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India Journalism Tech

Foxconn Looks Beyond China to India for iPhone Assembly

2019 01 23foxconn

That’s the headline on a story I wrote yesterday with my colleagues Yang Jie, Yoko Kubota, and Rajesh Roy.

It begins:

Apple Inc.’s largest iPhone assembler, Foxconn Technology Group, is considering producing the devices in India, people familiar with the matter said, a move that could reduce Apple’s dependence on China for manufacturing and potentially for sales.

Executives at Foxconn, a contract manufacturer that assembles a large portion of the world’s iPhones in China, are studying whether to include an India project in budget plans, one of the people said. Senior executives, possibly including Chairman Terry Gou, plan to visit India after next month’s Lunar New Year to discuss plans, the people familiar said.

Foxconn’s look at India comes as sustained friction between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology is pushing many companies to consider diversifying their supply chains away from China, a global center of assembly for smartphones, computers and other electronics.

Click through to read the rest.

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Journalism

Why the iPhone Is Losing Out to Chinese Devices in Asia

2018 02 26 iphone asia

That’s the headline of my newest story, which ran last week.

It begins:

NEW DELHI—The iPhone X has set a new benchmark for smartphone prices and bolstered Apple Inc.’s bottom line, but its steep price may be hobbling its future in Asia’s biggest markets and allowing Chinese challengers to grab market share.

Buyers from India to Indonesia are opting for models from Chinese smartphone makers like Xiaomi Corp.—sometimes called “the Apple of China”—along with BBK Electronics Corp.’s Oppo and Vivo.

China’s manufacturers are increasingly churning out higher-priced devices that compete directly with Apple’s smartphones. They often have high-end features, but carry lower price tags than the iPhone X or even older iPhone models. They are targeting potential Apple customers by offering phones with robust hardware such as metal bodies, beefy batteries and unique features iPhones lack, including special cameras for taking better selfies.

Click through to read the rest.

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India Journalism Tech

Our Facebook Live Video On Apple and India

Last week my colleague Eric Bellman and I conducted a live Facebook chat on Apple’s big gamble on India.

The video is embedded above and on The WSJ Facebook page here.

Eric and I discuss India’s promise as the second biggest smartphone market after China (hundreds of millions of people are getting online for the first time on low-cost smartphones), what Apple’s been doing to make strides here (assembling phones locally for the first time, working to open its own official stores, trying to boost the iOS ecosystem, etc.) and the challenges it faces (the biggest: price).

Enjoy.

And for more, see a couple of our recent stories:

Categories
India Journalism Tech

Photos: iPhones, Assembled-in-India, are Here

2017 06 26iphonetweet

I tweeted this on Friday and wanted to share it here as well: as we reported last month, the first-ever assembled-in-India iPhones are a reality.

Here’s a closer look at a couple of images of SE models I snapped at two shops recently here in New Delhi.

2017 06 26iphone

2017 06 26iphone2

For more on the wider context, see our story Thursday on Apple’s push in India. The headline: “Apple Scraps Like an Underdog in Second Biggest Mobile Market.”

Categories
Journalism Tech

Our Scoop Yesterday: Apple Manufacturer Assembles First iPhones in India

2017 05 18 apple india

The exclusive, which I wrote with my WSJ colleagues, begins:

NEW DELHI—An Apple Inc. manufacturer has completed a trial run of the first-ever iPhones assembled in India, in an important step in the U.S. tech giant’s push into the fast-growing South Asian market.

The manufacturing of Apple’s cheapest iPhone model, the SE, was handled earlier this month by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp., which has an assembling unit in the southern state of Karnataka, a state official with direct knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple said in a statement that it has begun initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in Bangalore and will begin shipping the Indian-made devices to domestic customers this month. The first devices could hit stores as early as this week or next, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A Wistron spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on “market rumors or speculation.”

With sales cooling in China—long an engine for Apple’s growth—the Cupertino, Calif., company has been looking for new ways to build its brand in India. Apple has sought concessions on the taxes it pays to import some components, government officials say.

The story was followed by may other outlets.

