Apple’s Jonathan Ive Awarded Knighthood

Jonathan Ive

We all know that Apple product designs are world famous and the man behind this is Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of Industrial Design. Earlier this year, his brilliant work was featured in a German exhibition. Today, BBC reports that he has been named a Knight Commander of the British Empire in the U.K.’s 2012 New Year Honours list. He described the honor as “absolutely thrilling.”

This allows Jonathan Ive to go by “Sir Jonathan.” The knighthood, which is for “services to design and enterprise,” is a step up from his previous title of Commander of the British Empire, which was awarded in 2005. Ive also said that  he was “both humbled and sincerely grateful” by the commendation. In fact, Jonathan Ive  grew up in Chingford, a town northeast of London, and credited his silversmith father of inspiring him as a designer.

Jonathan Ive started working for Apple in 1992, and according to Jobs’ biography he became a “spiritual partner” of co-founder Steve Jobs. Jobs also said that  had left Ive with “more operational power” than anyone else at the company.

Well earned, sir.

Apple Could Obtain $10 Per Android Device Sold

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Oh boy, while Apple is trying to save their intellectual property from not being stolen, analysts are telling what Apple should do. Apparently,  Kevin Rivette, managing partner at intellectual property firm 3LP Advisors LLC, said in an  interview with  Bloomberg  that he believes Apple could probably collect up to $10 in royalties for every Android device sold. In fact, that would be twice per unit Microsoft is believed to be receive for each HTC Android device sold. You can read the entire article on Bloomberg‘s website, but here I’m going to go off on a little rant…

I disagree with this argument. Forget the fact that Apple never listens to analysts (be glad they don’t) and analysts can never predict anything correctly when it comes to Apple, but what Rivette forgets is that Apple doesn’t need the royalty money from Android phones. Nope, not one bit. In fact, Apple isn’t Microsoft. Period. What I mean by this is that Microsoft only makes software, while Apple makes hardware and integrated systems. This allows Apple to make money on hardware it develops and take control year after year on the product it develops (iPod, iPhone, iPad). The money lies here. With over $80 Billion in cash, it is very apparent that Apple is not in the game for a few bucks, but instead in the game for the big bucks.  Also, by taking this route Apple would lose one key  competitive  advantage over its competitors  â€” innovation.  In fact, the key reason why companies are copying Apple is so they can take advantage of their success. The copying is so accurate that Samsung lawyers couldn’t even tell their products apart. Apple’s battle with Samsung is only one of the countless number of cases Apple is fighting against copycats.

Why exactly should a company that’s innovating, thinking of innovative products first, leading in design, and is extremely profitable resort to such an extreme  measure?


Apple TV May Run on Custom-built Chips

Lately, rumors for the Apple TV have been all over the place. Just yesterday, a new rumor suggested that Apple might launch a 32-inch and 37-inch TV next year. Well if that wasn’t enough, a new rumor today suggests that instead of utilizing third party chips from companies such as Intel, Apple is expected to use its custom-built chips like in the iPhone and iPad for its rumored TV. This one actually seems to make sense since Apple is already using custom-built chips known as the A5 processor in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

According to DigiTimes, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering and Siliconware Precision Industries are three companies that are expected to bid on orders with Apple. These companies could potentially build custom ARM-based chips to power this rumored Apple TV.

In addition, the rumor suggests that Apple has already signed a  foundry agreement with TSMC earlier this year. That deal was said to be for next-generation “A6″ and “A7″ processors for the iPhone and iPad, but it’s possible an Apple television could also utilize the advanced chips.

DigiTimes also once again  emphasized  that Apple is expected to launch the TV by the end of 2012.

Foxconn Investing $1.1 Billion to Increase iPhone Production Capabilities

Foxconn is most famously known for making Apple products, and with the amount of demand for Apple products, Foxconn can’t afford not to expand its production  capabilities. Now, a recent report from MICGadget reveals that Apple’s main production partner is said to double its iPhone production lines. Why? Because the iPhone has a tiny amount of marketshare and is doomed. Just kidding! The real reason according to the report? It is in order to meet the  continued  demand for the iPhone. Doomed indeed folks!

