Formal announcement expected soon
China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua has downplayed rumors that his company has already finalized a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone. Speaking to journalists during a conference in Guanzhou, the executive claimed that the Chinese carrier has no announcement to make and is still in talks with Apple, according to a Reuters report.
Numbers considered conservative, could go as high as 23 million
A new survey of Chinese consumers -- including those not yet on smartphones but planning to move to them -- predicts that a China Mobile deal that appears to be happening in spite of a lack of official announcements could result in an additional 12 million to 23 million iPhones sold in the first year. Though Apple already sells iPhones in China (including the latest models), the unveiling of a national LTE network for China and a deal with its largest carrier promises to boost the company's fortunes substantially.
Faces matched to ID photos
Following criticism surrounding several worker deaths, Apple supplier Pegatron has reportedly implemented facial-recognition technology to screen for underage workers. The technology, which is said to have been introduced earlier this year, uses computers to help verify that workers are not using borrowed identification cards, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Company criticized for bowing to government pressure
Apple has reportedly pulled a censorship-circumventing app from the Chinese iOS App Store. The app, titled FreeWeibo and developed through collaboration with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, is said to have worked around the government's censorship filters for content posted on the Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo.
Chance to pre-order new iPhones on China Mobile may be just hours away
An official China Mobile page which lets Beijing-based users make reservations for its new "4G" LTE service features a graphic of the iPhone 5s and (on a different page) a jewel-encrusted golden apple -- which both confirms that the world's largest cellular carrier will be including the iPhone at long last, and hints that pre-orders for it could begin as early as late Thursday. China Mobile is the last of China's major cellular providers to carry the iPhone, the result of nearly six years of negotiations.
Massive sales surge comes ahead of deal with giant China Mobile
Even before an expected debut on the world's largest cellular provider, China Mobile, is announced, Apple's new iPhone models have led to a surprising surge in Chinese sales, vaulting the company from sixth place in marketshare to third place since it debuted its latest models. The popularity of the iPhone 5s and 5c have been such that the company tripled its marketshare in a single month, according to a report from market researchers Counterpoint.
December 13 date of device sale, December 18 date of 4G rollout
Potentially dispelling the rumors and false starts, China Mobile is taking preorders for iPhones on Thursday in Shanghai, according to an advertisement that briefly appeared on its website and in a call placed to customer service. Using the slogan "4G is here!" the ad not only announced the opening date of iPhone sales, but also suggests phones from other vendors such as Sony, Samsung, and HTC, that all support the new 4G network that the carrier has been building out for the last two years.
Carrier maintains position despite rumors of imminent launch
The world's biggest cellphone carrier, China Mobile, says it is still discussing an iPhone deal with Apple, according to a Reuters report. "We are still negotiating with Apple, but for now we have nothing new to announce," comments Mobile spokeswoman Rainie Lei. Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal claimed that a deal had been signed, supporting rumors that Mobile might start selling iPhones as soon as December 18th.
Agreement would increase iPad sales opportunities, lift Apple revenues
Assuming that the latest iPhones (and possibly iPads) debut in China and on China Mobile as expected on December 18, Apple will have just two weeks of sales there to record before the close of the company's fiscal Q1 for 2014. In a testament the sheer scale of both China's overall economy and China Mobile's subscriber base are, those few days might be enough to materially affect Apple's overall earnings for the period, says Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Potential for money laundering, tricky regulation causes China Bitcoin setback
The Bitcoin virtual currency has received a setback on its path to widespread use, after China's central bank advised against its use by the country's investors and banks. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) warned financial institutions that they should not trade in Bitcoins due to the potential risks associated with the currency.
Report hinges on single, unnamed source, but signs are there
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a pre-order site connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and state media announcements.
Issued licenses allow for 4G LTE cellular usage in China
The three major carriers in China have been issued licenses to operate TD-LTE networks in the country. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has provided the licenses to China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom today, which opens the door to Chinese mobile users being able to use faster mobile connections in the future.
First acknowledgement of deal between Apple and world's largest carrier
A website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile has begun taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the first time any site affiliated with China's (and the world's) largest carrier has done so. The move signals a formal deal between Apple and the carrier, which has taken some six years to put together -- and marks the opportunity of a lifetime for Apple to make more serious inroads in China's expanding smartphone market.
Demographic skews older, and with more buyers under median income
"Almost half" of the people who bought the iPhone 5c in September and October were people switching from Android phones, particularly ones by Samsung and LG, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. By comparison, some 80 percent of iPhone 5s purchases were by people upgrading from a previous iPhone. Kantar also notes that over 40 percent of 5c buyers were earning less than $49,000 per year, versus roughly 20 percent for the 5s. 5c buyers also tended to skew older, with an average age of 38 instead of the 5s' 34.
