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Alleged iPad Mini Launch Event to Take Place on October 23 Instead?

14 Oct

For those of us who may have been slightly let down by Apple’s phantom October 10 invitations, there is a slight reason to be excited again. As recently confirmed by Reuters and All Things D, the iPad mini launch event is now set to take place on October 23 rather than the initially anticipated October 17 date. The news, as is the case with almost all previous rumors, are reported to have come from sources “familiar with the matter.”

Additional details have yet to be revealed at the moment, and Apple, in its usual demeanor, elected not to offer any official statements. Curiously, some appear to be wondering if there is any meaning behind the close distance between the new announcement date and Windows 8’s October 26 release. As stated by ThinkDigit, a strategy of some sort may be involved on Apple’s part, given that the latter date is also the day when a variety of Windows 8 tablets will hit the market. An early reveal will perhaps give the iPad mini a necessary market momentum against its rivals, although, given how well Amazon and Google are doing with their own mini-tablets, the competition will no doubt be a tough one.

Attention and curiosity towards the miniature iPad have been growing following the leaked pictures of an assembled unit and the news concerning the mass production of the device (initially reported by WSJ). While the timing iPad mini’s release date may be subject to change at any moment, Apple will unlikely want to delay the release of its new product too long if it wants to maintain an edge against its competitors.

UPDATE: According to a report from Gigaom and MobileGeeks, the possible capacities and prices for some of the iPad mini models have allegedly been unveiled. It is reported that Apple’s miniature tablet may come available with an 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB storage (each with Wifi and celluar options), and will likely be priced at as low as $249 Euros (approximately $322.60 USD). The price for the 16GB and 32GB models, on the other hand, will likely be around $349 and $449 Euros, respectively. Although confirmation has yet to be released, Kevin Tofei of Gigaom noted that the prices seem legitimate when factors such as Apple’s profit margins and people’s liking towards the Apple ecosystem are taken into account.


Rumors of iPad-Compatible Office Dismissed: Implications and Prospects

12 Oct

There was a noteworthy speculation a number of days ago regarding how mobile users may finally see an official Office application on their next-gen mobile product. As was initially reported in Verge, the Czech subsidiary of Microsoft claimed that beginning 2013, Microsoft Office will be made available on diverse mobile platforms such as the Windows Phone, Mac OS, Android, Windows RT, and Symbian. The specific reference to Apple’s operating system, in particular, encouraged many to speculate if the next iPad successor, likely to be announced during March 2013, will be released in time to feature Microsoft’s new Office application.

Interestingly, before rumors could go viral, the above news was quickly shot down by officials from other branches of the software company. Using twitter, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw simply passed off the information as “inaccurate,” adding that there is “nothing more to share at this time.” Another company representative, shortly after, released a confirmatory email statement stating what Shaw had mentioned earlier.

The disconfirmation may ultimately be disappointing to some, although it should be noted that the Czech representatives’ original claims do revitalize a crucial discussion regarding the implications of an iPad-compatible Office (rumors and debates concerning this possibility, apparently, have been circulating for more than a year). Erica Ogg from Gigaom recently mentioned that the move would be a sensible one, given that the iPad is still the “king” of the tablet market and that more of these products are being utilized within the business and enterprise sectors. A number of months ago, Tom Bradley from PC World took a similar stance. Pointing to Microsoft’s slowly deteriorating PC market monopoly, the writer argues that ignoring iOS and Android mobile users will only serve to further isolate Microsoft’s software brand. It is predicted that this would put a dent on Microsoft’s market status, which may potentially hurt Microsoft in the long run regardless of how well the Surface tablet performs.

Allowing Office to become widely available on third party mobile products, of course, will not be without its disadvantages and setbacks. Apple’s app center, for one, already features a variety of applications that performs the functions available in Microsoft Office. Whether adding another Office based program for iOS is completely necessary –and whether the pricing will be such that consumers will find acceptable– will be amongst the issues for Microsoft to consider. Given how Microsoft seems certain to equip Surface tablets with the Office software, allowing the program to be widely downloaded in third party hardware might also serve as slight obstacle to the software company in terms of product differentiation.

