Aug 28

Reuters reports:

A U.S. judge rejected Apple Inc’s latest bid for a permanent injunction against Samsung in another sign of the diminishing impact of the smartphone patent wars.

apple v samsung Apple won a $120 million jury verdict against Samsung earlier this year over three Apple patents. However, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, on Wednesday denied Apple’s request to stop Samsung from selling infringing features on its smartphones related to those patents.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment. In a statement, Samsung said it welcomed the ruling. “We remain committed to providing American consumers with a wide choice of innovative products,” Samsung said.

Until this year, the two leaders in mobile technology had been engaged in global patent litigation over Samsung’s phones that use Google’s Android operating system. However, Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this month to drop all patent lawsuits outside the United States.

In her ruling on Monday, Koh ruled that Apple’s reputation as an innovator “has proved extremely robust” despite Samsung’s patent infringement.

“Apple has not demonstrated that it will suffer irreparable harm to its reputation or goodwill as an innovator without an injunction,” Koh wrote.

Samsung is still appealing the result of a blockbuster 2012 trial over a separate batch of patents, with Samsung seeking to undo $930 million in damages. And while Apple says those damages should stand, the iPhone maker is no longer asking an appeals court to revive its bid for a permanent sales ban against several older Samsung phones.

The legal battles drone on in the US while for the moment non US battles are in a truce. The real results will be found in the sales volumes of iPhone and Galaxy products. With an iPhone 6 announcement pending this could impact global volumes.

 

Aug 26

Apple has been busy expanding their UK retail footprint.

Since we last updated in 2012 this list the number of stores has grown to 37.

See full list below of jump to map.

Aberdeen, Union Square

27/28 Ground Level Mall, Union Square
Aberdeen, AB11 5PN
012 2428 7900

Barnet, Brent Cross

Lower East Mall
Barnet, NW4 3FP
020 3126 9200

Basingstoke, Festival Place

Upper Level, Queen Anne’s Walk
Basingstoke, RG21 7BE
0125 669 6000

Bath, SouthGate

SU39, Southgate Place
Bath, BA1 1AP
0122 548 7000

Belfast, Victoria Square

Upper Ground Floor
Belfast, BT1 4QG
028 9016 1900

Birmingham, Bullring

Level 3, Upper Mall West
Birmingham, B5 4BU
0121 224 2100

Brighton, Churchill Square

Upper Mall, Churchill Square
Brighton, BN1 2TE
012 7374 0500

Bristol, Cabot Circus

11 Philadelphia Street, Quakers Friars
Bristol, BS1 3BZ
0117 900 3450

Bristol, Cribbs Causeway

Upper Mall
Bristol, BS34 5DG
0117 959 7600

Bromley, Bromley

Intu Bromley Shopping Centre

Bromley, BR1 1DN
020 8225 5500

Cambridge, Grand Arcade

Grand Arcade Shopping Centre
Cambridge, CB2 3AX
0122 325 3600

Cardiff, St David’s 2

63-66 Grand Arcade
Cardiff, CF10 2EL
029 2055 6800

Central London, White City

Westfield London
Central London, W12 7GF
020 8433 4600

Exeter, Princesshay

24 Princesshay
Exeter, EX1 1GE
013 9231 6600

Gateshead, Metrocentre

Metrocentre
Gateshead, NE11 9YG
0191 402 2500

Glasgow, Braehead

Braehead Shopping Centre
Glasgow, G51 4BP
0141 885 4200

Glasgow, Buchanan Street

147 Buchanan Street
Glasgow, G1 2JX
0141 300 4950

Grays, Lakeside

West Thurrock Way
Grays, RM20 2ZP
017 0871 7500

Greenhithe, Bluewater

Upper Mall
Greenhithe, DA9 9ST
013 2264 0100

Kingston upon Thames, Bentall Centre

The Bentall Centre
Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1TP
020 8233 3400

Leeds, Trinity Leeds

Albion Street, 209 Trinity Leeds
Leeds, LS1 5AR
0113 251 1000

Leicester, Highcross

Upper Mall, Highcross
Leicester, LE1 4FT
0116 201 1900

Liverpool, Liverpool ONE

Paradise Street (West)
Liverpool, L1 8JF
0151 472 2600

London, Covent Garden

No. 1-7 The Piazza
London, WC2E 8HA
020 7447 1400

London, Regent Street

235 Regent Street
London, W1B 2EL
020 7153 9000

Manchester, Manchester Arndale

New Cannon Street Mall
Manchester, M4 3AJ
0161 455 1900

Manchester, Trafford Centre

146 Peel Avenue
Manchester, M17 8BL
0161 240 1000

Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes

26 Midsummer Place
Milton Keynes, MK9 3GB
019 0885 6650

Newcastle upon Tyne, Eldon Square

St Andrew’s Way
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7JB
0191 270 6100

Norwich, Chapelfield

Merchants Hall
Norwich, NR2 1SH
016 0321 6600

Plymouth, Drake Circus

1 Charles Street
Plymouth, PL1 1EA
017 5263 3000

Reading, The Oracle

Upper Level, The Oracle Shopping Centre
Reading, RG1 2AG
0118 925 4500

Sheffield, Meadowhall

80 High Street
Sheffield, S9 1EN
0114 212 1000

Solihull, Touchwood Centre

The Touchwood Centre
Solihull, B91 3GJ
0121 224 1300

Southampton, WestQuay

Upper Shopping
Southampton, SO15 1QE
023 8030 3100

Stratford, Stratford City

The Arcade, Westfield Stratford City
Stratford, E20 1EQ
020 8277 2200

Watford, Watford

Intu Watford Shopping Centre
Watford, WD17 2TN
019 2342 1700

Map of Apple UK Stores

 

