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Apple Could Release Discounted iPad Mini in Early 2012

What’s this? Apple may be working on a new tablet? And it’s not the iPad 3!? That’s right, many rumors have begun making their rounds on the internet recently that Apple may possibly be working on a brand new entry-level tablet scheduled to launch early next year. In a note sent out...

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After a Victory Over Samsung, Apple Turns Its Sights on Google

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 28-08-2012

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Apple vs GoogleFresh off its $1.05 billion patent lawsuit victory over Samsung, Apple is turning its sights on another tech giant, this one a little bigger than Samsung, however. After suing the crap out of Samsung for patent infringement, Apple CEO Tim Cook is reportedly in talks with Google CEO Larry Page about numerous intellectual property matters, including those at the center of the ongoing patent disputes between both companies.

These talks, which have taken place sort of secretively, began last week over the phone and will continue in the coming weeks. In addition to that, discussions involving lower-level executives for both companies are also being conducted. Cook has always said that these patent suits, including the one against Samsung, weren’t about attacking Android, which the late CEO Steve Jobs vowed.

Instead, Cook claims that the suits are to protect Apple’s properties. However, there is a fear now that the ruling laid forth last week has set the stage for additional lawsuits against other Android device makers. According to a statement from Google about the Apple-Samsung verdict, “The court of appeals will review both infringement and the validity of the patent claims.”

Google also added, “Most of these don’t relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office. The mobile industry is moving fast and all players — including newcomers — are building upon ideas that have been around for decades. We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that.”

However, Google and Apple are discussing infringement issues in private. One possible scenario, according to sources, that is being contemplated by the two companies could be an actual truce involving disputes over basic Android features and functions. Unfortunately, it is still unclear if the two CEOs are discussing a broad settlement covering a wide array of disputes or are focusing on a more limited set of issues.

With the recent win over Samsung, Apple may be feeling pretty good about itself, which could be why it has decided to take on Google. The problem here is that Google is a little more powerful than Samsung. I’m curious to see if Apple will be able to give a one-two punch right to the face of Android by taking down Google right after defeating Samsung.

Source: Tom’s Hardware – Google and Apple CEOs Talking Over Patent Issues

 

Apple Prepping for Newer, Smaller iPad?

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 03-07-2012

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new iPadIt appears as if Apple’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet with a smaller screen than the current generation iPad. This news comes from anonymous people who are “familiar” with the situation, suggesting that a launch for the device is also in the near future.

Two of the sources stated that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than 8″, 1.7″ shorter then the current 9.7″ screen of the current iPad, a size that has remained unchanged since the very first model launched back in 2010. Officials at the component supplier, who spoke under anonymity, stated that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet.

Earlier in the year it was reported that Apple was testing a smaller version of the iPad but had yet to decide whether or not to proceed with production of the device. Many consumers would probably flock to a smaller iPad with a reduced price as it would allow them to have most of the benefits of the current iPad without the steep price tag.

One source stated that Apple is working with multiple screen manufacturers, including LG in South Korea and AU Optronics in Taiwan. Unfortunately (though not surprisingly), an Apple spokeswoman out of Cupertino declined to comment on any such allegations.

Analysts also believe that a smaller iPad could help Apple maintain the dominance it has on the tablet market, especially with stiff  competition coming from other manufacturers like Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, all of which having recently unveiled tablets of their own.

The iPad held a 62% share of the world-wide tablet market last year with tablet sales all around expected to increase 85% this year to a total of 126.6 million units. As the tablet market expands, the choices for consumers increase as well with more options and variations to choose from.

Google began accepting pre-orders for the Nexus 7, which is expected to sell for $199 and is in direct competition with Amazon’s Kindle Fire. In addition to that, Microsoft’s Surface tablet, which is expected to drop this fall with a 10.6″ display, is said to be the biggest new competition for the iPad.

Source: The Wall Street Journal – Apple Preps for Smaller Tablet

 

New 3D Google Maps Coming to iOS

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 05-06-2012

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3D Google Maps on iPadGoogle recently unveiled what it is calling the “next dimension” of its Google Maps service with new full 3D renderings for Google Earth that were demonstrated live on Apple’s iPad. Google has been utilizing automated technology to extract data from aerial models captured by planes owned by Google. Google uses the imagery from these planes to create 3D mapping imagery.

