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Apple Pay in Australia expands to support ANZ following initial American Express launch

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Update: ANZ has an amusing TV ad promoting the launch, embedded below.

After expanding to Singapore earlier this year and to a handful of new United States banks and credit unions earlier this month, Apple Pay is now available to ANZ customers in Australia. First reported by EFTM, this rollout makes ANZ the first bank in Australia to add support for Apple Pay following the American Express exclusive launch last year.



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Apple’s Back to School promotion returns to Australia and New Zealand w/ a Beats Solo2 promo

Featured image showing the Back to School deal currently on promotion in Australia and New Zealand

Apple’s annual Back to School program returns in Australia and New Zealand with a promotion to receive a pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear Headphones with qualifiying Mac purchases. Customers may also alternatively choose to receive savings on a new iPad (although there is currently an error on both sites not indicating how much can be saved). Last year’s promotion in Australia and New Zealand included an Apple Store gift card up to A$100/NZ$125, so it’s nice to see them promoting the acquired Beats brand and giving away instant credit for the headphones.



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Australian banks accused of anti-competitive behavior by refusing to allow customers to use Apple Pay

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If you’re wondering why Apple Pay is as yet only available for Amex cards in Australia, it’s not because Apple isn’t working hard enough to introduce it there: it’s because Australian banks are refusing to sign up for it. The opposition Labor Party spokesman on digital innovation is now suggesting that this refusal may constitute anti-competitive behavior, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Reserve Bank has been urged to examine potential anti-competitive behaviour in the emerging card-free payments market amid claims the banks have frozen out newcomer Apple Pay […]

“Australian consumers should not be denied the ability to make payment choices that are openly available to consumers globally,” Ed Husic wrote. “No doubt some will argue this move by the banks is anti-competitive – I am certainly concerned that it denies consumer access to a secure, efficient payment platform.”

As we reported back in August, one big sticking point is fees … 

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Tim Cook in company-wide email: Melbourne Apple Store incident “unacceptable”

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Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to all of the company’s employees today addressing the situation at Apple’s Melbourne, Australia store that saw a group of teens booted from the outlet by management due to their race. The incident was captured in a video that appeared online this week.

In the email, which bore the subject line “Apple is open,” Cook calls the handling of the situation “unacceptable” and says that no one in Apple’s leadership was happy about what happened. He also said that store leadership teams worldwide would be required to re-take certain customer service training.



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Apple Pay expanding to Australia and Canada this year for American Express cards

Apple Pay AmEx 21

On its earnings call, Apple has announced a further expansion of Apple Pay in partnership with American Express, to Australia and Canada in 2015 as well as Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong next year in 2016. Exact details are still murky — Tim Cook very specifically said ‘eligible American Express customers in these regions’ so it isn’t going to be as big as a rollout for Apple Pay as we saw for the US or UK.



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Apple Watch coming to India on November 6 as Maps hints at Apple Pay launch in Australia

Apple Pay Apple Watch 16-9

[Update 10/27: Apple Pay through American Express in Canada and Australia coming this year; Spain, Singapore, and Hong Kong next year.]

Apple Watch may have first launched all the way back in April, but the roll out in more countries around the world is still taking place. Availability for India now appears to have an official date with Apple’s website confirming a release scheduled for early next month on November 6th.

Details are limited on Apple Watch pricing and retail availability just yet, as only the date has been added to the India listing. The news comes as Apple CEO Tim Cook met with India’s Prime Minister last month, discussing Apple Pay and possibly bringing Apple Stores to the country, which would require manufacturing in the country, where Apple currently relies on resellers for distribution.

While Apple Watch is set to hit even more countries, signs that the Apple Pay could be expanding too have surfaced…

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App Store prices rising in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden due to exchange rate fluctuations

iOS 9 previewApple is raising prices for apps in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden within the next 3 days. In an email, Apple has notified developers that they are updating prices in the three countries in response to foreign exchange rate variations. Prices are being increased across the board. For example, today a $0.99 app in the Australian App Store is sold for 1.29 AUD. When the changes come into effect, customers will have to pay 1.49 AUD for the same app. This is an increase of about 15% in local currency.



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iPhone 6s launch day kicks off as customers queue up around the world

iPhone 6s launch line Sydney

via <a href="https://twitter.com/iPhonemods/status/647119325090807808" target="_blank">Twitter</a>

While at least one person in the United States has already received their iPhone 6s after pre-ordering with the rest of us, iPhone 6s launch day has officially kicked off on the other side of the planet. The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus go on sale at 8 am local time in a dozen markets around the world. New Zealand goes first at authorized resellers as there are no Apple Stores in the country, then the first Apple Stores in Australia two hours later, followed Japan and China and others before starting in the United States 16 hours from the start.

Earlier this week, all models and configurations of iPhone 6s and 6s Plus became sold out online for pre-ordering with launch day delivery. The larger iPhone 6s Plus models were among the first to sell out for launch day, although that may be in part due to display production issues and not just demand. Still, Apple Stores and carriers alike will have limited launch day inventory if you’ve waited and decide to take a gamble at getting the model you want.

Do you plan to queue up outside your Apple Store for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus this year or did you send your robot instead? Send your launch day photos to tips@9to5mac.com and check out the scenes below as you await your new iPhone.

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After Best Buy in US & Canada, Apple Watch goes on sale at other retailers around the world

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Following Apple’s decision to make the Apple Watch available for sale in Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, it has been making a similar move in other countries. It is already available through select branches of the Australian department store chain MYER, and iPhone Addict reports that it will go on sale through French electronics retailer FNAC as of tomorrow. More chains are likely to follow in other countries.

