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iPad’s rapid sales decline could hurt Taiwanese contractors

27 Feb

Sales of Apple’s tablet devices have been on the decline, and Samsung’s performance in the tablet sector is nowhere near stellar. The rivalry in the Android camp is costly to Samsung in terms of sales. (more…)

12.9 inch iPad to be released in Q3 2014

24 Dec

As the global sales of tablet computers slow down, Apple Inc. is expected to adjust the strategies for its tablet products. A previous piece of information leaked by upstream suppliers suggests Apple may release a larger iPad with a 12.9-inch screen. Apple is not expected to make any major adjustments on the specs of the iPad Air and iPad mini successors in 2015. For these products, Apple’s main focus will be on cost reduction. (more…)

iPad Air 2 Experiencing Production-Related Difficulties, Shipments May be Delayed: KGI

11 Sep

Mass production of Apple’s iPad Air 2, the successor to last year’s widely popular iPad Air, will apparently be delayed due to production-related issues associated with its anti-reflective cover lens, according to the latest research note released by KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo. (more…)

New iPad Air Rumored to Bump RAM to 2GB; iWatch to be Delayed

24 Aug

The alleged leaked photos of iPhone 6 indicated the phone’s RAM will remain at 1GB. Just as the market expected to see iPad Air 2 to continue to use 1GB of RAM, Technews received information leading to a different direction. (more…)

Apple’s iOS 7 Becoming More Popular among iOS users, Adoption Rate Significantly Higher than Android Kit Kat

8 Dec

iOS 7 is now installed in nearly 74% of the Apple devices owned by consumers, a recent Apple developers report indicates. The increasingly more popular platform is trailed mostly by iOS 6, which is used in approximately 22% of all of Apple’s mobile devices, and the “earlier” versions of the operating system, whose combined share is 4%. (more…)

Tablet growth rising, Apple not benefiting as much as Samsung

1 Nov

Though Apple is still an undisputed market leader when it comes to tablet shipments, other competitors are quickly catching up. A recent report released by IDC revealed that Apple’s worldwide iPad shipments have stalled in Q3 and grew by only 0.6% YoY (moving from 14 million units in 3Q12 to 14.1 million units in 3Q13). Samsung, meanwhile, saw its tablet shipments rise from a mere 4.3 million units in 3Q12 up to approximately 5.3 million this year, which is an increase of 123%. (more…)

Breaking from Tradition: Possible Apple Products Rumored for the Upcoming Quarters

12 Nov

It looks like the management team won’t be the only thing Tim Cook will “shake up” during his tenure as Apple CEO. According to The China Times and various other sources within the industry, rumor has it that the Cupertino company may break away from its one-new-model-a-year tradition, and begin producing new iPhone models as soon as this December. The updated handset, labeled as “iPhone 5S,” is speculated for a possible 1Q13 release, and may to be followed by the eventual production of a new iPad as well as a possible iTV.

Many perceive Tim Cook to be the one to take Apple in a new direction. Will the Cupertino firm be able to break away from the usual routine? (picture credit: abcnews)

As The China Times’ sources indicate, given that parts for the new iPhone are already in the process of being certified by Apple, the trial production numbers for the upgraded handset may amount to approximately 50 to 100 thousand. Component suppliers currently being associated with the project include TXC, Largan, GSEO, Foxlink, ZDTCO, Flexium, Konica, and Fujikura. Foxconn, in its usual role, will be expected to assemble the final product. Production for the next iPad, on the other hand, is speculated to commence a bit later –at around 2Q12– due to the potentially larger number of “changes” that need to be implemented.

Prospects for the “new products”

With the mobile device market growing more crowded with each passing month, and with Samsung and Google rapidly launching one new gadget after another, there is little question that Apple will eventually have to release its products at a quicker pace. Whether Cook will immediately adhere to schedule mentioned above, though, remains an issue of debate. While the current iPhone 5 certainly has its fair share of issues (from the scratch prone case to the iOS map), the problems, it can be argued, are hardly severe enough to warrant the launching of an entirely updated product line. Other than adjusting to the design-induced difficulties involved in the assemblage process, chances are high that Apple will simply stick to the current iPhone 5 model for the time being.

