Tuesday February 18, 2014 4:40 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple has released another story in its current "Your Verse" ad campaign for the iPad Air that showcases the extraordinary use of the tablet in a variety of situations. This latest edition shows how mountaineers Adrian Ballinger and Emily Harrington have used the iPad when scaling some of the world's most renowned mountains.
Ballinger and Harrington are shown using the iPad from base camp to summit, documenting their trip with photos and blog posts. Instead of waiting weeks to share their adventure, the pair used the iPad to provide expedition details as they happened. The iPad was also used for terrain mapping the terrain and route planning through treacherous mountain regions.
"Not long ago, they relied on outdated or inaccurate paper maps to inform their plan of attack. Sometimes maps of these areas didn’t even exist. But now with iPad and the Gaia GPS topography app, they can see remote mountain regions in great detail."
"Five years ago, it was hard to even get a paper map of some of these places. Now with the iPad it’s remarkable how much we can plan ahead," said Ballinger.
Mountain expeditions are only one of several stories highlighted by Apple. An earlier documentary shows how the iPad was used by biologist Michael Berumen to study underwater coral reefs, while other shorter profiles that encompass a variety of disciplines were summarized in the recent "Your Verse" ad. The "Your Verse" series is a continuation of the "Life on iPad" ad campaign that Apple kicked off last year.
Monday February 17, 2014 5:31 pm PST by Richard Padilla
A concept video of a 13-inch "iPad Pro" running a full version of OS X has been posted by Italian consulting company SET Solution (via Funky Space Monkey). The iPad in the video is depicted as having a large form factor with very thin bezels, and is shown displaying OS X Mountain Lion with touch controls. The video also shows off the ability to easily connect an Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse to the iPad, enabling a full desktop-like environment.
The possibility of Apple combining OS X and iOS into one unified platform has been a popular topic of discussion recently, as both have begun to share a common sense of design principles. However, an interview with Apple executives Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi in Macworld last month revealed that the company sees the combination iOS and OS X as a "non-goal", with the former saying that the effort would be a "waste of energy" and the latter saying that Apple is focused on building the best products for unique purposes.
Despite this public dismissal, J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz predicted earlier this month that Apple is indeed working on a platform that combines OS X and iOS, which is termed as "iAnywhere." Specifically, the analyst states that the combo operating system would work in tandem with an iOS device docked to a secondary display, running as a full-blown computer. Various other companies have experimented with dual operating systems and other hybrid solutions in the past, but mostly to no acclaim from the general public.
Overall, it is unlikely that Apple will debut a tablet running a full version of OS X as seen in the video or a combo operating system anytime soon. However, recentreports do point to Apple releasing a 12.9-inch iPad running a next-generation version of iOS sometime in the future, with a launch projected for late this year or early next year.
Saturday February 15, 2014 4:56 pm PST by Richard Padilla
Apple may be preparing to introduce an upgraded iPad Air this year and will likely hold off the release of a 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" and a newer iPad mini until next year, KGI Securities Ming-Chi Kuo states in a new research note. The analyst believes that a new iPad Air with an A8 processor and Touch ID fingerprint sensor will be the only new tablet that Apple introduces this year, as the company focuses on shifting its resources from the Retina iPad Mini towards developing the 12.9-inch iPad. Kuo estimates that the larger iPad will debut early next year or late this year with limited supply.
12.9-inch iPad (left) with 13-inch MacBook Air (right)
Compared with lower-margin iPad mini with Retina display, which shipments has been tepid, higher-margin iPad Air was a hot selling item in 4Q13, which will slow Apple in developing new iPad mini models. We believe Apple plans to launch upgraded iPad Air early this year, and will accelerate development of 12.9” iPad. As such, more resources will be allocated to these two products, which will affect the progress of the development of new iPad mini. All told, we think chances of the debut of a new iPad mini in 2H14 are slim. In addition, the 12.9” iPad is unlikely to be offered in 2014. For these reasons, we predict the only new iPad product in 2H14 will be the upgraded iPad Air.
In his research note, Kuo also states that the 12.9-inch iPad will act as a driver in allowing developers to create more interactive apps for a bigger screen. However, the analyst notes that Apple has prioritized developing the operating system for the iWatch this year, with plans to release its smart watch in 2014. Kuo also predicts that Apple will restart mass production of the iPad 4 in Q1 2014 as Apple looks to wind down iPad 2 production after a three-year run, which was reported earlier this week. Overall, the analyst predicts the iPad shipments will fall from 34 million units in the 1st half of 2013 to below 30 million units in the first half of 2014.
