Jake Smith

November 12, 2012

There have been several reports that have noted ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall’s fiery relationship with several Apple executives like Jonathan Ive. Despite this, according to a former Apple senior engineer, Michael Lopp, firing Forstall was a mistake. Lopp posted his thoughts on his blog, and the theme of the post was that Apple will eventually be replaced by another company’s innovations (as most usually are). He wondered if the firing of Forstall is where the downslide will begin.

Lopp said Forstall “was the best approximation of Steve Jobs that Apple had left.” He added that several people chatting in Apple’s Caffe Macs cafeteria viewed Forstall as the only real successor to Jobs. Even though it appeared Forstall did not work well with several of his co-workers, being called an “asshole,” he was successful in what he did. Lopp said this is why he could have been the next Jobs.

With the executive shakeup, Apple said this would lead to more collaboration within the walls of Apple. Lopp said this is not necessarily a good thing:

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November 8, 2012

Update: While AT&T claims that the move was to safeguard its delicate infrastructure, two public advocacy groups (Freepress, Public Knowledge) are claiming the FCC is looming large. Seth submits a third postulate: The iPad Mini LTE  launch later this month will present a chance for AT&T to grab new tablet customers and AT&T doesn’t want to lose out to competitors with friendlier offers.

AT&T just announced you could now use FaceTime over cellular at no extra charge on the iPhone 5 and LTE iPad if it is on one of the network’s tiered data plans. Today’s announcement opens up FaceTime over cellular to a slew of new customers.

AT&T today announced it will enable FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for iOS 6 customers with an LTE device on any tiered data plan.  AT&T will also continue to offer FaceTime over Cellular to customers with any AT&T Mobile Share plan, as well as FaceTime over Wi-Fi, which has always been available.

Previously, FaceTime on AT&T’s network was only available for free if a customer was on its new Mobile Share Plans that became available Aug. 23. AT&T said the new set of users would be able to access FaceTime for free over cellular in “8-10 weeks”:

We expect to roll out this functionality over the next 8-10 weeks. In addition, we are informing our deaf and hard of hearing customers that, as of October 26, we began rolling out several new billing plans designed to allow them to make use of FaceTime. This is part of our ongoing commitment to our customers with disabilities, and it’s a commitment which is very important to us.

As for the competition, Sprint already announced that it will not hinder FaceTime over cellular, and Verizon is being forced not to mess with it because of a Net Neutrality promise.

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November 6, 2012

According to Bloomberg, Apple lost a lawsuit against VirnetX in a Texas courtroom late this evening and ordered to pay $368.2 million in damages. VirnetX sued Apple for infringing on its collection of network patents that Apple has been accused of incorporating into products like FaceTime. VirnetX was originally asking for upward of $900 million, but the jury decided on lesser damages this evening. Additionally, the patent holding company has similar cases pending against Cisco and Avaya. VirnetX successfully won $105.75 million from Microsoft in 2010.

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November 4, 2012

As iPad mini owners settled in with their new tablets yesterday, research firm IHS (via AllThingsD) was working hard to tear it down. The firm, previously known as iSuppli, found that the Wi-Fi 16GB base model costs roughly $188 for Apple to build, which it sells for $329. Furthermore, the 32GB and 64GB models cost an additional $31 and $62 to build, respectively.

During its Q4 earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced that the iPad mini gross margin is “significantly below” the rest of the products Apple is cranking out. “We’re unwilling to cut corners in delivering the best experiences in the world,” added Apple CEO Tim Cook. Presumably, Apple had to keep the price down to $329 to stay competitive with other products in the market, like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle lineup, but wasn’t able to go down to $199 like many hoped. On the call, Apple further stated that it would work to make iPad mini production more cost-effective.

In its report, IHS further looked at the components being used to build the iPad mini. It was found that LG Display and AU Optronics are supplying roughly $80 in display components for the 7.9-inch tablet. iFixit’s teardown released on Friday found that Samsung is making display components, too. Samsung was also found to supply the A5 chip in the iPad mini in IHS’ report. [AllThingsD]

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As it did for the iPhone 5, Apple has begun its Personal Pickup program for the iPad mini. Personal Pickup allows customers to buy a device on Apple’s website or mobile app between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. and pick it up in store the next day (or whenever inventory is available). There are a number of stores across the country sold out of the iPad mini, so Personal Pickup may be your best bet at getting the 7.9-inch tablet ASAP.  expand full story

November 3, 2012

November 2, 2012

Apple’s stock has been on quite the dip this past month, losing 125 points in 41 days, and falling from a high of over 700 on iPhone 5 launch day. For those who took some analysts’ advice bought at October highs,that’s got to sting. Today, the stock sits at 576, unfathomably low for those left to deal with their stock having lost over $100B in market cap.

