Apple iPhone 5 to launch on October 1st in Canada?

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Aug 022011
 

AppleAn internal Telus document obtained by BGR indicates that TELUS will launch the Apple iPhone 5 on October 1st. Despite the fact that this is a Saturday and that traditional phone launch days are Tuesdays and Thursdays, BGR’s “reliable source” suggests that the date is not unreasonable as it is the busiest day of the week for wireless retail stores.

Should the date prove to be accurate, it is likely that other Canadian carriers (Bell and Rogers) will also launch the newest iPhone on that day.

What is not so clear is whether Apple will launch the iPhone 5 simultaneously in Canada and the US. It is possible that Apple will launch in the US first with Canada (and other countries) to follow some time later. This would line up with earlier rumours that AT&T was gearing up for a mid-September launch.

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Google Android owns nearly half of global market share

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Aug 022011
 

Google AndroidA new report from market research firm Canalys indicates that Google’s Android mobile operating system now owns nearly half of the global market share. Overall Q2 2011 smartphone shipments topped 107.7 million units (up 73 percent year-on-year). Android-powered smartphone shipments grew 379 percent over the same quarter a year ago to 51.9 million.

Android is now leading in 35 of the 56 countries being tracked by Canalys. Its market share in some Asian countries is staggering: 85 percent in Korea and 71 percent in Taiwan for example.

Apple’s iOS, represented by the Apple iPhone, saw shipments of 20.3 million units, good enough for a global market share of 19 percent. More importantly, Apple is now the world’s leading individual smart phone vendor. It took the position over from a slumping Nokia which fell from the position it had held for years to third as Samsung overtook it as well for second place with shipments of 17 million smartphones. HTC also had a good quarter although global numbers were not provided (but reaching a 21 percent share in North America). RIM saw global shipments rise 11 percent but its North American share slipped to 12 percent (down from 33 percent a year ago), highlighting the challenges the company faces going forward.

With Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), BlackBerry 7, iOS 5 and Windows Phone 7.5 all in the wings, this battle is far from over…

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AT&T and Apple gearing up for early to mid-September Apple iPhone 5 launch?

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Jul 252011
 

AT&TBGR.com is reporting today that AT&T has begun preparations to launch the Apple iPhone 5. “A proven source” outlined some of what AT&T is doing. Retail employees have been asked to complete any type of training as quickly as possible. Managers have also been asked to make sure that employee training is complete to make sure that employees are available to deal with the expected customer influx.

A separate report from MacRumors.com also indicates that AT&T is looking to hire additional staff. It has apparently reached out to former employees to ask them to come back from August 15th to September 15th to support the “holidays, new product launches and back to school time.”

Recent rumours point to a busy fall for Apple with the launch of the iPhone (perhaps even two), a new iPad with Retina Display, and likely new iPods.

Sources: BGR.com and MacRumors.com

LG: Next Apple iPad to have Retina Display

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Jul 242011
 

LG CEO Kwon Young-soo today told The Korea Times that LG will supply Apple with ‘Retina Displays’ for the next iPad. He added that other manufacturers would also offer such displays in the near future. During the interview, Kwon said that “more smartphone manufacturers will release new models employing LG’s “Retina Display” that has been used in iPhones and iPads.”

During the interview, Kwon also took a swipe at Samsung and its OLED displays, saying: “Samsung is misleading the market because OLED displays are not suitable in terms of picture quality, response time, energy consumption and contrast ratios for smartphones and tablets.”

Rumours that the next iPad would have a higher resolution display have swirled for a while now. This statement is the first quasi-official indication that the rumours were on the mark. More recent rumours have suggested that Apple could release an iPad 2 Plus to complement the current iPad 2 rather than fully replace it.

LG is the manufacturer of the Retina Display found on the Apple iPhone 4.

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Strategy Analytics: Apple continues to rule tablet market but Android catching up

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Jul 212011
 

The latest market research from Strategy Analytics shows that Apple maintained its top ranking in tablet sales in Q2 2011 but competition is increasing quickly as other players jump into the market. Global tablet sales jumped from 3.5 million in Q2 2010 to 15.1 million in Q2 2011, a 331 percent increase.

It is no surprise that Apple remains on top, having shipped 9.3 million iPads for a 61 percent market share. Apple’s market share has been eroded from the 94 percent the same quarter a year ago by the fast-climbing Android OS which saw its market share soar from 2.9 to 30.1 percent. According to Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics:

Multiple Android models distributed across multiple countries by multiple brands such as Samsung, Acer, Asus, Motorola and others are driving volumes. However, no Android vendor yet offers a blockbuster model to rival the iPad, and demand for many Android vendors’ products remains patchy. If Amazon decides to enter the Android tablet category later this year, 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.”