Kuo shared similar thoughts on the possibility of a 12.9-inch iPad last October, stating that the sixth-generation iPad would contain a 30-40% higher pixel density instead of a bigger screen. Various reports throughout the past couple of months have stated that Apple is targeting a late Q3 2014 launch for the iPad Pro, with some indicating that the device could be aimed toward the enterprise market.
Thursday February 13, 2014 6:28 am PST by Eric Slivka
Apple is winding down production of the iPad 2 as customer interest in the legacy device dwindles, according to a report from AppleInsider. First introduced in early 2011, the iPad 2 has remained in Apple's product lineup as a lower-price option even as newer iPad models have been discontinued.
According to people familiar with Apple's plans, the company has made the decision to ramp down iPad 2 production given that customers are resoundingly shifting purchases towards its more modern and capable iPads, namely the iPad mini and iPad Air.
Apple continues to sell 16 GB iPad 2 models priced at $399 for Wi-Fi only and $529 for Wi-Fi + Cellular for the time being, coming in $100 lower than corresponding iPad Air models. There is no word yet, however, on just when Apple plans to stop selling the iPad 2 as its stocks wind down.
The iPad 2 remained popular even up until the launch of the iPad Air, with educational institutions and other specialized markets preferring the device for a combination of its lower price and its compatibility with numerous accessories through the legacy 30-pin dock connector. But with the introduction of the dramatically thinner iPad Air and Retina display-equipped iPad mini late last year, sales of the iPad 2 dropped dramatically and the company has apparently decided that continued production is not worthwhile.
Wednesday February 12, 2014 7:35 am PST by Eric Slivka
As Apple continues its quest to make its iOS devices thinner and lighter, the company will take advantage of advancements in LED backlighting technology to shift to thinner components for the iPhone 6 and upcoming iPad models, according to a report from LEDinside, a division of research firm TrendForce.
The report notes that a thinner design will see Apple shifting from 0.6 mm thick side-view LED backlights to 0.4 mm thick modules, but also questionably claims that the iPhone 6 will arrive in June. The iPhone 6 is generally expected to arrive in the same September-October timeframe seen in recent years.
According to sources from Apple supply chain, the iPhone 6 is likely to be released in June 2014, and will have larger monitor size of 4.7”. Industry insiders also projected the iPhone 6 will have a much lighter frame, which will lead to upgrades in LED backlight specs. In the previous generation, the iPhone used 0.6t side-view type LED, in contrast the new iPhone will probably be adopting 0.4t side-view type LED.
Apple has been rumored to be increasing display size for the iPhone 6, and while LEDinside's report only mentions a 4.7-inch model, a number of other claims have included an even larger model at 5.5-5.7 inches. Larger displays will undoubtedly lead to larger device bodies, but that extra height and width could give Apple more room to spread out components and reduce device thickness from the current 7.6 mm of the iPhone 5s, and thinner backlights could aid that goal in an industry where fractions of a millimeter count.
LEDinside claims that similar changes are coming for the iPad, particularly with a rumored 12-inch model. According to the report, new iPads will see their backlights shift to 0.6 mm thick modules from the current 0.8 mm components.
Thursday January 30, 2014 3:58 pm PST by Jordan Golson
A rumored 12.9-inch iPad may still have significant development time left, according to an analyst at IHS, a supply chain research firm. According to CNET, IHS analyst Rhoda Alexander said there were a number of different larger panels, that could be potentially for a larger iPad, floating around display manufacturers -- but not in volumes necessary for an imminent launch.
"Some manufacturers over the last six months have received sample quantities of a larger panel. They're playing around with a product that could possibly be an iPad-related product," she told CNET in a phone interview.
"Various sizes are being reported with 12.85 inches being one of the sizes," she said.
Mockup of 12.9-inch iPad next to iPad Air and iPad mini
Alexander went on to say that IHS did not see significant shipments of any of the larger panels, and suggested that there may not be a market for iPads larger than the current 9.7-inch model. "We have to get a lot further down the line in terms of seeing really strong indicators from Apple that such a product exists, and we're just not at that point."
According to a research report from Evercore analyst Patrick Wang, Apple's larger iPad may be aimed at the enterprise market. Recent rumors have indicated that the 12.9-inch iPad will launch no earlier than the third quarter of 2014.
