Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

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Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.

Rumor: iPod Touch Camera May See Release Next Spring

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

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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.

Apple Wins Key Legal Ruling Against Clone Maker Psystar

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Date: Monday, November 16th, 2009, 04:03
Category: Legal

The lesson for the day: If you didn’t develop or actually license an operating system, you can’t sell computers with that operating system on it. Late last week, clone Mac maker Psystar discovered this in a court decision in the company’s ongoing legal battle with Apple. According to AppleInsider, judge William Alsup ruled this week in a summary judgment that Psystar infringed on copyrights owned by Apple in order to place Mac OS X on unauthorized computers built and sold by the Florida corporation. In addition, Psystar was found to be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by circumventing Apple’s protection barrier that prevents installation of its operating system on third-party hardware.

“Psystar infringed Apple’s exclusive right to create derivative works of Mac OS X,” the ruling reads. “Specifically, it made three modifications: (1) replacing the Mac OS X bootloader with a different bootloader to enable an unauthorized copy of Mac OS X to run on Psystar’s computers; (2) disabling and removing Apple kernel extension files; and (3) adding non-Apple kernel extensions.”

Alsup also denied Psystar’s own motion for summary judgment, in which the company attempted to prove that Apple engaged in copyright misuse. The judge ruled that Apple’s End User License Agreement only attempts to control use of Apple’s own software, which is within its rights.

The summary judgment isn’t the final blow and a number of issues remain to be resolved. Apple has alleged that Psystar has also engaged in breach of contract, trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition, among other activities.

Another hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 14, and trial between the two companies is due to start in January of 2010.

The decision came after both companies requested summary judgments, which turned into a positive for Apple and a significant defeat for Psystar.

The decision marks the latest of many setbacks for Psystar as it has attempted to defend itself from Apple’s suit. In September, a member of the Psystar defense team withdrew himself from the case. And in July, the Florida-based corporation brought on a new legal team after it emerged from bankruptcy.

The company, which sells machines with Snow Leopard, Apple’s latest operating system, preinstalled began to license its virtualization technology to third-party hardware vendors as of October. The Psystar OEM Licensing Program intends to allow Intel machines made by companies other than Apple to run Mac OS X 10.6.

RadioShack Announces iPhone Sales Plan for 2009/2010

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Date: Tuesday, November 10th, 2009, 05:37
Category: iPhone 3GS, News, retail

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If the Droid’s coming out and looking promising, it never hurts to have another retail outlet on your side.

Late last Friday, electronics retailer RadioShack announced that it would begin selling the iPhone in a few New York city and Dallas stores in time for the holiday shopping rush, with wider availability to begin in 2010.

While the addition of another retail outlet to the mix of stores may not do a whole lot for general availability of the device, it shot RadioShock’s stock up over 14% on the first trading day since the announcement, with analysts suggesting that the presence of the iPhone may help to drive up in-store traffic for the Shack during the busy holiday season and year-round.

And still, another 5,000 chain stores never hurts sales…

Axiotron Drops Modbook Prices for Holiday Sale

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Date: Friday, November 6th, 2009, 06:09
Category: Modbook

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Late Thursday, Axiotron announced a reduced price for the company’s Modbook tablet Mac. The price fell to US$699 for Modbooks built from a customer-supplied MacBook base system and US$1,599 for Modbooks that include a dealer-supplied 2.13Ghz MacBook base system. The holiday discount program runs through December 31, 2009.

Axiotron today also announced that the Modbook Pro tablet computer, unveiled during the Macworld Expo 2009, is planned for release at the end of the second quarter of 2010.

Every Modbook includes a 90 day Modcare warranty on the entire system (including the MacBook base system, whose warranty is voided during the Modbook conversion). Extended warranty options for one or more years are available through participating Axiotron sales partners. Servicing and repair of the Modbook are provided by Axiotron’s service provider network.

Current Mac OS X 10.6.2 Seed Refers to Unreleased MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Monday, October 26th, 2009, 04:58
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The latest beta seed build of Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 update references a slew of new Apple notebooks. Per Spanish web site applesfera.com, entries exist in the 10C531 build that make references to “MacBook Pro 6,1″ and MacBook Pro 6,2,” neither of which exists in the market. The current MacBook Pro notebooks range between 5,1 and 5,5.

The move from 5 to 6 in the naming scheme points to these being significant revisions rather than minor refreshes. Both may be signs of early preparation for MacBook Pro portables unofficially expected at the start of 2010. Apple is likely to be one of the earliest adopters of Intel’s upcoming Arrandale processors, which in January should bring the Core i5/i7 architecture to more power-efficient dual-core chips that would fit in a thin-and-light notebook’s enclosure and require a new underlying platform.

If you’ve heard anything from your end or have any ideas as to what to expect, let us know in the comments.

Google Chrome Web Browser Could Hit the Mac by Christmas

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Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 07:00
Category: Software

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A Mac OS X version of Google Chrome could arrive as early as Christmas. According to Macworld UK, Google CEO Eric Schmidt broke the news at a New York press conference responding to a question about Chrome’s market share, which some have claimed is disappointing.