Arguably, none of these concerns ultimately matters until Microsoft confirms how it plans to utilize its widely used trademark software. One could say that Shaw’s vague twitter statement does not necessarily invalidate the potential existence of an iPad-compatible-Office, but rather leaves its possibility open ended. While this means that there is a small likelihood that Microsoft will still openly release Office, there’s no telling when the software giant will officially pursue this option.

Sales for iPad Mini Predicted to Reach up to 10 Million Units in 2012; Components Arriving in the Hands of Manufacturers

10 Oct

Lately, there appears to be no shortage of news related to the iPad mini. About a week ago, sources within the industry divulged Apple’s intentions to hand out special event invitations during October 10th, and suggested how the company may choose to release the mini-tablets in time for the Thanksgiving shopping season. As indicated by TrendInsider’s sources within the supply chain, components such as glass screens, lithium batteries, and panels are already making their way into the hands of the assembly manufacturers. One slight issue at the moment concerns the insufficient number of assembled iPad minis, which points to the possibility of a future supply shortage situation. It is anticipated, however, that the problem will be resolved by end of the 2012 Christmas season.

Design-wise, the iPad mini measures at 7.85-inches (as opposed to its larger cousin’s 9.7 inch measurement), and is equipped with same home-button as almost all the other Apple mobile devices. Given that the product is quite literally a shrunken iPad with a cheaper price tag, many will undoubtedly wonder whether the mini tablet has enough power to generate another major impact within the market.

Looking at the New iPad’s weakening market performance, Apple no doubt needs another major product to rely on in order to strengthen the support for its iOS platform. Things seem optimistic at the moment, though, as a lot of praise has been directed towards the iPad mini’s look and feel; compared to the iPad 2 and the New iPad, the smaller Apple tablet is reportedly less straining on the hands when held for long periods of time.

With the major 2012 shopping season arriving, TrendInsider predicts iPad mini sales will reach up to 10 million units during 4Q12, about twice the number of Kindle Fires sold during its first quarter. At present, Kindle Fire sales look to be on its way to 8 million mark by the end of the year.

UPDATE: Despite speculations involving an October 10 mailing invitation, no one appears to have received the invite yet. We will provide an update should there be any further changes to Apple’s alleged press event.

Update: iPhone and iPad Mini Components Shortage Issue Could Impact Apple’s Performance during Peak Season

23 Aug

TrendInsider recently learned that two manufacturers from Korea and Japan will be shipping LCD panels to Apple’s OEM partners beginning from July and August. The total number of panels shipped, on the whole, appears to be relatively small, and is not expected to increase until September or October. It is predicted that for the two following months, the number of panels provided by the three major manufacturers will end up being approximately 10 million units. If we were to add that to the existing panels from July and August, the total iPhone 5’s released in 2H12 will probably only hit 30 million units. Compared to the originally predicted 40-50 million units, the new figure is a lot lower than expected.

For now, it is very likely that there will only be a limited number of iPhone 5’s available when Apple announces the new smartphone. This is not necessarily the result of the end market consumer effect or the anticipated craze towards newly released Apple products. Factors such as Apple’s decision to use new in-cell technology, along with a variety of other component shortage issues, are also expected to limit the initial number of iPhones released.

Regarding the iPad Mini, TrendInsider has noticed that even though the tablet is cruising relatively smoothly throughout the production stage, the number of components received during August and September will not be particularly high, and may only be around 30 million units. Given this situation, it is predicted that upon mass release, the total units of iPad Minis will probably be less than that of the new iPhone.

Taking into account the fact that Apple’s two new products use components that sometimes overlap with one another and that the Cupertino firm is implementing various new hardware designs, a number of manufacturers have begun to also place a greater emphasis on production yield and manufacturing cost. In a way, this is likely to create an interesting new dynamic between buyers and suppliers following the release of Apple’s new iPhone and iPad Mini.

At the moment, TrendInsider believes one of Apple’s greatest weaknesses to be the time it takes to complete the design and production phase, which is evident in Apple’s habit of releasing only one new handset per year. This, in a sense, has made the 4-inch size of the new iPhone somewhat less remarkable than it could have been, given the number of 5-inch phones that already exist in the market. There is no denying, though, that the new screen size is a lot more impressive than that of the 4S.

