New Apple products face backlash in China

By Wang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/4 19:23:40

Huawei steps up efforts to develop proprietary OS

Customers try out iPhones at an Apple store in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province. File photo: VCG

Apple's latest hardware and software products are facing doubts among  Chinese consumers because of weak innovation and poor design, which industry insiders said could worsen the company's sales woes in China amid an escalation of the China-US trade war.  Huawei could benefit with its development of its proprietary operating system (OS) called Hongmeng.  

Apple announced new software for iPhones, iPads, Macs, a new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference Monday (US time). Although the brand still enjoys high regard among Chinese consumers, more doubts and anti-Apple sentiments are seen because of Trump administration's brutal crackdown on Huawei.

The event was deemed as "disappointing" on Weibo Tuesday, with some industry insiders saying that the new products are indeed weak in technology innovation. Chinese netizens said that the new features of Apple's iOS13 were already seen in Android or China's apps earlier.

Apple's newest software for iPhones - iOS 13 - reportedly has new features including dark mode, new photo tools and a swipe-able keyboard.

"I want to say that Huawei had adopted similar volume toggle designs and photo albums months ago," a Weibo user named haowenjile posted.

Netizens on Weibo joked that the side board of the Mac Pro looks like a vegetable shredder. "High-end vegetable shred cutter," a Weibo user named jianzhengshilu said.

Adding fuel to the fire is the escalation of China-US trade tensions, which has hurt American companies' brand esteem among Chinese consumers and prompted a backlash.

"Based on the current situation (between China and the US), I will never buy any more Apple products even if they look good," said Weibo user 3bandaitoudajiejie.

The iPhone, Apple's top cash cow, continues losing territory to Huawei phones in the global and China markets. Sales of the iPhone in China plunged 20 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018 as Huawei gained market share, data from industry research firm IDC showed.

Huawei, which launched two 5G chips in January 2019, is reportedly accelerating efforts to develop its own OS Hongmeng after the company lost major partners including ARM and Google due to a US government ban.

Hongmeng will be launched between this fall and next spring, said Yu Chengdong, head of Huawei's consumer business.

The 5G leader is trying to get a head start in the 5G- and AI-dominated era. If the US keeps shooting itself in the foot by blocking Google and other US companies from supplying Huawei, Chinese companies could totally seize the opportunity to develop their own OS despite challenges, according to analysts.

"In terms of technology it's not hard for Huawei to develop its own OS. The difficulty is to have the system be accepted by the market and app developers. But the US ban has offered such a chance now," Liu Dingding, a Beijing-based veteran internet analyst, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

If the US totally bans cooperation by Google and other companies with Huawei, China's massive base of consumers and app developers will fully support a domestic OS, Liu added.

"I will not buy new smartphones until 5G commercial applications mature in the next couple of years," a 29-year old white-collar worker surnamed Yang told the Global Times Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to Huawei's Hongmeng OS," she said.


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