March 18, 2012

iPhone is fifth most popular in China

Apple would like to see better numbers overseas, but China is proving to be a tough market for Western corporations to crack.

All Things D is reporting that Samsung is still king of the hill in China, with Samsung products still earning triple the sales of the iPhone. China is the world’s biggest mobile market, and Apple wants more than the 7.5% share it is getting there so far. And the bad news doesn’t stop there: According to the latest reports,Apple’s share is actually diminishing.

Part of the reason Apple can’t get the traction it wants is that it refuses to make a deal with China’s largest telecom company, China Mobile Ltd. That’s going to be difficult, because China Mobile wants a share of App Store revenues, and that’s a non-starter for Apple. With the two mobile partners Apple currently has, it will never get access to more than about a third of China’s active cellular users. Someone will have to blink to make a deal, but so far it is a staring contest, and Apple remains in fifth place in sales.

Samsung, on the other hand, is on all three big networks in China, and is reaping the rewards.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple’s iPhone 4S launches on China Telecom, drawing 200K preorders

By Slash Lane

Published: 12:51 PM EST (09:51 AM PST)
The iPhone 4S had a strong debut on another major carrier Friday, as 200,000 preorders were made ahead of Apple’s launch on the China Telecom network.

The iPhone 4S is now available for use on China Telecom’s network, and is on sale at the carrier’s 2,850 retail outlets across China. Ahead of Friday’s launch, the carrier took more than 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S, according to MIC Gadget.

Preorders for the iPhone 4S on China Telecom have only been available for a week, as the carrier began taking orders on March 2. Orders from Beijing alone were said to have topped 10,000, while another 20,000 were purchased by customers in Shanghai.

China Telecom officials reportedly said that demand for the iPhone 4S at launch has been greater than they anticipated. A ceremony to commemorate the launch was held on Thursday in Shanghai.

Apple and China Telecom announced in February that the iPhone 4S would be coming to China’s third-largest wireless operator on March 9. As of last November, China Telecom had a total of 117 million subscribers, 28 million of which made use of the company’s high-speed 3G service.

The carrier is offering the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S for free to customers who sign a two-year contract with a monthly plan starting at 389RMB ($ 62 U.S.), which is slightly more than competing carrier China Unicom’s 386RMB plan. However, the China Telecom service offers more data and voice minutes, but less text messages, when compared to its rival.

One analysis has projected that the addition of China Telecom as an official Apple partner will add sales of between 3 million and 5 million iPhones. But the nation’s largest carrier, China Mobile, does not yet offer Apple’s iPhone, though there are more than 15 million unlocked handsets on its network.

AppleInsider

iPhone 4S launches on China Telecom to 200,000 pre-orders

China Telecom started selling the iPhone 4S today and became the second Chinese wireless carrier to offer the Apple smartphone. According to a M.I.C. Gadget report, China Telecom processed 200,000 pre-orders in seven days, with the highest number of orders coming from Beijing (10,000) and Shanghai (20,000). At a launch ceremony, the wireless carrier said demand for the Apple smartphone was greater than expected. The phone officially went on sale in over 2,800 China Telecom retail stores and third-party retailers today, March 9.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

New iPad Pre-Orders Have Already Begun Shipping From China

New iPad Pre-Orders Have Already Begun Shipping From China

The new iPad arrives in the U.S. and ten other countries exactly one week today on March 16, and the first shipments have already started leaving the Foxconn factories in Chengdu, China. It’s unlikely, however, that they’ll arrive early.

9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub received his shipping notification via email this morning, and his new iPad has already left the Foxconn factory. It’s now waiting to be collected by UPS, but its scheduled delivery date continues to read March 16.

New iPad Pre-Orders Have Already Begun Shipping From China

That gives UPS a whole week to deliver the first batch of iPad shipments, but you can be certain they won’t be arriving early. While Apple products have arrived one or two days before their release date in the past, it’s a very rare occurrence. The Cupertino company works with its factories and with its logistics partners to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Still, it’s exciting to see the new iPad is beginning its journey. Has yours begun shipping yet?

Cult of Mac

iOS 5.1 fixes signal issues for China Mobile customers

Remember Monday’s post about the problems some of China Mobile’s 15 million unofficial iPhone users were having on the carrier’s network? In that post, we quoted China Mobile as saying that an upcoming update would fix the problems.

