Apple Close to Approval for Opening Retail Locations in India

Apple is close to gaining clearance to open its first retail store locations in India, according to a source familiar with the matter speaking with Bloomberg. Apple will be re-submitting its retail presence application to the Indian government due to a format problem, but Bloomberg's source said that India plans to push the application through without issue.

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Due to the fact that Apple is "a provider of cutting-edge technology," the Cupertino-based company will be exempt from a rule set by the Indian government that states any foreign businesses selling a single brand must acquire 30 percent of its product's manufacturing inputs locally. Since Apple manufactures most of its products in China, the stipulation has been an issue for the company in trying to make headway into the Indian retail market.
"Most of the growth in India will come from new users coming into the Apple ecosystem, unlike in the West where growth is mainly from existing users upgrading," said Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based near New Delhi. “You can expect the stores to focus mostly on iPhones.”
Due to the high-end pricing of the iPhone, Apple has remained a small share of the smartphone market within India for the past few years. With 2 percent of the market, Apple is behind companies like Samsung (26 percent), Intex (10 percent), and Lenovo (9 percent) in terms of smartphone sales.
bloomberg india iphone market
Last summer, Apple announced the Authorized Mobility Resellers program in India, which was reported to be focused on opening 500 retail store locations across 12 cities in India. With such a small share of the country's 220 million smartphone users, it seems Apple is finally getting closer to increasing its foothold in the country.

Ad-Less Apple Maintains Presence at Super Bowl 50

Apple was conspicuously absent from commercial slots aired during the television broadcast of yesterday's Super Bowl 50, but that didn't stop some of its products from popping up in ads for other companies' wares (via AppleInsider).

In TV spots aired during the National Football League's biggest game, a shout-out for Apple Music featured at the end of T-Mobile's ad, which promoted the network carrier's unlimited streaming feature.

Apple Music on T-Mobile
Meanwhile, hawk-eyed viewers may have seen an Apple Watch make a brief cameo appearance in a Hyundai commercial showcasing the car company's smartphone-compatible automotive system Blue Link, which enables remote voice-activation of several in-car controls.


Elsewhere, a Super Bowl-themed ad for Apple's Beats headphones appeared on Twitter and YouTube, featuring Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wearing a pair of Powerbeats Wireless 2 in-ear headphones while training.


Apple, along with Intel, Yahoo, and Google, gave $2 million in cash and other services to offset taxpayer costs of hosting Super Bowl 50, which took place at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. In exchange for the donations, each company received a private Super Bowl suite and publicity around the game. TV commercials aired during the game however can cost up to $5 million alone.

Apple helped establish the annual hype surrounding Super Bowl TV commercials, with its "1984" television ad for the Macintosh being among the most iconic in TV advertising history. After a 15-year spell of absence, the company ran its last dedicated Super Bowl commercial in 1999, remembered for its depiction of sentient computer HAL 9000 from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Tags: NFL, Super Bowl

Rumored Apple Stores: NYC, LA, Toronto, Paris and More

apple-zorluApple's retail expansion efforts over the past few years have primarily focused on China, where it has opened over 15 new stores since the start of 2015. Over that time, the company has only opened 7 new retail stores outside of the China region, including two locations in New York City and one in Abu Dhabi, Brussels, Dubai, Sao Paulo, and Miranda, a suburb of Sydney, Australia.

But if recent rumors are any indication, Apple still has significant plans for new stores in several major cities or boroughs around the world, including Birmingham, Brooklyn, Istanbul, Manhattan, Los Angeles, Paris, Toronto, and more. The following is an excerpt from our new Apple Store roundup that tracks recent retail stores -- from new and renovated to rumored and confirmed locations.

Click here to read rest of article...

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Apple Updates Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor With Bug Fixes, Minor Feature Enhancements

finalcutproxApple today updated Final Cut Pro X, Compressor, and Motion, its software designed for professional video editors. Today's updates, the first since September, add a couple of new features and introduce a long list of bug fixes.

