HTC dismisses Apple settlement fee rumours

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Nov 202012

HTCWhen HTC and Apple announced that they had entered into a new licensing agreement and dismissed current lawsuits between them, they did not reveal terms of the agreement. Speculation followed that HTC would pay Apple between US$6 and US$8 in licensing fees for each Android device it sells. HTC’s CEO, Peter Chou, today responded to this rumour, dismissing the cited amounts as “outrageous.” Speaking at a carrier event in Japan, he said,

“I think that these estimates are baseless and very, very wrong. It is a outrageous number, but I’m not going to comment anything on a specific number. I believe we have a very, very happy settlement and a good ending,” said Chou

The terms of the agreement are confidential and HTC has only said that it will not “have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company.” Details may yet come to light if a legal request by Samsung to see the terms is granted by the courts.

Read more: Reuters

Next-generation iPad and iPhone coming mid-2013?

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Nov 192012

AppleRumours last week suggested that Apple would launch its next iPhone smartphone (the iPhone 5S?) and iPad tablet as early as the first half of 2013. These gained steam today with a report by Digitimes that “market observers” expected many of Apple’s component suppliers to see rising component orders starting in late Q1, suggesting that Apple could unveil its next-generation iPad and iPhone devices as early as mid-2013.

The report suggests that Apple could be looking to accelerate its release cycles. It launched the iPhone 5 in September and the fourth-generation iPad in October along with the new iPad mini [product information]. The faster releases may help it better compete against competitors such as Samsung which refresh their device lineups more often. It may also simply be looking to spread out its release schedule instead of having a very busy fall release cycle this past September and October.

The report sheds no light on what we can expect to see with the new iPhone or iPad. If Apple is working on the iPhone 5S, it may be a very similar device with only a number of relatively minor component upgrades.

The report also indicates that both contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and packager Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) are now on Apple’s list of suppliers.

If nothing else, the iPhone and iPad rumours were not dormant for long!

Read more: Digitimes

Nov 142012

The BlackBerry 10 L-Series all-touch smartphone has been caught on camera once more ahead of its official launch on January 30th 2013. What makes this latest photo unique is that the BlackBerry 10 device is next to an Apple iPhone 5, giving us a good idea of its size.

Rumoured BlackBerry L-Series next to Apple iPhone 5

The image reveals that the BlackBerry L-Series will be slightly wider and about as tall despite having a slightly larger display. The key difference is that the L-Series which will rely heavily on gestures lacks a homescreen button, allowing it to fit a larger display in a very similar footprint.

What do you think? Homescreen button or larger display? We are leaning towards the latter ourselves.

Read more: (Source: CrackBerry)

Samsung unwilling to settle lawsuits with Apple

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Nov 142012

SamsungHopes that Samsung and Apple could settle their legal battles out of court appear to have been dashed. Speaking to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, J.K. Shin, President and Head of IT & Mobile Communications Division, said that Samsung would look to a legal resolution rather than a settlement. “We don’t intend to (negotiate) at all,” he explained, apparently leaving little room for compromise.

Samsung and Apple have been engaged in legal battles over the last few years. Most recently, Samsung sued Apple over some of its LTE patents. Before that, Apple won a US$1 billion award in a US patent infringement case. Other cases are still before various courts.

Legal distractions do not appear to have any effect on Samsung’s sales. Shin expects that fourth quarter smartphone sales will be “as robust” as they were in the previous quarter.

For its part, Apple appears to be taking a softer approach to its legal battles with various smartphone manufacturers. Its battle with HTC now appears behind it with the latter reportedly paying up to US$8 per Android smartphone it sells.

Read more: Yonhap News Agency (Source: CNET News)

Nov 122012

HTCApple and HTC settled their legal differences over the weekend and entered into a new 10-year licensing agreement. The terms were not disclosed by the companies but the agreement could be quite lucrative for Apple if Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu is correct.

Citing multiple industry sources, Wu suggests that HTC will pay Apple between US$6 and US$8 in licensing fees for each Android device it sells. That could work out to between US$180 and US$280 million if HTC sells between 30 and 35 million Android smartphones in 2013.

HTC indicated that the agreement would not have any adverse material impact on its financials, suggesting that Apple could also be paying HTC some licensing fees thereby reducing the net amount HTC will pay Apple.

HTC already pays a reported US$5 per Android device to Microsoft to cover a separate licensing agreement.

Read more: Mashable

Apple to launch iPhone 5S in mid-2013?

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Nov 122012

AppleApple may launch a new iPhone model as soon as early next year. According to the Chinese-language China Times, Apple will introduce a new iPhone along with a new iPad, and Apple TV device sometime in the first half of the year. The iPhone 5S could launch first and be followed by a new iPad about a quarter later.

Production of the iPhone 5S could start sometime in December with initial runs of between 50,000 and 100,000 units. Volume production would then follow sometime in Q1 2013.

Little is known about the iPhone 5S but if Apple follows past naming patterns, the new S model will come with a number of small component upgrades but will sport the same design as the Apple iPhone 5.

Production challenges of its current iPhone 5 and iPads appears to be the reason that Apple is accelerating the certification and deployment of new devices.

