Today in Apple history: Apple opens first store outside U.S.

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Apple's store in Tokyo's swanky Ginza shopping district.
Apple's first non-U.S. Apple Store was located in Tokyo, Japan.
Photo: Héctor García/Kirai CC

Nov30November 30, 2003: Apple expands its Apple Store chain outside the U.S., with its 73rd Apple Store opening its door’s in Tokyo, Japan’s trendy Ginza shopping district.

On opening day, thousands of Apple fans — possibly still the biggest queue in Apple history — queue around the block in the rain to gain early access to the store, which offers five full floors of Apple product goodness.

While Steve Jobs isn’t on hand for the opening, shoppers are given a welcoming speech by Eiko Harada, then-president of Apple Japan.

Apple Pay goes live in Japan, but not without its problems

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Apple Pay
Apple Pay arrived in Japan today.
Photo: Apple

Apple Pay made its debut in Japan today, although it didn’t completely get off to the best start.

The reason? One of the most eagerly-anticipated selling points of the service — the ability to use it on the subway — didn’t work properly. While East Japan Railway Co. says things were fixed within a few hours, the rush hour outage has made some users worried about future system stability.

iOS 10.1 brings Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus

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Does your iPhone 7 Plus hiss?
Portrait Mode is finally here!
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

iPhone 7 Plus owners can finally start using Apple’s highly-touted Portrait Mode starting today.

Apple released iOS 10.1 to the public this morning after weeks of beta testing the new Portrait Mode. The software update comes with a couple of other tweaks for iPhone and iPad as well as a number of bug fixes.

Apple’s Japanese R&D center will be dedicated to AI

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Elektro, a robot built by Westinghouse in 1937, was a star at the World's Fair in 1939-40. Photo: Courtesy of Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum
Tim Cook is eying Japan for Apple's AI research hub.
Photo: Scott Schaut/Mansfield Memorial Museum

Apple’s new R&D base in Yokohama, Japan, will focus on artificial intelligence and other related technologies, Tim Cook has revealed.

The new facility is set to be completed by December, well ahead of the projected date of March 2017. In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Cook called it a center for “deep engineering,” and said it will be “very different” from the R&D centers Apple plans to build in China.

Tim Cook talks R&D, future collaboration with Japan’s prime minister

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IMG_2287
Tim Cook and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must be talking about the Note 7.
Photo: Sourikantei/Facebook

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a pit stop Friday at the office of Japan’s prime minister to talk about Apple’s growth in the country.

Cook told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that Apple’s new R&D facility in Yokohama will be completed by December, well ahead of the projected date of March 2017. Apple says it hopes the new R&D facility near Tokyo will help it forge more local partnerships to source parts for future Apple products.