Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Don’t Get Too Excited About GlobalFoundries and Apple — At Least, Not Just Yet

November 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Don’t get too excited about an intriguing story from the Albany Times Union saying that chip-manufacturing company GlobalFoundries may soon start turning out chips for Apple’s iPhones and iPads at a factory in upstate New York . I’ve been checking with industry sources who have a pretty clear picture about what may be going on. And it’s probably not all that it’s initially cracked up to be. In the most likely scenario, Samsung will still be the primary manufacturer of Apple’s chips for the iPhone and iPad, they said, continuing the role it has played since the earliest days of the iPhone: Building the chips that Apple designs under contract. (In chip-industry lingo, these deals are known as foundry agreements.) Sources close to the situation said the deal that appears to be taking shape looks more like this: Samsung will use GlobalFoundries for what is known as “flex capacity.” This is a long-standing industry practice under which a chip manufacturer pays to occasionally use another company’s factories when demand on their own factory is running higher than they would like, and they need a little help. This would be a good time to point out that Apple is not Samsung’s only foundry customer. The Samsung fab in Austin, Texas, also turns out chips for Samsung. Occasionally there will be times when Samsung has to balance the demand on that fab in order to meet both the needs of its primary foundry customer — Apple — as well as its own internal needs for smartphone and tablet chips. That’s where GlobalFoundries will come in, picking up the additional work on an as-needed basis. Samsung would basically hire GlobalFoundries as a subcontractor, and continue to manage the relationship with Apple. This is a very different business relationship than, say, if Apple were to tap GlobalFoundries as a “second source” for chips. Apple would of course have to give its blessing to the arrangement. This would explain why Samsung employees have been spotted in Malta, N.Y., where GlobalFoundries operates Fab 8 , and is said to have brought the “recipes” for building Apple chips with them. Additionally, there are enough similarities in chip-making technologies and equipment between Samsung and GlobalFoundries that Global can do the job when called upon

Read More

Future iPhones Could Be Big and Curvy, More Sensitive to Pressure

November 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

While today’s iPhone is a thin, flat slab of glass and electronics, Apple is experimenting with some radically new looks. According to a Bloomberg report , Apple is prepping curved screen models for next year that would feature, among other things, larger displays than found on the iPhone 5 and 5s. LG and Samsung have both announced curved-screen smartphones of their own, with the LG Flex and Galaxy Round , respectively. Bloomberg said Apple is working on two curved models for the second half of the year, with screens of 4.7 and 5.5 inches — both larger than Apple’s current models. The company is also working on new pressure-sensing technology that could distinguish between heavy and light touches, though that may take beyond next year to bring to market, Bloomberg said.

Read More

Why Apple’s New Sapphire Manufacturing Agreement Is a Big Deal

November 7, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Martin Hajek Earlier this week Apple announced a multi-year alliance with GT Advanced Technologies that will see the company manufacturing sapphire material at a new Apple facility in Mesa, Arizona. With prepayments of approximately $578 million to GT, this is a significant deal for both companies — perhaps even more so than originally thought. During a Monday earnings call, GT revealed a few bits of data that suggest it is rejiggering its entire business model around sapphire production. As Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White noted today, GT’s sapphire business accounted for 11 percent of its year-to-date sales — about $28.9 million in revenue. But in forecasting 2014 revenue, the company said it expects to make $600 million to $800 million, with 80 percent of those sales attributable to its sapphire business. In other words, following the signing of this new deal with Apple, GT’s sapphire segment will not only become the company’s main source of revenue, it will also drive a stratospheric spike in it

Read More

Delta Celebrates FAA Gadget Sanity With a Viral YouTube Hit

November 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

The Federal Aviation Administration’s move to let people use their iPhones and Kindles while planes are taking off and landing — like they’re already doing, anyway — isn’t just good news for travelers. It was an opportunity for Delta’s social media team to strut their stuff. The FAA announced the change on Thursday .* Today, Delta put this up on YouTube: I’m not exactly sure that I would want to associate my airline with a clip that featured a crying kid for 30 seconds. But it’s probably a better fit than, “My kid came back from dental surgery and he is totally stoned. Check it out! ” I’m a reasonably close YouTube watcher, but I have to confess that I didn’t recognize the source material for this one, even though Delta spells it out (and presumably has compensated the people who own the source material). It’s “Lily’s Disneyland Surprise,” which has generated 13 million views in the last two years. Thanks to Skift for pointing it out. * In my filter bubble, this is referred to as the “Bilton Rule.”

Read More

More iPhone 5c Supply Chain Rumors

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Has Apple reduced orders for its new iPhone 5c? A growing chorus of reports suggests that it has. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has told manufacturing partners Pegatron and Hon Hai to ramp down production of the device. Reuters echoed that report later the same day, and now NPD DisplaySearch is making similar claims . In a report published Friday, the research outfit said recent channel checks suggest that Apple has dialed back iPhone 5c production by 35 percent, while increasing iPhone 5s production by 75 percent. NPD attributes the 5c production cuts to demand weakened by the device’s higher-than-expected price. “Rumors about iPhone 5c being ‘cheap’ were circulating as early as Q3 2012,” NPD analysts Tina Teng and Shawn Lee theorize. “The fact that the iPhone 5c is nearly identical to the iPhone 5 — and is not cheap — disappointed some consumers.” Perhaps. That’s certainly an easy explanation for such production cuts following a nine-million-new-iPhones-sold opening weekend . But easy explanations aren’t always accurate, and as similarly pessimistic reports about iPhone 5 demand last year proved, supply chain production volume rumors sometimes aren’t the best information on which to gauge iPhone sales. Things can go from “FLASH: Apple has cut orders for iPhone components due to weaker-than-expected demand!” to “My bad! Apple actually sold 47.8 million iPhones this quarter” pretty quickly. As Apple CEO Tim Cook said in January , “I’d recommend questioning the accuracy of any kind of rumor about build plans. I’d also stress that even if a particular data point were to be factual it would be impossible to interpret what it really means to our business. Our supply chain is very complex and we have multiple sources for our components

