Sluggish demand, says one report. An over-abundance of supply, says another.
Dueling stories Monday in Reuters and the Financial Times about the Chinese gray market for Apple (AAPL) products agree on one thing: The prices the new iPad can fetch have fallen roughly 30% in the past two weeks.
When the latest iPad -- the one with the much-hyped Retina display -- showed up in Beijing the day after its U.S. launch, Chinese resellers could get as much as $1,100 for a model that retails for less than $500. Today, according to Reuters, prices like $600 or $700 are more common.
What's going on?
The Financial Times offers two explanations in the form of a pair of quotes:
"People are getting a lot more rational about the iPad now," said Xue Jinpeng, a reseller in Zhongguancun, Beijing's technology district. "They are a lot more willing to wait until prices come down or even until the official launch."
Annie Zeng, a secretary at a foreign insurance company in Shanghai and a confessed Apple fan, said she felt the latest iPad offered nothing new for the higher price.
Reuters, in a considerably more ambitious story that follows the path of iPads bought in San Francisco-area Apple Stores, stuffed in suitcases, shipped by courier to Hong Kong and smuggled by backpack onto the mainland, draws a different conclusion.
It points out that unlike the iPad 2, which went on sale in Hong Kong and Shanghai nearly two months after its U.S. launch, the third-generation iPad was available in quantity in Hong Kong and Shanghai Apple Stores a week after U.S. sales began.
"This whole game is over," a Beijing gray marketer complained to Reuters. "There's an overabundance of supply. The market's flooded."
The two reports are not contradictory. But the headlines send a very different signal:
An analyst offers three reasons Apple relaxed its rules for App Store subscriptions
RBC's Mike Abramsky was the first analyst out of the gate Friday to comment on Apple's (AAPL) decision to make it easier for publishers and other content partners to offer in-app subscriptions.
In a note to clients, Abramsky lists three reasons he thinks Steve Jobs blinked:
Apple realized it had gone too far. "Apple has been criticized for its heavy-handed MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 10, 2011 11:22 AM ET
Some of the most draconian restrictions in its App Store subscription rules have been lifted
Last February, when Apple (AAPL) announced the rules by which publishers and other content providers could offer subscriptions through its App Store, Steve Jobs made them sound like the most reasonable thing in the world.
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Calls his "the most remarkable comeback in modern business history"
The Financial Times has given Apple's (AAPL) CEO the honorific Time Magazine never did. From the citation in the current edition:
A rebuttal of F. Scott Fitzgerald's much-quoted aphorism that there are no second acts in American life does not come more decisively than this. When Steven Paul Jobs first hit the headlines, he was younger even than MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2010 9:48 AM ET
The falling prices of handsets and the buildout of advanced mobile networks will help Android grow at unprecedented rates in the developing world, according to Google's head of Android.
Andy Rubin tweeted last week that Google (GOOG) was activating 300,000 Android phones a day. That number reflects incredible growth in a year that started with a tenth as many activations. At 300,000 phones/day, Google is on track to activate over 110 million MORESeth Weintraub - Dec 14, 2010 10:25 AM ET
Though the company was at one point in development of Android products, it has now shifted completely to webOS.
Jon Rubinestein, the former CEO of Palm, which HP (HPQ) picked up for $1.2 billion earlier this year, dispelled any myths of multiple portable operating systems happening at HP to the Financial Times today. Specifically, he said there wouldn't be any Windows Mobile and HP killed off its Android efforts:
HP is on MORESeth Weintraub - Sep 29, 2010 12:32 AM ET
A dispute that broke out Monday has already caught the eye of antitrust regulators
That didn't take long.
On Monday, Apple (AAPL) changed the rules that govern its new iAd mobile advertising platform to exclude competitors like Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT).
On Wednesday, Google took the matter public, blasting Apple for setting "artificial barriers to competition [that] hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress."
On Thursday, the Financial MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 10, 2010 7:07 AM ET
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