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Saudi government app
A Saudi man can use a government app to restrict the travel of his wife or daughter.
Screenshot: iTunes

Apple Pay launches in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic

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doxo Apple Pay
Apple Pay continues its rollout around the world.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay has rolled out in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic, marking its 33rd and 34th markets.

In Saudi Arabia, Apple Pay is supported by the Saudi Payments Network (MADA), Alinma Bank, Al Rajhi Bank, Bank Aljazira, the National Commercial Bank, and Riyad Bank.

In the Czech Republic, it is supported by Air Bank, Ceska sporitelna, MONETA Money Bank and Twisto.

Apple takes heat over Saudi app that tracks women

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Saudi government app
A Saudi man can use a government app to restrict the travel of his wife or daughter.
Screenshot: iTunes

A U.S. senator is asking Apple and Google to pull an app in Saudi Arabia that men use to track and restrict the movements of women.

Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google boss Sundar Pichai asking them to “immediately remove” the app Absher, from their app stores.

Recordings of Saudi dissident’s death probably not from his Apple Watch

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Jamal Khashoggi could have recorded his own last moments with an Apple Watch
Jamal Khashoggi could have recorded his own last moments with an Apple Watch, but it's doubtful he could have transmitted them.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Investigators into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi claim to have recordings made on his Apple Watch of this prominent critic of Saudi Arabia being killed by Saudi agents. However, experts doubt that these actually came from the journalist’s wearable.

Apple Watch might solve mystery of missing Saudi dissident

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Apple Watch heart-rate monitor
Jamal Khashoggi's Apple Watch might be able to tell investigators if he's still alive.
Photo: Apple

A prominent critic of Saudi Arabia went into that country’s consulate in Istanbul last week and never came out again. Evidence of what happened to him might come from his Apple Watch.

The burning question the wearable potentially could answer: is Jamal Khashoggi still alive?

Tim Cook gives Saudi prince firsthand tour of Apple Park

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Apple Park
Tim Cook and Prince Mohammed strolling through Apple Park.
Photo: Saudi Embassy

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Apple’s new headquarters in California as part of his tour across the western U.S., during which he aims to change the country’s perspective on Saudi Arabia.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was on hand for Salman’s tour of the newly completed Apple Park. The prince even got a special presentation inside Steve Jobs Theatre that focused on Apple’s modern voice applications.

Check out some of the pics:

Apple is finally selling products through retailers in the Middle East

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(Photo by Abdullah Nouman)
(Photo by Abdullah Nouman)

Apple has never had an official retail presence of any kind in the Middle East, until now. Thanks to a deal struck with Jarir Bookstore, Apple is directly providing its products in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian government cleared Apple to operate in the country a couple of months ago. The agreement with Jarir will have Apple working with Saudi Arabia’s largest books and electronics retailer.

FaceTime Works In The Middle East on the iPod Touch

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When the iPhone 4 launched in the Middle East — specifically in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar — it did so without support for FaceTime. Needless to say, this prompted some speculation. Why would Apple have dropped theFaceTime capability only from Middle Eastern iPhone 4? Was it a carrier restriction… or was Apple trying to sidestep Middle Eastern governments getting interested in regulating the new video chat standard?

It now seems like the real explanation probably has more to do with carrier restrictions than anything else. According to iRamadah, FaceTime works in the Middle East on the new iPod Touches, despite the fact that even on the iPhone 4, FaceTime is a WiFi-only standard. Seems at this point more likely that the carriers kicked for whatever reason than anything to do with Big Brother.