Microsoft and RIM are locked in a battle for third. Microsoft has a 4.6 percent market share despite not having a tablet-centric operating system and RIM follows with a 3.3 percent share for its BlackBerry PlayBook.

It remains to be seen if and how HP with its just launched webOS-powered HP TouchPad will influence these numbers going forward.

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Google+ app now available for Apple iPhone

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Jul 192011
 

Google+Google’s recently launched Google+ social network is now available as a native iOS app for the iPhone (iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 with iOS 4.0 or later). The app comes with the increasingly familiar Stream, Circles, and Huddle messaging features found other versions.

If you were among the first to download the app, double check that you have version 1.0.1.1809 as Google has already pushed an updated version out with improved support for blocking unwanted messages in Huddle, better support for attaching photos to a post, and a number of bug fixes and performance improvements.

The app is not available for the iPad and iPod touch with no word yet on if and when it will be.

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Lower priced iPhone coming by end of year?

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Jul 182011
 

AppleIt’s time for another round of iPhone rumours.

BGR.com is reporting today that Apple will launch a pre-paid lower cost iPhone this year. According to their “incredibly solid source,” this device could be none other than the iPhone 3GS. Apple would also continue to offer the iPhone 4 alongside the new iPhone (whether it’s the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 remains to be seen). The new iPhone looks set to be announced by the “end of Summer, late August-ish.”

If this all sounds very familiar, it’s because RBC analyst Mike Abramsky suggested something similar last month.

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Apple releases iOS 4.3.4 with PDF security patch

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Jul 152011
 

AppleApple today released iOS 4.3.4 (and iOS 4.2.9 for the Verizon version) with a fix for a recent PDF vulnerability. It also includes two other security fixes. Apple had acknowledged the PDF security issue earlier issue this week and promised a fix.

While there no reported attacks, the PDF vulnerability had been used by JailbreakMe.com to let user jailbreak their devices. Needless to say that the update will prevent you from using this latest jailbreak technique.

The latest iOS update is available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch devices.

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Apple App Store tops 15 billion downloads

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Jul 072011
 

AppleApple today announced that over 15 billion apps have now been downloaded from its App Store by more than 200 million iOS device users worldwide.

“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”

The App Store now offers more than 425,000 apps, including more than 100,000 native iPad apps, to consumers in 90 countries. It launched in July 2008 and took about a year to top the first billion download mark. This latest five billion took about six months – Apple reached 10 billion downloads in January 2011.

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Skype coming soon to Apple iPad

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Jun 262011
 

Skype

Skype is coming to the Apple iPad in the near future. A definite date has not been revealed but Skype VP of Consumer and Product Design Rick Osterloh did confirm to TUAW.com that the app has been in testing for a while and nearing public release.

As a leaked video (unfortunately without audio) of the app in action shows, there is nothing really new here. It will offer the usual functionality offered by Skype (although it will not support file sharing like the PC/Mac version).

Microsoft recently announced that it would aquire Skype for US$8.5 billion.

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Google unveils mobile search improvements

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Jun 142011
 

Google today announced some enhancements to its mobile search pages to make it easier to find nearby places as well as build more complex queries.

As mobile devices have become more powerful and connected to faster networks, smartphone users are doing a surprisingly diverse set of search tasks — from simple lookups, to tasks that involve multiple complex searches.

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Apple begins offering unlocked iPhone 4 in US

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Jun 142011
 

Apple iPhone 4

Much as it has been doing in Canada for some time, Apple is now offering unlocked versions of its iPhone 4 in the US. Both 16GB and 32GB versions are available in black or white.

If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone 4 is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide.

Despite being unlocked, the Apple iPhone 4 will only work on the AT&T network in the US (an unlocked CDMA version is not available).

The unlocked 16GB iPhone 4 sells for US$649 while the 32GB version is available for US$749.

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HP working to add NFC in upcoming webOS devices?

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Jun 132011
 

Hewlett-Packard

A Business Week report is indicating that Hewlett-Packard could launch webOS smartphones and tablets sporting Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities before the end of the year. Citing “two people familiar with the company’s plans,” the report goes on to suggest that the move is intended to help HP keep up with competitors and prevent further erosion of webOS’ market share.

While NFC-equipped smartphones and tablets are still rare (the Google Nexus S is one such exception), it is expected that the feature will quickly catch on with manufacturers. RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 will both support NFC. Rumours are also swirling that the upcoming Apple iPhone 5 could support NFC as well.

There has been no mention of NFC capabilities with the current wave of webOS devices (HP TouchPad, Pre 3 and Veer). This suggests that HP will launch a second wave of webOS devices likely in time for the holidays. With only the Veer out now, this seems a bit too rushed. But it’s likely that HP realizes it has to move quickly to have any chance of keeping webOS relevant.

