China Mobile launches official 4G teaser page with Nov. 9-11th launch dates. 2 Generic iPhones in tow
Oct28

China Mobile launches official 4G teaser page with Nov. 9-11th launch dates. 2 Generic iPhones in tow

November launch of China Mobile’s 4G network, with iPhone 5S/5C in tow, has been rumored for a couple of months now. It seems that those rumors are true and TD-LTE network is going live in select cities in a couple of weeks. Over the weekend China Mobile has launched an official  teaser page which promises 4G services “coming soon” – on November 9-11th. The page even shows a couple of generic iPhones, among the cool new offers that will open up on those days. In the meantime, China Mobile retail outlets are preparing for the 4G launch and the new iPhones, too. Some of them going as far as putting up in-store iPhone posters already. We still haven’t heard anything about commercial 4G license grants from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and their officials continue to refuse to give anything more precise than “4G licenses will be issued this year” line. But China Mobile seems confident that they are getting one in the next few weeks, and are going ahead with the preparations for the big...

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iPhone 5S is now outselling iPhone 5C 8:1 in China. 5C production cuts confirmed by WSJ
Oct16

iPhone 5S is now outselling iPhone 5C 8:1 in China. 5C production cuts confirmed by WSJ

More and more data, emerging from different sources, points to a very disappointing iPhone 5C demand. The latest one is coming out of China, where local journalists did a survey of unofficial iPhone resellers in Guangzhou. According to them iPhone 5S is now outselling iPhone 5C 8:1. This is only the latest tidbit indicating that Apple seriously miscalculated the pricing of iPhone 5C this year. Other signs include price cuts and special deals various carriers and retailers are now running for Apple’s younger smartphone model around the world, and its price on Chinese Taobao online marketplace falling below the purchase cost, which means that resellers are now taking losses simply to clear unsold inventories. Also, those iPhone 5C production cuts we told you about last week? They now have been confirmed by WSJ. According to them, Apple asked Pegatron to cut their 5C production by 20%, and Foxconn by 30%, while one component supplier’s orders were cut by 50%. But all this bad stuff we hear about iPhone 5C doesn’t mean that Apple is in some kind of trouble. For now, at least. It only means that they got too cocky with iPhone 5C, or have some sort of long term plan for it, where they don’t need initially high sales. Yes, 5C sales are low, but iPhone 5S, on the other hand, continues to do very well. Demand for the gold colored model is through the roof, while other flagship iPhones are moving at a brisk pace too. And while Apple is cutting 5C production, it is also increasing more lucrative 5S orders. Which means that as far as the numbers for the rest of this year go, there isn’t much to worry about. In fact, with iPhone 5S now outselling cheaper 5C by so much, Apple’s margins and profits may seriously surprise us once...

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New China Mobile iPhone 5S/5C poster points to November 11th release date, 100 Mbps download speeds
Oct14

New China Mobile iPhone 5S/5C poster points to November 11th release date, 100 Mbps download speeds

The current consensus on China Mobile iPhone 5S/5C release- is this November. The biggest Chinese operator is waiting for the permission from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) for the commercial launch of its 4G network. As soon as they get the license, they are lighting up TD-LTE services, with an iPhone as the flagship device to showcase them. We’ve already seen some China Mobile iPhone promotional posters few weeks ago. Over the weekend, a picture of another iPhone/CM poster started showing up on Chinese websites, and at it even has the launch date on it – November 11th: Despite the week start  of iPhone 5C in China, official availability on China Mobile is expected to have a huge impact on overall iPhone sales. This carrier already has 42 million customers using grey market Apple smartphones. All those handsets are incompatible with China Mobile’s 3G network, and are stuck to Wi-Fi or slow GPRS/EDGE speeds. Official LTE iPhone with 100 Mbps download capability and contract subsidies from China Mobile, can add several tens of millions in additional Apple device sales, just from upgrading users...

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As iPhone 5c grey market prices fall 30% in China, Apple cuts its production in half
Oct10

As iPhone 5c grey market prices fall 30% in China, Apple cuts its production in half

