Category Archives: Apple News

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Mockups Demonstrate Apple’s Rumored iPhone 5’s ‘Assistant’ Feature

Back in June,  9to5Mac  reported  that Apple would offer a feature-rich  voice recognition service in a future version of iOS called Assistant.  Since the  acquisition  of Siri and  partnership  with Nuance, it has been rumored that Apple was planning to offer voice-related features in iOS. However, at WWDC 2011, Apple didn’t mention any such features during the iOS 5 demo. Earlier last week, 9to5Mac once again revealed a few more details regarding Apple’s new “Assistant” feature.

Apple's Assistant Feature

Today, based on this information,  MacRumors  drew a mockup  that claims to show off how the feature will work. Also, MacRumors  contracted Jan-Michael Cart to create a video that shows how the feature might work.Assistantis supposed to take voice data and user specific information to provide an amazing service to the user. In addition, it will also apparently integrate a system in which that can ask the  user questions to clarify and refine its understanding of what is being requested.

The video shows that the feature will be activated by holding down the home button on the iPhone to display a microphone on the bottom of the screen. Once the microphone is displayed, users will be able to speak to their handset and operate it handsfree.  The “Assistant” feature is rumored to be exclusive to Apple’s next-generation iPhone. In addition, the video shows the iPhone pull up a summary of data and pictures on the ISS automatically from Wolfram Alpha.

Apple is expected to unveil its next-genration iPhone and  iPod touch  on October 4th,  during a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested that these would be an iPhone 4Sand an  iPod touch  with 3G capabilities (which I don’t see happening).

Apple Working on International iCloud Music Rights for October 4th?

iCloud logo

Earlier this week, Apple announced that they will be holding an event for the next-generation iPhone on October 4. Today, CNet’s  Greg Sandoval reports that Apple is trying to obtain international cloud-music licenses from record companies and publishers. These licenses would be similar to the ones they acquired for iCloud. Nothing is confirmed yet, but word has it that  Apple is said to be close to reaching deals.

Sandoval believes that Apple will announce an international option at next Tuesday’s press event if the company is able to “wrap up negotiations in time.” Apple has invited members of the press to a “Let’s talk iPhone” event scheduled for 10 a.m. PST on Oct. 4.

Sources familiar with the discussions between Apple, record companies, and music publishers, say Apple is seeking international music licenses for its iCloud service. The licenses would be similar to those the company has already obtained for U.S. operations, the sources said.

Apple’s iCloud offers number of different backup and syncing services over the air. If the company is able to reach a deal, iCloud could be made available in  Germany, France and the UK.  Previous  estimates  had suggested the UK support to be delayed until 2012.

iCloud is a new feature in iOS 5, which is expected to be launched “this fall. iOS 5 will be available for free to iOS device users.

Apple Expected to Sell 4.63m Macs, 12m iPads in Record Quarter

A few days ago, MacStories had discovered that Apple had announced that they will announce their Q4 financial results on October 18th at 2PM PST. Today, Analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham Research predicts that Apple will report sales of 4.63 million Macs and 12 million iPads in its September quarter. Both of these would be records for the company, which topped off at 9.25 million iPads last quarter, and 4.1 million Macs last December.

Needham Sep11

In addition, Wolf’s Mac predictions are up from  his previous forecast of 4.4 million, despite a weak overall PC market. He cited surveys  that indicate Mac sales in the September quarter were stronger than previously expected.

Earlier this month, NPD Group released domestic sales figures that showed Apple on track to sell 4.5 million Mac this quarter. Mac sales were up 22 percent year over year in the US.  Wolf also expects that the sales of iPads to end users will be around 9 million for this quarter, with total sales into the channel of 12 million. This would be a major improvement from the June quarter. He also expects that Apple will report sales of about 17 million for iPhone sales, which would be a decline from last quarter’s record 20.34 million iPhones sold.

Needham predicts that Apple will report fourth-quarter earnings-per-share of $7.37, with total fiscal 2011 EPS of $28. For 2012, the firm expects EPS of $33. It has maintained a price target of $540 for Apple’s share price.

First Hong Kong Apple Store Draws Massive Crowd on Opening Day

Earlier this month, a  rumor  suggested that Apple would be opening its first Hong Kong store on September 24th. This week, MacRumors  reported  that that opening date has been confirmed,  as evidenced by a small new sign placed on a stand in front of an entrance to the store.  The sign confirmed that the store would open this Saturday, September 24th, at 9:00 AM.

Today,  Apple opened its first retail store in Hong Kong to a crowd of hundreds of customers.  The store is said to be the company’s most expensive retail location yet, with estimated construction costs of $20 million.  According to Richard Lai of  Engadget Chinese, more than  300 customers  had lined up outside the store by 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. In addition, prior to the opening, IFC Mall staffs allowed fans to wait inside even after the mall closed, and a nearby Starbucks remained open overnight.

