Shaw Wu starts guessing tablet screen sizes and release dates, doesn't miss much

In one of the more laughable tablet predictions to date, notoriously unreliable Shaw Wu from Kaufman Bros. announces that Apple has been ordering large amounts of 4, 7, 9, 10 and 12-inch screens over the past two years and "based on that information, the analysis [sic] predicts that Apple will launch at least one — but possibly multiple — new devices in the near future".

"We are under the impression that these screens could be used in new form factors including a sub-notebook and/or tablet, and would more likely launch in 2010 as opposed to 2009," the note reads. "As usual, exact timing is always tough to pinpoint as Apple works on its own schedule."

In other news, it is going to rain tomorrow, unless of course, it doesn’t.

Wu goes on to say that China Unicom will be the iPhone carrier in China.  A good guess since they’ve been advertising that fact since March.

He also isn’t sure if the device will be a "tablet or netbook".

Reason #35 for Eric Schmidt departure: Apple to make iTunes a Google Checkout/Paypal competitor

Silicon Alley Insider is reporting (Wall Street gossip) that Apple may be building an online payment platform similar to Google Checkout, Paypal and the also-rumored Facebook’s "Pay with Facebook". 

It really isn’t that big of a stretch, Apple already plays that role for in-app purchases on the iPhone platform.  They also already have millions and millions of global account holders tied to credit cards (Jobs noted 65 million active iTunes accounts just last year). 

The infrastructure is already there in iTunes. A first stop?  Perhaps you’ll be able to make purchases at the Apple Store with your iTunes account.  Maybe they’ll build an app for that to ease the transition.  Then, they’ll add a few more retailers and all of a sudden, you have the Bank of Apple.

 

We took a look at the fast-paced and competitive development of solutions which allow you to use your iPhone to take credit card payments, replacing POS credit card processing machines just yesterday. Today’s claim that Apple plans to introduce its own PayPal-competing payment system simply extends the paradigm.

What it comes down to at its simplest level is: What if 65 million (or more) iTunes users could point their iPhone at a cash terminal in a shop and pay for their goods via their iTunes account? Apple has the micropayments sorted, has your details, you have a password, and with Remote Wipe it’s probably a lot safer than a credit card and a PIN number. Imagine, if you will, a situation in which you pay for your coffees in your local Starbucks with your iTunes account. The advantage being the lack of a minimum charge, as Apple’s used to handling small transactions.

Look – we’re not imagining the situation: Apple has patented the notion of using your iPhone as a device to access and purchase food in restaurants and more…

 

Consider this: Visa last year confirmed plans to develop a mobile payments-related services for Google’s Android platform. This will let users check their accounts, make payments, and more, using an Android phone. Does Apple want to miss that party? We doubt it.

If there’s one sticking point it’s profit margins. Apple currently takes 30% of in-app purchases.  That figure will have to come a lot closer to the 1-2% that Paypal and Google Checkout charge if they want to bring more retaillers on board.

 

 

 

Apple Launches iTunes Store in Mexico

This just in: iTunes heads south of the border. Artists include Paulina Rubio, Vicente Fernandez and Zoe and a wide range of international artists including Shakira, Lady Gaga and  Green Day.  Songs are priced at 12 pesos and most albums at 120 pesos and will go nicely with Telcel’s iPhone offerings.

Apple(R) today announced the launch of the iTunes(R) Store in Mexico (www.itunes.com/mexico) with an incredible selection of Mexican and international music from all the major labels and hundreds of independent labels. Launching with a catalog of millions of songs, the iTunes Store in Mexico features Mexican artists including Paulina Rubio, Vicente Fernandez and Zoe and a wide range of international artists including Shakira, Lady Gaga, Green Day and thousands more. With most songs priced at 12 pesos and most albums at 120 pesos, the iTunes Store in Mexico is the best way for Mac(R) and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music online.

 "The iTunes Store in Mexico is off to a great start with music from all of the majors and hundreds of indie labels," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services. "And the revolutionary App Store in Mexico gets bigger and better with great new apps using amazing new features, and we can’t wait to see what developers come up with next."

The iTunes Store in Mexico joins the revolutionary App Store, which has more than 65,000 applications available to consumers in 77 countries, reaching tens of millions of iPhone(TM) and iPod touch(R) users around the world. Customers have downloaded more than 1.5 billion apps and the recently released iPhone OS 3.0 software update includes over 100 new features like Cut, Copy and Paste; Spotlight(R) search; landscape keyboard and view; and expanded parental controls. Apps from the App Store work with both iPod touch and iPhone, including the new iPhone 3GS, the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet.