Categories
India Tech

Scoop with a Colleague: Apple Is Discussing Manufacturing in India, Government Officials Say

Apple

The story, which ran Tues., begins:

NEW DELHI— Apple Inc. is discussing with the Indian government the possibility of manufacturing its products in the country, according to two senior government officials, as the company seeks to expand its sales and presence in the South Asian nation.

In a letter to the government last month, the Cupertino, Calif., firm outlined its plans and sought financial incentives to move ahead, the officials told The Wall Street Journal. Senior Trade Ministry authorities in recent weeks met to discuss the matter.

An Apple spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Making goods such as iPhones locally would allow Apple to open its own stores in India, helping build its brand in a country where it has less than a 5% slice of a booming smartphone market.

Our piece was followed by Reuters and picked up by many outlets:

AppleindiaTM

As I wrote on Facebook, subscribe to The WSJ to get such news before anyone else!

Categories
Tech

IPhone 6 Touchscreen Problems? You’re Not Alone

2016-06-11iphone2.jpg

Shown above and online here are a series of Tweets about a very annoying experience I’m having with my iPhone 6, which I bought less than a year and a half ago, in February 2015.

The touchscreen has been intermittently failing for several weeks – sometimes it works as it should, and sometimes it’s unresponsive, with touches and swipes yielding no response.

There are many accounts online about similar issues with various models of the phone.

Sometimes rebooting works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes locking the screen and then unlocking it again works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Perhaps most maddeningly, at times touches yield delayed actions, or massively sped-up ones. Sometimes the phone even suffers from phantom touches, with apps being opened or screens being swiped completely independently.

I tried erasing and restoring it as a new device, but that didn’t work. The problem persisted.

So I finally took it to an authorized service provider here in Singapore recently.

The tech quickly diagnosed the problem, noting that unfortunately, the phone is out of warranty.

It seems to be suffering from a hardware issue, she said, perhaps due to motherboard or display problems. She said it would cost as much as S$550 (about $400) to fix it, and that even then it would only have a ninety-day warranty, and the problem could persist. One option: I could sell the phone to them – for about $50.

I asked the tech and a more senior manager if this is a problem they see frequently, and they said they had seen it before.

Sadly, thus, I don’t have a fix to share. But if you’re similarly beset by the issue, just know this: You’re not alone.

Categories
Journalism Tech

By Me Last Week: How Apple’s Trying to Win India

2016-01-27_apple_india
An ad for Apple’s iPhone 6S in the Bangalore, India airport

I was in India recently working on a story about Apple’s strategy to win over consumers in the world’s second-most-populous country.

The piece, which ran last week, begins:

NEW DELHI—Amid concerns that China’s slowing economic growth could sap demand for iPhones, Apple Inc. is increasingly turning its attention to one of the last big countries it has yet to conquer: India.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has been quietly building market share in the world’s second-most-populous nation by boosting advertising, bulking up its distribution network, arranging interest-free phone loans and lowering prices.

On Wednesday, Apple said it has sought the Indian government’s approval to open its own retail stores and sell products online. Apple currently sells its products in India through a network of Indian-owned distribution companies and retailers.

“India has huge potential” for Apple, said Rushabh Doshi, an analyst at research firm Canalys in Singapore.

Click through to read the rest.

With Apple yesterday saying in its quarterly results that iPhone sales have been growing at the slowest pace since the device was introduced in 2007, emerging markets are increasingly important for the tech titan.

That’s because hundreds of millions of people, many of them young, are upgrading smartphones or buying them for the first time in countries like India, Indonesia and Brazil — while at the same time some larger markets, like China, may be getting saturated.

(Price, of course, is an issue in India: The annual GDP per capita is $1500, and Apple is trying to sell phones that cost upwards of $1000 there, though some models also cost less than half that. But as I wrote in the story, Apple offers payment plans, and still sells older, less expensive models like the iPhone 4S and 5S in the country.)

In the conference call for Apple’s earnings, CEO Tim Cook had this to say about India:

  • Cook also mentions India, saying the demographics looks good for Apple. The population is young, and Apple is putting a lot of resources into building there.