Skype traffic in China flows directly through Microsoft servers
Microsoft has moved to a new partner for providing Skype in China, one that could help improve privacy in the region. The messaging service will now be operated by Guangming Founder instead of TOM Online, with some reports suggesting that the move could potentially offer greater protections to users in China from monitoring by the country's government.
Second smartphone from Huawei with eight-core chip teased this week
More details about another Huawei smartphone with eight-core chip have surfaced, including an image showing part of the device. Teased by Huawei CEO Richard Yu last week as forming part of the Ascend P6S, the same MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor will apparently be appearing in the Huawei Glory 4 sometime in the future.
Carrier still waiting on 4G license from Chinese government
China Mobile is planning to introduce a new brand for its mobile services on December 18th, something that could hint at the iPhone finally arriving on the carrier, says the Wall Street Journal. The brand announcement is expected to take place during Mobile's 4G global partners conference in Guangzhou. The carrier has said it's ready to start 4G services; although it must still wait for the Chinese government to issue 4G licenses, local media has indicated that may happen as soon as next week.
Both ZTE Nubia Z5S devices have 13-megapixel camera, LTE options
ZTE has launched a pair of updates to last year's Nubia Z5, with both smartphones to shop with LTE and 3G options, depending on carrier and region. The Nubia Z5S will have a five-inch 1080p IGZO display, while the smaller Nubia Z5S mini opts for a lower-resolution 720o, 4.7-inch display, and a drop in specification when compared to its full-sized counterpart.
Android vendors other than Samsung see single-digit share
A report from Chinese business data pollsters Analysys combined with shipment reports compiled by DigiTimes indicates that in the fledgling Chinese tablet market, Apple is the surprise winner - dominating sales by a long way over rival Samsung, the only other vendor to achieve double-digit sales. According to the figures, Apple has 51.7 percent of the market, followed by Samsung at 13 percent, with Lenovo at 9.1 percent.
Vibe Z switches out MediaTek processor from Vibe X for Qualcomm version
Lenovo has launched an update to its Vibe line of Android smartphones, with a new version destined for China. The Vibe Z, also known as the K910, opts for a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor instead of the MediaTek chip used in its predecessor, the Vibe X, all packed behind a 5.5-inch full HD IPS screen.
Stock still solid at mainland Chinese storefront
The iPad Air is already sold out at Apple's Hong Kong online store, checks show. The tablet went on sale in the region earlier today, with initial delivery times quoted at one to two weeks. The sellout stands in contrast with other regions, including mainland China, which are still promising shipping within 24 hours.
Lines start forming around some retail outlets
(Updated with start of sales in some countries) Apple has begun temporarily shuttering some of its online stores ahead of tomorrow's iPad Air launch. Pages for regions like Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the Netherlands are now offline. The storefronts should go back online sometime after midnight local time, when online orders for the Air will open.
Political divisions continue to impact app
Taiwan's foreign ministry has issued a complaint to Apple about the way the country is characterized in Maps, reports say. In both iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, Maps lists Taiwan as a province of China. "The maps don't acknowledge Taiwan as its own nation. We voiced our disapproval and hope Apple will make the change," a ministry official states. While many Taiwanese consider themselves independent, the Chinese government considers the country a possession, which in the past has led to political conflict and threats of war. Apple has yet to respond on the matter.
iPhone 5c seeing most traction in US, data suggests
The iPhone 5s represents about 3.8 percent of active iPhones worldwide, according to new tracking data from Localytics. The iPhone 5c holds a share of just 1.7 percent; the most popular model at the moment remains the iPhone 5, sitting at 39.8 percent. The 4S is at 32.9 percent, while the three-year-old iPhone 4 is at 20.2.
Galaxy S3, Note 2 said to contain faulty memory chips
Samsung has issued a public apology to Chinese consumers, responding to a critical report that recently aired on China's state TV. The China Central Television program reportedly named seven devices, including the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 handsets, that are allegedly prone to crashing as many as 30 times a day due to malfunctioning memory chips and firmware problems.
IAPM outlet to stay open late
Apple's newest Chinese store will open inside Shanghai's IAPM mall at 9AM this Saturday, according to an official webpage. The outlet will span two stories, and during normal functions operate from 10AM to 11PM all week. IAPM hosts a number of luxury stores, including Prada and Dolce & Gabbana.
