HP CEO: With iPad, Apple could pass us in 2012 (and we might go Android)

Meg Whitman, 55, a former eBay CEO and the president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard since September 2011, has no doubt in her mind that Apple stands a chance of zooming past Hewlett-Packard, the world’s leading computer vendor, some time during next year.

Whitman’s appraisal of Apple assumes, of course, that one considers tablets, such as Apple’s iPad, personal computers.

Commenting on a recent Canalys survey that first predicted Apple’s likely takeover of Hewlett-Packard with a little help from the yet unreleased iPad 3, Whitman told French newspaper Le Figaro (machine translated):

Yes. I think it’s possible if you integrate tablets. Apple does a great job. We need to improve our game and our products to take over the leadership position. Apple could go past HP in 2012. We will try to become the champion in 2013. It takes time for the products on which I have come to influence the market.

Hewlett-Packard is the world’s leading computer vendor, operating in nearly every country. More interesting than that, Whitman said her company will reach a decision soon on the fate of the webOS mobile operating system, which has remained in turmoil after HP indicated it might sell of that asset. She reassured Hewlett-Packard fans that her company is open to all options and nodded at Android as one of the choices being considered.

According to TechCrunch, she said:
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Canalys: Apple on track to become the world’s #1 PC maker, with a little help from iPad 3

Research firm Canalys on Monday said it expects Apple to overtake Hewlett-Packard to become the world’s leading PC maker before the second half of 2012. That is, if you count tablets as computers (many people don’t). The launch of iPad 3 early next year is predicted to boost Apple’s share of the global PC market. Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling:

Apple has seen its PC market share expand from 9 percent to 15 percent in just four quarters, though iPad shipments in its core market – the United States – are likely to come under pressure in Q4 due to the launch of the Fire and Nook at extremely competitive price points.

Charlie Wolf of Needham and Co last week said the Mac passed the magic five percent global market share. Canalys’ data includes computer and tablet sales. Earlier this month Canalys pegged Apple’s share of the global PC market at 15 percent, right behind the #1 HP with 16 percent share. CAnalys predicts that 2011 PC sales will grow 15 percent to hit 415 million units, of which 211 million should be notebook units where Apple absolutely dominates.

Ultrabooks? “For Ultrabooks to become widespread, prices have to drop considerably”, Canalys said. As for other tablets, DigiTimes expects high inventory levels of non-Apple tablets following the holiday season. This is partly due to the launch of the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet  which undercut other Android tablets, meaning “several waves of price cuts are expected in the new year”. Meanwhile, white box tablets, which dropped below $100, are not expected to affect iPad sales.
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Samsung requests depositions from Jony Ive and other key Apple inventors

Raising the stakes in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung over copycat accusations involving mobile devices, Samsung is upping the ante by asking to depose Apple’s iPhone designers, including Apple’s leading industrial design guru Jonathan Ive.

According to Josh Rosenthall of Edible Apple, depositions of Apple’s iPhone inventors Jonathan Ive, Douglas Satzger, Shin Nishibori and Christopher Stringer “will be taking place relatively soon” and ahead of the expedited trial between Apple and Samsung in the United States, scheduled for July 30, 2012.

According to Samsung’s motion, none of the aforementioned designers will be able to sit for deposition for various reasons. In the case of Jony Ive, the motion mentions “personal reasons”. Ive is especially important in this case. Jobs’s spiritual partner, it is said that no one could tell Ive what to do, at least until Jobs resigned. According to Jobs’s authorized biographer Walter Isaacson:

He called Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, his “spiritual partner” at Apple. He told Isaacson that Ive had “more operation power” at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself — that there’s no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, says Jobs, is “the way I set it up.”

As such, Ive is the holder of Apple’s many secrets and inner workings, something Samsung is legitimately hoping to exploit ahead of the trial. And while Apple’s design guru really needs no introduction, here’s a brief overview of the others.

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Apple is working on an iOS ‘scanner’ app

In response to the HP Print Control scanner app that we covered yesterday, a source at Apple told us that Apple is working on an app called “scanner” that uses iOS devices camera to act like a digital scanner.  Clearly this is meant for higher iPhone class cameras rather than current iPad or iPod touch cameras.

