Sprint vies with T-Mobile by launching $1-per-month iPhone 6s offer

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple fan sends robot to hold place in line for new iPhone.

The iPhone 6S arrives tomorrow morning, and Reuters says the fever-pitch demand for the latest iPhone in China is spurring a boom in phony stores that look a lot like official Apple stores–right down to the bags. This Australian woman sure knows how to take advantage of the latest technology — by outsourcing her wait in line to a robot outside a local Apple store.

‘SILLY PEOPLE’:A clerk at an unauthorized dealership taking pre-orders for the two new models said Chinese are willing to pay extra to acquire them ahead of time On a bustling street in China’s southern boomtown of Shenzhen, more than 30 stores carrying Apple Inc’s iconic white logos peddle pre-orders for the new iPhone, a gadget that has become a status symbol among many better-off Chinese.In a statement titled “Not So Fast T-Mobile,” Sprint said that for a limited time beginning on Sept. 25, customers enrolled in its so-called iPhone Forever program will be able to trade in an iPhone 6 and lease a 16-gigabyte iPhone 6s for $1 a month, and the Plus model, which is bigger, for $5 a month. When it comes to technology, surveys show that millennials tend to be heavily dependent on mobile devices, use social media far more than other age groups and have short fuses for gadgets that don’t work smoothly. In particular, booming demand for Apple products in China, coupled with the relative dearth of actual Apple stores in the country, has spurred dozens of businesses selling iPhones, both real and knockoff, in stores that are made to look very much like Apple’s (very much trademarked) stores. The robot is made of an iPad attached to a remote-controlled Segway-type stand and was welcomed by others waiting in line and even posed for selfies and pictures with curious and amazed bystanders.

According to Reuters, these stores are proliferating across Shenzhen (which has only one Apple store and five authorized dealers) ahead of the iPhone 6S’s release. The researchers described them as “distinctive in how they place themselves at the center of self-created digital networks.” No other generation is inclined to do this, Pew said. Kelly said that she is connected to the robot consistently through an app where she can see through the iPad camera and talk to others in line with the iPad speakers and microphone.

Wireless carriers have been trying to squeeze growth out a mature U.S. market by luring new customers with installment plans linked to equipment upgrades and relying less on traditional 2-year contracts. The new iPhones will only be available on the launch date in China to customers who have reserved online, and the company has said pre-order demand has outstripped supply. Apple has also entered the scrum, announcing recently that it would finance iPhone sales directly to customers for the first time without requiring them to be tied to a particular carrier. Unlike the fairly obvious Apple-like stores we’ve seen before, like the ones seen above in 2011 and below—in Johannesburg—in 2009, Reuters says these stores have employees dressed in Genius-style uniforms, Apple shopping bags, and furniture that looks like real thing.

Shenzhen’s unauthorized Apple stores are taking advantage, banking on quick-hit gains from reselling devices bought via authorized sales channels for as much as double the official price to consumers unwilling to wait weeks for stock to arrive. Several workers at the stores said they were buying iPhone models in China and in overseas markets such as the US and Hong Kong, from where they would be smuggled across the border into the mainland. Earlier this month, T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the company had already surpassed the 2.1 million net subscriber additions it posted in its previous quarter with nearly two weeks remaining in the current quarter.

Well, in addition to the faux-Apple stores themselves, there are also plenty of stores that sell the trappings they need to fake it, as Yimou Lee explains: Just a stone’s throw from the street of copycat stores, tucked away in a giant tech mall, two shops offer the logos, uniforms, display shelves and shopping bags needed to make an unauthorized outlet feel like a genuine Apple store. But judging by the time I’ve gotten to spend with the devices ahead of their official release, I see a lot in these devices that fit well with the under-35, always-connected, social-media obsessed smartphone user. (Full disclosure: Born in 1986, I’m one of them.) Posting photos to social media is far easier. Apple declined to comment on the proliferation of unauthorized stores in China, but said it recommended customers to go to its Web site and buy products from one of the thousands of authorized dealers across the nation. Some shops have blocked signs that read “authorized Apple seller” with promotional banners and covered Apple logos on staff uniforms with stickers, although several vendors said business had not been affected. However, the widespread unauthorized reselling of even genuine goods can make it harder for companies to manage their brands and risks disrupting longer-term plans.

Others in the industry said the fake Apple store had become so popular that it was just a matter of time before some shops would be forced to close as the market becomes saturated. So without further ado, let me point out several features that should make the millennial crowd especially pleased with what Apple has done with its latest phones. Not all stores are totally unauthorized, in some cases an authorized dealer strives to give its store that Apple-style aura to boost customer experience. As you probably could guess from the name, 3D Touch adds some depth to the old swipe-and-tap routine, by way of a screen that can tell how hard you’re pressing.

You can “peek” into certain parts of the phone with a gentle push, most often to call up a menu of quick-launch options or a preview of what you want to read. Using a review iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus provided by Apple, I ran a couple of informal experiments to see how much time using 3D Touch could save me, one second at a time. Not every implementation is perfect; for instance, pressing on the App Store icon brought up a search bar that I don’t feel is hard to get to without 3D Touch. It feels like we shouldn’t be impressed with the megapixel wars anymore, particularly since Apple’s 12 MP camera doesn’t even boast the most on the market.

Jumping into the camera to start a video took me 5 seconds — I had to tap the camera icon, move the slider at the bottom over to video and then hit record. That’s great for scenic landscapes and family photos on the rear-facing camera, especially if you have kids or pets that don’t properly time their adorableness for your shutter click. Live Photos can be shared in their full glory with anyone who has iOS 9, as well as Mac users; Apple’s also launched an API for the feature, which means we could see it supported on other services down the line. With more finishes and customization options — you can even have Live Photo wallpapers — the company’s also offering up more ways to make your phone more personal.

It is not on the level of something like Motorola’s build-your-own-phone designs, but it is still a good and welcome fit for what’s been called the “me me me” generation. Then again, since Americans spend a reported 4.7 hours per day on their smartphones, it makes some sense that everyone would want their iPhone to reflect their personalities. Chief executive Tim Cook has made no secret of the fact that wrapping the iPhone in gold — and now a new and very pink rose-gold — was an appeal to middle-class and wealthy customers in China. But it also fits into Apple’s broader push to establish itself as the luxury brand of hardware devices — an effort that was seen in the marketing around the Apple Watch (recall that one model was priced at $17,000!).

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