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IDC: Smartphone shipments in 2015 to exceed 900 million units

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Jun 122011
 

Market research firm IDC has published the latest edition of its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. The report indicates that smartphone shipments show no sign of slowing down. Shipments will reach 472 million in 2011 (up 55% from 2010 when 305 million shipped) and will nearly double by 2015 to 982 million by 2015. Among the factors cited supporting this growth are falling average selling prices, increased phone functionality, and lower-cost data plans.

“The smartphone floodgates are open wide,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Mobile phone users around the world are turning in their ‘talk-and-text’ devices for smartphones as these devices allow users to perform daily tasks like shopping and banking from anywhere. The growth trend is particularly pronounced in emerging markets where adoption is still in its early days. As a result, the growth in regions such as Asia/Pacific and Latin America, will be dramatic over the coming years.”

IDC expects that Google Android, already the leading operating system worldwide, will continue to dominate with its market share climbing over 40% by 2015. Benefiting from Nokia’s partnership, Microsoft’s Windows Phone is predicted to become the second most popular OS (with a market share over 20%). Apple’s iOS (16.9%), RIM (13.4%), and Symbian (0.1%) will complete the top 5. Interestingly, HP’s webOS does not figure in the top 5 but IDC points out that there is a “huge opportunity for competing operating systems to gain footing” as Symbian’s expense.

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Summary of the Apple WWDC 2011 keynote address

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Jun 062011
 

Apple

Once again, Steve Jobs took to the stage to deliver the WWDC keynote. Here is the summary:

  • Setting the stage for the keynote, Jobs said, “If the hardware is the brain and the sinew of the product, the software in the middle is the soul.”
  • Apple now has 54 million Mac users worldwide with notebooks now accounting for 73% of sales.
  • Mac OS X Lion:
    • Over 250 new features
    • Multi-touch gestures – First seen at ‘Back to the Mac’ event last fall
    • Full-screen mode for applications (with swipe to toggle)
    • Mission Control: Unified interface to let you see what is going on your Mac and manage multiple desktops, full-screen apps, and dashboard widgets
    • Mac App Store is now number one channel for buying software, according to Schiller
    • A number of iOS features coming to Lion including push notifications, and in-app purchases
    • Launchpad: Pinch motion brings up all applications and allows customized display
    • Auto-save: Automatically saves documents in background. Includes document history to retrieve previous versions
    • AirDrop: Allows document sharing over Wi-Fi by letting you drag and drop documents to peers on local network
    • Mail: UI revamped and similar to that in iOS
    • Mac OS X Lion to be available only through Mac App Store for US$29.99 as a 4GB download.
    • Mac OS X Lion will be available in July. Developer Preview available now.
  • iOS 5 announced:
    • iOS now on over 200 million devices, including 25 million iPads
    • App Store now has over 425,000 apps, including 90,000 iPad-specific ones. 14 billion downloads in less than 3 years!
    • Latest version adds 1500 new APIs and some 200 new features
    • New Notification Center replacing modal alerts. Located at top of screen and opened by swiping down from top (very similar to Android)
    • Lock screen also presents notifications. You can swipe the notification to enter the app directly.
    • Newsstand: Centralized management of subscriptions such as magazines and newspapers
    • Twitter integration including single sign-on for apps
    • Improved Safari, including tab support for iPad version
    • New Reminders and To Do list functionality
    • Camera: Improved performance and new features such as camera icon on lock screen for quick access, volume button now acting as shutter button, and auto exposure/focus lock at touch
    • Improved Mail app
    • New split thumb keyboard for iPad only (portrait mode)
    • PC-free set up: No longer need PC to set up and update iOS. Includes OTA delta updates.
    • Improved Game Center which turn-based game support, achievements, game downloads and more
    • iMessage: new messaging service for iOS devices only. Can send texts, photos, videos, and group messages over 3G or Wi-Fi. All messages are encrypted.
    • Apple will ship iOS 5 “this fall” and it will support all devices supported by iOS 4 (first and second generation iPad, iPhone 3GS/4, third and fourth generation iPod touch)
  • Apple iCloud:
    • To address issue of content management (music, photos, videos) across multiple devices
    • Digital hub moving to the cloud with PC becoming just another device that accesses this content
    • It replaces MobileMe with new Contacts/Calendar/Mail apps which will be free
    • Cloud services will also be extended to Apps, iBooks, Documents, and Photos
    • iTunes also moving to the cloud with your music synced across devices. It will also include a service iTunes Match which will provide you with AAC DRM-free versions of songs you did not purchase on iTunes for US$24.99 per year
    • Apple will provide users with 5GB of storage for mail, documents and backup.
    • iCloud available today to developers as part of iOS 4.3 beta. It will be rolled out as a beta service in iOS 4.3 and then in iOS 5 in the fall.

As expected, no devices were announced which means that the rumour mill will continue to go crazy over the next few months…