The Foxconn Science Park located in Zhengzhou, Henan, China will undergo expansion very soon and is expected to cost Foxconn around $1.1 Billion to complete. Remember, this expansion is specifically for iPhones and not for you know, the platform that’s “winning.” The expansion will allow Foxconn to double the amount of iPhones produced at the plant each day, doubling the output to around 200,000 (up from the previous 100,000 units), and will reportedly also employ up to 130,000 people.

The expansion plan, which will cost 7 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion), will increase its current production lines and expects to bring US$20 billion in sales revenue in 2012.

Rumor has it that Foxconn is reportedly also planning to makes its production procedure for the iPhone and iPad completely automated with the aid of 1 Million robots, by the end of 2014.

Apple to Launch iPhone 4S in Mainland China Before Jan. 23

Rumor has had it for a long time that the iPhone 4S will become available one day in mainland China, but nobody knew when. The iPhone 4S is already available for purchase in Hong Kong. Today, a new report seems to reveal that Apple will be launching the iPhone 4S in mainland China before the Chinese New Year.

iPhone 4S

China’s  People’s Daily  reports that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted China Compulsory Certification for the iPhone 4S on Dec. 22. This means that Apple has met all of the requirements necessary in order to launch its latest smartphone in mainland China. Now you may be thinking this is just another iPhone launch, but really, it is a big deal. Why? Because Apple has just started entering the Asian market, and China offers the world’s largest mobile phone market. This  translates  into a gigantic revenue stream for Apple. In fact, international sales contributed to 63% of last quarter’s earnings.

The report also says that the iPhone 4S will debut “at the beginning of January 2012,” and will hit the market before the Chinese New Year. That takes place on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012.  In fact, Chinese New Year is the biggest shopping event on China’s calendar.


Apple May Not Win Injunction Against Galaxy Tab 10.1N in Germany

Back in early November, it was reported that  Samsung launched the 10.1N with a design-tweak of the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany so they could avoid an  injunction  banning the sale of the device under its original design over claims of infringement from Apple. The redesigned Galaxy Tab 10.1N features a metal frame that wraps around its edges. It still looks like an iPad to me though.

Being the way Apple is, they wouldn’t let Samsung go so easily. They quickly filed suit in an attempt to ban then new design as well. Today, a new report from Bloomberg, reveals that a new judge in Germany has indicted that Apple is unlikely to secure a ban on sales of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1N for patent infringement.  Apparently,  The Dusseldorf court found that Samsung has changed the look of its touchscreen tablet enough to distance itself from Apple’s iPad.  “Consumers are well aware that there is an original and that competitors try to use similar designs, so buyers are vigilant when looking at products,” the judge reportedly said. “We don’t think that someone buys a Samsung to make his table neighbor at the coffee house believe he owns an iPad.”

A final ruling in the case has been set to be released on February 9th.  You would think the copying would be apparent to judges, but I guess not.

Samsung copying Apple

Apple is Working on a “Prototype” Apple Store in Downtown Palo Alto

While Microsoft is still trying to figure out how to make their Microsoft Stores profitable and work, Apple is rapidly expanding its retail chain. In August, it was reported that the company is working on a store that will consist of a gorgeous glass roof in Santa Monica, CA. Just a month or two after, rumors of a store in Manhattan’s Grand Central started to appear, which finally became a reality earlier this month. It is gorgeous! Oh, and did I mention that Apple redesigned its iconic Fifth Avenue’s store glass cube this year too? Clearly, the company is filthy rich in cash right now. And to think the company was doomed just a few years ago…

Prototype Apple Store
Site of 'new prototype' Apple Store in Palo Alto | Source: Kirstina Sangsahachart via Mercury News

Today, Mercury News reports construction of what is being called a “prototype” Apple Store is just days away from breaking ground in Palo Alto, CA. The store is planned to feature an open-space architecture that draws on the company’s 10 years of iconic retail space design. Palo Alto city officials said that the work is set to begin  “any day now” on the $3.15 million project.’

The architectural firm  Bohlin Cywinski Jackson is the project applicant for the two-story structure that will be located approximately one block away from Apple’s existing downtown Palo Alto store, which is expected to close once the new space is completed. According to AppleInsider,  Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has designed numerous Apple Stores around the world.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson has designed numerous Apple Stores around the world, winning multiple awards for its work on  London’s Covent Garden,  New York’s Upper West Side  and  China’s Pudong  stores, among others.

