Retina Display for second-gen iPad mini looking more likely, NPD DisplaySearch cited

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Date: Monday, May 6th, 2013, 06:09
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, News

It looks like the rumor is coming closer to fruition.

Per CNET, Apple’s iPad Mini will get a refresh in the third quarter with a Retina display, NPD DisplaySearch predicted late Sunday.

This is an update to information that DisplaySearch provided earlier Sunday.
“We see two refreshes coming. One in the second half of this year, then one in Q1 [first quarter] of 2014,” analyst Richard Shim stated late Sunday night.

“The Q1 [2014] device will have a Retina display plus an updated processor,” Shim added.

Earlier Sunday night, NPD stated that the first iPad Mini with a Retina display would appear in the first quarter of 2014. That will actually be the second refresh, according to NPD’s updated prediction.

It’s not clear yet which display technology will be used. One of the candidates is LTPS, or low-temperature polysilicon — the same technology used in the iPhone 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple reports Q2 2013 profit of $9.5 billion, revenues of $34.6 billion

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Date: Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013, 14:50
Category: Finance, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, News

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It’s 18% lower than it was last year, but it’s still US$9.5 billion in the bank…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday said second quarter profits fell roughly 18% to US$9.5 billion — or US$10.09 per diluted share — despite record second quarter sales of US$43.6 billion — the first year-over-year decline in earnings for the one-time tech darling in nearly a decade.

The results for the three-month period ended March 30, 2013 compare to revenue of US$39.2 billion and net profit of US$11.6 billion, or US$12.30 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 37.5 percent, approximately 100 basis points lower than the 47.4 percent reported in the year-ago quarter, as consumers gravitated to more affordable, lower-margin products like the iPad mini.

During the quarter, Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones and 19.5 million iPads, compared to 35.1 million iPhones and 11.8 million iPads in the year-ago quarter. The company also said it sold just under 4 million Macs, compared to 4 million in the year-ago quarter. Overall, international sales accounted for 66 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services, and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

Looking ahead to the current June quarter, Apple provided following guidance:
- Revenue between US$33.5 billion and US$35.5 billion.

- Gross margin between 36 percent and 37 percent.

- Operating expenses between US$3.85 billion and US$3.95 billion.

- Other income/(expense) of US$300 million

- Tax rate of 26%.

“Our cash generation remains very strong, with $12.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter and an ending cash balance of $145 billion,” said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer.

For Apple, Tuesday’s results mark the first year-over-year decline in profits since the first quarter of 2003 when the “early 2000s recession” began to set in stateside.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft Windows 8 certification change could hint at upcoming iPad mini competitor

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Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 06:02
Category: iPad mini, News

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Microsoft could have an iPad mini competitor en route.

Per AppleInsider, recent changes quietly made to the Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines suggest that Microsoft could be gearing up to debut a new, smaller “Windows Reader” tablet designed to compete with more portable devices like Apple’s iPad mini.

The company recently relaxed its hardware certification rules to allow devices with screen resolutions of 1,024 by 768 pixels at a depth of 32 bits. But the Redmond, Wash., company also warned developers that it doesn’t mean they are allowed to develop hardware with low-resolution displays.

“This doesn’t imply we’re encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution,” Microsoft said. “In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful.”

The company has been rumored to be at work on a so-called “Windows Reader” for some time.

The new resolution allowed for Windows 8 devices happens to match the display of Apple’s iPad mini, which also sports a 1,024-by-768-pixel 7.9-inch screen. And the iPad 2, which Apple also continues to sell, features the same resolution on a larger 9.7-inch display, giving it a lower pixel density.

Windows 8 operating systems that run at Microsoft’s newly approved lower resolution will lose the operating system’s “snap” feature, which allows two Windows Store applications to be viewed simultaneously side by side. Manufacturers are required by Microsoft to disclose this loss “to avoid potential customer disappointment.”

While Microsoft looks to lower resolutions, some expect that Apple will boost the iPad mini to a Retina-caliber display with a second-generation model this year. However, others have suggested that doubling the iPad mini’s resolution on its small 7.9-inch display may be too difficult a feat to accomplish this year.

Microsoft’s current closest competitor to the full-size iPad is the Surface with Windows RT, which has a screen resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels on a 10.1-inch display. A head-to-head comparison conducted last November by Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate found that the Surface outperforms Apple’s iPad 2, but falls short of newer full-size iPad models with Retina displays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release next-gen, Retina Display iPad mini in 2013

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Date: Monday, March 18th, 2013, 07:28
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, Rumor

The next-gen iPad mini could be that much spiffier as well as arrive with a Retina Display screen.

