Ethics of Pegatron factories, Indonesian tin supply questioned
Ahead of the airing of a Panorama documentary on the subject, the BBC has published a web piece revealing the outcomes of its investigation into Apple's supply chain. The network went undercover and charges that promises to protect the rights of workers were "routinely broken." In particular the BBC found violations of standards for work hours, ID cards, dormitories, meetings, and underage labor at Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.
Huawei Honor 6 Plus uses dual 8MP rear camera sensors for 13MP photographs
Huawei has announced two mobile devices for the European and Chinese markets, extending its Honor range. The Honor T1 is a budget tablet with an eight-inch display packed into an aluminum unibody casing, while the Honor 6 Plus is a smartphone for China with two rear camera sensors capable of merging the two images into a single 13-megapixel photograph.
Airing Thursday in UK
At 9PM GMT on Thursday, BBC One will be airing a documentary on the working conditions in Apple's extended supply chain. The Panorama piece, titled Apple's Broken Promises, focuses initially on conditions at Chinese factories producing the iPhone 6. It also goes into detail on the sources of materials for Apple products, bringing cameras to an Indonesian tin mine where children are digging out materials by hand.
Baidu agrees to use Here maps for location services outside of China
Here, Nokia's mapping service, is going to provide content for the Android and iOS Baidu Maps app, as well as desktop maps. The agreement will allow Baidu to offer its Chinese travelers access to maps for areas outside of China for the first time, with Taiwan set to be the first country covered and others set to follow. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
South Korea, China fail to come to agreement on battery tariffs
Despite celebratory press releases issued in November by President Obama and the Chinese government trumpeting an imminent deal, international talks designed to dramatically cut technology tariffs by up to $15 billion worldwide have collapsed. The deal, had it been completed, would have reduced the price of technological consumer goods, and generated hundreds of thousands of jobs worldwide in all aspects of technology manufacture, design, and sales, according to the two governments.
Cheapest option starts at $727
Cellular-equipped editions of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 are now on sale in China, Apple has announced. Wi-Fi models have been available for some time. Notably, the tablets support unique local 3G and 4G standards -- including TD-LTE, FDD-LTE, and TD-SCDMA -- along with common variants used elsewhere. Most orders from Apple's online store are listed as shipping in one day, although Minis with TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE support are cited as shipping in three to five. Minis with conventional 3G/4G are still shipping in a day.
iCloud attacks likely key subject of discussion
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Lu Wei -- the chairman of China's State Internet Information Office -- during the latter's recent trip to the US, reports say. Lu is also said to have met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. It's unclear what Lu discussed with the executives.
Overall, consumers still prefer smartphones under five inches in size
In less than eight weeks, Apple's iPhone 6 Plus has already grabbed a 41 percent share of all US "phablet" (5.5 inches or larger in display size) sales, and is continuing to struggle to meet demand. A new study published by Kantar World Panel reveals that, despite much more publicity, phablets continue to make up only a small minority of smartphone sales -- but the category is growing fast. The finding is another blow for the struggling Samsung, whose Galaxy Note phablets now account for only five percent of such sales in the US, and only eight percent of phablets in China.
China report indicates Microsoft will pay $16.2M per year in additional taxes
Microsoft's tax troubles aren't limited to the US, according to a report from a Chinese news agency. The software company is being accused of tax evasion in the country, after years of posting heavy losses in a Chinese-based subsidiary. As a result, Microsoft is paying the Chinese government $137 million in back taxes and interest.
OnePlus experience store in Beijing formally opens December 20
OnePlus is seemingly trying to make acquiring its smartphone and accessories easier to acquire in some markets, both online and offline. The company is apparently planning to allow OnePlus One invitation holders in India to buy the smartphone through Amazon's Indian operation, while OnePlus' first offline retail store is opening in China.
Store access granted to developers despite lack of Google Play Store in China
Google is now accepting apps created by developers based in China on the Google Play Store. While the change now allows for developers in the country to sign up as merchants for Google's Android app marketplace, distributing the apps to users in more than 130 countries, the apps themselves will not be available in China itself, as Google Play does not currently operate there.
