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            [post_content] => Jakarta. The iPhone 7, Apple's flagship smartphone, will be available in Indonesia by the end of this month after the whole iPhone lineup went missing from Southeast Asia's largest smartphone market for more than a year.

Antaranews.com reported that starting March 31, the iPhone 7 will be available in 47 outlets of iBox stores, a chain of stores selling Apple products owned by Erajaya Swasembada, a Jakarta-listed handset manufacturer, distributor and retail provider and 223 outlets of Erafone, mobile phone and mobile phone accesories retailer owned by Erajaya.


Customers, however, can start placing orders for the phone by March 24, the agency reported, citing a statement from Erajaya dated Friday (17/03).

Erajaya plans to launch iPhone 7 at iBox in Central Park, West Jakarta, iBox at Kelapa Gading mall, East Jakarta, iBox at Kota Kasablanka mall in South Jakarta, iBox at Roxy Mas at West Java, Erafone at Bandung Electronic Center mall in West Java and Erafone at Sun Plaza in Medan, North Sumatera.

Local mobile phone operators purchase offers for iPhone 7 that is bundled with its network service and pre-order will start on March 24.

Telekomunikasi Selular, or Telkomsel, Indonesia's largest mobile phone operator, currently does not have a plan to release the iPhone 7, according to Adita Irawati, vice president for public relations at Telkomsel.

Apple has not been able to sell the previous iterations of its iconic iPhone — the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE —  in Indonesia since January last year after the government imposed a rule requiring all makers of 4G smartphones to establish local manufacturing or research facilities.

Apple finally agreed to build research and development facilities in three cities in Indonesia early this year, paving the way for its return to the Indonesian market.

Rival Samsung remains the dominating force in the market — despite being hit hard by its Galaxy Note 7 exploding-phone recall — with Chinese manufacturer Oppo coming close behind. They and other rivals like Xiaomi, LG and local smartphone maker Evercoss had already set up their 4G manufacturing facilities in Indonesia in 2015.

The article was first published on Saturday (18/03) at 4.57 p.m.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. The government has decided to allow Apple to sell the latest version of its iPhone in Indonesia after the United States-based technology giant agreed to build a research and development center in the archipelago.

The previous version of Apple's smartphone, the iPhone 6, has been absent from Indonesian shopping malls after it failed to clear a government regulation that requires all 4G handheld devices to have at least 30 percent local content, either in hardware components, software, or investment value in the country.

Rudi Hendarwin, head of communication device standardization at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said the government decided to grant permits to Apple after the company gave a commitment to establish a local R&D center over the next six months.

"The local content certificate has been issued for the iPhone 7 this month, so Apple can start selling the devices here," Rudi said.

"We will continue to monitor and evaluate the extent of Apple's investment every three months. If it cannot meet the requirement by July 27, 2017, we will withdraw its certificate," Rudi said.

The ministry did not reveal how much Apple was planning to invest in Indonesia.

Under Industry Ministry regulations that become effective in July, direct investment of between Rp 550 billion and Rp 700 billion ($41 million-$52 million) in Indonesia would automatically clear a smartphone maker from the 30-percent local-content threshold.

Indonesia is the third-largest smartphone market in Asia Pacific after China and India, with 65 million devices estimated to be sold this year, up 18 percent from last year, according to global research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

Samsung leads the pack with 26 percent market share, offering a wide range of products from premium devices, such as the Galaxy series, to devices that cost around Rp 1,3 million to Rp 2 million – a price range preferred by most Indonesian consumers.

China's OPPO follows in a distant second place with 19 percent market share and Taiwan's Asus with 9 percent. Home-grown brand Advan is in fourth place with 8 percent market share, while China's Lenovo holds 6 percent, IDC data showed.
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            [post_content] => Taipei. Taiwan's annual export orders grew for the second straight month in September, as vendors rushed to stock up on supplies for Apple's iPhone 7 and other tech gadgets to meet year-end demand.

