to pay 50,000 euros ($65,000). Under French law, demanding work between 9PM and 6AM is reserved for exceptional cases, and requires special justification.
Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands seeing access
(Updated with complete list of countries) Access to movies and TV shows via iTunes in the Cloud is rolling out across several more European countries, reports say. The one confirmed country is France, where the feature has been tested with both iTunes and the Apple TV. Various people on Twitter, however, are claiming that the option is now also available in Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
UK store still stuck at 1-3 business days
The iPad mini is now officially "in stock" at Apple's online store in many countries. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and the US have all made the change. Some notable exceptions include places like the UK, Germany, and France, where the tablet is listed as shipping in one to three business days.
Stylistic S01 includes simplified menus, call assists
Fujitsu and Orange have agreed to offer Fujitsu smartphones to customers in France, with initial handsets being targeted at senior users. The first offering will be the Stylistic S01, a mid-ranged 4-inch Android 4.0 smartphone based heavily on the Fujitsu Raku Raku, one that is focused on helping elderly users communicate.
$82 million payment into fund mirrors Belgian settlement
Google has come to terms with the French government regarding the search engine's indexing of media in the country. Google has agreed today to pay 60 million euros ($82 million) into a fund to help French media expand and develop exposure on the Internet. Despite publishers in the country lobbying to the contrary, Google will not pay for posting links to French publishers' content.
Orange France claims half data traffic from Google properties
French telecommunications provider Orange has imposed a deal on Google, forcing the search giant to pay for traffic sent through its data networks. The agreement, terms of which remain undisclosed, sees Google compensate the carrier for its sites taking up roughly 50 percent of all traffic on Orange's networks.
Thieves assault store workers
Robbers stole an estimated $1.32 million in Apple products from the Paris Opera Apple Store on New Year's Eve, Dow Jones reports. A group of armed men in masks came in through the service entrance three hours after the store closed, at about 1700 GMT. At the time, only a cleaner and a single security guard were present. The robbers nevertheless assaulted them, inflicting slight injuries in one case.
Lawsuits still being pursued, Samsung says
Samsung has dropped patent injunction applications against Apple in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, a senior executive tells the Wall Street Journal. All of the injunctions were related to wireless communications. Samsung notes that despite the withdrawal of the applications -- which is said to have been voluntary -- lawsuits accusing Apple of patent infringement remain ongoing.
Sync works despite delayed software
The iPad mini requires iTunes 11 to sync, some French boxes for the tablet are claiming. The oddity was spotted by iGen.fr, which yesterday noted that some people are getting their Minis delivered ahead of the official November 2nd launch. Significantly, though, accounts elsewhere suggest that boxes being delivered early in Germany list the current version of iTunes.
Claims proposed law 'threatens its very existence'
Google has threatened to remove members of the French media from its news and search results if a proposed law goes ahead. Newspaper publishers in the country are pressing for search engines to pay for links to their content, which if adopted in France, is claimed to "threaten (Google's) very existence." Google has complained via a letter to various French ministerial offices against the move.
Protest coincides with iPhone 5 launch
A sizable number of French Apple Store workers have voted to go on strike Friday to support the demands of their union, the SUD, Reuters reports. The SUD represents about a quarter of Apple Store employees in the country, and is asking that they get water fountains, meal vouchers, and a thirteenth month of salary standard amongst French businesses. The head of the union, Thomas Bordage, has called on workers to demonstrate in front of the Opera Apple Store at 8AM tomorrow.
California, Spain, Germany, France, and Italy getting new shops
Apple is preparing to open five new Apple Stores this week. The first is the Rio Shopping outlet, based in Valladolid, Spain. That shop will launch at 10AM local time on Thursday, likely in anticipation of the iPhone 5's debut on Friday. Three stores elsewhere will in fact launch at 8AM on Friday, an unusually early hour reserved for iPhone rollouts.
