Monday, September 5, 2011

Tired of waiting, Chinese carriers undercut iPhone substantially with own handsets

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Apple’s China sales are up sixfold and topped $3.8 billion in June quarter revenues. Per conventional wisdom, Apple could boost iPhone revenues by adding more carriers to its Chinese distribution matrix. But for all the cozying up to China Mobile, the country’s largest wireless operator, the second-largest China Unicom remains Apple’s sole carrier in the country. While Apple has left the 1.33 billion people market largely untapped, its iconic smartphone is now facing competition from both carriers, reports DigiTimes:

China Unicom and China Mobile both have launched own-brand 3.5G handsets using chipset solutions from MediaTek, with prices set below CNY1,000 (US$156), or one-quarter the price of iPhone, according to industry sources. The launches of own-brand 3.5G handsets will help China Unicom and China Mobile save a large of amount in subsidies the two companies have been spending for the promotion of iPhone, the sources indicated.
Granted, the report fails to mention the exact types of phones and wouldn’t event hint at whether they’re high-end smartphones or cheapos. Regardless, this is business as usual as no carrier can depend on iPhone alone. On the other hand, the report notes how both carriers are additionally pushing their own app stores. Looks like Apple will need that inexpensive iPhone sooner than later.

Reuters indicated that China Mobile was holding secret meetings with Steve Jobs regarding an iPhone version for the carrier’s 3G cellular network, which is based on TD-SCDMA radio technology (not related to CDMA technology used by Verizon). China Mobile is serving about 7.5 million iPhone users on its network, even if they can only tap EDGE speeds. Furthermore, Samsung is already shipping a TD-SCDMA version of its Galaxy S II smartphone to China Mobile subscribers. Despite the fact that China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier by both subscribers and revenue, Apple may want to wait out and instead take an alternative route, here’s why…

Bringing iPhone to China Unicom was a no-brainer due to their GSM-compatible 3G network. Contrast that to China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network that would essentially require a new iPhone hardware with different chips. And due to its limited appeal, a TD-SCDMA would be a low volume product and hence pricier to manufacture versus the existing CDMA or GSM versions. Furthermore, China Mobile will be upgrading to 4G LTE soon and other carriers are already running limited trials of the technology. With a 4G LTE iPhone supporting any compatible network, including China Mobile’s TD-LTE variant, why bother engineering an iPhone for the already outdated technology? There’s also this Reuters report claiming that iPhone is coming to the 106 million China Telecom subscribers this November. China Telecom operates CDMA-compatible 3G network so Apple would only need to commission Pegatron to build more CDMA iPhones. China Mobile had 584 million mobile phone subscribers in December last year while China Unicom had 167.4 million.

*thanks 9to5mac*

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- Posted using my iPhone 4

Largan Precision and Genius Electronic Optical to supply lens for 8 megapixel iPhone 5 camera?

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Image courtesy of Genius Electronic Optical

Digitimes claimed back in May that Largan Precision could become the main supplier of eight-megapixel lens modules for Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5. Now a report today from Taiwan Economic News claims that not only Largan Precision Co., Ltd., but also Genius Electronic Optical Co., Ltd will both be supplying Apple for their next-gen iPhone with orders expected to be placed soon.

“The two companies are reported to continue supplying lenses for Apple’s newest iPhone 5 with an 8-megapixel camera. With relatively higher production yield, Largan, commanding nearly 20% of the global market, will reportedly garner a big order from Apple.”



Genius and Largan both supplied Apple with lens modules for the iPhone 4, whose orders even took Genius out of operating losses into profitability. Today’s report claims the two companies will compete and work together as they continue to share Apple has one of their largest customers for the upcoming next-gen iPhone.

It’s not surprising that Apple continues to source parts from multiple suppliers. Just this morning a report from Macotakara says Foxconn and Pegatron have both begun production of next-gen iPhones. This is a move that is common for the company in an attempt to create competition amongst suppliers, drive down prices, and increase production quality while reducing risk. Additionally, this morning Deutsche Telekom in Germany began quietly accepting iPhone 5 pre-orders from existing customers.