Stronger-than-expected orders are in line with the government's improved economic growth forecast for 2016 and market expectations the central bank will hold off on further interest rate cuts to support the export-reliant economy.

September orders rose 3.9 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said, after rising a surprising 8.3 percent in August - its first gain in 17 months. A Reuters poll had forecast a 1.83 percent rise for September.

"The better-than-expected export order growth benefited entirely from Apple Inc's new iPhone," said Leon Chu, an analyst of Franklin Templeton SinoAm Securities Investment Management Inc in Taipei.

"If export orders in the fourth quarter grow 3.5 to 5 percent each month, then it means the overall economy is improving," he said. "After all, global trade volume is still decreasing. It would be difficult for Taiwan to grow on its own."

The ministry attributed the growth to strong demand for handheld devices.

"Information and telecommunications products order value hit a record high in September," the ministry said in a statement. "It is mainly due to the launch of global brands' new handheld devices and increased demand for mid- to low-end handheld devices."

The ministry added that it sees October's order value rising from September.

Taiwan's export orders are seen as a leading indicator for Asia's exports and reflect shipment activity 2-3 months ahead. Traditionally, exports are bigger in the second half of the year due to new product launches before Christmas.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), an Apple Inc supplier, has raised its forecast for 2016 revenue after setting new profit and sales records in the third quarter, as analysts said it was riding high on supplying parts for iPhone 7.

Orders from most of Taiwan's key markets increased with those from China up 3.7 percent, the United States 12.9 percent and Europe 1.8 percent. Orders from Japan dropped 14.9 percent.

Taiwan's government had expected stronger global demand to lift the island's prospects, raising its 2016 GDP outlook in August after cutting the forecast three times in a row.

The central bank in September left its policy rate unchanged for the first time after four consecutive cuts, saying it has done all it can to support the economy and called for more structural policies to keep growth on track.

Reuters
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            [post_content] => Taipei. Taiwan's exports in September unexpectedly fell, but those of electronic components grew well as the Christmas shopping season nears and there's optimism shipments during October will increase.

The drop is seen as a little bump, as most analysts feel the island's economy has stabilized and its central bank - which earlier cut interest rates four times - will again hold them steady at its next policy meeting in December.

Exports, which increased the two previous months, in September contracted 1.8 percent from a year earlier, the finance ministry said on Friday. A Reuters poll forecast a 3.2 percent expansion.

The government didn't show concern over September's drop, attributed in part to Typhoon Megi, which basically shut down for two days last month.

"Despite disruption by the typhoon, electronics components continued to show growth," ministry official Beatrice Tsai told a briefing. "It is only temporary. There is no need to worry about it too much."

The ministry said it expects trade performance to pick up in the fourth quarter.

Taiwan is one of Asia's major exporters, especially of high-tech goods, and its export trend is a key gauge of global demand for technology gadgets.

Exports of electronic components, including semiconductors, rose 16.8 percent in September from a year earlier, the ministry said. The only other products showing growth were information, communications and visual and audio ones, up 0.6 percent.

BIG CONTRIBUTION

Apple Inc.'s launch of the iPhone 7 will benefit Taiwan's component suppliers for a time, some analysts said.

"iPhone 7 made a big contribution to September export, and that will continue into October," said Kevin Wang at Taishin Securities Investment Advisory.

The island's export orders, a gauge of export shipments in two-three months' time, in August got a boost from iPhone 7 and other tech products. Orders expanded for the first time in 17 months, and by 8.3 percent compared with the near 1 percent forecast in a Reuters poll.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), an Apple supplier and the world's largest contract chip maker, said on Friday its September sales jumped nearly 40 percent from a year earlier.

Exports to China rose 6.2 percent year on year, but fell 5.2 percent to the United States, the ministry said. They are Taiwan's top two destinations.

Shipments to Europe dropped 11 percent, and those to Japan dipped 1.4 percent

Imports rose 0.7 percent, after slipping 0.8 percent in August. The poll had forecast an 8.3 percent gain. 

