Apple invests $304 million to add 3,600 new jobs in Austin, Texas

Image via Flickr user Glen Engel-Cox

Apple may not be hosting a temporary store this year at SXSW in Austin, Texas, but it is investing $304 million to increase its presence in the state by up to 3,600 employees. According to a statement from the State of Texas and Gov. Rick Perry, Apple’s new Austin campus will “double the size of Apple’s workforce” in the state for customer support and other administrative positions over the next decade. In exchange, cash-strapped Apple will benefit from $21 million over 10 years through the Texas Enterprise Fund. While it is mainly administrative positions mentioned in the statement, we reported in December that Samsung’s new $3.6 billion factory in Austin is now producing almost only Apple’s A5 chip for iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Gov. Perry said the following about today’s announcement:

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200,000 pre-orders later, China Telecom’s 130 million CDMA customers get access to the iPhone 4S today


image via M.I.C. Gadget

Sina Tech reports that CDMA iPhone 4S’s are being snapped up by its 130 million mobile subscribers today after the No. 2 player in the world’s largest mobile market recieved 200,000 pre-orders (and counting) starting last week.

We previously noted that the iPhone 4S on China Telecom would be available in every configuration: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The phone will start at “free” with a contract. China Telecom received its license to sell the iPhone in January. China Telecom officially announced it would begin selling the iPhone 4S last month.

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Motorola takes jab at Apple with Android Voice Actions vs. Siri comparison

Handset maker Motorola Mobility may have found itself in an uneasy place as both Microsoft and Apple are attempting to block its $12.billion sale to Google, but the company’s marketing department is as vigorous as ever. With this week’s spotlight on the latest mobile developments showcased at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, the Razr-maker published three provocative clips on its YouTube channel.

The videos pit the iPhone 4S-exclusive Siri feature against Android Voice Actions running on three different handsets: The Atrix 2, Photon 4G and Electrify. In each instance, Siri runs notably slower (and therefore less useful) than Android Voice Actions on Motorola’s devices.

Both Android Voice Actions and Siri need a network connection to upload audio samples of spoken queries. The cloud does the rest–speech recognition, parsing your query and beaming down the results.

Two more clips are right below.

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Apple sues Motorola in the U.S. over Qualcomm patent license

Apple, today, has filed a lawsuit against Motorola over their use of Qualcomm technology, as reported by Reuters. Apple explains that Motorola has breached a contract pertaining to their use of a patent license and “asks this Court to enjoin Motorola from prosecuting and 4 enforcing its claims against Apple in Germany.”

Specifically, Apple is suing Motorola over their claims that Apple is illegally using Qualcomm’s baseband chip. In its lawsuit, Apple asks the court to ban Motorola from being able to sue Apple over Apple’s use of Qualcomm’s technology:

Permanent injunctive relief restraining Motorola and its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, agents, employees, servants, licensors, successors, assigns, and all those acting in concert with them, from prosecuting patent infringement proceedings against Apple based on Apple’s use of the Qualcomm MDM6610 chip and other Qualcomm components licensed under Motorola patents in any forum other than this Court

The root of the lawsuit is essentially Apple’s strike-back at Motorola for attempting to stop sales of Apple’s 3G products in Germany. The lawsuit’s referencing of Qualcomm’s chips is a nod to the iPhone 4S, which uses a Qualcomm baseband chip, not being removed for that short amount of time when Apple won a temporary injunction of Apple’s 3G products in Germany.

The full lawsuit filing can be viewed here.

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Apple becomes the top smartphone vendor in US as Siri helps iPhone 4S outsell iPhone 4 by 75 percent

We saw the Android-iOS duopoly coming last summer. Now, the effects of this incredibly tight chokehold are becoming painfully evident to virtually every handset maker sans Apple and Samsung. According to a fresh NPD survey from this morning, during the fourth quarter of 2011 Android and Apple together accounted for over 90 percent of smartphone sales in the United States. No wonder RIM is sliding fast. The remaining 10 percent is up for grabs.

