Apple's China Syndrome, Facebook's New Independence: Tech Weekly

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It wouldn't be a week in technology without Apple ( AAPL) in the spotlight. It's not as if the company has much going on, right?

The past week kicked off with Apple saying its new iMacs would be available before November ended, despite speculation about delays.

The 21.5-inch iMac will be available through Apple's retail stores, certain resellers and the tech giant's online store, and will start shipping in one to three business days. The 27-inch version will start shipping in two to three weeks.

Later in the week, it was reported that Apple was trying to get the Maps fiasco under control, with Apple senior VP Eddie Cue reportedly firing William Richardson, Apple's former senior director of iOS services.

As the week went on, the news for Apple got better, as the company unveiled the latest version of iTunes and good news out of China.

Apple's iTunes 11 entertainment portal adds more integration with iCloud and iTunes Match. It has several new features, including a complete overall redesign, a new library view and a new store design.

Also of note is Apple's increased presence in China. According to a Chinese regulatory Web site, a device that looks a lot like the iPhone 5 was approved for a "network access" license in China. It's expected that the iPhone 5 will come to China Telecom ( CHA) and China Unicom ( CHU) within the next few months. China Telecom Chairman Wang Xiaochu recently said his company hoped to get the popular device by early December.

Apple: Bull in a China Shop

Apple also noted that it would be selling the iPhone 5 unlocked for the first time to U.S. customers.

Shares of Apple enjoyed a strong week, gaining 2.4% to close at $585.28 on Friday.

Zynga ( ZNGA) and Facebook ( FB) announced late Thursday that they altered the terms of their agreement, as the two companies continue to move away from each other.

According to a regulatory filing, Zynga will no longer have to display Facebook ads or use Facebook payments on its properties. Facebook, for its part, can now develop its own games.

Shares of Zynga gained 6% this week to close at $2.46, while Facebook moved sharply higher, rising 17% to finish at $28.

Earnings releases were light this week, but a couple of newly public companies announced results: Workday ( WDAY) and Splunk ( SPLK).

Workday reported its first earnings report as a public company, beating Wall Street estimates.

The company generated a third-quarter loss of 39 cents a share on $72.6 million in revenue, doubling from a year earlier. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of 59 cents a share.

For the fourth quarter, Workday expects sales of $75 million to $79 million. Analysts, on average, expect Workday to generate revenue of $70.7 million.

Splunk exceeded Wall Street estimates and provided a bullish forecast.

The software company generated $52.05 million in third-quarter revenue, up 67% from a year earlier. License revenue increased 56% to $34.5 million. On a non-GAAP basis, Splunk lost 1 cent per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for a loss of 2 cents per share on $46.67 million in revenue.

Fourth-quarter revenue guidance was above Wall Street estimates. The company expects sales of $58 million to $60 million, with non-GAAP operating margins between 3% and 4%. Wall Street analysts expect $58.07 million in revenue.

Shares of Workday ended the week 1% lower at $50.20, while Splunk tacked on 4.0% to finish at $30.20.

Next week is light on the earnings front. As the year winds down, I'll be looking back at some of my predictions for 2012, making some new ones for 2013 and writing some interesting columns and pieces.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York.

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