Jul 16

Who would have guessed the old rivals are joining forces to bring mobility to the enterprise.

The great IBM and inventor of the PC, signed an exclusive deal with Apple on Tuesday 15 July to offer enterprise users a raft of new business applications specifically developed for the mobile market. The goal to combine IBM’s big data capabilities with the user-friendliness of the iPhone and iPad.

IBM Global Business Services Sr. Vice President Bridget van Kralingen said the deal had been worked on for some time. “We came at this together,” van Kralingen said. “We feel really quite strongly about one another’s unique positioning. IBM is the gold standard for big business, and Apple is the gold standard for the consumer and ease of use.

The deal will see four major capabilities transforming the way developers, the enterprise and consumers use both the iPhone and the iPad, as well as bringing IBM’s cloud services to iOS:

• a new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;

• unique IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;

• new AppleCare® service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise; and

• new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

As part of the new MobileFirst for iOS agreement, IBM will sell iPhones and iPads with industry-specific solutions to IBM’s corporate user base.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

“Mobility-combined with the phenomena of data and cloud-is transforming business and our industry in historic ways, allowing people to re-imagine work, industries and professions,” said IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty in the release. “This alliance with Apple will build on our momentum in bringing these innovations to our clients globally, and leverages IBM’s leadership in analytics, cloud, software and services. We are delighted to be teaming with Apple, whose innovations have transformed our lives in ways we take for granted, but can’t imagine living without. Our alliance will bring the same kind of transformation to the way people work, industries operate and companies perform.”

Both companies will build the IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions-a new class of “made-for-business apps,” which will target industries such as retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others. They will become available starting this fall and into 2015.

For more details see the Apple Press Release and watch an interview with Tom Cook and Bridget van Kralingen on CNBC.

 

Jul 10

Apple announces that development on Aperture, its professional-grade photo editing app, has terminated and that Yosemite will include a Photo app. How good will this be?

The news was confirmed by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop, who also revealed that iPhoto, Apple’s consumer-level photo app, will be discontinued as well.

Both applications are due to be replaced by Apple’s forthcoming Photos application, which will be included with iOS 8 and eventually bundled with OS X Yosemite, although the Mac version isn’t set to launch until early 2015, some months after Yosemite ships.

Apple new photo applicationApple did make it clear that development of its other pro products, Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro will continue.

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” said Apple in its statement. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.”

Since the last upgrade to Aperture the library structure of iPhoto and Aperture are identical allowing users to open images and libraries in both Applications.

The company also said that it will provide compatibility updates to Aperture, allowing it to run on OS X Yosemite. However, further support will not exist after that.

Apple also said it is working with Adobe to help users transition to its Lightroom app for Mac. Adobe are of course overjoyed to be given the opportunity to pitch to Apple users.

Adobe says that it will ‘double down’ on Lightroom support and offer Apple users a way to migrate:

Put simply we’re doubling down on our investments in Lightroom and the new Creative Cloud Photography plan and you can expect to see a rich roadmap of rapid innovation for desktop, web and device workflows in the coming weeks, months and years. We also continue to invest actively on the iOS and OSX platforms, and are committed to helping interested iPhoto and Aperture customers migrate to our rich solution across desktop, device and web workflows.

Apple new photo app

Adobe offer Lighroom as a subscription service from £8.78 / month in the UK.

Included with the reports was a new picture of the OS X Photos application, as seen above. From the picture, it would appear that the application has a “prosumer” layout. The app is also shown with a darker user interface, which is different from the predominantly white app shown off at the Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month.

Aperture hasn’t seen a major update since 2010, when version 3.0 of the suite launched with 64-bit support, along with “Faces” and “Places” for sorting pictures. Its chief competitor for professional photographers is Adobe’s Lightroom.

As for iPhoto, its last major update came in 2011, as part of the iLife ’11 suite release. iPhoto also debuted on the iPad in 2012, and later came to Apple’s iPhone for more advanced photo editing on the go.

With OS X Yosemite to ship in the Fall we don’t have that long to wait. As users of Aperture we are interested in this development.

Jun 20

More reports from Reuters, an above average news source, suggests iWatch production to commence in July:

Apple’s upcoming iWatch may measure in at 2.5 inches diagonally with a slightly rectangular face, reports Reuters, citing sources familiar with the product. The watch face is also expected to protrude slightly from the band to create an arch shape, and it will reportedly include a touch interface and wireless charging.

