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.
Qualcomm 'nearly done,' Microsoft well underway
Following international criticism, China's antitrust regulators vigorously defended ongoing antitrust actions. With concern from other nations growing over 30 multinational firms coming under fire for alleged anti-trust activity, the three heads of China's anti-trust regulatory agencies stood fast with their convictions that what they are doing is being accomplished "legally, transparently and fairly," according to China's Premier Li Keqiang.
No replacement launch date indicated, could be tied to lack of government approval
The New York Times reported today that Apple has informed the big three carriers and retail stores in China that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will not be launched in the country on the September 19 release date. Executives at the carriers said that the manufacturer didn't inform them why the phones were delayed, but it came to shock -- as advertising campaigns were put in place touting the same release date as the United States.
Source of specs presumably only rumors
Carrier China Telecom has launched a preorder page for the iPhone 6 -- despite the device being unannounced, reports note. The page uses rendered mockups of the device, and makes claims about specifications. While three of these are generally considered certain -- a 4.7-inch screen, an A8 processor, and a Touch ID sensor -- Telecom is also asserting that it will have a 416ppi resolution, a 2,100mAh battery, and a three-megapixel front-facing camera.
Violations include excessive overtime, lack of protective gear
Another Apple supplier, Catcher Technology, is being accused of violating labor and safety standards, according to The New York Times. The paper says that two groups -- Green America, an environmental non-profit, and China Labor Watch -- have found that workers at a Catcher-owned factory in Suqian, China are being forced to work excessive overtime and in unsafe conditions. Although Catcher has contracts with other electronics firms, Apple is a major client, for whom it produces metal iPad and MacBook shells.
World's largest carrier inadvertently confirms 4.7- and 5.5-inch models
China Mobile, the top carrier in China with over 800 million subscribers (and more than 20 million LTE users), opened pre-orders for the iPhone 6 to Beijing customers on Tuesday. Surprisingly, the carrier has seemingly confirmed the existence of two models, at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, and reported over 33,000 preorders in the first few hours. Customers can also save a place in line for the (unrevealed) debut date through the company's website.
Weibo posting about Windows 9 Start Menu quickly pulled from view
Microsoft's Chinese business arm may have jumped the gun, by mistakenly promoting Windows 9 too early. The company's regional Weibo account reportedly put an image up promoting the next iteration of Microsoft's operating system along with a question hinting at the Start Menu, a posting which has since been removed from view.
Latest remarks give Microsoft 20 days to respond to anti-trust complaints
China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has questioned Microsoft Vice President Chen Shi regarding allegations of abuse of Microsoft's monopoly on operating systems, productivity software, and browsers in the country. As part of the questioning, Microsoft has been given 20 days to respond to complaints alleging that Microsoft's use of serialization of software may have violated China's anti-monopoly laws.
Chinese MSN Messenger service closure marks end of app's 15-year life
Microsoft is ready to close the last remnants of MSN Messenger, also known as Windows Live Messenger, on October 31st. Chinese users have reportedly received a notification of its shutdown via e-mail, encouraging users to migrate over to Microsoft's other messaging service, Skype, before the service is terminated in the country.
Microsoft, SAIC refuse comment on reports of executive's travel
Sources close to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claim that the executive is slated to visit China in late September. While the visit is scheduled, and has been for at least two weeks, unclear is whether Nadella will visit the Chinese government, or attempt to clear up any issues related to the China State Administration for Industry and Commerce's (SAIC) antitrust examination of the software giant.
Apple tries to assuage privacy concerns
Apple is now hosting Chinese iCloud content on a mainland datacenter operated by China Telecom, the company has confirmed to Reuters. Questions were raised when the city of Fuzhou posted a notice on its website confirming the transfer of content to the datacenter, but then retracted the statement. The message indicated that Apple actually began the project 15 months ago, but only finished it on August 8th.
First quarter results from reveal boost in movile devices, desktop computers
Device maker Lenovo has released its financials for the first quarter ending June 30, revealing revenues of $10.4 billion. While the company posted a year-over-year increase in overall revenues, figures from the smartphone sales shows a more revealing number, with sales tallying more than 15.8 million units, an increase of 39 percent. Income increased to $214 million, a 22 percent increase, while earnings grew 23 percent to $214 million. Gross profit increased 13 percent, to $1.3 billion.
Executive outlines technology tied to server reporting, changes including ability to opt-in
Since last month, Chinese phone and tablet manufacturer Xiaomi has been under suspicion of data practices that could be considered harmful to its user base, including the discovery of spyware installed in the Star N9500. Recent reports, and testing by a security firm, indicates that Xiaomi's smart phones, including the RedMi 1S, are reporting information back to servers in China.
