China Mobile said to be ‘keen’ on selling iPhone, issues that remain are ‘commercial and technical’

Xi-Guohua-china-mobile-iphone

China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua

China Mobile, the world’s largest Telecom with close to 700M subscribers, reported mixed earnings today on slow growth of its smartphone business relative to its competitors which both carry the iPhone. Chairman Xi Guohua noted this and said that talks with Apple on carrying the iPhone were progressing.

“Both sides sounded keen (during recent talks),” Xi told a news conference after announcing the company’s first-half results.

“Good progress was made in preparing for the commercialization of TD-LTE,” Xi said, referring to 4G “long-term evolution” network technology that may support newer iPhone models.

Dow Jones’ Paul Mozur noted the remaining issues to be worked out:

Working out the hurdles and signing up the world’s largest telecom would obviously be a big win for Apple and CEO Tim Cook, who would probably love to announce the carrier relationship at the upcoming September 10th iPhone event in San Francisco.   Read more

Digitimes: Initial ‘iPhone 5S’ shipments to be constrained as fingerprint sensors hit low yield-rates

Digitimes, which is notorious for its mixed track record, is out with a new report claiming that initial shipments of Apple’s next-generation iPhone will be in tight supply. The reason being low yield rates for the production of the sensor for the device’s rumored fingerprint scanning technology. That’s in addition to some chips required to power the new iPhone’s LCD.

Poor yields of fingerprint-recognition chips and LCD driver ICs will likely force Apple to reduce first-quarter shipments of the rumored iPhone 5S, which is slated for launch in September 2013, according to industry sources. Volume production of fingerprint-recognition and LCD driver chips for the iPhone 5S should have started at the end of June or early in July, but issues related to yield rates will delay commercial production of the two chips to the end of July, therefore affecting the initial supply of the iPhone 5S, the sources explained.

Furthermore, the site says that production of said device’s sensors should have begun late last month or earlier this month, but production won’t actually begin until later this month. This in turn will affect initial shipments of the new iPhone come September. Digitimes says this will result in 3 million delayed units…

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Russian iTunes Music begins showing up on the App Store at very low prices

Update, Nov 2o: RIA Novosti reported today, citing sources familiar with Apple’s product plans in Russia, that iTunes music in the country could be “delayed indefinitely” as Apple runs into issues getting necessary licensing from artists. Another report from Vedomosti claimed  iTunes senior executive Eddy Cue and iTunes Europe Director Ben King went to Russia for the launch originally scheduled for November 20. The newspaper also cited sources close to Apple as saying the launch is now scheduled for the first week of December, possibly to coincide with the launch of iPhone 5 in the country.

In September, a report from Russian language publication vedomosti.ru cited industry sources and noted Apple was preparing to launch iTunes music in Russia by the end of year. The report also noted that songs would be sold for less than their 99-cent U.S. counterparts, somewhere between 11- to 20 rubles each (roughly 35- to 65 cents USD). It appears Apple is getting ready to launch the service today, with several Russian readers reporting music is now searchable on the App Store in the country. The search provides users with a link to “Continue search in Store…”, and Twitter seems to confirm that many Russians can access music using this method.

Interestingly, as noted in previous reports, iPhones.ru confirmed songs are indeed listed for less than the U.S. store, with most songs currently selling for 15 rubbles (roughly 50 cents USD). We expect Apple to roll out full access the store in Russia shortly.

iPhone 5 Apple online store shipping time drops from 3-4 weeks to 2-3 weeks

Apple updated the iPhone 5 section of its online store to show shipping estimates for the handset have improved from “3 -4 weeks” to “2 -3 weeks”. The iPhone 5 has seen shipping delays since it first went on sale in late September due to high demand and problems in production. Today’s improvements follow official word from Foxconn in October that production for the iPhone 5 has improved. Foxconn said the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled,” and it added production is getting better day-by-day. During Apple’s Q4 earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, “We’re working very hard to get more into customer hands as quickly as possible.” CEO Tim Cook added, “The demand for iPhone 5 is extremely robust. We are in a significant state of backlog.”

Thanks, Luis!

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As Apple event approaches, new iPhone fakes, mockups, and hoaxes become more elaborate

With the September 12th Apple event approaching, anticipation for a redesigned iPhone is heating up. Besides the legitimate information leaking over the course of the past months, there has been fake information, mockups and hoaxes about the device floating around. Over the past few days, the increasing anticipation and speculation for the new iPhone has led to a new level of mockups and hoaxes.

GSMIsrael, this weekend, claimed a world exclusive iPhone 5 hands-0n. Though, their hands were actually on a plasticky mockup built by a case maker.

It gets much worse…

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T-Mobile wants its staff to sell against the iPhone on Sept. 21

In what should not be a surprise to anyone, it looks like T-Mobile won’t carry Apple’s next-generation iPhone. In a memo to employees, leaked by TmoNews, T-Mobile is encouraging its retail staff to begin “selling against the iPhone” on Sept. 21. Of course, Sept. 21 is the rumored launch date for the latest handset out of Cupertino. T-Mobile is probably just making an assumption, rather than having inside knowledge, but you never know.

T-Mobile has been battling for the iPhone for years and does not have much to show for it. Last holiday quarter alone, the nation’s fourth-largest carrier lost 802,000 contract customers (many of whom moved to pre-paid plans).

T-Mobile hosts over a million iPhone customers on its network. Thanks to T-Mobile’s recent push to 1900MHz 3G network (and 4G at WWDC), customers are able to enjoy magenta’s network. Luckily, for those who want to take the unlocked route, another leaked memo today shows that T-Mobile will sell an updated MicroSIM kit that allows customers to use their iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on the network. The new “Monthly4G microSIM kits” will begin arriving in stores Aug. 29 and will allow for T-Mobile’s awesome new unlimited data plan to be used. [TmoNews]

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