Wednesday January 29, 2014 6:01 am PST by Eric Slivka
Following its mobile phone report earlier this week, research firm IDC has published its estimates of tablet shipments for the fourth quarter of 2013, showing that Apple continues to lead the market with roughly one-third of all shipments.
Worldwide tablet shipments in 4Q13 in millions of units (Source: IDC)
Apple's share of the market has generally declined over the past two years amid the proliferation of low-cost Android tablets, particularly unbranded "whitebox" devices in the Chinese market. The holiday quarter with refreshed iPads did, however, allow Apple to raise its share of the market to 33.8 percent from 29.7 percent in the previous quarter.
Apple once again led the worldwide market for tablets, shipping 26 million units during the quarter, up from 14.1 million the previous quarter and 22.9 million in 4Q12. While the quarter represented the company's most successful on record, its year-over-year growth of 13.5% was well below the industry average. The numbers bring into focus the challenges the company faces as it attempts to grow its tablet business in markets outside of its traditional mature-market strongholds and in the face of continued success from competitors both large and small.
Apple saw its worldwide tablet market share for the quarter grow to 33.8%, up from 29.7% in the third quarter but down from its 38.2% share in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Apple's iPad shipments (red) and share of worldwide tablet shipments (blue) for 2Q11–4Q13 (Source: IDC)
As always, it is important to note that IDC's numbers track shipments instead of sales, and thus how many shipped devices are making their way into consumers' hands remains unclear. IDC's figures are also estimates, as most companies do not release their exact tablet shipment data and thus research firms must rely on supply chain data and calculations from information that is made public by manufacturers to build their estimates.
Tuesday January 28, 2014 5:57 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Industry-wide notebook shipments will continue to decline in 2014, claims NPD DisplaySearch. Revised estimates predict shipments from all vendors, including Apple, will reach 134 million units, down from an earlier estimate of 152 million unit.
One factor contributing to this decline is the expected Q3 2014 launch of Intel's upcoming Broadwell CPU. Intel confirmed in its latest earnings conference call that its Broadwell chipset will enter production in Q1 2014 and become available in the second half of 2014. Slowing PC demand and yield issues forced Intel to delay Broadwell by at least a quarter from its original timetable, with that delay likely contributing further weakness in the PC market. Intel's Haswell processor line, the company's current CPU family and predecessor to Broadwell, was released in June 2013 and landed in the MacBook Air during the same month.
DisplaySearch also cites the rumored 12.9-inch iPad, wearables and the convergence of mobile and desktop operating systems as market forces that could shift consumers away from notebook PCs.
At the same time, the expected launch of a 12.9” iPad from Apple could trigger growth in larger tablet PC screen sizes, leading to even more competition for potential notebook PC buyers. In addition, wearable devices and other new concepts are expected to compete for consumer spending during the holiday season and beyond. Finally, the trend toward user-interface fusion and operating-system integration will offer a more seamless working platform between mobile devices and PCs, which would further extend mobile device advantages for businesses.
Despite a declining market, Mac sales in the just-ending quarter were strong, increasing from 4.06 million units in Q1 2013 to 4.8 million in Q1 2014. Mac net sales accounted for 11% of the company's revenue for the quarter, up slightly from 10% a year ago.
Wednesday January 22, 2014 6:24 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple today added two new 30-second video advertisements, "Sound Verse" and "Light Verse," to its YouTube channel. The pair are part of Apple's new ad campaign that focuses on how people are using the iPad for music, mountaineering and more. The uploaded clips, which have been airing on television for several days, are shortened versions of the original 90-second "Your Verse" ad that debuted during the NFL playoffs earlier this month.
As their names imply, almost every scene in the "Light Verse" ad includes sunlight or the use of light in the scenes, while the "Sound Verse" clip features the power of sound.
Apple also launched a companion website called "Your Verse" that takes a closer look at how the people in the advertisements are using the iPad in innovative ways, a familiar theme that Apple has promoted in the past. Late last year, the company debuted its "Life on iPad" video and companion website that showcase the many ways the iPad is transforming the home and the office.
Wednesday January 22, 2014 5:12 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple will announce its next quarterly earnings on Monday, January 27, and ahead of the announcement analysts are releasing their iPhone and iPad sales estimates for this holiday quarter. As we noted earlier this week, analysts predict record quarterly sales of 55 million iPhones, a 16% increase over the same quarter last year. A follow-up report today from Philip Elmer-Dewitt of Fortune suggests sales of the iPad will grow 10% year-over-year to also set a new record for Apple.
