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Apple announces iCloud name, Steve Jobs keynote, other presentations for WWDC

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Date: Tuesday, May 31st, 2011, 05:43
Category: News

Apple announced on Tuesday that company CEO Steve Jobs will return to the stage, along with a team of company executives, to present Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and iOS 5 as well as introduce its new iCloud service.

Per AppleInsider, The Worldwide Developers Conference keynote will begin Monday, June 6 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. Apple confirmed that it will show off the now-officially-named iCloud, dubbed “Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.” No additional details were given.

Also set to be revealed by Jobs and Apple executives are Mac OS X 10.7, (a.k.a., “Lion”), the eighth major release of Mac OS X, and iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The conference will feature more than 100 technical sessions presented by Apple engineers. Mac developers will see and learn how to develop world-class Mac OS X Lion applications using its latest technologies and capabilities. Mobile developers will be able to explore the latest innovations and capabilities of iOS and learn how to greatly enhance the functionality, performance and design of their apps. All developers can bring their code to the labs and work with Apple engineers.

Though Tuesday marks the first official confirmation of the iCloud service, its existence was hardly a secret. The company acquired the iCloud.com domain name for an estimated US$4.5 million in April.

The iCloud service is expected to replace the existing MobileMe cloud service, which offers e-mail and syncing of contacts and calendars.

A major new component of iCloud is expected to be a music streaming service that will allow users to access their music library from any Internet-connected device, like an iPhone, without the need to save music files locally on the device. It is expected that the product will scan users’ iTunes libraries and then mirror them with Apple’s own high-quality audio files stored in the cloud.

The picture for Lion is slightly more clear, as Apple first showed off the Mac software update last October and preview releases of the software have been provided to developers. Lion will bring iOS features “back to the Mac,” including home screens, tighter integration with the Mac App Store, new multi-touch gestures, and full-screen applications that auto-save and auto-resume.

As for iOS 5, both it and Mac OS X Lion are rumored to have deep connectivity with the new iCloud service. Numerous reports have claimed that iOS 5 will offer improved voice commands, but the software is not expected to be unveiled alongside new iPhone hardware. Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone is expected to show up sometime later this year, and not at WWDC.

A more recent iOS 5 rumor from last week suggested that Apple also plans to add widgets to its mobile operating system. It was also said that Apple plans to revamp its notification system, a part of the operating system that has been heavily criticized when compared to competing platforms like Google Android and HP’s Palm webOS.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple’s component suppliers say Retina Display might not arrive for iPad devices in 2011

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2011, 04:45
Category: iPad, Rumor

As nifty as Apple’s Retina Display is, it might be hard to put in all of its devices.

Per DigiTimes, component makers for Apple’s iPad claim that the company has released its roadmap for higher-resolution touchscreen tablets, but the project is still at the “initial planning stage” and an upgraded iPad is unlikely to come later this year, according to a new report.

Insiders suggest that Apple could choose AMOLED technology or a high-resolution standard as part of its plan to upgrade the image quality on the iPad.

“Sources from touch panel makers pointed out that Apple recently released its latest tablet PC plan and is asking the panel makers to provide products that are capable to support higher image quality than the current iPad 2,” the report read.

“Apple may even choose AMOLED panel or panel that support Full HD standard to accomplish the plan. However, since the project is still at the initial planning stage, the actual products are unlikely to appear in 2011.”

Sources also cautioned that Apple may hold off on moving to AMOLED because rival Samsung mostly controls the technology. “If Apple is adopting AMOLED panel into its device, Apple would be facing a great risk having the key technologies being held by its competitors,” the report noted.

Upstream component makers pointed out that, given the production ramp up for the iPad 2, launching an iPad 3 this year would “simply bite off share” from the iPad 2.

Further quashing rumors of an iPad 3 in 2011, sources said that they have yet to receive “any notice for next generation iPad products” and do not believe the iPad 2 is a “transitional product.”

Even before the iPad 2 had been announced, rumors emerged earlier this year that Apple would release an iPad 3 in 2011.

Those rumors appeared to have been put to rest after Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared 2011 “the year of iPad 2.” However, intermittent reports since then have continued to suggest that Apple could release an iPad upgrade in 2011.

According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with Concorde Securities, Apple faced supply constraints and cost limitations that prevented the iPad maker from adding an improved display to the iPad 2. Kuo has suggested that a Retina display is still in the pipeline, and could make its way into the iPad 3 in early 2012.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple looking to add alternate payment methods for MobileMe services

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 29th, 2011, 04:44
Category: MobileMe, Rumor, Software

You like your MobileMe account.

And there may be new ways to pay for it.

Per MacNews.de, Apple may be coming up with plans to implement alternative payment methods for MobileMe in the near future. Currently, users without credit cards are caught in a dilemma — they can’t renew their subscriptions electronically, but neither can they buy a retail “box” with the MobileMe activation or renewal code from a retail store (Apple has removed the MobileMe box from its retail stores, though some dealers may still have older stock available).

Rumors have swirled for months that the service is due to undergo a major revamp, spurred by an e-mail from Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a customer promising the service “will get better in 2011.”

