Uber hit by multiple legal, regulatory issues over the last few days
Uber is continuing to have a turbulent week, with issues in a number of different cities and countries within the last few days. The driving service has been banned in Spain, Thailand, and India, with Vietnam also taking a close look at the company's practices, while the city of Portland, Oregon has filed a lawsuit to shutter the service within days of launch.
Neij caught entering country from Laos, transfered to Bangkok to await extradition
The law has finally caught up with all of the founders of The Pirate Bay, as authorities in Thailand arrested co-founder Fredrik Neij on November 3 as he attempted to enter the country. Neij is the final founder of the piracy gateway to be caught, after fleeing Sweden following a 2009 conviction for aiding copyright infringement.
Company claims confidential information was published
Apple has already met with officials from Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to complain about the announcement of the iPhone 6's certification in the country, according to local newspaper Thai Rath. Although NBTC Secretary General Takorn Tantasith only disclosed the general name of the product and two model numbers -- A1586 and A1524 -- and was allegedly following government guidelines in doing so, Apple argues that he released confidential information.
Specifications still being kept secret
The Secretary General of Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, Takorn Tantasith, has announced distribution approval for two iPhone 6 models, according to reports and Tantasith's own Twitter account. Apple is said to have filed an import application on August 5th, and received certification and written approval on August 8th. The two models are listed as A1586 and A1524. While government regulations state that such approvals must be declared publicly, the actual specifications of the phones are still being protected.
Board of Film and Video Censors bars sales, seen as inappropriate to current situation
Thailand put a ban on sales on a city-building game in a similar vein to Sim City this week, based on some similarities to its political situation. The country's Board of Film and Video Censors, which is part of the Ministry of Culture, banned sales of Tropico 5 after declaring that some contents are not appropriate for the current political situation.
iPhone discounts extremely rare
Apple's planned Lunar New Year sale has already begun in east Asia, carrying with it some rare discounts. Above all are price drops on the iPhone, something the company almost never does. In Hong Kong, the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4S have all been marked down by HK$ 390, for example bringing the price of a 16GB 5s down to HK$ 5,198 ($670 US).
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.
Subsequent rollout phase set for November 1st
The iPhone 5s and 5c will launch in over 28 more countries on October 25th, Apple has announced. Italy, Russia, and Spain have been identified as the main launch regions that day, but the list also includes countries like Austria, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Sweden, and Thailand. On November 1st, still another 12-plus countries will be added, including India, Mexico, and Turkey.
Front-facing camera has high-resolution, BSI sensor with autofocus
A smartphone manufacturer in Thailand is making two mobile devices that use two high-resolution camera sensors, rather than one high and one low. Images published on Facebook by i-mobile show the IQ X and IQ XA, which boast an 18-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front-facing version, both of which have BSI sensors and autofocus.
Event set for January 25
Apple has formally announced this year's Lunar New Year sale throughout much of southeast Asia. The event, also known as "Red Friday," is scheduled for January 25, and will include discounts on Macs, iPads, iPods, and accessories, as well as free shipping. An official gift guide has been published to go with the event, but as usual Apple hasn't revealed what the exact discounts will be. Those should only be published on the 25th itself.
Separate from iTunes Match growth
(Updated with additional countries) Movie support has been added to iTunes in the Cloud in three more regions. The UK, Canada, and Columbia now have access to the feature, which ensures that movies bought on one device are automatically available for download elsewhere. Previously the countries could only use the option for music, apps, books, and music videos.
Includes music, movies, iCloud services
Apple has announced that the iTunes Store is now available in 12 new regions in Asia. These include Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Local visitors can now buy music from iTunes -- including local and international artists -- and either rent or buy movies, including titles from major studios like Fox, Paramount, Sony, Disney, and Warner Brothers.
Launch could be announced Wednesday
Apple is on the verge of announcing iTunes music, movies, and TV shows for several important Asian regions, sources say. An event is allegedly planned for tomorrow in Hong Kong; it may play host to musician Jason Mraz, as well as representatives from a number of Asian music labels. The labels are said to have been in talks with Apple as of last week, which may still be ongoing. New launch regions are believed to include Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
India biggest among new regions
Apple has once again expanded sales of the third-generation iPad. The tablet is now available in another nine countries, the biggest of these being India. Colombia, Estonia, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa, and Thailand are also on the list.
Zeiss lens also spotted
Sony has confirmed that its NEX-7 kits will finally begin to ship near the end of February. The company already offers the camera body, which arrived last month, however the 18-55mm kit lens faced delays due to the devastating flooding that halted production in many Thailand-based facilities.
Part costs may rise in coming months
Last year's flooding of hard drive factories in Thailand had no material effect on cost or supply for Apple's first fiscal quarter, according to CEO Tim Cook. Speaking during a post-results Q&A, Cook added that the company expects no supply problems during the current quarter, although it does anticipate paying more for drives. That problem has been factored into guidance, Cook said.