Apple Store Hong Kong Opening Day
FC Mall Apple Store in Hong Kong 2 hours after opening. Credit: Gary Allen/ifostore via Flickr

The new Apple store is 15,000 square feet and is located in the International Financial Center (IFC) Mall.  The IFC is a waterfront commercial development in Hong Kong’s Central District and is a four-story shopping center with more than 200 stores found within.

Last quarter, the launch of the new MacBook Air in Hong Kong drew  long lines  and were frequently out of stock. The company’s presence in  Hong Kong could help increase sales of Apple devices in Asia. In fact, last quarter Apple saw its revenue in China grow  six times  to reach $3.8 billion, and executives have said that they believe they are barely scratching the surfaceof the market in China.

So how about em Microsoft stores?

Apple Releases Major Update and Free Trial for Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X

Apple released Final Cut Pro X exclusively on the Mac App Store  in June, but many users  criticized  the application for missing features and incompatibility with Final Cut Pro 7. Earlier this month, MacRumors reported that  Apple had put  the previous version of its Final Cut Studio video editing suite back on sale, possibly due to the mixed feedback on the new and completely redesigned Final Cut Pro X. Today, Apple has released version 10.0.1 (don’t let the version number fool you) of Final Cut Pro X. Version 10.0.1 is a major update and brings back requested features.

The update is available for free to all Final Cut Pro X owners. New features in the latest update include media stems export, Rich XML support, and projects and events on Xsan.

Jim Darlympe of The Loop has received word from Richard Townhill, senior director of applications marketing at Apple, that the  features were added after the company received feedback from its users (remember, Apple doesn’t care about its customers).  “We listened to the pros and have taken their top feature requests and put them in this update,” Townhill said.

In addition, Apple has promised another update  to bring multi cam editing and broadcast video output support, which is expected to launch early next year. Also, a new free trial of the software is now available on the Final Cut Pro X site, giving users the opportunity to test out the software before making a purchase.

This is what I love about Apple, when they screw up they usually fix it to most people’s satisfaction.

Apple’s Share Price Closes at All-time High

On July 20th, it was reported that Apple had the money to purchase Dell twice over with still having $10 billion left in the bank. Six days later, Apple’s share price hit $403.41 per share. Today, the company’s share price rose nearly 3% to close at a new all-time high of $411.63. The share price touched  $413.23 late in the after market, but closed at $411.63 per share.

AAPL 411

Not only did Apple’s share price close at a new all-time high, but it also retained its title as the world’s largest company by market capitalization. Apple has overtook Exxon (the former world’s largest company) by $23 billion. In fact, since Apple overtook Exxon for the first time in August, its market capitalization has grown by more than $44 billion. The company’s market cap is now at  $382.01 billion compared to Exxon’s $358.34 billion.

Wall Street and investors expected Apple’s share price to take a hit when co-founder Steve Jobs resigned as the company’s CEO in late August. Since that time, nearly four weeks ago, Apple’s stock is up 15% and is now higher than it had ever been under Jobs. Clearly, they hit the nail on the head. It should also be noted that even at this price Apple’s share price is undervalued.

The reason for today’s spike is unknown, but I would presume that investors knew something that we didn’t. Possibly details regarding Apple’s future plans for the upcoming next-generation iPhone might have triggered this. According to an analyst from J.P. Morgan, Apple will launch two versions of the iPhone soon.

If you still think Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs, think again.

Disclosure:  Parth Dhebar is an investor in Apple Inc.

Qantas Airlines Tests iPad 2 as In-flight Entertainment

A month ago, United Airlines deployed 11,000 iPads to pilots. Today, Qantas Airlines has announced that it will begin offering iPads on a trial basis to its passengers for in-flight entertainment. Australian Business Traveller reports that the pilot program will take place over a six-week period from the end of October to early December.  The trial run will be limited to a single aircraft, a 254-seat Boeing 767-300.

iPad pilot

Passengers on board will be given an iPad 2 for in-flight entertainment purposes.  A central server on the aircraft will use Wi-Fi to stream content to the iPads. In addition, each iPad will offer a  custom interface based on a special Q Streamingapplication that will let users stream content from one of five wireless access points. In fact, the app is based on Lufthansas’ BoardConnect technology, and is also being used by Virgin America.

Qantas Airlines will also allow passengers  that bring their own iPad on board to access the entertainment via a free Q Streaming application.  The system will also work with Android tablets (they exist!?), smartphones, and notebooks.  Customers bringing their own Wi-Fi enabled devices will be able to download videos and watch them up to 24 hours after leaving the aircraft.

