Apple Posts US$1.67 Profit for Q4 2009

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Date: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, 04:57
Category: Finance, News

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In spite of a sagging global economy, Apple posted the results to its most profitable quarter ever, the company setting records for both Mac and iPhone sales. According to Macworld, the company reported a net profit of US$1.67 billion, or US$1.82 per share, on revenue of US$9.87 billion for its fourth quarter earnings.

Comparing those numbers to Apple’s year-ago figures, quarterly profits rose 46%, while earnings per share jumped 44%. Revenue increased 25% from the September 2008 quarter. At the end of the corner, the company had US$34 billion of cash on hand.

For the full 2009 fiscal year, Apple’s revenue rose 12% while its income increased 18% from 2008, according to chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer. Those increases come during what the Apple executive called “extraordinary challenging times” which have done little to slow the company’s growth.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings announcement. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

For the December quarter, Apple told analysts to expect between US$11.3 and US$11.6 billion in sales and earnings ranging from US$1.70 to US$1.78 per share. This guidance was given without accounting for a rule change in the way Apple recognizes revenue from the iPhone and Apple TV. Apple was uncertain when it would adopt the new accounting method, which was OK’d by the Financial Accounting Standards Board last month.

Over the course of the quarter, Apple sold 3.05 million Macs during the quarter (a 17 percent increase over what it sold for the same three-month period in 2008). That 3.05 million figure sets a record for Mac sales, topping the previous high-water mark of 2.61 million Macs sold during the fiscal fourth-quarter of 2008.

During the quarter, Apple sold nearly 2.3 million notebooks, with portables accounting for an astounding 74% of the Macs sold during the last three months.

“Last quarter was the quarter of the portable,” chief operating officer Tim Cook said during a Monday conference call to discuss Apple’s earnings. In response to one analyst’s comment that “the [laptop] price cut worked,” Cook responded loudly, “Yes, it did!”

Cook also said that Snow Leopard sales were stronger than Apple expected, with twice as many sales of Snow Leopard upgrades during the operating system’s first five weeks on sale than Leopard made during its first five weeks.

iPhone sales rose 7% from the year-ago quarter to nearly 7.4 million units. That compares to a little less than 6.9 million iPhones in the September 2008 quarter—a three-month period that saw Apple roll out the iPhone 3G in a number of markets around the globe.

For the quarter, Apple reported recognized revenue from iPhone handset sales of $2.3 billion, a 185% jump from US$806 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

If Apple had any disappointments in the quarter, it would be in its iPod business, where sales of the handheld music players fell 8% from the year-ago quarter to 10.2 million units. It was the second consecutive quarter where Apple saw iPod sales drop from the year-ago period.

However, Apple saw signs for optimism in its iPod numbers. According to the company, 50% of recent iPod buyers were purchasing their first iPod. What’s more, sales of the iPod touch doubled when compared to the same quarter a year ago, and Apple believes it can attract even more customers to the widescreen music player after cutting the price of the 8GB iPod touch to $199 last month.

“We believe the iPod lineup is attractive positioned for the holiday buying season,” Oppenheimer told analysts during Monday’s conference call. And that’s critical for Apple, which traditionally sees its highest iPod sales during the December quarter. In the December 2008 quarter, for example, Apple sold 22.7 million music players.

Apple Reportedly Working on FM Radio Application for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Wednesday, October 14th, 2009, 06:54
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Apple is reportedly developing an FM radio application for the iPhone and iPod touch, with similar functions now available to iPod nano users. Per 9to5Mac, the company is developing an FM radio application that would work in the background, like listening to music via iTunes, while users check email and surf the Internet.

Last month Apple added an FM radio tuner to the popular iPod nano with the ability to pause and rewind your favorite radio stations and shows while on the go.

The radio supports tagging in the US, with listeners able to buy songs they hear on air via iTunes.

According to 9to5Mac: “The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program.”

The website suggests Apple could could add some Shazam technology to help with those stations that don’t support tagging, which appears to be the majority of them.

Apple’s iPhones and iPods are already able to receive FM radio signals but the function has only be used for the Nike+ ecosystem until now according to 9to5Mac.

Apple Acknowledges Snow Leopard Data Loss Issue

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Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, 07:35
Category: News, Software

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Since the release of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), a number of users have reported that their personal data has gone missing after logging into their guest accounts. According to CNET, Apple now says it’s working on finding a fix.

“We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix,” an Apple representative said in a prepared statement Monday.

The statement marks the first time Apple has said it is looking into the issue. In early September, a handful of Mac users reported the issue on Apple’s discussion boards. The problem, when it occurs, goes like this: when logging into the guest account on their Mac first and then logging into their regular account, some users are finding all their data to be missing and their accounts completely reset.

This doesn’t appear to be a widespread problem and there are currently less than 100 posts on several current discussion threads on the issue. Microsoft is currently dealing with a massive data loss at its Danger subsidiary, the company it acquired that makes the Sidekick mobile phone.