Here’s what we’ve heard on how it works:

  1. The user opens the app and holds the iPhone over the document or object they want scanned.  They then snap a picture of it.  Apple’s on-board software then resizes the image to ‘letter’ or business card, A4 or whatever depending on original document.  Resizing includes aligning edges that get skewed by a sigle scan point rather than traditional scanning methods.  The user can then manually change the size of the document or the use (biz card?)
  2. On board software then separates images blocks from text.
  3. This is where it gets murky.  At last word, Apple was trying to do OCR both on-device and using alternative cloud methods for recognizing text.  Third party Optical Character Recognition (OCR) vs. in house solutions were also being tested.
  4. The resulting file can then be saved as a PDF, .Pages, exported to contacts (in the case of business cards for example).

Third party apps already exist in this field but word is that Apple wanted a polished in-house app that directly tied to its contacts and Pages apps.  Apple has numerous patents in this field so they’ve been thinking about this for awhile.

It isn’t certain when or if this application will be released or if Apple will bundle it as part of its iOS, iWork Apps, or a separate app going forward.

Google does something similar to this with their Docs App in Android. Read more

PC head Todd Bradley tells Reuters HP could resurrect the TouchPad

You surely recall how computer maker Hewlett-Packard announced earlier this month it would exit the low-margin PC business, stop selling smartphones and tablets and sell out or license the webOS operating business. Well, less than two weeks later HP’s PC chief Todd Bradley tells Reuters that the TouchPad could make a come back:

Bradley said the company could resurrect HP’s short-lived TouchPad tablet computer, which was introduced on July 1 before being terminated only about six weeks later. ‘Tablet computing is a segment of the market that’s relevant, absolutely,’ Bradley said.

We’re not sure quite what to think of it. Was the whole “we’re killing the TouchPad” thing just a marketing ploy? Perhaps the news that Samsung wants to become the next HP and whispers that they are “considering purchasing webOS” prompted top dogs at Hewlett-Packard to second-guess CEO’s decision to focus on software and services instead on cool gadgets? Why else would Bradley tell Reuters that selling the PC division to a rival like Acer or Lenovo is “not a desirable alternative”?

Perhaps as interesting, HP claims to plan on building more TouchPads, they reported today.

Is $99 the new $499?  Well, no.  A tier one company can’t make anything close to the TouchPad and hope to break even at $99 yet.   But if anything, the $499 TouchPad that was plagued with a sell-through rate of just ten percent versus the $99 TouchPad that is seemingly flying off the shelves reinforces the notion that price matters in this game – perhaps more than any other feature. Consumers clearly appreciated iPad’s aggressive $499 price point. For a gadget you could do without in your life, price remains the crucial factor. For example…

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Reactions from around the web on Jobs’ resignation

We’re picking some of the more meaningful reactions to today’s news. It’s important to remember that Jobs isn’t gone from Apple, he’s Chairman Jobs now.

Bloomberg reports that Steve Jobs will stay on the board of Disney.

Apple’s Steve Jobs is said to be remaining on Disney’s board

The WSJ reports (they have a nice Jobs quotes as well):

People familiar with the situation have said that Mr. Jobs continues to be active at Apple and is closely involved in the company’s product strategy. Apple watchers don’t expect that to change even after Mr. Cook takes over.

Bloomberg, however, just reported that Jobs had been weak and housebound for several weeks but worked and attended today’s board meeting…

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Analyst: Apple to sell 22 Million iPads in 4th Quarter

Another day, another analyst making bold predictions about Apple. Though this time it’s the usually accurate Jason Schwarz. In a post on SeekingAlpha.com (via Forbes) Schwarz writes:

“With the era of the laptop coming to an end how should we extrapolate Apple’s recent quarter of 9.25 million iPads into the holiday quarter? It’s logical to assume that the iPad will mirror the growth that the iPhone experienced in 2010 as it grew from 8.4 million units sold in Q2 to 16.2 million in Q4, 92% growth. We also take into consideration the 183% year over year growth that the iPad experienced in its most recent quarter to come up with a forecast of 21.9 million iPads to be sold in this year’s holiday quarter.”