The fact that airlines are choosing a closed OS over an “OPEN” one just boggles my mind. Not to mention, it lacks Flash and a fancy “Tegra 2 chipset” too. Oh yes, and remember that iPads are just for content consumption.


Grand Opening of Apple’s Massive New Hong Kong Store Confirmed for This Saturday

Earlier this month, a rumor suggested that Apple would be opening its first Hong Kong store on September 24th. The new Apple store is 15,000 square feet and is located in the International Financial Center (IFC) Mall.  The IFC is a waterfront commercial development in Hong Kong’s Central District and is a four-story shopping center with more than 200 stores found within.

Apple Store IFC Sept 24

Today, MacRumors reports that that opening date has been confirmed,  as evidenced by a small new sign placed on a stand in front of an entrance to the store.  The sign confirms that the store will open this Saturday, September 24th, at 9:00 AM.

Apple began construction for the store in June and reports suggested that the company planned to spend more than $20 million on construction alone.  The new store is expected to employ more than 300 employees who will serve an estimated 40,000 customers each day.  The company has created a new  Hong Kong retail page  with a dedicated  store page.

Last quarter, the launch of the new MacBook Air in Hong Kong drew  long lines  and were frequently out of stock. The company’s presence in  Hong Kong could help increase sales Apple devices in Asia. In fact, last quarter Apple saw its revenue in China grow  six times  to reach $3.8 billion, and executives have said they believe they are barely scratching the surfaceof the market in China.

Apple to Reset iCloud Backups Sept. 22 Ahead of iOS 5 GM

Apple has published a notice on its developer board regarding iCloud backup data. The company is planning to reset iCloud backup data on September 22nd hinting at a final iOS 5 release. Developers using iCloud during the beta won’t have the option of backing up or restoring between 9AM and 5PM PST that day.

iOS 5 features

iOS 5 has been undergoing developer testing since its announcement back in June, and since then Apple has provided 7 betas. A rumor  suggests that Apple will release iOS 5 GM to assemblers on September 23rd. In addition, another rumor suggests  that Apple’s AppleCare department is prepping for a launch on October 10th. Usually, a golden master version of software is identical to the code that eventually becomes the final release to the public.

On Thursday, September 22, the iCloud Backup data will be reset. Backing up to iCloud or restoring from an iCloud backup will be unavailable from 9 AM PDT 5 PM PDT. If you attempt a backup or restore during this time, you will receive an alert that the backup or restore was not successful. After this reset, you will be unable to restore from any backup created prior to September 22. A full backup will happen automatically the next time your device backs up to iCloud.

Apple had said that iOS 5 would launch “this fall” which technically begins on September 23rd. In addition, the company is expected to send out invites for a fall event soon.

White ‘iPhone 4s’ Shows in AT&T’s Inventory System

As an Apple event for the next-generation iPhone nears, leaks have started to become more common. Today, Engadget has received a leaked photo assumed to be from AT&T’s internal inventory system that shows a new entry for a “iPhone 4s white”. The screenshot was received from a tipster, however the listing appears to be incomplete and does not list the storage capacity.  It should be noted that the “s” is left uncapitalized, signaling that the next iPhone will be a evolutionary update rather than a revolutionary one.

iPhone 4s AT&T Leak

In the past, such entries have occurred and have usually been minimal indications of futures iPhones coming soon. The “iPhone 4s” is rumored by the media to be offered alongside the rumored upcoming “iPhone 5″.  Numerous reports have suggested that Apple will release two distinct versions of the iPhone in an attempt to enter into the pre-paid market. I believe those rumors are false and my predictions for the next iPhone can be read  here.

Apple is expected to unveil its next-genration iPhone and iPod touch in the coming weeks at a press event. Numerous rumors have suggested an event in September and a launch in October.

Mac App Store Updated to Warn Users Before Re-buying Apps

Mac App Store Rebuy Warning

Until today, Apple’s Mac App Store did not  feature support for applications that were purchased outside of the App Store, even if the software was available for purchase in multiple places. However,  the Mac App Store could detect whether an application had already been installed on a Mac before it was purchased through the Mac App Store.

Today, Macworld reports that the Mac App Store now prompts users attempting to purchase apps that are already installed on their Macs but purchased from outside the Mac App Store. However, The Next Web notes that  existing app and the Mac App Store must be the exact same version in order for the warning to be triggered. The warning  reads:

[App name] is already installed and was not purchased from the Mac App Store

Do you want to buy [app name] again?

Even though users are prevented from buying the software and presented with the warning, Apple still offers the user to purchase the app again.

The Mac App Store    launched in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, earlier this year, and continues to be a major success for Apple. In addition, it is a major selling point for Apple’s latest OS X 10.7 Lion.

