GarageBand goes to China with new instruments and Live Loops

If you’re looking to bring some new voices to the music you make in GarageBand, Apple’s got you covered. The company has recently added a slew of Chinese instruments including the pipa and erhu to the app. That’s in addition to some 300 loops of musi…

If you're looking to bring some new voices to the music you make in GarageBand, Apple's got you covered. The company has recently added a slew of Chinese instruments including the pipa and erhu to the app. That's in addition to some 300 loops of musi…

Apple and Other Tech Companies Subject to Security Reviews in China

china-flagProducts sold by Apple have recently been subjected to security reviews conducted by a committee associated with China’s Cyberspace Administration, reports The New York Times.

The security reviews aim to determine whether the products “pose potential security threats” to China and Chinese consumers and have required Apple employees to answer questions about encryption and data storage in person. Other foreign technology companies who operate in China are also being required to submit to the reviews.

According to The New York Times, the security reviews are notable because they are targeting consumer software and gadgets that are popular in China. In other countries, similar security reviews take place, but are limited to products that are used by the military or government officials. Chinese officials have not explained the reasoning behind the checks, nor have the reviews been formally disclosed, reportedly leading tech companies and the U.S. government to worry they’re being used to obtain vital security info.

Ultimately, the reviews could be used to block products without explanation or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access. Those secrets could be leaked to Chinese competitors or expose vulnerabilities, which, in turn, Chinese hackers could exploit.

Further, tech companies are concerned that the reviews could set a precedent and that other countries will follow suit, each demanding different checks that would not only be costly but also put the companies at risk of having to hand over further secrets in exchange for market access.

It is not known what specific information Chinese authorities have asked for under the review process, and there is no indication that technology companies have provided sensitive information like source code. In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China told The New York Times that many countries carry out security reviews and that its inspections do not target “any particular country or product.”

During a recent congressional hearing, Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell said China had asked Apple to hand over source code within the last two years but the company refused to do so. “I want to be very clear on this,” Sewell said. “We have not provided source code to the Chinese government.”

After the United States, Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, is Apple’s second largest market by revenue. Apple is eager to grow its business in the country, but Apple has faced regulatory issues in recent weeks, including the forced shutdown of iTunes Movies and iBooks Stores in the country.

In a move that can perhaps be seen as an effort to smooth relations with China, Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing and just this afternoon, it announced a major GarageBand update with support for Chinese musical instruments.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums

china-flagProducts sold by Apple have recently been subjected to security reviews conducted by a committee associated with China’s Cyberspace Administration, reports The New York Times.

The security reviews aim to determine whether the products “pose potential security threats” to China and Chinese consumers and have required Apple employees to answer questions about encryption and data storage in person. Other foreign technology companies who operate in China are also being required to submit to the reviews.

According to The New York Times, the security reviews are notable because they are targeting consumer software and gadgets that are popular in China. In other countries, similar security reviews take place, but are limited to products that are used by the military or government officials. Chinese officials have not explained the reasoning behind the checks, nor have the reviews been formally disclosed, reportedly leading tech companies and the U.S. government to worry they’re being used to obtain vital security info.

Ultimately, the reviews could be used to block products without explanation or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access. Those secrets could be leaked to Chinese competitors or expose vulnerabilities, which, in turn, Chinese hackers could exploit.

Further, tech companies are concerned that the reviews could set a precedent and that other countries will follow suit, each demanding different checks that would not only be costly but also put the companies at risk of having to hand over further secrets in exchange for market access.

It is not known what specific information Chinese authorities have asked for under the review process, and there is no indication that technology companies have provided sensitive information like source code. In a statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China told The New York Times that many countries carry out security reviews and that its inspections do not target “any particular country or product.”

During a recent congressional hearing, Apple legal chief Bruce Sewell said China had asked Apple to hand over source code within the last two years but the company refused to do so. “I want to be very clear on this,” Sewell said. “We have not provided source code to the Chinese government.”