And:

To TimmyG: Cook spent a long time talking about India — longer than I was able to keep up with. But his point was yours: that this big and growing nation is made up of a young population.

Indeed. Stay tuned to see how Apple fares in the quarters and years ahead.

Categories
Tech

My iPhone Home Screen, Early 2016

2016-01-05iphone

I’ve seen a few people posting about what they’ve got on their iPhone home screens now, with the new year upon us, and was inspired to do the same. I look forward to seeing how this changes over time.

Here goes:

On the top row, I’ve got the standard calendar app (I’ve tried the popular iCal alternatives, notably Fantastical, but was never sold on them), then the Photos app, standard Camera app, and — of course — Instagram. I like to keep all three photo-snapping-related apps in the top row, where I can reach them easily.

The second row holds the standard Clock app, Safari browser, the Voice Memos app (for easy access when conducting interviews; I use my iPhone to make backup recording should my stand-alone digital audio recorder fail), and Google Maps.

Row three contains 1Password, an insdispensible password manager that is one of the very first apps I install on any iDevice or Mac); the Settings app, Notesy (a simple app I’ve used for years that allows note taking via plain text files, syncable via Dropbox), and the standard Twitter app.

In row four I’ve got the excellent Pomodoro Timer, which I use to track quick dashes of uninterrupted work, per the pomodoro technique; the Pedometer++ app, for measuring steps; my favorite podcast app, Overcast; and, of course, the WhatsApp messaging app.

The fifth row is a row of containers. I love messaging apps so much I have an entire folder dedicated to the practice; it contains no fewer than 13 apps. Then Web/social is where I keep Facebook, Vine, and my favorite Pinboard app, Pinswift.

Apple Misc. contains the Apple stuff I mostly only deal with when I have to: the App Store, iTunes Store, etc. The red 1,374 represents the huge number of unread emails in my Gmail account. More on that below.

News contains our WSJ app, the NYT app, Quartz, Newsblur (a replacement I found when Google Reader died, and which I still love), and my favorite app for keeping track of English Premier League scores, theScore.

In row six are a couple more containers: Utilities, which holds the excellent calculator killer, Soulver; the Aeropress Timer (yes, an app for making coffee) and more. Navigation holds transport apps like GrabTaxi and Uber. And then there’s my two main reading apps, Kindle and Instapaper.

In the very bottom row are the Phone icon — unlike some, I still often use my phone for actual voice calling — and the app for my Gmail replacement, the awesome Fastmail. (I switched from Gmail to Fastmail not long ago. I may write about that in the future.)

Then there’s the normal SMS text message icon, and my latest streaming music service of choice, Spotify.

I wonder how this will look this time next year…

Categories
Bangkok

Off topic: My Favorite Bangkok Sunset Photos

Photographic cliché or not, I am a sucker for sunsets.

I often post Bangkok sunset pics to my Instagram feed (I’m @newley). And I just realized I’ve snapped many such images over the last year or so.

Here are some of my faves. All images were taken with an iPod Touch or an iPhone 3GS, and all — except for the very last one — were processed with Instagram filters.

Colorful Bangkok sunset. #MotherNaturesFireWorks

Another vibrant Bangkok sunset. Keep 'em coming, I say.

Magenta Bangkok sunset.

Bangkok sunset.

Bangkok sunset: oranges, blues, clouds, and more.

Bangkok sunset

Another reddish Bangkok sunset. Love it.

Vivid, reddish Bangkok sunset this evening.

Bangkok sunset.

Bangkok sunset

I took this one from Suvarnabhumi airport:

Suvarnabhumi sunset. Waiting for Sec. Clinton to arrive from the Philippines.

Here’s the gloaming as seen from my office:

One reason I like working from home: the view of Bangkok sunsets from my office.

And finally, this one may be my favorite. I didn’t apply any filters or effects:

Multicolor Bangkok sunset, Sun. evening edition. No filter.

Okay. Thanks for indulging my inner Ansel Adams. Normal programming will resume shortly…