Reuters
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Indonesia is predicted to be the country in Southeast Asia with the second-highest price for Apple's new iPhone 7, according to a recent price study by iPrice Indonesia, local arm of online shopping startup the iPrice Group.

The iPhone is manufactured in China, which neighbors Southeast Asia, but according to the iPrice Indonesia study, the iPhone 7 will be significantly more expensive in the region compared to the United States, due to shipment export costs, import duties and taxes, and other fees imposed by governments.

According to iPrice, the iPhone in Indonesia will be one of the most expensive worldwide.

"For countries where the iPhone 7 has not yet been officially launched, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the tech savvy have resorted to going abroad in the hope of being the first to own it," iPrice said in a statement e-mailed to the Jakarta Globe by Andrew Prasatya, the company's content marketing executive.

"Unauthorized retailers are purchasing the iPhone 7 from Singapore and Hong Kong [where the iPhone 7 has already been launched] and selling them in their home countries at higher prices, which can go up to 14 percent in Vietnam and 49 percent in Thailand," iPrice said in the statement.

Apple has not yet announced the official release date for the iPhone 7 in Indonesia.

A price comparison for the iPhone 7 in Southeast Asian countries and the average number of days a middle-income buyer needs to work to be able to afford Apple's latest model smartphone. (Infographic courtesy of iPrice Indonesia)

A price comparison for the iPhone 7 in Southeast Asian countries and the average number of days a middle-income buyer needs to work to be able to afford Apple's latest model smartphone. (Infographic courtesy of iPrice Indonesia)

How Expensive Can It Go?

The study estimates that an iPhone 7 with 128 gigabytes of internal storage will cost about $1,268 when it arrives in Indonesia, making it nearly $500 more expensive than in the United States, from where it originates.

As for neighboring countries, buyers in Thailand are expected to pay the most, where a new iPhone may cost up to $1,340.

The cheapest is in Singapore at $897, where the iPhone 7 has been available since last month.

The study said middle-income Indonesians, with an average salary of $1.80 (or Rp 23,900) per hour, have to work at least 87 days to afford an iPhone 7, assuming that the whole salary is spent on the phone.

They may likely think twice before purchasing a 128 GB iPhone since the price is equivalent to the latest automatic scooter by Japanese manufacturer Honda. The price would also be equivalent to three-months' rent of an apartment located in the heart of Jakarta, or 32 bags of rice at 50-kilograms per bag.

Highly Anticipated

Still, the iPhone 7 is eagerly awaited in Indonesia. And despite negative reaction around the replacement of audio jack with Apple AirPods, the latest model is in demand because of innovations such as increased storage, a new home button and water-resistance, according to reports from various local media and online tech-focused news portals.

IPrice said regardless of its fairly high price, the iPhone generally remains popular in Indonesia.

It referred to industry data showing that about 61.2 million units of the previous generation iPhone 6 and 6s were sold in the country during the first quarter of 2015.

"In addition to the innovation of the iPhone 7, the iPhone is a status symbol in Indonesia where the owners are perceived as being rich, successful and living in luxury," iPrice's statement said.
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            [post_content] => Shanghai/Sydney. Apple Inc fans from Sydney to Shanghai, the first customers worldwide to snap the new iPhone 7 off the shelves, cheered as they left stores on Friday (16/09) brandishing their purchases, flanked by applauding sales staff.

But underneath the usual fanfare, the crowds of enthusiasts and overnight campers were smaller than in past years. Some customers complained after the larger version and models with the new jet-black color sold out.

In part, online pre-ordering has made queues unnecessary for all but diehard fans, and in Chinese stores only those who had ordered in advance were queuing to collect.

Yet in markets like China, online interest in the new phone has also been muted compared to past launches, as cheaper local brands amp up their features, design and marketing.