Apple’s “prototype” store is supposed to be  5,030 sq. ft. that will feature a glass roof and facade that will allow natural light to fill the open retail space, and will offer passers-by an unobstructed view of the store’s interior. A basement and rear mezzanine will serve as office and storage space.

“Our Palo Alto store was one of our first retail stores when we opened it nearly a decade ago and it’s been incredibly popular,” Apple spokesperson Amy Bessette said. “We are planning a beautiful new store just a few steps away, building on everything we’ve learned from our customers in Palo Alto and around the world.”


Steve Jobs Honored with Special Trustees Grammy Award

Earlier this year, Steve Jobs’s official autobiography was released, and it revealed some interesting tidbits about his career and life. If you haven’t read his biography, I highly suggest checking it out. Yesterday, the man that changed the world was  awarded a Grammy Award.

Steve Jobs

On Wednesday, The Recording Academy announced its 2012 Special Merit Awards lists including the LifeTime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical Grammy Award. The Trustees Award list not only consists of Jobs, but he  was also accompanied by R&B legend Dave Bartholomew and jazz recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder. This award recognized the  “outstanding contributions to the industry in a nonperforming capacity.”

As former CEO and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs helped create products and technology that transformed the way we consume music, TV, movies, and books. A creative visionary, Jobs’ innovations such as the iPod and its counterpart, the online iTunes store, revolutionized the industry and how music was distributed and purchased. In 2002 Apple Computer Inc. was a recipient of a Technical GRAMMY Award for contributions of outstanding technical significance to the recording field. The company continues to lead the way with new technology and in-demand products such as the iPhone and iPad.

The Recording Academy did not specify why Jobs was nominated for this award, but it is probably because of the way he revolutionized the music industry through iTunes. Digital music distribution, iPod, you name it! A special ceremony honoring the winners of the Trustees Awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, and Technical Grammy Awards will occur on Saturday, February 11th. Special recognition will also be made during the main Grammy Awards ceremony the following day.


Apple Reportedly Closes Anobit Purchase for $400m to $500m

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Last week, it was reported that Apple was rumored to acquire  Anobit, an Israel-based flash memory company for anywhere between $400 million and $500 million. I even pointed out that in a span of just 10 years, Apple has disrupted the way every major company thinks and reacts to what Apple releases. Now, they are about to do it once again by acquiring a chipmaker company. This will surely affect the way Intel, Samsung, and many other chipmakers react to the flash memory market.

According to  Hebrew-language newspaper  Calcalist, employees at Anobit were said to have recently been informed about the finalized deal. The final price remains unknown, but could be worth as much as a half-billion dollars. Acquisition price not being disclosed shouldn’t come as a surprise since Apple is known to be extremely secretive. In fact, I’m surprised that this acquisition even got so much attention.  Apple is now expected to build a development center in Haifa, Israel, which would be the company’s first outside of the United States. In addition,  Apple has reportedly hired Israeli technology executive Aharon Aharon to lead the initiative. The  Israeli  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even sent out a tweet welcoming Apple.

Welcome to Israel, Apple Inc. on your 1st acquisition here. I’m certain that you’ll benefit from the fruit of the Israeli knowledge.

This acquisition is believed to be the first acquisition for Apple with Tim Cook as CEO. Rumor has it that Apple is already relying on Anobit’s solutions for its flash-based products, including the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air.  The company is said to find the  Anobit’s MSP20xx embedded flash controllers for mobile devices the most interesting.


Apple Offers Free Next-day Holiday Shipping

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Last month, it was revealed that Apple would be offering free  shipping on all orders placed through December 22nd. Apple made the announcement on the online store on Cyber Monday. Usually, the company does not offer any Cyber Monday deals and free shipping from Apple usually requires a $50 purchase.    The new offer allowed customers to save some money on lower-cost purchases such as accessories, but today that offer gets even better.

Apple has upgraded its free shipping offer  for online orders in the United States to include next-day shipping on all of the company’s major in-stock products. This decision should help last-minute shoppers ensure that they receive their gifts in time for Christmas. The deadline for this offer is tomorrow and the offer is applicable on all major products with the exception of the iPhone 4S (Yup, nobody wanted this phone. Nobody), and engraved iPods and iPads. Unfortunately,  Build-to-order Macs are also no longer available in time for delivery before Christmas.

To top it off, Apple is also offering other benefits such as free engraving on iPods and iPads and signature gift wrapping. Which other company is doing such a thing?