This iPhone 5 case appears to have a camera hole approximately two times wider than the iPhone 4 image below:




*thanks 9to5mac*

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- Posted using my iPhone 4

GameStop to carry iOS devices soon, begins trading-in used iPhones, iPads and iPods for in-store credits

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We’ve received a word from several sources that GameStop will soon begin offering the entire lineup of Apple’s popular iOS mobile devices such as iPhones, iPods and iPads at their stores. The announcement was made to dealers at an annual trade show in Las Vegas this past week. Also, as of this week, GameStop began accepting iOS device trade-ins for in-store credits. From the sound of it, our take is GameStop is first doing trade-ins/used products before phasing in new ones, perhaps as Apple launches iPhone 5 in October (Deutsche Telekom in Germany is now quietly accepting pre-orders).

The 20.34 million iPhones Apple sold during the June quarter partly came thanks to expanded distribution as the company widened the iPhone footprint by securing distribution agreements with additional carriers worldwide. iPhone 5 is rumored to launch on AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile USA and Sprint, which would be the first time the handset was available on wireless networks other than AT&T and Verizon. China Mobile, the world’s largest and most-valued carrier, has been holding secret meetings with both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, presumably to sign that landmark iPhone agreement. Apple’s evidently been widening its distribution network ahead of iPhone 5 launch. That, coupled with pent-up demand, should help them report another blow-out holiday quarter.



*thanks 9to5mac*

Send us a story or tip @ TipsForLimerain.com@gmail.com and follow our pages for the latest limera1n, rubyra1n, and all tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @iphonepixelpost or @limerain_com
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- Posted using my iPhone 4

Deutsche Telekom confirms iPhone 5 reservations

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German-language Focus.de is reporting (Google translation) that T-Mobile customers in the country are now allowed to reserve Apple’s unreleased handset, the iPhone 5, since this morning. The iPhoneblog.de first broke the story and 9to5Mac has also received several tips from our readers confirming that the Deutsche Telekom-owned wireless operators has in fact begun issuing so-called Premieren Ticket. These are basically support tickets – one per customer – for early adopters and informed buyers who couldn’t be otherwise convinced into buying the existing iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS.

Those coupons will eventually let folks claim their handset, when it arrives, on a first-come-first-served basis. Only the carrier’s customers are eligible and only upon contacting sales representatives in one of the carrier-owned brick-and-mortar stores or by calling customer support. As you could imagine, Deutsche Telekom is pretty low-key about the initiative and thus shuns from advertising it apart from a rather cryptic hint on their website. Shortly after the report was published, Bloomberg was able to verify it with a company spokesperson, who said:

Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) will allow customers to reserve the next generation of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone as of today in anticipation of supply bottlenecks for the device, spokesman Alexander von Schmettow said by phone. The operator will hand out coupons to people who expressly request the successor model to the iPhone 4, without providing the name or release details of the device, he said.
Hints have been multiplying since last week that Apple could be close to unveiling a fifth-generation iPhone. Apple store employees have received their iOS 5 and iCloud training material and internal Best Buy documents have pointed to a Sprint iPhone 5 launch in the first week of October. Both nuggets confirm 9to5Mac’s discovery from July that Sprint would get iPhone 5, based on an April job posting seeking cellular engineers in the Kansas City region, right in the neighborhood of Sprint’s headquarters. 9to5Mac also originally broke the news that Apple would begin accepting iPhone 5 pre-orders in early September, gearing up for an early October launch. Also…




…This past Saturday, Japanese blog Macotakara wrote (Google translation) that contract manufacturers Pegatron Technology and Foxconn have begun assembling iPhone 5 at a rate of 85 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The blog notes that the units are not yet being packaged in boxes until Apple iOS 5 is ready for prime time. With so much clues out in the open, it’s safe to assume that invites for an Apple media event are ready and that it is now up to Apple’s marketing and CEO Tim Cook to hit the Launch button.



*thanks 9to5mac*

Send us a story or tip @ TipsForLimerain.com@gmail.com and follow our pages for the latest limera1n, rubyra1n, and all tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @iphonepixelpost or @limerain_com
And like our Facebook page www.iPodSets.com
- Posted using my iPhone 4