Apple renews efforts in India with increased distribution, marketing & installment plans

Apple-India-Monthly-Plans

Despite comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook last year about India remaining a lower priority than many other emerging markets, a report from Reuters today detailed how Apple is “aggressively pushing” the iPhone in India through payment plans and a new marketing campaign. Cook suggested last year that India wasn’t the biggest international focus for Apple and multi-layer distribution in the country “really adds to the cost of getting products to market.” According to Reuters, on top of an aggressive marketing campaign and payment plans, Apple also aims to increase the distribution channels Cook mentioned last year: Read more

Report: Apple bumps Android from top spot in US smartphone market on strength of iPhone 5 sales

On the strength of iPhone 5 sales, iOS has once again reached the top spot for smartphone market share in the United States, according to new data from Research firm Kantar Worldpanel Comtech (via Reuters). According to the report that tracked smartphone sales over the last 12 weeks ending Oct. 28, iOS now accounts for 48.1-percent of the U.S. smartphone market. That’s up 25 percent year-over-year, and it officially bumps Android into second place, but is still just shy of the record 49.3-percent it was able to capture earlier this year.

Android was down from 63.3-percent marketshare over the same 12-week period last year to just 46.7-percent today. As for the rest of the world, you can see from Kantar’s data for other countries in the chart below that Android still dominates in most other countries, including: 54.2-percent of the market in Britain, 81.7-percent of the market in Spain, and 73.9-percent in Germany.

Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive periods. This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3% and achieve its highest ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two periods.”

The report also provided some data on iPhone 5 sales, noting 62 percent came from existing Apple device owners upgrading. Apple also captured 13 percent of iPhone 5 sales from Android switchers: Read more

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou says company is ‘falling short’ of iPhone demand

According to a report from Reuters, citing a statement from Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, Apple’s assembler is having a hard time keeping up with iPhone 5 demand. Gou confirmed previous rumors that the company is indeed “falling short” of meeting supply for iPhones and its other unit, Foxconn International Holdings, is assisting with production:

“It’s not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand,” Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou told reporters after a business forum.

Following the launch of the iPhone 5, reports claimed employees at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant went on strike over quality control concerns and lack of training. The same quality control issues were linked to scratching found out of the box on some iPhone 5 units, but it’s unclear how much these setbacks have contributed to iPhone 5 delays. Another unnamed executive speaking to The Wall Street Journal last month said the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled. To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated.”

To speed up production of new iPhones, specifically the production of display components, Reuters suggested Apple could provide cash incentives to Sharp, one of its keep suppliers that was thought to have contributed to initial low supplies. Following rumors yesterday that Apple might even be considering making further investments in the failing company, Asymco’s Horace Dediu (via Fortune) speculated today that a $2.3 billion discrepancy in Apple’s 2012 financials might have already went to Sharp: Read more

Report: EU authorities ready to accept Apple, publishers settlement in ebook price fixing investigation

According to a new report from Reuters, EU authorities are about to accept a deal with Apple and four book publishers in order to end an antitrust investigation into whether Apple conspired with publishers to prevent Amazon from undercutting Apple’s ebook pricing. The companies originally proposed the settlement in late August, and it would see Amazon go back to its original ebook pricing for two years. By making the deal, Apple and the publishers will be able to put an end to the antirust investigation and avoid related fines:

Apple, Simon & Schuster, News Corp unit HarperCollins, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre, and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, the owner of German company Macmillan, made the proposal to the European Commission in September…Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, which is also under investigation, did not take part in the offer.

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Google/Motorola says Apple’s patent claims thrown out ‘with prejudice’

 

According to a report from Reuters, Google issued a statement that a Wisconsin federal court has decided to dismiss Apple’s “patent lawsuit with prejudice.” The report explained this particular case was brought on by Apple in part to determine what the courts considered fair and reasonable licensing terms for the patent portfolio Google acquired when purchasing Motorola.

Google said in a statement that it is still interested in making a deal with Apple “at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards”:

“We’re pleased that the court has dismissed Apple’s lawsuit with prejudice,” a Google spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Monday…”Motorola has long offered licensing to our extensive patent portfolio at a reasonable and non-discriminatory rate in line with industry standards,” Google said in its statement. “We remain interested in reaching an agreement with Apple.”

Reuters explained the case being dismissed with prejudice means it is officially over at the trial court level. However, Apple can still appeal: Read more

Apple loses appeal over tablets in UK courtroom, must publicly apologize to Samsung

Apple and Samsung’s legal fight continued on the world stage this morning, where the Britain Court of Appeal upheld a previous ruling that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab does not infringe on the iPad’s patents because it is not “as cool.” Reuters reported that after losing the appeal this morning, Apple has been instructed by the court to apologize to Samsung by running ads on its website and in newspapers saying Samsung did not infringe on patents in at least Arial 14 font.

As we all know, other courts around the world have ruled otherwise. On the ruling, Samsung gave the boilerplate: “We continue to believe that Apple was not the first to design a tablet with a rectangular shape and rounded corners.” A California court ruled this summer that Samsung owes $1 billion to Apple. Additionally, some of Samsung’s devices could be in jeopardy from being on the market.

Today’s ruling in Europe prohibits any other legal course regarding tablets and the iPad specifically. While the Court of Appeal denied Apple’s appeal today, the company can still appeal with the Supreme Court. The global legal battle is far form over, as it continues in roughly a dozen countries, with more trials scheduled for 2014.  Read more

Apple vs. Samsung: Opening Statements in the (Patent) trial of the century

Apple and Samsung appeared in a San Jose federal court today, where U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh presides, to give opening statements starting at 9 a.m. PST.

