Apple Takes 19% of U.S. Consumer Electronics Dollars in Holiday Quarter

As we know by now, Apple reported a tremendous holiday quarter and its share price has been soaring since. It soared past $500 today! Now, a new report from NPD, a research firm, reports that Apple nabbed “19 percent of all sales dollars” of consumers electronics sales in the U.S. during the holiday quarter of 2011. Surprising for a company that isn’t dominating in marketshare, isn’t it?

NPD 2011 Apple Holiday

In addition, not only did Apple dominate in consumer electronics for the second year in a row, but its retail chain had the third most revenue of any electronics retailer. That would make Apple Stores come behind only Best Buy and Walmart. Also, the company was the only brand in the top five to post a sales increase from 2010, with receipts for 2011 rising more than 36 percent in the U.S. due to the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. It should also be noted that HP, Samsung, Sony, and Dell all saw declines in sales from 2010 to 2011. Oh, how times have changed.

Now where exactly would the U.S. consumer electronics industry be without Apple? Apparently, down 6% in 2011. This just goes to show how vital a company Apple is to the U.S. economy.

WSJ: iPad 3 to Support 4G LTE

Just a few hours back it was “confirmed‘” that Apple will announce the iPad 3 on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012. Now a new report from the Wall Street Journal reveals that the iPad 3 will come in 4G LTE versions for Verizon and AT&T.

WSJ said that the devices will use a “slower network technology” when LTE isn’t available (probably 3G or EDGE). In addition, the next iPad is expected to have a high-resolution Retina Display, a quad-core A6 processor, which would be in addition to the LTE capabilities. No signs indicate that the AT&T and Verizon iPads will be one model that can operate on both networks or separate models with individual SKUs, as they are currently.  4G LTE is the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards and provides much faster speeds versus 3G.

Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. will sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation wireless networks, according to people familiar with the matter, as the battle to cash in on big investments in mobile broadband heats up.

Apple Inc. appears to be planning to announce the latest version of its tablet computer in the first week of March, according to another person briefed on the matter.

Whether other carriers will also sell the device couldn’t be learned.

In the past, ex-Apple employees have said that the company  frequently engages in the practice of “controlled leaks”, which is the practice of partially notifying trusted reporters with product information before the launch of a new product.

If the rumors do turn out the be true, then I indeed predicted the iPad 3 correctly last month. :-)

iPad 3 to Be Announced on March 7th

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was debunked that Apple would be holding an event for the iPad 3 in February. Today, a new rumor has popped up and it seems to be true. iMore reports that Apple is planning to hold their iPad 3 on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. In the past, a majority of Apple’s events have been on a Wednesday.

In addition, the report also claims that the iPad 3 will include a 2048×1536 Retina display as well as a quad-core A6 processor and “possibly” 4G LTE networking. They cite sources “who have been reliable in the past”. Now you maybe thinking that anyone can come up with such a rumor, but well-connected Jim Dalrymple of The Loop also backs up the claim with a simple “Yep”.  Dalrymple has been reporting on Apple for over 20 years and has been known to have sources inside Apple.

If we look back at history, this can very well be true:

iPad:

Announced: Jan 27, 2010
Released: Mar 5, 2010

iPad 2:

Announced Mar 2, 2011
Released: Mar 11, 2011

My thoughts regarding what we can expect with the iPad 3 can be read here.

Apple May Be Trying to Stop ASUS Zenbook Production

You know those ASUS Zenbook’s, which are a copy-cat of the MacBook Air? Well, it looks like Apple is finally doing something about it. According to a new report from Digitimes, an article from  Taiwanese newspaper Commerical Times claims that Apple’s manufacturing partner Pegatron has ended its relationship with ASUS for production of the company’s MacBook Air clone. Why? It was due to the pressure from Apple. I guess that’s the type of power a company has when it has over $100 billion in cash!

Apple reportedly was unhappy about Pegatron’s production of Asustek’s Zenbook models, which are similar to its MacBook Air, especially in its outer design, and therefore, demand Pegatron make a choice, claimed the paper, which added that Pegatron began to assemble iPhones for Apple in 2011 and is eager to solicit orders for next-generation iPads from the vendor.

MacBook Air Zenbook

It should come as no surprise, but Apple is displeased with the similarity in looks between ASUS’s Zenbook and the MacBook Air and forced the manufacturer to choose between one company or the other.

Pegatron will reportedly slow down production of the Zenbook by next month, which forces ASUS to switch over to Compal or Wistron for manufacturing. Thank goodness! At least this will stop one MacBook Air clone from contaminating the market.

Fair Labor Association Begins Auditing of Foxconn’s Manufacturing Facilities at Apple’s Request

Lately, Apple’s been drawing a lot of flak for factory working conditions even though they are the only company trying their best to improve the factory conditions. Fact: Foxconn does not only manufacture products for Apple.

Last month, Apple released the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report for 2012. In addition, the company also agreed to join the FLA. That decision made Apple the first technology company to join the FLA.

Today, the company has issued a press release announcing that the FLA has begun inspecting Foxconn’s facilities at Apple’s request. This would be in addition to Apple’s own auditing practices. The press release notes that the FLA will conduct interviews of thousands of Foxconn employees in order to assess their working and living conditions. Also, the FLA will have access to Foxconn’s manufacturing areas, dormitories, and other facilities where employees are housed.

Apple today announced that the Fair Labor Association will conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers, including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s request. A team of labor rights experts led by FLA president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections Monday morning at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City.

“We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.”

Results of this inspection will be posted on FLA’s site next month, and similar inspection at Apple’s other major manufacturing partners Quanta and Pegatron will occur this spring.

How come Apple’s the only tech company to be criticized of working conditions? Oh wait, it’s the only company that generates page views in the media. Even after all of these actions, Apple still continues to remain evil.

AAPL Soars Past $500

Last week, I pointed out that while Apple’s share price continued to grow, Google’s continued to fall. At that time the share price was at $468, and had begun to soar past $470, $480, and $490, which would make it only ten dollars short of closing at $500. Today, Apple’s share price soared past $500 as trading opened this morning. It has been rising every since the company reported blowout earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2012. The share price has increased $75/share, or nearly 18%, in just under three weeks.

AAPL 500

Remember when Exxon Mobile was the most valuable company in the world? Well, now Apple, is worth more than $469 billion, making it the most valuable company in the world by a significant margin. Exxon Mobile, the second most valuable company, is worth approximately $400 billion.

Believe it or not, a share of $AAPL stock now costs as much as the original iPod. If you spent that money on Apple stock instead back then, it would be worth $27,556 today! It really is only a matter of time until Apple’s share price surpasses Google’s. $110 dollars and counting…

Eddy Cue Accepts Special Grammy Award Honoring Steve Jobs

Back in December, the man that changed the world was awarded a Grammy Award. The Recording Academy announced that it would be honoring Steve Jobs with a Special Merit Grammy Award. The Trustees Award for Jobs was made in recognition for his ”outstanding contributions to the industry in a nonperforming capacity.”

Yesterday, The Grammy ceremony for the Special Merit Awards occurred, and Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue was the one to accept the award. His speech was beautiful and heart warming. You can watch the speech in the embedded video below.

On behalf of Steve’s wife, Laurene, his children, and everyone at Apple, I’d like to thank you for honoring Steve with the Trustees Grammy Award. Steve was a visionary, a mentor, and a very close friend. I had the incredible honor of working with him for the last fifteen years.

Accepting this award means so much to me because music meant so much to him. He told us that music shaped his life…it made him who he was. Everyone that knows Steve knows the profound impact that artists like Bob Dylan and The Beatles had on him.

Steve was focused on bringing music to everyone in innovative ways. We talked about it every single day. When he introduced the iPod in 2001, people asked “Why is Apple making a music player?” His answer was simple: “We love music, and it’s always good to do something you love.”

His family and I know that this Grammy would have been very special to him, so I thank you for honoring him today.

 

This is the second time Jobs and Apple has been honored by The Recording Academy. In 2002, Apple itself won a Technical Grammy Award.

The Recording Academy has also published a tribute to Jobs by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, a 16-time Grammy winner and personal friend of Jobs.

Apple Sues Motorola Over Qualcomm License

It seems like Apple is on a suing streak this week! On Wednesday, Apple sued Samsung over autocorrect and unlock related patents. Today, Reuters reports that Apple has filed another lawsuit against Motorola. This time, the lawsuit suggests that Motorola has violated a license agreement with Qualcomm in its efforts to have a number of Apple’s iOS devices banned from sale in Germany.

This is following a December victory by Motorola in a German court. Last week, Apple briefly pulled all 3G-enabled products with the exception of the iPhone 4S from its German online store. However, they were restored within a few hours after the injunction was suspended. Today’s lawsuit specifically is in connection with the iPhone 4S, which Motorola has also been trying to block in Germany and other countries.

The suit, filed in a San Diego federal court, argues that Motorola’s German lawsuit against Apple breaches terms of a patent licensing agreement between Motorola and Qualcomm. […]

In the latest lawsuit, Apple says that as a Qualcomm customer, Apple is a third-party beneficiary of Motorola’s agreement with Qualcomm. Under that agreement, Motorola’s rights under certain patents are exhausted, Apple argues.

Apparently, the iPhone 4S uses Qualcomm’s MDM6610 baseband chip, which Apple argues that Qualcomm’s patent license with Motorola exhausts Motorola’s rights to further royalties from Apple. MacRumors points out that Apple has brought up this issue before while defending itself against Samsung in Australia.

People say that Apple has started to patent troll, but in reality they are just trying to protect their intellectual property (IP). That’s all.

Apple Sues Samsung over Autocorrect and Screen Unlock Related Patents

The patents wars are getting even more intense! Turns out, this week Apple has filed another lawsuit in the U.S. against copy-cat Samsung. Their latest complaint is related to the autocorrection of spelling and the way the unlocking a device from its touchscreen works.

This patent lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, and Apple believes that Samsung is infringing upon its own patented inventions. Shocker, isn’t it? After all, Samsung is original and hasn’t been copying Apple since 2007. The company is seeking a preliminary injunction against Samsung. Four different patents are cited by Apple in the case.  The patents are named through expert declarations filed by Apple as part of the suit. AppleInsider reveals that the following patents are:

In Apple’s latest filing, it is not known what the products are since the complaint has not been made public. Lawsuits between Samsung and Apple have been going on since last April and continue to grow.

AAPL Now Worth More Than GOOG and MSFT combined

It has been one heck of a crazy week for Apple’s share price. We are less than two months into the year and the share price has already seen a 22% increase this year. In fact, while AAPL continues to rise, GOOG’s share price continues to fall. This week alone, Apple’s share price has seen an average of $10 in gains per day. Also, since the time Steve Jobs passed away, the company’s market cap has grown $90 billion. Clearly doomed indeed.

Apple 493

Today, AppleInsider points out that Apple is now worth more than Google and Microsoft! That’s pretty amazing for a company that doesn’t dominate in marketshare. Microsoft’s market cap was around $256.7 billion, while Google was valued at around $198.9 billion. Today, Apple’s share price closed at $493.17 and was trading at $494.69 in the after hours. The company’s market cap reached $459.82 billion.

While Apple’s share price is going to pass $490, analysts have begun raising their expectations. Charlie Wolf with Needham & Company upped his estimate from $540 to $620, while Mike Walkley with Canaccord Genuity raised his target on AAPL shares even higher, to $665. In fact, even to this day, Apple is trading lower than what it should be at.

It seems to me that Apple will soar past $500 tomorrow without a doubt!