“I see a lot of Macs in this room, and a lot of very sophisticated people are using Macs now and we need to get a version of Chrome out for that, which we’ll have in a couple of months. The key to browser strength is speed.”

Google Chrome is billed as a browser that combines minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer and easier.

The Mac version was expected sometime in 2010.

Rumor: Apple Contacted Media Outfits Regarding Tablet Device

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Date: Wednesday, September 30th, 2009, 04:01
Category: Rumor

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Per Gizmodo, Apple recently approached a number of newspapers, magazines and other print media describing putting their products for sale on iTunes via a new piece of hardware. The report cited people familiar with The New York Times, publishers McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press, and a trip that “several executives from one of the largest magazine groups” took to the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.

The Apple tablet project has apparently been through a number of different iterations, and the project has been reset numerous times by company co-founder Steve Jobs. The report said that Jobs was presented with a tablet device that ran a modified version of OS X years ago, but the device was shelved because the company could not determine what use people would have for the hardware.

The focus of the hardware now is said to not be the playback of media, which the iPod and iPhone lines already handle well. Instead, Apple is reportedly working to have publishers place their print content on iTunes.

“The eventual goal is to have publishers create hybridized content that draws from audio, video, interactive graphics in books, magazines and newspapers, where paper layouts would be static,” the report said. “And with release dates for Microsoft’s Courier set to be quite far away and Kindle stuck with relatively static e-ink, it appears that Apple is moving towards a pole position in distribution of this next-generation print content. First, it’ll get its feet wet with more basic repurposing of the stuff found on dead trees today.”

The article has stated that the device will debut in early 2010, which seems consistent with the rest of the rumor mill on this issue.

Two employees from The New York Times were allegedly contacted by Apple in June about putting their product on a “new device.” Publishers McGraw Hilll and Oberlin Press are said to be working to put their textbooks on iTunes, possibly in a DRMed format that would allow use for a period of time. Magazine executives are alleged to have presented their ideas on the future of publishing on Apple’s campus. Given the evidence, the report asserts that Apple is looking to go beyond e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle, to “redefine print.”

Additional Details Surface Over Possible Apple Tablet

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Date: Friday, August 14th, 2009, 05:02
Category: Rumor

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New reports surrounding a possible upcoming Apple tablet currently suggest that two versions (the first for educational use and the second with a webcam) could be made available. Both models would utilize an OLED screen and according to Gizmodo, include what an anonymous source described as a 10″ screen and look like a “giant iPhone, with a big black back.” The tipster claimed to have handled a mock-up of the device, stating it has a home button like an iPhone, and will be positioned between an iPod/iPhone and a MacBook.

The report did not elaborate on the supposed separate Web cam and education editions of the device, but said it would retail between US$700 and US$900. The device has allegedly been under development between four and six years, though the first prototype was only created in late 2008.

“To make up for the cost and make the device more than just a big iPod there was, this person claimed, there was talk of making the device act as a secondary screen/touchpad for iMacs and MacBooks,” wrote Brian Lam for the Gizmodo article, “much like a few of the USB screens that have come out in recent months from Chinese companies.”

The source also said that there is a question of what operating system the device will run (Lam calls that detail a “huge secret”), but that it’s possible the device could be made for sale this holiday season.

Additional anonymous sources have pointed towards a 10″ screen as well as a customer ARM chip to be developed by the PA Semi division. Other rumors have ascertained that the device will not be available until early 2010. Citing “very reliable sources,” Jim Dalrymple, of The Loop, corroborates that date.

Finally, a new report in Silicon Scoop alleges that Apple will launch in a tablet in limited release at US$899 by the end of 2009. The “SmartBook” device, as author Trip Chowdhry calls it, is reported to have an 8″ to 10″ OLED screen and feature an ARM Cortex-A9 chipset.

Chowdhry reports that Apple wants to launch the device this year, but it will not be available widespread until early 2010. Allegedly Apple’s new device is being compared performance-wise to the Archos 9 PC Tablet, a Windows 7-based netbook.

If you have any thoughts about an Apple tablet or have heard anything from your end, please let us know.

Analytical Firm Cites Apple Touchscreen Purchases, Anticipates Sub-Notebook or Tablet Device

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Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 04:21
Category: News

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Per AppleInsider, Apple has reportedly purchased a number of screens ranging from 4″ to 12″ over the last few years, as it explores its possible entry into the tablet and sub-notebook market, according to a financial analyst.

In a research note issued Tuesday, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu revealed that Apple has bought screen sizes of 4″, 7″, 9″, 10″ and 12″ inches over the last two years. Some of the purchases were allegedly of such a large amount that the firm suspects they were for more than a simple sample, but a more significant small production run.

“We are under the impression that these screens could be used in new form factors including a sub-notebook and/or tablet, and would more likely launch in 2010 as opposed to 2009,” the note reads. “As usual, exact timing is always tough to pinpoint as Apple works on its own schedule.”

Wu stated that he expects the new form factor adopted by Apple to help carry the company’s stock higher. Kaufman Bros. has set a price target of US$184 for AAPL stock and recommends that investors buy.