The rumors have taken various forms, from making at least some version of the service available for free to adding a cloud-based “media locker” for a small fee — or changing, dropping or revamping existing services (which include website hosting, photo and video galleries, ad-free IMAP e-mail, account syncing, limited backup, equipment tracking, personal storage space and other features).

Last month, Apple made MobileMe only available as a free online trial offer, and the only way to buy or renew a subscription required a credit card — leading to speculation that the revamp could come soon (now currently believed to be in April).

The report that Apple is working on alternate payment methods would indicate that the company is still planning on charging for at least some of the services in an overhauled MobileMe offering.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments.

Apple posts $6 billion profit in Q1 earnings call

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 14:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that first quarter profits rose more than 77% to US$6 billion, or US$6.43 per diluted share, driven by record sales in three of its four major product categories, thereby beating analysts’ predicted earnings in the process.

Per AppleInsider, the company also posted record revenue of US$26.74 billion for the three-month period ended December 25, 2010, or more than US$2 billion above consensus estimates. The results compare to revenue of US$15.68 billion and net quarterly profit of US$3.38 billion, or US$3.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86% unit growth over the year-ago quarter. iPod sales during the quarter totaled 19.45 million, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter, while iPad sales came in at 7.33 million units.

“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” said Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. “We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Gross margin was 38.5% compared to 40.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62% of the quarter’s revenue.

“We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our business, generating $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about US$22 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about US$4.90.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes medical leave of absence, will remain involved in major decisions

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 17th, 2011, 06:30
Category: News

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For the second time in two years, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will take a medical leave of absence from his company. According to a press release distributed by Apple, the company co-founder will remain CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions.

Monday’s announcement included a note from Jobs that was sent to all of the company’s employees. In it, Jobs revealed that Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will again take over the company’s day to day operations.

“At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health,” Jobs wrote. “I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”

The CEO said he believes that Cook will do a “terrific” job for Apple as he has done in the past. Cook’s job as interim CEO during Jobs’ previous medical leave of absence in 2009 recently earned him US$59 million.

“I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” Jobs wrote. “In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”

Cook assumed the role of interim Apple CEO from January to June of 2009 so that Jobs could recover from liver transplant surgery. During that time, he oversaw the launch of several key products, most notably the iPhone 3GS.

Jobs returned to Apple in June 2009 after he received a liver transplant. In 2004, he also underwent surgery to address pancreatic cancer.

Jobs has long maintained that he believes his health is a private matter, a fact reiterated in Monday’s note to employees.

The announcement comes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S., a holiday on Wall Street where markets, including the NASDAQ, where AAPL trades, is closed. The news was also delivered a day before Apple is set to announce its quarterly earnings after the market closes on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release redesigned MacBook Pro, iMac units in first half of 2011

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 16th, 2010, 06:44
Category: iMac, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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Since it’s the rumors that keep you hankering for new technology, here we go:

Per Taiwanese technology industry publication Digitimes, sources from “upstream component makers” indicate that Apple will introduce the upgraded models in the first half of next year.

The Mac maker reportedly plans to launch “at least four upgraded MacBook Pros” with a “slight change” in chassis design and an upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. The upgraded iMac is expected to feature “a new panel size and a price point for the mainstream market,” according to the report.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled Mac OS X 10.7 Lion at the “Back to the Mac” event in October. Mac OS X 10.7 Lion will incorporate features brought back to the Mac from iOS, such as App Home Screens, full-screen apps, and expanded multi-touch gestures. According to Jobs, Apple will release Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in the summer of 2011.

The first day of summer in 2011 is June 22, which would fit within the first half of 2011 timeframe from Digitimes’ most recent report. The report’s sources believe that the MacBook Pro upgrades will help Apple’s notebook shipments grow 30-40 percent year over year in 2011.

Other details were sparse in the report, however, next year’s Macs are generally expected to utilize Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors. Intel reportedly plans to formally unveil the new processors at the Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 5th, 2011.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini announced in July that the company had decided to accelerate production in response to the “very strong reception” of Sandy Bridge CPUs by the chipmaker’s customers.

Rumor: Second-gen iPad to surface in early 2011, feature both front and rear cameras, SD card slot

Posted by:
Date: Friday, December 10th, 2010, 03:28
Category: iPad, Rumor

Component suppliers for Apple’s iPad are planning to begin a new round of iPad production in the first quarter of 2011, with one source saying that the next-generation iPad will have front- and back-mounted cameras, a new report claims.

According to a Reuters report published on Friday, sources claim the next-gen iPad will sport dual cameras, and could begin production as early as the first quarter of 2011.

The report further confirms the likelihood of a FaceTime-capable iPad. Additionally, on Thursday, new iPad cases were spotted with cutouts for a rear-facing camera and space for what could be an SD card slot.

Reuters’ sources pegged touchscreen chip designer Wintek Corp, battery maker Simplo Technology and AVY Precision, “an unlisted maker of covers for electronic products,” as suppliers for the next batch of iPads.

