Apple Tablet Rumors Point to March/April Launch Date, 10.1″ Screen

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 10th, 2009, 06:51
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

Checks within Apple’s supply chain have led to a new round of tablet-related rumors from Yair Reiner, an analyst with Oppenheimer, who believes the device will launch in March or April of 2010 with a 10.1″ LCD screen. Per AppleInsider, Reiner also said that Apple has been reaching out to book publishers with a “very attractive proposal” for offering content on a forthcoming ebook platform.

Reiner believes the tablet could provide an additional 50 cents to 75 cents in earnings per share for AAPL stock.

“Our checks into Apple’s supply chain indicate the manufacturing cogs for the tablet are creaking into action and should begin to hit a mass market stride in February,” the note said. “At this stage Apple appears to be sizing its supply chain to support production of as many as 1M units per month.”

Reiner said Apple would likely need at least five or six weeks of inventory built up before it can release the product, positioning a likely launch in March or April. Such a launch would assume there are no production issues, like the one believed to have led to the last-minute removal of a camera from the latest iPod touch.

He also said that the device will have a 10.1″ multi-touch display using LTPS LCD technology, the same as on the iPhone. He specifically disputed an earlier report that a high-end model would sport an OLED display.

Apple is also said to be offering publishers a deal that will allow them to release their content on other online stores, such as for Amazon’s Kindle, or for new, forthcoming digital storefronts from major publishers. But Apple could sweeten the pot by offering a better deal than some companies, like Amazon, currently offer.

“Contacts in the U.S. tell us Apple is approaching book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content,” Reiner said. “Apple will split revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher); give the same deal to all comers; and not request exclusivity. We believe the typical Kindle split is 50/50, rising to 30/70 if Kindle is given ebook exclusivity.”

Reiner went on to say that the Kindle has “disgruntled the publishing industry” by strong-arming companies into exclusivity through a “wolfish cut of revenue” taken if they sell their content elsewhere. The Kindle also does not allow advertising in content it sells for its device.

“The tablet is set to change that,” Reiner said. “It should also make ebooks more relevant for education by simplifying functions such as scribbling marginalia.”

Rumor: Apple Tablet Said to be “Shockingly Inexpensive”

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 12:09
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

If it came from the rumor mill, the really awesome parts must be true.

Internet and television personality Alex Albrecht claimed to have insight on the price of Apple’s rumored tablet during the latest episode of Diggnation, which also featured actor John Hodgman from Apple’s “Get a Mac” commercials.

During the course of episode 231 , co-host and Web entrepreneur Kevin Rose asked Hodgman, who plays the bumbling “PC” in Apple’s commercials, if he has any inside information on the tablet.

“I don’t know anything about it,” Hodgman said. “You think they’d tell me?”

According to AppleInsider, Rose then turned his attention to Albrecht, and insinuated that the co-host had privately revealed supposed information on Apple’s long-rumored touchscreen device. After pestering from Rose, Albrecht eventually conceded: “I was shocked at how cheap the price point is going to be.” He declined to reveal anything further.

Typically it is Rose who reveals Apple-related rumors on Diggnation, with varying degrees of accuracy. In 2008, Rose revealed a leaked photo of the fourth-generation iPod nano in advance, though his iPhone-related leaks have been hit or miss.

The episode featuring Hodgman, queued to the segment discussing the tablet, is included, courtesy of Revision3:



Price predictions for the tablet have varied with some guesses placing it around US$500, to compete with the low-cost netbook market. Others have predicted its price would be comparable to a MacBook at around US$1,000. Another recent rumor placed a supposed OLED screen equipped version of the hardware at US$2,000 retail.

In other tablet news, a new survey of booksellers released Wednesday has found that industry officials expect Apple’s tablet to boost the electronic book market significantly. In fact, most said they expect the still-unseen device to be the top-selling e-reader.

As part of its digital conference held Wednesday in London, The Bookseller revealed the results of its survey of more than 1,000 trade book professionals. Among them, 52% said they believe that Apple will emerge victorious with its tablet, with Amazon’s Kindle coming in second, and Sony a “distant” third.

In addition, 42% of industry members said they believe “most” people will read e-books on a dedicated device in the future. More than 88 percent of respondents said they believe bookshops will lose out as digital sales grow.

In recent months, rumors have persisted that Apple will portray the multifunction device as a high-quality e-reader. Anonymous industry officials have claimed that the Cupertino, Calif., company has contacted numerous print publications about the forthcoming device.

Other sources have guessed at a 10″ touchscreen as well as full 3G connectivity.

If you have any guesses of your own, let us know.

Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

3gs.jpg

Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

Rumor: iPod Touch Camera May See Release Next Spring

Posted by:
Date: Monday, November 23rd, 2009, 06:19
Category: iPod Touch, Rumor

ipod-touch-2g-iphone-3gs-comparison

A long-rumored camera-equipped iPod touch may see the light of day next spring per a source close to the story. A contact insists the device is back on track and that it would unusually launch outside of Apple’s typical upgrade cycle, releasing in spring 2010. To make that goal, however, Apple would use the same 2-megapixel camera as in the iPod nano, which lacks autofocusing and low-light sensitivity.

It’s not known by the Examiner’s supposed insider if Apple would also disable the camera’s ability to capture still photos. While a potential way to differentiate the iPod touch from the iPhone, the pre-existing image tools in the iPod touch firmware would make implementing the technology easier than on the previously camera-free nano.

The accuracy is uncertain and Apple has launched out-of-cycle iPod updates in the past, but has usually kept these to small updates like increased storage or additional iPod shuffle colors; most significant revisions don’t ship until September. Per examiner.com, a recent story has corroborated rumors of a sensor flaw that had forced Apple to leave a camera out of the model at the last minute but which has since been solved. Prototypes of the original design surfaced in the public eye just a month before the iPod touch was refreshed this past September.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple Black Friday Discounts Leaked

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 17th, 2009, 05:54
Category: Rumor

It may still be a full 10 days away, but it got leaked to the media and it’s interesting.

apple-black-friday

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple will be offering the following deals on the Friday after Thanksgiving:

- Up to 30% off on all iPods (except iPhone and iPod shuffle).
- Up to 25% off Macs.
- Up to 15% off all accessories as well as Apple software and hardware.

The only catch is that the deals are only good on Friday, November 27th according to the rumor.

As mentioned over on the Apple Core, in 2008 Apple offered a US$101 discount on the unibody MacBook, a US$51 discount on the white MacBook, US$51 and US$101 off the aluminum iMacs, plenty of iPod discounts (US$11 off 8GB iPod nanos, US$21 off iPod classics, and US$21 off iPod touches) and a US$21 discount on Apple TV and 500GB Time Capsule.

If you’re inclined to go battle the herd, have at it and let us know how it goes.

Rumor: Apple Looking Into Creating $30/Month iTunes TV Subscription Service

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009, 05:10
Category: iTunes, Rumor

blueituneslogo.jpg

If you want additional television content over iTunes, you might not have that much longer to wait.

Per MediaMemo, Apple has reportedly reached out to TV networks in recent weeks with a proposed US$30/month subscription plan to deliver content via iTunes — a service it hopes to launch in early 2010.

Citing multiple sources, the article stated that Apple’s subscription proposal is not based on any specific piece of hardware, like the Apple TV or forthcoming tablet. Rather, the plan would stick with the existing iTunes desktop software.

“Apple has told industry executives it wants to launch the service early next year,” the report said, “but I have yet to hear of a single programmer that has made a firm commitment to the company, which has tasked iTunes boss Eddy Cue with promoting the idea.”

If anyone does bite, the first expected is Disney, of which Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder. Disney was the first to allow its content on iTunes and saw tremendous early success.

Kafka said that industry executives are “intrigued” by the prospect of a subscription plan on iTunes, as they are looking for new revenue streams as advertising returns diminish. However, cable networks are concerned about sacrificing existing relationships with providers like Comcast, and all content providers are worried that advertising revenue could decrease if live viewership shrinks.

“So Apple’s proposed subscription service, which the company has floated in the past, is no longer a huge stretch,” the report said. “Says one executive briefed on the company’s plans: ‘I think they might get it right this time.’”

Apple has been long rumored to provide a subscription option for TV content. In August, Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray senior research analyst, said he believes that Apple would release a new Apple TV in conjunction with a subscription TV account. But the agreements necessary to offer a subscription service would take some time.

“Apple could leverage its deep library of content with many network and cable channel content owners to provide unlimited access to a sub-library of its TV shows for a standard monthly fee ($30 or $40 per month),” Munster writes. “Such a product would effectively replace a consumer’s monthly cable bill (~$85/month) and offer access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels.”

Last week, the Apple TV software was updated to version 3.0. Improvements included a newly redesigned interface, support for iTunes Extras and iTunes LP, and streaming Internet radio.

Rumor: Apple Employees Apparently Ramping Up Overseas Trips for Tablet Project

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 29th, 2009, 05:06
Category: Rumor

applelogo1.jpg

Apple employees havee reportedly taking numerous trips to manufacturing plants in China, including some scheduled during the upcoming holiday season, as the company’s long-rumored tablet comes closer to reality. Citing an anonymous source, the Business Insider has stated that Apple engineers have been taking numerous trips between the U.S. and Asia recently to visit manufacturing plants where the 10″ touchscreen device will go into production. That manufacturer is likely to be Foxconn, the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer who has partnered with Apple on numerous products, and earlier this month was rumored to have secured the production of the still-unannounced tablet.