Deepens ties with China
Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined the advisory board of Tsinghua University's School of Economics and Management, according to the university's website. A mission statement indicates that the board holds annual meetings to "offer advice on the development of Tsinghua's SEM." Other high-profile members of the board include Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa, Walmart CEO Michael Duke, and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
Might take after third-gen 9.7-inch iPad
The second-generation iPad mini may be slightly thicker in order to accommodate changes related to a Retina display, suggests Macotakara. The site recently attended a conference in China, where early third-party cases for the new Mini were on hand. The accessories were reportedly built to fit a tablet 7.5mm thick and 134.9mm wide. The first-gen Mini, by contrast, is 7.2mm thick and 134.7mm wide.
Launch delayed due to China Mobile TD-LTE build-out
China Mobile will be receiving the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c early next month, if a photograph of a promotional poster is genuine. The launch on the largest Chinese carrier will apparently take place on November 11th, with the iPhone to be made available as one of the first devices to use its 100Mbps TD-LTE mobile network.
US, Canada, China, Australia see new forecasts
Shipping times for the iPhone 5s have changed at Apple's online store, checks show. As recently as yesterday, the device was only listed as shipping in "October" for US buyers. Now orders are set to arrive in two to three weeks; the same forecast has been applied to the Canadian, Chinese, and Australian storefronts, and possibly others.
Abundance of units causing gray market price drop
Apple is halving production of the iPhone 5c from 300,000 units per day to 150,000, reports say. No reason for the shift has been given. While Apple could simply be ramping down from launch-level production figures, it may also signal that stocks of the phone are overabundant. The latter idea may be supported by changes in the Chinese gray market.
Asks for experience with TD-SCDMA
Apple is looking to hire an engineering manager familiar with China Mobile's TD-SCDMA 3G standard, Bloomberg notes. The person's job will be to "support and drive the carrier approval of mobile phones;" notably, Apple is asking for experience with TD-SCDMA, even though China Mobile has yet to carry the iPhone. The listing backs several reports pointing to an imminent China Mobile iPhone launch.
Critics claim Apple kowtowing to China with app removal
Apple's decision this past summer to remove a censorship circumvention tool from the Chinese App Store has drawn criticism from some claiming that the iPhone maker is kowtowing to that country's authoritarian government. Users of Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo recently voiced their frustrations online, according to CNN, claiming that Apple showed it has no integrity in removing the app Open Door. The app is still available in other App Stores outside of China.
Unusual techniques required to support curved glass
The US Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent on the design of the glass cylinder over top its Pudong Apple Store in Shanghai. The cylinder is similar in concept to the cube over top the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City, but made even more complex by the need to curve the glass. To that end, Apple notes that it had to skip conventional glass laminate technology in favor of new construction techniques that could support a large weight load over long periods of time.
Fingerprint sensor shown on back of HTC One Max
More images of the rumored HTC One Max have surfaced, via a filing at the equivalent of the FCC in China. Photographs of the device at the Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center MIIT give clear views of the front, back, and sides of the device, complete with what is believed to be a fingerprint scanner on the rear.
Margin even higher in some other countries
The iPhone 5s appears to be outselling the iPhone 5c by a ratio of 3.4 to 1 in the US, according to marketing and analytics firm Localytics. About 1.05 percent of all American iPhones are said to be the 5s, while the 5c represents just 0.31 percent. "This makes sense since those who feel the need to buy a new device the very weekend it launches are most likely the power users who want the highest-end phone experience," writes Localytics marketing VP Bernd Leger.
Few launch units available worldwide
Although the phone has only just launched in the eastern hemisphere, the iPhone 5s is proving to be in extremely short supply, reports suggest. Online orders of the device have opened up in Australia and mainland China, but Apple is already listing the product as shipping in 7 to 10 business days in those regions, regardless of color or capacity. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the 5s is simply quoted as shipping in "October."
Carriers offering iPhones for 'free' on some plans
Chinese carriers are heavily subsidizing the iPhone 5s and 5c to make them affordable in the country, rate cards show. Off-contract, even a 16GB 5c is 4,488 yuan, or over $730. China Unicom however has eight plans under which a 5c is available for free. At China Telecom, even the 5s is available for "free" under three plans, although these involve extremely long contracts and/or high fees.
16GB 'Space Gray' models still available, 5c also available for pre-order
[Update: Hong Kong sold out as well, white model now also sold out] In China, Apple has once again instituted a structured "reservation" system for the iPhone that is aimed at preventing scalpers and resellers from buying up all the available quantities of retail iPhones-- the incidence of which resulted in some violent incidents two years ago when the iPhone 4S went on sale. Sina Tech now reports that the gold color option for the full-price, unlocked iPhone 5s -- which many said was tailored for the Chinese market, Apple's second largest -- has sold out in all three stores in Beijing. The two other color options for the iPhone 5s are still available.
