Apple now leads the luxury gift market in China, taking the #1 slot from Hermès

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Apple is on rather a roll at the moment. A new world record for quarterly profitsBest-selling smartphone maker in China. Joint leader of the global smartphone market. Record-breaking app store earnings. Now Reuters reports that it’s picked up a new accolade, leading the luxury goods market in China.

Apple Inc has taken the number one luxury gifting spot in China from designer goods maker Hermès International SCA, according to a Hurun luxury report on Thursday, reflecting the iPhone maker’s recent hot streak in the country.

Hermès is a French maker of designer clothing and accessories, known for its scarves and handmade leather luggage …  Read more

Principal filming finally underway for Sorkin/Boyle Steve Jobs biopic, sticking with ‘three keynote’ focus

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Universal Pictures has announced that principal filming of the Steve Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle is now finally underway. The announcement confirms that the movie, dropped by Sony back in November, will still follow the original three-act structure based around three keynote presentations.

Universal Pictures today announced that principal photography has commenced in San Francisco on Steve Jobs. Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, the film takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.

Surprisingly, Universal says that the final product announcement will be the iMac, in 1998, rather than the launch of the iPhone as had been widely expected …  Read more

Tim Cook insists iPad prospects still rosy despite 18% drop in sales, 22% fall in revenue

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Apple’s press release yesterday noted “all-time record revenue from iPhone and Mac sales as well as record performance of the App Store,” while remaining silent on iPad sales. The reason? The slide continued last quarter, with year-on-year sales down 18%, and a reduction in average selling price meaning revenue was down 22%.

Tim Cook acknowledges that the switch to larger-screened iPhones mean the iPad is being squeezed from both sides.

There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with the Mac on one side and the phone on the other.

It’s also undeniable that people upgrade their iPads less frequently than their iPhones–Cook putting the number at “somewhere between” the 2-year cycle of the iPhone and 5-year cycle of Mac–meaning that Apple needs to find a continual stream of customers buying an iPad for the first time …  Read more

Apple’s quarterly profit set new world record for any company, says Standard & Poor’s

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Apple didn’t just set a new record for the company when it beat every forecast in the Q1 results announced yesterday, it set a new world record for the most profitable quarter of any company in history, says credit ratings giant Standard & Poor’s. Its net profit of $18B far exceeded the previous record of $15.9B, set by oil company ExxonMobil back in 2012.

With such huge numbers difficult to grasp, there have been various attempts around the net to put the numbers into perspective.  TechCrunch expressed it as a profit of $8.3M per hour. Reddit user Cal00 noted that Apple made more from the iPhone alone that Google and Microsoft made from their entire product ranges–combined. Business Insider observed that the single-quarter iPhone sales were greater than Yahoo’s entire market capitalisation.

While revenue, profit and iPhone sales all exceeded even analyst expectations, the analysts were right about one key thing …

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Anticipated iPhone numbers would see Apple threatening Samsung’s smartphone lead

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If Apple does indeed report iPhone sales in line with analyst expectations of 66.5M units, the company could be closing in on the market share lead Samsung has held in the smartphone market since 2011, reports the WSJ.

Research company Canalys notes that Apple’s anticipated growth in iPhone sales coincides with a dramatic drop in sales of Samsung smartphones.

Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

While that still leaves Samsung well ahead for now, it’s a trendline which could see Apple regain the lead it once held …  Read more

AAPL earnings will come in well above upper end of company’s guidance, say analysts, at $68.3B

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Fortune has done its usual analyst poll ahead of Apple announcing its Q1 earnings tomorrow, and Wall Street is expecting the company to significantly out-perform its earnings guidance of $63.5 to $66.5B.

The consensus among the analysts Fortune polled — 20 professionals and 15 amateurs — is that Apple’s total sales for fiscal Q1 2015 will come in at about $68.3 billion, up 21% year over year.

That would be $1.8B above the upper end of the expectations Apple set back in October …  Read more

Angela Ahrendts recruiting U.S. employees for China as new stores & initiatives revealed

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Apple Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts is continuing to go all in on growth in China. In video messages to employees in recent days and weeks, Ahrendts has been recruiting employees from United States-based Apple Retail stores to relocate to China to help build up Apple’s retail efforts in the region. In a note to employees late last week, sources say that Ahrendts reported that approximately 200 Apple retail workers from the U.S. have already offered to make the move. Ahrendts added that the offer to move to China “has no expiration date because as the business grows, our needs will only become greater, so as your personal and professional life changes, just always keep China at the top of your mind, because we’re going to need you…”

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Apple now selling more iPhones in China than in US, say analysts

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Tim Cook said in October that it was “just a matter of time” before China overtook the USA as its biggest market, and it seems that time may be arriving sooner than expected – at least as far as the iPhone is concerned. The Financial Times reports that analysts expect tomorrow’s Q1 earnings call to confirm that Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the US.

Analysts at UBS estimate that China accounted for 36 per cent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared with 24 per cent for the US. During the same period last year, 29 per cent of units were sold in the US and 22 per cent were in China, UBS said.

The view was supported by Creative Strategies, which forecast that Apple has sold around 2M more iPhones in China than in the US in the final calendar quarter of 2014 (Apple’s financial Q1) …  Read more

Korean report supports KGI prediction that Samsung will make 75% of A9 chips for next iPhone

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Korean news site MK Business News (via Reuters) is reporting that Samsung will make 75% of the A9 chip for the next iPhone. This matches an earlier detailed prediction by KGI Research, which stated that the balance of the chips would be made by Global Foundry, and is in line with a statement by Samsung which last year confirmed it as a major supplier of the new chip.

The Samsung-fabbed chips will, says the report, be made in the USA …  Read more

Apple hires Burberry’s VP of Digital Retail initiatives ahead of Watch launch

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Apple has made yet another key hire from the fashion industry: Chester Chipperfield, the Vice President of Digital and Interactive Design at Burberry. Chipperfield was “responsible for User Experience and Digital Design for all channels” and was “highly involved in digital retail initiatives” at Burberry, according to his LinkedIn profile. He confirmed the move to Apple on his profile as well as on Twitter

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Tim Cook agreed to allow Chinese government to conduct security audits on Apple devices – local media

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Beijing News reports that Tim Cook has agreed to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. Cook reportedly made the offer during his meeting with China’s Cyberspace Administration minister Lu Wei in December.

China has long expressed suspicion over the security of Apple products, seemingly resulting from frosty relations with the U.S. Government. A state-run TV station in China described the iPhone as a “national security concern” last July due to its location-tracking capabilities. Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted …  Read more