Apple Targeted in China by Anti-U.S. Protestors

china-flagApple became a target of anti-U.S. protest in China this week, following an international ruling against the country's controversial territorial claims.

Reuters reports that a "handful" of unofficial Apple stores were picketed and social media users encouraged each other to destroy their Apple products, as the company became a symbol of perceived injustice in its biggest overseas market.

Earlier this month, The Hague declared that China has no legal basis for its claim to most of the South China Sea, prompting state media to call the international court a "puppet" of external forces, and accuse the U.S. of turning the Philippines (which filed the case) against China.

About a week later, on Tuesday, over 100 protestors picketed four unofficial Apple dealers in the eastern province of Jiangsu, urging customers not to buy the genuine Apple goods on sale.

"They chanted, 'boycott American products and kick iPhones out of China,'" store owner Zhu Yawei told Reuters. "But nothing really happened: no fights, no smashing."

Meanwhile, anti-Apple sentiment flooded Chinese social media as people took to microblogging site Weibo to upload pictures of what they described as their smashed iPhones.

Not all Apple users shared the same view, however, and state media called for restraint following the limited protests.

"It's cheap nationalism and outright stupidity," said Shan Mimi, a 23-year-old assistant at a Shanghai law firm. "But if you were to offer me an (upcoming) iPhone 7, then I would gladly smash my iPhone 6!"

"I didn't smash my iPhone," one Weibo user told Reuters. "All I did was find a photo (of a smashed handset) on the internet and let off some steam. Boycotting Apple would only make Chinese people lose their jobs - many work for Apple."

Though the protests were small, some observers expressed concern about the impact they could have on Apple in the longer term, citing protests over the country's territorial dispute with Japan in 2012 that turned violent. Japanese automakers suffered plummeting sales in China as a result of the unrest and cut manufacturing in the country by half.

"There's not much Apple or any other foreign firm can do to prevent such patriotic protests," Canalys research analyst Nicole Peng told Reuters. "These incidents happen every few years."

Apple has faced a number of setbacks in China in recent months, including patent disputes, online rights infringement cases, product security reviews, and iTunes store closures. The company has also seen it lose market share due to increased competition from domestic rivals such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo.

Despite the challenges, Apple continues to expand its retail presence in the country and strategically invest in the market to better understand its wider potential.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

Apple Posts Job Listings for First Retail Store in Taiwan

Apple has posted a series of job listings for its first retail store in Taiwan. The company is looking to fill Genius, Expert, Manager, Store Leader, and Business Leader positions, among others, while applications for the Apple Store Leader Program are open ahead of a September 2016 start date.

Apple-store-taiwan
Apple confirmed to Reuters that it will open its first retail store in Taiwan, but it did not disclose a specific location. The company operates over 40 retail stores in the Greater China region, which encompasses Taiwan, including 41 in mainland China and five in Hong Kong. Many stores are located in Galaxy or MixC shopping malls.

The news comes just one day after Apple announced its first retail store in Brooklyn will open on Saturday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. local time. Apple has eight other stores within New York City limits, including six in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one on Staten Island. Another store will open at the World Trade Center later this year.

Apple has aggressively expanded its retail footprint in the Greater China region, including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, over the past few years. The company recently achieved CEO Tim Cook's goal of reaching 40 stores in the region ahead of schedule, while in the U.S. it has focused on renovating existing stores with new designs.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 9 With Bug Fixes and Feature Tweaks

safaripreviewiconApple today released a new update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced on March 30, 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into the release version of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 9 includes bug fixes and updates for JavaScript, web APIs, MathML, Apple Pay, Web Inspector, media, rendering, and more. As of release 8, Safari Technology Preview has supported Apple Pay in the web browser, a feature set to launch as part of macOS Sierra.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple's goal with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can be run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while aimed at developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Canon Releases Five New AirPrint-Enabled Printers

Canon has announced a series of five new MAXIFY inkjet printers with AirPrint support, including the MB5420, MB5120, MB2720, MB2120, and iB4120 models.