Elmer-Dewitt surveyed iPad sales estimates from 45 analysts, including 28 professionals and 17 amateurs. Estimates range from 21 million to 28 million units, with an average of 25 million units.
The average estimate among all the analysts is 25 million iPads, up 10% from the same quarter last year.
The indies, as usual, are a bit more bullish than the pros. As a group, they're looking for 16% growth, compared with the Street's 8%. Unless they've updated their numbers, four sell-side analysts -- Cowan's Timothy Arcuri, Credit Suisse's Kulbinder Garcha, Citi's Glen Yeung and CLSA's Avi Silver -- still expect Apple to report a drop in iPad sales.
Early metrics from the holiday season mirror these analyst expectations. By one count, the iPad lineup collectively accounted for 18% of Target's Black Friday sales, while the iPad mini was a top seller at Walmart. The App Store also experienced a spike in interest on Christmas day, with revenue increasing by 56 percent and the total number of downloads growing by 53 percent.
Apple will be reporting its quarterly earnings on January 27, 2014 after the close of trading, at approximately 4:30 PM Eastern / 1:30 PM Pacific. MacRumors will have full coverage of Apple's earnings release and the associated conference call taking place at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific.
Friday January 17, 2014 5:29 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
As outlined in our feature highlighting Apple's possible product plans for 2014, a number of rumors have suggested Apple may be working on a 12.9-inch iPad model that could launch later this year. The company is allegedly accelerating development on this device in response to Samsung's introduction of two competing 12.2-inch tablet models, with market sources cited by Digitimes claiming that Apple is now prepping the so-called "iPad Pro" for a late Q3 2014 launch at the earliest.
Mockup of 12.9-inch iPad next to iPad Air and iPad mini
The claim that Apple's timeline is motivated by a perceived need to match Samsung's recent introductions seems doubtful given that Apple has routinely taken its time coming to market even in the face of competitors rushing to beat Apple to its own rumored products, but at a minimum the claimed launch target offers one more data point for those trying to predict a release. Some sources have predicted a launch as soon as early this year but such a timeline seems very unlikely given the absence of part leaks and other substantiating evidence.
Earlier reports suggested the 12.9-inch iPad Pro could be a hybrid device that would appeal to enterprise customers looking for a machine that bridges the gap between tablet and notebook. Based on display panels currently under development in the supply chain, research firm DisplaySearch believes that the iPad Pro could ship with a 12.9-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 and 265 ppi.
Besides the iPad Pro, Digitimes' sources unsurprisingly also claim Apple is working on new 7.9-inch and 9.7-inch models to replace the current Retina iPad mini and iPad Air. These models will likely debut in Q3 2014, keeping with Apple's current late fall release schedule for the iPad. Demand for the iPad is expected to be strong again in 2014 with the company selling between 80 and 90 million units over the course of the year.
Wednesday January 15, 2014 5:39 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Research firm DisplaySearch has once again tapped its sources in the display supply chain to assess what panel sizes and resolutions are currently under development, using that information to speculate on the display technology that may land in Apple's iPhone 6, new iPad and rumored iWatch. According to the firm's latest report, the iPhone 6 and iPad may receive size and resolution boosts in line with circulating rumors, while the iWatch could sport a flexible AMOLED display.
On the high end of the spectrum, DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh predicts the iPhone 6 could ship with a 5.5-inch display that has a 1920 x 1080 resolution, yielding a density of 401 pixels per inch (ppi). The display would be a LTPS (low-temperature polysilicon) TFT LCD, which is the same technology used in a number of previous iPhone models. Another possibility is a smaller 4.7-inch LTPS screen with 1600 x 900 resolution and 386 ppi. Either configuration would bump the iPhone 6 up from the 4-inch, 1136 x 640 display found in the iPhone 5s, and a previous report has suggested that Apple could release both sizes.
On the iPad side of the equation, Apple may increase the size of the tablet and introduce a 12.0-inch "iPad Pro" model. This echoes several previous reports in recent months claiming that an oversized iPad with a 12.9-inch Retina display is entering production and may launch as soon as early 2014. There have, however, been no part leaks supporting the existence of such a device so far.