Whatever happens, the release of the new iPad and iPhone should help us find out whether the new generation of Apple products are worthy of future consumer attention, and the whether Apple has what it takes to exceed expectations in the post-Steve Jobs era.

Component Shortage for iPhone 5 and iPad Mini to Contribute to Lower than Expected Shipments

20 Aug

From the news TrendInsider retrieved from various component vendors and suppliers, it appears that the new iPhone 5, aimed at a possible 3Q12 or 4Q12 release, may not reach the originally intended 40 million shipment target.

The reason for the less than expected shipments can be attributed to the shortage of various major components, which include in-cell panels, aluminum casings, and various other hardware parts. Given the situation, the OEMs responsible for assembling the new iPhones predict that by the end of 2012, only 30 million units of Apple’s new handset will be released within the market. Apple may still satisfy the needs of worldwide consumers in the short run, but the shortages of its upcoming products will more likely than not to be a major issue in the future.

It is predicted, at the moment, that the plummeting iPhone 4 & iPhone 4S sales will continue at a much faster rate than expected. As such, it remains likely that Apple will announce the iPhone 5 as soon as this September. At such a timing, the new handset will quickly replace the iPhone 4 during the October-December peak season, and in turn gain the necessary advantage to thrive within the market.

iPad Mini

Apple’s new 7.85 inch tablet, currently referred to as the “iPad Mini”, is likely to take a major hit from the component shortage as well. While the overall shipment quantity of the new tablet is expected to fall short of the originally planned 13 to 14 million units, the extent of the decline is not expected to exceed that of the iPhone 5.

At present, the quantity of iPad Mini units that are being supplied by manufacturing plants numbers in the range of millions. Aimed at the 2012 peak season, the tablet will likely see an official release date before the end of September or October.

TrendInsider believes that even though the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini are both affected by shortage issues, the two devices do not necessarily share the same set of components. What’s certain is that both devices’ supply quantities will definitely be affected one way or another.

Moderately Priced Tablet PCs Gaining Momentum, China’s Potential on the Rise

26 Jul

Ever since Apple popularized tablet devices, China’s tablet PC market, which has been in development for two years, has gradually begun to build a respectable momentum. Although tablet products produced by Chinese and other Asian companies are by no means in a position to threaten the iPad’s dominance, significant progress have been spotted in the areas of the product quality, customer experience, and cost efficiency. An example worthy of noting is Google’s 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet, manufactured by the Taiwanese company, Asus. After being introduced into the global markets, the miniature, cost effective device gained widespread recognition amongst consumers, in turn giving Chinese manufacturers the inspiration –as well as the incentive– to develop their own set of affordable tablet PCs.

Chinese Tablet Manufacturers to Operate in Segmented, Middle to Low-end Tablet Market

Perhaps due to favorable market movement and low technical threshold, Chinese-made tablet PCs have been spreading more widely than ever and are continuing to increase in popularity. Given that many of China’s tablet PC companies were once manufacturers specializing in MP3 and MP4 players, companies making traditional PCs, cell phone, and home appliances have begun to see the lucrative prospect of portable tablet devices and are gradually transitioning towards the tablet industry. It will be hardly surprising if, years from now, companies from other traditional electronics sectors begin to embark on such a strategy.

With Apple already dominating the high-end tablet market, many Chinese manufacturers have seemingly chosen to produce middle to low-end tablets in order to avoid a heads-on competition with the Cupertino giant. While the local companies’ end products are usually not as innovative as the iPad, China’s tablet manufacturers have nonetheless begun gaining momentum and competitive edge in the local industry. At the moment, Lenovo, Malata, and Eben are a few of the domestic leaders of the tablet market known for producing high-end tablet devices. The second tier, low to middle-end tablet manufacturers, on the other hand, include Aigo, Ainol, and Newman.

Given that the domestic market is already filled with countless 7, 8, and 10-inch tablets that uses capacitive touch panels as well as the entertainment-centric Android platform, a good number of companies are now joining a movement in which the “entertainment” philosophy is abandoned in favor of promoting specific technical features. In order to suit Chinese consumer needs, Eben, Lenova, and Malaba have turned their attention towards creating tablet devices that emphasize business mobility. Eben, at present, stands out as the most successful of the three in terms of dishing out business oriented tablet PCs.

