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Apple reportedly invests in new $1.4 billion Japan Display LCD plant

iphone-6-plus

Reuters reports that Japan Display Inc, an Apple parts supplier, just announced plans to build a new $1.4 billion LCD plant that will reportedly help it become a primary supplier of smartphone displays to Apple.

The report also claims that Apple has invested in the plant, but didn’t disclose any financial details related to the investment:

The company did not name Apple, in line with its policy of not identifying clients. A person familiar with the matter said Apple would also invest an unspecified amount in the plant, which would further the Japanese screen maker’s aim of becoming the primary supplier of high-tech screens for iPhones.

The news follows reports last month that Apple was considering such an investment in the new factory somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.7 billion.

The new plant will reportedly start production in 2016 and increase Japan Display’s LCD capacity by 20 percent.


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: Display, display suppliers, iPhone, japan display, Reuters, suppliers

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Jordan Kahn

March 6th

Apple

Mac

Reuters TV app for iPhone launches w/ on-demand & live video content

Reuters is today releasing a new app for iPhone called Reuters TV that offers access to on-demand video content and live feeds of Reuters’ live coverage of certain events. The app also offers the ability to auto-download content for offline viewing and customization features that Reuters says tailors content to your location and interests. One […]

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Jordan Kahn

February 4th

Apple

Mac

Major Chinese business paper claims iPhone 6 won’t go on sale in China this year – reliability unclear

iphone-colors

Bloomberg is quoting a report from the major Chinese business paper 21st Century Business Herald that the iPhone 6 may not go on sale in China this year due to regulatory delays. Apple was unable to confirm a launch date in the country.

Apple may have to wait until next year to get approval for new iPhones in China after failing to reach agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology this month, the 21st Century Business Herald reported today, citing an unidentified person close to Apple.

Carolyn Wu, a Beijing-based spokeswoman for Apple, said she couldn’t provide a date for the China release. “China is a key market for us and we will get here as soon as possible,” Wu said in an e-mail today …

If true, it would be a major blow to Apple, for whom China is a hugely important market. The reliability of the source is unclear, however, the WSJ reporting last week that the paper had been accused of extorting money from companies by threatening to run negative stories about them.

The official Xinhua News Agency, citing investigators, said Wednesday that some journalists at the 21st Century Business Herald website targeted companies preparing for initial public offerings and forced them to sign lucrative advertising contracts to avoid negative news coverage.

Xinhua said the practice resulted in several hundred million yuan in “advertising contracts” beginning from at least 2010. State broadcaster China Central Television put the total at 300 million yuan ($48.9 million).

Reuters reported later the same day that executives from the paper had since made confessions on state television.

Last year, the iPhone 5s and 5c launched in China on the same day as in the USA. It had earlier been reported that regulatory delays might mean the iPhone 6 wouldn’t launch in China on 19th September, but this is the first suggestion that it might be so badly delayed.

Relationships between Apple and the Chinese government have at times been strained. Last year, Tim Cook issued an apology to China over accusations of poor warranty service were made on Chinese state TV, and earlier this year the same TV channel described the iPhone as a “national security concern” due to its location-tracking capabilities.

At the time of writing, AAPL shares were down 1.1 percent in pre-market trading.

Photo credit: South China Morning Post


Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices Tagged: AAPL, Apple, Apple China, Beijing, china, China Central Television, iPhone, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iphone 6 plus, Reuters, Xinhua News Agency

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Ben Lovejoy

September 16th

Apple

Mac

Reported ban on Apple products by Chinese government just a misunderstanding, say Chinese authorities

reuters

The reported ban on national and local government departments purchasing Apple products was just a misunderstanding, according to statements by the Finance Ministry and Central Government Procurement Centre cited by Reuters.

The statements say that the procurement list referred to by Bloomberg was just one of many, and listed only “energy-saving products.” China claims that Apple products did not make this list despite qualifying because the necessary paperwork had not been completed … 

“Even though Apple has the certification for energy-saving products… it has never provided the necessary verification material and agreements according to the regulations,” said a Finance Ministry fax sent to Reuters on Thursday evening.

Apple products were unavailable for purchase from the procurement website only temporarily due to a “monthly price adjustment,” it was said, and sales of Apple products resumed shortly afterwards.

As with many things involving Chinese authorities, certainty about the real position can be difficult to determine. It seems unlikely that Apple would fail to provide the Chinese authorities with any paperwork they requested, but whether Apple was deliberately omitted when requests were sent out or whether it was an oversight on the part of the procurement agency is something we will in all likelihood never know.

