Apple

iPhone 6 launch keeps Chinese customs officials busy as they seize hundreds of smuggled units

iPhone 6 launch keeps Chinese customs officials busy as they seize hundreds of smuggled units

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus went on sale last Friday, and we were pretty psyched. In fact, our very own Mr. Sato was so excited about the launch that he was, once again, first in line to get his hands on the latest version of Apple’s smartphone, and we’re sure others in the U.S. and Hong Kong felt just as happy with their new purchases.

Not everyone in the world got to be in on the fun, though. Apple is staggering the launch of the iPhone 6, and while Japan was lucky enough to be in the first batch of territories where it has become available, mainland China wasn’t. This has led to some extra cash for iPhone resellers, as well as customs officials who spent the weekend steadily confiscating smuggled iPhones.

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Mr. Sato gives his first ever autograph, gets a broken heart in return

Mr. Sato gives his first ever autograph, gets a broken heart in return

Last year, our intrepid Japanese correspondent, Mr. Sato, basked in the limelight as he became the first person in Japan to buy a Docomo iPhone 5S. Now, with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus going on sale, he’s determined to capture another five minutes of fame, so he’s been camping out in front of the Docomo store in Tokyo’s downtown Marunouchi district since four days ago.

Lining up so early meant a lot of lonely downtime, but recently Mr. Sato’s day was brightened when a young lady asked him for his autograph! At least, it was brightened for a moment, before he learned the sobering secret behind her request.

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Japan already has an Apple Watch and it’s even cooler than Tim Cook’s version

Japan already has an Apple Watch and it’s even cooler than Tim Cook’s version

Apple just announced its new generation of gadgets, including a smartwatch called the Apple Watch. Not wanting to wait for its 2015 release, Japanese Twitter user Shoji Hiromichi decided to make his own…out of a real apple.

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Here’s an easy way to check if the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will fit in your pocket

Here’s an easy way to check if the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will fit in your pocket

With Apple’s announcement of their new iPhone lineup the burning question on everyone’s lips is – but is it gonna fit in my pocket?! Download and print this handy to-scale model and find out!

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7 Reasons the iPhone 6 is a piece of junk (according to Japanese otaku)

7 Reasons the iPhone 6 is a piece of junk (according to Japanese otaku)

Apple has officially announced the iPhone 6, and also its big-screen sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus. This is great news for technophiles who’d already started lining up for the new device before it was officially unveiled, but there’s one slice of the Japanese population that’s completely unimpressed: hard-core fans of idol singer video game and anime franchise Aikatsu! The otaku subset has compiled a list of seven reasons why, compared to one piece of Aikatsu! merchandise, the iPhone 6 is a piece of junk.

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Apple fans so eager for an iPhone 6 they’re lining up before it’s even announced

Apple fans so eager for an iPhone 6 they’re lining up before it’s even announced

About this time last year, we brought the story of a group of fans who spent over a week camped out on the sidewalk, just so they could be first in line to snag an iPhone 5S on launch day at the Apple Store in Tokyo’s Ginza. But while we can understand the appeal of the fun and comradery that comes from braving the elements with your fellow technophiles, we were a little shocked when we recently strolled by the same store in the swanky neighborhood and saw there’s already a line forming for the iPhone 6, which Apple hasn’t even announced yet.

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Your turn, Samsung – Mr Sato returns the Ice Bucket Challenge to Korea’s electronics giant【Video】

Your turn, Samsung – Mr Sato returns the Ice Bucket Challenge to Korea’s electronics giant【Video】

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is still going strong, thanks to its mix of suspense, physical comedy, and contributions for a worthy cause. Business and entertainment moguls from around the world have participated, and recently even inanimate objects have started taking part with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 smartphone being doused by the Korean conglomerate’s U.K. division.

As per the rules of the challenge, Samsung then exercised its right to pass the dare onto someone else, and it designated rival Apple’s iPhone 5s. A quick comparison of the spec sheets for the two competing phones has some people crying foul at singling out the iPhone 5s, though. Today, we’re offering Samsung a chance to make things right.

