Tag Archives: china

Apple blocking news app in China

Even although Apple’s News App was reportedly known to be non-functional in China, Apple still will not state whether or not Apple News is being blocked by the Chinese government.

The Apple News app does not work using any Chinese network carrier, although success has been found using other foreign carriers. Apple has mentioned that they will be enforcing a privacy policy compliant with China, it is uncertain whether or not this has any effect on the current situation of Apple News.

Apple News Not Working With Chinese Carriers

The app which launched with iOS 9 is officially only supported in the United States, but can be used in other countries as well, just not China.

The Apple News app was downloaded by CNN reporters in Hong Kong and China, this made possible by switching their region to the U.S. The app downloaded without any hassles but upon launch an error message was presented, stating “Story Unavailable: News isn’t supported in your current region”.

Numerous users report Apple News China as not working, although one user managed to get Apple News working when using a Hong Kong based cellular network. This leads us to believe that the non-functioning news app is a result of it being blocked by the Chinese government.

Apple News App
Apple News App

China a Large Source of Apple Revenue

The Chinese government is well known for its censorship, having blocked large sites such as Google, Facebook, Reuters and The Wall Street Journal. It is highly plausible and most likely that Apple has been censored by China. China is one of a very few countries that carry out stringent policing of the internet accessible from their locale.

Neither Apple nor China has released any statements regarding the non-functional news app. According to Value Walk, Apple generated $13 billion in revenue over the third quarter from its Chinese market. The obscurity regarding Apple News is most likely a matter of sensitivity, with Apple not wanting to upset relations from such a reliable source of income.

Apple Watch knockoffs already being sold in China

Stopping the Chinese from making cheap knock offs continues to plague big name companies including Apple. The Apple Watch will be released on April 24 in 9 countries but Chinese manufacturers have already got their versions that look surprisingly authentic. To the untrained eye, only the $40 price would hint at something amiss because original Apple watch has a suggested retail price range of $349 all the way up to $10,000 for the 18 karat model and a whopping $17,000 for the Apple Watch Edition. Of course, with the fake Apple watches, there are no apps, software, and iOS, just a strange-looking Android.








As for the genuine Apple Watch  – the geeks are going crazy. Can Apple really be serious about selling this watch as a status symbol for smart watches because of its iOS and apps? The price of the 18 karat model would be equivalent to that of a 4 year travel holiday, classic 1960 Jaguar, or deposit on a house.

Thus far, what has been released about the details of this product are:

  • Will only work with iOS 8.2 or later, and will need the iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus
  • You can customize the watch, get notification from your iPhone, download and organize the apps using your iPhone. You can also send pre-set messages, animated emoji, or voice messages from the watch
  • Battery life is 18 hours, less if you use apps frequently

The watch can also get heart rate, pulse, send GPS location, count calories, help you get fit, track your movements and activities, be used to pay for online purchases, use Siri, and display your mood for all to see.

What the Critics are Saying

Naturally, the world would be a quieter place without critics and they do have a mouthful to say about the Apple Watch.  Needless to say, the majority are reserving judgment yet still contributing their point of view.

First of all, it won’t function as anything more than a timepiece without the iPhone. You don’t get cellular activity or GPS which means you still have to carry around 2 gadgets instead of one since the Apple Watch does not replace the iPhone, rather comes as an attachment.

Second, there is a lot going on with the display. Instead of just swiping to get data, you will have to turn the crown, tap and swipe making it more complicated to use.

On the other hand, the piece is beautiful even if it looks a bit bulky and is still just the start of what Apple can do with a watch. No doubt, the lines will be long and stretched out on April 24 – and the watches will sell out quickly simply because it is Apple and First Edition. Pre-orders start on April 10.

Apple reportedly agrees to security inspections by the Chinese Government

A rumor was sparked recently with an article published in The Beijing News and later covered by IT World where an anonymous source claims that Tim Cook has agreed to have Apple products be subjected to spontaneous inspections. Those inspections would have the goal of verifying that there are no backdoors and that the data stored on Macs and iOS devices is indeed secure.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook met with the head of China’s State Information Office Lu Wei last November to discuss Apple’s products and the Apple Watch in particular as well as China’s security concerns when it comes to Apple and its software and hardware. The anonymous source cited in The Beijing News article has revealed that Tim Cook had openly stated: “We do not, and will not provide a back door”, while Lu Wei has insisted that “We need to draw conclusions, so that consumers must be assured”. In the end, the Cupertino CEO is said to have agreed to spot checks that should:

Ensure information security and privacy of users, while maintaining national security.

While we have no solid evidence that Tim Cook has agreed to such inspections, it is not as outlandish as it may sound. Even though letting Chinese government officials in on Apple’s secrets is a big risk due to China’s lax copyright law enforcement, the Chinese market is a crucial one for the Cupertino company’s long-term success since it provides a lot of potential consumers and is projected to grow in the next several years. So in that sense the rumor falls into the realm of possibility, if not probability.