Per CNYes and Macotakara, Apple is reportedly planning to ship 55 million iPad mini units in calendar 2013.

But Apple has also reportedly cut its shipment projections for its full-size 9.7-inch iPad, the report said, from 60 million units to 33 million. In all, Apple is rumored to have revised its expected iPad shipments downward from 100 million to 88 million.

Those numbers are identical to what was reported by the NPD Group in February, which claimed that full-size iPad sales “collapsed” in January. It’s expected that the 7.9-inch iPad mini will become the market leader this year, cannibalizing sales of the 9.7-inch iPad.

Monday’s report also indicated that Apple is planning to debut a new fifth-generation iPad with a redesigned aluminum alloy metal chassis. It’s expected that the new hardware will feature the a design similar to the iPad mini, with a thinner bezel and lighter frame.

But the report suggested that Apple is likely to face yield problems with its sixth-generation full-size iPad, much like the company saw in ramping up production of the iPad mini last year.

If Apple does launch new iPads in the third quarter of this year, it would be later than recent predictions have stated.

Prior to 2012, the iPad was updated by Apple on an annual refresh cycle. But late last year, the company surprised by launching the fourth-generation iPad about six months after the third-generation model debuted. The hardware was upgraded to an A6X processor and added the new, smaller Lightning port.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6.1.2 update

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Date: Tuesday, February 19th, 2013, 12:42
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

Never doubt the speed of a fix in the wake of bad PR…

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 6.1.2, a 107 megabyte download offering the following fixes for its supported iOS devices:

- Fixes an Exchange calendar bug that could result in increased network activity and reduced battery life.

iOS 6.1.2 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

Apple receives patent for “microslot antennas”, could see improvements in wireless functionality in coming years

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Date: Tuesday, February 12th, 2013, 08:01
Category: Hardware, iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, wireless

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Your notebook and iOS device’s wireless system could be getting that much niftier.

Per AppleInsider and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple on Tuesday won the patent rights to “microslot antenna” technology that allows micron-wide antenna assets to be integrated into the housing of a portable device, such as an iPhone, making them nearly invisible to the human eye.

As portable electronics become thinner and more compact with each successive generation, internal space is quickly becoming a limiting factor to device designers. Apple’s U.S. Patent No. 8,373,610 for “Microslot antennas for electronic devices,” granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, could drastically cut down on the size of at least one component needed to create products like the iPhone.

While the patent refers to implementations in a laptop computer, the antenna tech can be used in other portable electronics like smartphones and tablets.

With Apple’s current technology as seen in the iPhone 5, two internal radio antennas dynamically switch between multiple frequency bands, including those carrying fast LTE data. In order to fit the units within the handset’s slim body, Apple had to design a window for radio waves, while keeping the unit small enough to leave room for other important structures like the logic board and battery.

Tuesday’s patent focuses on so-called “microslot antenna” technology, or “dielectric-filled microslots that are formed in a ground plane element.” According to the invention, the ground plane can be a device’s housing as long as it is conductive, meaning the slots would be integrated on the outer hull of a product. The system can also support multiple communications bands, meaning functionality would not be compromised for size enhancements.

As for the size of the microslots, the patent language states that the widths of the slots are usually significantly less than their lengths. For example, widths can range from microns to hundreds of microns, while a microslot’s length can be on the order of millimeters or centimeters.

Filling the slots is a dielectric such as epoxy, plastic, air or other suitable substance that prevents foreign matter from entering. Antenna feeds can be located at or between the functional microslots, and operate on common communication bands that support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G cellular, among others.

The ’601 property was first filed for in December 2007, less than six months after the original iPhone debuted, and credits Bing Chiang, Gregory Allen Springer, Douglas B. Kough, Enrique Ayala and Matthew Ian McDonald as its inventors.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad mini supply improves, shipment times now 1-3 days from online Apple Store

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Date: Monday, February 4th, 2013, 08:50
Category: iPad mini, News, retail

The iPad mini you just ordered, it should be at your doorstep a little sooner.

In an update to its U.S. online storefront on Sunday, Apple is now showing ship times of the popular iPad mini stand at 1-3 business days, down from the 3-5 days quoted late last month.

Per AppleInsider, the new ship-by times suggest Apple may finally be overcoming the severe supply constraints seen shortly after the 7.9-inch tablet launched in November and continued throughout the lucrative holiday quarter.

Apple saw high demand for the device when pre-orders went live at the end of October, with the U.S. store selling out of the White & Silver model in a matter of hours. The company later announced that the iPad mini sold three million units over its first weekend on sale.