Curved iWatch concept by Todd Hamilton, based on the Nike FuelBand

Reuters also suggests the iWatch has a sensor that monitors a user’s pulse, which is just one of many sensors that may be included in the device. Rumors have indicated that the iWatch will be able to measure several different health metrics in addition to heart rate, like steps taken, sleep quality, and more.

A 2.5-inch screen is much larger than the size predicted in previous rumors, which suggested the device would come in 1.3 and 1.6 inch sizes to accommodate different sized wrists. 2.5-inches is the same size as the existing iPod nano, though the iWatch may be more squared than the nano.

Taiwan’s Quanta Computer is currently producing a trial run of the smartwatch and mass production is expected to begin in July, in preparation for a possible fall launch. LG Display is said to be the exclusive supplier of the screen, which is in line with previous rumors.

While the watch is widely expected, the start date of its mass production and the extent of Quanta’s involvement were not known until now. Mass production will start in July and the commercial launch will come as early as October, according to the source and another person familiar with the matter.

Along with providing an array of health-related information via sensors, Apple’s iWatch is also expected to interface closely with the iPhone and iOS 8, providing users with at-a-glance notifications and information.

Reuters confirms that the iWatch is slated for an October release, a target launch date that was previously shared by Re/code.

Apr 30

The iWatch continues to drive commentators nuts as they describe what it will and wont do. Many images have been shown claiming what it will look like and the raft of features it will provide. Of course these are all based entirely on SWAG, rumors and countless graphic designers with far too much time on their hands.

These images are cool as they don’tBalogh-iwatch look like a Apple watch, but look like a watch.

These are sourced from Gabor Balogh. We like.

Mac Rumors claim Apple’s suppliers have already begun producing the iWatch in small quantities, according to supply chain sources cited by China Times via G for Games, ahead of a prospective launch during the second half of 2014.

Echoing an earlier report from notable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the site’s sources also suggest the iWatch will take advantage of a system-in-package (SiP) design that allows a multitude of chips to be placed on a single module. This could allow Apple to the fit multiple sensors rumored for the smart watch into a tiny area while keeping the device small enough to be worn comfortably on the wrist.

Rumors have indicated Apple’s iWatch will contain several different biometric sensors allowing it to track health-related statistics like heart rate, sleep quality, movement, and more. The sensors will aggregate data that will be stored in a rumored “Healthbook” application, slated for inclusion in iOS 8.

Along with including health sensors, the iWatch will likely function similarly to other smart watches on the market, integrating with the iPhone and iPad to provide notifications and quick access to frequently used apps and services.

Apple’s iWatch is expected to ship in two different sizes to accommodate different sized wrists and it may also come in multiple price points and materials. According to recent reports, Apple’s iWatch could make an appearance as soon as September, but a solid launch date remains unclear.

Just how big is the watch market?

A recent article on Bloomberg claims that the global watch industry will generate more than $60 billion in sales in 2013, said Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen. While that’s smaller than the pool of revenue that comes from TVs, gross margins on watches are about 60 percent, he said. That’s four times bigger than for televisions, according to Anand Srinivasan, a Bloomberg Industries analyst.

“This can be a $6 billion opportunity for Apple, with plenty of opportunity for upside if they create something totally new like they did with the iPod — something consumers didn’t even know they needed,” said Chen, who covers luxury- goods retailers.

Assuming that Apple can achieve 10% to 15% market share of the global watch industry, which seems conservative, this can immediately become a $10 billion revenue stream. Recall, this is what the iPod did when consumers didn’t even know they needed it.

 

Apr 29

Apple today launched updated MacBook Airs, which feature faster versions of Intel’s Haswell processors at £100 less for each model. The updated models are currently out in Apple’s UK and European Online Stores, and are expected to be available in Apple’s U.S. Online Store shortly.

new macbook air
All standard models of the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air now come with a faster 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor along with the same 4GB of RAM. Both entry-level configurations of the 11-inch and 13-inch models now sell for £749.00 and £849.00 with 128GB of flash storage, while the higher-end 11-inch and 13-inch models now come in at £899.00 and £999.00 with 256GB of flash storage, respectively.

Build-to-order options include a 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor with up to 8GB of RAM on both the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs.

Apple is also rumored to be working on a 12-inch MacBook with a new ultra-slim design and a high resolution Retina display for later this year.

The updated 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs are available today through Apple’s various retail locations and online store, with all standard configurations showing availability of “within 24 hours.”