Sophisticated malware used forged enterprise provisioning to enter iOS through OS X
Apple's iOS, when un-jailbroken, is so resistant to malware that three Chinese suspects had to come up with an exceedingly clever method of delivering the "WireLurker" threat to the company's mobile devices. On Monday, Chinese officials announced they had arrested the three suspects, and shut down the servers hosting the malware. The threat was never widespread because of the elaborate nature of the scheme and its China-only focus, but it was one of the few malwares able to get onto un-jailbroken iOS devices.
May significantly expand store's reach
Apple's Chinese App Store is now accepting payments via China UnionPay, the only native bank card organization, and the country's most popular. In an announcement, Apple notes that UnionPay has issued more than 4.5 billion cards worldwide. "The ability to buy apps and make purchases using UnionPay cards has been one of the most-requested features from our customers in China," reads a prepared statement from Apple's Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue. "China is already our second largest market for app downloads, and now we're providing users with an incredibly convenient way to purchase their favorite apps with just one tap."
Officials slow to react in NOAA hacking, cover-up claimed by congressman
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has admitted that it has been the target of another online breach, just a few days after the United States Postal Service (USPS) revealed it too endured an intrusion. The attack took place in late September, though unlike the other governmental intrusion, NOAA officials are not revealing whether any classified data was acquired by intruders, nor if systems were altered.
Leadcore 2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 720p display touted in claimed cheap Xiaomi smartphone
Mid-range Android smartphones with entry-level price tags may be on the horizon, as Chinese smartphone producer Xiaomi reportedly plans to launch a cut-price device in China in the near future. The manufacturer is said to be preparing a device with a 2GHz Cortex A7 processor from Leadcore, with the unnamed device expected to be priced at 399 yuan ($65).
Predicts overall 190 million units for iPhone 6 models, Plus to be a hit in China
Financial analyst Steve Milunovich from UBS has raised that firm's target price on Apple stock by $10, to $125, based on a survey showing strong demand for the iPhone 6 Plus in China and other countries. Polling some 4,000 respondents across the US, UK, Italy and mainland China, Milunovich found strong demand for the larger, 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in all the countries, but particularly in China. The 64GB model appeared to be the most popular choice among potential buyers, which included a third who are current Samsung phone owners.
Could see Alipay, Apple Pay integrate
Apple and Chinese commerce site Alibaba are currently negotiating a partnership to provide a payment platform for China, according to the latter's executive vice chairman, Joseph Tsai. Tsai tells the Wall Street Journal that the partnership would revolve around Apple's presence in the country. Details are still in the air, but it could potentially see Alibaba's Alipay electronic payment service integrate in some way with Apple Pay, creating an encompassing mobile payment platform.
Investment comes as market heats up in China, executive hired to improve business
Capturing the phone market in China doesn't appear to be good enough for competitive electronics manufacturer Xiaomi, as it is now looking to further entice consumers into buying televisions and set-top boxes. The company announced this week that it will be investing $1 billion into online video content to support its smart television business.
Chinese maker challenging Samsung with low-end models, vaults into third place
A new report from IDC again places Apple and Samsung at the top of the heap for smartphone manufacturers as it has for years now -- but there is nonetheless notable change in the air. Samsung saw a significant drop in shipments for its smartphones, dropping 8.5 percent from the year-ago quarter. Apple, in second place, saw a 16.1 percent increase in shipments. Though Samsung was dominant with 78.1 million units shipped, a new challenger from China is beating the Korean company on its home turf of low-end smartphones.
Effort still in earliest stages
For Apple, getting Apple Pay working in China is a major priority, CEO Tim Cook tells China's state-run Xinhua news agency. "China is a really key market for us," he says. "Everything we do, we are going to work it here. Apple Pay is on the top of the list." He adds, however, that the company still has to learn the steps needed to bring Apple Pay to China, and has yet to meet with local banks, merchants, and carriers.
