Apple is constructing two new solar sites in China w/ partner SunPower

Apple Solar Center

After announcing a new partnership earlier today with The Conservation Fund to protect 36,000 acres of forest, news of another environmental effort by the company comes as SunPower announces plans to build a new solar power project in China.

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 16, 2015– Continuing its growth in the world’s largest solar photovoltaic market, SunPower Corporation today announced that it plans to partner with Apple to build two solar power projects totaling 40 megawatts (MW) in ABA Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefectures, Sichuan Province of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). When complete, the two projects will be co-owned by Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co., Ltd., SunPower’s project development joint venture, and Apple. 

The two new solar sites, Apple’s first in the region, are already under construction and expected to be complete by the end of the year. Apple previously worked with SunPower on its solar projects in the US, including locations in California, Nevada, and North Carolina. Read more

Chinese Apple Pay launch delayed by stalled bank negotiations, maybe UK too

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The launch of Apple Pay in China, originally expected to be part of iOS 8.3, has been delayed by stalled negotiations with both the state-owned card processor UnionPay and Chinese banks, reports MarketWatch. Developers had originally been told that iOS 8.3 would support UnionPay, but found that support was missing when the update rolled out last week.

A UnionPay employee who declined to be named said the company has not reached any agreements with the U.S. tech company, and no timetable for cooperation has been set […]

Those sources also say Apple has not made any breakthroughs in talks with Chinese banks, which would also have to agree for the Apple Pay system to work.

The banks are reportedly unhappy about the cut Apple takes from each transaction …  Read more

Apple launches iPhone and iPad trade-in program in China Apple Stores

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Apple today officially launched a version of its Apple Store iPhone trade-in program for China, as noted on the individual store pages for China’s Apple Retail Stores.

As is the case in the United States and several other countries with Apple Stores, the program allows a user to bring in an older iPhone model and trade in that device for gift card credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone; the program will most likely not allow a customer to trade in an iPhone toward the purchase of an Apple Watch. But as contrasted with the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, the new China program is limited to iPhones and iPads, and will not support non-Apple smartphones.

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Apple launches in-store Android trade-in program to boost iPhone sales

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In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

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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