Sure enough, that fix came yesterday in the form of iOS 5.1. Our buddies at M.I.C. Gadget confirm that the latest iOS update resolved the issue, which manifested itself as an inability to make calls even when the signal indicator was showing full strength. The issue kept many iPhone 4S owners from activating their phones when a China Mobile SIM was inserted. Once iOS 5.1 is installed on the iPhone, the carrier is listed as “China Mobile 12.0.”

Of course, the “4G” iPhone 4S still runs on 2G EDGE on the China Mobile network. As M.I.C. Gadget points out, it was important for Apple to fix the issue even though China Mobile isn’t an official carrier. Why? China Mobile is China’s largest carrier, with 75 percent market share and about 650 million customers. Even “unofficial” iPhone users on the China Mobile network means more sales for Apple.

M.I.C. Gadget ends its post wondering “when on earth will China Mobile adapt the international 3G/4G standard to ease the difficulties Apple is facing on making a 4G LTE iPhone for China Mobile?” For a potential market of 650 million customers, you think that Apple would consider making an iPhone specifically for China Mobile’s network.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Unofficial carrier China Mobile passes 15M iPhone users

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 05:39 PM EST (02:39 PM PST)
Despite not being an official Apple partner carrier, China Mobile announced on Monday that a spike of 5 million activations since October has brought the total number of iPhone users on its network to over 15 million following the launch of the iPhone 4S and a fix that allows the device to operate on the carrier’s 3G network.

China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou said that the telecom has been in talks with Apple over bringing the iPhone to its network, and the two companies are reportedly in “bilateral cooperation” (machine translation) toward the advancement of future 4G handset implementations, according to Sina Tech.

Demand for Apple’s handset has been so high in China that mobile users have taken to purchasing expensive unsubsidized units to be used on non-partner networks such as China Mobile’s.

The fact that the devices can’t reach 3G speeds due to incompatibility with the mobile monolith’s TD-SCDMA network hasn’t dissuaded subscribers from adopting the smartphone, though that hurdle may no longer be a problem if a report from People’s Daily Online is accurate.

The baseband chip in the iPhone 4S supports the P frequency band (885-915MHZ), but does not support the E frequency band (880-890MHz) and thus could not communicate with China Mobile’s network. According to the publication, Apple has modified how the iPhone 4S handles communication with its GSM chip in models built after Feb. 8, and promises a fix to those handsets made before that date in an upcoming iOS update that will possibly lure even more users to the country’s largest operator.

A report from October 2011 put the number of iPhone owners using China Mobile’s service at 10 million, meaning that the world’s number one mobile operator saw 5 million activations since then. The surge was no doubt lead by the launch of the iPhone 4S, which was in such high demand that it caused Chinese Apple Stores to postpone retail sales due to unruly crowds.

Monday’s news sheds more light on a possible partnership with China Mobile as recent reports revealed that the companies were in talks regarding 4G TD-LTE integration in an upcoming model of the iPhone. The technology would allow the device to access the telecom giant’s unique next-generation network.=

Currently, the only official Chinese partner carrier is the country’s number two operator China Unicom, which has an exclusive agreement with the Cupertino, Calif., company to sell the iPhone. Apple is scheduled to expand its presence in the Chinese market this week, however, as China Telecom is set to offer the newest iPhone 4S at a fully subsidized price beginning Friday.

AppleInsider

Next-gen iPads squeezing air freight shipments from China

Rumors have been going around for the past two weeks noting that the next generation iPads are on their way to the U.S. from Chinese plants under strict security. Now Mac Rumors is reporting that shipping representatives for other firms are finding that they can’t ship their products, as air freight companies are apparently overwhelmed with boxes of iPads.

Shipping rates have increased by 20 percent in one week, with Apple apparently gobbling up as much air freight capacity as possible at premium rates. One supposed iPad 3 part number has allegedly made it to the U.S., while another Apple SKU — MC744LL/A — for an unknown product (new Apple TV?) is also making the rounds.

Another Apple blog, AppleInsider, concurred with the information from Mac Rumors, noting that air cargo rates with DHL have also jumped due to capacity constraints that are presumably being caused by Apple.

