Apple to triple franchise stores in India between now and 2015, official Apple Store locations unlikely

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Date: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 07:47
Category: News, retail

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Never doubt the power of economic expansion.

Per the Economic Times, Apple plans to triple the number of Apple-exclusive franchise stores in India from 65 to 200 by 2015, but the country still won’t see any official Apple Stores.

Government regulations mean that branded stores must source 30 percent of their stock from Indian companies, something Apple’s yet unable to do. Thus, the stores will sell via franchisees who operate under their own brands, the stores emulating Apple’s look and feel in the process.

These franchisees, who did not wish to be named, told ET that they have been asked to scale up operations in the country as the Cupertino-based company plans to grow aggressively in the country. In addition to increasing the number of Apple exclusive stores, called Apple Premium Resellers, that are owned and managed by 17 franchisees, the company also plans to expand its presence in multi-brand stores, they said.

Some of these plans are said to have been discussed during last month’s Mumbai visit of Hugeues Asseman, Apple’s vicepresident (sales) for Europe, Middle-East, India, and Africa. Asseman met key trade partners and franchisee owners to take stock of the company’s India business and to outline the company’s expansion plans. Apple’s London-based spokesman, Alan Hely, declined comment on the company’s expansion plans.

Apple will increasingly look to expand sales in developing markets as its traditional markets have reached saturation point.

Apple’s high prices relative to local salaries mean the company has historically struggled to sell significant volumes in India, but the introduction late last year of monthly installment plans along with more focus on marketing and distribution saw Apple’s share of the smartphone market jump from 3.9-percent in Q3 to 15.6-percent in Q4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: T-Mobile USA to announce iPhone today

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Date: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 07:12
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The T-Mobile/iPhone news you’ve been hankering for could arrive today.

Per CNET, T-Mobile has an event scheduled for later today called “Uncarrier” and is expected to announce its carrying of the iPhone under new no-contract, no-subsidy rules, where a customer pays a small fee upfront and pays a monthly charge on top of the service plan to cover the phone costs.

T-Mobile previously deployed their faster 3G/HSPA data speeds on what’s known as AWS, a range of frequencies different than those of AT&T, and not supported by Apple and the iPhone. T-Mobile has been adding non-AWS HSPA support in many markets over the last couple of years. T-Mobile has also been trailing the other networks when it comes to 4G/LTE data speeds, with support for that only beginning this year.

The iPhone’s popularity means Apple can charge the carriers a premium price for it, making it a potentially lucrative but an immediately expensive proposition for carriers. The original iPhone launched on AT&T in June 2007. The iPhone 4 launched on Verizon in January 2011. The iPhone 4S launched on Sprint in October 2011.

If this rumor pans out, the iPhone 5 will launch on T-Mobile USA sometime in the spring of 2013.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple purchases WifiSLAM, attached “indoor GPS” technology for $20 million

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Date: Monday, March 25th, 2013, 07:12
Category: News, Software

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Well, Apple had to buy SOMETHING…

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple recently closed a deal worth about $20 million to acquire WifiSLAM, a Silicon Valley firm focused on building technology that affords users positioning data while indoors.

The news paper was able to confirm the acquisition with an Apple spokesman, though the company did not give details of the deal or what it plans to do with WifiSLAM’s “indoor GPS” technology.

“[Apple] buys smaller technology companies from time to time,” the spokesman said, declining further comment.

In the report, the publication cited people familiar with the acquisition as saying Apple paid some US$20 million in the recently closed deal.

WifiSLAM is a developer of indoor positioning technologies, which extends location data to the inside of buildings and other structures using Wi-Fi signals. The data can be used by third-party apps to accurately grant handset users positioning data where GPS signals are absent.

The indoor positioning startup is two years old and has already raised funding from angel investors, though the exact amount is unknown. WifiSLAM has a number of ties to Google, including the company’s co-founder Joseph Huang, who was a software engineering intern at the search giant. Current Google employee Don Dodge is also listed as an angel investor.

Apple could implement the positioning assets into its much maligned iOS Maps app as an answer to Google’s Indoor Maps initiative, which leverages crowdsourcing to deliver indoor location information for a number of sites worldwide.

While Apple’s first-party mapping service has seen improvements since stumbling out of the gates in September 2012, many users still prefer to use the Google Maps iOS app, which offers features like Street View and a more robust set of satellite imagery.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple includes Yontoo trojan on XProtect.plist database

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Date: Monday, March 25th, 2013, 07:37
Category: News, security, Software

With any luck, the Yontoo trojan won’t be around on the Mac OS X platform for long.

Per the Intego Security Blog and MacRumors, shortly after news emerged of a new adware trojan targeting OS X web browsers, Apple updated its malware and adware detections list to block Yontoo.

