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AppAdvice International: Market Share In Japan, Retail Stores And More

Apple’s share of the smartphone market in Japan is shown to have rocketed, Apple Retail Stores in European and Asian countries have announced mysterious “special hours,” and a 300 Mbps 4G LTE network launched in London’s Tech City. All of this - and more - features in the latest edition of AppAdvice International. Update. In a surprise move, Apple has launched its iPad mini with Retina display in a number of international territories. We'll have more information concerning this in next week's edition of AppAdvice International. In the meantime, check on our article for more news on Apple's second-generation small-size tablet.

Japan's smartphone market

[caption id="attachment_484989" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Apple and NTT DoCoMo.[/caption] The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c launched with NTT DoCoMo, as well as with Japan’s two other major carriers, SoftBank and KDDI, back when the new smartphones became available on Sept. 20. This week, we heard that as a result, Apple’s share of the smartphone market in Japan has overtaken that of the United States - news that indeed comes as something of a surprise. In a recent report, The Wall Street Journal explains:
Sales got another boost in late September when NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest wireless carrier, began offering the iPhone for the first time to its 61.8 million customers. Even before that, the iPhone was Japan’s best-selling smartphone, with a 37% market share in the six months ended Sept. 30, according to Tokyo’s MM Research Institute. That’s comparable to the iPhone’s 36% share in the U.S. in the third quarter, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Of course, though most of us didn’t expect Apple’s share of the Japanese smartphone market to increase by such an amount so soon, we did know that the Cupertino, Calif. company’s new iPhones were proving to be popular. Furthermore, due to the availability of both handsets will all three of Japan’s “big” carriers, NTT DoCoMo, SoftBank, and KDDI subsequently began competing for iPhone customers through advertising impressive deals - one of which saw the iPhone 5s go free on contract. It’s clear that Apple’s work in the east is paramount to its continuing success, however a deal with China Mobile would further help the company grow outside of the west. Such has been long-rumored, yet as of this writing a China Mobile iPhone deal has not been announced - even though one recent advertisement suggested that the carrier could offer Apple’s smartphones from Nov. 9-11.

Apple Retail Stores closing early in international countries

Between Nov. 15-20, Apple Retail Stores in a handful of international countries, including Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, and Spain, are set to close their doors early. More specifically, stores in Asia are scheduled to close up on Sunday, Nov. 17, while stores in Europe are seeing more sporadic “special hours.” [caption id="attachment_484991" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Special hours, you say?[/caption] As we explained in our original article:
Information concerning the one-off closing times for Apple Retail Stores is available to access either online, or using the Apple Store app (pictured above).
For the most part, Apple Retail Stores are closing up to several hours earlier than usual. Dresden’s Apple Retail Store, however, is actually scheduled to shut for the entire day on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Incoming products, and particularly the iPad mini with Retina display (due later this month) and the refreshed Mac Pro (due in December) could have something to do with this. However, as of this writing, we’re not sure; we’ll let you know if we hear anything further, or if you have information feel free to send an email to [email protected]. Update 2. Could the launch of Apple's iPad mini with Retina display have had anything to do with the above? We're not sure, since - as of this writing - the tablet has launched in Apple Online Stores only. We'll keep you updated.

EE launches 300 Mbps 4G LTE network in London’s Tech City

British carrier Everything Everywhere (EE) turned proof-of-concept into reality this week, and launched a ridiculously fast LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network offering speeds of up to 300 Mbps in London’s Tech City. Furthermore, EE notes that it plans on making the speedy network available commercially next year - for now, however, a select number of partners in East London’s Tech City are able to access the service. [caption id="attachment_484994" align="aligncenter" width="640"] OM4G.[/caption] Besides supporting smartphones and tablets, EE chief executive officer Olaf Swantee envisages that his company’s super fast network will help the rise of 4K television sets, for example. In a press release, he said:
For consumers, the future of mobile is about connecting more devices, accessing more real-time information, and sharing higher definition images and videos. The emergence of wearable technology, for example, will continue to increase consumer usage of data across multiple connected products. In consumer entertainment, ultra high definition 4K TV is the future, and LTE-A makes it possible to support that on a mobile network. BBC iPlayer streams at 5Mbps, whereas 4K TV will stream at 20Mbps, so a consistently high average speed, enabled by sufficient capacity on the network, is essential.
Of course, Apple has long been rumored to be developing its own Apple HDTV product, and some of the most recent reports have argued that a 4K television set, in particular, could be in the works.

The Philippines gets yearly iPhone plans

In the Philippines, carrier Globe has made it possible for iDevice users to get the newest iPhone each and every year. Called "iPhone Forever," the plan signs subscribers up to 24 month contracts but allows customers to trade their handset in after one year, in order to upgrade to the latest model. [caption id="attachment_484997" align="aligncenter" width="231"] iPhone Forever.[/caption] The carrier ranks handsets being traded in as belonging to one of four tiers. This year, for example, Tier 1 is occupied by the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4s only, Tier 2 includes the iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S4, and so on. Depending on the handset traded in, subscribers may have to pay a "one-time trade-in cash-out" fee; however, if you're handing over a one- or two-year-old Tier 1 iPhone, there is no fee to be paid. Contracts for Globe's iPhone Forever plans start at P1,599 (around $37) per month for the iPhone 5c, or P1,999 (around $46) for the iPhone 5s. Apple's iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are set to go on sale in the Philippines on Nov. 15, and a number of further countries are expected to follow suit on the same day. The horror of Typhoon Haiyan, however, means that the fourth major launch of Apple's new iPhones couldn't come at a worse time for the country. Donations to the Red Cross Typhoon Haiyan appeal can be made online. That's all for this week's edition of AppAdvice International. Check back with us next week at the usual time of 10 a.m. GMT for more news on Apple's work outside of the United States. In the meantime, see: Epic Post-Apocalyptic Robot Combat Cover Shooter Sequel Epoch 2 Coming Soon To iOSApple's Online Stores Go Down Ahead Of Retina iPad mini's Rumored Nov. 12 Launch, and Apple Reportedly Set To Launch iPad mini With Retina Display On Nov. 12.