Almost a week after being taken offline, the Apple Online Store for Russia is back in business. It was taken offline last week in response the the falling value of the Russian ruble. It appears that at least some prices in the Russian store have increased by as much as 35%.
Apple has announced that its online store is currently unavailable in Russia while it reviews pricing. The decision is in response to recent swings in the valuation of Russia's currency — the latest of which has seen the ruble lose as much as 19 percent just today.
After Apple CEO Tim Cook came out, Russia has taken down a memorial to late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stating that it was gay propaganda. The two-meter tall memorial, in the shape of an iPhone, was located in St. Petersburg at a college in January 2013 by a coalition of Russian companies known as ZEFS. However, citing Russian laws, ZEFS said that it had removed the memorial on Friday.
The Russian government has asked for security cooperation from Apple and enterprise services firm SAP. The proposal would see Apple handing over the source code for their products so Russia could inspect them for backdoors or defects that could be exploited by spy agencies like the NSA. Apple has repeatedly denied working with the NSA or other government agency to create such backdoors, but the Russian government, well, they're not wanting to take any chances.
Recently NBC News ran a hysterical hacking story suggesting that you'll be hacked within minutes when you step off the plane in Russia. Now a security researcher involved in the story, Kyle Wilhoit, is disputing how it was presented. Trend Micro:
Russia has been in the headlines recently, more specifically their carriers dropping the iPhone. On today's Q3 2013 earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a little to say about the story, with a little less of a doom and gloom angle on things. In short, Apple is doing just fine with iPhone sales there, reporting record figures for the quarter just gone.
As of this month, the iPhone is no longer available on any Russian carrier. You can still get iPhones in Russian, of course, both at independent retail chains and, now, directly from Apple. They're just off the Russian carriers, and Phillip Elmer-DeWitt thinks he knows why. From Fortune:
Apple has made a new, and quite significant, expansion in their Eastern European retail operations with the launch of an online retail store in Russia. Previously Russian Apple fans had to purchase their hardware via third-party resellers, and the online store represents the first time Apple has had any kind of retail presence there.
At long last, the iTunes Store looks like it will be officially launching in Russia. For a few weeks now, we have heard rumblings that it may be launching very soon, some users have already seen songs for sale in music searches at extremely competitive prices. Now Apple has supposedly sent out invitations to a small number of people to attend an event in Moscow tomorrow.
On December 16, Apple will continue the international roll out of the iPhone 4S, launching it in Russia, Brazil, Taiwan, South Africa, the Philippines, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
MacRumors points to a number of confirmations that Apple is set to rollout the iPhone 4S in several additional countries on December 16th. The list includes Russia and Brazil, two of the world's most populated countries, which should bolster sales outside of the US.