The company has apparently updated its “XProtect” anti-malware system. XProtect.plist will now recognize Yontoo and warn users that attempt to install the software on their computers.

Intego’s post notes that the XProtect detection “is very specific and potentially location-dependent.” The extra specificity, Intego supposes, may be there in order to stop only indirect installations of the file.

News of the Yontoo trojan emerged recently when a Russian anti-virus company pointed out its existence. Yontoo asks users if they want to install a browser plugin, media player, download accelerator, or other video-oriented program. Upon agreeing to the download, the plugin begins transmitting browsing data to an off-site server. User browsing data is processed, and the server sends back a file embedding third-party code into webpages visited by the user. The viewing or clicking of embedded ads then generates ad affiliate network profits for the criminals behind the adware.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to debut cheaper iPhone with plastic casing, no Retina display come June/July

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Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2013, 06:22
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

There’s gotta be a nugget of truth in here somewhere…

Per AppleInsider, analyst Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets issued a note to investors on Friday in which he said he’s received word that Apple plans to launch “multiple new phones” in the June-July timeframe this year. Specifically, he expects Apple to launch a next-generation flagship handset, a so-called “iPhone 5S,” as well as a more affordable handset.

“The low-end iPhone will have the same 4-inch form factor as the iPhone 5, but will have a plastic casing and no Retina display,” he said. “With a lower price point, AAPL will be able to target a growing and important part of the smartphone market (sub-US$400 price band).”

Daryanani believes Apple’s rumored low-end iPhone will carry lower gross margins than the iPhone 5 or an iPhone 5S. But he also expects that such a product would contribute another US$22 billion in revenue and more than US$5 in earnings per share in calendar year 2014, which he believes would add US$50 of value to Apple’s stock price.

In his projections, the low-end smartphone market has a total addressable size of about 500 million units in calendar 2014. He believes Apple could capture more than 15 percent of that market in the medium term, leading to what he said is a “conservative” estimate of 70 million units.

Daryanani also expects Apple to launch a new iPad mini and full-size iPad this year, while he said a full-fledged Apple television and so-called “iWatch” smart watch are “likely,” but the timing of their debut is “unclear.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple adds two-step verification, other new features to iCloud security

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Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2013, 06:44
Category: News, security, Software

When in doubt, beef up the ol’ security system a bit…

On Thursday, Apple has rolled out a new two-step verification service for iCloud and Apple ID users. This functionality greatly enhances the security of Apple accounts because it requires users to use a trusted device and an extra security code.

Per 9to5Mac, the security code can be sent via SMS or via the Find my iPhone iOS app (if it is installed). Users can now setup two-step authentication on their devices via the Apple ID web site. Users need to access the security tab on this website to conduct the setup process.

During the setup process for two-step verification, users can choose which of their iOS devices they want to be “trusted.” This new service will allow only you to be able to reset your password.

Full details can be located at the Apple ID web site.

Rumor: Next-gen iPhone could feature improved camera, faster processor, could ship in June or July

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 21st, 2013, 07:44
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

It’s the rumors that make technology interesting.

Per DigiTimes, the next-generation iPhone components will begin shipping at the end of May, and the Apple’s new smartphone could show up sometime in the third quarter, matching with other reports that an iPhone 5S would be released in June or July.

Components for the next-generation iPhone will start shipping at the end of May with the new smartphone to have a chance of showing up in the third quarter, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

The new iPhone will not receive a major upgrade and may just be a slightly enhanced version of iPhone 5 (iPhone 5S), the sources said citing their latest specification data.

The’ sources claim the iPhone 5S would have a higher-end processor and a higher-megapixel camera, which match with other rumors about the phone.

Other recent reports say Foxconn is currently preparing to ramp production on the iPhone 5S and that it may come equipped with a fingerprint sensor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV updated to 5.2.1, adds bug fixes, redesigned Hulu interface

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Date: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013, 06:49
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

When in doubt, go for a bit of a redesign.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple released its Apple TV 5.2.1 operating system on Tuesday. The update features bug fixes, security fixes and a redesigned Hulu interface that makes it easier and quicker to access content. Like other Apple TV features, the updated Hulu section now has a top-bar with categories. Users can now jump into each individual category to access content.

Apple TV users on the latest iOS version will receive the new interface automatically. Apple added Hulu to the Apple TV last summer after settling some “political” issues with the content provider. Apple is rumored to be adding HBO Go to the Apple TV later this year.

Apple releases iOS 6.1.3 update

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Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013, 12:59
Category: iOS, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

I’ll say this for Apple: it’s getting speedier on its iOS updates.

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 6.1.3, a 107 megabyte download offering the following fixes for its supported iOS devices:

– Fixes a bug that could allow someone to bypass the passcode and access the Phone app.

– Improvements to Maps in Japan.

iOS 6.1.3 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.

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.