Move comes as the company looks to strengthen services on a global scale
Xiaomi announced this week that it's taking steps to strengthen its services across the globe after an expanded server infrastructure effort started earlier in the year. As a part of the server expansion, the company said that data from international users of Xiaomi products is being transferred out of the central data centers in Beijing.
Factory will require government investment
Apple's chief assembly partner, Foxconn, is hoping to gain orders for iPhone displays by building a new factory in Zhengzhou, China, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The company is allegedly in talks with Zhengzhou's government about getting financial help for the factory, which could cost up to 35 billion yuan, or about $5.7 billion. One of the topics under discussion is how much money local government would have to invest in the project.
Argues China will become company's biggest market
As part of his trip to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has told local media that the company is planning to open 25 stores in Greater China during the next two years. "Greater" China includes not just mainland China but Hong Kong and Taiwan. So far there are no Apple Stores in Taiwan, but there are three in Hong Kong and a dozen on the mainland, most of those being split between Beijing and Shanghai.
CEO as already met with Vice Premier Ma Kai over China iCloud attacks
Apple CEO Tim Cook has posted a picture from his latest trip to China on Twitter, showing him sharing a laugh with a factory worker named Zhang Fan, who helps assemble the iPhone 6 at a factory in Zhengzhou. While Foxconn's factories manufacture equipment for a wide variety of technology firms including Google, Microsoft and others, Cook is the only CEO to routinely visit the facilities and personally investigate conditions and safety at the plants. He called the meeting with Zhang "an early highlight" of the trip.
Chinese government so far denying involvement
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss man-in-the-middle attacks against iCloud users, according to Reuters and China's state-run Xinhua news agency. Reuters notes that the Chinese government has so far denied allegations of involvement, which in particular tied the attacks to the state firewall used to censor Internet access in the country. As for the meeting, Xinhua says only that the pair shared views on "protection of users' information" and "strengthening cooperation and in information and communication fields."
Involvement of Chinese government uncertain
Apple is aware of "intermittent organized network attacks" against people trying to sign into iCloud.com, says Dow Jones. It insists, however, that iCloud servers haven't been breached, and that people using iOS or the latest version of OS X -- Yosemite -- should be unaffected. The company doesn't specifically mention China, which is where the browser hijacks are taking place.
Chinese launch weighting phone's demand
Apple may, for a second time, have to adjust the ratios of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus production to more equally favor the Plus, sources tell Digitimes. Earlier this month, the company is said to have noticed that global demand for the Plus was stronger than expected, and adjusted accordingly. After last weekend's launch in China, though, the company is said to have discovered strong demand there, too. Chinese buyers wanting a regular iPhone 6 can reportedly buy one without much trouble, but face a long wait if they opt for the bigger phone.
Emerging markets, price cuts, back to school seen as key factors
In what CEO Tim Cook called the "best ever" quarter for the Mac, Apple's Mac lineup overall jumped a remarkable 25 percent in a single quarter to 5.52 million units. Making the event more noteworthy is the fact that the growth was achieved prior to any notable refreshes. Instead, what appears to be driving the increase in Mac sales is volume in emerging markets, such as China - where Macs were up 54 percent year-over-year. Price cuts and great back-to-school sales also contributed to the jump.
Company's performance generally healthy
In the wake of its official announcement, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its Q4 financial results. On a regional basis, the company did well in most cases, for example increasing Americas revenue 17 percent year-over-year to $16.247 billion, and European revenue 19 percent to $9.535 billion. "Greater" China -- including Hong Kong and Taiwan -- advanced one percent to $5.778 billion, and Japan was up five percent to $3.507 billion. Only the rest of the Asia Pacific region saw problems, with revenue dipping three percent to $1.923 billion. Global retail sales rose 15 percent to $5.133 billion.
Users being redirected to dummy sites
China's state firewall is currently hijacking attempts to visit iCloud.com or Microsoft's login gateway, login.live.com, redirecting people to dummy websites, reports say. People visiting iCloud.com through Firefox or Chrome will see a warning page, but visitors with Qihoo -- the most popular browser in China -- are being forwarded directly to a dummy site with no obvious signs it isn't Apple's. It's believed that the Chinese government may be trying to harvest iCloud and Microsoft logins.