Canon-Maxify-New-Printers
AirPrint enables wireless printing from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac without having to install additional software or drivers. The technology is supported by dozens of printers sold by Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP, Lenovo, Lexmark, Panasonic, Ricoh, Samsung, Toshiba, Xerox, and other manufacturers.

Canon's MAXIFY lineup of all-in-one printers are designed for home or small office use, with built-in copying, scanning, and faxing capabilities alongside cloud-connected features through the free Canon PRINT app. The all-new printers retail for between $149.99 and $399.99 on Canon's website based on U.S. pricing.

Tags: Canon, AirPrint

Apple Releases Safari 10 Developer Beta 3 for OS X Yosemite and El Capitan

safari-iconApple today released the third developer beta of Safari 10 for OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan users, allowing those who don't yet want to install the macOS Sierra operating system to test out the upcoming Safari update.

The third Safari 10 beta for Yosemite and El Capitan can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or over-the-air through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store for those who installed the first two Safari 10 betas.

As in previous betas, Safari 10 for Yosemite and El Capitan does not include all of the features that are available or will be available in macOS Sierra, like Apple Pay on the web and Picture in Picture support, but the Safari 10 functions listed below are available.

- Safari Extensions
- New Bookmarks sidebar, including double-click to focus in on a folder
- Redesigned Bookmarks and History views
- Site-specific zoom
- Improved AutoFill from your Contacts card
- Reader improvements
- HTML5 and legacy Plug-ins
- Allow reopening of recently closed tabs
- Back closing spawned tabs
- Improved ranking of Frequently Visited Sites
- Web Inspector Timelines Tab
- Debugging using Web Inspector

With OS X El Capitan, Safari 10 also supports the development of Safari App Extensions, allowing developers to start creating extensions that will eventually be sold through the Mac App Store. Also unique to El Capitan is Spotlight suggestions for Top Hits.

Safari 10 will be released this fall alongside macOS Sierra.

Tag: Safari

Apple Releases iTunes 12.4.2 With Fix for Short Track Playback Bug

Apple today released iTunes 12.4.2 with a fix for a bug that caused playback issues when listening to Apple Music tracks shorter than 60 seconds. Whenever a track shorter than 60 seconds was played, the next song would fail to play and cause a state of perpetual buffering.

This update resolves a playback issue with short Apple Music songs in your Up Next queue.
Today's iTunes update can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

MacRumors readers first discovered the playback bug towards the end of June and MacRumors was able to replicate it on Macs running OS X 10.11.5 and iTunes 12.4.1. It appeared to be caused by the way Apple Music queues songs, preparing to stream the next song in a playlist or album when the current song was 60 seconds from the end. When a song was less than a minute long, the next song failed to initiate.

Tag: iTunes

Apple Stock Nears Quarterly High as Investors Prepare for Q3 Earnings Report

Apple stock enjoyed its biggest one-day rise since May on Thursday, following a brief dip as investors speculated on the company's prospects in the run-up to its Q3 earnings call and the release of the iPhone 7 later this year.

Shares closed at $98.78, almost hitting their previous high since Apple reported its fiscal Q2 earnings, when the company's stock fell below $100. Shares remain down 26% from its own record high close of $133 set on February 23, 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 11.50.04
The rise followed Wednesday's blip after consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel released data showing that Samsung is outselling Apple in U.S. smartphone sales.

In the three months ending in May, Samsung accounted for 37% of all U.S. smartphone purchases, with Apple at 29%. However, a closer look at the figures showed Samsung's Galaxy S7 series accounted for 16% of sales in the same period, while the iPhone 6S series accounted for 14.6%, suggesting a much closer battle when it comes to flagship devices.

Outside the U.S., Kantar data revealed that Apple's iPhone 6s and 5s were the top two best-selling phones in the U.K., followed by the Samsung Galaxy J5 and the iPhone SE.

In Q2 2016, Apple saw its first year-over-year revenue decline since 2003 along with its first ever drop in iPhone sales, and that downward trend is expected to continue into the third quarter of the year.