With the iPad mini set to arrive later this year, TrendInsider believes that the price and size-related advantage enjoyed by most Chinese-made tablets may eventually weaken and, at worst, diminish altogether. It is perhaps because of this potential trend that China based Manufacturers now seek to enhance business opportunity by “localizing” their tablet devices. Chinese manufactured tablets are now increasingly being differentiated based on how they fulfill the different needs of local citizens rather than how different they look from one another. It is believed that those who restrict themselves to fighting strategic price wars will be on the losing end of the tablet industry.

Low Priced, High Quality Chips: The Prized Assets of Chinese Manufacturers

To date, there are many major manufacturers out there that produce Tablet PC memory chips, amongst them Qualcomm, Samsung, Nvidia, Telechips, VIA, and TI. The China-based manufacturers, on the other hand, include Rockchip, Allwinner, Infotmic, and Ingenic. While prestigious, global manufacturers have a certain tendency to focus on designing chips that work for first-tiered tablet devices while neglecting those of a second or third tier nature. The chip makers from China, unlike those companies, design their chips for all types of tablet PCs, regardless of whether they rank below the first tier. It is likely due to this reason that domestic tablet devices are famously known to be embedded with a “Chinese core.”Performance-wise, these tablets function at quite an impressive level and, allegedly, have yet to disappoint its users.

During September of last year, a chip that has made a huge impact, sales-wise, is Chi’s A10 Cortex A-8 processor. The main reasons for the success of this chip include its utilization of the impressive “many-core” technology and its uncanny ability to support 2160p 24FPS video. Ingenic also made quite a huge impression with its XBurst embedded CPU, which is made for devices that adopt the MIPS architecture. Assuming identical manufacturing settings and conditions, the XBurst CPU uses about 1/3 to 1/4 the power consumption of ARM CPU, and has approximately 1.2 times to 1.5 times the performance capacity. Its size, along with its cost, is also half times less than the ARM processor.

With their rising stature and popularity, the high performance Chinese chips restore consumer confidence in local tablet brands, in result making people more selective about purchasing flat panel products. TrendInsider has noticed that although there are a lot of chip manufacturers in China, much of the time innovation is hampered due to the authorization required from ARM. If the chip makers’ R&D departments have more flexibility to freely modify the ARM architecture, TrendInsider believes that many Chinese companies will be able to secure a stronger competitive advantage in the growing tablet industry.

Chinese Flat Panel Products to Enter the Dual Core Phase

In 2011, dual core processors were arguably the standard go-to choice for first-tier, global brand computers. In 2012, the Chinese tablet industry caught up with the trend and begun entering its own dual core era. During April, 2012, Rockchip’s RK3066, Amlogic’s MX, and many other high performance dual core chips were released into the mainstream Chinese market. The immense adoption and popularity of these chips, in a sense, is understandable; unlike single core processors, dual core processors feature high efficiency and low power consumption, and effectively handle multi tasking operations to ensure a smooth computing experience. Coming into 2H12, it is believed that there will be no shortage of dual core products in China that feature stylish aesthetics, powerful performance capabilities, and affordable prices (which many believe will be under 1000 CYN). At the current rate, it will only be a matter of time before the dual core tablets becomes a mainstream product in China.

Of course, other than Rockchip and Amlogic, a lot of other manufacturers are beginning to sharpen their acts as well. Recently, there is a rumor that Allwinner will be the first Chinese company to enter quad core territory with plans to release its quad core chip during this August. Utilizing the ARM Cortex-A7 structure, quad core chips are known not just for their high performance potential and extremely low power consumption level, but also for being significantly more cost effective. Given the impressive specs, there are many high expectations for the soon-to-be-released tablet PC from the Chinese company, ISexy. This will allegedly be the first Chinese tablet device to incorporate the quad core chip.

At present, the IC design company, Media Tek, is amongst the many big names waiting to devour a big piece of the high-end tablet PC market. The company will reportedly rely on three major chips– the wireless 4-in-1, the master wafer, and the peripheral chip–as a means of inducing high profits from the flat panel industry. With the main quad core product in tape-out phase, Media Tek’s chipsets are set to be released at sometime around 4Q12 to 1Q13, and will likely be targeted towards the middle to high-end tablet computers. In the past, Media Tek’s dual-core chips have appeared in various mid-priced smartphones and found endorsement from major companies such as Huawei and ZTE. It is predicted that tablet computer manufacturers will show the same kind of support for the company’s newly released quad core chip.