2011 has been a difficult year for Apple’s tablet competitors. HP recently halted production of their WebOS powered TouchPad device after only three months on the market (though it has been selling well at $99). Blackberry’s new PlayBook has been panned by many reviews. Android manufacturers have been sued by Apple for violating many of their software patents. Even laptop manufacturers are starting to feel the pain of the increasingly popular and powerful tablet. Traditionally the holiday quarter has always been the strongest for Apple. Furthermore, we would be remiss to leave out the very unlikely possibility of a rumored iPad holiday refresh. Such an event, though unlikely, could help push these numbers into the stratosphere.

It’s pretty amazing to see how far the iPad has come in such a short period of time. Starting out for many as “just a big iPod touch”, the device has matured and found a place in millions of homes throughout the world. The iPad has played a major role in defining and boosting the stagnant tablet market. Could it help boost that market beyond laptops in 2012? 22 million sales for the holiday quarter would certainly be a good start.

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iPad 2 runs webOS twice as fast as the TouchPad, internal HP testing revealed

Hewlett-Packard engineers did dare pull unthinkable: They hacked iPad to install webOS only to find out Apple’s hardware runs their mobile operating system more than twice as fast compared to their own TouchPad hardware, a source “close to the subject” told The Next Web. The finding had devastating effects on the team’s morale:

The hardware reportedly stopped the team from innovating beyond certain points because it was slow and imposed constraints, which was highlighted when webOS was loaded on to Apple’s iPad device and found to run the platform significantly faster than the device for which it was originally developed.

It should be pointed out that webOS  runs on Qualcomm ARM chips while iPad 2 runs on Samsung silicon. This little nugget is even more revealing:

With a focus on web technologies, webOS could be deployed in the iPad’s Mobile Safari browser as a web-app; this produced similar results, with it running many times faster in the browser than it did on the TouchPad.

In fact, the webOS team wanted HP’s TouchPad and Pre hardware “gone” even before the products hit the marketplace according to TNW.  With a hardware refresh a year off and similar issues with the Pre phones, this could have contributed to the decision to shutter the webOS and perhaps license it out to other companies (with better hardware).

In a separate report, TNW details how the news was broken to the webOS group within HP.

Almost everyone at HP found out about the death of the TouchPad and Pre hardware as the public did, in the press release. Only the top executives knew anything about this decision and even senior staff as high as Ari Jaaksi, the Vice President of webOS software, didn’t know about the shuttering of hardware before it happened.

After the press release came out, there was a company wide meeting filled with a bunch of ‘corporate speak’, in which staff were told that they were going to be in limbo for 3-4 weeks.

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Cupertino releases detailed drawings of “Mothership” AppleHQ building

In a series of PDFs released today (Intro, Site Plan/Landscaping, Floor Plans and Renderings), the City of Cupertino released detailed floor plans of Apple’s 20,000 plus person super-structure.

The building, affectionately dubbed “the Mothership” was announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on June 7th, just days after WWDC earlier this year.

Jobs called the new building “a spaceship” and said Apple will use its experience in building retail store masterpieces to construct this “architectural landmark”. Parking underneath, the building would perhaps be used for events like the WWDC – Jobs mentioned that it would have a large auditorium and a single cafeteria [below] that could seat 3,000 at a time.

Cupertino’s Mayor went on record a few weeks later saying “there was no way they weren’t going to approve the deal”.

The massive building’s plans detail the main building and a mostly subterranean adjacent parking structure with Solar roof (below).

Full plans embedded after the break:

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Apple and Intel among those entering the Nortel auction

Nortel decided to extend the deadline for the start of the auction for its patents until June 27 citing “significant interest” from third parties. Today we learn that two Silicon Valley giants are significantly interested in Nortel’s war chest of more than five thousand wireless patents said to be worth well over a billion dollars. They are Apple and Intel, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Other bidders include Ericsson AB and a company called RPX Corp which “defensively buys up patents on behalf of other companies to stop them from being used against them by investors”.
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HP TouchPad gets a showing off

So HP(alm)’s TouchPad is about as close to an iPad as you can get without giving Apple any money (exact same sized display/form factor, etc).  HP, beyond the original demo, hasn’t shown much about the product.  However, at Sandisk’s booth (who are supplying the Touchpad’s storage), they were giving out full demos:

I can’t imagine this demo will stay live long but enjoy it while you can and just wonder how it’s “Card-based” OS will compare to an iPad 2 running iOS 5. Read more