WD says expects pre-flood capacity by September
In announcing its latest financial results which showed net income of $145 million, Western Digital has offered an update on its ‘significant’ progress in restoring manufacturing capacity and supply following the Thai floods. The major hard drive manufacturer says that is continuing to ramp production in Thailand and had resumed slider production, which had been suspended since October 10.The company now believes its manufacturing capacity will be back to pre-flood capabilities in the quarter ending September 2012.
Parallels Black Friday offerings in US
As promised, Apple has launched special Lunar New Year online sales in a handful of countries. These are notably similar to the company's Black Friday deals in the US, which were modest in scope. At the Hong Kong Apple Store, for instance, Apple is offering about 8 percent off Wi-Fi iPads, or 6 to 7 percent off 3G models.
Limited to handful of countries
Apple is running a special Lunar New Year promotion on Friday, January 6th, the company has announced. In China and Hong Kong, as well as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines, people will be able to visit local Apple online stores for rare first-party discounts. As with the company's Black Friday sale, though, no prices are being advertised ahead of time.
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.
Market still feeling effects of Thai floods
Although the floodwaters have receded in Thailand, the disaster is still said to be affecting supply chains in the tech industry. Canaccord Genuity analyst Bobby Burleson suggests Intel has been forced to stockpile its microprocessors as a "direct result" of the hard drive shortages that resulted from flooded factories located in Thailand.
Production moved to separate facilities
Sony has reportedly resumed production operations for its Alpha and NEX cameras that were being manufactured in areas affected by the recent record-breaking floods in Thailand. To bring the operations back up to speed, the company is said to have moved production from the inundated Ayuthaya site to a plant located further south in Chonburi.
Troubled waters also impact hard drive production
Sony has warned that it has delayed indefinitely the introduction of two of its latest cameras as a result of recent flooding in Thailand. The company has been forced to shut down two of its three production units in the country, including those that had been preparing to roll out the new NEX-7 and Alpha A65 cameras. A worldwide shortage of hard drives as well is expected in the aftermath of the flooding.
Key factories shut down
Mac and general hard drive production could be hindered by the flooding that has ravaged Thailand in recent months, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Waters have inundated the country since July, killing at least 315 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. Even Bangkok is now threatened, the BBC notes.
Tablet also making first appearance in Thailand
Friday's Chinese launch of the iPad 2 was greeted with long lineups, reports say. AppleInsider remarks that at the Beijing Apple Store, people began lining up at 5PM on Thursday; sales began at 8AM Friday, but by 10AM hundreds of people were still waiting in line. The queue is said to have been more carefully managed than the one for the first iPad, though, with numbered wristbands which allowed people to hold their place in line so long as they came back in less than an hour.
Available via online store, local resellers
Apple will launch the iPad in Thailand on Friday, December 3rd, reports say. Prices should range between 15,900 baht ($528) for a base 16GB Wi-Fi tablet and 25,900 baht ($860) for a 64GB 3G version. People will be able to buy from at least two sources: local reseller iStudio, or Apple itself via the company's online store, which already has an order page.
Apple ramps up international reach
The iPhone 4 should be launching in several more countries over the course of the next week. Three rollouts are scheduled for September 24th, when Israel will get the phone through Orange, Turkey through Turkcell and Vodafone, and Thailand via TrueMove. Although some 200,000 Thais are said to have pre-ordered, only 45,000 to 60,000 phones may actually be ready for launch day.
Third carrier considering options
Thailand will soon have a second iPhone carrier, says an industry source contacted by Reuters. The company is Total Access Communications, which is said to be planning a Thai iPhone launch within the space of a month. TAC is owned by the Norwegian corporation Telenor, which already sells the iPhone in several countries, mainly Scandinavian.
iPhone nano clones
Adding to the confusion surrounding the rumors of an iPhone "nano," images have surfaced that suggest the unconfirmed devices have already been replicated by knockoff manufacturers, according to AppleInsider. The fakes are built with a smaller form-factor than the iPhone 3G and even include Apple logos on the back panel. When the devices are turned on, the menu layout is similar to the genuine interface and several icons have been directly copied.
iPhone headed to Thailand
True Move, owned by True Corp. and the third-largest cellular carrier in Thailand, says it has signed a deal with Apple to begin selling the iPhone in its home market. The carrier is however in the earliest phases of arranging a Thai deployment, according to Reuters, with no prices for the phone, subscriptions or pre-paid plans. Even the timing of a launch is uncertain, as True Move will only say that the iPhone is due "in the coming months."
Thailand iPhone talks
Apple's latest attempt at negotiating international distribution of the iPhone is in Thailand, according to reports. Reuters cites Prattana Leelapanang, the assistant VP of wireless business marketing for Thailand's Advanced Info Service (AIS); according to Leelapanang, his company is already discussing the details of an arrangement with Apple, including revenue sharing. The last point is particularly notable, as neither Apple nor its telecom partners have in the past admitted to revenue sharing, although it is a widely accepted fact amongst analysts.