Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Finally: Sources tell the Wall Street Journal that Apple (AAPL) has signed an agreement to bring the iPhone to the world’s largest wireless carrier. Apple has reportedly been in negotiations with China Mobile (CHL) for months. The carrier will unveil its new 4G/LTE data network at a media event in China on Dec. 18. There has been growing speculation that a deal to carry the iPhone would be revealed at the event. With more than 700 million subscribers, China Mobile is viewed by analysts as a critical platform for Apple to stem its eroding market share in China, where is faces stiff competition from cheaper domestic manufacturers. The new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which debuted in September, contain chips compatible with China Mobile’s wireless network, something not found in prior iPhone models. Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China over the summer, reportedly meeting with China Mobile senior executives as the companies moved closer to a deal. Industry research firm Trefis has calculated that a deal with China Mobile could boost iPhone sales by 1.5 million units per month.
Pressure: Carl Icahn thinks that Apple should increase the size of its share buyback, and he wants the company’s shareholders to vote on the matter, MacRumors notes. In documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Icahn is advocating a non-binding vote on a $50 billion share repurchase. If the vote succeeds, Apple won’t be compelled to take the recommendation, but it would be a strong show of investor support for Icahn. CEO Tim Cook met with Icahn in New York City in September to discuss the activist investor’s ideas. The company has already announced plans to repurchase about $60 billion in shares as part of an effort to return part of its $150 billion cash hoard to investors. Icahn, who announced that he had taken a stake in the technology giant in August, has a history of battling company boards over investor returns. Earlier this year, he briefly contested Michael Dell’s effort to take Dell (DELL) private.
Insecure: While Sasha and Malia Obama have iPhones, the President of the United States is not permitted to use the popular handset, AFP notes. During an event at the White House, President Barack Obama told guests that he continues to use a BlackBerry (BBRY) phone because of its high level of security. “I’m not allowed for security reasons to have an iPhone,” he remarked. BlackBerry’s well-known reputation for secure communications has made its phones highly visible accessories among Washington D.C. power players. The president’s smartphone security remarks come weeks after media reports revealed that U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been electronically eavesdropping on the cellular phone calls of other world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.