The future prospects for the iTV, on the other hand, are a bit more dubious. The concepts for the product have been floating for the past number of months, and had even been discussed by Steve Jobs at one point, according to Walter Isaac’s biographical account of the Apple co-founder. A popular rumor associated with Apple’s iTV is that it will integrate the functions of all of an Apple user’s iOS devices and apps, and will provide a “seamless” as well as consistent smart TV experience. Reliable details concerning the TV set’s production and supply components are currently lacking, although some believe Sharp will be a main candidate to provide the display panels.

With regards to the “new iPad,” The China Times was likely referring to the retina display iPad mini. As of now, Apple’s supplying manufacturer, AUO, is already said to be in the process of making high resolution screen panels created specifically for the miniature tablet in mind. While major news regarding the other suppliers have yet to surface, Apple is likely to begin producing the new mini tablet sometime next year.

Possible Mid-to-Low-End iPhones to be Released?

To add to all of the above mentioned speculations, sources from the China Times have made a notable mention of Cook’s alleged plans to release mid-to-low-end versions of the iPhones. The new smartphones are said to be designed for the Chinese market, which is currently dominated by local brands such as Lenovo, Huwei, and ZTE. Apple’s iPhone, surprisingly, ranks as 7th overall in China, according to research from iSuppli. High pricing is mentioned as a major factor impeding the handset from succeeding within the country.

Microsoft Office App Coming to Different Platforms After All

8 Nov

A while ago, the Czech subsidiary of Microsoft made a notable statement regarding how Microsoft Office would be available on a diverse series of platforms, among them Apple’s iOS and Android, during early 2013. Just as people conveyed their excitement and looked towards using the much praised software on their iPads, officials from the company’s main branch shot down the rumors, claiming the statements to be “inaccurate.”

For those who might have been initially let down, there is now a good reason to be ecstatic again. As The Verge recently reported, Microsoft will indeed be launching Office on a variety of mobile products, the iPad and Android tablets included. Casual users simply wanting to view documents on the go can reportedly download the app free of charge. On the other hand, an official Microsoft account and an Office “365” subscription will be required for anyone looking to access the more advanced features. To add to the validity of the report, a screenshot of the much anticipated app has been included by The Verge, as shown below.

picture credit: The Verge

At the moment, word has it that the office program will be available as soon as during February or March of next year. The iOS users will reportedly have the luxury of being the “first” to experience the software, whereas Android users, as stated in The Verge’s article, may have to wait until May 2013.

While Mircosoft’s trademark program will no doubt generate a wave of excitement for all the Office purists out there, some questions are being raised with regards to the practicality of the move. As stated by Erica Ogg of Gigaom, the timing of the software giant’s multi-platform app appears a tad bit late, given that: (1) Apple’s tablets have been in the market for a long time, and is used in many business organizations, and that (2) an early release of the Office app might have prevented business-oriented iPad users from growing accustomed to the word-processing alternatives out there. Another issue worth mentioning is the software giant’s goal to differentiate the Surface tablet. Now that its trademark product is available on practically all major platforms, doesn’t that give buyers one less reason to purchase Microsoft’s tablet?

Price Considerations and Future Developments for the iPad mini

30 Oct

Months ago, one of the most popular speculations surrounding the iPad mini is that the price would fall within a reasonable range, possibly at around the $249 to $269 USD mark. Seeing how legitimate competitors like Google and Amazon are doing within the market, along with how the affordability factor appears to be growing in significance by the day, the importance of striking the hearts of price-sensitive consumers seemed all the more apparent. Yet, rather than to simply emulate its rivals’ strategy, the Cupertino company (not surprisingly) elected to charge the mini tablet at a price above all others. At $329 for the cheapest model, a question that undoubtedly comes to mind at this point is, should casual consumers -particularly those already owning an iPad- actually rush to purchase the iPad mini? Is it more practical to wait for for a superior version of the tablet, perhaps one that is really worth the money?

