iPhone lets shipwrecked user call for lifeguard

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iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XS size: Sometimes bigger really is better.
Waterproofing has helped the iPhone a lot.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

An iPhone user reportedly had her life saved after using her iPhone to call the coast guard after her ship capsized in rough waters. The woman, named Rachel Neal, was visiting Japan at the time, when she and her friends chartered a boat off the coast of Okinawa.

When the group wound up in the water, concerned about their safety, Neal’s waterproof iPhone allowed her to call for help. They were rescued 90 minutes later.

Today in Apple history: Apple opens its 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

November 30: Today in Apple history: Apple opens first store outside U.S. in Tokyo's trendy Ginza shopping district November 30, 2003: Apple expands its retail chain outside the United States, opening its 73rd Apple Store in Tokyo’s trendy Ginza shopping district.

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

Steve Jobs does not show up for the opening. However, shoppers hear a welcoming speech from Eiko Harada, president of Apple Japan.

Not so big in Japan? iPhone XR gets a local price drop

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iPhone XR colors
The iPhone XR may not be quite the massive hit many expected.
Photo: Apple

As rumored, Apple has slashed the price of the iPhone XR in Japan in an attempt to get more units into customers’ hands.

The lower price tag is courtesy of NTT Docomo, the country’s main mobile carrier. As of today, customers signing up for a 24-month contract can save around $100 on the cost of the device over its lifespan. The total reduction is from 36,000 yen down to 24,000 yen — plus mandatory contract fees.

iPhone X to live on as Apple restarts production

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The 2018 iPhone models aren't going to have an in-display fingerprint scanner.
The iPhone X could be making a comeback.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The iPhone X had one of the shortest lifespans of any iPhone Apple has ever made, being cancelled when Apple introduced its next-gen handsets back in September. However, according to a new report, Apple is restarting production on last year’s iPhone model in certain markets.

And it may all have to do with a lack of demand for some of the newer iPhones.

Today in Apple history: Apple denies Steve Jobs’ love of ninja stars

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Ninja star
Jobs apparently tried to take one of these on his private jet.
Photo: SecretNinjaNews

September 14: Today in Apple history: Apple denies Steve Jobs' love of ninja stars September 14, 2010: Airport security workers reportedly stop Steve Jobs at Japan’s Kansai International Airport. The reason? The Apple CEO supposedly tried to bring ninja throwing stars onto his private plane while heading home from vacation.

It’s one of the most bizarre Steve Jobs stories ever. Apple, however, quickly spoils the internet’s fun. Cupertino issues a statement describing the reports as “pure fiction” (although Apple acknowledges that Jobs visited Japan over the summer).

Check out Apple’s spectacular new Kyoto store

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Kyoto
The multi-tiered design is sure to be a winner.
Photo: Apple

Ahead of this Sunday’s opening of Apple’s first store in Kyoto, Japan, the company has published a few images of the store — showing the interior of what looks to be a stunning addition to Apple’s high-end retail outlets.

The store is located on one of Kyoto’s main shopping streets, surrounded by some of Kyoto’s most famous shrines and temples. The Apple Store pays homage to Japanese culture and design, while still maintaining a uniquely Apple look.

iPhone sales could take hit in one of the most Apple-mad countries

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iPhone Japan
Japan loves its iPhones. But a proposed law could make some consumers consider cheaper Android handsets.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Japanese government is considering a move to block carriers from bundling the cost of smartphones into monthly services fees. This comes after regulators last month said Apple violated anti-trust laws by forcing carriers to subsidize iPhones.

Apple has dominated the Japanese smartphone market for the last five years. The flagship iPhone X is the most expensive smartphone on the market at more than $1,000, but customers feel little to no pinch in the pocketbook as the cost becomes part of a fixed contract with monthly service fees.

Apple is opening its first store in Kyoto, Japan this month

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Kyoto
Japan was the location of Apple's first non-U.S. retail store in 2003.
Photo: Apple

Apple will open a new Apple store location in Kyoto, Japan this month, its first in the city, which is located in the Kansai region of Japan.

This will be the ninth Apple Store to be opened in Japan, although one of these in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo is currently closed. The August 25 opening comes approximately 15 years after Japan was selected in 2003 as the first country outside of the U.S. to receive an Apple Store.

How Apple sidestepped Japan’s antitrust rules

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Apple Japan required carriers to subsidize iPhone
Apple Japan used contracts to require carriers to subsidize iPhone prices.
Photo: Apple

Apple got a bit pushy with Japan’s wireless service providers, and was slapped down by regulators as a result.

The iPhone maker was requiring the carriers to put subsidies on iOS handsets. The Japanese Fair Trade Commission decided that was a violation of Japan’s antitrust rules.