Final Cut Pro X now includes a Customizable Default Effect that allows users to choose a video and an audio effect to assign to a keyboard shortcut, a 4K export preset for creating video files for Apple devices, and the option to share video to multiple YouTube accounts. It also includes the following bug fixes and feature enhancements:
- Customizable Default Effect lets you choose both a video and audio effect that is assigned to a keyboard shortcut
- 4K export preset to create video files for Apple devices
- Improves speed when opening libraries on a SAN
- Resolves an issue that could affect the timecode display in the Dashboard on OS X El Capitan
- Import Canon XF-AVC including video files from the Canon C300 Mark II
- Ability to share video to multiple YouTube accounts
- Resolves an issue in which a disabled video effect could appear as Missing Effect when opening the project or when sharing to Compressor
- Addresses an issue in which black frames could appear in imported iPhone video clips that were trimmed on iPhone
- Fixes an issue that could cause the playhead to jump ahead when editing short titles
- Fixes an issue that could cause the timeline to stop playback when switching views in the Browser
- Fixes an issue in which points on a Bezier shape could incorrectly switch from Linear to Smooth
- Fixes an issue in which some objects within Motion templates render with soft edges
- Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list in the Share window
Compressor includes the same 4K export preset for creating video files for Apple devices and several bug fixes:
- 4K export preset to create video files for Apple devices
- Fixes an issue in which Closed Caption files could be incorrectly labeled as SDH subtitles when creating an iTunes Store Package
- Fixes an issue in which the Navigation window fails to display the source clip when the Preview Window is zoomed
- Launch screen displays correctly on OS X El Capitan
- Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list
Motion received a long list of bug fixes and stability improvements:
- Improves stability when adding Photoshop files to a project
- Improves stability when searching in iTunes and photo libraries
- Improves stability when using the Undo command after ungrouping a parent group
- Correctly saves percentage-based parameters in the Checkerboard generator after closing and reopening a project
- Correctly saves the preview movie for Motion templates created in German, Japanese, and Chinese
- Fixes an issue in which points on a Bezier shape could incorrectly switch from Linear to Smooth
- Fixes an issue in which some objects within Motion templates render with soft edges
- Adds iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPad Pro, and Apple TV (4th generation) to the Apple Devices compatibility list in the Share window
Today's minor update comes nearly a year after Apple introduced the last major update to its video editing software in April of 2015, adding new features for motion graphics and enhancements to speed up video editing, packaging, and delivery.

Apple has also updated its Final Cut Pro X microsite to include information on FCP Exchange and Videomaker, both of which offer workshops and tutorials on using the editing software.

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Final Cut Pro X can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $299.99. [Direct Link]

Compressor can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]

Motion can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for $49.99. [Direct Link]

Apple Receives Chairman's Award for Historic Architectural Preservation in NYC

The New York City Landmarks Conservancy today announced that Apple has won its 2016 Chairman's Award, due to the Cupertino company's preservation and restoration of a few architecturally important locations within New York City (via iFun.de) [Google Translate].

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Apple's retail location in Grand Central Terminal

The Landmarks Conservancy specifically referred to Apple's SoHo, West 14th Street, Upper East Side, and Grand Central retail stores as the reason behind choosing Apple for the Chairman's Award. Each location selected has historical significance prior to Apple's restoration, including a former banking complex built in 1921 and an old United States Post Office.

The Chairman's Award began in 1988 to recognize "exceptional commitment to the protection and preservation of the rich architectural heritage of New York." Apple will officially receive the award at the Chairman's Luncheon on March 9.

Guide to Buying Refurbished Apple Products

There's often a stigma against purchasing refurbished electronics because many companies don't have rigorous quality control programs for refurbished items, but that's not the case with Apple. Some companies may sell refurbished items with cosmetic defects and other issues, but Apple's refurbished products, available from its online refurbished store, are "as good as new" products, as Apple says.