After the United States, Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, is Apple’s second largest market by revenue. Apple is eager to grow its business in the country, but Apple has faced regulatory issues in recent weeks, including the forced shutdown of iTunes Movies and iBooks Stores in the country.

In a move that can perhaps be seen as an effort to smooth relations with China, Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing and just this afternoon, it announced a major GarageBand update with support for Chinese musical instruments.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Forced to Share ‘iPhone’ Trademark in China With Leather Accessory Maker [Updated]

Apple no longer has the exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in China after the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled in favor of leather goods manufacturer Xintong Tiandi Technology earlier in March. As reported by Legal Daily [Google Translate], the decision will let the Beijing company continue to sell leather bags and cases with the brand name “IPHONE” on each cover without fear of legal blowback from Apple (via Quartz).

The Cupertino company filed for a trademark of the iPhone name in China back in 2002, specifically centering around computer software and hardware, but Xintong Tiandi didn’t do the same for leather goods until 2007, the year the iPhone launched in the United States. The leather case maker was granted that trademark in 2010. Following a few years of growing iPhone success, Apple decided to take the case to the Chinese trademark authority in 2012, subsequently filing a lawsuit in a lower Beijing court, and eventually losing both.

IPHONE case trademarkXintong Tiandi’s trademarked IPHONE case

The Chinese trademark authority’s decision stemmed from its belief that “the general public will not link the trademark in dispute with Apple to harm its [Apple’s] interests,” stating that Apple could not prove “iPhone” was a well-known brand in China before Xintong Tiandi trademarked it in 2007.

Apple continued to appeal, all the way to the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, but the final decision has come and echoes the trademark authority’s conclusion that the company can’t prove it was a known trademark before 2007, since Apple’s iPhone didn’t launch in China until 2009. The court’s judgement also made no distinction between the two stylizations of Apple’s “iPhone” and Xintong Tiandi’s “IPHONE” moniker.

Apple retains the computer software and hardware rights to the iPhone trademark, but with the new ruling, Xintong Tiandi can continue to manufacture and sell its “IPHONE” branded cases to the Chinese public. The accessory maker hopes that Apple will work with it moving forward to create a market that is beneficial to both definitions of “iPhone” consumers.

Xintong Tiandi wrote on its website that the court’s decision is a reflection of a “free market.” “We will also make full achievement of the ‘iphone’ trademark, and work together [with Apple] to benefit more iphone consumers!,” it said on the site.

China is Apple’s second largest market in total revenue following the United States, and the company has been following a steadfast strategy of expanding its presence in the country with numerous retail shops opening frequently over the past few months. Still, unease and concern with China’s strict internet policies have led to a few mishaps with Apple products. Most recently, that included the unexpected closure of the iTunes and iBooks stores when a dystopian film depicting Hong Kong in an unfavorable light launched on Apple’s digital platform in the country.

Update: In a new statement, Apple confirmed it intends to keep fighting the trademark battle with Xintong Tiandi, all the way up to China’s highest court. “We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People’s Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights,” the company said in a statement to the South China Morning Post.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple no longer has the exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in China after the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court ruled in favor of leather goods manufacturer Xintong Tiandi Technology earlier in March. As reported by Legal Daily [Google Translate], the decision will let the Beijing company continue to sell leather bags and cases with the brand name “IPHONE” on each cover without fear of legal blowback from Apple (via Quartz).

The Cupertino company filed for a trademark of the iPhone name in China back in 2002, specifically centering around computer software and hardware, but Xintong Tiandi didn’t do the same for leather goods until 2007, the year the iPhone launched in the United States. The leather case maker was granted that trademark in 2010. Following a few years of growing iPhone success, Apple decided to take the case to the Chinese trademark authority in 2012, subsequently filing a lawsuit in a lower Beijing court, and eventually losing both.