Mar 18

Been a busy day for Apple:

After the fourth-generation iPad reappeared on Apple’s online storefront earlier today, the company has issued a press release confirming the return of the device to the company’s product lineup. The iPad with Retina Display will replace the iPad 2 as the company’s entry-level full-sized tablet option.

ipad-retina

“Now for $399 customers can get iPad with a stunning 9.7-inch Retina display, fast A6X chip, and 5MP iSight camera, offering a dramatic upgrade in power, performance and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The iPad line sets the gold-standard in mobile computing and all iPads have access to the largest and best ecosystem of more than 500,000 iPad optimized apps from the App Store.”

The 16 GB WiFi-only iPad 4 is available for £329, while the WiFi + Cellular model starts at £429 in the U.K., with both black and white color options available. The iPad with Retina Display will be sold through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Authorized Apple Resellers. Customers looking for additional storage capacity beyond 16 GB must purchase the iPad Air, which is available in 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB options.

In line with earlier rumors, Apple today also started selling a new 8 GB iPhone 5c in select countries. The new 8 GB model with five color options is available in Apple’s UK online store for £429 unlocked, making it £40 cheaper than the comparable 16 GB model.

Distribution of the new lower-capacity model is, however, rather limited, with Apple confirming to Fortune‘s Philip Elmer-DeWitt that the 8 GB model will only be available in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and China.

Feb 20

With iPhones and iPads selling in record numbers Apple is selling more computing devices than all of Microsoft’s Windows licensees put together.

As noted by leading market analyst Benedict Evans, Apple’s combined production of iDevices – Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, peaked in the December quarter at a level slightly higher than all Windows PCs put together, or essentially equal with PCs combined with Windows Phone shipments.

Such sales volumes were unthinkable for Apple only a few years ago. While the company’s Mac desktops and notebooks were growing significantly in the mid 2000s, they still remained in the realm of a million or two systems each year, in contrast to annual PC shipments well above 200 million.

ios and windows shipments

Mac gets big by going small

In 2007, Apple began selling a new kind of Macintosh, the iPhone Version 1: a handheld device running the same core OS (it was even called “iPhone OS X” in the beginning) and using a mobile-optimized version of the Mac’s NeXT-derived Cocoa app development frameworks. By the end of the first iPhone year, Apple added iPod touch, it’s first iPod based on Mac technology like the iPhone rather than a simple, imbedded OS.

Without phone features, iPod touch acted more like a general purpose computing system, attracting many users who were already committed to using their company’s Blackberry or a simpler phone tied to a provider, and simply couldn’t switch to an iPhone. That boosted the volumes of games and other app sales in the App Store, supporting iPhone growth and paving the way for a larger new table form factor.

In 2010, developers’ enthusiasm surrounding Apple’s rapidly expanding iOS platform was extended to iPad, which worked like a larger format iPod touch to broaden the reach and utility of Apple’s platform that proved to be effortlessly easy to use, manage and deploy.
The most notable aspect of Apple’s growth is that its Macs continue to maintain an premium Average Selling Price of $1300 and its iPhones remain above $650, in a PC market where Microsoft’s PC makers struggle to find customers with PCs priced at an average of $311, and where Windows Phones sell at an ASP of just $301.

 

Apple scores in profit rankings

Apple’s ability to surpass Microsoft’s Windows sales volume via mobile growth can also be compared to Android. Like Windows, Google’s Android platform (and the many variants of the software used by companies from Amazon to Chinese vendors unaffiliated with Google) is broadly used as an alternative to companies creating their own custom development platforms.

With this fragmenting, Android lacks the platform strength of Windows, because Google is unable to exercise much control over its licensees, despite attempts to do so.

Google also earns very little from Android as a platform compared to Microsoft’s Windows PC licensing, and essentially nothing compared to Apple’s far more lucrative, hardware-driven profits from iOS. Android’s phone ASP has now dropped to $276 as the majority of “smartphones” using the system apply it in a feature phone role on extremely low end devices with no upgrade potential.

Last year, Samsung said it planned to ship 100 million higher-end Galaxy S and Note models within 2013. Apple sold 153.4 million iPhones alone in 2013, without counting iPod touch, iPad mini or full size iPads.

Apple obviously earned more than Samsung in selling high end phones throughout 2013, but also earned far more (an order of magnitude more) on sales of Macs and iPads, a general computing market where Samsung fails to earn much money at all.

Add in every other Android maker’s higher end phones and profit-to-volumes ratio falls even faster, as most Android licensees, including Google’s own Motorola subsidiary, have been consistently losing money. Google’s Motorola subsidiary reported losing $1.245 billion in 2013 alone, despite tech media predictions about how Moto X and its siblings would undercut Apple’s iPhone and take over via volume sales to third world countries.