You can also get refurbished Apple products at steeper discounts from third-party retailers, but they don't offer the same benefits as buying directly from Apple.

applerefurbishedgoodasnew
Every refurbished iPad, Mac, Apple TV, or Apple accessory Apple sells goes through a certification process that ensures full functionality, and with iOS devices, each one gets a new outer shell and a fresh battery. All refurbished products come with a 1-year warranty.

As long as you can wait a few months to pick up an Apple product, there's virtually no downside to purchasing a refurbished model. The quality is superb and the price savings can be worth the wait. This guide covers all the ins and outs of refurbished products, from release timelines and prospective price savings to warranty information and stock information.

Click here to read more...

Apple Patents Hover-Sensing Multi-Touch Display for Macs and iPhones

The United States Patent and Trademark Office today published a patent filed by Apple last March, which details how inline proximity sensors could be used in tandem with a touchscreen display to detect non-contact hover gestures (via AppleInsider).

The patent, titled "Proximity and multi-touch sensor detection and demodulation", reveals how photodiodes or other proximity hardware work in parallel with traditional multitouch displays to extend user interaction beyond the screen surface.

One embodiment of the patent describes a capacitive sensing element, using a range of proximity sensors and an LCD display, that would let users deploy gestures above a traditional keyboard, resulting in a "virtual keyboard".

Apple hover-sensing patent
With multiple proximity arrays deployed on every touch sensor or pixel of the panel, the system can detect a finger, palm or other object hovering over the display surface. The detected motion is then translated to a GUI by which users can "push" virtual buttons, trigger functions without physical touch, toggle power to devices and more.

Various configurations of the technology are outlined in the patent, including one which describes a MacBook featuring assistive hover-sensing displays that augment typing and trackpad input.

As with any filed patent, the technology is unlikely to appear in any product soon, if at all, especially given that Apple only recently introduced 3D Touch support and is still actively encouraging app developers to make more use of the feature.

Apple has expressed interest in non-contact user interfacing and motion control for some time. In 2013, for example, the company acquired PrimeSense, the firm responsible for the original technology used by Microsoft for its Kinect platform.

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Copy of WALTR for Mac

For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with Softorino to offer 15 MacRumors readers a chance to win a copy of WALTR for Mac. WALTR is designed to make it easy to upload any music or video file to an iOS device.

With WALTR, you can drag and drop a wide variety of media files onto your iPhone or iPad, and they'll be automatically added to the appropriate native Music or Video app on the device. Supported file types include MP4, AVI, CUE, WMA, M4R, AAC, M4V, M4A, FLAC, ALAC, MKV, LV, M2TS, TS, DV, MPG, MPEG, MPE, WEBM, MB4, AIFF, WAV, OGG, WV, TTA, and DFF.


Transferring a file is as simple as plugging an iPhone or iPad into your Mac or PC, turning off iTunes, and dragging any media file onto the Mac app. From there, the file is converted and uploaded to your device within minutes.

waltr
WALTR is normally priced at $29.99. 15 MacRumors readers will get WALTR for free through our giveaway. To enter to win, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter an email address. Email addresses will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and send the prizes.

You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The contest will run from today (January 29) at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time through 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on February 5. The winners will be chosen randomly on February 5 and will be contacted by email. The winners have 48 hours to respond a before new winners are chosen.

London Mayor Boris Johnson Asked Apple to Help Build Garden Bridge

London Mayor Boris Johnson tried to convince Apple to fund the UK capital's project to build a "Garden Bridge" across the River Thames, as reported by Business Insider.

The report cites an article published today in The Architects' Journal which details how Johnson secretly travelled to California in early 2013 to meet Apple executives and pitch the ambitious project, before he had received official backing for the scheme from his office.