Apple filed the first suit in this monumental case in April 2011. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company claimed Samsung infringed its patents by “slavishly copying” its iPhone. Samsung, a South Korea-based Company, promptly countersued.

This is one of the important cases to go to trial among a slew of other litigations on smartphone patents. If Apple wins, Samsung could suffer a financial blow and the ability to sell its infringing products in a large market. If Apple loses, its “thermonuclear war” against Android smartphone manufacturers could essentially wither away as Samsung collects royalty fees.

This morning’s most notable highlights are below (continually updated).

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Apple makes as much profit on one iPhone as it does on two iPads

A quick Reuters report on an unsealed document in the Apple-Samsung trial reveals that iPhones are much more of a profit driver for Apple than its iPads. To the tune of double (!) per unit.

Apple Inc earned gross margins of 49 to 58 percent for U.S. iPhone sales between April 2010 and the end of March 2012…Apple had gross margins of 23 to 32 percent on U.S. iPad sales, the filing said.

That means Apple makes as much money on one iPhone as it does on two iPads (considering they cost roughly the same amount).

Who likes phone subsidies? Apple likes phone subsidies!
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Report: Apple to sell 30-pin adapter for new iPhone’s smaller 19-pin dock connector

According to a report from iMore’s Rene Ritchie, Apple plans to release an adapter alongside the new iPhone that will allow users to connect accessories using the old 30-pin dock connector to the device’s new 19-pin connector:

iMore reached out to the original sources that gave us the new Dock connector story way back in February just to make doubly sure — and yes, there will be an adapter for the iPhone 5’s smaller Dock connector that will let it work with many of the accessories designed for the old 30-pin Dock connector.

The report noted there is no word on whether Apple plans to include the adapter in the box with the new iPhone or make it a separate purchase. Earlier today, a report from Reuters backed up the rumors and earlier reports that Apple plans to include the smaller, 19-pin dock connector on the new iPhone expected to launch in October. iMore originally reported the new iPhone would include the smaller connector in February, and several reports since followed up with similar predictions.

In May, we posted images of the next-gen iPhone‘s metal back (above) that clearly show the smaller connector.

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‘iPhone 5′ is already for sale in China

Those in China looking to get a head start on their Fall iPhone shopping are given the opportunity by sites like TaoBao, which, according to Reuters, (and the link we dug up) are already for sale.

Apple Inc’s next-generation iPhone has not even been released yet, but opportunistic sellers on China’s largest e-commerce platform, Taobao, are already accepting pre-orders, complete with mock-up pictures and purported technical specifications.

The hotly anticipated iPhone 5 is widely expected to be released sometime between August and October this year, although Apple itself has been tight-lipped about it. Sources have said the iPhone 5 would have a bigger screen than previous models, while Taiwanese media reported the phone’s voice recognition software, Siri, would have more powerful functions.

Buying Apple devices unseen shows what kind of confidence consumers have in the products that Apple makes. Would you put money down on Apple’s next iPhone without knowing anything about it? Read more

Apple threatened with closure of Italian operations over AppleCare antitrust investigation

We have kept you updated on Apple’s warranty situation in Italy with the company forced to pay a $1.2 million fine imposed by Italian antitrust authorities after losing an appeal to the fine in March. Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato claimed Apple mislead consumers by selling its one-year AppleCare warranties without properly informing its customers of a two-year warranty mandatory by European Union law. Today, Reuters reported Apple is facing further fines and “temporary closure of its operations in Italy” if it doe not make changes to its warranty policies:

Apple Inc was threatened with the temporary closure of its operations in Italy and with further fines of up to 300,000 euros ($377,500) if it does not offer customers a free two-year warranty as demanded by Italian law… The AGCM said in its monthly bulletin that Apple was continuing to adopt unfair commercial practices in Italy and noted this could eventually lead to the closure of its Italian operations for up to 30 days.

In March, reports claimed that authorities from up to 10 other countries in the EU were considering requesting Apple make similar changes to AppleCare.

Update: Apple commented on the matter:

“We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint.”

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Apple in court: iPhone data collection, Samsung/iPad patent case, & double iTunes billing

When we reported on Apple’s courtroom woes in March, we told you lawmakers were sending letters to iOS devs (Apple included) and questioning them on their privacy policies about how apps access contact data without explicit user permission. Despite promises, Apple has yet to carry out an update requiring apps to ask for user-approval, but an earlier case over the collection of user data has been given the green light by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California. Reuters reported the lawyers representing customers in the case claimed in court today that Apple “collected data on customers’ geographical locations even after users said they didn’t want to share the information.” The judge is asking Apple to submit relevant documents to the plaintiffs by May 17.

In other courtroom news, ComputerWorld reported this week that Judge Koh ordered Apple and Samsung to “streamline” its patent claims ahead of a trial set for July 30. According to the report, the companies have already cut back the claims included in the case to 37 products, 16 patents, six trademark, five trade dress claims, and an antitrust suit, but Judge Koh said the extent of the case is “cruel and unusual punishment to a jury.” If Apple and Samsung do not agree to reduce the set of claims, the trial could be postponed until next year. The news comes after the companies agreed with Koh to have their CEOs meet for settlement talks related to the patent cases on May 21-22.

Justia.com reported this week that Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims that iTunes is continually double billing a customer for downloads of a song. Apple apparently refuses to refund some customers for these double billing incidents, citing its Terms of Service. A copy of the lawsuit and more information on the class action is here.

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