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Keep your iPhone safe and retro-gamer chic with Famicom protective film

Keep your iPhone safe and retro-gamer chic with Famicom protective film

Yesterday, Nintendo’s Famicom, known internationally as the NES, celebrated its 31st birthday. While it may not have been the first video game console, the way Nintendo’s 8-bit system combined, for its time, high-end processing power, pleasing aesthetics, and user-friendliness elevated it to a level above both its predecessors and would-be rivals.

The Famicom was the sort of sweeping, segment-defining success that didn’t come along again until the iPhone took over the smartphone market. Now, you can combine those two iconic pieces of Nintendo and Apple hardware with a Famicom protective film for your iPhone.

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Continue? Save your iPhone from a battering with these protective Street Fighter II cases

Continue? Save your iPhone from a battering with these protective Street Fighter II cases

While Mortal Kombat gets most of the attention, whether positive or negative, for violence in fighting video games, Capcom’s Street Fighter II, the title that established the genre as gamers know it today, had some pretty grisly graphics, too. Unlike modern polygon fighters which zoom in on the victorious character as he or she strikes a victory pose, Street fighter II cut away to a different screen after each match, which showed the gory details of what a losing combatant would look like after taking a few too many hadokens or spinning bird kicks to the face.

Now, with a new set of iPhone cases, you can adorn your smartphone with the losing portrait of the Street Fighter II character you like best, or perhaps hate the most.

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We test our iPhone’s new protective sheet against the legendary sword Excalibur

We test our iPhone’s new protective sheet against the legendary sword Excalibur

The touchscreen is both the greatest and most annoying part of a smartphone. On the plus side, you’ve got clear images, vibrant colors, and the simplicity that comes from bypassing a bunch of buttons and menus. At the same time, though, you’ve also got to deal with unsightly scratches and cracks.

We recently heard about a new protective sheet that’s supposed to be able to withstand almost any kid of abuse, so we put it to the test against a variety of damaging instruments including what one shopkeeper told us was the legendary sword Excalibur.

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First new Japanese Apple Store opened in eight years, Apple fans celebrate best way they know how

First new Japanese Apple Store opened in eight years, Apple fans celebrate best way they know how

On 13 June, the Omotesando Apple Store opened in Tokyo. It was a rare occasion, being the first of its kind to open in Japan since the Sapporo Apple store in 2006. Although no new product was released, an estimated 1,000 Apple fans came out to show their support in true Apple fashion by making a huge line.

We sent our local Apple line-up correspondent Mr. Sato to report from the frontline.

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Free at last? Japanese government mulling over doing away with cell phone SIM locks

Free at last? Japanese government mulling over doing away with cell phone SIM locks

When my brother and his family moved back to America, leaving my wife and I as the last Baseels in Japan, he graciously offered me his practically new iPhone. Sadly, despite the tempting opportunity of upgrading from my old-school flip phone, I had to turn down his generous offer.

Being happily married, this wasn’t because I needed the boost in attractiveness that comes from an outdated cell, but simply because my brother and I had different providers, and his iPhone was SIM locked, like all mobile phones in Japan have always been.

However, that might be changing soon.

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Preorders begin for Attack on Titan iPhones cases

Preorders begin for Attack on Titan iPhones cases

We can’t imagine a more dedicated way to show off your love of hit anime Attack on Titan than by strapping on a pair of replicas of the heroes’ giant-killing swords whenever you step out of the house. What we can imagine, though, is the blades clashing with the rest of many peoples’ wardrobes, not to mention earning them the unwanted attention of their local police department should they happen to live in a municipality where defending yourself from 60-meter tall monsters isn’t a daily concern.

Thankfully, if you’re looking for anime accessories that are less bulky/deadly, the makers of the Attack on Titan iPhone case have announced they’ve started taking orders.

Price, details, and lots of delicious photos after the jump!

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Ever wondered what Steve Jobs would look like as a cute Japanese girl?

Ever wondered what Steve Jobs would look like as a cute Japanese girl?

No, me neither, but now you can get just that on a T-shirt!