“A source tells us a system integration engineer friend of his at Apple has been ramping up his travels back and forth between China lately, broadcasting word of his travels over the Internet,” the report said. “There’s even a few weeks scheduled during the Christmas holiday season.”

Christmas trips would confirm what sources have stated is Apple’s racing towards a launch in the first quarter of 2010 for its 3G-enabled multi-touch device.

Other reports have suggested the initial run in early 2010 would include the production of 300,000 to 400,000 units for sale.

Additional rumors of late have said that Apple has been courting publishers of newspapers and magazines to provide their content on the tablet. The belief is the device would serve as an e-reader, as well as a media player and mobile Web browser.

Rumor: Apple May Switch From AT&T to Verizon as Official iPhone Carrier

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, 08:51
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

3gs.jpg

Should Apple end its exclusive carrier agreement with AT&T next year, it will likely mark the end of its estimated US$450 carrier subsidy for the iPhone, a new analysis has forecast.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Brian Marshall with Broadpoint.AmTech said that the “sweetheart” carrier subsidy provided by AT&T for the iPhone would not be attainable with Verizon. According to Marshall’s note to investors, the analyst believes that the iPhone will be added to the Verizon network in the second half of 2010, but not without consequences.

A non-exclusive iPhone, Marshall forecast, would command roughly a US$300 carrier subsidy. But he believes that any losses would be made up in volume, as Verizon is predicted to sell roughly 14 million iPhones in the 2011 calendar year. With an average selling price of around US$500, which would account for another US$7 billion in revenue for Apple.

“While AAPL started off with exclusive arrangements in 2007 with the original iPhone launch, the company has since migrated towards multiple carriers per region,” the note said. “In our view, diverse carrier support is a key element to driving global penetration of the iPhone (from ~3% share today of the total handset market). Therefore, we believe the chances are high the iPhone will find its way onto the VZ network in 2H10.”

Marshall’s assumption of 14 million Verizon iPhones is based on the performance Apple has had on AT&T’s network. Within six quarters of the iPhone’s launch, the handset has become 4% of AT&T’s postpaid subscriber base.

In the September quarter, the iPhone was said to represent more than 90% of AT&T’s total postpaid additions — an increase from 57% from a year earlier, and 33% in September 2007. It is based on the strength of the iPhone that AT&T has posted subscriber gains on market leader Verizon, adding 2 million customers last quarter to Verizon’s 1.2 million.

AT&T activated a record 3.2 million iPhones last quarter, of which nearly 40% were customers new to the wireless carrier. But CEO Ralph de la Vega also predicted that the iPhone will not remain exclusive to AT&T forever, though he believes his company’s portfolio will remain strong after the device jumps to other carriers.

Rumor: Upcoming MacBook Pro Notebooks Could Receive Quad-Core Processors

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, 04:43
Category: MacBook Pro, Rumor

el17.jpg

Following up on yesterday’s piece regarding references to upcoming MacBook Pro notebooks discovered in the most recent developer build of Mac OS X 10.6.2, the cats at 9to5Mac have noted that Apple Store geniuses are starting to work with the new Core i5 and i7 Quad-Core processors that may make their way into the notebooks.

While nothing is definite, it’s looking like the release of OS X 10.6.2 and the refresh of the MacBook Pro might come in tandem, sooner than we think and have something fairly interesting to offer along the way.

Rumor: Foxconn to Manufacture Apple Tablet

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, 04:32
Category: Rumor

foxconn

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer who has partnered with Apple on numerous products, is now rumored to have secured the production of Apple’s anticipated tablet device. Per DigiTimes, Foxconn is rumored to be manufacturing an Apple tablet device according to “market sources”. The device is expected to be for sale in the first quarter of 2010, with an alleged initial shipment of 300,000 to 400,000 devices. No fixed price was given.

“The sources indicated they believe the tablet PC features will focus more on e-book functionality rather than music, and that based on Apple’s marketing strategy, long battery life, quick Internet connectivity and an easy-to-use user interface will be key features of the device,” the report said.

It also claimed that the device will sport a 10.6″ display. Additional speculation included the detail that Foxconn would obtain panels for the tablet from its subsidiary, Innolux Display.

As Apple reportedly prepares to launch its own tablet, other hardware makers are allegedly doing the same as well. The report said that sources expect HP and other computer manufacturers to debut their own tablet-style touchscreen devices soon after, in the second quarter of 2010.

The long-awaited tablet is rumored to include 3G functionality and will run on a custom chip built by P.A. Semi.

The information regarding marketing the tablet as an e-reader would seem to bolster recent reports that Apple has reached out to publishers and gained their interest in reproducing content on the device.