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…
The iPhone was notably exclusive to the United States and AT&T for the first several months of the product’s life, while the iPad launched exclusively in the U.S. in April 2010 and was followed by launches in Europe and Australia over a month later, in mid-May of that year. Besides Germany, sources indicate that an April launch in Australia is also likely as Apple has already been training select Apple Retail employees on Apple Watch sales procedures by way of secret briefings in Sydney. The United Kingdom and France have both seen Apple Watch marketing pushes, so those countries are likely also in the April mix.
The usual first wave countries for major Apple product launches also includes Canada, where Apple is soon planning to launch the Watch-compatible Apple Pay system, but we haven’t yet confirmed if those countries will be home to the new product in April. Apple has been heavily promoting the Apple Watch in China, so perhaps the wearable will launch to the Chinese market in or around April as well. However, launches in China could be delayed due to government regulatory factors. During his trip to Germany, Cook also stopped by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office to discuss consumer privacy and the offices of BILD to discuss Apple rumors, Steve Jobs, and the NSA.
Asked if employees will get free Apple Watches (like when full time employees got original iPhones from Steve Jobs in 2007), Cook reportedly said “you’ve given me something to think about, I agree with your point, I think it’s great, and I think everyone should use our products. It’s a good point for me to think about, I’ve got some more plane rides to think about it on.” Cook also discussed the expansion of Apple Pay into Europe, reportedly saying:
Apple Pay will be global, it’s not a U.S. program. We want it everywhere. We are working to bring it out of the US. It is going to take a little bit of time to do so. We want to be in Germany. We want to be in Europe generally this year. I don’t know if we will make it, I think we will. It’s our intention to get here as fast as we can.
We previously reported that Apple Pay will arrive in Canada as soon as March.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple watch, Australia, CEO, Germany, Speaking, Tim Cook
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.
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple Car, Apple Maps, Apple Maps Connect, Australia, Cambridge Bay, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Google, Google Maps, United Kingdom, United States
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.
Included with a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, or Mac Pro is a A$100/NZ$125 gift card while an iPhone 6, 5s, or 5c or iPad Air or iPad Air 2 qualifies for a A$50/NZ$65 gift card. For the smaller iPad mini 2 or iPad mini 3, Apple will include a A$25/NZ$30 gift card.
Apple says current university students or students accepted to a university qualify for the discounts and gift card, while parents of university students and teachers and staff also qualify.
The promotion in Australia and New Zealand is similar to the 2014 Back to School promotion in the United States, which usually kicks off around July. Apple similarly offered Apple Store gift cards rather than App Store gift cards in its United States promotion then.
Filed under: iOS Devices, Mac Tagged: App Store, Apple, Apple Store, Australia, Back to School, Back to Uni, gift cards, iPad, ipad air, iPad mini, iPhone, Mac, New Zealand, promo, promotion
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!
Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple Maps, Apple Maps Connect, Apple Maps Connect for Small Businesses, Australia, businesses, indoor mapping, indoor maps, Ireland, maps, maps connect, New Zealand, Singapore, Small businesses, United Kingdom
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.
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.
Harman Kardon products are always packaged nicely and the Esquire Mini is no exception. The unit itself is slightly bigger than an iPhone 6 and about twice as thick. Around the edges is a beveled metal band which connects the softer black underside with the Kevlar-like front speaker grill. On the back is a big stainless steel kickstand which looks classy for portable electronics.
Around the edges you’ll find a 5 LED battery indicator and mic/grill on one side and USB/MicroUSB AUX input and a leather strap (included) base on the other. On the top/front is a metal volume rocker and power/Bluetooth/Phone buttons. The box comes with a MicroUSB charger cable (5V/1A) and a leather strap.
Powering the device up for the first time it automatically goes into pairing mode and in a few seconds you are paired with iOS(Settings/Bluetooth). If you want to pair a second, third and so on devices, you’ll need to press the bluetooth button for a few seconds to manually enter pairing mode.
Immediately all sound in and out will go through the speaker and you’ll notice that everything becomes very crisp and clear. People on the other end of the phone will also notice a crisper and clearer sound than using the iPhone like a push to talk device. The noise canceling works just like the iPhone and in my tests worked well all but one time.
The device itself purports to have 8 hours of continuous use and I think that’s fair though you’ll get a shorter life if you are using it hard. Those 8 hours also go down if you use it as a iPhone charger which might be one of the Esquire Mini’s best features. In a pinch you can get a full iPhone charge from it as well (and we’ve all been there).
The downsides of the Esquire mini are few but notable. You can certainly use this as a Bluetooth speaker and for most music it is perfectly reasonable. However, if you are looking for bass, you are going to still be looking after you crank this one to 11. You just can’t get the kind of movement you need to make deep lows in a package this thin. As for range, this is a few notches above what Apple puts into the 15″ Retina MacBook Pro.
I’m not design snob but I can’t help but wonder if this design matches up more with the iPhone 5/5s. The beveled stainless steel edging definitely matches up there better. The color options here are also not to my liking. I would stick with the black or white version if you must and skip over the brown and gold versions (though obviously if you have a gold iPhone, you might as well).
Usage is where the Esquire Mini shines. It fits anywhere an iPhone 6 fits though it gets tight quick in skinny pants. Put it in a purse or jacket pocket or in your briefcase/bag however and you are in great shape. Pull it out at your desk or in a car or in a conference room and you are immediately hearing great sound and able to speak clearly to people on the other end. I often use the Esquire mini to answer phone calls while leaving the phone in my pocket. Having an extra iPhone charge in your pocket is also a big bonus. You can now chuck that battery which was likely close to the same size as the Esquire Mini. The Aux port works exactly like it should.
This is a fantastic product for portable speakerphone usage and is simply the best looking product in this range at any price. The only downside I can think of as a speakerphone or speaker is the lack of bass which is mostly a factor of its thin, light size. If you want a great portable speaker that also does mic calls, head over to the cylindrical JBL Charge 2 which also retails for $149. However, if you need a speakerphone that gets loud and fits in your pocket, the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 is a great product/gift and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide Stereo. Oh, and yes it works with Android, Windows or BlackBerry as well.
Filed under: AAPL Company, Reviews Tagged: Android (operating system), App Store (iOS), Apple Inc, Australia, Battery (electricity), Bluetooth, Esquire, Esquire Mini, Harman, Harman kardon, Harman Kardon Esquire Mini, iOS, iPhone, Kardon, Mini, Mobile phone, Stainless steel