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Archive for March, 2009

Skype now available for iPhone

picture-35Skype’s Net based phone calling service and other voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) apps are an extreme long shot for iPhone in China (likely will be prohibited from Apple’s China App Store). But it is notable to see VoIP calling apps making their way to the Apple App Store in the US and many countries. VoIP calling will be restricted to WiFi only. China may effectively block WiFi on iPhone due to China’s prohibitive WAPI (a proprietary encryption and authentication solution for WiFi) security standards. So it will be “no Skype for you” in China for the foreseeable future. I’m sure jail-breakers will set me strait … where there’s a will, there’s a way (blackmarket iPhones with WiFi enabled). There are plenty of WiFi sites in China’s urban zones … the problem is that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) is not approving WiFi for use in mobile phones.  That might be changing soon if handsets’ wireless card and firmware support WAPI and undergo MIIT testing and win approval. More > HERE  

Watch video > HERE

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AAPL Investors is a great site for keeping up on Apple

iphone_dt_bigbluerobotsapple-girlIf you’re an Apple (AAPL) shareholder or curious about Apple’s performance, there is no better site than AAPL Investors. For a complete list of iPhone countries (now at 80), see the AAPL Investors chart > HERE

One favorite page is the Stats Page which has graphs, charts, and background info covering: 

  • Macs Shipments
  • Mac Market Share
  • Mac Installed Base
  • iPhone Shipments
  • iPhone Country List
  • iPhone Death Watch < Inaccurate predictions of the fate of the iPhone
  • iPhone vs Blackberry
  • iPod Shipments
  • iTunes Music Downloads
  • App Store Downloads
  • Stock Performance
  • AAPL Rankings
  • Analyst Ratings
  • AAPL Monthly (YOY Growth)
  • Net Sales & Income
  • EPS and Revenue Guidance
  • Product Revenue
  • Life Line

apple-logo1See all stats, graphs and info, see > HERE

For those interested Apple and AAPL discussions, I encourage you to visit AAPL Sanity (< registration required) and Apple 2.0. See also the links page here on iPhonAsia

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Merrill Lynch Analyst Bullish on (AAPL) iPhone in China

Bank America (Merrill Lynch) analyst Scott Craig raised his price target on Apple (AAPL) to $120 (from $110) and noted that  Apple may sell 1.5 million iPhones in China following a summer ’09 iPhone launch with China Unicom.  Craig further projects that Apple will sell 4.6 million iPhones in China in calendar 2010, and 5.8 million in 2011. 

2658980368_b953304c76Barron’s quotes Craig: “Our Asia supply chain checks seem to indicate that Apple believes it can achieve an initial penetration rate, least on a sell-in basis, similar to the iPhone launch in the U.S.,” (about 20%)… “In fact, given our channel checks in Asia, Apple likely believes it can easily meet this and/or believes in other scenarios that result in much higher unit sales levels.”

Read more via Barron’s > HERE

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Munster Talks Apple (AAPL) on Fast Money

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster appeared on Fast Money today to talk tech (Yahoo, Google, Apple). Patience required … you’ll have to wait until the final third of video for Gene Munster’s appearance. Munster revealed that Steve Jobs was in attendance at the recent Disney Board Meeting and that he will likely return to Apple in June, but he may take on a different role and allow Tim Cook and Apple’s senior management team to run day-to-day operations. Munster says AAPL should be interesting (bullish) during the summer months when new model iPhone(s) are introduced. And oh by the way … we might see new iPhones in China too

Watch > VIDEO HERE

 

Jeff Macke and Gene Munster

Jeff Macke and Gene Munster

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Update – 03/27/09: China Unicom executive mgmt in Beijing have now “explained things” to the Shanghai subsidiary. The flashy iPhone images and special page used to promote 3G services are now no where to be found on the Shanghai Unicom website.  This is no surprise as the over eager Shanghai subsidiary was a mite early in their promotion. Read more > HERE

iPhonAsia comment: Remember that old kids game called Telephone? You whisper something into someone’s ear and they whisper the same story (you hope) to someone else who in turn whispers it to another … finally the last person states aloud what they believe to be the message. 9 out to 10 times the original message has been badly garbled … sometimes comically so … Well that’s just what happened in Shanghai on Tuesday. The original message got “Shanghaied” and false reports of a “done” iPhone deal spread rapidly across the newswires and blogosphere. 

Here is iPhonAsia’s post today on TMO Apple Finance Board … 

The reports of a “done deal” are a bit premature
http://idannyb.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/iphone-officially-in-china-on-may-17/

Sina.com and other Chinese sites are now quoting a China Unicom official who states that while significant progress has been made, an agreement between Apple and China Unicom to release iPhone in China has yet to be formally concluded. Sina.com states that yesterday’s press reports of a “finalized deal” contain factual errors.

What’s really going on? China Unicom’s Shanghai subsidiary was a bit over eager and splashed iPhone (and other smartphones with whom no deal has been made) all over their website to promote their forthcoming WCDMA 3G network launch. 
http://idannyb.wordpress.com/2009/03/25/china-unicom-promoting-high-end-3g-services-on-iphone/

China Unicom’s Shanghai subsidiary is having a hard time keeping the probable “iPhone deal” a secret and they’re essentially teasing what will “soon be” through their regional website. Chinese reporters got curious and contacted Shanghai Unicom for official comment. A Shanghai Unicom spokesperson (Yi Difei) talked about the forthcoming May 17 WCDMA 3G network launch date (trial launch in 55 cities) and expressed “optimism” over an iPhone deal. Then Chinese reporters interviewed several telecom analysts who made very presumptive statements about a “done deal” and the May 17 network launch. These analysts, however, were not affiliated with China Unicom. News service reports were then miss-read by other news services … sort of like a game of telephone. And then next thing you know we have reports of an official iPhone deal and a May 17 launch date.

