iOS Devices ▪ May 12, 2011

Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes relayed this morning whispers from the supply chain asserting that Apple might experience problems with shipments of iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in the second quarter amid “a shortage of both labor and materials” for smartphones and tablet PCs at Foxconn’s Chengdu, China plants. Foxconn, a long-time manufacturing partner of Apple’s, declined to comment on the rumored shipments delay. Most iPad 2 supplies still originate from Foxconn’s Shenzen plants, however.

Most market watchers have estimated that total iPad 2 shipments in the second quarter will reach as high as seven million units, but since Apple is trying to reach its shipment goal of 35-40 million units for 2011, the company has been pushing its upstream partners to aim at supplying 10-10.5 million units in the second quarter, the sources added.

Another report from the same publication re-iterated previous supply chain suspicious, citing the Japan earthquake and the power brownout policy as principal reasons. Players like Motorola, Acer, Apple, HTC and others have reportedly started “acting aggressively in securing supplies”. The real challenge will be fulfilling orders in June. Perhaps these ongoing supply woes are why Apple allegedly pushed back iPhone 5 to September or later?

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iOS Devices ▪ May 11, 2011

This $25 Kickstarter project seems like a nice way to knock out a lot of the gadgets you need for your iPhone in one go. It is already fully funded so there is no question of whether or not they’ll make it. Sometimes the best things are the simplest. expand full story

Sad news for fans of e-reading. BeamItDown Software announced they are closing down the shop and ceasing development of iFlow Reader, an e-book reader for iOS, due to Apple’s 30 percent cut and new rules that require all content sales to go through the iOS in-app purchasing mechanism. As a result, publishers like iFlow Reader are increasingly finding that Apple’s 30 percent cut is eating into their margins, leaving them with little or no revenue.

BeamItDown Software and the iFlow Reader will cease operations as of May 31, 2011.  We absolutely do not want to do this, but Apple has made it completely impossible for anyone but Apple to make a profit selling contemporary ebooks on any iOS device. We cannot survive selling books at a loss and so we are forced to go out of business. We bet everything on Apple and iOS and then Apple killed us by changing the rules in the middle of the game. This is a very sad day for innovation on iOS in this important application category. We are a small company that thought we could build a better product. We think that we did but we are powerless against Apple’s absolute control of the iOS platform.

“They [Apple] screwed us”, BeamItDown Software’s Philip Huber told Fortune.
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IM+ Pro, one of the best multi-client chat programs for iOS devices, has been updated with a location-based feature that makes it easy to find random chat participants nearby your current location. Developer Shape Services says Neighbors provides users “the opportunity to find new real life connections and friends with common interests”. This is interesting as we haven’t seen a beneficial integration of location, which is the latest fad, with chat services.

The Neighbors feature works pretty straightforward. You locate people on the map to engage in chat sessions with nearby friends. Others discover you based on your location information that can be as accurate as house, street or city – your choice.

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iOS Devices ▪ May 10, 2011

Just over a month ago, we showed you the case of what seems to be the next generation Nano with a camera.  The leak’s proximity to April Fool’s day led many to be skeptical of the leak.  Fast forward to today where the same source produced a more complete picture of what Apple may announce in September.

The new photo shows a more complete picture with the clip pulled from the design. (Back shown on the left, front shown on the right)  The site says a 1.3 megapixel camera is slated to go into the new device.  While a camera of this size would have limited use, it would make a great addition to an already feature packed micro-device.

What isn’t clear is how this device will be held.  We’re considering a magnetic option or a iWatch attachement which seems to be all the rage. Thoughts?

The case closeup from last month is shown below: expand full story

(Cross-posted from our sister site

A pattern is emerging in smartphones. Think about it, the same scenario has been playing out over and over in every territory where Google and Apple battle for supremacy. Apple first wows the market with its iPhone. Then, Google brute forces its way into the game and eventually takes the lead thanks to countless Android handsets in all shapes, sizes and price points, carried by virtually all wireless operators. Japan, however, is an indication of a new pattern that has iOS and Android forming a duopoly that squeezes out entrenched players, upping the barrier to entry.

In the latest survey of the Japanese market by MMI Research Institute reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, Android posted an incredible 2,000 percent year-over-year growth, capturing 57 percent of the country’s 2010 smartphone market versus 38 percent for Apple’s handset (as big as anywhere) – a notable decline for the iPhone’s 72 percent share from a year earlier and also a catastrophic loss for other platforms.

Shipments of Android phones rose to 4.91 million units in the year ended March 31, Tokyo-based MM Research said in a statement today. That compares with sales of 250,000 units, or 11 percent of the market, a year earlier when devices running Google’s software started to be widely available in Japan.

Apple shipped 3.23 million iPhones in the country in the last fiscal year, all sold excursively via Softbank. The combined 57 percent share for Android plus 38 percent for iPhone leaves little room for Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. Both brands have been reduced to the Others category with a minuscule five percent market share. Is this a sign of things to come? Read on…

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