According to DisplaySearch, the 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" model could include a display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 and 265 ppi, edging out the 12.2-inch panel Samsung introduced in its new Galaxy Tab Pro and Note Pro tablets. The Samsung models ship with a 12.2-inch display that has a 2560 x 1600 resolution and 247 ppi.
DisplaySearch also reiterates an earlier claim that the iWatch may ship in two different sizes. The firm's forecast predicts the Cupertino company may adopt a 1.3-inch display for women and a larger 1.6-inch display for men. Both sizes would sport a 320 x 320 resolution and would use flexible AMOLED technology. Rumors suggest Apple may debut its iWatch product sometime in 2014.
Amid rumors of a larger "iPad Pro" perhaps arriving in 2014 with a larger display in the range of 12-13 inches, Evercore analyst Patrick Wang yesterday released a research report indicating that supply chain sources are indeed supporting the circulating claims.
According to Wang's sources, Apple is looking to launch a 12-inch iPad in the fall of this year, targeting enterprise with a new "hybrid" device intended to bridge the gap between tablets and notebooks. Wang believes that the larger iPad will unsurprisingly also include a new A8 processor from Apple that may be a quad-core chip, as well as increased storage.
Arriving in fall ‘14, Apple goes Enterprise with an 12” iPad. Powered by the A8 chip (perhaps 4C), this expands ARM’s reach and, once again, transforms the traditional notebook market as we know it.
- Expect a 2-1 hybrid – think iPad + MBA – similar to how most iPads are used in the workplace and in the same spirit of MSFT’s Surface.
Wang points out that bill-of-materials estimates peg the cost of the Intel processors used in the MacBook Air in excess of 20% of the machine's cost, while the ARM processors used in Apple's iPad represent only about 5% of total cost for high storage capacity models. The much lower pricing for Apple's A-series chips could allow the company to pose a serious threat to the business notebook market for those applications where a new and larger iPad would be appropriate.
In his note, Wang points out that Apple faces two primary challenges in penetrating the enterprise notebook market with a larger iPad. The first is storage capacity, with the current iPad maxing out at 128 GB, while the second is support for the full Microsoft Office suite that is entrenched in the enterprise market. Microsoft has been reported for some time to be working on a version of Office for iPad, and the most recent reports have indicated that it could arrive in fall of 2014 following completion of the "Touch First" interface for Windows earlier in the year.
2014 will likely bring even more innovation to Apple's product lineup, with current rumors hinting at highly anticipated products like the Apple smart watch, a larger iPhone and iPad, and new developments with the Apple TV. A number of these products have been rumored for some time, but the spate of Apple product releases over the past few months and the imminent turning of the calendar offers a chance to bring those rumors back to the forefront.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple has plans to create "great products" in areas the company does not participate in today, and in a recent email, Cook told Apple employees that there's a lot in store for Apple in 2014, "including some big plans that we think customers are going to love."
In the list below, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2014 product plans, outlining what customers might see from Apple in the next 12 months based on current rumors.
Apple's next iPhone is rumored to come equipped with a larger screen size, somewhere between 4.7 and 5.7 inches. Some rumors have suggested that Apple might release the phone in two separate sizes, both of which are larger than the current 4-inch iPhone 5s/5c.
Left to right: iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, "iPhone Plus", Galaxy Note II (Source: Marco Arment)
The larger iPhone, which will likely incorporate a faster 20-nanometer A8 chip from TSMC, may also include sweeping design changes in the form of a curved display. While it is possible Apple will release an updated iPhone earlier in the year, the most likely release target for the larger-screened device is September or October.
Along with a larger iPhone, Apple may be planning to add a larger iPad to its current tablet lineup, which comprises the 9.7-inch iPad Air and the 7.9-inch iPad mini. The "iPad Pro" or "iPad Maxi" as it has been called by the media, is rumored to include a larger 12.9-inch display, which would be most similar in size to the current 13.3-inch MacBook Air.
Mockup of the 12.9-inch iPad next to a 13-inch MacBook Air
The display reportedly offers higher pixel density nearing ultra high-definition quality and it will likely adopt many of the design elements offered in the current iPads, like an ultrathin chassis and narrow side bezels. Aside from a larger screen size, not much is known about Apple's larger iPad, and it is unclear when such a product might be released.