Apple, which seized the No. 1 crown from Samsung last quarter, and leapt past Samsung and LG to become the best-selling U.S. handset brand, according to NPD. The iPhone maker grabbed 43 percent of all U.S. smartphone sales, while Android devices accounted for 48 percent of devices. First-time buyers prefer Android (57 percent) to iPhone (34 percent). Smartphones in Q4 represented 68 percent of all cell phones in the U.S., up from 50 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Some perspective: HTC today reported fourth-quarter results and blamed Samsung and Apple for a 26 percent income drop. What’s more, HTC devices are nowhere to be seen on NPD’s list of the top five best-selling devices in the U.S.

Read below for more highlights…

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iPhone scalpers in China on the decrease as Apple resumes online sales of iPhone 4S, shipping by March 2

Last week we told you about a new online lottery system for reservations that Apple setup for iPhone 4S sales through its Hong Kong stores to combat scalpers after it was forced to suspend sales of the device in various locations throughout Mainland China. Unfortunately, until this week, Apple’s online store for China has been out of stock since the overwhelming launch.

After implementing the new reservation policies on Tuesday, and in Beijing on Wednesday, Apple has now resumed online sales of the device with shipments arriving to customers no later than March 2, reported ChinaDaily. Apple’s online store for Mainland China now lists the iPhone 4S with an expected delivery time of “February.” Customers are limited to two devices with all three models currently available in both black and white. An Apple employee confirmed the March 2 date to ChinaDaily:

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Apple combats scalpers with new lottery system for iPhone reservations in Hong Kong

Apple has implemented an interested system to fight those pesky scalpers who spoiled a recent iPhone 4S launch in Mainland China. A newly set up page on the Hong Kong Apple online store has a lottery system of sorts for iPhone reservations that appears to target scalpers employing bots from snatching up all the iPhones everyday. Rather than reserve their iPhone on a first-come-first-serve basis, customers are now required to provide full details, including a government-issued photo ID matching the name and ID number.

In addition, this lottery seems to be valid during a three-hour window each day. Those who “won” a reservation spot will be informed by email before 9 p.m. Interestingly, Apple specifically said it will not be selling iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S to walk-in customers. Previously, the reservation system would open at a random time and it would often fail as bots kept pinging the server all day, meaning reservations would be gone in less than a minute.

Perhaps Apple is keen on implementing this system in Mainland China and possibly elsewhere? Apple’s full message is included after the break…

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A5 jailbreak ‘Absinthe installed almost 1M times over the last 3 days

On Friday, the Chronic-Dev team (along with a few other contributors) released “Absinthe,” the long-awaited free unteathered jailbreak tool for the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Today, the team updated us with a few interesting statistics. The shocker is that 1 million people jailbroke their A5 device in under three days.

The Chronic-Dev team were able to get such exact numbers thanks to statistics from Cydia, the popular app marketplace that comes bundled with the jailbreak. The team was able to specifically pin-point how many installs were on each device: 491,325 on an iPhone 4S; 308,967 on an iPad 2; and, 152,940 on an iPad 2 that had been previously jailbroken (iOS 4). These are certainly impressive numbers.

Like always, the Chronic-Dev team reminds you not upgrade off of 5.0.1 if you intend to keep the jailbreak. Did you jailbreak your A5 device this weekend?  If you did not, make sure to check out the tutorial after the break:

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Nielsen: Apple chasing Android in the US as iPhone 4S had ‘enormous impact’ on recent acquirers in December


Smartphone duopoly, anyone? Source: Nielsen

There is no shortage of surveys proving that Apple’s smartphone market share has benefited from strong iPhone 4S reception thus far. A new report published this morning by reputable research firm Nielsen is another indication of Apple halting Android’s seemingly unstoppable rise as a growing number of United States consumers pick iPhones over other smartphones. Based on a poll of recent acquirers —among those who said they got a new device within the past three months— Nielsen found out that 44.5-percent chose an iPhone while 46.9-percent picked an Android phone. Contrast these figures to just 25.1-percent for Apple in October and 61.1-percent for Android.

Furthermore, 57 percent of new iPhone owners surveyed in December said they got an iPhone 4S. […] The high-profile launch of Apple’s iPhone 4S in the Fall had an enormous impact on the proportion of smartphone owners who chose an Apple iPhone.

Therefore, while fewer people bought an Android device in December compared to a month earlier, Apple substantially increased its share among recent smartphone acquirers. These findings are understandable given that iPhone 4S was announced on Oct. 4, 2011 and it became available 10 days later, selling 4 million units during the launch weekend. Pent-up demand and wider price gamut certainly did help boost domestic iPhone sales as did the fact that Sprint and local carriers Claro Puerto Rico and C Spire Wireless finally landed the device.

