No Crowd In China Lining Up For iPhone 11

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, September 26, 2019 | | 0 comments »

iPhone in China
Apple's latest iPhone 11 range hit stores in China a few days ago, with surprisingly short queues of die-hard fans contrasting with the hundreds who camped out ahead of some previous launches, Reuters reports.

The sales performance of the U.S. tech giant's latest line-up is being closely watched in the world's largest smartphone market, where Apple has been losing ground to competitors with cheaper and feature-packed handsets in recent years.

The queues at the Shanghai and Beijing stores, which combined added up to few dozen customers, were in sharp contrast to previous years, when hundreds used to wait for hours outside Apple’s shops to be the first to grab its latest offerings.

But much of the fanfare in China has moved online where the pre-sales for iPhone 11, priced between US$ 699 and US$ 1,099, started recently.

Analysts said they had gotten off to a better start than the last cycle a year ago. Chinese e-commerce site JD.com said day one pre-sales for the iPhone 11 series were up 480 percent versus comparable sales for the iPhone XR last year.

Among customers that took to a store in Beijing to make a purchase in person was a programmer who only gave his surname as Liu, who said he had a model from every Apple series since the 3G range.

He said he was particularly attracted to the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro, which has three cameras on the back. "When it comes to taking photos, it's better for night shots and the image is clearer," he told Reuters.

Other customers, however, said that they were concerned that the range was not enabled for fifth-generation networks, putting them behind 5G models already released by China’s Huawei Technologies and smaller rival Vivo, and expressed hopes that Apple could make it happen for its next line-up.

"I think by the end of next year, especially in big cities like Beijing, 5G will be commonplace," said civil servant Liu Liu. "If they don't research this then they'll lag way behind."

The in-store launch of the iPhone 11 in China came a day after Chinese smartphone maker Huawei unveiled new smartphones which it said were more compact, with more sensitive cameras and wraparound screens more vivid than those of the latest iPhone, though it played down concerns about the lack of access to Google’s popular apps.

Huawei has experienced a surge in support from Chinese consumers after the brand was caught up in a trade war between the United States and China, which has in turn eaten into Apple's market share in the country.

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Are Apple and Disney Splitting Up?

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, September 25, 2019 | | 0 comments »

Streaming Wars
Disney CEO Bob Iger has stepped down from the Apple board and it is a big statement on what the future holds. In a way, it shows the degree to which Apple is getting into Disney's business of original content, but also it signals how the content and distribution facets of the media business are converging.

The media biz has always been about how they made friends and evolving alliances which makes for tricky navigation even in quiescent times. But the current environment has been particularly marked by turmoil and the appearance of rocky reefs and shifting shoals.

In the case of Disney, the trouble comes from Apple, while with AT&T, a Wall Street firebrand and an old-fashioned carriage skirmish are to blame.

It started when the Apple Watch kept defaulting to a Toy Story motif. It made sense because Toy Story is a Pixar property (a unit of Disney), and Disney and Apple have been practically related since Steve Jobs sold Pixar to Disney for US$ 7.4 billion in 2006. The all-stock deal made Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder and took a seat on Disney’s board.

And thus began a cozy relationship between the two companies that extended up to and beyond Steve Jobs' death in October of 2011 and Iger joining Apple’s board one month later.

Disney was the first studio to sell TV shows and movies on the iTunes store for instance. Disney revamped its stores to make them look more like Apple’s. And Jobs, Iger and Tim Cook have lavished praise on each other.

With the announcement of Apple TV+ recently, a streaming subscription service with Apple-produced original movies and TV shows, Apple has planted its flag squarely in Disney’s turf. Producing original programming is not the business of a hardware company, or a software company, or a platform. It’s the business of a media company, a la Disney.

However, it is even more pointed than that. Debuting on 1 November at US$ 4.99 a month, (and, in an aggressive leveraging of its ecosystem, free for a year if you buy an Apple device) Apple TV+ comes out before and undercuts Disney's streaming service offering which arrives on 12 November at US$ 6.99.

Iger acknowledged this discomfort, but had characterized streaming conflicts mostly as a potential problem since it "has not been discussed all that much" by the Apple directors. But that changed. In this flywheel era, and as service becomes more and more important to Apple, one part of the business is increasingly connected to another, it became untenable for Iger to simply recuse himself from specific discussions.