Apple's much-anticipated "iWatch," which was a major rumor focal point in 2013, will likely be released in 2014. According to rumors, the smart watch will primarily function as an accessory to the iPhone and the iPad, providing at-a-glance access to common iOS functions.
The watch may also include a multitude of biometric functions, possibly offering a pedometer and heart rate monitor, among other things, and it could also serve as a home automation hub. While it is entirely unclear what the iWatch will look like, rumors have indicated that it could have an OLED display in the range of 1.3 to 1.7 inches, possibly coming in multiple sizes for a customized fit.
Apple's iWatch may incorporate an ultra durable sapphire glass screen, as the company recently signed a deal with GT Advanced to ramp up sapphire glass production. Rumors have also hinted at a flexible, curved design.
Over the course of 2013, Apple ramped up its work on the iWatch, with a team of 100 product designers working on the project. The company also filed for iWatch trademarks in multiple countries throughout 2013.
Currently, Apple's iWatch is expected to debut during the second half of 2014.
Apple has been long rumored to be making some upgrades to its Apple TV, either in the form of a revamped set top box with additional functionality or a full blown television set. It is unclear what Apple will do in the television arena in 2014, however, as rumors have suggested that the company has shelved its TV plans for the time being in order to focus on wearables like the iWatch. Television remains an area of "intense interest" for Apple, according to Tim Cook.
If Apple does release a television-related product in 2014, it will likely be a new set top box that could bundle key features like an App Store and Siri, along with additional content offerings.
In 2013, Apple worked hard to beef up content offerings, adding several new channels, including WatchESPN, HBO GO, Vevo, Yahoo Screen, and PBS. The company is also said to be in talks with cable provider Time Warner and a deal with that company, as well as other improvements in content, could come in 2014.
Improving content and reaching deals with various cable companies and content providers is a necessary step before Apple can make headway in the television industry.
Many people believed Apple would introduce a new Thunderbolt Display alongside the Mac Pro, as it has been two years since the last Thunderbolt Display update. No new display appeared, but it is possible that the company will debut a new display product in 2014, likely offering a 4K resolution of 4096 or 3840 x 2160 pixels.
In late 2013, Apple supplier AU Optronics introduced new 27 and 32-inch 4K display panels, sparking speculation that revamped Thunderbolt Displays were on the horizon, though concrete information on a new display or a possible release date is unavailable at the current point in time. In lieu of a 4K Thunderbolt Display, Apple is offering a 4K 32-inch Sharp display as an add-on to the Mac Pro.
Other updates: iOS 8, OS X 10.10, MacBooks, and More
As it does every year, Apple will undoubtedly offer refreshed MacBooks over the course of 2014. Recently, a rumor has suggested that a 12-inch MacBook with a MacBook Air-style design and a Retina display could make its debut in the middle of 2014, and other incremental updates to products like the Retina MacBook Pro will come as well.
Apple has several products that have not been refreshed for quite some time, including its lineup of iPods and the Mac Mini, which could see updates in 2014.
New versions of both iOS and OS X are also expected, though few details are available on the software at this time. iOS 8 may include improvements to Maps, iOS in the Car, and a possible Siri API, while the next version of OS X could take on some iOS 7-style design elements. iOS 8 will probably arrive during the fall along refreshed iPhones, and it is likely that a revamped version of OS X will come during the same general time frame.
Saturday December 28, 2013 11:04 pm PST by Richard Padilla
Among "commercial channel" sales to distributors for corporate, government, and business customers, the iPad held the biggest share of sales for any tablet in the U.S. during 2013, while sales of Google Chromebooks made up a bigger percentage of the laptop market compared to Mac notebooks, according to a new report from The NPD Group.
The data in the report showed that the iPad accounted for 15.8% of personal computing device sales in the channel, which was greater than that of Android tablets at 8.7% and Windows tablets at 2.2%. However, the iPad's share of unit sales in the U.S. this year is down from the year-ago period, where it made up for 17.1% of sales. Sales of both Android tablets and Windows tablets grew by 4.5% and 1.4%, respectively.
Meanwhile, sales of Chromebooks in the United States grew to 9.6% in 2013, surpassing the 1.8% share of unit sales held by Apple notebooks. Windows notebooks still held on to 34.1% of the market, but was down 8.8% from the 42.9% share it held last year.
The news follows a broader report from October stating that Mac sales were down 7% year-over-year for the full September quarter, as the decline of traditional PC sales as a whole is likely due in part to the rising popularity of tablets.
