'Japan' Articles

Apple Possibly Looking to Japanese Expertise to Improve Siri

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted that Japan has a big part to play in the company's ongoing development of AI, as he continued his travels around the country via bullet train on Monday. Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review, Cook revealed that Apple's new advanced R&D center in Yokohama, currently scheduled for completion in December, would focus on "deep engineering" and would be "very different" from the R&D base Apple is building in China, without giving away specifics. Photo via Tim Cook However, Cook intimated that one of its main focuses would be on developing Apple's artificial intelligence services – which recently drew some criticism in the press – and emphasized that the company wanted to leverage specifically Japanese expertise in the field. "AI is horizontal in nature, running across all products, and is used in ways that most people don't even think about," said Cook. "We want the AI to increase your battery life, to recommend music to Apple Music subscribers... [to] help you remember where you parked your car."Japan's robotics heritage is legendary, coming on the back of years of successfully building industrial robots, however the state of its AI research remains ambiguous, given its relative lack of investment in deep learning from large amounts of analyzed data, which U.S. companies like Facebook and Google are already heavily researching. To improve on this front, Japan has just opened a Center for Advanced Integrated Intelligence Research in Tokyo (RIKEN), which specifically aims to develop systems of AI that will be able to solve problems using "Big Data"

Tim Cook Confirms Yokohama Facility in Japan Will Be Completed by December

While on a trip that's taken him to Shenzhen, China and Nintendo's offices in Kyoto, Japan, Apple CEO Tim Cook today met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussing topics related to the importance of the country in Apple's ongoing market strategy. Specifically, Cook was said to confirm that an advanced R&D center in Yokohama was on track to complete construction by December (via Xinhua). The Yokahama facility has been two years in the making, and was originally reported to "center around health." During the meeting, Cook said he and Abe discussed "doing great things together," and reiterated "how important the country is to Apple." "We talked about the future and doing great things together. I shared with prime minister Abe our love for Japan and how important the country is to Apple," Cook, who is currently on a tour of Asia, was quoted as saying at the prime minister's office following their meeting. Abe said that he hopes Apple will continue to generate relationships with other companies and manufacturers in Japan, in order to contribute to the overall technological boom in the country. On the same topic, Cook mentioned that Apple is aware of "a number of manufacturers of all sizes" that could result in a mutually beneficial partnership moving forward. After the original announcement in 2014, Abe described the upcoming Apple facility as "among the largest in Asia," where Apple plans to "conduct the most advanced research and development in Japan." According to sources near the site's development, Apple's plans for Yokohama "are evidence the maker of the

Apple Supplier Foxconn Launching Low-Cost Smartphone Line in Japan Next Year

Apple supplier Foxconn Electronics is reportedly gearing up to launch its own line of smartphone devices in Japan, using its recent acquisition of Sharp to help manufacture and distribute the handsets (via DigiTimes). Over the past few years, Foxconn has been a major supplier for Apple device manufacturing, including for the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. The company is said to be working on entry-level and mid-range options for the lineup, with an expected launch date in the first quarter of 2017, according to sources within the Japanese manufacturing industry. The sources mentioned that it "remains unclear as to which brand Foxconn will use" to market the devices, although it is "highly possible" for the handsets to be sold under a Sharp branding. However, it remains unclear as to which brand Foxconn will use to market the smartphones it produced in-house in the Japan market, said the sources, adding that it is highly possible those smartphones will be sold under the Sharp brand. Foxconn's move to introduce cheaper models of smartphones could offset Sharp's Aquos line of devices, which corner the high-end market in Japan but leave the company open to introduce entry-level and mid-range devices for consumers. According to the sources knowledgable of the launch, the addition of Foxconn's smartphones "will enrich Sharp's product portfolios," if the company is indeed the brand attached to the new handsets. Foxconn has produced its own smartphones under different branding before, but today's report suggests the company is attempting to launch its new

Apple Pays $118 Million Tax Bill in Japan After Underreporting Profits

Apple has paid some 12 billion yen ($118 million) to Japan after underreporting income in the country, according to broadcaster NHK (via Reuters). The company has yet to comment on the matter. Japanese tax authorities determined that Apple failed to pay withholding taxes on profits it earned from subscribers in Japan and shifted to its Irish subsidiary to pay for software licensing.The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by Japan subscribers to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, had not been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan, according to broadcaster NHK.The news comes just over two weeks after the European Commission ordered Ireland to collect 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) from Apple in unpaid taxes. The executive body said Apple received illegal state aid from Ireland, allowing it to pay a less than 2 percent tax rate between 2003 and 2014. Apple said it is confident the decision "will be reversed," and Ireland has also vowed to appeal. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple SIM Partners With SoftBank in Japan, Expands to Three More Countries