Images of the ground are taken at 45 degrees from four different angles. Those pics and data can then be combined to recreate maps in 3D. The entire process allows 3D maps to be created without human interaction, which was necessary with previous iterations of 3D imagery in Google Earth.

Google first demonstrated the technology by showing off individual buildings and cities on Apple’s iPad instead of an Android device. However, Google did announce that the service would be coming to both iOS devices and Android devices and that the technology would be part of both the Google Maps service and the company’s Google Earth application.

Google also hopes that it will have communities of nearly 300 million people mapped out in its new space. In addition to that, the company revealed that it will bring an offline version for its Maps software to Android devices and is working “very hard” to bring offline maps to iOS as well, though it hasn’t offered up a time table for that.

This reveal comes just days before Apple is supposed to hold its own keynote address at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference. At the conference Apple is expected to unveil an all new version of the Maps software for iOS, which will get rid of Google Maps.

It has already been reported that Apple’s new mapping technology will reach iOS later on this year and is expected to be a part of iOS 6, the much anticipated next-gen operating system from the company. The mapping intentions of Apple have also been clear since 2009 when the company started acquiring mapping technology companies. In that year Apple purchased Placebase, Poly9 in 2010 and C3 in 2011.

Source: Apple Insider – Google unveils new 3D maps coming to iOS and Android

 

iPad Still Dominating Tablet Sales, Though Android is Catching Up Fast

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 22-07-2011

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Apple iPad 2I don’t think this is new news to anybody out there, but Apple’s iPad was undoubtedly the indisputable world dictator in the land of technology and tablets in 2010 and still is for the first half of 2011. However, that does not mean that Apple will remain on top forever. Google’s Android platform is slowly capturing the market share from Apple like the little engine that could.

At the moment, Android is the most popular OS in the market for touch-screen smartphones and that popularity is only going in one direction, up. In addition to that, Android is also becoming increasingly popular on tablets as well, with many of the big name players (aside from Apple, of course) designing devices with the Android OS.

According to Strategy Analytics, nearly 4.6 million tablets running the Android operating system were shipped in the second quarter of 2011, a 100,000 unit increase from one year prior. During that same period, Apple managed to sell 9.3 million iPad units, nearly three times as many as the 3.3 million sold during the second quarter of 2010.

One thing to take into consideration here, however, is that there are multiple manufacturers making Android tablets and only one manufacturer making iPad tablets. Companies like Samsung and Motorola have seen success with their Galaxy Tab and Xoom tablets, respectively, while other, smaller companies, like Archos, have seen a little bit of success as well.

According to Neil Mawston, Director of Strategy Analytics, “No Android vendor yet offers a blockbuster model to rival the iPad, and demand for many vendors’ products remains patchy.” While demand may not be as high for other devices, some products, like the Galaxy Tab from Samsung, are viable opponents to the iPad, at least in my opinion.

Amazon was able to dominate the market in terms of electronic book readers and rumors are now circulating that the company is going to try its hand at tablets. With the success of the eReaders, Apple may very well find even more competition for its beloved iPad.

“If Amazon decides to enter the Android tablet category later this year,” says Nawston, “that will bring fresh excitement and buzz to the Android community, but Amazon will need to deliver a truly standout offering if it really wants to make headway against the popular iPad.”

Source: Xbit Laboratories – Tablets Powered by Google Android Grab 30% of the Market in Q2 2011 – Analysts.

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Apple Planning on Making a TV?

Posted by Zack | Posted in Consumer Electronics | Posted on 22-06-2011

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Apple TVWith the recent success of Google’s expenditure into the realm of televisions, it appears that Apple may be looking to do the same thing. Yes, you heard that right, Apple may soon be trying to sell you a tv along with the next generation iPad, Mac, iPhone and iPod.

The people over at DailyTech were recently seen quoting an unnamed “former Apple executive” who stated that Apple was planning on entering the television market by the end of this year. According to the source, Apple is planning to “blow Netflix and all those other guys away” with a console that would feature Apple TV and iTunes built directly into it.

The report also stated that Apple plans on teaming up with an existing manufacturer in order to provide televisions branded under the Apple name. “You’ll go into an Apple retail store and be able to walk out with a TV,” said the former executive. “It’s perfect.”