Hardware appeared to be sourced from Alibaba, software straight OpenWRT
Following allegations casting doubt on the project, the TOR-based Anonabox Kickstarter project has been terminated. Since the launch of the security-minded Anonabox, and nearly instant completion of funding goals, commenters and other figures questioned the source of the hardware, the actual security of the device, and criticized the lack of a promised and complete open-sourcing of the code.
Preorder system, midnight carrier debuts credited
The Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing, one of the company's most important in China, was witness to a "low-key" iPhone 6 launch Friday morning, says the Wall Street Journal. As close as an hour before store opening, just a handful of people had lined up, even less than the 24 security guards Apple had on site. The line grew to around 100 people by launch, but composed entirely of preorder customers with assigned pickup times. People without preorder reservations simply waited for their turn to get in line.
New company to launch under new brand in 2015, focus on Internet-based sales
Lenovo is taking a new approach to its mobile strategy ,according to a statement it released today. The PC and mobile communications company has indicated that it is creating a new device company and brand for the emerging market in China. The unnamed company will operate separately from Lenovo, focusing on Internet-based sales. The new brand is being positioned as a direct competitor for Xiaomi, a startup that has rapidly grown its market share since its entry into the device market in 2010.
One week prior to official roll-out, China carriers seeing US-like levels of demand
Official pre-orders for the iPhone 6 finally went live in China early Friday morning, with more than a million orders being taken in the first six hours of availability. The new pre-orders would be different from the more than nine million "reservations" taken by other carriers and resellers, meaning that opening weekend sales -- which are scheduled to open in China on October 17 -- could easily surpass the combined first-weekend sales of the nine countries the iPhone 6 line debuted to in September.
Variant of HTC One M8 has higher-resolution rear camera, retains other specifications
A version of the HTC One M8 spotted before the launch of the Desire Eye will be going on sale in China this month. The HTC One M8 Eye is effectively the same as the original smartphone, except the rear 4-megapixel Ultrapixel camera has been replaced by a larger 13-megapixel sensor, though it still retains the Duo Camera system and associated depth-related functionality.
6 Plus proving unusually popular
Chinese reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are already over the four million mark, reports Tencent. The devices hit the 2 million mark just a few hours after reservations opened and have now doubled after a full day. The new data is said to have been culled directly from companies processing the reservations for carriers and retailers.
Most shoppers going for 64GB models
Carriers and retailers have booked over two million reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, in just the first six hours of the option becoming available, according to local news sources ITHome and Sina. Most of the initial reservations are said to be for 64GB models of the phones, even though both are far more expensive than their counterparts in the US. A 64GB iPhone 6 in China costs the equivalent of $991, while a 64GB 6 Plus is $1,122. In the US -- without a contract -- the same hardware is $749 and $849.
Holdup revealed to be privacy concerns by regulators, October 10 still rumored debut
[Update: Apple official announcement reveals China debut of iPhone 6, 6 Plus on October 17] The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have now finally been cleared by the country's regulatory agency for sale in China, and will formally debut on October 17, Apple says. According to Bloomberg, the holdup was apparently over some privacy concerns brought up by Chinese authorities. The company agreed to make some changes, which may or may not be included in the forthcoming iOS 8.1 beta, and received the clearance to use Chinese LTE and 3G networks.
Long-delayed device hampered by regulatory approval process
While it is currently possible to legally buy an iPhone 6 in some parts of the regional "Greater China" area (such as Hong Kong or Taiwan) the country of China itself -- which manufactures and assembles the new iPhones - ironically does not yet offer them for sale, due to a cumbersome regulatory process. This may finally be changing, as various reports out of the region indicated that both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will finally debut in China on Friday, October 10.