The iTunes Store offers music from all of the major labels and hundreds of independent labels including Warner Music, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Universal Music Group. All music on iTunes is available in iTunes Plus, Apple’s DRM-free format with high-quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings. iTunes customers can also choose to download their favorite songs from the world’s largest online music catalog directly onto their iPhone over their 3G network for the same price as downloading to their computer. A great selection of music videos is also available for purchase and download, with most priced at 24 pesos.

Apple has made it easy for music fans in Mexico to purchase and enjoy music with iTunes Gift Cards, which can be purchased at national retailers including Liverpool, Mixup, Office Depot, El Palacio de Hierro, Sanborns and also at iShop, iStore and MacStore locations. iTunes Gift Cards are available in denominations of 200, 300 and 600 pesos.

Apple has made it easy for music fans in Mexico to purchase and enjoy music with iTunes Gift Cards, which can be purchased at national retailers including Liverpool, Mixup, Office Depot, El Palacio de Hierro, Sanborns and also at iShop, iStore and MacStore locations. iTunes Gift Cards are available in denominations of 200, 300 and 600 pesos.

Available starting today, exclusively on iTunes, fans can Countdown to the release of highly-anticipated new albums from Nelly Furtado, Sean Kingston and Jesse & Joy by purchasing and downloading advance songs from the albums as they are released on iTunes. Fans can then buy the albums on their release date at a reduced price based on songs they’ve already purchased with Complete My Album. Also, exclusive iTunes Live Sessions are available from Mexican artists including Plastilina Mosh and Motel, and also from a wide selection of international artists. And the iTunes Podcast Directory features over 150,000 free podcasts, including featured Mexican podcasts from Televisa, MVS Television, El Universal and Grupo Reforma.

With Apple’s legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod(R) and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.

Why the Google/Apple/AT&T probe? FCC chair is an iPhone user

He’s only been in post a month, but new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Julius Genachowski, ain’t no slouch – he’s a tech-savvy consumer champion and he wants to foster a culture of competition and innovation – and he’s an iPhone user.

Perhaps that’s why Genachowski’s been so quick to act over Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice app, which most commentators still believe – despite AT&T’s rejection of the argument – was denied a place in the App Store because its users would be able to make calls with Google, circumventing AT&T’s network and impacting the telco’s revenue.

Whatever the reason, and with the FCC determined to press on with its investigation into the rejection of that app, Genachowski’s no enemy of Apple – in fact he’s warming to his iPhone, as revealed in an interview published today by GigaOM.

“I do have an iPhone. I do use it,” he admits, adding, “Now I’ve been a BlackBerry user for a very long time. But now I have a BlackBerry and an iPhone and I’m using both, although I do need a pair of new pants with more pockets.”

Genachowski also admits he’s making increasing use of his iPhone. Perhaps to call some of the engineers, scientists and entrepreuners he wants to see taking some of the top jobs at the regulator, which has drawn heavily on lawyers in the past.

iPhone talk aside, it’s well worth taking a look at the extended interview, which talks a lot about how regulation and the needs for it are changing in the current century. And how he intends transforming the FCC from its previous fairly moribund status into a poster child for how US government agencies could work.

Read it here.

New Kensington iPhone dock with battery

On a normal day, or iPhones hit ht charger at night with a hour or two of usage to spare.  However,  if we have  a heavy gaming day, the iPhone putters out around dinner.  That’s when it is good to have an extra iPhone battery.  Kensington raps it all up in a pretty

Apple kicks 900+ apps from App Store on copyright busting allegations

Apple has kicked its third most active developer from its App Store, citing intellectual property violations as cause.

Developer Khalid Shaikh has had his App Store license withdrawn and his over 900 applications removed from sale. Apple told the developer this was because of multiple complaints his apps infringed other people’s IP.

"The persistent nature of such complaints has led us to conclude that you are entering into the representations and warranties in the iDP Agreement in bad faith by misrepresenting that you have all the necessary rights for your submissions," the company told him, as revealed by TechCrunch.

Most of Shaikh’s apps cost $4.99. They tended to be aggregation applications, which gathered articles and images from websites concerning specific topics, such as stars, Top Sexy Ladies, or Soaper Stars Update (illustrated).