Considering how quad core processors are arriving at a time when the dual core standard has yet to become mainstream in China, the local tablet industry can be said to have a relatively short time to make adjustments. Due to the domestic tablets’ continuing improvements, along with its relatively smooth transition from single to dual core processors, it should not take too long before the Chinese market eventually get used to the quad core processor. Undoubtedly, there is still a long road ahead for Chinese chip manufacturers in terms of catching up with the more experienced technological giants like Samsung, Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm. TrendInsider, however, believes that with the quality of existing chips made by local companies, Chinese made tablets have become impressive enough to earn a rightful place in the global market.

Tablet Market Maturing, Room for Improvements

Following the recent years of development, the tablet PC market is no doubt on its way to reaching maturity. Assuming China’s technological advancements continue, it can be argued that the gap between Chinese-made and overseas tablets will gradually become smaller.

TrendInsider predicts that for 2012, the shipment figures for tablet PCs will reach almost 100 million units. Although it is believed that Apple’s new iPad will still remain the leader of the tablet industry, the company’s share of the market is expected to drop following the entry of more and more competitors and the introduction of viable substitutes. The continual extension of the tablet market, in addition to the declining market share of Apple, is likely to pave way for the potential waves of Chinese-made tablet devices. Given the growth of tablet usage in areas such as dining, finance, education, and medicine, and considering the device’s general accessibility to people of different ages and gender, the doors for future tablet advancements will likely remain wide open for the years to come.

According to TrendInsider, the future tablet industry is set to be dominated by the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, whose recent introduction of Surface is expected to bring further diversity to the tablet market. It is believed that the three companies’ decision to take advantage of both the software and hardware realms will not only result in more intense high-end tablet competition, but also bring about a new era for mobile devices. If Microsoft and Google prove to be as successful as Apple with their tablets, their success will go on to show the benefits of operating in both the software and hardware fields, and prove that consumers are far more willing to spend on branded tablet products that come as “full package” than those that serve as a mere host for third party software.

Adjusted New iPad Model Due around September or October, 50.3 Million iPad Series Shipments Expected for 2012

13 Jul

Although the new iPad is currently the hottest tablet device on the market, Apple appears to have no intention of slowing down iPad 2 production. As TrendInsider noticed, the Cupertino-based company has actually placed more orders for the previous-gen iPad model, whereas production orders for the new iPad have been put to an unexpected halt. It is still unknown at the moment whether Apple plans to raise the new iPad’s shipment numbers anytime soon.

In adjusting our yearly forecast to include this recent production development, we estimate that the 2012 shipment numbers of current iPad models will amount to approximately 37.5 million units. Including the iPad Mini, Apple is expected to release a total of 50.3 million iPads for 2012.

Surprisingly, the new predicted numbers fall considerably short of our initial expectation that a total number of 60 million iPads would be shipped before the start of 2013. While a number of possible factors are suspected to have contributed to Apple’s production-related decisions, we believe that the recent torrent of global economic problems may have been the main culprit behind the uncharacteristically low shipment numbers.

With the continual setbacks experienced by the world economy, it’s not surprising that the iPad 2 would eventually become one of the few Apple products to be subject to rumored price cuts. A popular conjecture is that either the 8GB or 16GB version of the iPad 2 will be released at a retail price of $349 USD.

The new iPad, for the time being, is expected to retain its original price tag, although rumors are spreading that the model will be re-released with a few minor hardware adjustments. As always, Apple remains secretive about the release date and has yet to publically address details relating to the new tweaks. The fact that the adjustments are probably only minor, however, makes it unlikely that they will heavily impact the iPad’s price or sales performance.

While the new iPad is certainly a sensational and hotly pursued item in the tablet market, there is no denying that the global economy has taken a toll on Apple’s current tablet device. From a market standpoint, the new iPad has put up reasonably good numbers, but failed to meet expectations in terms of worldwide sales.

iPhone 5、New iPad

The iPhone 5, newly tweaked iPad, iPad Mini, and discounted iPad 2 are all expected to be released sometime during this September and October. Whether Apple will decide to release these new products separately or together remains to be seen in the months to come.