Read More

Apple’s Steve Jobs Patent Confirmed by USPTO

October 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Nine months after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office tentatively invalidated Apple’s so called “Steve Jobs patent,” the agency has reversed course. In a decision issued last month, and spotted by Foss Patents , the USPTO upheld the 20 claims of which U.S. Patent No. 7,479,949 is comprised, affirming the patentability of a broad range of multitouch technology Apple uses in devices like the iPhone and iPad. The agency’s decision is a major strategic win for Apple, which has asserted it against rivals like Samsung and Google.

Read More

iPhone 5s Outselling iPhone 5c Two-to-One

October 14, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Asked during Apple’s last earnings call if he feared the higher end of the smartphone market was nearing saturation, CEO Tim Cook said he did not. “I don’t subscribe to the common view that the higher end, if you will, of the smartphone market is at its peak,” Cook said. “I don’t believe that.” Turns out Cook had good reason to take that view. In September, Apple launched a pair of new iPhones, the flagship iPhone 5s and the mid-tier iPhone 5c, and a new analysis by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) shows that the higher-end 5s has been outselling the lower-priced 5c. According to CIRP’s survey of consumers who purchased Apple’s latest iPhones during the last days of September, the 5s accounted for 64 percent of total iPhone sales following its launch that month. Meanwhile, the the 5c accounted for 27 percent, with the legacy iPhone 4S making up the remaining 9 percent. So not only is the 5s outselling the 5c, it’s outselling it more than two-to-one.

Read More

Utah’s Startup Scene Is Almost as Spectacular as Its Fall Scenery

October 11, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This week, I’ve been in Park City, Utah, attending the Venture Capital in the Rockies Fall conference . Basically it’s a gathering of VCs based in the intermountain west and early-stage startup companies on the hunt for investors. As you can see from the image I snapped with my iPhone on the day of my arrival, the fall foliage makes for a pretty awesome view, and the cold crisp air — it even snowed briefly yesterday — has an infectious quality to it. But there’s more to the place than pretty pictures. There’s a fairly active tech startup scene here. I sat through several presentations yesterday from some companies with cool ideas that are just getting off the ground. Here’s a few that caught my attention. Storyvine: This two-person startup based in Boulder, Colo. aims to make producing high-quality videos easier and cheaper than ever before. It walks you through the process of shooting and editing a video in a way that comes out more polished and thoughtful. Computing giant IBM is an early client. Founder Kyle Shannon started the interactive marketing firm Agency.com back in the 1990s, took it public and later sold it to Omnicom. Monique Elwell is longtime Wall Street analyst. Cypher: If you’ve ever tried to take a call on your mobile phone in a noisy environment, like a restaurant or on a busy street, you’re going to want Cypher technology on your phone. It has developed a technology to isolate the sound of your voice, mute the background noise you don’t want to hear. The result is a clearer call.

Read More

Best Buy Confirms $100 Smartphone Trade-In Promotion for Customers Buying Latest iPhones

October 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Aiming to get a greater share of iPhone buyers, Best Buy is planning another promotion, this time guaranteeing at least $100 credit with the trade-in of any working smartphone. That makes the base-model iPhone 5c free with any trade-in, and the 16 gigabyte iPhone 5s available for $99 (though customers may still owe sales tax on the new phone, and are responsible for any activation fees). And, of course, customers have to be eligible for an upgrade to get those iPhone prices. It’s the latest in a series of offers from Best Buy and other retailers looking to convince would-be iPhone buyers to go with their store. The promotion will run Oct. 13-19, a Best Buy representative told AllThingsD . Best Buy Mobile stores, though, will start offering the promotion on the 5c starting today. If the iPhone model a customer is looking for is not in stock, they can get a rain check. Word of the Best Buy offer leaked out on Wednesday , though the company did not confirm it until today.

Read More

Apple Will Hold Fall iPad Event on October 22

October 8, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Apple has a couple more new products to announce before the year is out, and it plans to unveil them in a few weeks time. People familiar with Apple’s plans tell AllThingsD that the company will hold its next invitation-only event on Tuesday October 22. The focal point of the gathering will be the latest updates to the company’s iPad line, but the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks will likely get some stage time as well, I’m told. The fifth generation iPad is expected to feature a thinner, lighter design akin to the iPad mini’s and an improved camera. It will run Apple’s new 64-bit A7 chip. The second-generation iPad mini will be upgraded with a retina display and also see the A7 incorporated into its innards. It’s not clear whether Apple’s new iPads will feature the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that recently debuted on the iPhone 5s, though that has been rumored. Sources declined to specify where the event is to be held, and I’ve not been able to confirm a location. My understanding is that it will not be held at the California Theatre in San Jose, the site of the iPad mini’s unveiling in 2012

Read More