Both the iPad and the MacBook line of notebooks saw refreshes this year, as Apple announced the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display along with updated models of the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro at its October event. New versions of the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air were also announced at Apple's WWDC keynote this past June, and featured enhanced performance with significantly improved battery life.
Apple could also be gearing up to release new types of both products in 2014. Rumors of a larger-size iPad for release in 2014 have surfacedoccasionally throughout the past few months, and a report in October from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that Apple may be planning to release a 12-inch MacBook with an all-new design in the middle of 2014.
Monday December 23, 2013 3:20 am PST by Richard Padilla
Following a report last month stating that Apple supplier Quanta Computer had landed the contract to mass-produce a larger-sized iPad for late 2014, Digitimes is reporting that the 12.9-inch tablet will be released in October 2014 and will target North America's educational market. Apple is also said to be examining the possibility of replacing the 11-inch MacBook Air with the larger iPad.
12.9-inch iPad (left) with 13-inch MacBook Air (right)
Apple's large-size tablet will be manufactured by Quanta Computer, and was originally expected to adopt either 12.9- or 13.3-inch panels, with recent rumors indicating that 12.9-inch has a better chance to be picked, the sources noted.
The report also states that Apple is planning to release a larger size iPhone in May 2014, using a 20nm processor manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Reports of a next-generation iPhone featuring a larger screen have surfacedoccasionally throughout the past year, while the claim of an A8 processor made by TSMC is follows a report in June stating that the company had struck a three-year deal with Apple to produce A-series chips starting in 2014.
However, a May 2014 release date for the next iPhone would be somewhat of a surprising move by Apple, considering that the most recent reports have stated that the larger-screened iPhone will debut in late 2014. A release then would be in line with the October 2011 launch of the iPhone 4s, the September 2012 launch of the iPhone 5, and the September 2013 launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c.
A report last month from The Korea Times indicated that production of a 12.9-inch Retina Display to be used in a next-generation iPad was already underway at an Apple supplier in Korea, with a target date of early 2014. The larger tablet is also said to carry an improved display nearing ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, which would be significantly bigger and contain more pixels than Apple's current 9.7-inch iPad Air.
Wednesday December 4, 2013 6:49 am PST by Eric Slivka
A number of retailers have noted that the iPad Air was a top seller over the Black Friday shopping weekend, and new data from Localytics indeed shows that to have been the case. Localytics, which tracks the number of new devices showing up through its analytics network of over 20,000 apps and over one billion devices, saw a 51% increase in new iPad Air devices compared to the previous weekend.
The first-generation iPad mini also performed well, seeing 28% growth compared to the previous weekend, while the iPhone 5c came in third with 26% growth. All three products were available in significant quantities for the Black Friday weekend and in many cases saw steep discounts. Products with tighter supplies and lower discounts, such as the Retina iPad mini and the iPhone 5s, unsurprisingly saw smaller spikes in activations.
According to Localytics’ data, a whopping 51% more new iPad Air devices were seen than the previous week. This is due to a combination of factors, including Apple’s promotion of giving gift cards with purchases of the iPad Air and iPad Mini (but not iPad Mini 2nd gen) devices. This, combined with a smaller base of iPad Air devices and the novelty of the iPad Air (released on November 1st) resulted in the iPad Air dominating on Black Friday weekend. Apple’s older iPad Mini model finished second, and the iPhone 5c took third.
Data from Localytics of course does not include devices purchased over the Black Friday weekend but set aside as future gifts, suggesting that the spike in sales was likely even higher than shown in the data.
While Apple's iPad Air has seen strong sales in part due to its recent introduction and dramatically thinner and lighter design, the device has also benefited from a general surge in popularity for tablets, with 39% of consumer electronics shoppers over the Black Friday weekend indicating that they planned to purchase a tablet. Given the iPad's market-leading position and plentiful supplies of the iPad Air, it is unsurprising that the device saw strong sales over the weekend.
Tuesday December 3, 2013 1:56 pm PST by Juli Clover
Multiple Apple Stores in the United States have started price matching the iPhone 5c and the iPad Air, reports 9to5Mac. On those particular devices, some Apple Stores will match the prices of brick and mortar retailers that have been selling the products below retail price.
Walmart, for example, sells the entry-level 16 GB iPad Air for $479, a $20 discount off of the standard retail price Apple offers. MacRumors heard conflicting reports of Apple Stores price matching discounts over Black Friday, but following the major shopping holiday, it appears retail employees may have been given more flexibility when it comes to price matching options.