Apple Store pre-order shipping dates hold fast
With less than a week till the launch of the iPhone 5c and 5s, China Unicom has announced that it has received more than 100,000 reservations. The announcement comes less than a week after Apple's announcement, and despite the fact that the company has yet to release any details on its plan to subsidize the devices. However, Bloomberg has received word from analysts that the subsidies are likely be "more conservative" compared to ones offered for the iPhone 5.
System helps control crowds, stock
Chinese Apple Stores will start taking reservations for the iPhone 5s and 5c on September 17, Apple has announced. The arrangement applies to both Hong Kong and mainland Chinese outlets, and shoppers can sign up for reservations at the appropriate regional websites. Pickups begin on September 20; carrier selection and payment must be done in person.
Demand less intense for \'budget\' iPhone
(Updated with other slippages) Supplies of the iPhone 5c -- which just went on sale this morning -- are mostly stable, checks show. While shipping times have grown to 1-2 weeks in Hong Kong, deliveries are still set for September 20th in all other launch regions. The closest exception to this is at Sprint in the US, which says that "some phones" will ship in up to 2 weeks, and that the yellow 32GB model is due in 3.
Carrier's plans to sell device still unofficial
China's Telecom Equipment Certification Center has granted a network access license for an iPhone compatible with China Mobile, according to the agency's website. The TECC has also granted fresh licenses for iPhones compatible with China Unicom and China Telecom, but Mobile has never before sold the iPhone. The certification adds to the evidence that Mobile will start carrying the device in the near future.
Backs reports of China Mobile deal
The iPhone 4 is still available through Apple's online store in China, checks show. The 4 has disappeared as an option elsewhere in the world, the 4S taking its place as the cheapest option in Apple's iPhone lineup. Many carriers will be offering the 4S for free on contract. In China, an 8GB iPhone 4 is listed at RMB 2,588 (about $420) unlocked, while a 4S is RMB 3,288, and 16GB versions of the 5c and 5s are RMB 4,488 and RMB 5,288, respectively.
Touch ID sensor brings fingerprint recognition to iPhone
During Apple's omnibus iPhone and iOS 7 announcement today, Apple officially revealed the iPhone 5s. The device boasts Apple's new 64-bit A7 processor, and is constructed of "high-grade aluminum" with chamfered edges, now being offered in three colors: silver, gold, and a new "Space Gray" color. Also added to the phone are a new motion-sensing chip, as well as a greatly improved camera and flash system.
Shop will be surrounded by luxury stores
A new Apple Store is under construction inside Shanghai's IAPM mall, a photo shows. The outlet will span two floors, and find itself surrounded by luxury vendors like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. The real estate firm behind the mall -- Sun Hung Kai -- notes that restaurants, IMAX theaters, and a supermarket are also planned. The mall is connected to the Shanghai International Commerce Centre and the Shanghai ICC Residences, but those are only partly open.
Fingerprint sensor, identical display to iPhone 5 touted
Specifications for the upcoming iPhone 5S, believed to be announced by Apple tomorrow, have allegedly leaked, yet again bringing up a possible fingerprint sensor for the device. The supposed Chinese marketing materials state that the smartphone will have a similar form to the iPhone 5, mimicking that of the iPhone 4S when compared to the iPhone 4, though the home button square is notably absent.
China's largest carrier may get iPhone later
Apple's next generation of iPhone may launch later on China Mobile than on other Chinese carriers, according to a new report. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a note last week explaining that China Mobile is still in the process of rolling out its TDD-LTE network, which will bring faster data speeds to its 700 million subscribers. While China Mobile completes that process, its customers could have to wait until November to get their hands on Apple's phone.
Marks an end to long-running negotiations
Apple is getting ready to deliver iPhones to China Mobile, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The paper notes that while it isn't clear if the two businesses have signed a formal sales agreement, the impending delivery of phones would mean that some sort of deal has been arranged. One source elaborates that Apple has asked its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, to add China Mobile to the list of carriers that will be getting the low-cost iPhone, better known as the iPhone 5C. When Mobile might be getting the 5C is uncertain.
Supports names of upcoming devices
China Telecom has accidentally confirmed plans to carry the iPhone 5S and 5C, reports say. Earlier today the company posted a statement to that effect on microblogging site Sina Weibo, but it has since been deleted. Telecom is one of the two official iPhone carriers in China, the other being China Unicom.