For the last few years Apple has been pushing to increase its appeal to the Chinese market in every way they can – from just recently opening their largest Apple Store on the Asian continent in Hangzhou, China, to releasing new products in China on the same day as Apple does in the US, to introducing new Siri languages and features aimed directly at the Chinese consumers such as the addition of Baidu as a search provider, an improved Chinese input method, a new dictionary, sharing capabilities to the Sina Weibo microblog as well as the Youku and Tudou video sites.

So what are the implications if the alleged agreement turns out to be true? The bad news for Apple is that it will be sharing private code and internal hardware designs with multiple Chinese officials assigned to investigate its products until they are satisfied that there are no backdoors or other unwanted software that endangers the consumers’ privacy. The silver lining, at least for us consumers, is that such an investigation will add a layer of transparency to Apple’s internal procedures and possibly reassure us that our data is secure.

iPhone 6 buying frenzy in China is out of control

Everyone, from people in the US to people in China, know of the popularity of any and all Apple products especially its iPhone. The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have made their debut in full force all across the world. However, the price of the new iPhone is what all the buzz has been about, especially in China. The iPhone 6 is now selling for approximately 6 times the price it’s sold for in the United States.

For the base model iPhone 6, the price is selling for $1,430 (with a carrier contract). This is a steep price. In order to purchase the upgraded model, the iPhone 6 Plus, you need to be prepared to shell out even more, approximately more than $2,400!

Who in their right mind would want to pay these prices for a phone? Street smugglers in China selling these phones are confident that they will have buyers. This is evident in the long lines outside of the Chinese mall, Taikoo Li, of people clamoring for this latest upgrade in technology. Long lines outside of Apple stores in Hong Kong are also proof that people are willing to do whatever it takes to get the latest Apple technology available no matter the price.

These long lines outside of the Apples stores in Hong Kong did not come from the stores themselves, but from the smugglers who brought the phones across the border days before they the new phones made their official appearance in Hong Kong Apple stores. This is because there are no restrictions on these products in Hong Kong like there are in China.

These same smugglers have also said that people are even willing to pay top dollar, higher than the already high prices, just to have the iPhone 6 Plus delivered right to their door. Since its debut, weekend reports of the iPhone’s popularity in sales have come from sources in Japan, where overseas Chinese are trying to make iPhone purchases. There are also Chinese in the United States that are trying to make iPhone purchases and have them shipped back to their homes in China for big profits.

A filmmaker in New York, attempted to capture the buying frenzy of Chinese buying iPhones by bringing a Mandarin interpreter along to ask the Chinese in line who they were buying the phone for. This Chinese buying frenzy is a problem for some and a shining opportunity for other, like Chinese smugglers. This is in part because Apple has only allowed two out of three required regulatory steps to be passed, but not the most important one that provides licenses for network access from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Passing this will provide regulatory permission for China to provide phones to everyone when they want them at a much lower price than what the smugglers charge.

Until this happens, smugglers are enjoying their thriving business of purchasing and selling iPhones on the black market. They are making thousands and thousands of money. An example of this was seen in the flashy businessman who was seen purchasing nine iPhone 6 phones in cash!

Apple begins storing iCloud data in China

China is the world’s most populous country, and one of Apple’s biggest markets. Apple, it was reported this week, has started to keep personal data on servers located in China. This marks the first time that an American technology company has stored user data in China.

The rationale behind the move, according to Apple, is to allow for faster transfer speeds of iCloud data to iOS and Mac users. iCloud allows users to synchronize data between Apple devices, as well as store certain types of data in the cloud. 

Google, one of Apple’s main rivals in China, has refused to store user data on Chinese soil due to censorship and privacy worries.

According to a report out of Reuters, Apple’s iCloud data will be stored on servers that will be provided by China Telecom, one of China’s largest mobile telecom carriers. 

In a statement on Friday, Apple said:

“Apple takes user security and privacy very seriously We have added China Telecom to our list of data center providers to increase bandwidth and improve performance for our customers in mainland china. All data stored with our providers is encrypted. China Telecom does not have access to the content.”

Several sources close to the matter have said that Apple will heavily encrypt the data, and will store the encryption keys off shore. That will make the data unavailable to China Telecom.

Privacy and Security

Security and privacy have long been two of Apple’s main concerns when it comes to online data. The California company has repeatedly stated that they have devised encryption systems for services like iCloud and iMessage that even they themselves cannot break. 

Even with these security measures in place, placing data in China is dangerous according to some analysts. “If they’re making out that the data is protected and secure that’s a little disingenuous because if they want to operate a business here, that’d have to comply with demands from the authorities,” Jeremy Goldkorn said in a statement to Reuters. Goldkorn is the director of Danwei.com, a Chinese research firm.

China is the fastest growing market Apple competes in for both its Macs and iOS devices. Sales of the iPhone were up 50% year over year just this past quarter.