Preliminary agreement could lead to Apple Pay working on 5M UnionPay terminals
Apple is reportedly close to securing a deal with a Chinese card payment processor, which will help it launch Apple Pay across China. It is claimed Apple has reached a preliminary agreement with UnionPay, allowing Apple Pay to function through more than 5 million NFC-equipped point-of-sale terminals in the country, simplifying the rollout of the service and giving Apple a considerable head start for its expected February launch.
Alleged Apple Pay launch could coincide with high-spending Chinese holiday
Apple is considering a launch of Apple Pay in China by February next year, according to reports. It is claimed Apple has signed deals with the four major state-run banks in the country, in theory allowing Apple Pay to be linked to user bank accounts, though it is suggested there may still be a number of regulatory hurdles Apple needs to overcome before being able to offer the payment platform in one of the world's most important markets.
Visa launches new TV advert to promote Apple Pay in the UK
On the heels of a new promotion from Mastercard that allows Apple Pay users to ride free on the London Underground, Visa Europe is kicking off a two-month ad campaign that intends to show users why using Apple Pay in the UK is safer, faster, and easier than the current EMV (chip and PIN) card-based payment system. Titled "Anticipation," the first ad very elegantly communicates the ease, speed and yes, thrill of using Apple Pay.
SunPower to create 170MW of renewable power in Inner Mongolia with partners
California energy firm SunPower, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor, and an unnamed third partner said to be Apple have partnered to build three new solar farms in China that are intended to help Apple offset the power needs of its manufacturing and supplier operations in the country, which gets most of its power from coal-based plants. SunPower, which is already working on a 20-megawatt pair of solar farms for Apple in Sichuan province, said that the total output of all the solar farms, when complete, will top 210 megawatts.
Threat is greatly reduced, but still present through variant versions
Although Apple "quickly reacted" to a threat emanating from China last month where altered, pirated versions of Xcode found to contain non-threatening spyware were in use that could have been used to launch a greater attack, variant versions of the XcodeGhost malware are still present, and have been found on servers in the US in the enterprise sector. The actual danger is greatly reduced, as the command-and-control networks have mostly been disabled, but there is still some potential risk.
Macs hit all-time sales record of 5.7 million, Apple Watch growing
In today's quarterly results call for the company's fiscal fourth quarter, Apple revealed it had sold 48 million iPhones, a record for Q4. Strong sales in China and other developing regions helped boost the numbers, along with a short period of availability of the company's newest iPhones, the 6s and 6s Plus. Macs also set an all-time sales record of 5.7million units sold. The Mac figure was all the more remarkable given that the PC industry in general has seen an 11 percent decline.
Samsung falls as local manufacturers compete with Apple
Hours before Apple reveals is fiscal Q4 quarterly results, Counterpoint Research has revealed a new study showing that Apple has retaken the top spot in China's smartphone market, selling seven million units last month to take the title back for the first time since February, and outpacing its previous top monthly sales by more than three million units. Chinese manufacturers Huawei and Xiaomi will keep pressure on, however, though Samsung's presence in the market has plummeted.
Cook announces range of new, greener options for Apple in China
Following a meeting in Beijing for the group he recently joined, Apple CEO Tim Cook is touring around China ahead of the October 24 opening of the latest Chinese Apple Store in Dalian. He posted a photo on his Sina Weibo account taken as he was hiking the Great Wall on Chongyang Festival, which he called "simply breathtaking," and said he was "happy to be back in China." In a later newspaper interview, Cook talked up the strength of the Chinese economy, despite some recent setbacks.
Group calls on Apple to push Pegatron for more, lasting improvements
International labor condition monitors China Labor Watch has concluded an undercover investigation at Apple supplier Pegatron. As part of its exposé, the advocacy group claims that 58 percent of the workers at the plant were required to work more than 60 hours a week, in violation of Apple's guidelines for suppliers. Additionally, it purports that living conditions in every respect have deteriorated, with pervasive mold, and mass infestations bedbugs posing massive problems for workers.