With shipments in high gear already, there’s mounting evidence that the new iPad may be available very soon after the announcement on Wednesday. Apple fans had to wait two weeks after the announcement of the iPad 2 to receive the first devices; perhaps the wait won’t be as long this time.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple addresses issue with iPhone 4S on China Mobile

Here’s a strange story for you: Apple has worked with China Mobile to resolve issues with the iPhone 4S on the Chinese carrier’s network. What’s strange about that? China Mobile doesn’t officially carry the iPhone 4S…

Electronista is reporting that some 4S users cannot activate SIM cards or make calls with a full signal. The issues appear to be due to the iPhone 4S only supporting the GSM P band (885 – 915 MHz) and not the E band (880 – 890 MHz), both of which are in use by China Mobile. The P band is primarily used for outdoor use, while E is designed for indoor areas — train stations, conventions centers, and the like. When China Mobile users move into an area without P coverage, they still see full signal strength, but the connection is dropped.

According to China Mobile, Apple has updated all iPhone 4S devices built after February 8th, 2012 to work properly with their network. China Mobile is also saying that Apple is planning to issue a firmware update for earlier 4S devices in the next few weeks.

Penn-Olson reported that there are some 15 million unofficial iPhone users on the China Mobile network at this point — people who love their carrier so much that they’re willing to run the iPhones on a system that doesn’t give them 3G service. China Mobile expects to become China’s third iPhone carrier soon, and is hoping to build a 4G LTE network that may be useful with the next generation of iPhone.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple reportedly hiring automotive engineers in China

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 05:18 PM EST (02:18 PM PST)
A newly-discovered automotive job listing claims that Apple is seeking a supplier quality engineer with Chinese manufacturing experience, possibly revealing that the company is looking to extend iinto car-related products.

Citing a report from CarNewsChina.com, popular auto blog Jalopnik said on Thursday that Chinese head-hunting firm Allegis-BN is supposedly looking for a recruit to fill a position for an undisclosed Apple project.

The job posting was originally filed two weeks ago under the automotive section of LinkedIn and claims that the Cupertino, Calif., company is looking for a Supplier Quality Engineer/New Product Integration supervisor with experience in CNC/die casting/stamping/plastic injection.”

From the original post:

Apple(China) Looking for SQE/NPI with over 4 years Mechanical engineering background familiar with CNC/die casting/stamping/plastic injection, can use APQP/ PPAP/SPC to control product quality.


While the job ad mentions Apple, it should be noted that Shanghai-based Allegis-BN does not include the iPhone maker as a customer on its client list webpage.

If the ad is legitimate, however, it wouldn’t be the first time Apple has been rumored to be dabbling in the automotive space, as a 2007 report claimed that the computer giant was in talks with Volkswagen over building an Apple-integrated concept car.

Currently, Apple doesn’t make any official car-centric products, though Daimler recently announced a Mercedes-Benz project that heavily integrates the iPhone in the car company’s next generation “infotainment” system. The German car maker says that when the product debuts, it will mark the first time a car has the ability to interface with Apple’s Siri voice-recognition software.

The Drive Kit Plus will make its debut in the A-class line and is expected to be included in the German company’s B-, C- and E-Class cars by this fall.

AppleInsider

Proview and Apple argue in China higher court over ‘iPad’ trademark

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 03:47 PM EST (12:47 PM PST)
Apple and Proview squared off in a high court in Beijing on Wednesday over use of the “iPad” name, where Apple accused Proview of “conspiratorial” actions to gain money.

The hearing is the result of an appeal from Apple, which lost a decision to Proview in a lower chinese court in December. The high court said Wednesday afternoon that a decision on the case is now pending, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In the arguments before the court, Apple officials said they are “disappointed” that Proview didn’t hold up its end of the deal for the iPad trademark. They also said that it’s the management of Apple that has created value in the iPad name.

Proview countered that Apple has set a “terrible example in the Chinese intellectual property market” in using the iPad name without proper authorization. Proview officials believe that Apple was illegally deceitful when it bought the rights to the “iPad” trademark through a special purpose company named IP Application Development Limited.

However, an attorney for Proview also said in court on Wednesday that the company is “open” to talk about compensation in return for Apple’s use of the iPad name. Reports have claimed that Proview is seeking as much as $ 2 billion from Apple.

Proview and Apple are involved in a number of lawsuits throughout China, as Proview is attempting to block sales of the iPad and even exportation of the device, which would effectively bring worldwide sales to a halt. Proview has even taken its legal action against Apple to the U.S., filing suit in California over the “iPad” trademark.

At its peak, Proview was the manufacturer of a stripped-down PC it called the Internet Personal Access Device, or iPAD. The company also found some success building monitors before the global financial crisis hit and pushed it into bankruptcy. Now, it’s a near-dead company with its ownership of the “IPAD” name its only major asset.

AppleInsider