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Monday, April 14, 2008, 04:00 pm PT (07:00 pm ET)

iTunes Russia; no iPhone China talks; battery suit; Apple TV 2.0.2

Websites suggest Apple will introduce its iTunes Store to Russia. However, China Mobile is dampening hopes in its own country that isn't discussing the iPhone. Also, reports have Apple stores coming to New Orleans in the US and Bristol in England, while Apple has issued a fix for the iTunes .

Site posting suggests iTunes in Russia

Long absent in the Asian country, Apple may be ready with a more official Russian presence with an iTunes Store, according to new claims made by the regional IT site CNews.

The publication notes that two websites, iMacintosh.ru and iTunes-store.ru, both refer to apple.com and apple.ru e-mail addresses for support in their Internet registries. Both also proclaim "iTunes Store Russia" and list April 21st as the launch date for the store.

Billboards around Moscow also refer to the same timeframe. However, all the sites are also connected to Apple IMC, Russia's primary Apple reseller, rather than the Cupertino, Calif.-based Mac maker.

Apple hasn't commented on the report and typically doesn't pre-announce specific dates for iTunes Store openings, casting some doubt on the apparent introduction.

China Mobile refutes claims of iPhone talks

China's chief wireless carrier, China Mobile, isn't in any discussions to carry the iPhone, company chairman Wang Jianzhou has said this weekend.

The executive explains that Apple's business approach still prevents any discussion. Although not mentioned in the report, China Mobile has repeatedly said it couldn't accept revenue sharing as a matter of Chinese policy.

Still, Wang reiterates that the "door will remain open" if the demand exists.

Apple stores expected in New Orleans, western UK

At least two of Apple's future retail stores will target very wide gaps in otherwise well-served countries, ifo Apple Store reports.

The highest-profile among these will be the firm's first New Orleans area store. An outlet is now planned for the Lakeside Shopping Center in the Metairie area just north of the main city and is understood to be in the works now that the city's population is recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Such a store, which doesn't yet have an opening date, will be just the second after the Baton Rouge location.

Simultaneously, a Bristol store in western Great Britain is reportedly planned for before the end of this year that will fill a large void between existing shops.

The retail location is most likely to surface near (but not inside) the Broadmead shopping area, according to ifo sources.

Apple buries hatchet over battery lawsuit

Rather than face a trial, Apple has agreed to settle a lawsuit regarding a battery fire in Japan.

An Osaka couple accused Apple in July 2007 of manufacturing a defective battery that caught fire and scorched both the husband and the carpet. Apple Japan has been willing to come to an agreement but has insisted that a court decide the amount: the two million Yen (roughly $20,000) originally sought is excessive, the Mac designer says.

The final terms remain private, though Sony is also implicated in the settlement and is known to have produced more than 9 million vulnerable batteries that required a global recall by Apple and other computer vendors.

Apple TV 2.0.2

Apple tonight has quietly launched firmware version 2.0.2 for its Apple TV media hub.

The update, available through the device's built-in update utility, isn't accompanied by release documentation but is currently believed to offer bug fixes that may address network reliability using 802.11n wireless.