| Cult of Mac

Pics and K-pop: Cupertino shows off big new Apple Store opening in Seoul


Apple Myeongdong, Apple’s newest location in South Korea, opens Saturday, April 9.
Apple Myeongdong, Apple’s newest and largest store in South Korea, opens on Saturday in Seoul.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest retail location, Apple Myeongdong, opens on Saturday in South Korea’s capital, Seoul. Ahead of the opening of its biggest store in the country, Apple showed off a preview with photos and descriptions of the store’s Today at Apple programs celebrating Korean culture, including a new K-pop session.

Remarkably, the new, two-level Apple Store will employ a whopping 250 people who, collectively, speak 11 languages. So, wherever you’re coming from, you’re likely to be understood as you drop a bundle on new Apple gear!

South Korea is first to say App Store must allow third-party payments


It's a major win for developers and users, and other countries are expected to follow suit.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

South Korea has become the first country to tell Apple that it must open up the App Store to third-party payment platforms. The same law also applies to Google, and other countries likely will implement similar rules.

The amendment to South Korea’s Telecommunications Business Act prevents large app market operators from forcing their own payment systems on users and developers. It also bans unreasonable delays in app approvals.

South Korea could get 400 mini Apple Stores inside LG retail outlets


LG Electronics might start selling iPhones in its stores.
LG got out of the phone business earlier this year. Now it could start selling iPhones.
Photo: LG Electronics

LG Electronics threw in the towel on manufacturing smartphones earlier this year. Now, according to a new report, it’s considering stocking Apple products in its 400 LG Best Shops stores in South Korea.

The companies supposedly are negotiating for an Apple store-within-a-store setup that will sell iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches. This sounds similar to when Apple set up mini-stores inside CompUSA outlets around the United States in the late 1990s. As with the CompUSA mini-stores, the new LG outlets might be staffed by Apple employees.

Apple settles antitrust dispute in South Korea with ‘voluntary correction scheme’


Apple South Korea Store
Dispute has been running in South Korea since 2016.
Photo: Apple

Apple has settled a long-running antitrust dispute in South Korea. The country’s Fair Trade Commission announced Wednesday that it has accepted Apple’s offer to spend $89.83 million in the country as part of a voluntary correction scheme.

“This is the first time that a correction scheme [to make up for unfair market practices] actually provides direct benefits to consumers such as repair and warranty cost discounts,” said FTC Chairwoman Joh Sung-wook in a press briefing. “[The FTC] shall thoroughly keep watch on whether Apple carries out the promised actions to contribute to the domestic ICT ecosystem.”

Apple gears up to open its second store in Seoul


Apple South Korea Store
Apple is expanding its footprint in South Korea.
Photo: Apple

Apple is making inroads in taking over Samsung’s home turf. Well, sort of.

Cupertino is getting ready to open its second brick-and-mortar Apple store in South Korea, home to Samsung. The store will be located in the main finance district of Seoul, Korea’s capital city. Apple Yeouido is located in the upscale IFC Mall Seoul. No exact opening date has yet been announced.

$84 million payout could settle Apple antitrust investigation in South Korea


South Korea1
An interior photo of Apple's spectacular South Korea store.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s South Korea business has said that it will make a 100 billion won ($84 million) payout to support small businesses and help consumers. This is to address antitrust concerns raised in the country.

Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has been investigating Apple Korea for reportedly forcing mobile carriers to pay for advertising and warranty repairs. The payout — which is phrased like a pledge, but also sounds like a fine — will act as a make-good on Apple’s “unfair” terms.

Apple’s only retail store in South Korea will reopen April 18


South Korea2
Apple's store in Seoul currently doesn't look quite this busy.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reopening its retail store in South Korea, making it the first Apple Store outside Greater China to reopen following the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The store, Apple’s first and only in South Korea, opened in 2018. It is located in the upmarket Gangnam district, in the city of Seoul. Along with every Apple Store outside China, it closed on March 13 as part of Apple’s COVID-19 response. It will reopen its doors on April 18, a little over a month after closing.

Apple closes all 17 stores in Italy [Updated]


Apple is closed for business in Italy.
Photo: Apple

Apple is set to shutter all of its stores in Italy beginning Thursday until further notice as the country goes into total lockdown due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

All 17 stores in Italy have updated their webpages showing that doors will close early Wednesday and the company isn’t saying when they will be reopened.

Apple reopens all but 4 retail stores in China as coronavirus infections fall


This store in Chengdu returns to normal hours on March 7.
Photo: Apple

Apple retail stores in China are slowly getting back to business as 38 of the company’s 42 retail stores are now open in an attempt to normalize business despite coronavirus concerns.

A review of the company’s retail web pages by Cult of Mac reveals Apple will expand business hours at 19 locations over the next couple of days and at least 6 stores will return to normal hours of operation.

Apple bans most employees from traveling to Italy and South Korea


Seeing the Coliseum is a no-go for Apple employees.
Photo: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Apple has added more travel restrictions for employees this week due to concerns of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Italy and South Korea have been added to Apple’s list of banned destinations, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company instituted a similar restriction on travel to China earlier this month to protect employees’ health.