iPhone maker previously dependent on resellers
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has granted Apple permission to operate directly in the country, reports say. To date Apple has had to rely on an Irish subsidiary, Apple Distribution International, and local third-party resellers. The authorization should allow Apple to open online and retail stores of its own.
ICANN receives registration complaints on moral, health grounds
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has raised objections to certain gTLD applications. The Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission has filed complaints with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) over some top-level domain proposals on various taste, decency and health-related grounds in the last few days, according to The Register.
Argentina, Brazil among major launch regions
Apple is bringing the third-generation iPad to 30 more countries this weekend, the company has announced. The bulk of launches will happen on May 11th; for that day the list includes Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Curacao, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Malta, Martinique, Mauritius, Morocco, Peru, Taiwan, Tunisia, and Vietnam. Several Middle Eastern countries will get the tablet on May 12th, those being Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Brazil, Russia, South Africa among major regions
The iPhone 4S is now available in over 20 more countries, checks show. A list includes Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. The expansion coincides with expansions of the iTunes Store and iTunes Match.
Censorship may be unintentional
Some MobileMe users in Saudi Arabia are finding me.com blocked, reports say. Affected people are instead greeted with a splash screen in English and Arabic informing them that the government has restricted access. The issue is not universal however; some people may still be unrestricted, while others can gain access via https:// or by navigating to a specific page like me.com/mail.
Apple blamed for preemptive action
Apple allegedly holds sole responsibility for restricting FaceTime access in countries throughout the Middle East. An unnamed source has told The Next Web that Apple preemptively omitted the feature, unbeknownst to the regional carriers. The company reportedly believed the technology would face roadblocks with local VoIP regulations.
Meant to conform to Islamic sensibilities?
Apple has subtly modified some promotional material for the iPhone 4 to remove references to FaceTime, reports note. In Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen, as well as Egypt and Jordan, official pages for the iPhone 4 no longer show a woman and man having a video conversation. Instead, Apple has substituted content promoting the device's Retina Display.
Saudi, UAE iPhones
The Saudi Arabian version of the iPhone is doing unusually well, claims a local newspaper. The phone went on sale Sunday through some 500 Mobily outlets, and is said to have already accumulated over 25,000 subscribers, in spite of the relative poverty of most of the country and a lack of Arabic support in text messaging or the web browser. The region does have considerable oil wealth however, and the Saudi Gazette cites a Mobily spokesman as saying Arabic support is due within three months.