Wu Ting, a 28-year-old from Nanjing, was surprised to find herself first in line at a downtown Apple store in Shanghai on Friday, a holiday in China.

"I found last year that there were crowds of people, but this year almost no-one. I came an hour early thinking I'd have to wait a long time before getting seen," Wu said.

Sales in China will be the acid test for Apple's year ahead: the success of the iPhone 6 in China drove sales last year, while the slower-burn 6S contributed to Apple's first global revenue drop in over a decade earlier this year.

Chatter about the iPhone 7 launch on Chinese microblog Weibo has been far more muted than when the iPhone 6 debuted in 2014. An index of searches on Baidu Inc, China's most popular search engine, shows the new phone lagging both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5.

Apple's Greater China sales dropped by a third in April-June, albeit after more than doubling a year earlier, while its market share has fallen to around 7.8 percent, placing it fifth behind local rivals Huawei, OPPO and Vivo.

Apple has been slower to adapt, consumers and analysts say: the new iPhone has few major changes to win over fickle shoppers and the firm's marketing has been generic.

"From Steve Jobs to Tim Cook, Apple has never had any marketing strategy tailor-made for China," said Zhou Zhanggui, a Beijing-based strategic consultant.

"Apple risks losing out more if it does not better cater to local demands in its marketing as well as product design."

In Beijing's fashionable Sanlitun shopping district, several people who had already grabbed new iPhone 7s were hawking them for a markup just outside a flagship store.

But Apple has not lost its shine for all customers.

Marcus Barsoum, a 16-year-old who described himself as a "diehard Apple fan," spent two nights camped outside the Sydney store. By the morning, some 200 people were gathered in light rain to be the first customers globally to own iPhone 7s.

Weary but elated, Barsoum charged into the store at 8 a.m. to the cheers of Apple staff. He emerged with a matte black iPhone 7, although he had wanted a larger 7 plus in jet black.

"It feels great to be the first in the world to have the iPhone 7," he said. "It was 100 percent worth it."

Reuters
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            [post_content] => San Fransisco. Initial quantities of the iPhone 7 Plus have sold out globally as Apple Inc prepares to roll out its new gadget in stores, the company said Wednesday (14/09).

Supplies of the larger size of Apple's new phone have been exhausted in all shades, and the smaller iPhone 7 has also sold out in the new jet black color, the company said.

Customers who enter Apple Stores Friday, when the gadgets hit shelves, will not be able to purchase the sold-out phones on site, but they can continue to place orders for their desired models online, Apple said.

"We sincerely appreciate our customers' patience as we work hard to get the new iPhone into the hands of everyone who wants one as quickly as possible," Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller said in a statement.

Apple launched the new phones at a San Francisco event earlier this month. The gadgets feature improved cameras and eliminate the traditional headphone jack in favor of new technology.

Breaking with tradition, the company will not release first-weekend sales of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, saying the figure is more a reflection of supply than demand.

The decision sparked concerns among some on Wall Street, where many fear sales of the iPhone, a critical product for Apple, may be leveling off. But US wireless carriers Sprint Corp (S.N) and T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) said on Tuesday they received strong pre-orders for the iPhone 7, sending Apple shares up.

"Based on everything I've seen it looks like demand is very strong," analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research wrote in an email.

The 5.5-inch iPhone model, known as the Plus, has sold out soon after launch since Apple introduced the size with the iPhone 6 in 2014. Phones in newly released finishes are also typically snapped up quickly by customers eager to showcase the latest iPhone design.

Reuters
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            [post_content] => San Francisco. Apple Inc will not release first-weekend sales of the newly announced iPhone 7, the company said on Thursday (08/09), reducing analysts' early visibility into the product amid questions over whether its popularity has peaked.

The company decided to stop the practice because the number of phones sold during the period has become more a reflection of Apple's supply than demand, a company spokeswoman said, when asked whether Apple will be releasing the figure.

