Apple Said to Hold Talks With Government About Retail Stores in India

Apple Said to Hold Talks With Government About Retail Stores in IndiaApple Inc officials on Tuesday met Commerce Ministry top brass amid its plans to open stores in India without initially having to source components locally.

According to sources, the meeting chaired by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ramesh Abhishek lasted for almost an hour with senior officials from Apple discussing details of the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules in single-brand retail and the company’s retail expansion plans.

Apple officials are believed to have sought clarity on the changes in mandatory domestic sourcing norms for single brand retail brought in earlier this year. However, no official word on the meeting was received from either side.

In June this year, government had relaxed FDI norms by giving a three-year exemption from local sourcing to foreign players in single-brand retail and a five-year relaxation for ‘state-of-the-art’ and ‘cutting-edge’ technology.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for the Cupertino-based company. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, Apple’s iPhone sales in India were up 51 percent year-on-year.

In May this year, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had visited India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as key industry leaders like Sunil Bharti Mittal and veteran banker Chanda Kocchar.

Apple had also announced setting up of a design and development accelerator to support Indian developers creating innovative applications for iOS and opened a new office in Hyderabad to accelerate maps development.

Cook during his May visit, had discussed issues including manufacturing and setting up retail stores in the country with Modi.

The FDI rules for single brand retail call for mandatory sourcing of at least 30 percent inputs from domestic companies.

Apple Music Now Has 20 Million Subscribers; Attracts 3 Million People in 3 Months

At the iPhone keynote in September, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue noted that Apple Music had garnered 17 million subscribers since launch. Now, Apple has confirmed subscriber numbers have gone up to 20 million. This 3 million increase has happened in just three months, and is a significant milestone for Apple’s music streaming app.

Even though Apple Music adoption is growing fast, it still currently lags behind Spotify, which enjoys 40 million subscribers. It’s important to note that Apple has managed this feat in just a year, while Spotify has been around for a while.

Apple Music Now Has 20 Million Subscribers; Attracts 3 Million People in 3 Months“It’s been quite a year. We were thrilled to see that we could take [artists’] passions and drive them all the way to No. 1. Chance the Rapper, who we put on Apple Music exclusively, hit the top 10 on the Billboard charts [based on streams alone], and I can’t recall that being done before,” Cue told Billboard.

Apple also said that 60 percent of customers using its music streaming service haven’t purchased music from iTunes in the last 12 months, and Cue clarifies to Billboard that the “vast majority are new customers”. The company added that the service is available in over 100 countries, and that more than half of the total 20 million subscribers live outside the US, in markets such as Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, and Brazil – states the company.

Talking about this year’s numbers alone, Apple Music has managed to rope in 10 million subscribers, while Spotify managed 12 million. Spotify ended 2015 with 28 million subscribers, while Apple Music managed 10 million since launch in June last year.

Apple Music recently introduced its University Student membership plan in 25 more countries across the world including India. The Individual plan is priced at Rs. 120 per month, while the new University Plan is being priced at a discounted Rs. 60 per month. The Family Plan lets up to six people share the subscription, and costs Rs. 190 per month.

Apple may introduce long-range wireless charging in next year’s iPhone and iPad

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While there are quite a few smartphones available today that support wireless charging, such as the Galaxy S6, Apple has never embraced the technology in the same way its competitors have. But, according to a report from Bloomberg, this might change next year. Citing ‘people familiar with the matter,’ the report states that Apple may introduce ‘cutting edge’ wireless technology to its mobile devices in 2017, and it’ll work over a “long range,” so there’ll be no need for a charging mat or plate.

Being able to wirelessly charge a device without it requiring physical contact with a charging surface would no doubt increase its appeal to consumers. But Apple still needs to get past some technical issues, such as the potential loss of power over distances. The report did add that the decision on implementing the technology is still being assessed.

Apple does use a form of Qi wireless charging in the Apple Watch, but it requires the device to be placed on a magnetic charging surface. Qi technology can transmit power over a distance, although it is limited to around 4cm (1.6 inches).

Apple has filed a number of patents related to wireless charging technology, but a large number of companies file design patents that never end up becoming actual products. However, considering that this is Apple’s take on an existing technology, rather than one it came up with itself, there’s more likelihood of it becoming a reality.

If the report proves to be true, the feature could help Apple increase its iPhone growth next year, which has stagnated recently.

Apple issues recall for some international AC wall plug adapters due to electric shock risk

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Apple has just issued a voluntary recall for certain two-prong AC wall plug adapters used on Macs and some iOS devices sold outside the US. The company says that this is due to a “very rare” risk of the adapters breaking and giving the user an electric shock.