Camera component suppliers Genius Electronic Optical CO and Largan Precision Co were also reportedly starting new “supply deals” with Apple, though sources were unable to confirm for which products.

The report lined up with what RBS analyst Steven Tseng has been hearing. “It makes sense for these suppliers to begin delivering their goods in February,” he said. “I think Steve Jobs will announce the new product in January, and we should see the new product hitting shops in about April.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 for 2010 MacBook Air notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, December 9th, 2010, 05:38
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple issued a MacBook Air EMI firmware resolving an issue where the ultra-thin laptop boots or wakes to a black screen or becomes unresponsive.

Per AppleInsider, the MacBook Air EFI firmware update 2.0 is recommended for all 11″ and 13″ MacBook Air (late 2010) models and requires Mac OS X 10.6.5 to install and run. The update addresses a “rare issue” where the MacBook Air is unresponsive or displays just a black screen after booting or waking.

Apple launched the redesigned MacBook Air in October at its “Back to the Mac event.” As predicted by AppleInsider the Mac maker released an 11.6″ version of the ultra-portable notebook and abandoned mechanical hard disk drives in favor of custom solid state storage.

On the day of the revamped MacBook Air’s unveiling, Apple released a software update for the product, resolving a problem where the MacBook Air became unresponsive after waking from sleep when an external display was connected.

Shortly after the release of the MacBook Air, reports emerged that users were experiencing problems ranging from faulty logic boards to display issues. One issue, detailed on an Apple support thread, involved a flickering or frozen screen. It is not clear whether Apple’s EFI firmware update specifically addresses this issue.

Despite scattered reports of issues with the MacBook Air, the laptop has continued to sell well, especially the 11-inch model. The US$999 11.6″ MacBook Air’s ship times slipped from within 24 hours to 1-3 business days in the first week after its release.

If you’ve tried the update and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Rumor: Mac App Store may launch on Monday, December 13th

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 6th, 2010, 05:02
Category: Rumor, Software

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You’re hankering for the Mac App Store.

And it may be here in exactly a week.

Per a rumor on AppleTell, Apple has apparently told developers to have their applications ready for a launch as soon as today. A source told the site that Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs wanted to launch even sooner than today.

“That obviously didn’t happen, but Apple appears to be way ahead of schedule on the Mac App Store nonetheless, and looks to take advantage of the Christmas rush,” author Kirk Hiner wrote.

Last week, Apple issued its second beta of Mac OS X 10.6.6 with support for the forthcoming Mac App Store. Developers with the early build were reportedly told that the latest update to Snow Leopard “contains developer support for fetching and renewing App Store receipts.”

The Mac App Store was announced in October, and Jobs said it would launch within 90 days. To meet that launch window, Apple has until late January.

Apple is rumored to hold a media event in the coming days to announce the ability to subscribe to publications on the iPad through an iTunes account. It’s possible that Apple could also launch the Mac App Store at the apparent event.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patents describe possible convertible tablet, next-gen MagSafe power/optical connector

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010, 05:46
Category: iPad, MacBook, Patents

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A pair of patents that went public on Tuesday reveal that Apple could be working on a device that converts from standard laptop form to tablet form as well as a magnetic connector that provides both power and an optical data connection.

Per freepatentsonline, a November 30 patent entitled “Application Programming Interfaces for Scrolling Operations” has surfaced, the patent depicting an Apple notebook that slides into tablet form as an example of a device that would take advantage of the patent’s scrolling operations.

The drawings first show a laptop with a traditional keyboard, body, display frame and display. Then, according to the patent, “the laptop device can be converted into a tablet device” by sliding the display across the keyboard.

Since the patent relates to scrolling operations, it would presumably not cover the convertible laptop to tablet form factor. Apple does, however, disclaim in the application that the patent contains “specific exemplary embodiments.”

“It will be evident that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the disclosure as set forth in the following claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense,” reads the patent.

In its recent revision. to the MacBook Air line, Apple took features from the iPad, such as “solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and lightweight construction.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the ultra-thin laptop’s unveiling that he and his company had asked themselves, “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” With both a touchscreen and a keyboard, laptop and tablet configurations, these figures from the scrolling operations patent reveal the possibility of an even closer integration between the two products.

In another patent awarded Tuesday, Apple seeks to reduce the number of cables connected to a laptop device to a single connector that would provide both a power and data connection.

One drawing of the invention depicts what appears to be a MagSafe-like connector attached to a “power and data adapter” with optical, USB, Ethernet, and DVI ports. The adapter would function as both a power brick and a port hub.

Another drawing features a MagSafe connector that splits off into a fiber optic cable with a data adapter and a DC power cable with a power transformer.

The patent could be a first look at Apple’s planned implementation of Intel’s Light Peak optical cable technology. Intel is reportedly readying Light Peak for an early 2011 release, and Apple is expected to quickly incorporate the technology into its Mac line of computers.

Intel claims Light Peak has a bandwidth of 10Gbps and will scale up to 100Gbps over the next decade. “Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible,” states Intel on its website.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on the patents, please let us know.