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Hundreds of iPhone 5 units stolen in Japan and UK

The iPhone 5 is just barely available to the public and already two high-volume burglaries have cleared out the inventory in some stores. In the UK, an O2 store assistant from Ilford is suspect of stealing some 252 iPhone 5 units and an unspecified amount of cash from the store's safe at around 1:30 AM this morning.

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Steve Jobs worked on Apple's next product until the day before he passed away

PCMag notes that Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son revealed in an interview with the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos, that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was working on Apple's next big product up until the day before his passing.

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iPad 2 hits Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and UAE on April 29, China on May 6

It looks like iPad 2, previously delayed due to the earthquake, will finally debut in Japan this week, as well as Hong Kong, India, Israel, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey and UAE.

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Softbank to offer free phones and calls for earthquake and tsunami orphans in Japan.

Following the awful earthquakes and devastating tsunami that hit Japan, it is good to hear that Japanese Cell Phone operator Softbank are offering assistance to children that were left orphaned by the recent disaster.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son has announced via twitter that all earthquake orphans will receive free phones with all calling costs waived until they reach 18 years old. This offer is even extended to those on other networks such as DoCoMo. The generosity didn’t stop there; he also promised a free replacement for all lost or damaged iPhones due to the earthquake.

We say well done Softbank and in particular Mr Son!

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Softbank brings NFC payment technology to iPhone 4

While most have assumed the iPhone 5 will include NFC technology for turning your iPhone into an eWallet, Japanese carrier Softbank has announced they'll be releasing their own NFC payment system for the iPhone 4 ahead of Apple in the form of a sticker you can apply to Apple's flagship smartphone. From Engadget:

Softbank has responded to complaints about the iPhone 4's NFC deficit by introducing a new "seal" for the back of Apple's latest and greatest.

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So what are the UK, France, German, and Japanese iPhone 4 carrier plans going to be?

Even before Apple announced the iPhone 4 was coming to the US, UK, France, Germany, and Japan on June 24, AT&T announced new, tiered and capped data plans and aggressive upgrade options for the new handset. Internationally...? Cricket chirps.

So here's where the power of the TiPb nation comes in. We've put as much as we could find below, but if you know more about carrier plans and upgrade options in the UK, France, Germany, or Japan, drop it in the comments and we'll update the post.

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iPhone Captures 46% of Japanese Smartphone Market

MobileCrunch brings word that, according to Impress R&D [Japanese language]:

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Live in Japan? Want an iPhone 3G for FREE?

And we thought $99 rumors at Walmart sounded cheap! According to Apple Insider, if you live in Japan and don't mind signing a 2-year deal with official carrier SoftBank, you can take home an 8GB iPhone 3G for FREE!

No matter the exchange rate, zero is zero, so if you've been holding out for an iPhone of your very own, is this finally enough the sway you? And most importantly, what Emoji will you use to express your free iPhone feelings?

(For our non-Japanese readers think AT&T, Rogers, or any other carrier will match this deal any time soon..?

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iPhone 3G in Japan: Prices & Plans Released!

Counting down to its July 11 multi-national debut, Japan's Softbank has announced (in Japanese, 'natch) their official iPhone 3G prices and plans. The hardware itself will cost ¥23,040 for 8GB and ¥34,560 for 16GB, a roughly 7% premium over Steve Jobs' US$199 maximum, amortized over the length of the pre-requisite 2 year contract.

Plans will be color coded, primarily in white, but rumor has it also in orange and blue. Based on the linked-to details, this color system is impenetrable enough I can't believe North American carriers haven't rushed to adopt it!

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iPhone Risk: Softbank-ing on Japan!

From the land of the rising sun, and the trend of mono-sentence-ic press statements, Softbank has announced that they will be carrying the iPhone in Japan with -- wait for it -- details to follow later!

Unofficial beginning of June scorecard:

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