August 21, 2012

Samsung’s new $3.6 billion plant in Austin, Texas kicked into full swing last December, and it is responsible for manufacturing the A5 (and now A5X) CPU for the iPhone and iPad among other things. As production for the next iPhone and Mini iPad is reportedly in full swing, Samsung announced this morning that it will invest another $4 billion into its Austin plant. Reuters reported that the move is to renovate current production lines and the rate at which chips are produced.

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August 20, 2012

The Moscow News reports that Apple plans to begin direct sales of its own products in Russia in 2013. Apparently, Apple’s own in-house stores will come to Russia in the future, but that time frame appears unclear. Apple executives reportedly looked for Apple retail real estate in Russia last year, but came up empty handed. IFOAppleStore reported last year that Apple retail executives (including former retail SVP Ron Johnson) and Bob Bridger were scouting Russian land.

Apple products in Russia were distributed by the ECS company in 1996-2007. Since 2007, Apple opened an official branch in Russia that conducted its marketing activities. In 2008, they signed with its first official computer distributor – diHouse.

In November 2009, Apple acquired a new distributor in Russia – the Marvel company, and by May 2012 a third one had appeared – OSC. However, 75 percent of all Apple products are still distributed through diHouse. iPhone in Russia is distributed by Vimpelcom and MTS.

Apple has registered a company Apple Rus and assigned Vitaly Morozko, the corporation’s local legal advisor, as its director general, Russian news agency Kommersant reported. expand full story

iLounge reported in May that Apple is allegedly working on a “standalone digital camera, specifically a point-and-shoot model.” The website further said the device would deliver an image quality far beyond what the iPhone and iPad could deliver and attributed its information to sources, camera-related job openings at Apple, a re-trademarked iSight filing, and Walter Isaacson’s biography on Apple’s late cofounder. According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs named photography as one of three industries that he wanted to transform.

With that said, a camera would be a decidedly high-end market that Apple is seen exiting post haste (see Mac Pro, etc.). A REAL CAMERA with iOS camera apps would seem cool, but Apple does not take this type of high-volume market seriously. Most people are perfectly content with the amazing iPhone camera…and the new iPhone’s camera can only get better.

Nevertheless, perhaps Apple needs another hobby. Alternatively, maybe Apple can stave off the upcoming Android camera invasion by partnering with Canon or other makers to provide a hardware development kit that would tie into an iPod touch or iPhone for the user-interface. Imagine automatically uploading pictures from anywhere and using the power of apps to edit and manipulate while on the go. That dream may arrive first in Android format:

NikonRumors just posted leaked press shots of the Android-based Coolpix “s800c” camera, and it begs the question: Would Apple ever build an iOS-powered, point-and-shoot camera?

The leaked s800c pictures reveal a touchscreen menu on the backside, apparently running a Gingerbread flavor, with apps for a camera, email, browser, music, etc. Additional specs labeled on the front of the camera detail a “12X Wide Optical Zoom ED VR” in HD and a 4.5-54.0mm stock lens. NikonRumors, which has a decent track record in scooping Nikon, first discovered the s800c in a filling with the Indonesian Communication Agency. It originally noted the camera would tout a 3.5-inch OLED screen, Android 2.3 with Google Play apps, and built-in GPS and Wi-Fi.

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We reported last week that a German parts catalog ran out of current-model iPod nanos from Apple and told its customers to wait for refreshed models in late September. That is, of course, the rumored time frame of Apple’s next iPhone announcement and launch.

iPod nanos are more than overdue for a refresh and we are thinking —with Apple moving away from its 30-pin dock connector— that is at least one bit that needs an update. Other rumors pointed to Bluetooth connectivity, as it could extend the usefulness of the iPod nano greatly and make a more interesting iWatch-type product.

Today, we have seen stock shortages also hit Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Bust Buy—the four biggest electronics retailers in the United States.

Amazon is out of stock for about half of its iPod nano models:

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While Best Buy is a hit-or-miss for online deliveries, iPad nanos that are not available for delivery are still available in some stores (but are very spotty for the most part)… expand full story

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