Particularly hysterical in retrospect is the August 2013 article by Steven Levy of Wired, which just months ago faithfully reiterated Google’s talking points explaining how the phone would launch a new epoch of smartphones justifying the $12.5 billion price tag Google had paid for Motorola. Instead the device proved to be a dismal failure. Google is now spinning Motorola as “successful” divestiture.

Feb 15

According to a Reuters report. Apple urged a federal appeals court on Tuesday to put a court-appointed antitrust monitor on hold, arguing that his efforts were harming the company’s operations and business.

Apple asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to halt monitor Michael Bromwich’s work while the court considers Apple’s bid to remove him altogether, a process that could last several months.

“We can’t turn back the clock,” said Theodore Boutrous, a Apple lawyer, in explaining why the company would suffer irreparable harm if the monitor is allowed to continue before the appeals court has a chance to decide whether his appointment was appropriate in the first place.

ipadsBut a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer told the court that the monitor was essential to ensure that Apple complies with the law, after a federal judge last summer found the company liable for conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices. Apple, the lawyer said, cannot be trusted to comply on its own.

“The preliminary injunction demands that Apple fully understands why and how it needs to comply with antitrust laws, not a year from now … but today,” Finnuala Tessier said.

The three-judge panel said it would take Apple’s request under advisement. For now, the monitor’s work is on hold until the court determines whether to grant Apple a longer stay.

The hearing followed months of legal wrangling over Bromwich, who was appointed by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in October to oversee Apple’s compliance policies in light of her finding that Apple had illegally fixed e-book prices. Cote rejected Apple’s bid to stop the monitor’s work in January, and the company appealed to the 2nd Circuit.

Apple has accused Bromwich of aggressively and unnecessarily pursuing multiple interviews with top executives, including Jonathan Ive, the company’s chief designer. It has also complained that Bromwich’s fees and duties would cost it millions of dollars.

But the judges seemed skeptical of those arguments, noting that Apple is one of the world’s richest companies.

“Maybe if they had spent some of their very valuable time keeping the company from violating antitrust laws, perhaps they wouldn’t be in this position,” Judge Gerard Lynch said.

Apple also argued that under Cote’s order, Bromwich’s powers are far too broad, permitting him unfettered access to executives and documents.

Under questioning from the judges, Tessier said the monitor’s duties are limited to ensuring that effective policies are developed and implemented. He is constrained from investigating instances in which the company may have violated antitrust law and must turn over any such evidence to the court, she said.

Lynch then suggested that the court could issue an order making those limitations clear in an effort to assuage Apple’s concerns. But Boutrous said the company would still oppose the monitorship as unnecessary.

The case is U.S. v. Apple, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-60.

Feb 14

Yesterday – Thursday Feb 13th Apple distributed the latest dividend payout with a total value to shareholders of $2.6B. This follows massive stock buyback over the last few months, in turn reducing the payout as stocks are retired. Shareholders received $3.05 cash for every stock held, representing a payout ratio of 2.2% at current stock price.

AAPL.dividends.2014.Q1

 

According to the last figures reported by YCharts.com, Apple had 891.99 million outstanding shares in mid January. However, since reporting record earnings in late January, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook announced the company had taken advantage of short term trading to buy back $14 billion worth of APPL stock.

Following earnings reports, Apple stock tumbled from $550 to slightly below $500 for one week. At those prices, Apple’s $14 billion could have bought up an additional 28 million shares, bringing Apple’s outstanding share count down toward 860 million shares. Apple shares have since recovered to $544.

After buying back shares, Apple doesn’t need to pay dividends for them any more, meaning the most recent buyback trimmed around $85.4 million off the total cost of its total quarterly dividend payment. For the remaining roughly 860 million shares, Apple paid shareholders “of record” by the ex-dividend date last week a $3.05 dividend per share, totaling around $2.6 billion.

Flush with billions in cash it simply can’t spend fast enough, Apple first announced plans for a dividend program nearly two years ago in March, alongside a $10 billion share buyback program. It was the first time the company had paid a dividend in 17 years. Each quarter, the company initially stated it would pay its shareholders a $2.65 per share dividend.

In an earnings conference call last year, the company’s chief executive Tim Cook announced that, after paying out more than $10 billion over the previous year in dividends, the company would launch “an aggressive plan that more than doubles the size of the capital return program.”

