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Asian Apple-linked shares mixed after launch

SEOUL -- Stocks in Apple's Asian component suppliers were mixed Thursday after the launch of the iPhone 5, with analysts citing uncertainty over its impact in the hugely competitive smartphone market.

In South Korea, shares in Samsung Electronics — a key Apple supplier and also its main smartphone rival — were flat in morning trade, while screen maker LG Display and chip-maker SK Hynix were down 1.4 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.

Tech experts said there was an element of disappointment after the huge hype surrounding the new, bigger and slimmer iPhone 5, which was unveiled in California Wednesday to much fanfare, with chief executive Tim Cook calling it “the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since the iPhone.”

Taurus Investment analyst Kim Yoo-jin said: “Apple seems to have difficulty in maintaining their innovative beginnings.”

And Kim Hue-jae at Daishin Securities said main interest in the new iPhone had focused on its adoption of the fourth-generation LTE network, a wireless technology that enables faster connections.

“The iPhone shows a significant enhancement only with the fact that it runs on LTE. It will help boost LTE operators to boost their subscribers,” Kim said.

In Japan, the reaction was more positive for Apple suppliers, with Meiko Electronic soaring 17.07 percent to 665 yen by the middle of the day.

Murata Manufacturing was up 2.60 percent at 4,135 yen, TDK rose 3.37 percent to 3,065 yen and Toshiba gained 0.39 percent to 255 yen.

Trading was mixed in Taipei, with manufacturer Hon Hai Precision inching up 0.32 percent to and TPK Holding rising 1.63 percent.

But metal casing maker Catcher Technology was down 1 percent and lens maker Largan Precision dipped 0.8 percent.

Apple will start taking orders for the phone Friday and begin shipments on September 21 in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

The phone will be available in 100 countries by the end of the year.

Pricing for U.S. customers will start at US$199 with a two-year telecom service contract.

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