Japanese helper-bot is as adorable as it is ridiculous

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This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
This guy has traded in his smartphone for a RoBoHon.
Photo: Sharp/YouTube

Now if Cupertino really wanted to make Siri something special, they would give her a head, arms and legs, and make her dance when she plays music.

Sharp Electronics has either jumped ahead of Apple or jumped the shark tank with an animated robotic smartphone called RoBoHon. It does everything your current smartphone does but with moving appendages, an adorable, futuristic face and a sweet voice to make it a very personable sidekick.

iPhone 6s sales may be up to 15% weaker in Japan

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iPhone 6s is a terrific smartphone, but fans are already bored of it.
Are iPhone sales finally starting to slow down?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple has praised the iPhone 6s for selling a record-shattering 13 million units in its first three days. However, a new report suggests that in Japan the 6s and 6s Plus actually sold 10-15 percent fewer units than last year’s iPhone 6.

How can both of these reported facts (record-breaking sales figures and lower demand) be true at the same time? There is an answer — and, no, it’s not Schrödinger’s iPhone.

Apple’s Japanese R&D center will focus on materials, vehicles and health research

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Apple's shiny new Japanese R&D center.
Apple's shiny new Japanese R&D center.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s upcoming R&D center in Yokohama will allow the company to tap into the materials, vehicles and health expertise that exists in Japan, according to a new report.

The R&D facility — which will be Apple’s biggest in Asia — will join similar offices in the U.K., China and Israel.

Move over China! Japan wants to take over iPhone manufacturing

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Tim Cook meeting an iPhone manufacturer in China.
Tim Cook meeting an iPhone manufacturer in China.
Photo: Apple

Being an Apple manufacturer is a pretty lucrative market if you can get in on it, which is why it’s no surprise to hear that Apple’s existing partners are constantly fending off challenges from upstarts promising to do whatever they can do — only cheaper and better.

According to a new report, Japanese manufacturers are currently making a concerted effort to secure more orders from Apple, which currently deals mainly with companies based in Taiwan and China.

If the Japan-based companies do manage to muscle-in on the Apple supply chain, it could result in iPhone manufacturing becoming even more of an international affair than it already is, while also having a potentially massive impact on existing Chinese iPhone makers.

Apple and IBM team up to help Japan’s senior citizens

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Apple's iPad business may not turn around any time soon. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The news marks the next step in Apple's relationship with IBM. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is teaming with IBM and Japan Post on a pilot scheme that will hand up to 5 million iPads out to elderly people in Japan by 2020, to help them keep in touch with their families, physicians and community.

In addition to existing iPad apps like FaceTime and Messages, the tablets will come loaded with custom IBM apps designed to help remind senior citizens to take their medication, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet, while also allowing direct access to community support services such as grocery shopping.

Giants gobble tiny humans in first Attack on Titan trailer

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The Titans are back, and they're hungry. Photo: Toho Distribution
The Titans are back, and they're hungry. Photo: Toho Distribution

Attack on Titan, the cult-hit in ink (manga) and on the small screen (anime), is getting a live-action treatment this summer. The good news is that the feature film is hitting Japan on August 1 and Australia and New Zealand later this same year. The bad news is that we have no details on a U.S. release, though both the manga and anime are still available in this country.

The film is the first of two planned parts, with the second flick, Attack on Titan: End of the World, headed to Japan this coming September.

ILE Equipment bags are made in America but big in Japan

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"Inspiration comes in weird places," says Eric Fischer, owner of ILE Equipment. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

BERKELEY, Calif. — ILE is big in Japan. The California bag company has found a market with the Japanese bike website Blue Lug, and the collaboration keeps pushing ILE into new bags, materials, hardware and color choices.

Eric Fischer, 26, launched ILE (short for “Inside Line Equipment”) out of his apartment four short years ago. He was racing bikes, buying fabric and making bags one at a time for himself, his friends and friends of friends.

“I always liked making things, but building buildings didn’t seem scalable,” Fischer told Cult of Mac. “Making bags seemed more like a painting rather than building a house.”

Apple Watch gets booth in trendy Tokyo department store, more planned

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Photo:
We know which part of the store we're, err, Watching. Photo: Macotakara

Considering that the Apple Watch goes on sale in a little over one month, Apple has still provided relatively few details about how exactly it’s going to be selling its upscale wearable devices.

Some images posted by Japanese Apple blog Macotakara offer a few hints, however. The photos show an Apple Watch booth or mini-store at the upmarket Isetan department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The sign reads “WATCH: Coming Soon.”