Gartner: Apple is Now the Largest Buyer of Semiconductors in the World

Just ahead of Apple’s quarterly earnings call today, Gartner, a researching firm, has come out with a new report today that suggests that the company is the world’s largest buyer of semiconductors in the world. Apple spent around $17 billion on semiconductors in 2011, making it the largest chip customer in the world. Shouldn’t it be a company that manufactures Android phones (the OS that’s “winning)!? You know, like Samsung!

Gartner 2011 seminconductor

Apple claimed the top position with a 34.6 percent growth from 2010, the largest surge of any other company among the top 10. The company leaped two spots from third  2010 to beat out copycat-Samsung and take the number 1 position. According to the report, semiconductor purchases for the company’s products came in at $17.3 billion in 2011, ahead of Samsung’s $16.7 billion and HP’s $16.6 billion. In fact, last June, IHS iSuppli reported that Apple had become the world’s largest buyer of semiconductors in 2010.

The leading electronics manufacturers accounted for $105.6 billion in semiconductor purchases in 2011. That was a year over year increase of $1.8 billion, or 1.8 percent, from 2010. Apple’s performance in 2011 continued its growth pattern seen over the last five years, since the iPhone was first introduced in 2007.

Early iBooks Textbooks Downloads Estimated at 350,000?

iBooks textbook

Just last week, Apple introduced iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. In addition, they introduced digital textbooks for the iPad and announced partnerships with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. Since the moment Apple announced these digital textbooks, it was considered to be a dud. However, today AllThingsD reports on a new research note from Global Equities Research analyst, Trip Chowdhry claiming that customers downloaded approximately 350,000 iBooks Textbooks from the iBookstore over the first three days of availability. Clearly, a dud indeed!

If those numbers are accurate, Apple’s textbook effort would seem to be off to a good start. Which is good news for everyone involved — particularly textbook publishers, who stand to make more money on books sold through iBooks than those sold at retail.

It is unclear how many of those 350,000 downloads were paid purchases, with seven of the eight titles being priced at Apple’s maximum $14.99 price tag. Apparently, these downloads were accompanied by over 90,000 downloads of Apple’s iBooks Author app from the Mac App Store. The eight title, E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth, is available for free, although it currently contains only the first two chapters of the book. Paid titles are also required to offer free samples, and Chowdhry apparently did not mention whether these are counted as downloads.

With only eight iBooks textbook titles available at launch, Apple is just beginning to scratch the surface of the digital textbook market.

Apple May Open Retail Stores in India?

Well, just last week it was reported that Apple is working on two new retail stores in France and Switzerland. Today, Indian business newspaper Mint reports that Apple may be preparing to open retail stores in India. If true, this would significantly increase the company’s presence in the country.

According to the report, Apple’s interest forms due to Indian regulators eliminating ownership requirements that had previously required single-brand retail outlets such as Apple Stores to have at least 49% domestic investment. However, one potential obstacle still might remai as ventures with high levels of foreign investment such as what Apple would offer will be required to source 30% of their product value from small businesses in India. Luckily for Apple, regulators may be willing to address that requirement as well, depending the official analysis of the viability of a retail effort in India.

When asked whether the 30% local sourcing clause will be a hindrance, the DIPP official said, “Let Apple finalize its business plan and the investment it wants to make. If they tell us that the 30% sourcing is a problem, at that stage we will look into it,” he said.

In 2006, Apple attempted to create an Indian presence with a tech support center, but the company quickly abandoned those plans.

iPhone 4S & iPad 2 Untethered iOS 5.0.1 Jailbreak Available

Jailbreakers rejoice, the long awaited and highly anticipated untethered jailbreak for iOS 5.0.1 on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 is finally available.

It was only a few days ago that the first untethered iOS 5.0.1 jailbreak was shown off on video. It was functional, but declared to still be in testing. Fast forward just 4 days later, and a public release is available for all to download. The Chronic Dev team have announced they have packaged the exploits that allow execution of unsigned code (code named Absinthe A5) into a working untethered jailbreak. Both the iPhone 4S (GSM and CDMA variants), as well as the iPad 2 (GSM, CDMA and Wi-Fi only variants) are targeted and supported in this release.

It took a mass of crash reports, over 10 million, and almost 10 months of work for the team to find an entry point and exploit the new A5 chip. The exploit consists of a series of both userland and kernel level exploits that were dubbed ‘corona’.  The name comes from a vulnerability that was in Apple’s IPSec IKE daemon, named ‘racoon’. Although the app released today, for jailbreaking current iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices, is only available for Mac OS X users, there is a placeholder for Windows and Linux users. Their respective applications will likely be available soon and will be as simple as a point and click.