The temporary halt in sales of all Apple equipment does, however, appear to have been routine: Reuters cites several unnamed suppliers as saying that the price adjustments were common.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Apple China, Bloomberg L.P., china, edward snowden, Energy conservation, Government of the People's Republic of China, iPad, Reuters

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Ben Lovejoy

August 8th

Apple

Mac

Reuters summarizes a year’s worth of our Apple iWatch, Healthbook, & medical hires reporting, adds fresh insight

Reuters is out today with a story headlined “Apple on medical tech hiring spree, a possible hint of iWatch plans.” The article is mostly a summary of nearly a year’s worth of our reporting here at 9to5Mac, but does add some fresh 3rd party analysis into Apple’s impact on the biomedical field. Starting from the beginning of the reporting’s details:

Reuters, today: 

Apple Inc is building a team of senior medical technology executives, raising hackles in the biotechnology community and offering a hint of what the iPhone maker may be planning for its widely expected iWatch and other wearable technology.

 iWatch’s novelty emerges as Apple taps sensor and fitness experts:

Apple has begun assembling a team of hardware and software engineering, medical sensor, manufacturing, and fitness experts, indicating the company is moving forward with a project to build a fitness-oriented, sensor-laden wearable computer, according to our sources.

Going point-by-point:

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.15.42 AM

Next, Reuters reports on a series of hires by Apple over the past year. The report says Apple has hired several people from companies such as Masimo, Vital Connect, Senseonics, and Sano Intelligence:

A LinkedIn search shows Masimo chief medical officer Michael O’Reilly; Cercacor chief technology officer Marcelo Lamego; and Vital Connect’s Ravi Narasimhan, vice president of biosensor technology, and Nima Ferdosi, an embedded sensors expert, are among those who have moved over to the Cupertino company.

Apple’s hiring of O’Reilly was first reported back in January along with the hiring of Narasimhan. The hirings of Lamego and Ferdosi were noted in February. Reuters, though, adds the name Alexander Chan (another former Vital Connect staffer) to the mix.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 7.14.21 AM

Next, Reuters profiles the hires of Todd Whitehurst and Nancy Dougherty:

Apple has also hired hardware experts Nancy Dougherty, formerly of wearable sensor company Sano Intelligence, and Todd Whitehurst, vice president of product at Senseonics Inc, a glucose monitoring product, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Here’s us on Whitehurst’s hiring back in July of 2013:

Apple has also poached at least one high-profile employee from Senseonics, a firm that also specializes in sensors to monitor human substances, to work on biometric sensors for wearables. Vice President of Product Development, Dr. Todd Whitehurst, departed for Apple at the beginning of this month, the Maryland-based company confirmed to us during a phone call.

And our report on Dougherty from January of 2014:

Apple has hired away Nancy Dougherty from startup Sano Intelligence and Ravi Narasimhan from general medical devices firm Vital Connect. In her former job, Dougherty was in charge of hardware development. Narasimhan was the Vice President of Research and Development at his previous employer. Dougherty’s work at Sano Intelligence is incredibly interesting in light of Apple’s work on wearable devices, and it seems likely that she will bring this expertise from Sano over to Apple.

DivyaNag

Reuters also notes the hire of Divya Nag, a Stanford researcher:

And most recently, Divya Nag, founder of StartX Med, a Stanford-affiliated startup accelerator, joined an Apple research and development team two weeks ago to focus on an unspecified healthcare product, two people familiar with the matter say. Nag did not respond to requests for comment.

Here’s us on Nag’s hire (three weeks ago):

Apple has added Divya Nag, a rising star in the medical device community, to its in-house medical technology team, according to sources with knowledge of the hire. Nag made her entry into the medical technology world earlier this decade by co-founding Stem Cell Theranostics, a company that focuses on technologies for testing new medicines for the market and how the drugs will affect patients. Nag also participated in the Stanford-based StartX, an “accelerator” for medical technology-focused startups. Nag was just recently recognized for her many accomplishments in the medical and science fields with the Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 award.

