CUPERTINO, Calif. (
) -- At its annual shareholders' meeting on Thursday,
refused to discuss when the
will land at
, 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
Revenue from Apple's stores grew 13% year-over-year in its recent
, 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
Prior to the event at Apple's headquarters, there had been talk that the
and iPhone would be
high on the agenda
Apple's exclusive iPhone deal with
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
Despite intense speculation about the iPhone's future, Apple refused to comment on a question about its exclusivity deal, according to
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
, 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
."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,
, with critics questioning
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
the likes of
Time Warner Cable
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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