"As we have expanded our distribution through carriers and resellers to hundreds of thousands of locations around the world, we are now at a point where we know before taking the first customer pre-order that we will sell out of iPhone 7," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "These initial sales will be governed by supply, not demand, and we have decided that it is no longer a representative metric for our investors and customers."

The company reiterated its financial outlook for the quarter.

Apple launched the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus at a San Francisco event on Wednesday. The new phones feature improved cameras and eliminate the traditional headphone jack in favor of new technology. Preorders will begin on Friday, and Apple will start shipping the devices on Sept. 16.

The stakes for the iPhone 7 are high after sales of the gadget dropped during two straight quarters this year, the first declines in its history.

As they try to assess whether the iPhone has reached a plateau, investors will not be happy about losing a data point, said Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners.

"Less data is never good, particularly given the question marks around this phone," he said.

Apple shares fell 2.3 percent to $105.94 in early trading.

The iPhone is Apple's lifeblood, accounting for more than half of the company's revenue. In the most recent quarter, Apple recorded $42.4 billion in total revenue with $24 billion coming from the iPhone.

Investors have grown accustomed to receiving early sales figures, and Apple's decision to hold back seems significant, said analyst John Jackson of IDC.

"It reinforces, I think, the thesis that this product is mature," he said.

Nevertheless, sales logged when the supply chain is ramping up only reveal so much about the gadget's ultimate trajectory, said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights Strategy.

"What's meaningful to me are the first month of sales with full supply," he said.

Reuters
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            [post_content] => Ask Siri if iPhone 7 will be the answer to Apple Inc's problems, and you're told that a visit to Apple's website should answer that question "and more".

If only it was that easy.

Apple's shares were down 8 percent at $95.80 in premarket trading on Wednesday (27/04) after the company reported its first-ever fall in smartphone sales, arousing talk of "peak iPhone".

For many analysts, the company's immediate future rests with iPhone 7, which Apple is expected to launch in September.

"If iPhone 7 doesn't surprise with meaningful new useful features, we worry that consumers won't upgrade," Macquarie analyst Ben Schachter wrote in a note to clients.

"And unfortunately, nothing that we've seen about iPhone 7 thus far strikes us as particularly innovative," said Schachter, who cut his price target to $112 from $117 while maintaining his "outperform" rating on the stock.

The iPhone 7 is expected to sport a new look with features such as waterproofing, wireless headphones and force touch as the home button.

But many wonder if that will be enough to entice users to dump their existing iPhones or switch from the Android-based phones that have come to dominate the smartphone market.

Goldman Sachs removed Apple from its conviction list after Apple's results and said it expected the company's shares to remain weak until the market gets more comfortable with the prospects for iPhone 7.

Goldman was among at least 16 brokerages that cut price outlooks on Apple's stock, cutting its target to $136 from $155 while retaining a "buy" rating.

Of the 46 analysts covering the stock, 37 rate it "buy" or the equivalent. The median price target is $122, according to Reuters data.

Apple usually launches new iPhones in September and sells the most devices in the December quarter.

Unit sales typically drop over the next few quarters, picking up after the next iPhone launch.

Along with the weaker-than-expected iPhone sales, Apple reported its first drop in revenue in a decade. Sales in China, the company's most important market after the United States, fell 26 percent.

Apple also forecast another disappointing quarter for sales.

The bad news overshadowed strong results from the company's growing service business and an increased in share buybacks.

Up to Tuesday's close, about $170 billion had been wiped off the value of the world's most valuable listed company over the past year. At the premarket price of $95.80, another $47 billion or so will be erased.

Apple's disappointing results fit a recent pattern for tech companies. Microsoft Corp and Google parent Alphabet Inc came up short of expectations.

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster said that while there were few bright spots in Apple's report, he believed Apple's shares would rebound in 2016 as iPhone sales start to grow again in the fourth quarter.

Still there was a bigger question about the iPhone's longer-term growth and other factors that can drive revenue, he wrote. "That question remains unanswered after the March report." 

Reuters
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