It’s been a busy week! In the most recent edition of AppAdvice International, we talk about Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s recent visit to China, the launch of Brisbane’s anticipated Apple Retail Store, 4G LTE availability in the Channel Tunnel, and more.

The Woz and the “Chinese Apple”

Steve Wozniak hanging out in China.

First this week, over in China Steve Wozniak paid a visit to “the Apple of the East,” Xiaomi, where he met with the so-called “Chinese Steve Jobs,” Lei Jun. It turns out Wozniak has been using one of Xiaomi’s smartphones – the Mi3 – and while at Xiaomi he argued that the company has the potential to challenge the real, home-grown Apple for a share of the U.S. smartphone market.

Concerning the handset, Wozniak said:

I’m playing with mine. I like it so far. I’ll tell you if I have problems. Xiaomi has excellent products. They’re good enough to break the American market.

Xiaomi presently serves the Greater China area, but recent reports have indicated that the company is looking to break into international markets soon. As of October 2013, Xiaomi’s handsets constituted the fifth most-used smartphone in China, which itself is the world’s largest smartphone market.

If Xiaomi does launch its products overseas, it’ll be interesting to see if Wozniak’s prediction holds true.

Mac Pros in Europe

Guess who’s back with a brand new rap.

Mac Pros have been banned in Europe since March 2013, because the computer’s exposed fan system and a selection of its electrical ports didn’t comply with European standards. Now, however, we’re hearing that the brand new Mac Pro is once again available to purchase on the other side of the pond; what’s more, the first Mac Pro orders are reaching Europeans from today, Jan. 14.

Apple launched orders for the Mac Pro on Dec. 19, and the first computers started reaching customers on Dec. 30. However, those looking to purchase Apple’s new Mac Pro from an Apple Retail Store are going to have to wait until March, at the earliest, if a recent report has it right.

Apple’s Brisbane store

“That’s not an Apple Retail Store. THIS is an Apple Retail Store.”

Apple’s Brisbane Apple Retail Store in Australia, which we’ve discussed previously in AppAdvice International, is set to open its doors on Jan. 17. The Grand Opening is scheduled for 10 a.m., and on Jan. 17 the Apple Retail Store will close at 9 a.m. local time.

Usually, the new Apple Retail Store will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Apple is continuing its efforts to open more Apple Retail Stores the world over, yet if a recent report has it right the company’s retail locations have been losing steam as of late. But could Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s incoming senior vice president of Retail, help change this?

Channel Tunnel to go cellular

“Going Underground.”

Britain’s 4G LTE cellular data network is “going underground.” Because following a deal between Eurotunnel, Everything Everywhere (EE), and Vodafone, the two carriers have confirmed that they’ll be bringing cellular coverage to the Channel Tunnel.

Running around 300 feet under sea level, the Channel Tunnel connects Folkestone in Britain with Calais in France. Though this journey had previously forced smart device users to put their smartphones and tablets down once the carriages plunged into the darkness, this latest move will allow travelers stay connected for even longer.

Our original article explained:

This means passengers on the 35-minute journey will not only be able to make calls and send text messages while travelling, but travellers will also be able to access EE and Vodafone’s cellular data networks in order to surf the Web, stream music, or interact with Internet-based apps.

March will see 2G and 3G services launch in the Channel Tunnel, and a fully-fledged 4G LTE cellular data network will appear by summer.

Très bien!

China Telecom goes discount crazy

There’s a new carrier on the block.

China Mobile’s iPhone is set to launch later this month, and in an attempt to sway customers potentially holding out for a TD-LTE iPhone handset, China Telecom has announced a number of impressive iDevice-related discounts.

As of this week, China Telecom is offering the 16GB iPhone 5s handset for just 4,488 yuan ($742), which is an impressive 800 yuan (that’s $132) off its retail price. Free gift packs are also on offer, too, which include iPhone cases and power banks (valued at 400 yuan), when subscribers sign up for a plan with China Telecom.

This reminds me a lot of Japan’s smartphone market during the days before and after NTT DoCoMo’s iPhone launch. As the country’s largest carrier, a deal with NTT DoCoMo naturally saw an increase in iPhone sales over in Japan; however, the move also encouraged rival carriers SoftBank and KDDI to offer a selection of attractive iPhone discounts. This saw Apple’s share of the smartphone market in Japan further increase during the last months of 2013.

Could a similar effect occur over in China? We’ll have to wait and see.

Apple’s Tmall Online Store

Tmall’s Apple Online Store.

In an attempt to further boost sales in China, Apple this week opened an official Apple Online Store on Tmall, the Chinese e-commerce website.

Tmall launched in 2008 and is operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.; it hosts more than 70,000 merchants, and global brands such as Nike and Gap are advertised at the website.

Apple’s new Tmall website offers visitors access to its range of iDevices, Macs, software, and accessories; at the time of its launch, the Tmall Apple Online Store also advertised Asia’s “Red Friday” sale, which launched in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Our original article explained:

As such, it looks like 2014 is shaping up to be an important year for Apple’s efforts in China. Though the Cupertino, Calif. company hasn’t traditionally enjoyed a large share of the country’s burgeoning smartphone market, the recent launch of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c has helped Apple jump from being China’s No. 6 smartphone manufacturer to take the No. 3 position.

Of course, China Mobile is set to offer the iPhone from Jan. 27, and from hereon we’re expecting sales of iDevices in the world’s largest smartphone market to further rocket.

That’s all for this week’s edition of AppAdvice International! Check back with us next week at the same time (Tuesday, 10 a.m. GMT) for another update on Apple’s work outside of the United States.

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