Apple's Jobs Talks China, Cash

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- At its annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday, Apple ( AAPL) refused to discuss when the iPhone will land at Verizon ( VZ), but it did announce plans to open 25 Apple stores in China.

The move would be a shrewd one for the tech giant, which is keen to tap into China's economic and technological explosion.
Apple

Revenue from Apple's stores grew 13% year-over-year in its recent first-quarter results, and the firm opened 10 new stores, including one on New York City's Upper West Side and another at the Louvre in Paris. As of December, the company was operating just under 280 stores, 52 of which are located outside the U.S.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the tech bellwether will open its Chinese stores over the next two years, according to Reuters, which said that Jobs offered few details on the iPad.

Prior to the event at Apple's headquarters, there had been talk that the iPad and iPhone would be high on the agenda.

Apple's exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T ( T) is said to end this year, and there have been rumblings that Verizon is in line to snap it up. Earlier this week, however, multiple sources said that the iPhone may be staying exclusively at AT&T for longer than expected.

Despite intense speculation about the iPhone's future, Apple refused to comment on a question about its exclusivity deal, according to CNNMoney.com.

The consumer tech giant was somewhat more forthcoming when questioned about its massive $40 billion cash haul.

Jobs said that the money provides enables Apple to "think big" in terms of its product development, says Reuters, suggesting that the company has no immediate plans to offer a share buyback or pay a dividend.

"We want to take risks, technical risks," he said, according to CNBC."We want to know the ground is still beneath us when we jump."

Apple, however, largely avoided discussing its iPad technology.

Unveiled in a blaze of publicity last month, opinions are divided on the eagerly-anticipated iPad, with critics questioning where exactly the device will fit in the technology landscape.

Apple, as well as the many zealots who are fans of its technology, have high hopes for it. With high-definition video and touchscreen capabilities, the iPad has been lauded, as a high-end e-reader (among other things), and Apple appears keen to usurp the likes of Comcast ( CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable ( TWX) as a media hub.

Analyst firm Goldman Sachs forecasts that Apple will sell 6 million iPads during calendar 2010.

Apple's stock rose $1.34, or 0.67%, to close at $202 on Thursday.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York



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