While these apps aren’t exactly the creme-de-la-creme, it’s understood the developer had a 26-person team and was pulling in thousands of dollars each day (TecCrunch). TechCrunch also points out that with the App Store authorising these 900 applications in the past, it wonders what oversight Apple’s approvals team has over instances of copyright abuse?

The whole sage emerges as Apple’s approval processes continue to attract criticism, with the recent denial of Google Voice generating an FCC investigation into the companies. We won’t repeat all the many instances of criticism of Apple’s App Store policies here, except to say that all of this criticism clearly underlines a need for the company to make its approval processes much more transparent.

This lack of transparency may also reflect just how quickly App Store became succesful, with the company’s processes perhaps not yet fully in place to deal with a business of this size.

Greg Joswiak heads to China as China Unicom iPhone deal looms

Senior Apple staff will visit China to get into top level negotiations with China Unicom to discuss launch of the product in the country, local Chinese media reports this morning claim.

"Senior officials from Apple Inc are to visit China this week, and they haven’t arrived in Beijing yet," a source told Sina.com. "Apple’s branch company in China are ready for the reception, and informed China Unicom about this earlier.”

Executives from both firms are likely to discuss the launch strategy for the iPhone in China, with Apple officials also likely to meet with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

An International Business Times report informs a China Unicom team visited Apple HQ in March to negotiate terms for iPhone distribution. Apple’s away to China team is expected to be led by Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing.

China is a prize market, with over one billion mobile phone in use. However, at this point – while a Chinese model iPhone has been approved – China Unicom will not offer Apple a share of iPhone-generated revenue. This final point has been a sticking point against inking the deal until now. Negotiations have been proceeding for months.

Having achieved regulatory approval, iPhones for China are thought to be rolling of the production lines even now.

Meanwhile, in the UK, signs continue to emerge suggesting Apple’s exclusive deal with O2 is under threat. T-Mobile has begun flouting this deal by offering limited numbers of iPhone 3G’s to customers threatening to defect to O2 for the device.

T-Mobile has refused comment on this, but recent reports have claimed Apple may be preparing to allow sales of iPhone 3G’s through other networks, while leaving O2 as exclusive provider of the new iPhone 3GS model.

Pre-release Snow Leopard tops Amazon 'Software' sales charts

Scant days since the operating system was made available for pre-order on Amazon US, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard has shot to the top two slots on the online retailer’s Software sales chart.

Amazon UK last night opened  an email announcement list for UK Mac users who’d like to be told when Snow Leopard is made available for sale there, though UK pricing hasn’t yet been announced.

The single user version of Snow Leopard, ($29), is top of the charts with the second place taken by the five-user family version ($49). Both prices are aggressive when you consider the OS has traditionally cost in the region of $129 for each release.

Apple is also selling a Box Set (Snow Leopard including iWork and iLife):$169
for $169 or $229 for five users. The server edition of Snow Leopard, called Mac OS X Server version 10.6, costs $499.

Some key caveats: the OS will only be available for Intel-based Macs as it requires this hardware because it’s the first Apple OS to be truly 64-bit. Mac users still on a PowerPC Mac may be motivated to purchase an Intel Mac, though, as Snow Leopard promises hugely significant performance gains.

The OS is expected to ship next month.

If Apple doesn't allow duplicates, why would they allow Netflix on iPhone?

The latest story making the rounds is that Apple is soon going to approve a native Netflix app for the iPhone and iPod touch.  While we’d love to see this, we think there might be some pretty significant hurdles for the Netflix team to overcome.  Namely that Apple doesn’t like competition (or duplication) of its apps on the iPhone and has expressly forbidden it in the past.  Apple banned Podcaster from the App Store because iTunes plays podcasts for instance.

Apple started allowing iTunes to download movies over the iPhone and iPod touch in the latest update.  Netflix also allows you download movies over the network for a price.  Additionally, Apple usually parlays a 30% take on apps sold through apps (Amazon Kindle exempted).  We aren’t feeling it.

As the article stated, AT&T aren’t going to be huge fans of sending movie files over the wireless networks either.

Would we love to see it?  Yes.  do we expect to?  No.

Apple’s iTunes Movie downloads on iPhone

GarageBand updated to 5.1

This update addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and fixes a number of other minor issues. The issues addressed include:

  • GarageBand track effects and Audio Units can now be added to a guitar track
  • Improved support for Apogee audio interfaces
  • Faster switching to full screen in Magic GarageBand
  • Improved access to audio monitoring settings

This update is recommended for all users of GarageBand ’09.