Will casual consumers find the iPad mini’s price tag reasonable?
(picture taken by James Martin of CNET)

The Pricing Factor

Justifying the higher than expected price tag, Apple claims that the iPad mini is not merely a “smaller” version of the iPad, but a “concentration” of all that makes the device an “amazing” product. For the most part, this is true: the iPad mini encompasses nearly all the important features of a typical iPad (minus the retina display, of course), and throws in some nifty upgrades and surprises like an actually decent camera. The product is also thinner, lighter, runs all the iOS softwares and programs, and has the same 10 hour battery life as all the other Apple tablets. Losing to the iPad 2 sibling only in size, there’s no question that a good number of people will actually be willing, if not happy, to empty their wallets and pay the premium price for Apple’s miniature device.

Yet, when factors such as component costs, Apple’s supposed control over its supply chain vendors, and the $199 USD price tags of competing products like the Kindle Fire and Google’s 16GB Nexus 7 are taken into account, the $329 USD price may still seem a tad high for a good majority of people. A few further cases that could be made for Apple is that the iPad mini was made using new panel technology, and that supply chain issues may have caused Apple to incur extra costs during the manufacturing process. As justifiable as these reasons may sound, consumers simply looking to buy a small, affordable tablet will ultimately find these reasons irrelevant.

Future iPad mini Prices, Potential Developments, and an Interesting Point Regarding the PPI

For those ultimately not willing to buy the iPad mini at this juncture in time, the good news is that, similar to the case with the iPad 2, Apple will likely lower the price of the miniature tablet at one point. The speculation is that the timing of the price drop may be at around 2H13, also when the cost associated with the product’s panels is expected to lower. In addition to a cheaper iPad mini, one can also expect to see a “retina display” miniature tablet announced as early as the second half of next year (or during 2014, at the latest). From what Apple has shown so far, evolution always tends to begin with a major upgrade to display resolution.

As an interesting side, if one were to look at both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad mini, one would find that both has about 163 ppi. For the iPhone 4, the step Apple took was to double the ppi, turning it into retina display. If history and Apple’s tendency proves correct, we can reasonably expect the same steps to be taken for the new version of the iPad mini. Given that the supply of the current tablet will likely be limited (around an estimated 6 million this year), consumers will benefit for waiting a while longer.

Powered through the Sun: Efficient Solar-Power iPad Covers in Development?

30 Oct

There is a certain ring to the idea of an effective solar powered iPad, even though environmental-based technologies aren’t traditionally viewed as vehicles for success. According to a recent report from MIT’s Technology Review, Alta Devices, a solar startup based in Calfiornia, plans to release an iPad charge-cover that will supposedly produce up to 10 watts of energy when exposed to the sun. Alta Devices CEO, Chris Norris, made a special note of their solar cell’s thinness, flexibility, and high power efficiency, indicating that the energy generated will be such that charging the tablet “through the wall” may eventually become unnecessary.

Norris showing the thinner, more flexible solar cell that may potentially be used in future iPad covers
(picture from Gigaom)

At present, a variety of solar-powered accessories designed specifically for the iPad already exist in the retail market. The critical responses to these products, however, do not seem to be entirely favorable, with issues such as unnecessary thickness, heavy weight, and low power efficiency being the commonly identified problems. A typical silicon solar cell used by these PV products, according to MIT Tech Review, converts less than 20% of the sun’s energy into electricity. Used on thin covers, it is said that the amount of convertible energy will be less than 10%.

Using what it claims is a superior, thinner, and more flexible solar cell, Alta Devices plans to make a difference in various markets, and not just the US military, where it currently provides its technology. The current obstacle that stands in the way, as of now, are the reportedly high cost of producing the solar cells aimed for retail leveled application. Norris reportedly aims to open more factories as a means to achieving this goal.

Given the amount time it would probably take to decrease the overall costs, whether and how Alta Devices will be able to create and commercialize solar powered iPad covers are unknown at this point. Should the application become viable, frequent outdoor travelers and even ordinary iPad users will certainly get a kick out of the extra convenience provided.