Some people, like Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, are pretty positive on Apple entering the $100 billion LCD TV market. According to White, “In our view, the combination of Apple’s powerful ecosystem, industrial design savvy, powerful brand and ability to reinvent product categories could make Apple a powerful force in the TV world in the coming years.”

Apple currently makes an Apple TV device that, due to recent successes of the iPhone and iPad, has done very poorly with regard to standards set forth by Apple. This system was first introduced in 2007 and is a box-like device that allows users to stream web content, like Netflix, to their televisions. However, even Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, was eventually forced to admit that the technology never really caught on.

Apple drastically cut the price of the Apple TV device last September from $299 to $99  but even that wasn’t able to make the service a household name. If Apple does manage to make a move into the TV market, it would put the company even closer to its biggest rival, Google.

Google TV is a very similar product to the current Apple TV but Google is widely expected to expand its service by integrating it with actual televisions. Apple, as always, did not immediately respond to requests for comments on this so I guess we will just have to wait until the end of the year to find out what is really going on.

Source: CNN – Apple to start making TVs, report says

Apple’s iTunes Movie Rentals May Soon Be Facing Competition from Google and YouTube

Posted by Zack | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-04-2011

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iTunes movie rentalsWhether you love it or hate it, whether you think it is incredible for the music industry or running it into the ground, Apple’s iTunes IS one of the biggest things to happen to music in recent years. One thing that stands out about iTunes is that you can get more than just music. You can buy movies or even apps off of iTunes and you can even rent movies. However, it is in that field, movie rentals, that iTunes may be getting its first real opponent.

Since supposedly finalizing deals with multiple major movie studios, Google is all primed and ready to start a Video on Demand movie rental service via YouTube that is said to challenge the dominance of Apple’s iTunes movie store in the market of Video on Demand.

YouTube began offering movie rentals about a year ago but has yet to rent out mainstream movies. Instead, YouTube offered movies from mostly independent studios. Google, however, plans to build the service with the imminent launch of a movies on demand service that includes major Hollywood studios.

Mainstream movies have been quietly added to YouTube with rental prices ranging from $1.99 to $3.99. According to a YouTube spokesman, “We’ve steadily been adding more and more titles since launching movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago, and now have thousands of titles available.” The spokesman declined to comment on the rumored launch of major studio films.

According to one executive from a Hollywood studio that has already signed with YouTube, “We think we will start with VOD, but broaden to include sell-through over time. We are pretty excited because we are happy to see new entrants come in transactionally rather than a subscription model.”

The report has stated that movies will become available on YouTube the same day they can be rented at video stores or on iTunes, which is ahead of subscription services like Netflix. “What’s really good about their approach is rather than another subscription offering, they’re going into a fresh area where there have been fewer leaps forward,” said one studio executive.

At a seminar earlier this month, Google executives seemed to hint at a YouTube VOD store. YouTube Vice President of TV and Film Entertainment Robert Kyncl stated, “Imagine if you had a video store on YouTube, where you could rent or buy the movie without being sent elsewhere.” However, when Kyncl was asked about specific details, he replied, “Obviously, there are things coming, but we can’t talk about them yet.”

Apple began offering movie rentals via iTunes back in 2008 with a major launch that included all of the major Hollywood movie studios. The initial rate for a movie rental was $2.99 with HD versions and new releases costing more. After their purchase, customers had 30 days to begin watching the movie and 24 hours to finish once playback had begun.

After Apple launched their second-generation Apple TV last year, they began offering $0.99 TV show rentals. However, the only two studios that were on board at launch were ABC and Fox. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, at a media event to unveil the set top box, suggested that the other studios would soon relent and begin offering TV show rentals. Jobs stated, “We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board pretty fast.”

Research group IHS revealed earlier in the year that Apple had maintained a 64.5% market share of the online VOD in 2010 while also losing some share to Microsoft and Sony. In 2009, Apple controlled 74.4% which does not count subscription services like Hulu or Netflix.

Apple generated $1.4 billion in revenue from the iTunes online store in the most recent March quarter, however, it is unclear what portion of those earnings consisted of movie rentals.

Source: Apple Insider – Google to take on Apple’s iTunes with mainstream movie rentals on YouTube

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