Apple’s data loss issue marks the most recent significatn bug with the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system, including the Finder hanging or crashing, incompatibility with certain apps, and the AirPort connection dropping.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

TechRestore Now Offering MacBook Glossy to Matte Screen Conversion for $200

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Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, 04:42
Category: MacBook, News

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You either love Apple’s glossy displays or hate them with the fury of a thousand suns.

Until now, shoppers could get either a glossy or matte display with the 15″ MacBook Pro, but not the 13″ model. Per Cult of Mac, TechRestore (disclaimer: a PowerPage sponsor) has stepped in to do the “repair.” For US$200, they’ll remove your 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro’s glossy display and slap a matte screen in its place. The work comes with a 1-year warranty and TechRestore says they’ll have your notebook back to you within 24 hours of receipt. Note that this requires a trade-in of your existing screen and it’s theirs forever.

If you’ve tried this service before, let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Second Mac OS X 10.6.2 Developer Build, Focuses on Wide Array of Fixes

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Date: Monday, October 12th, 2009, 11:38
Category: News, Software

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Apple’s second beta of its Mac OS X 10.6.2 update hit the developer circles recently, the new build incorporating numerous fixes for a wide variety of issues.

Sources familiar with the latest build, dubbed 10C519f, said the update addresses nearly 150 “general focus areas” ranging from applications like Address Book, Photo Booth and QuickTime Player to core services including Front Row, Spaces, and Time Machine.

The update also specifically targets WWAN support for mobile data services and enhances Exchange support, MobileMe and iDisk features, as well as NTFS and WebDAV file system support.

The new beta also addresses specific issues related to the app switching in the Dock, performance and stability issues tied to graphics drivers and the OpenCL compiler, as well as patches impacting bugs in Parental Controls Preview, printing, and the software update mechanism itself.

United Airlines Begins Wi-Fi Rollout

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Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 06:02
Category: News, wireless

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United Airlines this week began deploying Wi-Fi on some of its flights. Per the Chicago Tribune, the rollout will at first cover longer flights between California and New York and should have 13 Boeing 757 planes in United’s fleet offering Internet access by mid-November. Like similar approaches from Virgin and other airlines, the new approach is based on Aircell’s Gogo technology and shares a 3G cellular connection (typically EVDO Revision A) with the entire cabin over a Wi-Fi hotspot in the plane itself.

All the proposed flights so far will be long-haul trips and so will use the higher end of Gogo’s existing pricing plans. Those with notebooks or netbooks will pay US$13 for access during the entire flight, while owners of iPhones and other handhelds/smartphones pay US$8 for the same period. Voice over IP remains off-limits as a consideration for other passengers.

Echoing the strategies of Delta and US Airways, United so far is using the service in trial form and will wait for feedback before it decides to bring Wi-Fi to all of its flights.

Adobe Working on Tools to Create Flash-Based Apps for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:18
Category: News, Software

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Adobe announced on Monday that its developers will be able to use an upcoming version of its Flash Professional software to create apps for the iPhone and iPod touch. The announcement, made at the company’s Max developer conference in Los Angeles, coincides with the unveiling of its Flash Player 10.1.

According to Macworld, Flash Player 10.1 will be operable with a large number of smartphones, though none of them currently include the iPhone. Apple’s smartphone doesn’t run Flash in any form, and Monday’s announcements don’t change that. What has changed is the ability of Adobe developers to use the Flash platform to build standalone apps for Apple’s mobile devices.

New features in the upcoming Flash CS5 Professional will allow developers to write applications and compile the code to run on the iPhone and iPod touch. Applications can target the iPhone OS 3.0 and later.

“We are ecstatic to announce that we’re enabling you to use your Flash development tools to build applications and compile them to run natively on the iPhone,” said John Loiacono, head of Adobe’s Creative Solutions business unit, who made the announcement at Adobe Max.

A public beta of Flash CS5 will be available on Adobe’s Web site later this year and the final shipping version could arrive anywhere between March and September of 2010, according to Adobe’s typical upgrade cycle. The CS5 version will contain a feature that allows developers to export Flash’s native FLA files to IPA, the iPhone app format.

Developers can create brand new content, or repurpose content they’ve already built, for the iPhone. “In some ways it’s more exciting, because they can actually charge for the apps and get revenue coming in,” Voltmer added. “Apple’s going to be excited because they’ll see more revenue from all these new developers; and end-users get more choices.”

Though Adobe is still unable to offer a standard Flash Player for the iPhone or iPod touch because Apple’s license terms prohibit plug-ins for the built-in Safari browser, these new Flash apps are different: iPhone apps built with Adobe Flash Professional CS5 don’t include any runtime interpreted code. The applications would go through the same approval process, and follow the same rules and procedures, as other iPhone apps to be sold in the App Store.

