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Apple will start turning prototypes into products outside of China

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A folding iPhone might leave a portion of the screen always exposed.
Turning a design into a product doesn't have to happen in China.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple will increase the number of countries where it does an important phase in developing products, according to a industry analyst. Currently, its R&D-oriented New Product Introduction (NPI) sites are in China, but the company plans to build NPI offices in other places as well.

Recent COVID shutdowns — which have disrupted several recent products — are supposedly the reason for the change.

New China COVID-19 lockdowns could hit iPhone production hard

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A new wave of lockdowns in China could put Apple millions of units behind on iPhone production.
A new wave of lockdowns in China could put Apple millions of units behind on iPhone production.
Illustration: Cult of Mac

Analysts note that new COVID-19 lockdowns in China are hitting Apple’s supply chain hard. And the pain will likely worsen, with production falling behind by up to 10 million iPhones.

And this is not just about iPhones. Authorities have halted production at three key suppliers for iPhone, iPad and Mac assembly. Meanwhile, Apple is negotiating to reopen production lines, though success could be hard to come by, according to one analyst Friday.

This follows recent news of assembly and shipping delays on built-to-order MacBook Pro models.

Apple’s biggest iPhone maker closes major plant for another lockdown

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Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Foxconn doesn't expect a "major" impact to production.
Photo: Apple

Foxconn, Apple’s largest manufacturing partner, was this weekend forced to close one its biggest plants due to a citywide lockdown. Another COVID-19 outbreak has put all of Shenzhen, China, out of action until March 20 at the earliest.

The city, home to 17.5 million people, houses the Longhua Science & Technology Park — sometimes dubbed “Foxconn City” — which features 15 factories, worker dormitories, grocery stores, restaurants, and more.

Xiaomi wants to beat iPhone by matching its ‘product and experience’

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Xiaomi wants to match iPhone in product and experience
The Chinese company isn't happy Apple is king on its home turf.
Photo: Xiaomi

Xiaomi is in “a war of life and death” with iPhone, according to the company’s CEO, and the only way it’s going to regain its position as the top smartphone-maker in China is by matching Apple’s “product and experience.”

The Chinese company was once famous for taking a little too much inspiration from Apple and rolling out copycat products. It has (mostly) moved away from that in recent years, and it hasn’t helped its market share.

Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to the world’s biggest carrier

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china-defends-its-new-anti-encryption-law-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201512Screen-Shot-2015-12-23-at-164347-png
China is a massive market for Apple.
Photo: Weibo/Tim Cook

December 22: Today in Apple history: iPhone comes to China Mobile, the world's biggest carrier December 22, 2013: After months of false starts, Apple finally secures a deal with China Mobile to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest telecom company.

With 760 million potential iPhone customers in the offing, the deal shapes up as Apple’s most important yet for growing its brand in China. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cooks says the country will soon become the company’s biggest market.

“China is an extremely important market for Apple and our partnership with China Mobile presents us the opportunity to bring iPhone to the customers of the world’s largest network,” Cook said in a statement when the news broke. “iPhone customers in China are an enthusiastic and rapidly growing group, and we can’t think of a better way to welcome in the Chinese New Year than getting an iPhone into the hands of every China Mobile customer who wants one.”

Tim Cook allegedly pledged $275 billion to China in ‘secret’ investment deal

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Tim Cook's secret China investment deal: The agreement is said to have helped settle tensions with Chinese authorities.
The agreement is said to have helped settle tensions with Chinese authorities.
Photo: Fortune Global Forum/Flickr CC

Apple CEO Tim Cook “secretly” struck a deal with China in which he agreed to invest around $275 billion of Apple’s money to boost the country’s economy and “technological prowess,” according to a new report.

The five-year agreement was allegedly made during a series of visits Cook made to China in 2016 amid growing regulatory hostilities toward Cupertino. Since then, Apple has become China’s biggest smartphone brand.

Apple fends off Chinese attempt to get around App Tracking Transparency

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App Tracking Transparency will be part of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5. It’s already showing up in betas.
App Tracking Transparency stops developers tracking users without their permission.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple has thwarted an attempt by multiple Chinese tech companies to get around its App Tracking Transparency feature, the Financial Times reports Monday.

The group of tech companies includes Baidu, Tencent, and TikTok parent company ByteDance. They supposedly worked with a couple of Beijing companies to find a new way to get around Apple’s new privacy measures.

However, Apple blocked updates to several apps that included the workaround, called the Chinese Advertising ID (CAID). In doing so, it enforced its rules in a way that may have surprised the companies in question.

China orders Apple-backed ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing booted from App Store

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tim cook in a car
Tim Cook catches a cab with Didi Chuxing's Chuxing's Jean Liu.
Photo: Tim Cook/Twitter

The app for Didi Chuxing, the popular Chinese ride-hailing service, has been removed from the App Store in China, citing privacy concerns.

This is no usual case of Apple booting an app from the App Store for failing to measure up to its standards, though. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on Didi’s board of directors, and Apple previously invested $1 billion in the Chinese Uber rival. Instead, the ban was ordered by China’s Cyberspace Administration of China regulators — citing “serious violations [regarding] collection and usage of personal information.”