When Apple announced the official price for iPhone 5c- $549 off-contract- it was a huge disappointment. It simply didn’t fit with the narrative that has developed over the summer, that Apple is working on the cheap(ish) iPhone for China and other emerging/off-contract markets to boost its market share and unit sales volumes. There was no way $549 phone will be able to do that. Still, there was this sense of lingering doubt. What if Apple is on to something with iPhone 5c? What if Tim Cook knows something we don’t? It’s Apple we are talking about here! In less than a day Apple fan blogs were full of the reasons of why iPhone 5c is a great idea. It wasn’t. At least for China, where iPhone 5c now looks as dumb an idea as it did at first glance. There are no official numbers just yet, and I doubt that Apple will break down 5s/5c sales when they report Q3 results in a couple of weeks, but the data trickling in from Chinese grey market is not good. The official price of iPhone 5c in China is 4 448 Yuan ($726). But there is a thriving grey market over there, with iPhones bought in the U.S, Europe and Hong-Kong, illegally smuggled into the country. With real people taking real risks with their real money, this market is very sensitive to the real demand for any gadget, and very quick to adjust prices accordingly. Care to guess the current price of unofficial iPhone 5c in China? 3000 to 3300 Yuan ($489-539), according to checks done multiple by local tech sites,  and a quick review of offers on China’s main online marketplace – Taobao. That’s a drop of 30% below the official price. And, according to some sources, you can now sometimes find iPhone 5c as cheaply as 2600 Yuan. Compare that to a very successful iPhone 5s. Its official price in China is 5288 Yuan ($863). But its most popular gold version is out of stock, and impossible to get officially. And Chinese simply went crazy over the golden iPhone during the first weeks of availability, with reseller prices climbing as high as 10 000 Yuan ($1633) in the first days of October. They now have settled down to a more sane level, but gold iPhone 5s still goes for 6 to 7000 Yuan in the grey market. And one more tidbit of bad, if unconfirmed, news for the cheaper iPhone. Chinese site C-Technolgy, who accurately leaked a lot of iPhone related stuff prior to its launch this year, now reports that Apple has cut in half the production orders for iPhone 5c- from 300K units...

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iPhone 5S test screenshots on China Mobile show-up, while regional offices start taking TD-LTE pre-orders
Oct01

iPhone 5S test screenshots on China Mobile show-up, while regional offices start taking TD-LTE pre-orders

The announcement of iPhone 5s/5c on the world’s biggest cellular network – China Mobile, is a given. There’s no “if” about it anymore, it’s only “when”. With more and more signs pointing to late October/early November launch. We’ve already seen China Mobile’s  iPhone 5s/5c promotional posters, and heard the latest rumors about the mid-October as the time China Mobile will receive the license from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to light up its 4G network for commercial TD-LTE. Today, some screenshots from iPhone 5s, currently under test on China Mobile, made it to the Net:   Also, confirming the imminent LTE launch, Cellular-News report that local offices of China Mobile in Guanzhou  and Shenzen  started taking pre-orders for TD-LTE services, while Tech-in- Asia has some screenshots from the same Guangdong provincial affiliate, with 4G plan prices and device subsidies. No iPhone 5s/5c there just yet. But with all the Chinese 4G hype building-up the way it does now, it shouldn’t take more than a few...

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Apple will use flexible OLED displays for iWatch. Now testing 1.3”, 1.4” and 1.5” prototypes
Oct01

Apple will use flexible OLED displays for iWatch. Now testing 1.3”, 1.4” and 1.5” prototypes

Ever since WSJ report back February, there’s little doubt that Apple is working on some kind of smart watch type wearable device. There’s been a lot of iWatch rumors and speculation since then, and even some patents from Apple’s R&D labs, proving that they are indeed doing something. And here’s another set of rumors, coming from Korea this time.  According to Chosun Ilbo, Apple has decided to use flexible OLED displays for its iWatch. And it is now testing the smart watch prototypes with 3 different display sizes – 1.3”, 1.4” and 1.5”. According to one of Chosun Ilbo sources, “A prototype of the 1.5-inch has already been made“. Though the actual release date is still unknown. If those rumors are true, Apple’s smart watch sounds much more like a Pebble kind design, than anything even remotely resembling Samsung Galaxy Gear. And when the iWatch is finally unveiled,  it will probably have Samsung scrapping their current Galaxy Gear plans again, rapidly following with their own  small and thin Gear x. With all the current Gear app makers re-coding their apps for the new kind of Samsung watch. And one final thought. I wonder who will be the supplier of flexible OLED displays for iWatch? After all their history with Galaxy smartphones, I very much doubt Apple wants to share their new category device plans with Samsung. The specs for iWatch display would simply give up too much information about it. That only leaves LG as a potential supplier with advanced enough flexible OLED mass production capabilities. Are LG’s still very low flexible OLED production yields the main reason holding back the announcement of...

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Gold-colored iPad Mini 2 photographed?
Sep27

Gold-colored iPad Mini 2 photographed?