Apple Working to Allow Users to Merge Multiple Apple IDs

iTunes 10 icon

Today, MacRumors  has discovered that Apple is working on a way to merge multiple Apple IDs into a single login.

Currently, using multiple Apple IDs into a single login is inconvenient for users. Switching between multiple logins while using Apple’s Automatic Downloads is, particularly, inconvenient because users can’t easily switch between logins. In addition, MobileMe users especially have found that they now have at least two Apple IDs their original one and their MobileMe account.

At present, there is not a way currently for users to combine their accounts into one unifying Apple ID. A representative from Apple reportedly said that the company is working on a solution. The representative recommends that in the meantime, users should continue using a single account and make all future purchases through it.  Apple has provided no official guidance on the issue, except to let customers know  that Apple IDs can not be consolidated at this time.

Two users who reached out to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, via e-mail received a phone call from the company explaining they are aware of the issue. Lately, Tim Cook has been responsive to customer emails and inquiries. Anyways, as usual, Apple’s evil and doesn’t care about its customers.

Former Samsung Manager Reveals Role in Leaking Apple iPad Production Data

Today, Bloomberg reports  on the recent  testimony of former Samsung manager Suk-Joo Hwang. On Wednesday, Suk-Joo Hwang, a 14-year veteran of Samsung, testified in a federal court being granted immunity from prosecution. He admitted to having lunch in Mountain View, CA, with Primary Global Research executive James Fleishman and a hedge fund manager and providing confidential information about Samsung’s shipment of LCD screens to Apple for the iPad.  “One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,he said.  Samsung was one of the original suppliers for the iPad.

Hwang said that during lunch at a restaurant in Mountain View, California, with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager he identified as Greg,he gave them confidential information about Samsung’s shipment of liquid crystal display screens it was supplying to Apple. The iPad made its U.S. debut in April 2010, four months after the lunch.

One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad,he said. This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn’t know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting.

If convicted,  Fleishman faces 25 years in prison of the two counts of conspiracy he has been charged with. Fleishman was arrested last December  as part of a wide-ranging Securities Exchange Commission probe investigating the practice of expert networks. When asked how Fleishman and the fund manager reacted to the information he provided, Hwang said, They didn’t know about it,adding that the fund manager was very excited. In addition, a former Apple employee was arrested in connection to the probe.

A Samsung spokeswoman in  San Jose, California, declined to comment on Hwang’s testimony.



Rumor: Apple is Building iMessage into OS X Lion’s iChat

iOS iMessageThis year at WWDC, Apple unveiled a new service called “iMessage”. iMessage is a a unified messaging service for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that allows users to send text and multimedia messages over Wi-Fi and 3G with read and delivery receipts and real-time typing indication. It is also  one of the major new features of the upcoming iOS 5 update. Currently, iMessage is not integrated into iChat.

A developer has discovered strings of code for “timeDelivered” and “timeRead”, which has led MacRumors to speculate that Apple could eventually bring support for its iMessage protocol to iChat.

Buried in the framework of OS X Lion’s iChat, are two new properties (highlighted below):

@interface IMMessage : NSObject
IMHandle *_sender;
IMHandle *_subject;
NSAttributedString *_text;
NSString *_plainBody;
NSDate *_time;
NSDate  *_timeDelivered;
NSDate  *_timeRead;

According to MacRumors, the “timeDelivered” and “timeRead’ fields indicate the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. Currently, these  features are not supported in any of iChat’s native messaging protocols, while the same features are offered in Apple’s iMessage protocol. In addition, these properties were not present in  previous versions of iChat prior to OS X Lion.

We believe the only reason Apple would have added these properties was to build in cross compatibility with their new iMessage protocol.

Apple is expected to release iOS 5 this fall. In addition, Apple is expected to send out invites for an upcoming fall event soon.

Apple Launches Twitter Account for U.S. iBookstore

iBookstore Twitter

Today, Apple has stepped up promotion of its iBookstore by launching a new  Twitter account  to keep followers updated on new releases, special offers, and other details from the store. Apparently, the account was created back in June, but Apple has just started using the account to send out tweets. The first tweet from the account was:

Welcome to the Apple #iBookstore on Twitter. Follow us to discover new releases, exclusive book offers, and more.

The second tweet from the account promotes  Erin Morgenstern’s  “The Night Circus”. Currently, the book is being featured on the iBookstore’s main page. In addition, Starbucks is also offering a free “extended sample” of the book through its  Pick of the Week program.

In addition, Apple also has Twitter accounts for other services from the iTunes Store, with the App Store receiving its own account earlier this year. The @iBookstore account is a verified account and belongs to Apple.

Apple has increased its relationship with Twitter, by having recently added Twitter and Facebook posting to its online store. In addition, iOS 5 has built in Twitter integration.