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No more iPhones in Beijing and Shanghai ‘for the time being’, Apple warns as analysts criticize China launch delays

Yesterday’s eagerly awaited iPhone 4S launch in China quickly turned into chaos as an ugly brawl between gangs of professional scalpers grew out of control. Beijing SWAT teams intervened to calm down hundreds of angry customers and tame the rowdy lines. The New York Times explained that scalpers hired migrant workers to stand in the line and buy the phone. As Apple said it would not open the store, those individuals, identifiable by matching armbands or hats, got angry because they were not going to be paid.

An Apple spokeswoman issued the  following statement following the incident (via Reuters):

Unfortunately, we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd. And to ensure the safety of our customers and our employees, iPhones will not be available in our retails stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being.

Instead, Apple noted, customers could order the iPhone 4S on the online Apple store or through one of the many China Unicom retail outlets, the country’s exclusive iPhone carrier. However, the iconic smartphone was out of stock on the Chinese online Apple Store at the time of this writing.

As you know, Apple rarely goes on the record unless absolutely necessary, so the statement is an indication of how the launch spiraled out of control. Moreover, the egg-throwing incident inspired funny remarks on Twitter. Really, who goes to buy a new iPhone with a pocket full of eggs? Let’s just hope this situation won’t snowball into a public relations nightmare and become a theme for another anti-Apple advert by Samsung.

In the meantime, one analyst pointed out that Apple must learn from this turmoil and consider launching its products in China and United States simultaneously. Another incredible riot clip, egg throwing video and additional tidbits are displayed after the break.


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Flagship Beijing Apple Store cancels selling iPhone 4S after fight breaks out

Breaking out of Beijing right now: The flagship Apple Store cancelled selling the iPhone 4S after a fight broke out between scalpers (via Mic Gadget). Beijing’s SWAT team is on the scene right now to help tame the rowdy lines. Bloomberg said the angry crowd eager to get the iPhone 4S is pelting the store with eggs.

The Store was set to open at 7 a.m. local time to begin selling the iPhone 4S on China’s second largest carrier China Unicom. We showed you the large lines earlier today as customers gathered. What most people do not know, however, is that the majority of the people in line are scalpers looking sell the devices on the street. Scalpers reportedly started the fight in Beijing, according to MIC Gadget:

There are over thousands of people at the scene and seems like 99% of them are scalpers, according to local media reports. And according to our tipster, the scalpers are well organized, and they are divided into hundreds of teams, just like military forces. Each team includes 10-20 scalpers. Some of them even threw eggs at the glass door of the Apple store, while others threatened to assault the police.

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Huge lines form at Apple Stores in China for iPhone 4S launch

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     The gallery above via Flickr user Liz Phung shows more shots from the launch in Beijing. There are also two images of  employees receiving their first shipments at China Unicom in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province (via xinhuanet). 

It is just over 8 hours before the iPhone 4S officially lands in China and huge lines already starting to form outside of Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The image below is from Instagram user Sanverde who noted he snapped the shot outside an Apple Store in Sanlitun Village, Beijing less than an hour ago. As you can see from the daytime image in the slideshow above (posted by Twitter user Alexander Galimberti on Jan. 10), Beijing line sitters started showing up for tonight’s launch days in advance. To the right is an image from Instagram user sainasilverman who says 400,000 units of the iPhone 4S have now arrived in Beijing.

China Unicom, the only carrier currently offering the iPhone 4S, does not currently accept pre-orders, but it will be offering the 16GB and 32GB models free on two- and three-year agreements. China Telecom, the nation’s third largest mobile carrier, is also expected to offer the iPhone in the future. The device recently received necessary approval from the China Radio Management agency for use on its CDMA network.

Check out the most recent shot of the lines outside the Sanlitun Village, Beijing Apple Store after the break and some more shots of gray market line sitters wearing red hats. According to MIC Gadget, those wearing a red cap have been paid 100 yuan ($16) to line up for the 12+ hour wait. We will be updating with more shots, so email your photographs of the lines to us at tips@9to5mac.com Read more