7.8-Inch, Longer-Lasting iPad Mini Eyeing October Release

12 Jul

According to TrendInsider’s sources, Apple’s next iPad, rumored to be called the iPad Mini, is set to be released sometime during October 2012. The device will reportedly utilize a 7.8-inch screen – making it a tad larger than Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire 2 – and feature a 1024×768 resolution. Other than the obvious screen size difference, the iPad mini will have an extremely slim body, and is expected to weigh only about half as much as its 9.7-inch counterpart.

While slightly larger than Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire 2, the iPad mini should easily trump its rivals in terms of battery life thanks to its superior polymer lithium battery. With regards to the device’s CPU, it is rumored that Apple will be opting for the A5 processor instead of the highly raved-about quad-core A5X. We suspect this choice to have something to do with the company’s pricing concerns, considering it will be actively competing with the likes of Google and Amazon in the 7-inch tablet market. Given that the normal iPad is offered at $499 USD, we believe that the iPad mini might be priced at somewhere around the $299 USD mark.

Updated:New iPad Mini Rumors

Little news has aroused as much curiosity as the rumored price range for Apple’s highly anticipated iPad Mini. We know that the prices of the new iPad and the iPad 2 are currently set at $499 and $399 USD, respectively. Judging from the price pattern, it is predicted that the miniature iPad should logically be priced at around $299 USD. This would make the iPad Mini the cheapest and most affordable of all the iPad models out there, next to the 8GB version of iPad 2.

Depending on a number of market-related factors, TrendInsider believes there is a possibility that Apple will offer its miniature tablet at a price lower than what many expect. Should price cuts cause the 8GB iPad 2 to fall under $349 USD, for instance, it is not impossible that Apple will charge the mini iPad for less than $299 USD in order to space out the pricing of its products. The lingering presence of Google and Amazon is another major factor that will heavily impact the pricing strategies associated with the iPad Mini. To deal with the tempting $199 price tags of both the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire 2, we may see Apple resort to cutting its mini iPad’s price to as low as $249 USD.

While somewhat uncharacteristic for Apple, extreme price cutting is far from an unreasonable strategy to pursue. With more and more potent competitors on the rise, the Cupertino-based company would no doubt want to implement any measures necessary to retain its influence in the tablet industry.

New Rumors: The Next iPad and iPhone

21 Jun

According to TrendInsider, production numbers for Apple’s new iPad, also commonly known as the “iPad 3,” have been on a gradual decline, with shipment figures for the third quarter of 2012 expected to fall from 17 million units to approximately 11 million units.

What could possibly be causing the sudden fall in production levels?

There are two likely reasons, the first being the persistence of global financial woes throughout 2012. With many economies now facing rising levels of debt and plummeting growth, it is possible that Apple decreased production levels simply to offset or minimize potential losses arising from lower sales. The other possible explanation, according to rumors, is that Apple is in the process of developing its next tablet device, believed to be the “iPad Mini.” The new Apple tablet, according to various sources, will be much smaller than its 9.7-inch predecessor and will allegedly utilize a lithium ion battery with a 4800mw/h capacity. As of now, there is little consensus as to the exact release date for this product.

Our intelligence sources have provided details suggesting that, even with a prototype currently in development, the successor to the iPad 3 will probably not be released into the markets until after 2012. By observing the level of decline in iPad 3 production during the third quarter of 2012, one may be able to reasonably predict whether Apple is in fact directing resources towards the production of the new iPad model.

Speaking of new models, what is planned for the new iPhone, the other highly anticipated Apple product?

Compared to the iPad, speculations surrounding the iPhone 5 tend to be even more rampant. From what is generally known so far, the new iPhone may come in two different versions, either with a plastic or aluminum back panel. The pricing between the two will inevitably vary, although there are no confirmations regarding these details. To find out whether there is any truth to the new iPhone speculations, we can only wait until Apple decides to release the official details.

New battery suppliers of ipad

24 May


Since the launch of ipad1, apple adopted poly  battery packs.

ATL is the single source of poly cell, simplo and dynapack assemble packs for ipad.

supply chain stay the same in ipad 2 and new ipad.

there is source indicating the 3rd source of pack supplier will join sometime in 2H 2012.