MYER has an extensive presence across Australia, though currently sells the Apple Watch at only four of the largest ones, in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. FNAC has more than 100 stores throughout France, sales beginning tomorrow with the website and the company’s flagship store on Paris’s famous Champs Elysées, with other stores following at some point next week. The store already sells a range of accessories … 

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Australia Apple Pay could be far off as banks push back on Apple’s fees

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It appears that the expansion of Apple Pay into Australia could be farther off than some had hoped. According to a report today from The Sydney Morning Herald, Apple is in negotiations with at least four of the largest banks in Australia in order to form partnerships for Apple Pay in in the region. However, the report claims Apple is having issues in negotiations centered around the fees it collects from the currently supported Apple Pay markets of the United States and United Kingdom.



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Apple Watch fitness lead Jay Blahnik holding Apple Store events in Asia & Australia

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Jay Blahnik, one of the lead directors behind the health and fitness functionality in iOS 8 and the Apple Watch, is continuing to host events at Apple Stores. At the end of April, Blahnik held an interview with Christy Turlington Burns at an Apple Store in the United Kingdom, and now Blahnik is making his way to Australia and Asia. Late last week, Blahnik held a Q/A session in Australia with personal trainer Michelle Bridges. Here are videos of Blahnik discussing the importance of walking along with other health tips with Bridges:



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All Apple Stores to begin stocking 12-inch MacBook at end of May

MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)

The recently released 12-inch MacBook will be available for purchase at all Apple Stores globally beginning the week of May 25th, according to a memo from Apple to its retail staff issued earlier today. Because of supply constraints, not unlike those for the also recently-launched Apple Watch, sales of the new MacBook have been mostly restricted to Apple’s Online Store…



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Apple Watch waterproofness tested, unaffected by 15 minutes of submersion (Video)

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Over in Australia, the team at FoneFox have already been putting the Apple Watch through its paces underwater. Apple claims an IPX7 water-resistance rating for its device, which means it can withstand 1 meter of submersion for 30 minutes. However, companies often conservatively state the limits of waterproofness for legal reasons.

The team at FoneFox found this very much to be the case here. The Apple Watch Sport was first subjected to a light shower and then a full shower (including soap) to simulate normal use in a shower. After the Watch was wiped down, the screen was fully responsive and everything was working fine. Tim Cook has previously said he showers with his Watch.

In fact, the Apple Watch survived much more than a shower. Watch the full video after the break.



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Tim Cook says Apple Watch will be available outside U.S. in April

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Speaking at the Berlin flagship Apple Store last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook told employees that the Apple Watch will not be exclusive to the United States in April, according to employees in attendance. Specifically, Cook said that the Apple Watch will launch in Germany during the month of April. It’s possible that the Apple Watch will launch first in the United States in early April, with Germany and other countries following later in the month, but it definitely appears that the Watch’s rollout will be more aggressive than the first iPhone and iPad launches…



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Apple Maps Connect gains new languages as it expands to Canada, France & Germany

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The Apple Maps Connect service, which allows small businesses to add their listings to the Apple Maps database, has been expanded to Canada, France and Germany. The service has also gained two new language options, French and German, to correspond with the regional expansion.

Apple first launched Maps Connect in the U.S. last October, enabling businesses to edit or add listings, as well as set up indoor mapping within selected areas. Entries made by businesses typically show up in Apple Maps around a week later. The international rollout began last month with the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Singapore.

Apple switched from Google Maps to its own mapping service on iCloud.com in December. Apple-leased camera cars have been spotted recently, with some suggesting that they are being used to add Street View style images to Apple Maps, while others believe they are part of the Apple Car project.

Apple’s Back to School sale returns to Australia and New Zealand w/ gift card promo

AU Apple Back to Uni

Apple’s annual Back to School sale in Australia and New Zealand has gone live with a promotion for qualifying students to receive Apple Store credit with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Similar to last year, the Back to School sale includes the usual education pricing on Macs and iPads, but this year Apple is including Apple Store gift cards rather than App Store gift cards like last year.

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Apple Maps Connect for small businesses expands beyond the U.S.

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Apple has notified Apple Maps Connect for Small Businesses users that the service has expanded beyond the United States into the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Singapore. As we detailed in October of last year, Apple Maps Connect is a web-based tool for businesses to either add or edit their listings to the Apple Maps database. The site is also used to bolster Apple’s indoor mapping data for future iOS Maps features. Thanks, Matt!



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Review: Harman Kardon Esquire Mini is the best iPhone speakerphone you can fit in your pocket

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

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The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide Stereo

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Apple loses appeal, cannot trademark ‘App Store’ in Australia

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An Australian court has rejected Apple’s appeal against the country’s refusal to allow it to trademark the term ‘App Store,’ reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Registrar of Trade Marks refused registration of Apple’s “app store” trademark in March last year because it was too descriptive. Apple then appealed this decision in the Federal Court.

On Wednesday, Justice Yates ruled that Apple’s appeal be dismissed and that it pay the court costs of the Registrar of Trade Marks.

The ruling means that Apple is free to continue to use the name, but it cannot prevent other companies from doing the same. The court ruled that consumers understood that the term App Store referred to any online source of apps for any platform, and therefore there was no danger of consumers being misled into thinking they were buying apps from Apple.

In the US, Apple originally sued both Microsoft and Amazon over their use of the term back in 2011, which Apple claimed as a trademark and had used since 2008. Amazon responded by arguing that even Steve Jobs and Tim Cook had used the term generically, and a court dismissed the false advertising element of Apple’s claim while allowing the trademark portion of the case to proceed.

The two companies were then ordered to conduct settlement talks, during which Apple agreed to drop the case on the basis that its own app store was by then so successful that there was no risk of confusion – leaving it unclear why Apple continued to fight the case in Australia.