Read more: Digitimes and China Times (in Chinese) [Google translation]

HTC and Apple settle lawsuits with new licensing agreement

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Nov 112012

HTCHTC and Apple yesterday announced that they have agreed to dismiss all current lawsuits and enter into a new licensing agreement. It will span 10 years and extend to current and future patents held by both parties.

“HTC is pleased to have resolved its dispute with Apple, so HTC can focus on innovation instead of litigation,” said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement with HTC,” said Tim Cook, CEO of Apple. “We will continue to stay laser focused on product innovation.”

Speaking to The Verge, HTC spokesperson representative Jeff Gordon added that the new agreement will not “have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company.” The specific terms of the settlement will remain confidential.

Apple first filed an ITC complaint against HTC back in March 2010. It added a number of additional ones in 2011 and 2012.

Read more: HTC and The Verge

Android makes inroads in tablet market in Q3 2012

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Nov 052012

The tablet market continued to show strong growth in Q3 2012. Shipments reached 27.8 million units, a 49.5% growth over the same quarter a year ago and 6.7% over Q2 2012. Apple continued to dominate despite slowing sales (tied in part to anticipation for the iPad mini). Android made strong gains thanks in large part to Samsung and ASUS.

“After a very strong second quarter, Apple saw growth slow as both consumer and commercial (including education) shipments declined, and rumors of a forthcoming iPad mini began to heat up,” said Tom Mainelli, research director, Tablets at IDC. “We believe a sizeable percentage of consumers interested in buying an Apple tablet sat out the third quarter in anticipation of an announcement about the new iPad mini. Now that the new mini, and a fourth-generation full-sized iPad, are both shipping we expect Apple to have a very good quarter. However, we believe the mini’s relatively high $329 starting price leaves plenty of room for Android vendors to build upon the success they achieved in the third quarter.”

Here are the full numbers:

Vendor 3Q12 Shipments 3Q12 Market Share 3Q11 Shipments 3Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Apple 14.0 50.4% 11.1 59.7% 26.1%
Samsung 5.1 18.4% 1.2 6.5% 325.0% 2.5 9.0% NA NA NA
ASUS 2.4 8.6% 0.7 3.8% 242.9%
Lenovo 0.4 1.4% 0.2 1.1% 100%
Others 3.3 12.2% 5.4 28.9% -38.9%
All vendors 27.8 100.0% 18.6 100.0% 49.5%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, November 5, 2012 (preliminary data)

The next few quarters will be interesting to watch. Apple has now launched its iPad mini (and fourth-generation iPad) and tablets powered by Microsoft’s new Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems are also now hitting the market.

Read more: IDC

Apple sells 3 million new iPads in first three days

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Nov 052012

Apple iPad miniApple began selling both the iPad 4 and iPad mini this past Friday. Not surprisingly, their debut weekend was strong with three million iPads being sold over the past three days. A breakout of how many iPad minis were sold was not provided though.

“Customers around the world love the new iPad mini and fourth generation iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis. We’re working hard to build more quickly to meet the incredible demand.”

Interestingly, Apple found itself in the rare position of being “practically sold out of iPad minis” rather than fully sold out as it more traditionally has been with other product launches. Was demand more muted than it expected or was it able to get more supply out in time for the launch?

One thing is for sure: Apple can claim yet another successful product launch!

Read more: Apple

Apple releases iOS 6.0.1 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

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Nov 012012

AppleApple today released iOS 6.0.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It is a maintenance release addressing a number of bugs. According to the changelog, it fixes the following:

  • Fixes a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air.
  • Fixes a bug where horizontal lines may be displayed across the keyboard.
  • Fixes an issue that could cause camera flash to not go off.
  • Improves reliability of iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation) when connected to encrypted WPA2 Wi-Fi networks.
  • Resolves an issue that prevents iPhone from using the cellular network in some instances.
  • Consolidated the Use Cellular Data switch for iTunes Match.
  • Fixes a Passcode Lock bug which sometimes allowed access to Passbook pass details from lock screen.
  • Fixes a bug affecting Exchange meetings.

Because of the OTA update bug, iPhone 5 users will need to download the new Software Updater in order to then download iOS 6.0.1.

Apple iOS 6.1, a more significant update, is expected to follow after the holidays.

Read more: AppleInsider

Management shakeup at Apple sees Forstall and Browett to leave

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Oct 292012

AppleApple today announced a number of changes to its executive team to “encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams.” As a result, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will all take on additional responsibilities.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will take on leadership for Human Interface (HI) across the company. Eddie Cue will pick up responsibility for Siri and Maps as all of Apple’s online services move into a single group. Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X operating systems. Bob Mansfield will lead a new group called Technologies that will combine all of Apple’s wireless teams into a single one and will also include the semiconductor teams, “who have ambitious plans for the future.”

There are also two key departures: Scott Forstall, SVP of iOS Software, will leave sometime next year. In the meantime, he will act as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook. John Browett, head of Apple retail, is also leaving after being on the job for less than a year. Apple will be looking for a new head of Retail.