Cook said “the vast majority of our incremental cash return will be in the form of share repurchases,” explaining that “as the Board and management team deliberated among the various alternatives to returning cash, we concluded that investing in Apple was the best. In addition to share repurchases, we are increasing our current dividend by 15% to further appeal to investors seeking yield.”

He added, “while we continue to generate cash in excess of our needs to operate the business, invest in our future and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities, we remain firmly committed to our objective of delivering attractive returns to shareholders through both our business performance and the return of capital.”

The report cited consumer-oriented brokerage firm TD Ameritrade as saying that “more of its clients own Apple shares now than at any other point,” making Apple shares the second most widely held stock by its clients after General Electric in share count, and by far the most widely held in terms of dollar value.

Can’t spend fast enough to make a dent

Cook outlined that Apple’s newly expanded buyback and dividend plans would distribute $100 billion from its cash pile, leveraging debt markets to borrow at very low interest against the company’s vast holdings that are mostly held overseas. That strategy allowed the company to make use of its stellar credit rating and avoid massive taxes that would be triggered if it were to simply shift cash earned internationally into the U.S.

While this has triggered reports vilifying Apple for “avoiding” taxes, the company is actually “one of the top corporate income tax payers in the country, if not the largest,” notes Steve Dowling, Apple’s head of public relations.

In 2012, Apple paid $6 billion in federal corporate income taxes, which amounts to 1 out of every 40 dollars in corporate income taxes collected by the U.S. government Dowling told Bloomberg last year.

Jan 09

Apple just announced that all those MAC and iOS users spent a cool $10 billion in 2013 at the App Stores, including more than $1 billion spend on digital goodies for iOS devices in December alone.

Many companies would be thrilled to have earned $3 billion in net revenue from apps in 2013. As Bloomberg BusinessWeek observes, were Apple’s App Store listed by gross revenue among publicly traded companies, it would rank 238th, between Public Service Enterprise Group and Sherwin-Williams. on digital goodies for iOS devices in December alone.

The festive month also saw App Store customers download almost three billion iOS apps — which Apple said makes it the most successful month in the history of its App Store. Cumulative payouts from Apple to iOS app developers are now $15 billion, it added.

Apple added that its App Store now has more than one million apps for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, available in 155 countries globally — including more than 500,000 native iPad apps.

As usual the reporting from Asymco shows rather neat graphs of downloads and payments.

IOS app sales graph

According to research firm Distimo, the top 200 applications in the iOS App Store account for combined gross revenues of $18 million per day. So about half the daily App Store revenue goes to the makers of the top 200 apps. And the remainder gets distributed among the developers of the million other apps in the App Store, at least those who have actual users and a mechanism for monetization

Full Apple Report

App Store Sales Top $10 Billion in 2013

Record-Breaking December with Over $1 Billion in Sales

CUPERTINO, California―January 7, 2014―Apple today announced that customers spent over $10 billion on the App Store in 2013, including over $1 billion in December alone. App Store customers downloaded almost three billion apps in December making it the most successful month in App Store history. Apple’s incredible developers have now earned $15 billion on the App Store.

“We’d like to thank our customers for making 2013 the best year ever for the App Store,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The lineup of apps for the holiday season was astonishing and we look forward to seeing what developers create in 2014.”

With the introduction of iOS 7, developers were able to create stunning apps that took advantage of the redesigned user interface and the more than 200 new features and APIs. Developers such as Evernote, Yahoo!, AirBnB, OpenTable, Tumblr, Pinterest and American Airlines re-imagined the user experience, bringing content to the forefront while increasing the overall efficiency and performance of their apps.

2013 saw surprise hits like Ellen DeGeneres’ Heads Up, ProtoGeo’s Moves, Simon Filip’s Afterlight and Kevin Ng’s Impossible Road. Many of the year’s biggest successes like Candy Crush Saga, Puzzles & Dragons, Minecraft, QuizUp and Clumsy Ninja were created by international developers, while Duolingo (United States), Simogo (Sweden), Frogmind (UK), Plain Vanilla Corp (Iceland), Atypical Games (Romania), Lemonista (China), BASE (Japan) and Savage Interactive (Australia) emerged as developers to watch in 2014.

The revolutionary App Store offers more than one million apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 155 countries around the world, with more than 500,000 native iPad apps available. App Store customers can choose from an incredible range of apps in 24 categories, including newspapers and magazines offered in Newsstand, games, business, news, sports, health & fitness, travel and kids.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

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