When is Apple going to release a Retina MacBook Air? More signs point to ‘soon’

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Following a forum post from a Chinese website, Digitimes is reporting that Apple will indeed ship a brand new MacBook Air with Retina display in the second half of this year.

The Digitimes article offers no specifics on what the new MacBook Air will feature, aside from the Retina display. A forum poster (who has a track record of accuracy) from last week said that the new model of laptop would feature a fan-less design in an even thinner form factor than the current MacBook Airs’ enclosure.

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Reality check: Apple’s iPad has no competition

“Is 2011 going to be the year of copycats?”, Apple’s then chief executive rhetorically asked at the March iPad 2 introduction in San Francisco. Really, the title of this article couldn’t be more true. iPad is now stealing market share from Android, climbing from 65.7 percent share to 68.3 percent globally as Android slipped from 34.0 percent to 26.8 percent. HP exited the game, having retired its TouchPad and today lackluster sales of RIM’s PlayBook tablet made the news.

Apple decimated competition so thoroughly that analysts are saying the company can take its time releasing a third-generation iPad. According to J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, Apple should be in “no rush” with iPad 3:

Our latest research continues to indicate that there is no such device slated for production this year. In our view, Apple should be in no rush. The other tablet entrants have stumbled so far, and that trend-line could persist deep into 2012.

He also wasn’t impressed by Sony’s tablet which “lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad and its bezel-like back is not user-friendly”. And Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? On a downward spiral and probably due for life support. Per RIM’s quarterly filing, they shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks in the quarter, a paltry number compared to Wall Street expectations of 700,000 units. RIM refused to reveal actual sell-through as it is no doubt significantly lower than the sell-in. Ticonderoga analyst Brian White weighs in:

We believe the PlayBook is poised to follow HP’s TouchPad as the next casualty of iPad’s tablet dominance

To put PlayBook sales into perspective, RIM shipped one PlayBook to every 46 iPads. With just 200,000 units, PlayBook may very well be heading to the technology graveyard. BlackBerry phones are also shrinking due to “lower than expected sales for older models”. One fifth of RIM’s stock valuation was wiped out today as a result of poor tablet and smartphone performance. By the way, RIM’s global market share is now dropping to single digits. Did the Waterloo, Ontario company learn a valuable lesson?


Many watchers have written off the PlayBook, but RIM has bigger worries on its mind: Its smartphone business is declining and global market share dropping to single digits. Chart courtesy of Asymco.

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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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Apple drops refurbished iPads to $299

From 9to5toys.com:

The Apple Store dropped its price on the factory-refurbished, 1st-generation Apple iPad 16GB Wi-Fi (pictured), model no. MB292LL/A, to $299 with free shipping. That’s $30 under our June mention and is $184 under the lowest total price we could find for a new one. (It’s also the lowest we’ve ever seen for any iPad.) This 0.5″-thick tablet weighs 1.5 lbs. and features an Apple A4 1GHz processor, 9.7″ 1024×768 LCD touchscreen display, 802.11a/n wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, accelerometer, compass, up to 10 hours of battery life, and more.

Also available is the factory-refurbished, 1st-generation Apple iPad 32GB Wi-Fi, model no. MB293LL/A, for $399. That’s another price-low, this time by $121. Both units carry a 1-year Apple warranty, the same as new units.

We also briefly saw a 32GB iPad for $299 at Cowboom this morning. Does all of this have anything to do with the TouchPad $99 nuttieness from the weekend? Unlikely.

Update: 16GB just went out of stock. Cowboom has 32GB for $299 on and off.
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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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