London Garden Bridge
Proposed design for Garden Bridge over the River Thames (Image: Arup)

Apple is well known for its intense interest in architectural design and its close attention to detail when planning and building its retail stores. However, it has little history of funding projects unrelated to its technology business, making Johnson's attempts to woo the company seem ill-judged.

In a statement given to The Architect's Journal, the London Mayor's office confirmed a meeting indeed took place with Apple to discuss "investment opportunities in London." However, Apple informed the publication that the company has "no involvement in this bridge project and is not considering getting involved."

Apple Planning to Open Third Retail Store in Turkey in 2016

Apple is preparing to open a third retail store in Turkey, reports MacReports, citing a source familiar with the company's plans. Set to open in Istanbul, the store will launch later in 2016.

Apple is said to be in the process of hiring for retail positions at the store and has posted advertisements on job sites in Turkey. The store will reportedly be located at the Emaar Square Mall in Istanbul. Still under constriction, the Emaar Square Mall will feature 491 stores and restaurants, a hotel, and apartment space for residents.

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Emaar Square rendering, via MacReports

When it launches, the Emaar Square Apple Store will be the third Apple retail location in Istanbul, joining retail stores at Zorlu Mall and Akasya Mall, both of which opened in 2014. Turkey's Zorlu store opened with quite a fanfare as it featured a unique design with an all glass exterior.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tags: Turkey, Emaar Square

Angela Ahrendts Says She Views Apple Store Staff as 'Executives'

angela_ahrendts_heroAngela Ahrendts spoke yesterday to Fast Company about her first two years as Apple's retail chief and her strategy to improve the company's customer experience at its global chain of retail stores.

In an interview titled "Apple's Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business," the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores explains that, in her first six months at Apple, she travelled to 40 different markets and met with retail leaders to learn about how stores were "uniting people and getting them to collaborate."

When asked if Apple Store staff feel the same pride working for the company as Cupertino employees do, Ahrendts boasted about the company's 81% retention rate in 2015:
We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony Ive and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.
Ahrendts goes on to explain that her experience at Apple has taught her just how strong the culture is within the company, which was "built to change people's lives", and that the same core value is being continued by Apple's current CEO Tim Cook:
That foundation, that service mentality, that drive to continue to change lives — that is a core value in the company. And Tim Cook has added his on: He says it's also our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. So you have these two amazing pillars and a culture built around that. It's the same in retail and in Cupertino. That is the underlying mission, and how could you know that unless you're inside? But it is deeper than you would ever imagine.
Apple has aggressively expanded in China under Ahrendts' retail leadership, with stores opening last year in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing and Tianjin, and several more on the way throughout 2016.

In an interview for 60 Minutes late last year, Ahrendts spoke about how Apple is continually refining new designs for its stores worldwide to achieve a common "wow" factor, so that customers are "transfixed" from the moment they walk through the doors.

Ahrendts officially joined Apple in mid-2014 to replace former SVP of Retail John Browett, who was fired from the company a year and a half earlier. Previously CEO of hugely successful UK fashion retailer Burberry, she is currently Apple's highest paid executive, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Read more of the Fast Company interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts here.

Apple Releases Mac App Store Update for OS X Snow Leopard

macappstoreApple today released a minor update to OS X Snow Leopard with a refreshed version of the Mac App Store. According to Apple's release notes, the Mac App Store has been updated to ensure the future compatibility of the app with the OS X Snow Leopard operating system.

Today's Mac App Store update is available to all OS X Snow Leopard users and can be downloaded through the Mac App Store's software update mechanism.

Before becoming available for public release, the OS X Snow Leopard Mac App Store compatibility update was made available to developers on January 20 for testing purposes.

OS X Snow Leopard (aka OS X 10.6) was first released in 2009. As software that has been discontinued and is run primarily on older machines, Snow Leopard updates are few and far between. The last significant Snow Leopard update, aside from security fixes, was introduced in 2011 ahead of the release of OS X Lion.

Apple's Mac App Store first launched in 2011 as part of the OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.6 update.