If you’ve been looking for the right way to express your admiration for Apple’s legendary CEO, wait no longer! Now you can get the genderswitched Jobs shirt you’ve always wanted! From the illustrator of IS <Infinite Stratos> and the Xenosaga series, this merchandise for unlikely mash-up manga Chocolate Apple has been years in the making.

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Japanese netizens get creative with custom iPhone unlock screens

Japanese netizens get creative with custom iPhone unlock screens

With the advanced state of the technology at our fingertips these days, our tech lives have never been so customizable. But one thing users may have never thought to get creative with is the iPhone’s humble lock screen. The most a typical user will ever aspire to is replacing the standard background with a picture of their cat or something. Or so I’ve observed of my more technologically inclined friends; I still use a rotary phone.

But did you know that with a little creativity and a photo editing tool, you can actually make some pretty cool custom unlock screens? Just ask these Japanese netizens that squandered their creative talents making anime characters say appropriately anime-ish things on their unlock screens:

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iPhone gets stolen in Spain, Japanese owner gets hit with massive bill for $9,800

iPhone gets stolen in Spain, Japanese owner gets hit with massive bill for $9,800

Recently, we brought you the tale of a man whose iPhone was stolen while he was traveling in Thailand, only to have some of the sting taken out of the unfortunate development when he saw the pictures of the cute girl who was using the pilfered phone.

Now comes the story of another Japanese iPhone user who fell victim to overseas thieves, then received a surprise upon returning home. Unfortunately, his surprise wasn’t photos of a fine-looking female, but instead a massive bill from his cell phone carrier for nearly one million yen (US$9,800).

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Samsung, IOC deny asking iPhone carrying Olympic athletes to cover their Apple logos

Samsung, IOC deny asking iPhone carrying Olympic athletes to cover their Apple logos

The Olympics gives the world’s most talented athletes a chance to show their abilities to people all over the globe. It also gives the world’s most wealthy marketers a chance to show their products to that same audience.

Among the Games’ biggest sponsors is Samsung, whose Galaxy Note 3 was granted the title of official phone of the Sochi Olympics in thanks of its manufacturer’s generosity. Some reports are claiming that the Korean electronics maker isn’t showing a respect for healthy competition, though, by asking athletes with iPhones to make sure they cover the Apple logo when on-camera.

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So like us – Monkey takes dip in hot spring, brings iPhone

So like us – Monkey takes dip in hot spring, brings iPhone

Along with Mt. Fuji and the Shibuya scramble intersection, a snapshot of a woman chatting on a cell phone while dressed in a kimono is one of the must-have photos from any extensive stay in Japan. That seamless blending of the traditional and high-tech is a perfect encapsulation of just what makes Japan such a compelling society.

Hmm, you know what? We forgot to include a picture of a monkey in a hot spring on our photography checklist. That’s another one of those “Only in Japan” scenes, right? But what if you’re running short on time? Is there any way to multitask and combine our subjects?

Sure there is, with this picture of a primate taking a dip in a hot spring with his very own smartphone.

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Apple cosplayer beats the rush, lines up for iPhone 6 seven months early

Apple cosplayer beats the rush, lines up for iPhone 6 seven months early

It’s been less than six months since the iPhone 5S went on sale here in Japan, but already Apple devotees are chomping at the bit to get their hands on an even newer model. One such would-be early adopted is blogger Yoppy, who’s still feeling the pain from failing in his quest to be the first person in Japan with an iPhone 5.

Not wanting to let greatness slip between his grasp two times in a row, Yoppy decided that this time he was going to line up early for the release of the upcoming iPhone 6. How early? Seven months ought to do it.

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Your iPhone is embarrassingly bad at simple math

Your iPhone is embarrassingly bad at simple math

The Cult of Apple is so smug about the many features and perks of the iPhone that it becomes a test of will for us Android users not to snatch any iPhone we see out of the hands of its user and throw it overhand into the nearest wall.

But now we may have a new weapon in the war on Apple: basic arithmetic. Seedy Japanese Internet geek forum 2chan has apparently proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that, when it comes to the calculator function, Apple’s smartphone is as dumb as that kid in your elementary school class that ate glue all day.

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