It should not be forgotten that with a trillion dollar market cap, Apple could easily buy Disney, (worth only US$ 247 billion) in a heartbeat. "We think a big acquisition is on the horizon," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives says about Apple. A Disney deal would be a big lift. More likely is the winding down of what had been an unusually close, business buddy act.

Not that Apple and Disney will completely disconnect. In the media world, it's bad business not to do business with everyone.

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Chinese Trolling iPhone For Not Having 5G

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, September 20, 2019 | | 0 comments »

iPhone 5G
China's tech and gadget consumers used to stay up late for Apple's product launch. This time they woke up to complain that the iPhone no longer leads the mobile market.

Hours after the California-based phone maker presented the iPhone 11 series on Wednesday (September 10), Chinese fans expressed their disappointment at the latest lineup on Weibo.

Among launch-related topics trending on the social media platform, #iPhone 11 has no 5G version# stood out — posts under the topic have garnered some 30 million views as of writing. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless networking, which will be far speedier than current connections even when dealing with large amounts of data—in other words, great for playing mobile games.

"iPhone 11's China market will look bad without a 5G version. As domestic phones are rushing to apply 5G, people might not want to get an iPhone 11. Domestic manufacturers will easily beat a phone that cost more than 10,000 yuan with no 5G support in China in 2020," wrote a user. (The iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at 9,599 yuan, or about US$ 1,350, in China.)

"This version is like a transition product. There's nothing much to look at besides iOS. I am looking forward to next year’s if they have a bigger change. I am looking at Huawei’s Mate series more than Apple’s iPhones now," wrote another user.

Apple has yet to set a date to launch a 5G phone — Apple-focused news sites have said everyone might not see a 5G iPhone until well into 2020. Meanwhile several Asian smartphone makers are already selling 5G phones.

Chinese phone and telecom equipment maker Huawei, for instance, last month rolled out the Mate 20. Huawei said it has more than a million orders for the phone, which comes with a starting price of 6,199 yuan (US$ 871). Korean electronics maker Samsung rolled out the Galaxy S10, also a 5G model, in March at a starting price of US$ 1,299.

Ahead of the launch, research firm IDC noted that Apple will have a challenging 2019, in part due to its lack of 5G devices. "Commercial deployments have begun in many regions and while 2019 is very much an introductory year at best, 2020 looks to be the year where 5G begins to ramp up," according to a report by the Chinese-owned market research group in early September.

It is unclear how the topic got going on Weibo, but some Chinese state media picked up on it. China News Service published a poll that asked whether people would buy the iPhone 11, and a majority of the more than 4,000 comments said they weren't considering it because of its price and the lack of 5G support.

Some users, though, pointed out there isn't much use to a 5G phone yet: "Don’t keep talking about whether it has 5G, which is expensive to start with. Also, 5G base stations are far from ready. It will at least take another two years [for the application] to be widespread, so use what you have first," a user wrote under the poll.

China's expected to roll out a commercial 5G network next month, starting in Shanghai, while in the US carrier AT&T has turned on 5G in at least 20 cities. South Korea also launched its 5G service this year.

Weibo comments don't necessarily translate into low sales but they're a worrying sign given Apple's recent performance in China hasn't been great. Sales in the fourth-quarter of 2018, after its last launch, were down 20 percent from a year earlier, and competition is only likely to intensify as China’s mobile market slows.

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Despite Trade Wars, Apple Expects 200 M iPhones Will Be Sold

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, September 18, 2019 | | 0 comments »

iPhone Sold
Apple company could sell as many as 200 million of its latest iPhones from existing users upgrading their older devices and much of that demand will come from China despite an ongoing trade war, several Wall Street analysts said recently.

The Cupertino, California-based company is widely expected to launch three new iPhones soon, featuring upgraded processors and new camera functionality, along with a video streaming service that will take on the likes of Netflix Inc and Walt Disney.

The upgrade cycle could translate into roughly 180 million iPhone units sold in the next 12 months with roughly 60 million to 70 million consumers due for an upgrade in China, where Apple struggled with its last launch, Wedbush analysts said.

Apple currently has about 900 million active iPhones globally and the combination of slack sales for its iPhone X launches since 2017 and relatively tight control of pricing may spur demand from users who have been holding out previously, several analysts said.

"These old phones would be candidates for upgrade and we continue to look at fiscal 2020 as a 'Trade-in' iPhone cycle versus 2021 which should be a 5G-driven cycle," Bank of America analysts said.