IPHONE case trademark

Xintong Tiandi’s trademarked IPHONE case


The Chinese trademark authority’s decision stemmed from its belief that “the general public will not link the trademark in dispute with Apple to harm its [Apple’s] interests,” stating that Apple could not prove “iPhone” was a well-known brand in China before Xintong Tiandi trademarked it in 2007.

Apple continued to appeal, all the way to the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court, but the final decision has come and echoes the trademark authority’s conclusion that the company can’t prove it was a known trademark before 2007, since Apple’s iPhone didn’t launch in China until 2009. The court’s judgement also made no distinction between the two stylizations of Apple’s “iPhone” and Xintong Tiandi’s “IPHONE” moniker.

Apple retains the computer software and hardware rights to the iPhone trademark, but with the new ruling, Xintong Tiandi can continue to manufacture and sell its “IPHONE” branded cases to the Chinese public. The accessory maker hopes that Apple will work with it moving forward to create a market that is beneficial to both definitions of “iPhone” consumers.

Xintong Tiandi wrote on its website that the court’s decision is a reflection of a “free market.” “We will also make full achievement of the ‘iphone’ trademark, and work together [with Apple] to benefit more iphone consumers!,” it said on the site.

China is Apple’s second largest market in total revenue following the United States, and the company has been following a steadfast strategy of expanding its presence in the country with numerous retail shops opening frequently over the past few months. Still, unease and concern with China’s strict internet policies have led to a few mishaps with Apple products. Most recently, that included the unexpected closure of the iTunes and iBooks stores when a dystopian film depicting Hong Kong in an unfavorable light launched on Apple’s digital platform in the country.

Update: In a new statement, Apple confirmed it intends to keep fighting the trademark battle with Xintong Tiandi, all the way up to China’s highest court. “We intend to request a retrial with the Supreme People’s Court and will continue to vigorously protect our trademark rights,” the company said in a statement to the South China Morning Post.

Tag: China

Discuss this article in our forums

Volvo will conduct China’s largest test of self-driving cars

Volvo is about to embark on one of the greatest adventures in the history of self-driving cars… at leat, if everything goes according to plan. It’s planning an experiment in China (reportedly the country’s biggest to date) that will have as many as…

Volvo is about to embark on one of the greatest adventures in the history of self-driving cars… at leat, if everything goes according to plan. It's planning an experiment in China (reportedly the country's biggest to date) that will have as many as…

Investors, Entrepreneurs Upbeat On Energy Storage, China And The Internet Of Things

 For the last 15 years, the Cleantech Forum has been organized by the Cleantech Group. Most recently it took place in San Francisco on January 25-27, 2016. Energy storage, China and the Internet of Things (IoT) were key topics at the forum, with i…

cleantechdead For the last 15 years, the Cleantech Forum has been organized by the Cleantech Group. Most recently it took place in San Francisco on January 25-27, 2016. Energy storage, China and the Internet of Things (IoT) were key topics at the forum, with investors and entrepreneurs confident on their respective futures. Read More

Uber Takes Its Alipay Partnership Global To Tap Into Chinese Travelers

uber china Uber is hoping to squeeze more money from users in China after it announced a tie-in with Alibaba’s Alipay that will enable Uber China customers to pay their bill using the payments service when they are overseas. Read More

uber china Uber is hoping to squeeze more money from users in China after it announced a tie-in with Alibaba’s Alipay that will enable Uber China customers to pay their bill using the payments service when they are overseas. Read More

Africa’s Tech Gold Rush

 Africa is on the verge of something big. This seems to be a quiet, cautious consensus in some investment communities. The past year has been peppered with stories of tech startup hubs emerging across the continent, from Lagos to Kigali to Agadir….

kigali Africa is on the verge of something big. This seems to be a quiet, cautious consensus in some investment communities. The past year has been peppered with stories of tech startup hubs emerging across the continent, from Lagos to Kigali to Agadir. The model of American tech entrepreneurship looks to be slowly sparking a renaissance in the Silicon Sahara. Read More

Angela Ahrendts Says She Views Apple Store Staff as ‘Executives’

angela_ahrendts_heroAngela Ahrendts spoke yesterday to Fast Company about her first two years as Apple’s retail chief and her strategy to improve the company’s customer experience at its global chain of retail stores.