Reuters also reports that Apple’s medical space plans go beyond hardware:

One mobile health executive, who asked not to be named, told Reuters he recently sat down with an Apple executive from the iWatch team. He said the company has aspirations beyond wearable devices, and is considering a full health and fitness services platform modeled on its apps store. Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling declined to comment on the company’s health-tech plans or its recent hires. The med-tech community is betting on Apple to develop the apps-store style platform so startups can develop their own software and hardware mobile medical applications.

healthbook-book

This said platform is the Healthbook service that we reported on in January and revealed in screenshots in March:

Seven years out from the original iPhone’s introduction, and four years past the iPad’s launch, Apple has found its next market ripe for reinvention: the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking industry. Apple’s interest in healthcare and fitness tracking will be displayed in an iOS application codenamed Healthbook. I first wrote about Apple’s plans for Healthbook in January, and multiple sources working directly on the initiative’s development have since provided new details and images of Healthbook that provide a clearer view of Apple’s plans for dramatically transforming the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking space…

The article does, however, add some new information. The report makes the important point that Apple has been hiring people with vast knowledge of trade secrets for various companies, and that this could potentially pose problems for Apple, these employees, and the former employers of Apple hires:

“Some of the talent (Apple recruited) has access to deep wells of trade secrets and information,” said Joe Kiani, chief executive officer of medical device firm Masimo Corp, who lost his chief medical officer to Apple in mid-2013. Kiani said that Apple was offering sizeable salaries with little indication of what researchers would be doing. “They are just buying people,” he said. “I just hope Apple is not doing what we’re doing.”

It does not appear that any former employers have made legal moves against recent Apple hires, but that would not be unprecedented. IBM sued former executive Mark Papermaster upon his departure to Apple, and a Blackberry executive is currently amid a lawsuit to join Apple as a vice president in its software engineering group. It’s worth reading the Reuters article for more of that insight and reporting.

Some other recent and pertinent Apple hires not profiled today include fitness expert Jay Blahnik, former fashion designer Paul Deneve, former Nike designer Ben Shaffer, former Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch, sleep scientist Roy Raymann, and optical engineer Ueyn Block. Our sources are also saying that Apple has been exploring potential acquisitions of various medical device companies in recent months, including full-fledged medical product firms that are not smartphone/wearable device focused. So, stay tuned for more on that and various other details as the rumored fall timeframe for the iWatch’s debut approaches.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apps, Deneve, Dougherty, fitness, Health, Healthbook, O'Reilley, Reuters, Whitehurst

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Mark Gurman

May 5th

Apple

Mac

Rumor: Apple will launch 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in Sep, but 5.5-inch model later in the year

iphone6

It seems to be the season for sketchy rumors, with Taiwan’s Industrial & Commercial Times (cited by EMSOne) claiming that the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 will enter mass-production in July, suggesting the usual September/October launch date, while the 5.5-inch model will only do so in September, suggesting that it would go on sale close to the holidays.

It’s not the first rumor to this effect, with Reuters having suggested earlier this month that the 5.5-inch model would be released later in the year, saying that production difficulties with the larger screen were the reason, but with scant details from either report it’s difficult to ascribe too much credibility to the claim.

Consistent reports that Apple plans both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 each have been backed by internal slides from Apple. The phone is expected to be released running iOS 8 with a focus on health and fitness.


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, iOS, iOS 8, iPhone, iPhone 6, Mass production, Reuters, Taiwan

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Ben Lovejoy

April 9th

Apple

Mac

Chinese smartphone vendors disappointed by 5s but eagerly awaiting iPhone 6, says analyst

iphone5_ios7

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, quoted in Business Insider, had both bad news and good for Apple in his talks with smartphone vendors during a tour of China and Taiwan, claiming disappointment with sales of the iPhone 5s but big hopes for the iPhone 6.

In the near term, we sensed disappointment around demand for the iPhone 5s.

That said, we heard great enthusiasm around the potential for Apple to introduce a larger iPhone form factor in China this year with the iPhone 6. In our view, the iPhone 6 with a larger screen (e.g., 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch) has the potential to meaningfully accelerate Apple’s growth trajectory in China during 2H:14. We have not heard this type of excitement in China around the iPhone in at least two years and thus we believe this could be a very special iPhone launch for Apple.

White doesn’t have the greatest record of reliability (he’s the guy who told us the Apple television set was launching last year, with an iRing controller), but lower than anticipated iPhone 5s sales does seem consistent with the rather muted comments made by China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua last month.


Filed under: iOS Devices Tagged: Apple, china, iPhone, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, Reuters, Smartphone

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Ben Lovejoy

April 4th

Apple

Mac

Carl Icahn withdraws $50B buyback proposal as institutional advisory firms side with Apple [Updated]

aapl

Update: Carl Icahn has now withdrawn his proposal in the light of the ISS recommendation against it.

Prominent institutional advisors Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and smaller firm Egan-Jones have both advised shareholders to vote against billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s resolution calling for Apple to buy back an additional $50B of its own stock, reports Reuters.

“(The Apple board) has returned the bulk of its U.S.-generated cash to shareholders via aggressive stock buybacks and dividends payouts,” the ISS report said. “In light of these good-faith efforts and its past stewardship, the board’s latitude should not be constricted by a shareholder resolution that would micromanage the company’s capital allocation process.”

Carl Icahn has been buying large blocks of AAPL stock, with his current holding now totalling around $4.1B, giving him roughly a 1 percent stake in the company. He repeatedly called for increased stock buy-backs by Apple before submitting a formal proposal for a minimum $50B. Stockholders will vote on the proposal on 28th February.

Apple has argued that having large cash reserves gives it flexibility, noting in particular that it may at some stage wish to make a very large acquisition.

“You want to be able to adjust for the long-term interest of the shareholders, not for the short-term shareholder, not for the day trader,” Mr. Cook said. “We may see a huge company tomorrow that we want to acquire or something may happen in the stock market that’s unpredictable.”

ISS did, however, still describe the size of Apple’s cash reserves – which now stand at almost $160 billion – as an “excess,” and said that an urgent resolution was needed.

Apple recently repurchased $14B of its own stock, bringing it to a record $40B over the past year. Tim Cook has stated that it would discuss further buybacks in March/April.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Apple, Carl Icahn, Egan-Jones Ratings Company, Institutional Shareholder Services, International Space Station, ISS, Reuters, shareholder

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Ben Lovejoy

February 10th

Apple

Mac

DOJ responds to Apple’s request to replace attorney in ebooks case (Update: Court denies Apple’s request, too)

Following Apple’s formal request last week that Michael Bromwich be removed from his role in ensuring the Cupertino company meets compliances set by the anti-trust ruling in last year’s ebooks trial, the Department of Justice has pushed back (via GigaOm) with a denial letter accusing Apple of ‘character assassination’.

Regrettably, it is now clear that Apple has chosen a campaign of character assassination over a culture of compliance. Apple could have been spending the past months working with the External Compliance Monitor with the ultimate goal of reforming its policies and training, and in the process change its corporate tone to one that reflects a commitment to abiding by the requirements of the antitrust laws. Instead, Apple has focused on personally attacking Mr. Bromwich, and thwarting him from performing even the most basic of his court-ordered functions.

Apple originally expressed its unhappiness with its working relationship with the attorney appointed to monitor its compliances citing what they believed to be exuberant expenses charged by the attorney and over widening the investigation by interviewing Apple execs not related to the trial.

If Apple was unsatisfied with language and behavior expressed by Mr. Bromwich, it surely won’t be pleased with the DOJ’s expression that Apple’s complaint was ”littered with factual inaccuracies and gross exaggerations.” The DOJ concluded in its response that the attorney appointed to monitor Apple’s compliance expressed no bias and presumably will remain assigned to his duty.

Update: Reuters reports that the court has responded to the DOJ’s letter by denying Apple’s request to remove Mr. Bromwich. 


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: anti-trust, Apple, Apple anti-trust, Bromwich, Competition law, Cupertino California, Denise Cote, ebooks, ebooks trial, IBooks, iBooks trial, lawyer, Manhattan, Michael Bromwich, Michael R. Bromwich, Reuters, United States Department of Justice, United States federal judge

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Zac Hall

January 13th

Apple

Mac

Apple asks court to remove ebooks compliance monitor from his post

ebooks

After earlier complaining that the company was being overcharged by the court-appointed lawyer overseeing its compliance with the terms of the ebooks anti-trust ruling, Apple has now brought matters to a head by asking for Michael Bromwich to be removed from the role, reports Reuters.

An attorney for the consumer technology giant on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan to disqualify Michael Bromwich from serving as an external compliance monitor, arguing he had shown a personal bias against the company.

In a letter to Cote, Apple’s lawyer cited a “wholly inappropriate declaration” filed by Bromwich last month … 

Apple had complained that Bromwich’s $1,100 per hour rate was unreasonable, and gave him a financial incentive to interview Apple execs who were not involved with ebooks and to turn a limited investigation into a far broader one.

A spokesman for Michael Bromwich declined to comment.


Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: anti-trust, Apple, Apple anti-trust, Denise Cote, ebooks, ebooks trial, IBooks, iBooks trial, lawyer, Manhattan, Michael Bromwich, Michael R. Bromwich, Reuters, United States federal judge

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Ben Lovejoy

January 8th

Apple

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