Testers impressed, not that screen has a textured feel to assist drawing
Artists and animators at Walt Disney's Feature Animation Studio have taken the iPad Pro for a spin, with one of them posting an account on Twitter and others broadcasting the event on Periscope. From the reports, the animators appeared to be very impressed with the iPad Pro as a drawing tool, noting that the surface has "tooth," or a bit of roughness on the surface, to aid in the tactile feedback of a traditional drawing tablet -- and that the Apple Pencil and palm rejection technology worked exceptionally well.
Apple Music and selected iTunes Stores now available locally
While the news will come as a surprise to those outside China, the country is only just today getting its own Apple Music service and some of the various iTunes Stores, including Movies and the iBookstore for the first time. The various stores will, as is the case in most other countries, emphasize native artists at least as much as western acts. Local heroes such as G.E.M. and Eason Chan will be seen in the Music store alongside popular western artists. The Movies store will feature Chinese cinema and Hollywood films, while the iBookstore will offer a wide selection of native-language e-books.
Apple deducting eight percent from Japanese sales, prior to 30 percent cut
Apple has informed developers of new tax application on sold apps in China and Japan. The iTunes connect briefing warns of "transactional taxes in China" as well as new tax laws in Japan "with respect to foreign businesses that provide electronic commerce to residents of the country." The taxes applied are in addition to any of those owed already, due to state or country of residence, and a discussion has begun between developers on whether to abandon the localities entirely.
Apple to announce fiscal Q4 results on October 27 at 2pm PT
Apple will announce its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results in a conference call with analysts on October 27 at 2PM PT (5PM ET), the company has revealed. The quarter, which ends on September 30, will include two weeks of sales of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, of which Apple has already announced it sold more than 13 million units on opening weekend -- an increase of 30 percent from last year's iPhone 6 introduction. Wall Street, however, sees the gain as simply the addition of mainland China to the list of countries selling the new iPhone on its debut weekend.
Other tech and Chinese CEOs to attend meeting over economic, IP issues
Tech and major US companies will meet with their Chinese counterparts as part of a delegation joining Chinese President Xi Jinping as part of his first US visit, at a conference in Seattle. Among those who will meet with the Chinese leader are Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Disney chief (and Apple board member) Bob Iger, and Bershire Hathaway founder Warren Buffett. Chinese executives from many of China's largest tech firms, such as Alibab, Baidu, and Tencent, will also be present at the meeting.
Austria, Ireland, Denmark to have Apple Watch at retail on September 25
Three more countries will begin selling the Apple Watch at retail, following in the steps of Belgium, which opened its first-ever Apple Store (which included the Apple Watch) in Brussels earlier on Saturday. Austria, Denmark, and Ireland will begin selling the Apple Watch on Friday, September 25, the same day it will go on sale from US carriers T-Mobile and Sprint. Also gaining the Apple Watch in the coming weeks are Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Company is 'on track' to surpass iPhone 6, 6 Plus preorder record
Apple has issued a statement to the press saying that the company is "on pace" to beat last year's 10 million-unit first weekend record, adding that "customer response to iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been extremely positive and preorders this weekend were very strong around the world." Pre-orders for the new iPhones opened early Saturday morning (Pacific Time), and were available in 12 countries (including China) rather than nine countries as was the case last year.
Company fined $10 million for misinterpreting government tax rule
Apple has had to pay 452 million Chinese yuan ($71 million US) in back taxes in China, along with a 65 million yuan ($10 million) fine after an audit by the Ministry of Finance, which has recently been cracking down on taxation of US companies, showed the company understated its sales and over-reported its profit. The iPhone maker, which has recently risen from seventh to third place in the Chinese market (after briefly reaching the top spot) did not contest the finding.
Cook's letter to Jim Cramer may have violated SEC disclosure regulation
Attorneys at various news agencies are claiming that Apple CEO Tim Cook is in violation of US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. The analysts purport that the letter to CNBC analyst and fund manager Jim Cramer that was read during a broadcast violate fair disclosure of corporate financial information, and the public exchange of data that may impact stock pricing.
