Apple and China Mobile Negotiating iPhone Deal

Yesterday, it was reported that China’s second largest carrier, China Telecom, will start offering the iPhone 4S on March 9th. Rumors of Apple offering the iPhone on the largest mobile carrier in the world, China Mobile, has been all over the place. Now, according to Reuters, China Mobile officials are “aggressively negotiating” a deal with Apple, but due to a technical limitation the offering remains a roadblock. China Mobile uses a non-standard unique 3G wireless technology, which is causing the roadblock. The network uses their own 3G technology called TD-SCDMA, which is a technology Apple doesn’t currently support on its iPhones.

With over 600 million subscribers, China Mobile is the largest mobile carrier in the world, which means there is a significant opportunity for Apple. That compares to the 117 million total subscribers at China Telecom, which was announced as a new official iPhone carrier yesterday.

Just to put the opportunity in perspective, the total number of mobile subscribers in China are expected to pass 1 billion this year alone! Last quarter, Tim Cook described China’s demand for the company’s products, particularly the iPhone, as “staggering.”

Siri Confirms That It Can Now Speak Japanese

Just last week we reported that  Siri, the voice assistant found in Apple’s iPhone 4S, will get support for the Chinese language next month. In addition, the report also suggested that Apple was planning to introduce support for Japanese and Russian. Today, 9to5Mac reported that watchful iPhone 4S users have noticed that Siri is now claiming to speak Japanese.

This could be evidence that Japanese support is imminent. When asked what languages it can speak, Siri responded, “I speak Japanese, English, German and French. I’m studying some new languages, too.” However, the settings pane does not provide an option for Japanese.

Currently, Siri only supports English (United States, United Kingdom, and Australia), French, and German but in Apple’s Siri FAQ the company promises support for additional languages. The FAQ notes that the company will add support for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Spanish. Support for the Chinese language is given without a doubt due to the strong growth and demand the company is seeing in the country.

Siri Japanese

It maybe possible that Siri’s additional languages will be introduced at the iPad 3 launch next month.

Rumor: Siri Support for Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Russian Languages Coming Next Month

According to Tech in AsiaSiri, the voice assistant found in Apple’s iPhone 4S is will get support for the Chinese language next month. However, the initial Chinese support will only include Mandarin, with Cantonese and other forms being left out for the time being. The report also suggests that Apple is also planning to introduce support for  Japanese and Russian.

Currently, Siri only supports English (United States, United Kingdom, and Australia), French, and German but in Apple’s Siri FAQ the company promises support for additional languages. The FAQ notes that the company will add support for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Spanish. Support for the Chinese is given without a doubt due to the strong growth and demand the company is seeing in the country. Apple launched the iPhone 4S on partner carrier in China Unicom last month and new rumors suggest that it may debut on China Telecom very soon.

Another important market for Apple is Japan, with the company having presence with users and where the iPhone 4S debuted as part of the first round of launching in mid-October. The company has paid less attention on Russia, but along with Brazil, India, and China, the country is considered to be another likely place Apple can gain momentum.

Sprint Sold 1.8 Million iPhones in 4Q 2011

Just a few weeks ago, AT&T reported that over 80% of the smartphones they sold last quarter were Apple’s iPhone. In addition, Verizon revealed that the iPhone represented 55% of Verizon’s last quarter smartphone sales. Today, Sprint had its earnings call for the fourth quarter of 2011. During the call, the carrier disclosed that it sold a total of 1.8 million iPhones during the quarter.

Even though the number reported is much lesser than AT&T and Verizon, Sprint’s iPhone helped achieve a new record high subscriber base of 55 million customers. See, every carrier needs the iPhone. It helps them grow! In fact, when was the last time you heard an Android phone ever do the same for a carrier? It should also be noted that 40% of Sprint’s iPhone purchasers were new to the carrier. I wonder if this is because of the unlimited data they are offering? AT&T and Verizon don’t offer an unlimited data plan for the iPhone anymore.

The carrier also reported that their earnings margins are being eroded by the upfront subsidies the carrier paid to Apple for the devices. Sprint’s total subsidy payments increased roughly 40% year-over-year and sequentially, reached $1.7 billion.