End result is that Apple is more than a bit miffed and now China Unicom HQ in Beijing is doing damage control.
All that said … my view is that the deal will be finalized in a matter of weeks, after:
1. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) approval
2. Senior Apple execs go to Beijing to reciprocate the China Unicom visit to Cupertino
3. Signatures

The deal will most likely be formally announced on May 17 for launch later in the Summer. Note: To paraphrase the late great Yogi Berra; “A deal is never done, until it’s done.” So it’s only prudent to add a question mark until we get the official press release.

Full backstory >
http://idannyb.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/apples-iphone-in-china-negotiations/

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iphone-china-unicom-11apple_unicom2China Unicom to launch iPhone on May 17?

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Update: Sina.com is quoting a China Unicom official who states that while significant progress has been made, an agreement between Apple and China Unicom to release iPhone in China has yet to be formally concluded. Sina.com states that today’s press reports of a “finalized deal” contain factual errors. The Sina.com post can be found > HERE with a Google translation > HERE

As KenC points out via a MacDailyNews comment (see Ken’s comments below), the Shanghai Unicom spokesperson’s statements may have been taken out of context.  
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iPhonAsia comment: A China Unicom official, associated with the Shanghai Unicom subsidiary, announced today (spokesperson’s comments were apparently taken out of context) that China Unicom will offer iPhone on May 17 … the same day China Unicom will begin a trail launch of their new WCDMA 3G network in 55 major cities. While this news may be true, it may be preliminary, as China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has to give a formal approval to iPhone in PRC and that has not been made official yet (it could have been granted but there have been no press reports). 
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NOTE: iPhonAsia is looking for the official PR … It is not yet on the China Unicom website. JLM Pacific Epoch has a report > HERE. The parent company has not offered any comment.(the parent company is correcting the record – statements were taken out of context). iPhonAsia will keep the question mark on this post until we get the official word from Apple and/or China Unicom executive management in Beijing.
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picture-62SHANGHAI, Mar. 25, 2009 (Xinhua News Agency) — China Unicom (OOTC:CHUFF) (0762.HK; 600050.SH; CHU.NYSE) confirmed Wednesday that it would start to sell Apple’s iPhone in China on May 17.

China Unicom will see both chances and challenges if introducing iPhone to China, according to Gui Kai, an analyst from Guosen Securities.

By introducing iPhone, it will attract more clients, expand its market share and improve its business performance in a short term. However, it might also have to give away large revenue share.

Wan Jinjin, an analyst from UBS (NYSE:UBS) Securities, said earlier in a report that China Unicom might have to shoulder a heavy burden, since iPhone is likely to be highly subsidized. Besides, it could limit the business expansion by setting a threshold of average revenue per user (ARPU) for its iPhone users.

According to Yi Difei, a China Unicom official in charge of news release, the company will start trial operation of commercial 3G business in 55 cities across the country on the same day. The concrete time for official operation depends on results of the trial operation.

Users need not to worry about shortage of terminals, since there are plenty of WCDMA phones on the market at present.

An insider from China Unicom said that all the WCDMA phones sold in China have been tested before and are qualified to be used for 3G services.

Source: Xinhua News Agency (March 25, 2009 – 7:50 AM EDT) 

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Update – 03/27/09: China Unicom executive mgmt in Beijing have now “explained things” to the Shanghai subsidiary. The flashy iPhone images and special page used to promote 3G services are now no where to be found on the Shanghai Unicom website.  This is no surprise as the over eager Shanghai subsidiary was a mite early in their promotion. Read more > HERE

China Unicom Promoting 3G services and iPhone

For those that have not heard the news, China Unicom’s Shanghai subsidiary is now promoting iPhone 3G and their new WCDMA network on their website. The Shanghai subsidiary website is careful to never say that Apple and China Unicom have reached an iPhone deal (iPhonAsia does not expect any official announcement until May 17) but the parent corp and Apple might have preferred a bit more discretion.  

Here is the page on the China Unicom site promoting iPhone 3G services, that might be available soon, including:

  • Wave-to-pay
  • Mobile TV (CCTV has been heavily promoting this in China)
  • Tethering
  • Video Conferencing

Of particular interest is the wave-to-pay promotion. Untold millions of Chinese commute to work via trains, subways and ferries. Any device that can simplify daily e-commerce would be a major value-add. Here’s my attempt to translate (from Mandarin) the China Unicom webpage:

China Unicom promoting wave-to-pay on iPhone

China Unicom promoting wave-to-pay on iPhone

“Near-Field-Communication (NFC) swipe card handset a.k.a. “wave-to-pay,” offers convenience for those who use public transportation. It’s possible to use a handset swipe card to buy a ticket. This wave-to-pay has replaced the former public transportation IC card. Using the swipe card handset for shopping eliminates the needs to carrying cash. Using wave-to-pay also makes it easy to pay in the ferry terminal. Through the swipe card, the handset (phone) can purchase your passage and avoid the worry of lining up to purchase tickets. Not only does this technology eliminate the need to carry a public transportation IC card, you don’t even need a bankcard. All you need is the wave-to-pay handset (phone), to buy a ticket and do your shopping. One machine in the hand, opens access, and gives you control. Wave-to-pay makes life more convenient.”

 

Here’s Google’s > translation 


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