With Apple now having an official gold iPhone, it’s not surprising that an alleged golden iPad Mini 2 has appeared in some photos – not long before the new tablet should be announced alongside a 9.7 inch iPad 5. Like the new iPhone 5S, it seems that the iPad Mini 2 has a sapphire crystal Home button – which may include a fingerprint recognition sensor. Sure enough, there’s no way of telling if these photos – spotted over at Chinese website ZOL – are showing a real iPad Mini 2, and not just a mock-up. In any case, the new Apple tablet should come with a 7.9 inch Retina Display (2048 x 1536 pixels), plus other improved hardware specifications. it remains to be seen if, with all the enhancements, Apple will manage to sell the iPad Mini 2 for the same price that the current model can be bought for (as low as $329 – 16GB Wi-Fi-only version). It’s said that Apple is also preparing the launch of a large 12.9 inch iPad – but this may not be announced this year. Via...

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MIIT China Mobile 4G license in mid-October, followed by TD-LTE launch with “the strongest iPhone” campaign
Sep26

MIIT China Mobile 4G license in mid-October, followed by TD-LTE launch with “the strongest iPhone” campaign

The hottest topic of discussion in mobile in China today, is when their carriers will launch 4G services. The biggest mobile operator- China Mobile- has its network ready for local flavor of 4G, called TD-LTE, and had a bunch of smartphones certified for it a month ago. The only thing that’s missing- is the permission from Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) to light-up the TD-LTE network for commercial use. This permission is coming pretty soon. There is a lot of discussion about how soon exactly, but now we can stop speculating about the worst case  scenario. According to MIIT minister Miao Wei, the first 4G licenses will most definitely be issued by the end of the year.  Though the informed sources inside MIIT are whispering much earlier date – middle of October, with China Mobile’s 4G network going live soon after – in November. And why do we obsess about the launch of 4G in China? Well, because of the iPhone, of course. The main reason iPhone is not on the world’s biggest mobile network yet, is because China Mobile has been saving world’s most popular smartphone to headline its next generation network launch. Some leaked posters show that CM is preparing an advertising campaign, about how they will have “the strongest iPhone” in China, with full 3G/4G support and speeds of up to 100 Mbps. With 9 million new iPhones sold over the opening weekend, these are pretty exciting days for Apple. But things might get even more fun in November. There are 42 million older iPhone users on China Mobile already, all of them unable to access even 3G service, and stuck on slow and archaic GPRS/EDGE. When all of those grey market iPhone owners get a chance to upgrade to official China Mobile iPhone 5s/5c, with a hefty subsidy on contract… Let’s just say, I’m very optimistic about the iPhone growth numbers Apple will report in...

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12.9 inch Apple iPad already in testing at Quanta?
Sep25

12.9 inch Apple iPad already in testing at Quanta?

It’s not the first time we’re hearing that Apple might plan to introduce a larger version of its iPad – more exactly, one with a display of about 13 inches. Now, Chinese media is reporting that Quanta Computer – one of Apple’s traditional hardware partners – is testing 12.9 inch iPads. Unfortunately, details are fuzzy ate the moment, so we don’t really know anything about this new 12.9 inch Apple tablet. It’s a long way from testing a device to it being commercially available – so even if Quanta currently has such large iPads, that’s no guarantee that Apple will ever sell them. Anyway, before any huge iPad is unveiled, Apple has to introduce a new 9.7 inch iPad 5, as well as a 7.9 inch iPad Mini 2 – both should be officially unveiled next month. It’s pretty hard to believe that Apple will announce a 12.9 inch tablet this year,  so we will probably see that sometime in 2014 (if ever). Via MyDrives,...

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Apple sells 9 million iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C units in the first weekend
Sep23

Apple sells 9 million iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C units in the first weekend

Everyone in the blogosphere and the media has been wondering (and speculating on) how well Apple’s new phones have done in terms of sales in their first weekend of availability (they went on sale on September 20, which was last Friday). And the Cupertino company did not disappoint, putting out a press release on the matter not long ago. You can probably say that the new iPhones have done very well for Apple, with combined sales reaching 9 million. Of course the company touts this as a record, which it is – but, there are a few important caveats. First of all, this is the first time ever when Apple launches two new phones at the same time. Second, the number of countries that got into that first wave of availability this time around was 11. Last year, the iPhone 5 hit 5 million sales in its first weekend in just 9 countries. So with some creative accounting, Apple’s calling this a record. Which it undoubtedly is, since we don’t know of any other smartphone maker able to move 9 million units in three days, even if we’re talking about two separate devices here. But when you compare this number to the 5 million from last year, remember those were all the same handset – the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5S is sold out in most places, but Apple is promising to have it back in stock as soon as possible. Many online orders are scheduled to ship in “the coming weeks”. Apple’s also busy touting the iOS7 upgrade to be the fastest one in history, with over 200 million devices already running the latest (and most colorful) iteration of the software, after just five days of availability....

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