Released in September and October respectively, both the iPhone 5c and the iPad Air have been widely available since the launch, while supplies of the iPhone 5s and the Retina iPad mini have been far more constrained, which explains why Apple is not offering price matching on those particular products at this time.
Apple's price matching policies vary from store to store, and some stores may opt out of price matching all together. Price matching only applies to physical stores and is limited to a 10 percent total discount, which means customers can still find a better deal elsewhere in some cases, especially when it comes to the deep discounts offered on the iPhone 5c.
Update: According to a retail employee, Apple now has an official policy on price matching, which allows specialists to price match iPhones, iPads, and Macs, giving up to 10 percent off on products without authorization. Specialists are also allowed to give business customers up to 20% off a non-Apple accessory when purchased with an Apple product via special order.
Currently, the iPhone 5s and the Retina iPad mini are excluded from price matching.
Monday November 25, 2013 5:30 am PST by Richard Padilla
Following a September report stating that Apple may be working with Quanta Computer to develop a larger-sized iPad, Digitimes is now reporting that the Taiwanese-based manufacturer has landed the contract to mass-produce the tablet for the second half of 2014. Just last week, a report had claimed that the larger iPad was being targeted for an early 2014 launch.
Mockup of 12.9-inch iPad next to iPad Air and iPad mini
The article also mentions that Quanta is expected to face difficulties when assembling the larger iPad because of its unique industrial design and assembly, which could also lead to constrained supplies:
Quanta is expected to encounter several challenges in terms of industrial design and assembly when making the large-size iPad. And since the size is not the mainstream specification, order volumes are expected to be limited, the sources said.
Component makers have also reportedly started pilot production for the iWatch, although low yields are rumored to be the reason behind delaying mass production of the device from Q1 2014 to Q2 2014. Quanta, Inventec, and Foxconn are said to be competing for iWatch production orders.
Last week's report from The Korea Times indicated that production of a 12-9-inch Retina Display to be used in a next-generation iPad was already underway at an Apple supplier in Korea. The larger tablet is also said to carry an improved display nearing ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, which would be significantly bigger and contain many more pixels than Apple's current 9.7-inch iPad Air.
Meanwhile, iWatch reports have surfaced occassionally in the past couple of weeks, with Apple rumored to be releasing both 1.7 and 1.3-inch display sizes of the watch for men and women. NPD DisplaySearch analyst Paul Gagnon also noted that Apple appears to have put its major television product plans on hold for the time being in order to focus on wearables such as the iWatch.
Tuesday November 19, 2013 5:14 am PST by Richard Padilla
An official at an Apple display supplier in Korea has told the The Korea Times (via Unwired View) that production of a 12.9-inch Retina Display to be used in the next-generation iPad is underway, with the tablet's release set for early next year. The report states that the 12.9-inch iPad will have an improved display nearing ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, which would be significantly bigger and contain many more pixels than Apple's current 9.7-inch iPad Air.
“Apple’s local first-tier display supplier is now producing a 12.9-inch Retina Display to be used in the new iPad, which will be coming out sometime early next year,” an official at a local Apple supplier in Korea told The Korea Times by telephone Tuesday.
...“The 12.9-inch iPad will have improved picture quality. As the Apple partner intends to boost its lineup for displays that have almost ultra high-definition (UHD) quality, the upcoming iPad will provide very clear quality similar to that of UHD,” said the official.
Mockup of 12.9-inch iPad next to iPad Air and iPad mini
Reports of a 12.9-inch iPad have surfaced occasionally throughout the past couple of months, with The Wall Street Journal reporting in July that Apple and its suppliers had begun testing screens for a 12.9-inch iPad and a larger iPhone, which followed a sketchy rumor in May that said Apple was launching an "iPad Maxi" to target the ultrabook market. Supply chain research done by NPD DisplaySearch in October also suggested that a 12.9-inch iPad is set for debut next year, though that report did not specify when exactly the tablet would be released.
However, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo countered reports about a larger iPad in a research note last month, stating that he expects the company will instead release a new sixth-generation 9.7-inch iPad with 30%-40% higher pixel density than Apple's current iPad line. Apple just released the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display earlier this month, with the latter experiencing supply constraints, and a new "iPad Pro" would expand the iPad family to encompass three sizes.
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