You know what’s interesting? Carriers will reveal the number of iPhones sold in a quarter, but won’t reveal the same for Android phones. I wonder why…

Siri Represents 25% of Wolfram Alpha Queries

Nobody’s using Siri, eh? Well, think again. Today, a new report reveals that about one quarter of the queries to Wolfram Alpha now come from the Siri voice assistant integrated in Apple’s iPhone 4S. The New York Times reveals that because of Siri, the company’s staff has grown to 200 people. Do I smell a worthy Google competitor in the making? ;-)

Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram Alpha, whose staff has grown to 200.

The company first began using Wolfram Alpha when it launched Siri with the iPhone 4S last October. Wolfram Alpha allows users type in complex factual queries, and the answer engine will automatically generate accurate answers from its structured data containing hundreds of datasets.

Now, if we take a look at the bigger picture, this could be a severe threat to Google’s search business. What Apple is essentially doing with Siri is transitioning users away from a search engine to an answer engine. For example, if I type in Google “When is Christmas?”, it will give me a bunch of weblinks. However, Siri on the other hand will give me a direct answer. Since Google’s large chunk of revenue comes from the ad/search business, Siri can directly harm their revenue stream since there are no ads in the service. In fact, it has already proven to do so.

This May be Why Siri is Limited to the iPhone 4S

Learn more about Siri

Even to this day, people wonder why Siri is exclusive to the iPhone 4S. Some say it is because Apple’s “evil” and others say it is due to the new hardware the iPhone 4S utilizes. Nobody knows the real answer to date, but there are many theories that have been formed. CNETreports that according to a new research from analyst Linley Gwennap, who believes that the custom circuitry in Apple’s A5 chip including “earSmart” noise cancellation technology from Audience is the reason why Siri is exclusive to the iPhone 4S.

The earSmart technology discovered is apparently supposed to be betteer at reducing background noise than the technology used in the iPhone 4. This enables Siri to more easily pick out the user’s voice. His source was Audience’s S-1 filing which made its way to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as the company moves forward to becoming a publicly traded company.

Audience revealed details of its Apple partnership in January, when it filed paperwork for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Teardown work from iFixit and Chipworks revealed a dedicated Audience chip in the iPhone 4, but the iPhone 4S integrates Audience’s “EarSmart” technology directly into the A5 processor, the company’s S-1 filing said. […]

“Even after accounting for the dual Cortex-A9 CPUs and the large GPU that provides the A5 with industry-leading 3D graphics performance, the remaining die area seems too large for the usual mundane housekeeping logic,” Gwennap said in a report yesterday. “To reduce system cost and eliminate the extra package required for the Audience chip, Apple cut a deal to integrate the noise-reduction technology directly into its A5 processor, which appears in the iPhone 4S.”

In addition, the maker of the earSmart technology highlights in its S-1, that it is now receiving royalties from Apple. The royalties are lower than the payments it had previously received for the specific chips. Another interesting disclosure the company made is that it has licensed its next-generation noise cancellation intellectual property to Apple, although Apple is under no obligation to use it in future devices.

Commencing in the three months ended December 31, 2011, Apple has integrated our processor IP [intellectual property] in certain of its mobile phones. Pursuant to our agreement, this OEM [original equipment manufacturer] will pay us a royalty, on a quarterly basis, for the use of our processor IP for all mobile phones in which it is used. We have granted a similar license to this OEM for a new generation of processor IP; however, this OEM is not obligated to incorporate our processor IP into any of its current or future mobile devices.

Bottom line is that Apple isn’t being evil. If Apple would have been able to make Siri work great on other devices, they probably would have by now. By the way, hey Android owners, receive that OS update yet?

iPhone 4S & iPad 2 Untethered iOS 5.0.1 Jailbreak Available

Jailbreakers rejoice, the long awaited and highly anticipated untethered jailbreak for iOS 5.0.1 on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 is finally available.