The company's earnings announcement for the third fiscal quarter (second calendar quarter) of 2016 will take place on Tuesday, July 26.

Last week, industry research revealed that Mac sales experienced a slight year-over-year decline in the second quarter, dropping to 4.4 million from 4.8 million during the year-ago period. Apple fell behind ASUS to finish as the fifth-largest PC vendor by shipments worldwide.

Apple has not updated the MacBook Pro in over 400 days, with a refresh for its entire MacBook Pro line-up expected in the fourth quarter. The company is expected to unveil its new iPhones in the fall.

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Samsung's $548 Million Settlement Appeal October 11

In March, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear Samsung's appeal of a lower court decision that ordered the Korean-based company to pay $548 million to Apple. The Supreme Court's website was updated with its October 2016 term today, noting that the appeal hearing will take place on October 11, 2016. The hearing will be the first of the day.

applevsamsung
Samsung plans to appeal what it believes are "excessive penalties" for allegedly "copying the patented designs of the iPhone." Specifically, Samsung's petition asks the court to hear two questions: the scope of a design patent and whether patent infringement damages should be based on profits for infringing components or total profits.

The Korean electronics maker has already paid Apple the $548 million settlement, but Samsung can get reimbursed should the Supreme Court reverse or modify the original judgment. Apple had urged the Supreme Court to deny the appeal as it felt Samsung was raising issues that did not "deserve review" in an effort to prolong proceedings.

Ireland Expects EU to Reach Decision in Apple Tax Probe by October

Apple-EUA decision in the European Commission probe of Apple's alleged "sweetheart tax deal" in Ireland is expected to be reached by September or October, according to Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan (via Reuters).
"Commissioner Vestager indicated to me that there wouldn't be a decision in July but there would probably be a decision early in the autumn. My expectation is September or early October," Michael Noonan told a news conference after meeting antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Tuesday.
Apple is accused of sheltering tens of billions of dollars in Ireland in exchange for creating jobs in the country, a deal that could be considered illegal state aid. The company operates multiple subsidiaries in Ireland to pay significantly less tax outside of the U.S., where it earns up to two-thirds of its revenue.

Apple's $64.1 billion in profits generated from 2004 to 2012 could be subject to a higher 12.5% tax rate, compared to the less than 2% that it pays, in which case it could owe more than $8 billion in back taxes. Apple insists that it is the largest taxpayer in the world and pays every cent of tax it owes under current laws.

A decision in the tax probe was originally expected in late 2015, but the European Commission's requests for additional information pushed the investigation into 2016. Apple is one of several multinational corporations to be scrutinized for corporate tax avoidance in Europe recently, alongside Google, McDonald's, IKEA, and others.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tesla and Google Face Regulator Scrutiny After Self-Driving Cars Crash

Google's self-driving car project has appointed its first general counsel after a number of crashes involving the company's vehicles caught the attention of regulators (via Reuters).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was collecting information after a minor incident in March when a Google self-driving car struck a municipal bus in California. On that occasion, it did not open a formal probe.

google_self_driving_car
Tesla however is feeling more intense pressure after one of its own cars was implicated in a fatal road accident recently. The NHTSA has opened a formal investigation into the May 7 death of a Tesla Motors Model S driver in Florida who was operating in "Autopilot" mode when his car crashed into a semi-trailer.

Tesla's Autopilot system uses cameras and radar, but not lidar – a special sensor that uses laser to more accurately identify environmental obstacles. The company said its system would have had trouble distinguishing a white semi-trailer positioned across a road against a bright sky.

Reuters reports that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also looking into whether Tesla breached securities laws by not telling investors about the fatal May 7 Autopilot crash.

The SEC investigation aims to determine whether the accident should have been labeled a "material event" by Tesla, or one that investors are likely to consider important, when the company sold $2 billion in stock on May 18.

In a blog post written in response to a Fortune article on the subject, Tesla explained that all it knew when it notified the NHTSA of the accident was that the driver had died, not that Autopilot was involved. The SEC investigation continues.