Fine over Rihanna track piracy despite possible innocence
A court in France has made its first conviction under the country's three-strikes anti-piracy law. Alain Prevost of Belfort, eastern France, was fined 150 euros ($200) for pirating two tracks by Rihanna over his Internet connection. The conviction took place, despite testimony claiming his estranged wife was responsible for the downloads.
Deal follows resolution of publisher litigation
French customers of Google's Play Store will now be able to purchase books through the entertainment hub. The news was announced in a post on Google's European Public Policy Blog. French access to Google's book store comes following the resolution of a six-year legal saga involving suits from both French author and publisher guilds.
Goods, van riders ultimately abandoned
Earlier today three men attempted to rob a van carrying Apple products in Aulnay-sous-Bois, just outside of Paris, according to reports. The suspects were allegedly carrying assault rifles, either M16s or Kalashnikovs. Despite this, the driver and the passenger in the van are said to have been released without injuries in the woods of Val d'Oise.
French channel to pay Google legal costs but may appeal
Courts in France have sided with YouTube in its copyright fight with French TV channel TF1. The Tribunal de Grande Instance heard from TF1 that users of YouTube uploaded clips of films and sports that the channel had rights to, with an expectation of €141 million ($176 million) in damages, but instead chose to rule in favor of the Google-owned video site. TF1 has been ordered to pay $99,000 in legal fees to Google, but is considering appealing, writes The New York Times.
Facebook ad credits offered despite polled click-rate
Facebook is offering free advertising to small businesses in an effort to encourage more advertisement sales in Europe. Qualifying companies operating in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain can receive a free advertising credit on the social network through its Small Business Boost promotion. This comes at a time when the effectiveness of advertizing on Facebook is questioned, with General Motors dropping paid Facebook ads altogether.
Stanford shop to use 'glass box' design
New details have emerged about two upcoming Apple Stores. The first of these is another Parisian outlet, which Apple has announced will launch Friday morning at 9 AM in the city's Quatre Temps mall. The shopping center sits along the north extension of the Champs Élysées. Apple already has several Apple Stores in the Paris area, but just a handful scattered throughout the rest of France.
Jack White, Norah Jones among free concerts
Apple has announced details of the 2012 iTunes Festival, to be held at the Roundhouse in London, England. The event will consist of 30 nights of free concerts by over 60 artists, including the likes of Jack White, Norah Jones, and Usher; only a handful of artists have been announced so far. For 2012, the festival has been moved from July to September.
Upgraded with Retina Display, quad-core A5X chip
Apple today announced the third-generation iPad at an event in San Francisco. The device's main feature is a 2048x1536 Retina Display, twice the resolution of the iPad 2, rated at 264 pixels per inch; existing apps will be upscaled automatically. Color saturation is said to be 44 percent higher. The tablet also makes the switch to a new dual-core but quad graphics processor, the A5X, which Apple says is built with the Retina Display in mind. Interface-wise the tablet has been improved with features like voice dictation.
No definite plans stated
Apple is a candidate for replacing the Virgin Megastore at the Champs-Élysées in Paris, according to Le Figaro. The French newspaper claims that Apple "will be in the running" for the location, which Virgin is reportedly trying to sell. The latter company is in the process of closing down some outlets; president Jean-Louis Reynard has said that the chain is switching to a "new model of store, smaller, with a more segmented offer."
Could be linked to hard drive shortages
Apple's Time Capsule routers are seeing delays or shortages in different parts of the world, notes 9to5Mac. The company's online stores in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and France are sometimes seeing delivery times of one to three weeks for 3TB models, or one- to two-week delays for 2TB routers. Third-party vendors Amazon and Best Buy are out of 3TB models, and some Australian Apple Stores may be completely out of stock.
Company collects, but disputes need for, tax
A French copyright association has sued Apple in that country, charging that the tech giant has been collecting a French "copyright tax" on iPads but not paying the money to Copie France, which distributes the finds to authors, artists and other performers as a form of compensation for personal copying, a French newspaper reports. Apple, along with other tech firms, has gotten the tax abolished for 2012, but is still disputing $6.3 million in back taxes.
Parisian store cluster grows
Apple is taking steps toward building two more French retail stores, says MacGénération. The first is in the commercial center of Quatre Temps à la Défense, in the Parisian district of Puteaux. Apple has reportedly filed an application to run a business there, although an exact location in the center is unknown.
New countries offer cash instead of gift cards
Apple has expanded an iPhone and iPad recycling program to the UK, France, and Germany, accounts say. In the US, people can trade in old iPhones and iPads for Apple gift cards. The program is operating differently in the new countries, where people are instead getting cash deposited directly into their bank accounts.
More expansions may be imminent
Following a botched rollout on Wednesday, Apple has today officially expanded iTunes Match to Canada and the UK. In Canada the service costs $28 a year, while in the UK annual pricing is set at £22. Unlike regular iCloud options, iTunes Match allows a person to mirror and remotely access their entire music library, regardless of whether the content is on iTunes.
Part of Apple's iCloud rollout
The iTunes in the Cloud service is now available in several more regions around the world, users say. Canada, France, Australia and the UK are among the main territories, but other countries are said to be getting the option as well. When available the option lets people re-download music, apps and books from iTunes, or else have the content automatically pushed to multiple devices.
Consistent with repotss, Apple's track record
Apple will release the iPhone 5 in five countries on Friday, October 14th, claims Japanese site Macotakara. Specifically the device is expected to launch in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan. The timing is consistent with accounts that Apple is blacking out the 14th and 15th for Apple Store workers looking to go on vacation, and past reports pointing to a launch sometime between the 7th and the 15th.
Group spans Canada, France, Italy, Australia, US
Apple has revealed five additional store openings taking place this weekend. Outlets in Shanghai and Hong Kong were announced earlier this week, but the company has only just, for instance, confirmed that it will indeed launch the Metrotown location this week. The shop is based in Burnaby, British Columbia within the greater Vancouver area, and will start taking in the public at 10AM Saturday morning.
Timing likely imprecise
The iPhone 5 will launch on October 15th, claims Stéphane Richard, the CEO of French carrier Orange. The executive reportedly made the comment during an interview on a TV business program. Hardmac notes that Richard has let slip similarly secret Apple information in the past, namely about the first-generation iPad; he wrongly stated, though, that the tablet would have a camera. Investigation of the hardware would eventually show space for a camera, suggesting that Apple removed it late into development.
Retail rush continues
Apple will once again open a round of new retail stores this weekend, says ifoAppleStore. Of the three opening this Saturday, the most important may be the Promenade at Chenal location in Little Rock, Arkansas. The state has never before had an Apple Store, even though Apple was listed as a forthcoming tenant at the Promenade as far back as 2007, before the mall's 2008 opening. Apple has at least a token presence in 44 US states; gaps are still present in Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, West Virginia and both Dakotas.
References can only be informational
France has reportedly enacted new legislation that aims to ban broadcasters from uttering terms related to popular social networking websites that originated in the US. Television and radio hosts are no longer allowed to say the words "Twitter" or "Facebook" during broadcasts, unless the references are necessary to convey information directly related to a news story.
Move likely follows lackluster sales
Nokia has reportedly shuttered two of its online stores in international markets, as visitors to the company's web-based portals in France and Spain are greeted with notices pointing to the closures. The cellphone maker blamed the decision on lackluster sales performance, mostly driven by subsidies offered from carriers in both regions.
French expansion accelerates
Apple will open a new French store on Saturday, according to an announcement. The outlet will be the company's first in the city of Lyon, and find a home in the La Part-Dieu shopping mall, strategically located next to a major train station. Opening is set for 9:30AM; regular hours will run from then until 8PM, Monday through Saturday.