China iPhone sales continuing to skyrocket amid contracting market
A new report from industry analyst Gartner claims that Apple's iPhone sales are continuing to grow, and that Samsung's sales are continuing to fall, particularly in China. Overall, the report says that Apple's worldwide smartphone share increased 36 percent, rising 2.4 percentage points to 14.6 percent, while Samsung's sales have dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year. In China, Apple's sales grew by 68 percent, while the overall Chinese smartphone market fell four percent compared to the same quarter last year.
Steals share from Android in US, loses ground to Chinese makers in China
Apple's iOS platform continued a streak of strong growth in both the US and China, according to new ComScore and Canalys report issued yesterday, taking share away from Android. However, while still seeing extraordinary growth in China, surges in shipments from native Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi and Huawei meant that Apple was knocked to third place in Chinese market share, having briefly captured the top spot.
Canton Road Apple Store continues aggressive Apple China expansion
Apple has opened up its latest Apple Store in China, with the Canton Road location in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district being the fourth outlet for the city. CEO Tim Cook took to Twitter to thank the "thousands of Hong Kong customers" visiting the new location and joining in the celebration of the store launch, with the 23rd Apple Store constructed in China being part of a major retail expansion in the country for the company.
Android-based clones sold in US, leading to Chinese government raid
Acting on a tip from US law enforcement, Beijing police raided a factory producing fake iPhones and accessories. Nine suspects have been arrested in the scheme, which produced 41,000 fake phones, and could have been worth up to $19 million in counterfeit electronics sales. A married couple, arrested by the police, allegedly hired hundreds of workers to assemble the devices.
Gaming news summary for July 27, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's later-than-scheduled edition, China lifts its console sales ban, Nintendo prepares to remove TVii from the Wii U in the United States, and Steam suffers a rare security lapse via its own support system.
Region continues to offset normal summer sales doldrums
Although Apple's conference call with analysts on Tuesday was light on new information, a few facts and figures about China -- Apple's fastest-growing sales region by revenue, and currently buying more iPhones than the US -- came to light. In the most recent quarter, Apple's "greater China" revenues (which include Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Taiwan) jumped 112 percent from the year-ago quarter, to $13.2 billion. That's right, more than double. In a year.
Announces new Chinese educational programs to be offered in schools
In a new interview given to the Chinese-language version of Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook admits that the company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account in its product designs, along with other factors. Cook specifically pointed to the gold color option -- first introduced with 2013's iPhone 5s and now expanded to the iPad and new 12-inch Retina MacBook line -- as reflecting in part "the popularity of that color among Chinese users."
May strike deal with Alibaba ahead of long-stalled Union Pay to move forward
[Updated with Tuesday meetings information] In a move to underscore the importance of the rapidly-growing Chinese market, Apple CEO Tim Cook has opened a social media account on Sino Weibo, and has told the Chinese press that negotiations with regional banks and credit card partners in China to bring Apple Pay to the country continue. The iPhone maker has had trouble reaching an accord with UnionPay, the largest credit-card issuer in the country, but may be bypassing the stalemate by striking a deal with Alibaba.
China set to receive Lenovo K80 from end of April
Lenovo has introduced a new smartphone destined for the Chinese market, with two impressive hardware points among the mid to high-end specifications list. Measuring 8.5mm thick, The phablet-sized Lenovo K80 houses 4GB of RAM, equalling the competing Asus ZenFone 2, while the non-removable battery holds a long-lasting 4,000mAh of charge.
Zhizen turned loose patents into Siri clone, then sued Apple as copycat
After two legal defeats, Apple has won its case on appeal in a lawsuit brought by Zhizhen Network Technology that dates back to 2012. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Apple did not violate any patents held by the Shanghai-based Zhizhen, and thus no infringement has occurred. Apple first attempted to have the Zhizhen patent, which covered only "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," invalidated, but later sued the government and the company when authorities ruled in favor of Zhizhen.
Few locations have some actual selling stock, but mostly demos rule on former retail debut
While Apple has since abandoned its former April 24 retail launch day for the Apple Watch due to a global sellout, a few select stores -- almost entirely third-party fashion boutique sellers who secured allotments early -- are said to have or have had actual stock of Apple Watches to sell. Customers hoping to score one today are lining up outside these shops, even as Apple Retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts spent the day in China.
