Apple plans Apple University in China, bringing Jobs’ vision to Asia

tim-cook-china-7

Tim Cook speaking at a conference in China

Apple is seeking to cement its business position in China for the long-term with an expansion of its Cupertino-based Apple University program to the region, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. Apple Vice President and Dean of Apple University Joel Podolny is currently interviewing candidates for a new Dean of Apple University position for China, according to the source.

Started in 2008, Apple University is an extensive and growing program within corporate Apple that trains mid-level employees and managers on the decisions made by Steve Jobs and other key executives throughout the company’s resurgence. Jobs created the program alongside former Yale School of Business Dean Podolny in order to keep the culture of Apple alive well beyond the lifetime of executives key to Apple’s early success.

The expansion of Apple University to China will mark a key step in Apple’s history as a global company. It will be the first time Apple has fully expanded the exclusive program to another region, indicating that it wants to extend its presence in China beyond mostly just sales and operations, like it has done in the United States. Apple has previously offered a minimal amount of courses in other regions and has flown-in professors. With many Apple suppliers headquartered in China, it is likely that a notable portion of the Apple University classes in China will be geared toward product engineering and manufacturing matters…

Read more

Pegatron faces renewed labor scrutiny after death of under-age worker at iPhone 5c factory [Updated]

China Foxconn

Update: Apple has issued a statement stating that it sent medical experts to investigate and found no link to the boy’s employment. It has not commented on the fact that the worker was under-age, but it has been revealed that he used his 21-year-old cousin’s ID to get the job.

Last month we sent independent medical experts from the U.S. and China to conduct an investigation of the (Pegatron) factory. While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones.

Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that conditions meet our high standards.

Original story:

China Labor Watch says Pegatron has failed to properly explain the deaths of five young workers at a factory making the iPhone 5c, including one who was found to be just 15 years old, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Pegatron, the Taiwanese manufacturer that employed him, said the workplace environment at the Shanghai plant was not the cause of his illness. But a spokeswoman acknowledged that several other young workers at the factory had also died in the past few months […]

“Considering the sudden deaths of five people and the similar reason of the deaths, we believe there should be some relations between the tragedy and the working conditions in the factory,” said Li Qiang, who runs China Labor Watch …  Read more

China Mobile subsidiary briefly accepting pre-orders for iPhones in possible soft launch

china

With the iPhone launch on the biggest carrier in the world’s most populated market confirmed for 18th DecemberFortune spotted what appears to have been a soft launch in the city of Suzhou. The city is one of the richest in China, so would be a logical place for an early launch.

The attached screen grab comes from a website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited in Suzhou, a city of 5 million just west of Shanghai.

The site went live late Monday local time, when it began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C …  Read more

Apple announces Tech Talks for 2013, focus on iOS 7

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 19.24.53

In April 2013, when WWDC sold out in a matter of minutes, Apple said that they would hold tech talks later in the year. Apple has now sent out the details for these events, with a clear focus on getting developers up to speed with iOS 7.

The talks are going to be held in San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin and London. Unusually, Apple is holding two events in each city this year, one for app development and one dedicated to game development. Topics revolve around the new API’s in iOS 7, to further encourage developer adoption of the new technologies. The talks are being held across October, November and December.

Registered developers must apply by September 27th 2013, if they want to attend. Developers can attend either the app developer day or the game developer day, not both.

Apple in Shanghai court over Siri speech recognition patent infringement claims

Siri promo video (text message reply 001)AFP reported Apple is in court in Shanghai, China again today, but this time it’s over a lawsuit alleging the company copied components of Siri’s speech recognition software. According to the report, Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claimed in pretrial proceedings that Apple infringed its patent related to voice recognition technology via Siri. While the suit notes that development of Siri began in 2007, there is no mention of Nuance. Apple currently partners Nuance with to implement the speech recognition component in Siri, and it is also a market leader that presumably has its own arsenal of speech recognition related patents.

Zhizhen says it patented its “Xiao i Robot” software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.

“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.

“We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,” he added.

