Apple opens its first store in S. Korea with fanfare

Hundreds of South Koreans braved bitterly cold weather Saturday as they waited hours for the opening of Apple Korea's first store in southern Seoul.

Apple opens its first store in S. Korea with fanfare

About 300 people lined up to be among the first in the country to get inside Apple Garosugil in the affluent southern district of Gangnam.

Choi Ji-eon, an 18-year-old who is preparing to study abroad, said he arrived in front of the new store around 3 p.m. on Friday and later waited in a sleeping bag as he was shivering with cold at night.

"I would like to join this monumental moment, though I did not intend to buy any specific product," Choi said.

Apple said the new store features its full line of products and offers in-store programming and services together so people can experience them for the first time all in one place.

Angela Ahrendts, Apple's senior vice president of Retail, tweeted Saturday, "Awestruck by the Apple fans in Seoul who braved beyond freezing temperatures to join us at Apple Garosugil this morning!"
 The temperature in Seoul fell to minus 15 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

Hundreds of people entered the new store at 10 a.m. after a countdown and some of them exchanged hi-fives with Apple employees.

An 18-year-old, who asked not to be identified except his family name, Shin, was upbeat about the quality of services expected at the new store. He also said he hopes that Apple uses the opening of the store as an occasion to self-reflect to ensure it does not lose public confidence, citing the battery-gate controversy.

A law firm said Saturday that it has filed a suit against Apple Inc. and its local unit Apple Korea seeking compensation for slowing down older iPhones in the second legal challenge in South Korea against the U.S. tech giant.

Hwimyung filed the suit the Seoul Central District Court on Friday on behalf of 403 people who claim damages from Apple slowing down its older iPhones to solve their battery problems.

The law firm said it is seeking compensation of 300,000 won (US$282) per plaintiff.

It is the second time that South Koreans have taken legal action against Apple over the issue.

The Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty, a Seoul-based civic group, filed a suit against Apple and Apple Korea earlier this month on behalf of 122 people seeking compensation of 2.2 million won per plaintiff.

Apple admitted on Dec. 20 that its operating software updates slowed down the iPhone 6, 6S and iPhone SE to prevent the smartphones from shutting down abruptly.

Still, the tech giant denied on Dec. 28 that the measure, not disclosed to the iPhone users, was motivated to induce users to switch to newer models, an accusation made by customers worldwide.

Hannuri Law, another South Korean law firm, is preparing to file a separate lawsuit against Apple in coming weeks. Nearly 400,000 people have signed up to the firm over the planned suit. Source from the Yonhap.

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