Following today's iPhone-centric event, Apple has quietly announced that Japanese carrier SoftBank is the latest Apple SIM partner. Apple SIM has also expanded to three additional countries and territories: Guam, Kenya, and Mauritius. Apple SIM is embedded in the latest cellular iPads and enables users to easily switch between different short-term data plans from select carrier partners without needing multiple SIM cards. It is particularly useful for traveling abroad. Through an existing partnership with GigSky, Apple SIM is available in over 140 countries. Other Apple SIM partners include AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the United States, EE in the United Kingdom, Deutsche Telekom in Germany, Three in Hong Kong, and au by KDDI in Japan. AlwaysOnline Wireless also offers pay-as-you-go LTE data plans in at least 45 countries, with the option to pay by hour, day, or megabyte. Apple SIM can be purchased from Apple retail stores in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United

Apple Working on Special Version of iPhone for Japan, Will Include FeliCa Tap-to-Pay Chip

Apple is developing a version of the iPhone for Japan that includes one of Sony's FeliCa chips to enable contactless transit payments, reports Bloomberg. FeliCa is a tap-to-pay format developed by Sony and built into cards that are used to access Japan's railway and bus system. FeliCa is faster than Apple Pay, allowing transactions to occur in a fraction of a second, which makes it suitable for use in a fast-paced transit environment. It's also able to store e-money that can be used at vending machines and cafes across the country. Apple plans to work with several transit card providers to create virtual versions of FeliCa transit cards that can be stored in the Wallet app on the iPhone and used in place of a physical card. The FeliCa chip will let customers in Japan store their public bus and train passes on their iPhones. Users would then be able to tap their phones against the entrance scanners instead of using physical cards. While the FeliCa chip is the standard technology underlying the service, there are several different providers of transit payment cards based on the type of transit and areas within Japan.The addition of a FeliCa chip to the iPhone will help Apple make inroads into the mobile payment market in Japan, which is dominated by the standard. 1.9 million payment terminals in the country have already adopted FeliCa and FeliCa terminals saw 4.6 trillion yen ($46 billion) in transactions in 2015. The FeliCa payment feature could be available as soon as next month, built into the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus that Apple plans to unveil in early

Apple Expands iTunes Carrier Billing to Japan as Rollout Gains Pace

Apple today added Japan to its list of countries eligible for iTunes carrier billing, suggesting the company is set to fast-track its expansion of the payment feature to regions across the globe (via Mashable). Japan becomes the fifth market to accept the transaction method, which allows users to charge iTunes content purchases directly to their cellphone bill instead of registering a bank card or using a gift coupon. The feature got its launch in Switzerland and Taiwan yesterday, following its debut in Germany and Russia last year. According to an anonymous source who spoke to CNBC, customers with Japan's second largest mobile company KDDI will be able to use the payment mode, which has yet to be officially announced in the country. Apple has posted instructions on how to use the convenience feature, which can be found in the Payment Information section of the iTunes Store after users have signed in with their credentials. Users in Japan make up the third largest market for App Store transactions, behind China and the U.S., indicating Apple's willingness to make carrier billing its next go-to online purchase method behind Apple Pay. There's no word as yet regarding which countries will be next to get Apple's approval for the feature, but the company has several more countries in the near-term pipeline, sources said. Apple appears ready to go the way of Google, which already offers mobile billing to users of its Google Play store in 45 markets, including deals with Japan's top three cellular carriers. Apple's more deliberate rollout has likely been

Apple Maps Gains 30 New Flyover Locations Around the World

Apple today updated its iOS feature availability page with 30 new Flyover locations around the world, including cities in the United States, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Flyover is an Apple Maps feature that provides photo-realistic 3D views of primarily large cities and landmarks. In satellite view, users can zoom, pan, and rotate to get a closer look at notable points of interest in supported regions. The full list of new Flyover locations is available below, but some areas may only now be reflected on Apple's website: United States Catalina Island, California Pinnacles National Park, California Porterville, California Visalia, California Tallahassee, Florida Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts Springfield, Massachusetts Omaha, Nebraska Poughkeepsie, New York Rochester, New York Allentown, Pennsylvania Columbia, South CarolinaInternational Leipzig, Germany Naples, Italy Palermo, Italy Akita, Japan Hagi, Japan Hakodate, Japan Hamamatsu, Japan Kumamoto, Japan Tsunoshima, Japan Acapulco, Mexico Cuernavaca, Mexico Hermosillo, Mexico La Paz, Mexico Oaxaca, Mexico Puebla, Mexico Gijon, Spain Vigo, Spain Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom Additionally, Apple Maps traffic data is now available in Chile, Hungary, and Vatican

