Tag - Russia
A new advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to increase taxes stemming from US companies trading in the country, in an attempt to try and make it easier for local competitors to take on their American counterparts. German Klimenko, the country's Internet czar, is going after Apple, Google, and Microsoft just six weeks after taking the role, with the taxation plan expected to help raise revenue for the government at the same time as making services such as Yandex and Mail.ru more attractive to citizens.
Apple is said to be making it easier for Russian iPhone users to be able to buy content from its online stores, by expanding carrier billing to the country. A report claims Apple is working with one mobile phone company to enable Carrier Billing, which allows for iTunes and App Store purchases to be charged directly to a mobile phone account, instead of requiring the use of a credit card or other standard payment method.
Apple is once again turning to the debt markets to finance its stock buyback and dividend payout programs, a new filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission has revealed. The iPhone maker will issue a new, €2 billion Euro (roughly $2.26 billion US) debt offering in order to continue to take advantage of extremely low interest rates. Only two notes will be offered, at €1 billion each, which will mature between January 2024 and the fall of 2027. The company last offered a Euro-based debt sale late last year.
Virgin America is upgrading its in-flight Wi-Fi service, claiming it will be powerful enough to stream video. Partnering with ViaSat to use its high-capacity 140-gigabit Ka-band satellite connection, it is said that Virgin America's in-flight Wi-Fi will be between eight and ten times faster than similar services on other aircraft, and close to connections available at home. Ten A320 planes will be the first to get the connection in September, with passengers on routes to Hawaii likely to benefit from the connections first.
Russian search engine Yandex has demanded that antitrust authorities investigate Google. Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has been instructed to look into Mountain View's bundling of services with mobile operating system Android, and how it impacts the market share of other companies' services in the country.
Apple has extended its actions against Russia by blocking authorized retailers from selling or shipping products in Crimea in accordance with sanctions, reports say. The measure was first mentioned on Twitter by blogger and consultant Eldar Murtazin, and then picked up by Russian media. The move follows the termination of all developer agreements with Apple and software makers located in the region. The measures take effect on February 1.
The tiny region of Crimea, recently annexed by Russia, has fallen victim to sanctions imposed against Russia by the US and European Union -- one aspect of which has been Apple's new notification to developers in the region that they are now suspended from the developer program and no longer allowed to sell programs in the App Store. The developer agreement have been terminated, effective immediately, in compliance with a US executive order, though there is a potential workaround.
Apple's Russian online store is back online, following an almost week-long downtime. The store was taken down to review and change prices -- and accordingly, many products are now substantially more expensive. A 16GB iPhone 6 is now 53,990 rubles, or about $988, far higher than the 34,990 rubles ($643) it sold for previously. A Retina iMac starts at 189,990 rubles, or $3,467. The same system is $2,499 in the US.
Apple is increasing the prices of both apps and in-app purchases at the Russian App Store, according to a new memo issued to developers. An app that would normally be $1 in the US, for example, is now 62 rubles. That indicates that apps have almost doubled in cost in Russia during 2014, though the increase is largely due to recent currency pressures.
Apple is temporarily shutting down its Russian online Apple store while it reviews pricing, according to company spokesman Alan Hely. The value of the country's currency, the ruble, dropped 19 percent today, despite attempts to stall a months-long decline using an interest rate increase. Apple's reaction is unusually sharp, given that the company normally just adjusts prices on-the-fly in foreign stores if there's a significant currency fluctuation. In November, it hiked the Russian cost of the iPhone 6 by 25 percent.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE