Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped by an iPhone factory in Zhengzhou yesterday during a trip in China, and not only did he spend a few minutes having a laugh with an assembly line worker, he even tweeted a picture about it.
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Here in 2014, news of a new Apple Store in the U.S. may be nothing special, but when you hear that Cupertino plans to open 25 retail stores in China in the next two years you sit up and pay attention!
According to Tim Cook, who was interviewed during his current China visit, Apple is set to greatly increase its retail presence in the country — from 15 stores currently, to 40 stores in 2016.
Cook also discussed China’s potential as the biggest Apple market in the world, saying that, “In the future China will become Apple’s biggest revenue contributor. It’s just a matter of time.”
Tim Cook has met with a top Chinese government official in Beijing, to discuss the reported “man-in-the-middle” phishing attack on iCloud users in China, reportedly being carried out by authorities.
While very few details of the meeting have been made public, it is reported by the Chinese media that it took place on Wednesday in Zhongnanhai, the Beijing complex which houses China’s central government.
Cook and Vice Premier Ma Kai discussed user privacy and “strengthening cooperation” going forward.
Apple surpassed analysts’ expectations with $42.1 billion in revenue in the back-to-school season, buoyed by unprecedented iPhone sales and surprisingly strong demand for Macs.
While breaking down the Q4 2014 numbers during today’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri offered insights into the company’s Q4 performance in China, the struggling iPad and hints of new product categories coming down the pipeline.
Here are the biggest takeaways.
Tim Cook sure is picking up a lot of nicknames as of late. At the iPhone 6 keynote he was dubbed the “Zen Master of hardware and software” by U2’s Bono, and at yesterday’s iPad event he was given the codename “Chairman Honeycrisp” as part of the entertaining Stephen Colbert secrecy skit.
Taking the latter nickname as his inspiration, YouTube’s resident Apple songsmith Jonathan Mann (whose work we profiled earlier this week) put together his customary post-keynote song, highlighting the October 16 Apple media event.
The result may not quite hit the highs of Mann’s superb WWDC tribute (a song that is still stuck in my head months later), but it’s worth a watch for the repeating “Intergalactic Chancellor Chairman Honeycrisp” chorus alone.
Check out the video after the jump:
Was Apple’s livestreamed iPad event really such a big yawn? Search Twitter for “#AppleEvent yawn” or “Apple boring” and you’ll see tweet after tweet bemoaning the boring nature of Thursday’s press conference. It got so tedious for some, there were dozens of photos of napping dogs.
“Most boring Apple event ever,” tweeted one. “Bring back the Chinese translation.”
Maybe some of those folks are being facetious, but there’s a grain of truth in the tweets: Nothing about Thursday’s event, except for maybe Stephen Colbert’s crackup comedy bit with Craig Federighi, was super-compelling on the surface. Many of the specs had been leaked (some even by Apple itself), and the rumor mill proved pretty accurate in the run-up to the presentation.
Still, this was no Phantom Menace. I mean really, what were people expecting? Jetpacks, aliens and electric cars?
This is Apple’s big dilemma right now: How do you top yourself when you make the best products in the world?
It’s likely that Tim Cook doesn’t exactly look forward to hearing from Carl Icahn, but it’s difficult to argue that the activist investor isn’t a massive cheerleader for Apple.
As promised, Icahn published his open letter to Tim Cook today and the big surprise (spoiler alert!) is that he feels his 45 million shares of AAPL stock are grossly undervalued.
In a message entitled “Sale: Apple Shares at Half Price,” Icahn explains why he believes Apple stock is currently trading at half its true value, instead claiming it should be priced at $203 per share — based on growth forecast for the next two years, alongside the company’s massive cash reserves.
Bullish activist-investor Carl Icahn is back again! In a tweet sent earlier today, Icahn noted that he plans to send Tim Cook an open letter tomorrow. The contents of this letter are unknown, but Icahn promises it will be “interesting,” to say the least.
Going, going, gone...
The $100,000 iPhone 6 prototype is just the latest in a long string of one-of-a-kind Apple auctions over the years. Check out our gallery for 10 of the other most memorable, once-in-a-lifetime Apple lots ever to go under the hammer.
Photo: Adam Rosen
Apple's original rainbow office signs
Want to pretend you're an Apple employee from the dark days before Steve Jobs made his return? These styrofoam and fiberglass signs hung from the east-facing side of Infinite Loop’s Building 3 between 1993 and 1997. They went under the hammer at British auction house Bonhams earlier this year, ultimately fetching $35,000.
Broken stair from an Apple Store
This broken step didn't come from just any Apple Store, mind you. The cracked glass step came from the spiral staircase in Apple’s iconic 5th Avenue store in New York City.
Sold in 2010 by former store employee Mark Burstiner for $9,950, the step was reportedly cracked by a customer’s Snapple bottle.
Photo: Mark Burstiner
The best Apple Store shirt ever
When your name is the oh-so-ironic Sam Sung, it's quite frankly amazing you were ever allowed in for an Apple Store interview to begin with.
Sung was, however, and when he finally left the job earlier this year, he auctioned off his work shirt, badge and business card to raise money for charity. The eBay auction ended at $2,653.
Photo: Sam Sung
Coffee with an Apple exec
If you’re an Apple fan (and who reading this isn’t?), there are few conversations that would be better than sitting down with one of the company’s top execs to quiz them over all things Cupertino.
That was the rationale behind a 2013 auction to raise money for the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. The prize? A cup of coffee with Tim Cook at 1 Infinite Loop. The eye-watering (iWatering?) price tag: $610,000.
Even at that price he’s not going to tell you what the iPhone 7 looks like, or if Jony Ive is working on an aluminum hover board, but it would still be the conversation of a lifetime. If you’re feeling a bit cash-strapped, you could try lunch with Mr. Fix-It Eddy Cue. A related auction went for "just" $10,000.
An early memo written by Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was never short of opinions. What made this particular note a bit less common, however, is that it was written by a 19-year-old Jobs during his stint at Atari, suggesting changes to the company's World Cup Soccer arcade game.
It was stamped with Jobs' home address in Los Altos, California, and a Buddhist mantra translating as, "Going, going, going on beyond, always going on beyond, always becoming Buddha."
Rare portrait-mode Mac prototype
It's only made from painted foam, but this portrait-mode Macintosh LC from 1989 is a piece of alternate-universe Apple history that never was. It could've been yours for just $2,250.
Apple's founding documents
Apple memorabilia doesn't come much better than this: the original three-page document founding Apple Computer Co. as a company. It was signed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, the unlucky investor who sold his 10 percent stake in Apple for $800.
This auction lot went for a massive $1.6 million.
Bill Clinton's iPod
Back in 2009, the 42nd president auctioned off a signed (PRODUCT) RED iPod as a show of his support for the fight against AIDS.
A few of the songs it contained? Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl," Carly Simon's "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The winning bidder even got a $25 iTunes voucher thrown in.
Photo: Tonic Auctions
Gene Roddenberry's Macintosh
Given that devices such as the iPhone and Apple Watch have brought sci-fi concepts like the tricorder and communicator to life, it's no wonder that the creator of Star Trek would be a Mac owner.
Back in 2009, Roddenberry's upgraded Mac 128K was auctioned off as part of a Hollywood memorabilia show. The asking price was between $800 and $1,200.
Photo: Profiles in History
One-of-a-kind red Mac Pro
Jony Ive and BFF/new Apple employee Marc Newson paired up to create a series of one-off items for Bono’s Project (RED) charity auction. Alongside drool-worthy products like a Leica M and ultra-minimalist aluminum desk was this red Mac Pro.
It wound up selling for a massive $1.5 million, along with a pair of rose gold EarPods -- although not to Tony Fadell, as was originally reported.
Photo: Project (RED)
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will officially be available to pre-order in China from Friday, October 10, ahead of their launch a week later, Apple has confirmed. The news comes just hours after the Cupertino company’s new smartphones finally received approval from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.