Apple UK strores Aug 2014

Aug 26

Looking like a Windows de-frag report this chart shows the Android devices in use today. The graphic was pulled from data via OpenSignal, a firm we use in network management and analysis that provided nifty mobile mapping tools.

android fragmentation

They have seen over 18,000 different Andoid devices download its Android application. That’s a lot of different hardware devices. In 2012, there were some 3,997 distinct Android devices. In 2013 that number grew to a whopping 11,868 devices with eight versions of Android in use at the time.

How bad fragmentation actually is, though, remains up for debate. On the one hand, the insane—borderline ridiculous—number of sizes and devices makes developing a widely accessible app an overwhelming task, not to mention getting the apps to run optimally on all those disparate devices. Think testing with just the most-used smartphones will suffice? Nope. OpenSignal points out that the 10 most popular devices last year covered 21 percent of the market. That number has since declined to 15 percent, so even testing an app effectively is harder than it used to be.

How does that compare to Apple iOS?

comparison with ios

Let’s not even talk about the fact that some people out there are still stubbornly stuck on Android 2.2 Froyo. When Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage during the WWDC 2014 keynote to announce iOS 7′s crushing adoption rates over KitKat, then at only 9 percent, he did so with a smile on his face. Although OpenSignal says things have gotten a little better since then (closer to 21 percent), that still doesn’t quite compare to iOS 7′s presence on 9 out of 10 Apple devices.

And the increasing creep of sensors onto our smartphones provides another technical hurdle to work around. Although most sensors become ubiquitous over time, some can also be discontinued. One example OpenSignal points out is when the Galaxy S4 transitioned to the S5, Samsung dropped relative humidity and environmental temperature sensors in favor of a heart rate sensor and a fingerprint scanner. This constantly changing landscape of what phones can and can’t do is pretty chaotic when compared to iOS or even Windows Phone.

However! Fragmentation is, in part, what makes Android great and distinctly not Apple. The bottom line is choice for manufacturers making these phones and, you know, all of us. We can pretty much get the exact smartphone we want with Android, and it’s all made possible by fragmentation. So if you every bemoan developers who build on iOS first, remember these dizzying charts and statistics. This is just the crazy Android world we live in.

Android Vendors

The world of Android is dominated by Samsung with around 50% market share of Android devices. However there are plenty of other vendors with fingers in the Android pie.

android vendors market share

Reporting from Gizmodo and OpenSignal

Aug 06

It’s looking like Apple with announce the next iPhone on Sept 9th.

The usually reliableRe/code is reporting that Apple Inc. has scheduled its media event for Tuesday, September 9. If accurate, that would be just over a month away and almost exactly one year after last year’s iPhone 5S launch.

In recent years, Apple has used its September media event to show off the latest and greatest iPhone models, while scheduling a separate October media event dedicated to iPads. That lets Apple hog the spotlight for a good two months, potentially overshadowing any competing product announcements.

Apple typically launches new iPhone models on the following Friday, which suggests that the new iPhone(s) will be available on Friday, Sept. 19. That would make much more sense than the previously leaked October 14 date, which didn’t stand up very well to scrutiny. Oct. 14 could potentially have some other significance, as perhaps Apple will host its October event on that date.

One iPhone or two iPhones?
Last year was the first time that Apple introduced two distinct iPhone models, the 5s and 5c. While many observers have doubted the iPhone 5c and its customer reception, CEO Tim Cook recently noted that the company’s mid-tier device was the fastest growing pricing tier last quarter. See mock up below – care of 9 – 5 Mac.

ip6-mockup-2_large

As usual it remains unclear whether or not Apple will launch one or two new iPhone 6 models this time around. Expectations are already set for a 4.7-inch model as well as a 5.5-inch model. However, there have been reports that the 5.5-inch model is facing production challenges, a common storyline when it comes to new Apple products. As a result, it’s possible that Apple may not ship the 5.5-inch iPhone until later this year. Until the 9th we are just guessing.

Apple will respond to one of these trends
Apple moved to a 4-inch display in 2012 with the iPhone 5, but some consumer preferences are quickly shifting towards larger displays. Apple has seemingly acknowledged this. Internal slides dated April 2013 leaked earlier this year noted, “consumers want what we don’t have,” referring to devices with displays larger than 4-inches. The iPhone maker is aware that the “strongest demand [is] coming from less expensive and larger screen smartphones.”

There has also been speculation that Apple will increase the price of the latest iPhones as it moves to larger displays. The company may choose to add $100 to the subsidized price when purchased on contract, bringing the final price tag up to $299. Apple may enjoy success with the possible price increase though, as the industry is quickly moving towards installment plans thanks to T-Mobile. Installment plans actually make consumers less price sensitive, which will likely lead to tremendous upgrade activity within Apple’s loyal customer base.

Don’t forget iOS 8

With a preview of iOS8 at the WWDC conference we know what to expect but that should also be available as an upgrade to iPhone users the same day.

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.

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