Industry executives and analysts told Reuters they expect the Tesla crash will spur investment in self-driving vehicle systems that combine multiple kinds of sensors, including lidar.

Goldman Sachs forecasts the market for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles will grow from about $3 billion last year to $96 billion in 2025 and $290 billion in 2035. More than half of that revenue in 20 years will come from radar, cameras and lidar, Goldman estimates.

Meanwhile, U.S. regulators are currently lagging behind in issuing written regulations for autonomous vehicles. Regulations were meant to be unveiled by July 14, but U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced last month they might not be released until later this summer.

Apple has met with California DMV officials regarding self-driving car laws within the state and multiple reports from The Wall Street Journal indicate that the Cupertino company is exploring the functionality with the possibility of including it in a later iteration of the much-rumored Apple Car.

The bulk of Apple's car research and development is thought to be taking place in secretive buildings in Sunnyvale, California, where late night "motor noises" have been heard in recent months.

Multiple sources have indicated that the Apple Car could be finalized by 2019 or 2020, but a more precise timeframe remains unclear due to possible internal setbacks and other unforeseen circumstances. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently called the Apple Car an "open secret," as his company aims to fulfil more than 325,000 pre-orders for its lower-priced Model 3 by late 2017.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tags: Google, Tesla

Apple Donates $1 Million to Help China's Flood Relief Efforts

Apple has donated $1 million to organized efforts in China working to battle the country's worst flooding in years (via USA Today).

The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), a non-governmental body, said on Monday that it has received 7 million yuan ($1 million) from Apple, the first U.S. company to donate to the CFPA in this year's flood. The group said on its website that it will work closely with Apple to make sure the money is best applied.

China flood efforts
"Our thoughts are with all those devastated by the flooding along the Yangtze River," Apple’s CEO Tim Cook wrote on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

According to China's Ministry of Civil Affairs, torrential rains have affected 31 million people in over 500 towns across the region. Due to the impact of the floods, which have continued since late June, approximately 1 million people remain in need of emergency assistance.

This isn't the first time Apple has donated to relief efforts in China. In 2014, Apple donated $1.6 million to help relief efforts responding to a major earthquake in the country's Yunnan Province that killed over 600 people and caused widespread damage. Apple made a similar but larger donation in support of relief efforts following another earthquake in China in 2013.

The company has committed to charity support on a number of other occasions, including facilitating donations from iTunes Store users following the 2015 refugee and migration crisis across the Mediterranean Sea and Europe, as well as after large wildfires in Alberta, Canada earlier this year, Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

Lenovo Ad Pokes Fun at Apple Fans, MacRumors Gets a Mention

Lenovo recently launched a new ad for its Yoga 900S 2-in-1 notebook, mocking the "iGuy" stereotype of an Apple fan in comparing the device to the MacBook. The ad shows off the Yoga's reversible hinge, high-resolution touchscreen, and multiple ports, with the supposed Apple fan seeking in vain to show how the MacBook is better and more innovative than Lenovo's notebook.


Amusingly, the ad even makes reference to MacRumors as the "iGuy" plays with the Yoga reversible hinge:
To show you why Apple's the best, we're gonna compare my MacBook to this Lenovo Yoga 900S. Because Apple's all about innovation.

(bends reversible hinge) I mean, I'm sure the next MacBook's gonna do that. I mean I think I read that on MacRumors.
Starting at $1099, the Yoga 900S features Skylake Core m processors, a 12.5-inch touch display with up to 2560x1440 resolution, and up to 10.5 hours of battery life in a device measuring 12.8 mm thick and weighing 2.2 pounds. On the connectivity front, the Yoga 900S includes one USB Type-A 3.0 port, one USB Type-C 3.0 port, and one USB Type-A 2.0 port that serves dual duty as the power connector.

(Thanks, killawat!)

Related Roundup: Retina MacBook
Tag: Lenovo
Buyer's Guide: MacBook (Buy Now)