Chief executive Tim Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings conference call for the first fiscal quarter of 2013 that suppliers were having trouble meeting demand, but estimated a balance could be reached by the end of the March quarter. Sunday’s new shipment estimates suggest supply is catching up to demand.

At the end of January, the ship-by time for all models, including the Wi-Fi + Cellular versions, was quoted at 3-5 days, which itself was an improvement from the one-week estimates seen in December.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 6.1 update

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Date: Tuesday, January 29th, 2013, 07:20
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

You’ve been hankering after it for a while and it’s finally here.

On Thursday, Apple released its iOS 6.1 update. The new operating system, a several hundred megabyte update available through iTunes, adds the following fixes and changes:
- LTE support for more carriers (complete list of supported carriers).

- Purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri (USA only).

- iTunes Match subscribers can now download individual songs from iCloud.

- New button to reset the Advertising Identifier.

iOS 6.1 requires an iPhone 3GS or newer, or a third-generation iPod touch or second, third or fourth-gen iPad or iPad mini to install and run.

As always, please let us know how iOS 6.1 works for you in the comments, no matter what the feedback may be.

iPad mini supply improves, shipment times now 3-5 days from online Apple Store

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Date: Monday, January 28th, 2013, 07:19
Category: iPad mini, News, retail

Give it time and eventually the supply channels even out.

Per AppleInsider, despite severe constraints throughout the holiday quarter, supply of Apple’s iPad mini is finally catching up with demand as the Online Apple Store is now quoting ship-by dates of 3-5 business days.

The change comes one week after Apple kicked off sales of cellular-enabled versions of the iPad mini in China, a market thought to be a major player in the company’s future growth. At the time of launch, availability stood at two weeks for the Chinese market and one week for the U.S.

Supply of the hot-selling 7.9-inch tablet has been constrained since the device went on sale in October, with brisk sales amounting to quick stockouts on Apple’s online store. The company announced that the iPad mini sold three million units over its first weekend on sale.

In early December, iPad mini availability improved as quoted Online Apple Store shipment estimates fell to one week for the first time since launch.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company’s quarterly earnings conference call in October that he thought the smaller iPad, along with the fourth-gen iPad and iPad 2, would be “extremely attractive” stand-ins for PCs. During Apple’s most recent conference call for the first fiscal quarter of 2013, Cook said suppliers were having difficulty meeting high demand, but a balance could be reached by the end of the upcoming quarter.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may incorporate fingerprint sensor into iPhone “Home” button for next-gen models

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Date: Friday, January 25th, 2013, 08:34
Category: Apple TV, Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, Rumor

This could be interesting.

Per AppleInsider, Apple is expected to launch a new iPhone this year with a fingerprint sensor hidden beneath the home button — an intuitive design that could be difficult for competing Android and Windows Phone devices to copy.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects Apple’s acquisition of AuthenTec to pay off this year with the so-called “iPhone 5S,” the company’s anticipated next-generation handset. He believes Apple will find a way to integrate the fingerprint sensor into the home button, allowing Apple to retain its “minimalist design.”

In contrast, many Android and Windows Phone devices have more than one button below the display, and those buttons frequently lack the mechanical push of Apple’s home button. As a result, attempts to integrate fingerprint scanning on competing devices would be less intuitive, and could frustrate users, Kuo said.

He believes that with the addition of a fingerprint sensor below the iPhone’s home button, Apple will be able to replace the use of usernames and passwords, allowing users to authenticate in a more efficient manner. He also expects that the fingerprint scanner will integrate with applications such as Passbook to enhance their functionality.

Kuo has a particularly strong track record in predicting Apple’s future product pipeline. Last year, the analyst accurately forecast the company’s entire fall lineup, including the taller design of the iPhone 5 and iPod touch, thinner iMacs, the iPad mini, and the fourth-generation iPad with Lightning connector.

Beyond the “iPhone 5S,” Kuo expects a new handset based on the iPhone 5 design will also launch this year. Kuo’s comments are in line with recent rumors, that have pegged Apple as planning to release a more affordable iPhone model this year targeted at emerging markets.

Kuo believes the less expensive iPhone 5 will feature a new design, including a plastic casing, to cut costs and expand Apple’s iPhone lineup.

The analyst has also predicted that the iPad mini will gain a Retina display in 2013, while the full-size iPad will sport a lighter and thinner design with a smaller bezel. He also expects new Retina MacBook Pros with cheaper prices, the discontinuation of the legacy MacBook Pros, and a refresh to the Apple TV set-top box — but no full-fledged television set this year.