Apple to expand iPhone trade-in program to China next week, Foxconn to resell devices on secondary markets

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Apple will begin rolling out an iPhone trade-in program in China in the near future. The option may become available in stores as soon as March 31st, allowing Chinese users to take advantage of the program that has helped boost iPhone sales in several countries already, including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Chinese retail employees will determine the condition of the phone being traded in, and offer Apple Store credit to customers, Bloomberg reports. Devices that are traded in will be sold to Foxconn by Apple. The manufacturing partner will then make any necessary repairs and resell them through its own online outlets:

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China Unicom & China Telecom will sell iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 cellular models for first time

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China Unicom and China Telecom announced today that they will start selling the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 to customers starting March 27. This is the first time the carriers, two of the top three largest in the country, will offer customers in China the Wi-Fi + Cellular models of Apple’s latest generation tablets.  Read more

IDC: Xiaomi’s growth tops Samsung in China, but Apple is making a dent too

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According to the latest numbers from IDC, Xiaomi—the rising star of the smartphone industry—has managed to pass up Samsung in China. In 2013, Xiaomi trailed Samsung’s almost 19% market share by a solid 13 percentage points (at just 5.3%), and was only the 5th largest maker of smartphones in China. Things changed in 2014. Last year, Xiaomi finished off with 12.5% of the market, almost a half-point more than Samsung at 12.1%, taking the top spot and passing not just Samsung, but Lenovo, Huawei, and Coolpad as well.

Interestingly, though, the latest numbers also show that Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus contributed to a decent size dent in both Samsung and Xiaomi’s market footprint in Q4 of last year. Read more

Apple Pay China expansion reportedly stalled by ChinaUnion, regulators

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We learned last fall that Apple plans to bring Apple Pay to China by partnering with UnionPay. Code found within iOS pointed to Apple preparing its mobile payment service for China while MarketWatch reported Apple was working on a deal with the institution. Several months later, however, MarketWatch now reports that Apple is “struggling with its relationship with UnionPay,” adding that Apple has not yet established an agreement it hoped to reach by March. Read more

iOS 8.3 brings wireless CarPlay, improved Google login, new Emojis, China Apple Pay

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Earlier today, Apple seeded the first iOS 8.3 build to developers alongside Xcode 6.3 beta with Swift 1.2. Readers have discovered that the new operating system brings a new wireless CarPlay feature to the iPhone. This means that users can now wirelessly connect their iPhone to the car to bring an iOS-like experience the dashboard. Previously, users would have to connect their iPhone to the car via a USB Lightning cable. We first reported in March 2014 that Apple has been working on wireless CarPlay. It’s yet to be seen how long the wireless CarPlay rollout takes and which cars support it in the future. The new update also, like with OS X 10.10.3, brings easier Google login functionality for users with two-factor accounts:

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First Apple Store coming to Queens as new Brooklyn & Manhattan stores running behind

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Apple is preparing three major new Apple Stores for New York, with two of the stores reaching major new markets for the first time. Apple is developing the first stores for the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, while a new store for the Upper East Side of Manhattan on 74th Street and Madison is also in development, according to sources.

The first Apple Store for Queens will be located in the Queens Center Mall on the second floor. One source says this store will be the largest Apple retail outlet located in a New York mall to date, and Apple is expecting revenues for this store to even beat out some of its flagship counterparts located elsewhere in the state. The store is under construction and is expected to open later in 2015, but an official announcement may come sooner…

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Chongqing Apple Store unveiled as mural removed ahead of tomorrow’s opening

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We recently saw the mural Apple commissioned for one of its five new Apple Stores in China, and today the mural is down revealing the glass cylinder entrance of its Chongqing store, an apparent clone of its Shanghai store design. The store opens at 10am tomorrow.

The photos were posted on Taisy and appear to have originated from MacX. The interior of the store is very reminiscent of the spiral staircase in the iconic glass cube store on Fifth Avenue in New York (photo below) …

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China accused of protectionism through new cybersecurity rules aimed at western tech companies

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The NY Times reports that the Chinese government has adopted a set of supposed cybersecurity regulations on western companies selling technology to banks. These requirements are so absurd that it would be impossible for companies like Apple to comply.

The Chinese government has adopted new regulations requiring companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over secret source code, submit to invasive audits and build so-called back doors into hardware and software, according to a copy of the rules obtained by foreign technology companies that do billions of dollars’ worth of business in China.

The paper reports that while the regulations are so far limited to sales to Chinese banks, they are merely the first in a series of new cybersecurity policies expected to be introduced in the coming months, and businesses fear that they are designed to protect local manufacturers from western companies. It was recently announced that Apple became the biggest smartphone seller in China in the final quarter of last year …  Read more

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

Apple’s Q1 stats: iPhone now makes up 69% of total revenue, 1B iOS devices shipped, Apple Pay & China growth

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Apple announced a lot of numbers during its fiscal Q1 2015 earnings call today in addition to confirming the Apple Watch will ship in April. Some of Apple’s highlights include numbers on Apple Pay since its launch in October, the 1 billionth iOS device shipping in November, and big growth in China as Apple sells a record 74.4 million iPhones during the quarter.

Head below for a roundup of stats and milestones that Apple announced during the call: Read more

Apple grew 157% in China to over $16B in revenue last quarter

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Ahead of Apple’s fiscal Q1 2015 earnings report today, there were signs that Apple had enjoyed significant growth in China and a record number of smartphone sales in the region during the holidays. Today, we get some more insight into that growth, as Apple reported a 157% increase from the previous quarter: revenue of $16.144 billion in Greater China compared to $6.292 billion in Q3. Read more

Live blog: Apple’s Q1 2015 earnings call

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As it revealed earlier this month, Apple will have its quarterly conference call today at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM Eastern to discuss earnings from its fiscal year 2015 first quarter results. These results include sales 74.4 million iPhones, 21.4 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs. Earlier today the company reported that it earned $74.6 billion in revenue during FY 2015 Q1.

While Apple’s previous quarter included the opening weekend of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus sales, today’s numbers include the bulk of the sales in the United States and the initial sales of the new models in key markets including China. Today’s reported numbers do include the first sales numbers for the iPad since Apple began shipping the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, and the first Mac numbers since the Retina 5K iMac went on sale. Apple Pay will also be an area of interest for listeners as the mobile payment service only launched the day of the last quarterly conference call.

Investors and analysts will have an opportunity to ask Tim Cook and company questions during the earnings call, and we’ll be listening closely to bring you coverage. Read more