The adapters in question were shipped between 2003 and 2015, in Argentina, Brazil, Contintal Europe, New Zealand, and South Korea. It doesn’t affect adapters designed for the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, or the UK. The company said that The recall also does not include USB power adapters, but it does apply to adapters included in Apple’s $29 “world traveler” kit.

Apple said it is aware of 12 incidents that have occurred due to the broken adapters over the past 12 years, although none have taken place in the United States.

In an official statement, the company explained how to identify adapters that may be affected by the problem. “An affected two-prong plug adapter has either four or five characters or no characters on the inside slot where it attaches to the main Apple power adapter.”

The safe, redesigned adapters will have a 3-letter regional code in the slot, such as EUR, KOR, AUS, ARG or BRA.

While recalling the adapters due to 12 worldwide incidents across 12 years may seem a bit overly cautious on Apple’s part, the company will want to make sure it does all it can to prevent any further reported issues.

Customer safety is always Apple’s top priority, and we have voluntarily decided to exchange affected wall plug adapters with a new, redesigned adapter, free of charge.

Apple’s announcement comes a week after Microsoft said it will recall nearly all Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2, and Surface Pro 3 power cords over concerns that they can overheat under the wrong circumstances.

If you’re in one of the affected regions and think your adapter may be at fault, go to this page to find out how to exchange it.

Apple records whopping quarterly profit of $18.4 billion

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Apple’s financial results for the first quarter of their fiscal 2016, which ended on December 26, 2015, have revealed the company amassed $75.9 billion in revenue for profits of $18.4 billion. The amount of profit Apple generated during this quarter is particularly staggering: it’s the largest ever by a single publicly-traded company.

While Apple recorded good financial figures, the company saw essentially no growth in iPhone sales compared to the same quarter last year. Over the past three months, Apple managed to sell 74.8 million smartphones, compared to 74.5 million at the end of 2014. Regardless of no growth, it is still a astonishing figure.

iPad sales continue to decline despite the launch of the iPad Pro, recording 16.1 million sales in the past quarter compared to 21.4 million the previous year. Mac sales were down slightly, coming in at 5.3 million sales compared to 5.7 million the same quarter last year.

Apple’s revenue and profit managed to grow slightly relative to the same period last year despite declines in sales of several key products. This can mostly be attributed to increased revenue for Apple’s services and “other products,” which includes the Apple Watch, new Apple TV, as well as Apple Music.

News isn’t as good for the upcoming quarter. Apple expects revenues to fall in the $50-53 billion range, which, while still a huge figure for any company, would be a decline compared to the $58 billion the company made in the same quarter last year.

iPad Air 3 rumored to feature four speakers, rear-facing LED flash

apple, ipad, tablet, speakers, tablet sales, ipad air, ipad pro, ipad air 3, led flash, tablet camera

The rumor mill has been uncharacteristically quiet regarding one of Apple’s upcoming products, the third-generation iPad Air. Given the declining state of the tablet marketand the fact that it’s been well over a year since the arrival of the iPad Air 2, the stalemate isn’t without merit.

Nevertheless, a recent report from French website includes a “leaked” design sketch from a reliable source of what may very well be the iPad Air 3. The drawing suggests the next 9.7-inch iPad will include four speakers, much like the iPad Pro. The image also shows what’s likely to be an LED flash to accompany the rear camera.

Adding two additional speakers for “proper” surround sound is something critics have been requesting for some time. A rear-facing LED flash? Not so much. If accurate, the state of the tablet market may very well be dictating this addition.

Tablets aren’t exactly the go-to device for photographers yet sadly, there are those among us that use tablets as their primary camera. Adding a rear flash and beefing up the camera with optics on par with the latest smartphones could be one way for Apple to battle declining sales.

Apple’s third-generation iPad Air is expected to break cover at a media event scheduled for March, perhaps alongside the rumored iPhone 6c and the second-gen Apple Watch.

Apple expected to unveil trio of new devices at March 15 media event

apple, ipad, smartwatch, apple watch, iphone 6c, apple a9, ipad air 3, second gen apple watch, iphone 5se

Apple’s next media event is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 15, according to sources as reported by 9to5Mac. Being six weeks out, the date could very well change or Apple may turn it into an online announcement although the latter seems unlikely given the trio of devices we’re expecting to see.

The general consensus is that Apple is planning to unveil a new, smaller iPhone at the event. This 4-inch handset is said to be the spiritual successor of the iPhone 5c and will be called either the iPhone 5se or the iPhone 6c (neither name seems all that appealing but I digress).

