WSJ: Apple Preparing Thinner and Lighter iPhone for Third Quarter Launch

iPhone 4 back

Yesterday, DigiTimes reported that Apple had ordered 15 million iPhone 5 units with Pegatron. Today, The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in fact preparing a new iPhone for a launch during the third quarter of this year, with the initial production target to be  25 million units through the end of the year.

Apple’s sales estimates of the new iPhone is quite aggressive. It told us to prepare to help the company meet its goal of 25 million units by the end of the year,” said another person at one of Apple’s suppliers. “The initial production volume will be a few million units… we were told to ship the components to assembler Hon Hai in August.”

Rumors have suggested that the next-gen iPhone will be nearly identical to the iPhone 4, but according to  The Wall Street Journal’s sources the new device will be “thinner and lighter”. In addition, their sources suggest that  Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn/Hon Hai is having difficulties with yield rate on the new device due to it being “complicated and difficult to assemble.”

Two of the people, however, cautioned that shipments of the new iPhone could be delayed if Hon Hai can’t improve its yield rate as the new iPhone is “complicated and difficult to assemble.”

According to sources and many rumors, a  September release for the next-generation iPhone is expected, which has been rumored to carry Apple’s A5 processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, and a baseband chip from Qualcomm to support both GSM and CDMA networks.

Display Suppliers’ Production Numbers Support Upcoming Increase In iPad 2 Shipments

iPad 2 docked

Last week, DigiTimes reported  that Apple is looking to ship 12-14 million iPad 2s during the third quarter of 2011, and now a new report backs that prediction up  with claims that Apple’s touch panel suppliers shipped out five million units in June and plan to produce five million more in July.

Five million touch sensors for the iPad 2 will be shipped in July, according to sources with Apple’s supply chain.

Shipments in June were also five million, with TPK Holding and Wintek supplying 1.4-1.6 million units each and the remaining by Cando, Sintek Photronic and Chimei Innolux (CMI), the sources indicated.

Rumors have suggested that Apple has had a tough time meeting customer demand due to the display production. TPK and Wintek used to supply Apple’s suppliers, but since then Apple has added more suppliers to meet its production goals.  In addition, rumor has it that  Apple has said to be buying up 60% of the global supply for touch panels for 2011.

App Store For iPad Now 100,000 Apps Strong

100,000 iPad apps

With the introduction of iPad, Apple also introduced an App Store specifically for iPad-specific apps. A little more than one year after, MacStories reports that  the App Store for iPad now offers over 100,000 iPad-specific applications.

Apple and third-party developers have set a new record: in 453 days since the original iPad came out on April 3, 2010, the App Store has more than 100,000 iPad-exclusive apps available. Either specifically targeting the tablet, or released as universal updates to existing iPhone apps, at the moment of writing this there are 100,161 iPad apps in the Store. How do I know? The App Store app itself on my iPad shows that.

In comparison, none of Apple’s competitors offer  more than a couple hundred tablet-optimized apps. For example, the Motorola Xoom  has been on the market for months, but still only offers a few hundred apps. Even a year after iPad’s launch,  Apple still has a tremendous lead in the tablet market and competitors are still having a hard time catching up.

Apple Offering 7-Day Refund Policy On App Store Apps In Taiwan

App Store LogoOver the past few days, reports have suggested that Apple and Google maybe being pressurized by the Taiwanese Government  to modify their app sales policies. This app sale policy would require both companies  to modify their app sales policies to comply with a law requiring a one-week return and refund policy on all purchases. WantChinaTimes was the first to report this story and today more info has become available.

At the request of Taipei City Hall, Apple agreed to let their phone users have a trial period of seven days, within which a user can return the app for a full refund.

Apple hasn’t in the past offered refunds officially, but refunds have been available case by case via iTunes support. Today, The Economic Times of India reports that Apple has agreed to these new rules while Google has been fined $34,600 over its refusal to offer a 7-day refund policy. Also, another report from the Taipei Times uncovers that  Google has withdrawn its paid apps from the marketplace in Taiwan rather than agree to the new conditions.

The reason why Apple agreed to this law is unclear, and there’s no word of  changes in the handling of purchases made through the App Store in Taiwan. In addition, it is unknown if  Apple will be extending the policy to other countries.

Apple Maybe Making More Profit Selling One Mac Than HP Does From 7 PCs

Apple Logo

A new blog post by  high school student Matt Richman titled  “A Consequence of Losing the PC Wars” compares  Apple’s profit margin from the sale of Macs to HP’s sales of PCs. The numbers which are revealed are mind blowing.

According to the report,  Richman reports that  Apple accumulated  $4.976 billion in revenue from the sale of 3.76 million Macs during their previous quarter, giving a Mac an average selling price of $1,323.40. Richman then multiplied that number by a 28% gross margin for Mac sales from Jefferies & Co  to arrive at a profit of $370.55 per Mac sold.

A June 1st research note from Peter Misek of Jefferies & Company pegged Mac gross margins at 28%. Multiply $1,323.40 by .28 and Apple makes $370.55 for every Mac sold.

In comparison, HP’s PCs  brought in  $9.415 billion in revenue and returned a profit of $533 million last quarter. Hewlett Packard’s  operating margin, which doesn’t include  overhead costs, came in at 5.66%.

HP’s Personal Systems Group, the division at HP that sells PCs,  brought in$9.415 billion in revenue and turned a profit of $533 million last quarter. Their operating margin, which doesn’t factor in overhead costs, was 5.66%. If we assume they spent 1% of their $9.415 billion in revenue — $94.15 million — on operations, then their profit margin was 6.66%. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and make it 8%.

Richman says that  “If we assume they spent 1% of their $9.415 billion in revenue — $94.15 million — on operations, then their profit margin was 6.66%…But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and make it 8%.”.

With an average selling price of $650 and a profit margin of 8 percent, HP would be making approximately $52 on the sale of each PC, translating to “Apple makes more money from the sale of one Mac than HP does from selling seven PCs.”

Apple Offers Mobile Me to iCloud Transition FAQ

Since the announcement of iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud based service package, at WWDC earlier this month, there have been a number of questions from users. Some have asked what would happen to iWeb published websites. Others have questioned what portions of the current system, MobileMe, will make the transition.

It seems that Apple is ready to answer those questions and more. A new webpage has been released that details which parts of MobileMe will make it to iCloud, and which will not. You will see an excerpt from that page below, and it shows a quick reference chart of services and whether or not they will be part of iCloud.

Apple iCloud MobileMe Transition

The features listed in the chart will be introduced by the services mentioned at WWDC. They include:

  • iTunes in the Cloud
  • Photo Stream
  • Documents in the Cloud
  • Automatic downloads and purchase history for apps and books
  • Backup and restore

Of these, I see myself making the most use of the cloud storage of documents and photos. It is common knowledge that these features will be built into OS X Lion, once both it and iCloud become available.

If you want to look at the iCloud Transition FAQ for yourself, you can do so here. There are a number of questions and sneers available there. The cover pretty much every topic related to the switch.

Apple To Launch iOS-powered TV Display This Fall?

Apple TV

According to a new rumor from DailyTech, Apple maybe launching a television set this fall. They report that a former  Apple executive spoke with them and said you’ll go into an Apple retail store and be able to walk out with a TV. It’s perfect.The rumored TV is expected to run  Apple’s iOS (which currently runs on the  iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Apple TV). In addition, the rumor also suggests that  Apple will not be developing the large screens in-house, but will work with an OEM to get the production rolling.

According to source Apple plans to “blow Netflix and all those other guys away” by bundling Apple TV + iTunes inside physical television sets. According to the source Apple is teaming up with a major supplier (our guess would be Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEO:005930)), to provide the physical televisions, which will be rebranded as Apple television sets.

However, Apple has even said  multiple times that the Apple TV is a “hobby”. In 2010, Tim Cook responded to questions about the Apple TV set top box at a Goldman Sachs Conference:

Q: Where do you see things going with the Apple TV?
A: It’s still a hobby, but our gut tells us there’s something there. The go-to-market model is difficult, and we have no interest in being in the TV market. But we have continued to invest in the Apple TV and will keep doing so.

DailyTech is not known for reporting on Apple-related rumors, so this article should be taken with a pinch of salt. Is this the new Apple unicorn? Let us know in the comments!