Companies have worked in the US before; effort is first international deal
SunPower Corporation today announced that it plans to partner with Apple to build two solar power projects, totaling 40 megawatts, in ABA Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefectures, Sichuan Province of the People's Republic of China. When complete, the two projects will be co-owned by Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development, SunPower's project development joint venture, and Apple.
Apple to open three new stores in time for Apple Watch retail debut
Apple plans to open at least three new stores in time for the retail debut of the Apple Watch -- though it is unclear if any of the stores will actually have Watches to sell, as the company has switched to an online pre-order system only ahead of the debut date. The stores will open in Hangzhou, China; Miami Beach, Florida; and Sao Paolo, Brazil. The latter two have already been officially announced for April 24 by Apple. Of these, Brazil is the only new store not to be part of the first wave of countries receiving the Apple Watch.
Negotiations not progressing with China financial institutions
As previously reported, Apple negotiations with China's UnionPay have been troublesome. Reports are circulating that the discussions continue to be mired in per-transaction fees and data center requirements, and the total lack of progress since Apple's announcement of the transaction service is what prevented the expected launch of Apple Pay in China with the release of iOS 8.3.
Report claiming people paid to attend media event as fans refuted by Samsung
Samsung has denied a report claiming it paid 500 people to attend a press conference for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in China last Friday. It is claimed the manufacturer tried to increase interest in the flagship smartphones at the event by hiring stooges to make up half the 1,000 people in the audience, all in a bid to improve its presence in the country.
Apple to open another store in Hangzhou, China on day of Apple Watch launch
As if April 24 won't be a busy enough day for Apple with the retail debut of the Apple Watch in a wave of nine countries, the company will also open a brand new second Apple Store in Hangzhou, China on that Friday as well. The new location will be a more typical mall-type store in the MixC mall in Vietiane City, and comes just three months after the first Hangzhou store in West Lake, which was a two-story standalone store.
Apple spotlights World Autism Awareness Day with spotlight on helpful apps
Apple has showcased 16 apps specifically designed for autistic persons in the Education section of the iOS App Store. Two apps in particular, Proloquo2Go and Proloquo4Text, are being offered at an unusual sale price of $110 and $120 respectively, half off their normal cost due to the promotion. MacNN reviewed Proloquo2Go a little over a year ago, finding it be the best in class. Other apps spotlighted help users with math, clothing choices, environment comfort, and more.
Phablet-sized high-resolution display, plastic body expected in HTC launch
HTC has leaked a phablet-sized variant of its plastic One E9+ via its Chinese website. While the One E8 was launched shortly after the One M8 flagship last year as a similar device with a cheaper casing for Asian markets, the One E9+ takes a different route, opting for a larger and higher-resolution display as well as a few other changes in specification from the One M9.
Trade-up program for older iPhones expected to kick off March 31
According to reports, Apple is set to launch an iPhone trade-in program in China on March 31, joining several existing programs in other countries around the world, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and a number of European countries, among others. Users will be able to bring in older iPhone and trade it in for store credit towards a newer model. The program has been shown to boost sales.
Microsoft to provide PCs in China running pirated Windows with free upgrade
Microsoft may end up allowing more people to use a free version of Windows 10 than previously thought. One report claims Microsoft is going to be trying to make it easier for Android users to switch to a Windows mobile device by transforming their existing smartphone, and some pirates may also end up being able to upgrade their existing Windows installation to the new release.
Big China carriers now offering latest LTE-capable iPad models for first time
Apple's sales in China are set to further increase now that the country's second- and third-largest carriers will offer the Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the latest iPads, the first time China Unicom and China Telecom have been able to do so. The special iPad models, which vary slightly from the North American and European versions, will support China's proprietary TD-LTE and FDD-LTE standards, as well as other LTE versions.
Microsoft partners with Chinese companies to help spread Windows upgrade
Microsoft will be releasing Windows 10 to the public in the coming months, the software maker has confirmed. Exiting its current Windows Insider technical preview program sometime this summer, the latest iteration of the operating system will be shipping in 190 countries around the world in 111 languages, with Microsoft also announcing a greater push into China.