Flash Player 10.1 is due in beta form later this year and final form in the first half of 2010, will be available for many smartphones: Google Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm WebOS, and Nokia Symbian. Adobe holds out hope that eventually, Flash will arrive in its full form on the iPhone, in spite of complaints about the mobile version from the very top of Apple. “We do know that people are looking to have a Flash-enabled experience on their iPhone,” Voltmer said, “But it’s really up to Apple to finalize that and to let us get that working. We’d love to work with Apple, but Apple does control the hardware, and at this point we’re waiting for them.”

Recent NPD Group Report Finds Mac Market Share up to 12% in U.S. Households

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Date: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009, 05:59
Category: News

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If you’ve been having the market share debate with your friends for years (if not decades), this may come as a welcome surprise. Per an article on The Loop, nearly 12% of U.S. computer-owning households now own a Mac according to the NPD Group’s second annual Household Penetration Study. The new report places the market share up three percentage points from the market-research firm’s 2008 findings.

According to the report, 72% of those Mac users have laptops, and are very likely to live in mixed environments, a staggering 85% of those Mac users surveyed also own a Windows-based PC and 66% of those households contain three or more computers, compared with 29% for Windows households.

Those in Mac households are also greater consumers of consumer electronics. The survey found that 63% of Apple households own an iPod, compared to 36% of overall computer owners. 32% own a DSLR camera (versus 12%), while 18% own a 50+” LCD TV (versus 8%).

The report went on to explain that Mac households tended to make more money and thus had additional income for gadgets. In a statement accompanying the report, Stephen Baker, NPD’s vice president of industry analysis, wrote, “36% of Apple computer owners reported household incomes greater than $100,000, compared to 21% of all consumers. With a higher household income, though, it’s not a surprise that those consumers are making more electronics purchases.”

He also said that Apple households own twice as many consumer electronics devices—48—as the average computer household.

The results come from a survey of more than 2300 of NPD’s online panelists.

Dutch Google Ads Hint at Updated iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Minis

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Date: Monday, October 5th, 2009, 03:02
Category: iMac, Mac mini, MacBook, News

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A series of Dutch-based Google AdSense ads appear to have prematurely revealed new Apple iMacs, entry level white MacBooks and Mac minis. According to AppleInsider, the ads, now mostly removed from Google searches, appeared over the weekend, suggested “thinner iMacs, redesigned polycarbonate MacBooks with thinner, sleeker enclosures, and speed-bumped Mac minis,” could be revealed sooner than later, even as early as this month.

Italian, German, Austrian and Belgium Google searches also reportedly produced similar results.

The ads revealed a “faster and more affordable than ever,” Mac mini “from only €499,” a €100 saving on the current cheapest price.

Alongside the Mac mini, the white MacBook notebook was listed as “thinner, lighter and stronger,” according to some translations – “Dunner, lichter en krachtiger! Gratis bezorging. Bestel vandaag” on the Belgium version of Google – while the new iMac was described as “ultra thin,” starting from €1099.

Rumours of a redesigned iMac with a “thinner, organic design, likely with smoothed or rounded edges” have also been doing the rounds for the last few weeks with analysts helping to fuel claims a refresh is imminent. Observers have claimed a new look iMac could be close to the current Apple Cinema Display in design.

The reports of a new Mac mini, with faster NVIDIA graphics processor appear to be new.

Intel Working on Apple’s “Light Peak” Brainchild to Eventually Replace Multiple Connection Cables

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Date: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 04:10
Category: Hardware, News

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Ok, this is interesting. A new interconnect technology called Light Peak is being developed by Apple as a potential replacement for FireWire, USB and traditional monitor cables. Engadget reports that Apple brought the technology to Intel and asked them to create it.

Per Engadget, Apple had reached out to Intel as early as 2007 with plans for an interoperable standard which could handle massive amounts of data and “replace the multitudinous connector types with a single connector (FireWire, USB, Display interface).”

According to documents reviewed by Engadget, Light Peak would enable users to connect a variety of devices into a single Light Peak port. Longer-term, Light Peak has the potential to replace almost all the ports that are on your current computer, including networking, display driving, and general connectivity.

The technology is centered around fiber optics capable of transferring data at 10Gbps . At this speed, you could transfer a full-length Blu-Ray movie in less than 30 seconds. According to Intel, Light Peak can scale to 100Gbps over the next decade and has a number of other benefits.

Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible. Light Peak also has the ability to run multiple protocols simultaneously over a single cable, enabling the technology to connect devices such as peripherals, workstations, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more. The technology is faster than the recently ratified SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) which can transfer data at 4.8Gbps and could wind up in Apple systems as soon as Fall 2010 in a line of Macs destined for back-to-school shoppers. Following the initial launch, a low-power version of Light Peak is planned for 2011, which could find its way into tablets and mobile phones.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander at the video from the lab…