But is now the time to buy?

With holiday sales about to kick into full gear with Apple’s new product line, stock may shoot to 1000 sometime in 2013…or it may not.

BullishCross said yes on October 10th, when the share price was just a bit higher than today:

Apple has reached one of those very rare buy points. However, unlike our previous five recommendations, we do not necessarily believe that Apple has bottomed right here at $630 a share. We just believe that Apple won’t see much lower prices from here thereby making this a unique buying opportunity. It’s better to buy at $630 and accept a small potential drawdown than to miss the entire move. We do not believe Apple will see levels below $615 a share. Thus, anything between $615 and $630 is an extraordinary buying opportunity. Between $630 and $650, you have a great entry level.

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Earlier this week, we learned iOS chief Scott Forstall will leave Apple at the end of this year and has been moved to an advisory role to CEO Tim Cook until then. Giving us a look into the closed doors of Apple, Bloomberg noted this morning that Forstall and famed-Apple designer Jony Ive had a fiery relationship and couldn’t work together in the same room—nor be together during meetings. During the beginning design phases, Forstall was present in Ive’s iPhone meetings:

Even as Forstall oversaw the group responsible for the software that would run the iPhone, he didn’t participate in the meetings, according to people with knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because the meetings were private. Ive and Forstall were rarely in the same room, the people said.

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SquareTrade posted its drop test for the iPad mini to give us a look at how the 7.9-inch tablet fares if an accident regretfully occurs. The warranty provider found the iPad mini to withstand drop and water damage quite well. When dropped on its side, it received a little crack to its screen, and it remained functional when dunked in water. However, when the iPad mini was dropped flat on its face, the most damage was endured. Overall, I think it’s safe to say the iPad mini withstands more than the Nexus 7 and third-gen iPad. You can check out another drop test below.  expand full story

November 1, 2012

October 31, 2012

Apple has posted its 10k filing with the SEC this afternoon that features a slew of numbers and new title changes. CFO Peter Oppenheimer has been named the Principal Accounting Officer, taking over Betsy Rafael. Additionally, Apple has named Scott Forstall ‘Special Advisor to CEO Tim Cook’ on his way out of the company at the end of this year.

As for numbers, Apple says it has expanded its research and development section by $1 billion, has 72,800 full-time employees on staff (up 12,400 from last year), added 33 new retail stores this year, has 17.3 million sq. ft. of building space up 13.2 million last year, and spent $9.5B on manufacturing and tooling during the year. As for retail stores, the company now has 390 stores making $51.5 million per store. (via The Next Web) A bit on the company’s property:

The Company’s headquarters are located in Cupertino, California. As of September 29, 2012, the Company owned or leased approximately 17.3 million square feet of building space, primarily in the U.S., and to a lesser extent, in Europe, Japan, Canada, and the Asia-Pacific regions. Of that amount approximately 10.9 million square feet was leased building space, which includes approximately 4.1 million square feet related to retail store space. Of the Company’s owned building space, approximately 2.6 million square feet that is located in Cupertino, California will be demolished to build a second corporate campus. Additionally, the Company owns a total of 1,077 acres of land in various locations.

You can read more on Apple’s latest quarter here

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Despite being hit by the massive Hurricane that rocked the Northeast ealier this week, New York-based Apple reseller Tekserve is still chugging along in its W. 23rd St. store in downtown Manhattan. The store is without power, but since it didn’t suffer from any flood damage it opened up this morning for the first time this week.

We spoke to CTO Aaron Freimark over the phone this afternoon. “We’re on relatively high ground in Manhattan, so we didn’t really get any flooding. But the blackout was a really big deal for us,” he said. Of the 210 employees that are employed by Tekserve, only a fraction were able to come in. Not everyone was able to seek transportation to the store.

Freimark says the “skeleton crew” has been working through the day without power. Tekserve has sold a few computers, returned repaired devices, and  filled additional purchase orders. “We even did an iPhone 5 sale, which is really nice because they come charged,” Frimark said. The staff is doing what they can, but can’t diagnose problems with devices until the power comes back on. Frimark was boastful of his staff for coming in during such hard times for the city.

Tekserve doesn’t expect to get power until the weekend, but is trying to get a generator so customers and those passing by can charge their cellphone. It has set its store hours from 11am to 5pm in the mean time. In New York and have a need to get something Apple related? This is your spot.

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