Anti-terror legislation seen as license to spy, would have driven western companies away
A proposal that would have mandated that high-tech hardware and software have "backdoors" installed that would be accessible by the government, as well as forcing companies to provide keys for any encryption schemes used on the devices or in programs, has been suspended from proceeding through the legislative process. In addition, the proposal would have mandated all data created by Chinese users would have been required to remain in China, requiring hundreds of western services to build data centers in the country.
Cisco, Citrix also banned; government cites security concerns
A weekend move by China has stricken Apple, Intel, Cisco, Citrix, and McAfee from approved vendors for governmental purchase. Ostentibly to protect national security interests, the move appears to be more about giving state run and other Chinese companies a leg up on procurements in the country, similar to regulations inside the US government that does the same.
Company's iPhone 6 lineup took country by storm, reflecting other markets
Research firm IDC has reported that the established order of dominance in the Chinese smartphone market has crumbled, with Apple's iPhone 6 lineup pushing the Cupertino manufacturer into second place in the market, a doubling of its position from 2013. Low-cost Chinese maker Xiaomi took first place with just slightly better performance than Apple, while Samsung -- previously the unchallenged top seller -- fell to fifth place in marketshare.
First Bank, Morgan Stanley added to roster of Apple Pay banks
Apple has added 19 new banks in a February addition update. Notable additions include the Credit Union of Southern California, FirstBank, and Morgan Stanley. The new additions bring the total of banks supporting Apple's service to 84. Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed during a Goldman Sachs tech conference that over 2,000 banks and credit unions would support the service by the end of the year worldwide.
Negotiations stall, rollout of Apple Pay taking longer than Apple wants
Apple is having some difficulty with its electronic payments service rollout in China. Two giants in China's commerce ecosystem, e-retailer Alibaba and China's central bank UnionPay, are fighting the introduction of the service, reportedly over concerns about the regulatory climate in China, as well as Apple's share of each transaction.
Progress made on conflict-free smelters, fallback on overtime issues
On Wednesday, Apple updated its annual Supplier Responsibility Report, and for the most part reported continued progress in its struggle to ensure that workers in its Asian factories are not suffering abuse or dangerous conditions. The biggest change in the report is that Apple has barred recruitment firms and employers from charging workers any fee to get jobs on its assembly lines. The iPhone maker also noted that it increased supplier audits by 40 percent in 2014.
Agrees to changes in licensing terms of essential 3G, 4G patents in China
Qualcomm has agreed to pay a fine to end an antitrust investigation in China. The settlement, which involves the chip producer handing over 6.09 billion yuan (approximately $975 million) to China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), as well as performing other actions, after the NDRC declared Qualcomm had violated an anti-monopoly law.
Asian version of US ad plays to Chinese market, gift-giving season
Apple has created a new version of its holiday ad "The Song" for the Chinese market in time for the Lunar New Year celebrations, which commence later this month. The wholly-reimagined ad is prominently featured on the company's China website, and is the first such ad made directly for China. Senior VP of Retail Dame Angela Ahrendts has made China a priority over the next two years as it emerges as Apple's third-largest market.
Brooklyn and Manhattan locations running behind schedule
Apple is preparing to open two stores in previously-untapped urban markets. The first is in the Chinese city of Tianjin, and will be debuting this Saturday at 10AM local time. The other is in the New York City borough of Queens; sources say the shop will open later this year on the second floor of the Queens Center Mall. One of the sources claims that the outlet will be Apple's biggest inside a New York mall, and that the company expects revenues to top high-profile locations elsewhere in the state.
Crowds gather for latest flagship China Apple Store event
Apple is opening its latest Chinese Apple Store -- this time a new, standalone store in Chongqing, the second Apple store for the city. Local media were allowed access to the interior as the previously-reported cityscape mural was removed to reveal an all-glass cylinder shape, similar to the store in Shanghai, with a glass staircase leading below ground to the actual store. This will be the third of five stores Apple has promised to open in China by the start of the Lunar New Year.