Internal memo says Apple is donating to relief charities
(Updated with precise donation figure) Apple CEO Tim Cook has issued an internal memo expressing "deepest sympathies" to the victims of this weekend's earthquake in Yunnan, China, and promoting the company's related charity efforts. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the people of China's Yunnan Province, which was struck by a devastating 6.5-magnitude earthquake over the weekend," he writes. "Nearly 600 people died and over 2400 were injured in the worst earthquake to hit the region in 100 years. Rescuers have evacuated 230,000 people who are now displaced from their homes. The road to Longtoushan Township, the epicenter of the quake, has been blocked by landslides, making the rescue effort there even more challenging.
Apple never applied to be on energy-saving list, all parties say
The Chinese Central Government Procurement Center -- as well as the Finance Ministry, and Apple itself -- have all denied a recent Bloomberg report claiming that Apple had been deliberately excluded from procurement lists for security reasons, according to Reuters. It had been said that Chinese government agencies were newly banned from buying devices like iPads and MacBooks. All three parties involved now say, however, that Apple never applied to be on the list in question to begin with.
Former employees get a $162 phone if they leave, but limited to 300 offers a day
It seems that Microsoft is trying to sweeten the pot to get workers to leave the Nokia factory and research and design center in Beijing. The software company is offering any of the former employees at the Nokia locations a free phone if they voluntarily split from the company. The offer is part of Microsoft's plans to eliminate about 4,700 jobs in the Beijing locations.
Cites security concerns
[Updated with Chinese government denial] The Chinese government has excluded 10 Apple products from its latest procurement list dictating which products can be bought using public funds, according to officials cited by Bloomberg. Among the banned products are all variations of the MacBook and the iPad, but not the iPhone or other Mac models. The products were on a June version of the list, but are said to have been left out as of July due to security worries, though another report quotes government officials as denying this.
Raids focusing on financial data, other marketing information about Windows
New raids by the Chinese State Administration for Industry and Commerce against Microsoft have taken place, related to the ongoing antitrust investigation against the software giant. Raids on Microsoft took place yesterday in Beijing, Liaoning, Fujian, and Hubei, with a related event happening at Microsoft's financial firm Accenture in Dalian.
Firm states that Chinese company overtook Samsung on weak shipment quarter
Research firm Canalys ushered in some less-than-welcome news for Samsung this week, as the firm indicates that the Korean electronics manufacturer has lost the leading smartphone spot in China. Xiaomi, a Chinese manufacturer that has rapidly risen in popularity, has claimed the top spot for market share in the country, dethroning Samsung on the back of weak quarterly results.
Kaspersky, Symantec said to be excluded from procurement lists, could be due to security concerns
One of China's state-sponsored media channels is indicating that the government has removed all foreign-made software from its list of approved security software purchases. Newspaper The People's Daily posted on Twitter yesterday, indicating that Kaspersky and Symantec are now excluded from the country's government procurement channels.
Crowd of over 500 protest 'disrespectful' layoffs, calls acquisition hostile
Chinese Nokia employees staged a protest today, decrying mass layoffs coming as a result of the company's acquisition by Microsoft. Protestors decried "Microsoft's hostile takeover" of the company, and called the layoffs to come "violent" and disrespectful for over five hours. The protesters claim that they will be giving demands to Microsoft later this afternoon.
Chinese launch of Xbox One follows lifting of foreign game console ban
Microsoft is working with Shanghai Media Group's BesTV on bringing the Xbox One to China for the first time, with the game console set to launch on September 23rd. Timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, the console will launch with a number of games in tow, including Forza Motorsport 5, Kinect Sports Rivals, and Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood.
Cortana available in beta for UK, Chinese markets, alpha in Canada, India, Australia
Microsoft has formally announced its upcoming update to Windows Phone 8.1, one it will be releasing to developers next week. The GDR1 update, leaked earlier this week, introduces a number of new features and other improvements to the mobile operating system, as well as expanding the beta program for the Cortana virtual assistant to five new countries after its initial United States launch.
Investigation centers on Windows operating system dominant position
Following yesterday's raid on Microsoft offices in China, China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) has officially launched an anti-monopoly investigation into the company's ubiquitous Windows operating system. SAIC claims to have data backing up its investigation from the raids, but says that it cannot complete the investigation until some Microsoft executives come to China.
Visit tied to investigation, Microsoft states that it will cooperate with officials
Officials from the China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) showed up at four Microsoft offices in the country unannounced earlier today. Offices in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai received the sudden visits, that could be tied to the start of an antitrust investigation for a presently-unknown reason. The visits come at a time when Microsoft faces scrutiny in the country, over spying allegations and government refusal of Windows 8.
Announcement follows quickly after Chongqing
Apple will open its next Chinese store in the city of Wuxi on August 2nd, at 10AM, according to an official listing. The outlet will be based at the Wuxi Hang Lung Plaza, and operate from 10AM to 10PM every day. Wuxi is on the east coast in the cluster of cities near Shanghai, which already has several Apple Stores.
Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
iPod continues terminal decline
In addition to its official announcement, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown of its fiscal Q3 results. "Greater China" -- including Taiwan and Hong Kong -- continued to lead the charge regionally, with its revenue increasing 28 percent year-over-year to $5.935 billion. Europe and Asia-Pacific each advanced 6 percent, to $8.091 billion and $2.161 billion, respectively. Apple's most important market, the Americas, rose 1 percent to $14.577 billion. Global retail numbers were up 1 percent to $4.104 billion.
Continues expansion efforts outside of Shanghai and Beijing
A new Apple Store will open in Chongqing, China on July 26 at 10AM local time, according to the company's website. The outlet is situated in the Paradise Walk Mall; it should be a prominent landmark in the area, rising at least three stories tall with a massive glass facade similar to its twin in Shanghai. At present, that facade is covered with a "coming soon" logo featuring colored dots sprayed out from the building's Apple logo.
Thin Gionee smartphone sacrifices specification for compact body
China could soon see the release of what may be the world's thinnest smartphone. A listing with Chinese regulator TENAA confirms an Android device from Gionee with the model number GN9005 is on the way, with its thickness of just 5mm (0.2 inches) being half a millimeter thinner than the company's own Elife S5.5, and two thirds of the thickness of the iPhone 5s.
Dongguan Shinyang Electronics investigation causes company to temporarily halt business
Samsung announced today that it has suspended business with Dongguan Shinyang Electronics after an investigation into child labor practices. Samsung launched an investigation after a July 10 accusation by watchdog group China Labor Watch that it found evidence of child labor at the factory, which supplies Samsung.
Apple defines what location tracking does, how it works
Apple has responded to Chinese government media allegations of the iPhone and iPad being a national security threat. A Chinese-language statement titled "Your Location Privacy" has been posted by the Cupertino manufacturer, with the company guaranteeing that it won't track users, or share information location with outsiders. Additionally, it claims that the "frequent locations" feature touted for iOS8 will just "quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work," and not leak any personal data.
Case could be worth billions of dollars
Speaker and headphone maker Beats -- currently undergoing an acquisition by Apple -- has filed a lawsuit against a collection of Chinese counterfeiters, asking for billions of dollars in damages. "This action has been filed by Beats to combat online counterfeiters who trade upon Beats' reputation and goodwill by selling and/or offering for sale unlicensed and counterfeit products featuring Beats' trademarks," the complaint reads. "The Defendants create [fake Internet storefronts] by the hundreds or even thousands and design them to appear to be selling genuine Beats products, while actually selling low-quality Counterfeit Beats Products to unknowing consumers."
Claims data could be used to glean state secrets
State-run China Central Television has called iOS 7's Frequent Locations function a "national security concern" in a noon broadcast, according to the Wall Street Journal. The report quoted researchers as saying that people with access to the underlying data could get a glimpse of the broader Chinese situation, or "even state secrets." Electronic security has become a sensitive topic for the Chinese government in the wake of leaks from Edward Snowden, revealing that the NSA is spying on Chinese leaders, and that American businesses have willingly or unwillingly provided the NSA with access to demanded data.
Shinyang Electronics audit finds 15 violations of child labor laws
Samsung has come under fire for use of underage employees at one of its Chinese supplier factories. Watchdog group China Labor Watch alleges that it has found children and underage students at Shinyang Electronics in Dongguan, China -- contrary to a June 30 report by the company which found no violations by the Korean hardware giant.
May minimize job losses
Foxconn's upcoming robot deployment on Apple-based production lines will only be in a supportive role, leaving human jobs mostly intact, claims Taiwan's United Daily News. Sources say that the robots will help in tasks like locking down screws and polishing parts, leaving the most essential tasks -- namely assembly and quality control -- to people. The sources add that the robots will first be used at Foxconn's Zhengzhou factory, where flagship iPhones are built.
Appeal already in works
Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court has upheld a 2006 Zhizhen patent challenged by Apple, says China's official Xinhua news agency. Zhizhen filed suit against Apple in 2012, accusing it of violating a patent used for its "Little I Robot" voice-controlled assistant with Siri, the voice command system used in iOS. Apple though sued Zihizhen and China's Patent Review Committee late last year, with the hope that the court would render Zhizhen's patent invalid.
Oculus Rift intended for developers, not for resale at a profit
The Oculus Rift has managed to achieve over 100,000 developer kit sales, but not without some issues. The Facebook-owned company, Oculus VR, has been forced to suspend sales of the virtual reality headset to Chinese customers, with many orders to the country canceled under the suspicion that Oculus Rift headsets are being resold at a profit, instead of being used by developers as the company intended.