The company is behind Siri-like software called ‘Xiao i Robot’ that it claimed was first developed before Siri in 2004. The technology is apparently available on some smart TVs and enterprise applications, but it doesn’t appear to be available as a consumer-facing app for smartphones or tablets. The video below appeared online when the company originally filed suit against Apple last year, and it shows the Xiao i Robot software running on a Lenovo smartphone:

First look at the assembly process of an iPad at Foxconn factory

Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz is the second reporter ever to get an inside look at Foxconn, the manufacturing plant where Apple’s products are made. Today, Schmitz posted a video showing our first-ever look at the assembly process of an iPad as it goes down the assembly line at the Foxconn plant in Shanghai, China. It is interesting to look at how machines streamline some of the process. Schmitz also noted a few other interesting points, such as workers switching positions every few days while making $14 a day when first starting.

 

Read more

Apple, Steve Jobs posthumously granted patent application for Shanghai Apple Store design

Late last year, the New York Times did a great interactive feature on the 323 Patents that Steve Jobs was granted as CEO of Apple.

From Patently Apple today:

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a design patent for their flagship Shanghai Apple Store which opened its doors in September 2010. One of the designers credited for this incredible architecture is the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

He keeps racking them up… Read more

NPR reports on aftermath of Pegatron explosions

With Apple currently allowing the Fair Labor Association to inspect the working conditions of its supply chains abroad, a new report from NPR profiled 25 of the 59 workers injured in an explosion at the Pegatron iPad factory in Shanghai, China last December (audio here – MP3). The explosion was attributed to a build-up of aluminum particles. According to Pegatron, it started in the machinery meant to collect the dust. Today’s report from NPR gives us a look into the conditions of the Shanghai plant before, during, and after the explosion from the eyes of workers.

A similar explosion months before in May at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu was the focus of The New York Times’ recent story sparking controversy over Apple’s suppliers. Zhang Qing explained to NPR that Apple inspected the Shanghai factory just hours before the explosion:

Read more

Apple: iPad has become brandnomer for tablets, letting Proview use the moniker would hurt and confuse consumers

The iPad maker is defending its moniker by insisting the device became synonymous with both the company name and the tablets. PCWorld quotes Apple’s legal representatives who argued at the Guangdong Province Higher People’s Court hearing this morning that Apple made the iPad name famous in the first place:

Among consumers across the world, the iPad trademark is already uniquely connected with Apple. When consumers see a tablet with an iPad trademark, they know it comes from Apple, and not from another company.

No ruling occurred during the six-hour long hearing, and the judges adjourned without setting a new court date. Should Apple lose the appeal, Proview’s request to put a sales ban on the iPad in 30 Chinese cities will go-ahead. Moreover, Apple would risk lawsuits seeking damages. Last week, the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court rejected a preliminary iPad sales injunction until the Guangdong court made its ruling on the appeal.

Apple’s argument might actually backfire, because its legal standoff with Proview has blown up. Wikipedia claims, “A trademark owner takes a risk in engaging in such a corrective campaign because the campaign may serve as an admission that the trademark is generic.” I am not a lawyer, but it seems obvious Apple might be calling upon itself long-term damage with this testimony.

Arguing that the iPad became a generic term for tablets theoretically means anyone could use it as a descriptor. Besides, why do you think Proview brought this battle to the United States? The opposite argument is that Apple actually owns the iPad name, and it is the only company marketing a product that became synonymous for tablets in the first place.

Read more

Apple prevails in Shanghai showdown with Proview, iPad sales allowed to continue

The embattled monitor maker Proview, fighting Apple over rights to the iPad name in China, suffered a blow as the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Court rejected a preliminary injunction against the sale of the iPad. This means Apple can continue selling iPads in its flagship Shanghai stores without fear (and embarrassment) of sales suspension.

The hearings are now postponed, because both companies are awaiting the results of a separate case in the Guangdong provincial high court, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Proview had sought the injunction, saying it owns the iPad trademark in China. Apple, which contends that it previously purchased the rights to the iPad name from Proview, had applied in Shanghai to suspend proceedings on Wednesday. Ma Dongxiao, an attorney representing Proview, said the company doesn’t yet have a response.

Read more

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.


Read more

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

     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