It was only a few days ago that the first untethered iOS 5.0.1 jailbreak was shown off on video. It was functional, but declared to still be in testing. Fast forward just 4 days later, and a public release is available for all to download. The Chronic Dev team have announced they have packaged the exploits that allow execution of unsigned code (code named Absinthe A5) into a working untethered jailbreak. Both the iPhone 4S (GSM and CDMA variants), as well as the iPad 2 (GSM, CDMA and Wi-Fi only variants) are targeted and supported in this release.

It took a mass of crash reports, over 10 million, and almost 10 months of work for the team to find an entry point and exploit the new A5 chip. The exploit consists of a series of both userland and kernel level exploits that were dubbed ‘corona’.  The name comes from a vulnerability that was in Apple’s IPSec IKE daemon, named ‘racoon’. Although the app released today, for jailbreaking current iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices, is only available for Mac OS X users, there is a placeholder for Windows and Linux users. Their respective applications will likely be available soon and will be as simple as a point and click.

In addition to the tools being released, the “iOS Hacking Dream Team” has spawned. It consists of members from the Chronic Dev team (posixninja, pod2g and nikias) and the iPhone-dev team (planetbeing). Both teams have donation pages to thank them for their work and provide funds for hardware upgrades to ensure future devices can be jailbroken.

iPhone 4S iOS 5.0.1 Untethered Jailbreak Shown Off

If you’ve been waiting for your precious iPhone 4S to receive a jailbreak, you’ll need to keep waiting just a bit longer.

Affiliate and member of the Chronic Dev Team, pod2g and DHowitt, have posted a video showing the successful jailbreak of iOS 5.0.1 on the newest iPhone 4S hardware. While owners of previous generation devices such as the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone 4 and 3GS have had a jailbreak for 5.0.1 for a few weeks now, the newer A5 chip proved to be a bit more difficult.

The video shows off an iPhone 4S running iOS 5.0.1, complete with Siri, powered on and off after having been jailbroken. With full access to Cydia and an untethered restart, it’s a fully functional and end-user ready jailbreak. Hopefully the exploit can be packaged into the currently available tools and released once it’s been fully tested.

Be sure to watch the official page for a release by the Chronic Dev Team. It’s also highly likely that the iPhone-dev team will also have their tools updated with the new exploit for eager jailbreakers soon.

iPhone 4S will Officially Launch in China and 21 Other Countries on Jan 13

The iPhone 4S might not be the radical new handset that pundits were expecting from Apple, but it is still more than good enough to set the market on fire. The 4S, which sold 4 million units within just three days of release, was in heavy demand throughout the holiday season. And, it is nowhere near being done yet.

What makes Apple’s stupendous success even more mind boggling is that unlike most of its competitors, the 4S isn’t even available in several markets including China. But, this is about to change very soon. Apple will launch the 4S in China and 21 other markets on January 13. This means that the 4S will be just in time for the Chinese holiday season, with the Chinese New Year falling on January 23rd.


Customer response to our products in China has been off the charts,said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. With the launch in China next week, iPhone 4S will be available in over 90 countries making this our fastest iPhone rollout ever.

The other markets where the iPhone 4S will be launching next Friday are:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guam, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uganda.

Apple to Launch iPhone 4S in Mainland China Before Jan. 23

Rumor has had it for a long time that the iPhone 4S will become available one day in mainland China, but nobody knew when. The iPhone 4S is already available for purchase in Hong Kong. Today, a new report seems to reveal that Apple will be launching the iPhone 4S in mainland China before the Chinese New Year.

iPhone 4S

China’s  People’s Daily  reports that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. This means that Apple has met all of the requirements necessary in order to launch its latest smartphone in mainland China. Now you may be thinking this is just another iPhone launch, but really, it is a big deal. Why? Because Apple has just started entering the Asian market, and China offers the world’s largest mobile phone market. This  translates  into a gigantic revenue stream for Apple. In fact, international sales contributed to 63% of last quarter’s earnings.

The report also says that the iPhone 4S will debut “at the beginning of January 2012,” and will hit the market before the Chinese New Year. That takes place on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.  In fact, Chinese New Year is the biggest shopping event on China’s calendar.