In an interview titled “Apple’s Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business,” the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores explains that, in her first six months at Apple, she travelled to 40 different markets and met with retail leaders to learn about how stores were “uniting people and getting them to collaborate.”

When asked if Apple Store staff feel the same pride working for the company as Cupertino employees do, Ahrendts boasted about the company’s 81% retention rate in 2015:

We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony Ive and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.

Ahrendts goes on to explain that her experience at Apple has taught her just how strong the culture is within the company, which was “built to change people’s lives”, and that the same core value is being continued by Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook:

That foundation, that service mentality, that drive to continue to change lives — that is a core value in the company. And Tim Cook has added his on: He says it’s also our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. So you have these two amazing pillars and a culture built around that. It’s the same in retail and in Cupertino. That is the underlying mission, and how could you know that unless you’re inside? But it is deeper than you would ever imagine.

Apple has aggressively expanded in China under Ahrendts’ retail leadership, with stores opening last year in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing and Tianjin, and several more on the way throughout 2016.

In an interview for 60 Minutes late last year, Ahrendts spoke about how Apple is continually refining new designs for its stores worldwide to achieve a common “wow” factor, so that customers are “transfixed” from the moment they walk through the doors.

Ahrendts officially joined Apple in mid-2014 to replace former SVP of Retail John Browett, who was fired from the company a year and a half earlier. Previously CEO of hugely successful UK fashion retailer Burberry, she is currently Apple’s highest paid executive, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Read more of the Fast Company interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts here.

Tags: China, Angela Ahrendts, Apple retail

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angela_ahrendts_heroAngela Ahrendts spoke yesterday to Fast Company about her first two years as Apple’s retail chief and her strategy to improve the company’s customer experience at its global chain of retail stores.

In an interview titled “Apple’s Angela Ahrendts On What It Takes To Make Change Inside A Successful Business,” the Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores explains that, in her first six months at Apple, she travelled to 40 different markets and met with retail leaders to learn about how stores were “uniting people and getting them to collaborate.”

When asked if Apple Store staff feel the same pride working for the company as Cupertino employees do, Ahrendts boasted about the company’s 81% retention rate in 2015:

We just ended the year with the highest retention rates we’ve ever had: 81%. And the feedback [from Apple Store employees is that it’s] because they feel connected. They feel like one Apple. They don’t feel like they’re just somebody over here working with customers. I don’t see them as retail employees. I see them as executives in the company who are touching the customers with the products that Jony Ive and the team took years to build. Somebody has to deliver it to the customer in a wonderful way.

Ahrendts goes on to explain that her experience at Apple has taught her just how strong the culture is within the company, which was “built to change people’s lives”, and that the same core value is being continued by Apple’s current CEO Tim Cook:

That foundation, that service mentality, that drive to continue to change lives — that is a core value in the company. And Tim Cook has added his on: He says it’s also our responsibility to leave it better than we found it. So you have these two amazing pillars and a culture built around that. It’s the same in retail and in Cupertino. That is the underlying mission, and how could you know that unless you’re inside? But it is deeper than you would ever imagine.

Apple has aggressively expanded in China under Ahrendts’ retail leadership, with stores opening last year in Chongqing, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Nanjing and Tianjin, and several more on the way throughout 2016.

In an interview for 60 Minutes late last year, Ahrendts spoke about how Apple is continually refining new designs for its stores worldwide to achieve a common “wow” factor, so that customers are “transfixed” from the moment they walk through the doors.

Ahrendts officially joined Apple in mid-2014 to replace former SVP of Retail John Browett, who was fired from the company a year and a half earlier. Previously CEO of hugely successful UK fashion retailer Burberry, she is currently Apple’s highest paid executive, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Read more of the Fast Company interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts here.

Discuss this article in our forums