Regardless of the name, the smaller iPhone is expected to be powered by an A9 chip with modern cameras and a 64GB storage option.

The iPad Air 3, meanwhile, will be the first update to the Air line since October 2014. As we reported last week, the new 9.7-inch slate will likely adopt the iPad Pro’s four-speaker audio system and a Smart Connector which suggests a Smart Keyboard accessory could also be in the works. We’ve also seen rumored leaked sketches that suggest the new iPad will have a rear LED flash, a first for an iPad.

Not a whole lot is known about the second-generation Apple Watch although it’s almost a given that we’ll see a new collection of bands on offer as well as updated software.

Apple’s iTunes Radio service is no longer free

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If you’ve tried to launch iTunes Radio today and were instead prompted to sign up for Apple Music, you aren’t alone. Apple on Friday discontinued its free, ad-support streaming music service, iTunes Radio.

Apple was once the leading provider of digital music courtesy of its iTunes store. That model served the company well for over a decade but as streaming services like Pandora and Spotify forever changed the way we acquire music, Apple’s model suddenly wasn’t nearly as attractive.

Changes were in order and in 2013, Apple – playing catch-up – launched iTunes Radio, an Internet radio service that debuted alongside iOS 7. In mid-2015, Apple introduced a paid subscription service called Apple Music that more or less mirrored Spotify’s approach in that it allows for ad-free listening and more control over song choices. Since that time, Apple has been leading up to today – the closing of its free, ad-supported music service. iTunes Radio and its stations now live on within Apple Music.

Like others, Apple offers a free trial of its paid service to newcomers – in this case, three months. After that, you’ll pay $9.99 per month for a single account or $14.99 monthly for a family plan that grants access to up to six simultaneous users.

Should you decide to cancel the service, be sure and do so before the trial runs out, otherwise you’ll find a charge on your card that you weren’t anticipating.

Apple Stores to let users trade in their broken iPhone for a new one

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Apple is set to launch a new iPhone upgrade program at their retail stores that allows customers to trade in their old, broken iPhones for credit towards a brand new handset, according to the latest report from 9to5Mac.

It has been possible to trade in your old iPhone for credit towards a new one at Apple Stores for a while now, but the policy has stipulated that the phone you’re trading in must be in working condition. That’s set to change this week, though, with Apple to begin accepting trade-ins of phones with broken screens, cameras or buttons “within reason”.

The trade-in program will only apply to iPhone 5s and iPhone 6/6 Plus models, as it’s designed to encourage users to upgrade to the latest iPhone. Trading in a broken 5s will reportedly net you $50, while broken 6 and 6 Plus units will give you $200 and $250 of credit respectively. This credit can go towards the purchase of a new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus.

Apple will also begin offering screen protector applications at Apple Stores starting today, something that the company previously prohibited as it didn’t believe employees would do a good job applying them. If you purchase a screen protector in store, the Apple Store will use a specialized installation machine from Belkin to apply the protector perfectly.

And in the event that the machine doesn’t apply the screen protector perfectly, the Store will give you a free replacement and attempt the installation again. Unfortuntely Apple Stores don’t sell high-quality screen protectors like Phantom Glass, but the plastic ones available should do a decent enough job.

Dr. Dre to star in Apple’s first original series

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Rumors swirled late last year that Apple was exploring the possibility of creating its own original programming, possibly to spearhead its streaming TV ambitions. Now, a new report from The Hollywood Reporter claims Apple’s first original content is already filming and it stars one of the company’s most notable faces.

The six-episode series is said to star Beats co-founder and rap mogul Dr. Dre. Dubbed Vital Signs, the rapper (real name Andre Romelle Young) is also executive producing the show alongside producers Aaron Ginsburg and William Green with Paul Hunter at the helm. Dre has experience as an executive producer, putting out last year’s hit Straight Outta Compton which grossed $200 million worldwide.

Vital Signs is described as a semi-autobiographical dark drama. Each episode will reportedly focus on a different emotion and how his character deals with it.

Sources say the series will have no shortage of violence and sex. Filming earlier this week reportedly featured an extended orgy scene with multiple nude extras taking part in simulated sex acts inside a mansion in the Hollywood Hills.

Interestingly enough, the show will be distributed via Apple Music, the Cupertino-based company’s subscription-based streaming music service. It’s unclear if Apple will simultaneously (or at a later date) put the series on Apple TV or iTunes. As is now common with such original content, the entire season will be released all at once.

No timetable was provided for the show’s release although Apple is said to be bullish on the project.