In addition to the tools being released, the “iOS Hacking Dream Team” has spawned. It consists of members from the Chronic Dev team (posixninja, pod2g and nikias) and the iPhone-dev team (planetbeing). Both teams have donation pages to thank them for their work and provide funds for hardware upgrades to ensure future devices can be jailbroken.

Apple is Now Worth More Than Greece

Apple logo

You probably are thinking that the headline of this post is crazy, but in reality it is not. Apple’s share price and market cap has grown like a weed. Just yesterday, it was reported that Apple’s share price had closed at all-time high of $429. While the share price continues to grow, its market cap is growing too. Today, Apple’s market cap has touched $400 Billion, reports CNN Money. It is a record high for the world’s most valuable technology company.

The company’s market cap skid just below the $400 billion mark and share price fell back from an all-time high of $431.37 it set earlier in the morning. At the end of the day, Apple closed at a market cap of $398 billion. In fact, once Apple’s market cap closes at $400 billion, it will only be $20 billion away from becoming the world’s most valuable company. In the past, Apple has stolen the spot away from Exxon. Currently, Exxon claims that spot with a market cap of $420 billion.

Just a few months ago, Apple was worth as much as all Euro zone banks combined. Today, Apple’s worth is higher than the gross domestic product of Greece, Austria, Argentina, or South Africa. Holy moly, and to think the company was doomed nearly a decade ago. What’s hilarious is that Apple’s market cap is nearly twice of Google’s ($207 billion) now. You know, the company that’s dominating in marketshare. To see all the things Apple is worth more than, checkout out this blog.

So let me get this straight, a company that was nearly dead at one point has seen a growth of nearly 4000% in the past 10 years, has more cash in the bank than the US Government, is worth more than Greece, and is the most valuable technology company in the world. Mind boggling isn’t it? Next week, Apple will report its quarterly earnings for the past, and it is expected to be a $40 billion quarter for the company.

Apple Posts Video of iBooks Media Event

Apple has published the full video of today’s education-related event on their website. It requires Safari 4 or 5 on Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Lion, Safari on iOS 3 or later, or QuickTime 7 on Windows.

iBooks keynote

Thursday’s event occurred at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, and was about an hour long. The event featured Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for Worldwide Product Marketing, as well as Roger Rosner, vice president for Productivity Software. During the event, iBooks 2 for iPad was officially unveiled, which Apple pitched as a new platform for textbooks in school. The keynote shows a live demonstration of new textbooks made for the iBooks 2 software.

During the event, the company also unveiled  iBooks Author and iTunes U for iPad. iBooks Author is a new app for Mac OS X that makes creating digital books easy for iOS. In addition, Apple also introduced a brand new iPad app for iTunes U. The company turned its free educational podcast section in the iTunes store into an app. iTunes U allows college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes.

Apple also released iTunes 10.5.3, which allows users of iBooks to sync their textbook purchases with iTunes.

 

Apple Announces iBooks Author

Apple sure has made a lot of education-related announcements today. In addition to releasing a revamped version of iBooks, announcing digital interactive textbooks, and an app for iTunes U, the company has also unveiled a brand new Max OS X application called “iBooks Author”. According to the company, this will simplify the process of creating and selling digital textbooks through its iBook store. More importantly, it should be noted that Apple has essentially converted iBooks from an app to a platform.

iBooks Author

Apple’s Roger Rosner, demonstrated the new software to the press during the event. He showed how the tool can easily turn a document like a Microsoft Word file into something formatted for the iBooks 2 app. In addition, users can also place images in their book, and text will flow around the pictures. Movies can also be added to an iBook too by simply dragging and dropping. He also showed how simple it is to add a Keynote file to an iBook. In his demo, Rosner showed how adding a Keynote file would add the presentation to a book as an interactive widget.

Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All you need is an idea and a Mac. Start with one of the Apple-designed templates that feature a wide variety of page layouts. Add your own text and images with drag-and-drop ease. Use Multi-Touch widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. Preview your book on your iPad at any time. Then submit your finished work to the iBookstore with a few simple steps. And before you know it, you’re a published author.

iBooks Author is available for free in the Mac App Store.

 

Apple Introduces New iTunes U app for iPad

iTunes U app

Not only did Apple introduce a brand new iBooks app and digital interactive textbooks during today’s event, Apple also introduced an iTunes U application for iPad. The company turned its free educational podcast section in the iTunes store into an app. iTunes U allows college students to view course materials, receive updates from their teachers, and even sign up for classes. Also, anyone can view the iTunes U content.

The all-new iTunes U app lets teachers create and manage courses including essential components such as lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabuses and offer them to millions of iOS users around the world.

The new iTunes U app is a huge leap from audio and video lectures to a full-fleged learning app. Which also allows non-traditional students to access huge amounts of free content. Courses are created via the iTunes U course Manager, a web-based tool that allows teachers to build a course that includes a syllabus, handouts, quizzes, and much more.

iTunes U lets you take a complete course on your iPad. View the course overview, instructor biography, and course outline. Read posts and keep track of your completed assignments. Watch videos directly within the app, read books, and view all your course notes in one place. Receive push notifications alerting you to new posts from the instructor. And iCloud keeps your notes, highlights, and bookmarks up to date on all your devices.

iTunes U for iOS has more than 100 courses already optimized for iOS, with more along the way. The app is a free download for iPad and iPhone on the App Store.

 

Apple Releases iBooks 2 for iPad

Today, Apple had its education-focused media event. During the event, the company made a series of announcements. Right off the bat, Apple started off the keynote by introducing iBooks 2, an updated version of the company’s e-book software for iOS devices. The update comes as a part of a dive into the interactive digital textbooks in partnership with a number of major publishers.

iBooks textbook

Apple has partnered with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the textbooks. These three publishers are currently responsible for 90% of textbook sales in the United States. In addition, McGraw-Hill and Pearson are rolling out a handful of introductory titles today, with more coming soon. Apple’s initial focus for its textbooks is on high school textbooks. The books are priced at $14.99 or less, which is amazing because usually a textbook of this kind would cost $50+. From the iBooks 2 description:

Introducing iBooks 2 — now with iBooks textbooks.

– Experience gorgeous Multi-Touch textbooks designed for iPad
– iBooks textbooks are filled with interactive features, diagrams, photos, and videos
– Tap to dive into images with interactive captions, rotate 3D objects, swipe through image galleries, watch videos in full screen, and more
– Use a finger as a highlighter when swiping over text in a textbook
– Take advantage of Study Cards to help you memorize important highlights, notes, and glossary terms
– Tap glossary terms to see definitions of key topics and concepts without leaving the page

iBooks 2 is available for free from the App Store, available as an update to the existing iBooks app.

Apple Attempts to Reinvent Textbooks with iBooks 2 and iBooks Author

After disrupting the entertainment industry, Apple has now set its sights on the education sector. In an event held at the Guggenheim museum in New York City, Apple announced its plans to reinvent the textbook industry.

At the heart of Apple’s textbook strategy is the iPad. The iPad’s potential as an educational device was apparent from the very beginning. More than 1.5 million iPads are currently being used in educational programs. However, the lack of structured content has prevented students and teachers around the globe from realizing its full potential. All this is set to change with today’s announcement of iBooks 2.

Textbooks are informative and comprehensive. Unfortunately, they are also dull and boring. “There is no reason to assume today that kids need to use the same tools they used in 1950”, explained Apple. iBooks are essentially full-fledged iPad applications that are designed to make learning fun by tapping the intuitiveness of learning on a multimedia capable touchscreen tablet.

iBooks will feature interactive graphics, 3 dimensional models, videos, search, interactive quiz, glossary, and more. Apple’s iBooks makes highlighting content, taking notes, and creating study cards as simple as a few taps and swipes on the screen. Additionally, books purchased will be perpetually available in the library, and will continue to be updated as the publisher releases new editions.

iBooks-1

iBooks-2

The advantages of Apple’s new digital textbook platform are several. However, none of that would have mattered if they were not priced right. Thankfully, Apple is again adopting its already proven model of undercutting the established distribution model with smart pricing. All textbooks will be available for $14.99 or less, which is an astronomical price reduction when compared to their dead tree counterparts. Currently, college students often end up spending upwards of thousand bucks on textbooks alone.

iBooks-Search

Apple is not only making it easier to consume information, but also to create information. It is releasing a new application for Mac called the iBooks Creator. As the name suggests, the iBooks Creator is aimed at publishers looking to create iBooks (which may or may not be textbooks). It is a WYSIWYG editor that makes creating gorgeous and interactive textbooks drop dead simple. Most of the stuff can be accomplished by simple drag and drop, and more advanced features can be added through HTML and JavaScript widgets. The iBook Author is available as a free download.

iBooks-Author

Apple is launching its new initiative with all the big guns on-board. Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which account for 90 percent of textbooks sold in the US, are among its launch partners.

[images via Engadget]