They estimated there were 200 million iPhone 6 and earlier models which were primed for upgrading.

Apple's 2020 fiscal year starts from October and none of the brokerages expected it to launch a 5G-enabled iPhone this time round - in contrast to recent 5G mobile launches by Samsung Electronics and China's OnePlus.

Analysts and other industry watchers expect Apple to launch three smartphones: a 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro, 6.5-inch 11 Pro Max and a low-priced 6.1-inch 11R.

The base model is expected to be priced at $749, the iPhone 11 Pro at US$ 999 and iPhone Pro Max at US$ 1,099, roughly unchanged from last year's prices, with the company opting to push through any potential tariffs on the devices in favor of boosting sales volumes.

Apple faces levies of 15 percent imposed by the US government on products made in China including smartwatches and wireless headphones as of 1 September, with a tariff on the iPhone to take effect on 15 December.

Apple has seen bumps in demand in China this year, driven by Chinese online retailers discounting iPhones.

"Apple saw meaningful elasticity of demand in China when it lowered the price of iPhone XR, and we expect Apple to potentially lower pricing of some models," the Bank of America analysts said.

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US and France Reached Deal Over 'Digital Services' Tax

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, September 12, 2019 | | 0 comments »

Macron-Trump
United States President Donald Trump Administration and the French government have supposedly reached a deal that ends a feud over France's tax on tech giants, Bloomberg reports.

Earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a three percent tax on revenues earned on digital services in France. President Trump threatened a tariff on French wine if the tax went through, sparking a standoff.

Trump and Macron reportedly worked through some of their differences at a G7 summit, and Macron told reporters, "We have a deal to overcome the difficulties between us."

Nobody knows the details of the deal yet, but according to Macron, companies that pay the three percent tax will be able to deduct the amount after an international deal on how to tax internet companies is reached. The tax will apply to companies with at least 750 million euros (US$ 845 million) in global revenue sales and digital sales of 25 million euros in France. It will affect an estimated 30 US-based businesses, including Facebook and Amazon, as well as British, Chinese, French and German companies.

Macron has faced pressure over criticism that tech giants don't pay enough in taxes, a sentiment that's felt in Germany and Italy, as well as France.

While companies operating in Europe pay over 20 percent in taxes, it's estimated that tech giants pay less than half of that. Apple did agree to pay 500 million euro in back taxes to France earlier this year, but the need for legislation still stands.

"We are pushing for international rules on this," Macron said. "It is not against any company in particular, it's just to solve the problem."

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Huawei To Launch Flagship Phone Despite Ban

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, September 10, 2019 | | 0 comments »

Huawei Flagship Phone
Huawei Technologies plans to forge ahead with the launch of new high-end smartphones in Europe even though it may not be able to offer Google's official Android operating system and widely used apps such as Google Maps, company executives told Reuters.

The world's No. 2 smartphone maker is set to unveil its new Mate 30 line of phones on 18 September in Munich, according to a source familiar with the matter, though it is not clear when the devices would go on sale.

The Mate 30, made to work on new 5G mobile networks, is Huawei's first major flagship smartphone launch since United States President Donald Trump's administration effectively blacklisted the company in mid-May, alleging it is involved in activities that compromise U.S. national security, a charge the company denies.

A Google spokesman told Reuters the Mate 30 could not be sold with licensed Google apps and services due to the US ban on sales to Huawei. A temporary reprieve that the US government announced last week does not apply to new products such as the Mate 30, the spokesman said.

US companies can seek a license for specific products to be exempted from the ban. Google, a part of Alphabet, would not say whether it had applied for a license to offer its apps and services known as Google Mobile Services, though it has said in the past that it wants to continue supplying Huawei.

Reuters reported this week that the US Commerce Department has received more than 130 applications from companies for licenses to sell US goods to Huawei, but none have been granted.

The uncertainty surrounding the Mate 30 shows the confusion that reigns for Huawei and its business partners as a result of the escalating trade war between China and the United States. While the Huawei blacklisting was cast as a response to security concerns, President Trump has indicated it could be lifted as part of a trade deal.

"Huawei will continue to use the Android OS and ecosystem if the US government allows us to do so," Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly told Reuters. "Otherwise, we will continue to develop our own operating system and ecosystem."

Huawei can likely use an open-source version of Android without falling foul of the US ban on sales to them. But Google's apps can only be used in Europe under a paid license from the search giant. There is no fee for the license outside of Europe.

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