Apple Announces 2016 Summer Camps for Kids at Retail Stores

Apple has opened registration in the U.S. and a number of other countries (links below) for its annual Apple Summer Camp, where kids aged 8 to 12 can attend a company retail store and learn how to create interactive books and movies using Apple products and software, ranging from iBooks Author on Mac to iMovie on iPad. Apple's summer workshops will be hosted between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. local time, on various dates between July 11 and August 12, in the United States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Parents are recommended to sign up early due to limited spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. This year's free workshops are called "Stories in Motion with iMovie" and "Interactive Storytelling with iBooks." A third workshop will be offered in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom called "Coding Games and Programming Robots," in which kids will learn visual block-based coding for games, apply logic skills and problem solving, learn to program their own robots, and more. Apple notes that children attending Apple Summer Camp 2016 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of each workshop. Once their initial registration is confirmed, parents can register another child. All campers will receive a complimentary youth-size Apple Summer Camp

MasterCard May Support Apple Pay in Canada, Brazil and Asia This Year

Apple Pay is supported by large financial institutions in the United States, United Kingdom, and China, but the mobile payments service can only be used with non-bank-issued American Express credit cards in Australia and Canada. Apple Pay does not support big banks in either country. That could soon change in at least Canada, as MacRumors has learned that MasterCard has Apple Pay support in that country on its 2016 roadmap. The information is based on an unverified internal document, however, so the plans cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt until other evidence surfaces. MasterCard credit cards are issued by a number of Canada's largest banks, including BMO, CIBC, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust, while store-branded MasterCards are available from large retailers such as Canadian Tire, Costco, and Walmart. Most of these stores and institutions also offer Visa, but their plans remain unknown. MasterCard is also looking to support Apple Pay in Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore in 2016, according to the document. Apple previously announced that its Apple Pay partnership with American Express will expand to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Spain this year, while Brazil and Japan would be entirely new markets. Earlier this month, a hidden "NetworkInterac" string was uncovered in iOS 9.2.1 code that hints at Apple Pay support at Canada's big banks. Interac is Canada's official debit card network, adopted by the country's largest financial institutions nationwide. TD already stirred speculation in October when it inadvertently listed Apple Pay as a method

Apple Store in Tokyo Begins Setting Up iPhone 6s Display Models

Less than ten hours before the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus launch in Japan, at least one Apple Store in the country has begun setting up display models for customers to view. The new iPhones will go on sale in Japan at 8:00 AM local time on Friday just a few hours after the smartphones launch in Australia and New Zealand. MacRumors reader Shawn DaSilva sent us a trio of photos and a video showing Apple retail employees installing the new iPhones at an Apple Store in Omotesando, Tokyo on Thursday evening. The new iPhones are also advertised on a digital banner spanning the length of the store. Apple is no longer accepting pre-orders or in-store reservations in time for September 25, leaving lining up at an Apple Store as one of the only options to get a new iPhone on launch day. Apple is not allowing walk-in sales in China, Hong Kong, Japan and four tax-free U.S. states: Oregon, Delaware, New Hampshire and Alaska. If you plan on waiting it out at an Apple Store, it is highly recommended that you reschedule any important plans tomorrow, as it can take several hours before you reach the front of the queue. In some cases, in-store stock of new iPhones may run out completely before you get a chance to buy

Apple Prices Bond Sale in Japan at ¥250 Billion

Apple has set a principal amount of ¥250 billion ($2.01 billion) for its bond sale in Japan per a final pricing term sheet published by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The yen-denominated bonds have an interest rate of 0.350% and are set to mature on June 10, 2020. Interest is to be paid semi-annually on June 10 and December 10, commencing December 10, 2015. The global notes will be available for purchase by both domestic and foreign investors, with net proceeds to be used for general corporate purposes, including stock buybacks, dividend payments, funding for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and debt repayment. The issue is being handled by Goldman Sachs International and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities