Apple to Announce iPad 3 in First Week of March

It should come as no surprise, but it is that time of the year again. The time of the year where media goes all crazy over iPad 3 rumors and reports on every single one, but luckily there are still a few sane reports that come out. Just last week, a rumor regarding an iPad 3 event in February was debunked. Today, AllThingsD, which has an accurate history in revealing information regarding Apple’s new product media events, reports that Apple will hold an event to the launch the iPad 3 in the first week of March.  The report also suggests that the iPad 3 will be available for purchase within a week or so after the event. If we take a look back at history, this can very well be true:


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

iPad 2:

Announced Mar 2, 2011
Released: Mar 11, 2011

In addition, the report also reemphasizes some of the rumors around the iPad 3, claiming that it will feature a much “faster chip”, improved graphics capabilities, and a much higher resolution display. This justifies what I predicted a month ago even more. You can read my thoughts here.

The Loop’s well-connected Jim Dalrymple also supports AllThingsD‘s claim with a “Yep.”

Rumor: Siri Support for Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, and Russian Languages Coming Next Month

According to Tech in AsiaSiri, the voice assistant found in Apple’s iPhone 4S is will get support for the Chinese language next month. However, the initial Chinese support will only include Mandarin, with Cantonese and other forms being left out for the time being. The report also suggests that Apple is also planning to introduce support for  Japanese and Russian.

Currently, Siri only supports English (United States, United Kingdom, and Australia), French, and German but in Apple’s Siri FAQ the company promises support for additional languages. The FAQ notes that the company will add support for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, and Spanish. Support for the Chinese is given without a doubt due to the strong growth and demand the company is seeing in the country. Apple launched the iPhone 4S on partner carrier in China Unicom last month and new rumors suggest that it may debut on China Telecom very soon.

Another important market for Apple is Japan, with the company having presence with users and where the iPhone 4S debuted as part of the first round of launching in mid-October. The company has paid less attention on Russia, but along with Brazil, India, and China, the country is considered to be another likely place Apple can gain momentum.

Sprint Sold 1.8 Million iPhones in 4Q 2011

Just a few weeks ago, AT&T reported that over 80% of the smartphones they sold last quarter were Apple’s iPhone. In addition, Verizon revealed that the iPhone represented 55% of Verizon’s last quarter smartphone sales. Today, Sprint had its earnings call for the fourth quarter of 2011. During the call, the carrier disclosed that it sold a total of 1.8 million iPhones during the quarter.

Even though the number reported is much lesser than AT&T and Verizon, Sprint’s iPhone helped achieve a new record high subscriber base of 55 million customers. See, every carrier needs the iPhone. It helps them grow! In fact, when was the last time you heard an Android phone ever do the same for a carrier? It should also be noted that 40% of Sprint’s iPhone purchasers were new to the carrier. I wonder if this is because of the unlimited data they are offering? AT&T and Verizon don’t offer an unlimited data plan for the iPhone anymore.

The carrier also reported that their earnings margins are being eroded by the upfront subsidies the carrier paid to Apple for the devices. Sprint’s total subsidy payments increased roughly 40% year-over-year and sequentially, reached $1.7 billion.

You know what’s interesting? Carriers will reveal the number of iPhones sold in a quarter, but won’t reveal the same for Android phones. I wonder why…

AAPL Continues to Rise, While GOOG Continues to Fall in 2012

As we pointed out last week, Apple’s share price is seeing tremendous growth in 2012, but that’s not all. Turns out, while Apple’s share price continues to increase, Google’s continues to fall. There’s no other tech company stock right now which is seeing growth like this. Now, let’s compare Apple’s share price growth versus Google’s in a similar time frame. I’m going to graph the share price until February 7th.

In roughly the past month, AAPL has a seen a gain of over 60 points that has increased its price by nearly 16%. This was due to the blowout quarter the company reported two weeks ago, and since then, the share price has seen solid growth and closed at yet another record high of $468.83. Not only that, but Apple’s iPhone also nabbed 75% of mobile phone profits last quarter with just 9% of unit share. The company’s share price is nearing $470. Remember, this company has been declared “doomed” many times now and is not dominating in marketshare.

Apple Google 2012

However, if we take a look at Google’s share price during the same duration, GOOG has seen a monthly decline of over 30 points which has decreased its price by 6%. This is due to the fact that the company failed to meet earnings expectations for the second time in a row. It really is only a matter of time until Google’s share price is lower than Apple’s. In fact, even to this day, Apple’s share price is trading lower than what it should be at. If things continue to go the way they are, it can get much worse for Google. Remember, business is always about the money. How can this be for a company that’s dominating in marketshare and “winning?”

Siri Represents 25% of Wolfram Alpha Queries

Nobody’s using Siri, eh? Well, think again. Today, a new report reveals that about one quarter of the queries to Wolfram Alpha now come from the Siri voice assistant integrated in Apple’s iPhone 4S. The New York Times reveals that because of Siri, the company’s staff has grown to 200 people. Do I smell a worthy Google competitor in the making? ;-)

Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram Alpha, whose staff has grown to 200.

The company first began using Wolfram Alpha when it launched Siri with the iPhone 4S last October. Wolfram Alpha allows users type in complex factual queries, and the answer engine will automatically generate accurate answers from its structured data containing hundreds of datasets.

Now, if we take a look at the bigger picture, this could be a severe threat to Google’s search business. What Apple is essentially doing with Siri is transitioning users away from a search engine to an answer engine. For example, if I type in Google “When is Christmas?”, it will give me a bunch of weblinks. However, Siri on the other hand will give me a direct answer. Since Google’s large chunk of revenue comes from the ad/search business, Siri can directly harm their revenue stream since there are no ads in the service. In fact, it has already proven to do so.

Rumor: Roger and BCE Already Have the Apple iTV in Their Labs

It is rumored that Apple will enter the TV market big time this year by introducing a full fledged TV, which means that rumors won’t stop coming! It is the media’s new unicorn. Last year, it was rumored that the Apple TV may run on custom-built chips. Which is probably true because Apple is already using custom-built chips known as the A5 processor in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Apple is already a chip maker. Then in January, it was reported that Apple may or may not be interested in bidding for English Premier League Streaming rights.

Well, here comes another rumor! The Globe and Mail, which is Canada’s largest-circulation newspaper, reports that Apple is considering launch partnerships with Canada’s Rogers Communications and BCE Inc. According to the newspaper, these companies already have the Apple iTV in their labs. OK, let’s take this with a pinch of salt, shall we? When was the last time you ever heard of the most secretive company in the world ever give its products in development for testing to third parties?

“They’re not closed to doing it with one [company] or doing it with two,” said one source who is familiar with the talks. “They’re looking for a partner. They’re looking for someone with wireless and broadband capabilities.”

The report also suggests that Siri is integrated into Apple’s new television to help viewers make programming choices. Viewers can then control the TV with voice or hand gestures. Also, an on screen keyboard can be made to show up without any special hardware.

An on-screen keyboard, meanwhile, can also be activated in a similar manner, allowing viewers to surf the web, conduct video chats and use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook – all without any physical interface.

I don’t know about you, but if Apple does enter the TV market big time this year, it will be interesting to see how they revolutionize the market. I’m excited!

Halliburton Will Ditch BlackBerry for iOS This Year

Not only are consumers ditching RIM’s BlackBerry and Google’s Android for Apple’s iOS, but many companies’s IT department. Today, Halliburton, based out of Houston, Texas has planned to switch thousands of employees from BlackBerry’s to iPhone and the iOS platform, AppleInsider reports. Hilarious because at one point, business only used to use RIM’s BlackBerry devices. Oh, and not to mention Android’s “winning” too. Incredible on how quickly times have changed. Halliburton is one of the largest energy services companies in the world. The company has operations in over 70 countries and employes over 60,000 people.

“Over the next year, we will begin expanding the use of our mobile technology by transitioning from the BlackBerry (RIM) platform that we currently use to smartphone technology via the iPhone…”

…The move comes after “significant research” into both Apple’s mobile platform and Google’s Android operating system led Halliburton to “determine that the iOS platform offered the best capabilities, controls and security for application development.”

Halliburton’s decision was made after “significant research” into both Apple’s mobile platform and Google’s Android operating system. The company concluded that   the iOS platform offered the best capabilities, controls and security for application development. Wait a minute, shouldn’t an “open” OS win hands down over a closed one? According to the company’s spokeswoman, currently 4,500 Halliburton employees use BlackBerrys. Wow, that’s a lot of iPhones the company will be purchasing!

The company announced this via a company newsletter that was sent out earlier this month. Turns out, Haliburton used BlackBerrys for over 10 years. Ouch! That much be a huge blow to RIM. At one point, RIM dominated the market in the enterprise business, but over the past year its share in the enterprise market has rapidly declined.

This May be Why Siri is Limited to the iPhone 4S

Learn more about Siri

Even to this day, people wonder why Siri is exclusive to the iPhone 4S. Some say it is because Apple’s “evil” and others say it is due to the new hardware the iPhone 4S utilizes. Nobody knows the real answer to date, but there are many theories that have been formed. CNETreports that according to a new research from analyst Linley Gwennap, who believes that the custom circuitry in Apple’s A5 chip including “earSmart” noise cancellation technology from Audience is the reason why Siri is exclusive to the iPhone 4S.

The earSmart technology discovered is apparently supposed to be betteer at reducing background noise than the technology used in the iPhone 4. This enables Siri to more easily pick out the user’s voice. His source was Audience’s S-1 filing which made its way to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as the company moves forward to becoming a publicly traded company.

Audience revealed details of its Apple partnership in January, when it filed paperwork for an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Teardown work from iFixit and Chipworks revealed a dedicated Audience chip in the iPhone 4, but the iPhone 4S integrates Audience’s “EarSmart” technology directly into the A5 processor, the company’s S-1 filing said. […]

“Even after accounting for the dual Cortex-A9 CPUs and the large GPU that provides the A5 with industry-leading 3D graphics performance, the remaining die area seems too large for the usual mundane housekeeping logic,” Gwennap said in a report yesterday. “To reduce system cost and eliminate the extra package required for the Audience chip, Apple cut a deal to integrate the noise-reduction technology directly into its A5 processor, which appears in the iPhone 4S.”

In addition, the maker of the earSmart technology highlights in its S-1, that it is now receiving royalties from Apple. The royalties are lower than the payments it had previously received for the specific chips. Another interesting disclosure the company made is that it has licensed its next-generation noise cancellation intellectual property to Apple, although Apple is under no obligation to use it in future devices.

Commencing in the three months ended December 31, 2011, Apple has integrated our processor IP [intellectual property] in certain of its mobile phones. Pursuant to our agreement, this OEM [original equipment manufacturer] will pay us a royalty, on a quarterly basis, for the use of our processor IP for all mobile phones in which it is used. We have granted a similar license to this OEM for a new generation of processor IP; however, this OEM is not obligated to incorporate our processor IP into any of its current or future mobile devices.

Bottom line is that Apple isn’t being evil. If Apple would have been able to make Siri work great on other devices, they probably would have by now. By the way, hey Android owners, receive that OS update yet?

Apple’s Grand Central Store Neighbor Seeing Increase In Sales

Last year, Apple opened its gorgeous looking store in New York’s Grand Central Station and the grand opening attracted a massive crowd. The store is expected to occupy 23,000 feet and it is also  to generate  half-a-billion in sales a year, which is probably more than all Microsoft stores combined. Today, one restaurant across the terminal reports that it is seeing a 7 percent increase in sales since Apple’s store opened in December.

Michael Jordan’s The Steak House is located across Apple’s Grand Central store, and its co-owner Pete Glazier says that his restaurant has seen a 7 percent increase in sales in the seven weeks that the Apple Store has been open, reports Crains New York. He also says that increase isn’t because the Apple Store replaced another restaurant, but it is because of Apple opening a store near Glazier’s restaurant. “The Jump only happened after Apple opened,” said Glazier, not in the several months  that the space was being renovated as the store was built. Seems to me that a lot of Apple’s customers come to store hungry. :-P

When was the last time you ever heard of a Microsoft store increasing sales for its neighbors?

iPhone Takes 75% Mobile Phone Profits

Recently, lots of reports regarding the iPhone have been coming out. Just yesterday, it was reported that Apple was the only phone manufacturer to see significant growth last quarter. Today, Asymco’s Horace Dediu, a former Nokia analyst, has published his latest calculations of revenue and profits in the global mobile phone industry. He reveals that Apple has increased its share of the top vendors’ profits to 75%. Now you would think Google’s Android, the “open” platform that is dominating in marketshare would be the platform that would be bringing in the most revenue, but they aren’t.  Mind boggling isn’t? Oh, and guess what, Google’s still not making a dime off Android even to this day. It isn’t about who has marketshare, it about who’s generating the most money. In this case, it is Apple and they continue to dominate.

Apple reached 75% of profit share, nearly 40% of revenue share and 9% of units share.

Apple and Samsung combined for about 91% of profits with RIM third at 3.7%, HTC fourth at 3.0% and Nokia last at 1.8% of a $15 billion total for the quarter.

Asymco iPhone 2011 graph

Copy-cat Samsung followed in second place with 16% of industry profits while no other vendor accounted for more than 4% of profits, while Apple brought in 75% of mobile phone profits with just 9% of units sold. Not bad, I say. Dediu’s anlaysis reports on eight top mobile phone vendors: Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Research in Motion, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.

Asymco iPhone 2011 - 2

While his report does not include a few major players such as China’s ZTE for which public numbers are not available, his analysis does give a solid picture of the industry. LG, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson all did not report any significant profits over the last few quarters. Speaking of Motorola, isn’t that the company Google’s acquiring for $12.5B? A company that’s not seeing significant growth!

According to Dediu’s report, Apple has held the top spot in profits for 13 quarters in row since overtaking Nokia.