Read more: Apple

Apple and Samsung continue to dominate worldwide smartphone market in Q3 2012

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Oct 262012

The worldwide mobile phone and smartphone markets continued to grow in Q3 2012. A total of 444.5 million mobile phones were shipped in the quarter (a 2.4% increase over the same quarter a year ago) while smartphones specifically recorded a growth of 45.3% year-over-year to reach shipments of 179.7 million units.

In the smartphone space, Apple and Samsung continued to domination. There was some shuffling of positions below them as Nokia fell out of the top five and Research In Motion climbed into third.

“Nokia’s share losses have meant gains for competitors,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “The company’s transition away from Symbian-powered smartphones to ones shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months. However, the smartphone market is still relatively nascent, which means there’s room for multiple vendors and operating systems to flourish, including Nokia.”

Nokia was not the only manufacturer to drop in the ranking. HTC also fell one spot due to slowing sales in markets such as the U.S.

The following table shows the top five vendors in Q3 2012:

Vendor 3Q12 Unit Shipments 3Q12 Market Share 3Q11 Unit Shipments 3Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Samsung 56.3 31.3% 28.1 22.7% 100.4%
Apple 26.9

15.0% 17.1 13.8% 57.3%
Research In Motion 7.7 4.3% 11.8 9.64% -34.7%
ZTE 7.5 4.2% 4.1 3.3% 82.9%
HTC 7.3 4.0% 12.7 10.3% -42.5%
Others 74.0 41.2% 49.9 40.3% 48.3%
Total 179.7 100.0% 123.7 100.0% 45.3%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, October 25, 2012

In the mobile phone space, Samsung also holds down the top position. It is followed by Nokia, Apple, LG, and ZTE. Only Samsung and Apple showed overall growth over the same quarter a year ago.

IDC expects that both mobile phone and smartphone shipments will continue to grow as they become an increasingly pivotal tool in daily life.

Read more: IDC

Apple announces fiscal Q4 2012 results

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Oct 252012

AppleApple today announced its fiscal 2012 fourth quarter results. The company again posted numbers that would make many of its competitors envious but there were signs that competition is heating up.

“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.”

Revenues came in at US$36.0 billion with a net profit of US$8.2 billion. A year ago, Apple recorded revenues of US28.3 billion and a net profit of US$6.6 billion. International sales accounted for 60% of revenues. It sold 26.9 million iPhones (a 58% unit growth over the same quarter a year ago) and 14 million iPads (a 26% unit growth over the year-ago quarter). It also sold 4.9 million iMacs, 5.3 million iPods, and 1.2 million Apple TVs.

iPad numbers in particular came in lower than many analysts predicted. Not only did many potential buyers hold out to see what Apple would announce back on October 23rd but sales of competing products are also improving. Collectively, Android tablets accounted for 41% of the global tablet shipments in Q3.

Apple remains a very healthy company with a solid device lineup; it’s just facing stiffer competition than it has in a while.

Read more: Apple

Apple announces fourth generation iPad with faster A6X processor

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Oct 232012

Apple iPadAlong with the new iPad mini, Apple unveiled its fourth generation iPad. It features a number of upgrades over its predecessor, including a faster A6X processor which promises “up to twice the CPU performance and up to twice the graphics performance of the A5X chip.” Other improvements include LTE connectivity, a FaceTime HD camera, improved wireless connectivity, and a new Lightning Dock.

Like the iPad mini, the new fourth-generation iPad will be available on November 2nd. It will sell for CA/US$499 for the 16GB model, CA/US$599 for the 32GB model and CA/US$699 for the 64GB model. Wi-Fi + Cellular models are CA/US$130 more.

Read more: Apple

Apple announces iPad mini tablet

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Oct 232012

Apple iPad miniAs expected, Apple today unveiled the iPad mini, the smaller sibling to the iPad. Featuring a 7.9-inch display, it is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad.

“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper, yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”

Apple iPad mini specifications:

  • Processor: Dual-core A5
  • Operating system: Apple iOS 6
  • Cellular connectivity (Wi-Fi model): None
  • Cellular connectivity (A1454): LTE/HSPA+/EDGE
  • Cellular connectivity (A1455): LTE/HSPA+/CDMA EV-DO/EDGE
  • Other connectivity: GPS/GLONASS (on cellular models), 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (dual-band), Bluetooth 4.0
  • Display: 7.9-inch LED-backlit IPS XGA (1024×768)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory:
  • Storage: 16, 32, or 64GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 5MP with f/2.4 aperture and 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: 1.2MP
  • Connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning connector
  • Battery:
  • Dimensions / weight: 200 x 134.7 x 7.2 millimeters / 308 grams
  • Colours: Black & slate or White & silver

The iPad mini will go on sale on November 2nd. Wi-Fi models will sell for CA/US$329 (16GB), CA/US$429 (32GB), and CA/US$529 (64GB). The iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular will follow “a couple of weeks after the Wi-Fi models.” It will sell for CA/US$459 (16GB), CA/US$559 (32GB), and CA/US$659 (64GB). Pre-orders begin on October 26th.

Read more: Apple