'Bendghazi' controversy not phasing sales, swift refutation by Apple credited
After falling four percent on Thursday, Apple's stock closed out the week by bouncing back and regaining more than half the drop as Wall Street reacted positively to the company's refutation of the "bending" controversy. Some new questions are being raised about the original video that started the kerfuffle, as careful observation reveals that the video was edited (and the reported noted in the video that his iPhone 6 was already slightly bent before demonstrating the flaw). Investment firms Stifel Nicolaus and BMO Capital Markets have both raised their target prices for AAPL.
Small delay keeps console on track to be first console since ban lift, 1,300 units sold in Japan
The delay of the Xbox One's release in China appears to only be a small hiccup for Microsoft. Reuters reports that the console will be going on sale on September 29, pushing the console back less than a week from its initial launch date of September 23. Meanwhile, sales of the console in Japan have sunk even lower, hitting approximately 1,300 units sold in its third week on the market.
News already driving down black market prices
The Chinese government has said it is close to certifying the iPhone 6 for sale in the country, according to CNBC's Eunice Yoon. The reporter adds that the news is already resulting in lower black market prices, given views that official sales through Apple and local carriers could begin soon. At the moment, the base model of the iPhone 6 is selling for about $1,900, while the 6 Plus is valued at roughly $3,250. The most popular colors are said to be gold and space gray, which can fetch a premium as high as $500.
DuckDuckGo unavailable in China since start of month
The privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo is unable to be used in China. Selling itself as a service which does not collect personal information about its users, DuckDuckGo has been inaccessible in the country since earlier this month, and though there is no official explanation from any party, it is believed to be an act of censorship by the Chinese government.
Microsoft says it needs more time to ready 'the best experiences possible'
The Xbox One has hit a snag, just as it was readying for a September 23 release of the console in China. Only disclosing that it was seeking to create a better experience, Microsoft announced that the console wouldn't release until later this year. In January, the Chinese government lifted the ban on the sale of foreign video game consoles, positioning Microsoft to sell the first legal console in the country since the ban was implemented in 2000.
iPhones 'still made in sweatshops,' group says
The launch of the iPhone 6 at Apple's Hong Kong store has been tumultuous, accounts say. Police were brought in to disperse people waiting in line without reservations, and a regional activist group -- Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior, or SACOM -- took advantage of the event to protest what it says are ongoing abuses by Apple suppliers. The group unfurled a large banner over the store reading "iSlave 6, Harsher than harsher, Still made in sweatshops," and published a new document about a nearly year-long investigation into one of Apple's most important suppliers, Pegatron.
Official states charges are 'groundless,' believes US should focus on upholding security
In a press conference today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei responded to the government sponsored hacking allegations from the United States. In an unclassified report from the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the body accused the Chinese military of being responsible for at least 20 successful attacks on US Transportation Command (Transcom) contractors.
Handset can't go on sale until both given, reason for delay unknown
Apple has obtained one approval in the process of bringing the new line of iPhones in China, moving closer to being able to sell the coveted device in the market. Another critical approval for network access is still needed, which led to concerns last week about the handset not being available for some time in the country. China was originally planned to be in the first wave of countries receiving the iPhone 6.
Police largely silent during pre-announcement era
Chinese police have arrested a 40-year-old Foxconn worker, identified only by the surname Qiao, for stealing iPhone 6 shells from a factory in Jincheng, according to the state-run Taihang Daily. The person was detained on September 4, and is specifically accused of selling six of the shells for 6,000 yuan (about $960) to a gadget market in Shenzhen, where a number of electronics makers are located.
Exact sources of leaks unclear
Photos from websites in China and Vietnam show what are claimed to be completed iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units, even though the products are only officially shipping on Friday. In Vietnam, the devices are said to have been spotted in a Red River restaurant by an Associated Press reporter. To gauge their authenticity, the reporter tested apps like Messages and Siri. Chinese images of the phones stem from people on MacX's forums.
Timing of Chinese launch uncertain
Apple Pay will at some point make it to China by way of China UnionPay, a source tells Caixin. UnionPay is a state-supported bank card company, and has reportedly reached a deal with Apple that will allow Apple Pay to link to its cards. It's not clear though when the platform will reach China, or even when the iPhone 6/6 Plus will ship to the country.