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From: Bill Wolf3/1/2012 10:18:50 AM
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Apple: iPads to Have Different SKUs, Cheaper Entry, Says DigiTimes
By Tiernan Ray

Tech pub DigiTimes has gone nuts this morning with their reporting on Apple (AAPL) and the iPad, producing what amounts to a full court press in advance of Apple’s special event on March 7th, at which the company is expected to unveil a new iPad.

In one article, Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report that Apple will offer two tiers of iPad, a model that comes with either 16 gigabytes of storage or 32 gigs, but also an iPad 3 that has just 8 gigs of storage, which they say allows the machine to “cover different segments and defend against Windows 8-based tablet PCs,” citing anonymous supply chain sources. That model might sell for $349 to $399, versus the current entry-level price of the iPad of $499.

In another article, penned by DigiTimes’s Max Wang and Steve Shen, the authors relate that Apple is ramping production of an iPad with a smaller 7.85-inch screen that might be made in Q3 of this year. The authors speculate that device might be sold for $249 to $299.

And still another article, this one by Shen and Siu Han, claims that Apple faces some supply constraints because of new, higher-resolution displays being used in the iPad 3, which may limit availability initially.

The new iPad is believed to have a “QXGA” resolution, at 2058 x 1536 pixels, or 264 pixels per inch.

Apple shares are up $5.22, or almost 1%, at $547.66 in early trading.


Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company

and Digtimes...........

Apple expected to unveil 16GB and 32GB iPad 3 as well as 8GB iPad 2 on March 7
Aaron Lee, Taipei; Joseph Tsai, DIGITIMES [Thursday 1 March 2012]

As Apple has scheduled an event on March 7, sources from its upstream supply chain pointed out that the company is expected to launch two iPad 3 models - a 16GB version and 32GB version.

In addition to iPad 3, Apple is also expected to unveil an 8GB iPad 2, allowing the tablet PC series to cover different segments and to defend against Windows 8-based tablet PCs, the sources noted.

Since Apple has put high hopes on its new iPad 3 and has been aggressively placing orders, iPad 3 shipments in the first quarter of 2012 are expected to double from original estimates.

The iPad 3 is expected to have a 9.7-inch Full HD QXGA panel with a resolution of 2048 by 1536 (264dpi) and its backlight module will adopt two LED light bars.

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From: Bill Wolf3/1/2012 10:19:31 AM
   of 147206

Low-cost smartphones may cannibalize feature phone market, says MediaTek executive
Josephine Lien, Barcelona; Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES [Thursday 1 March 2012]
Low-cost smartphones may soon begin to cannibalize the market for feature phones as the former devices are affordable enough to attract more consumers in emerging markets, particularly China, according to Hsieh Ching-chiang, president for IC design house MediaTek.

MediaTek's recently-launched MT6575 solution, designed for entry-level and mid-range Android phones, will drive company revenue growth in 2012, Hsieh indicated. The chip will also be incorporated into dual-core smartphones, with mass production for first models scheduled to begin in the third quarter, Hsieh said.

The new chip targets the market for US$150-180 priced smartphones, and has been adopted for Lenovo's 750-series smartphones, Hsieh pointed out.

Smartphone solutions accounted for about 10% of MediaTek's total handset-chip sales in 2011, and the proportion will climb significantly in 2012, Hsieh noted. He also disclosed that the firm will expand its smartphone chip line to include quad-core models in 2013.

In addition, MediaTek will continue promoting its MT6573 solution for sub-US$100 feature phones in 2012, Hsieh said. The feature phone market is still where MediaTek generates most of its sales, and therefore the firm thus far has no plans to stop developing chips for the sector, Hsieh said.

Expanding its market presence in China remains MediaTek's major goal in 2012, according to Hsieh. The firm expects to ship 50 million handset solutions to the region in 2012, up from about 10 million units in 2011.

Hsieh added that MediaTek expects to come up with a clear roadmap for products targeting tablet PCs in 2013 but remains focused on smartphone applications this year.

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To: Bill Wolf who wrote (110021)3/1/2012 10:26:21 AM
From: Eric Martin
   of 147206
Now that broad patents have been granted to Apple for multi-touch, we could be in for a serious disruption of the whole wireless phone sector. With these granted patents in their arsenal, Apple could have a very good case before the U. S. International Trade Commission to shut down import of almost all of the competitive smart phones.

It all hinges on whether Apple is still following the pledged vendetta by the late Steve Jobs that "I'm Going to Destroy Android, Because It's a Stolen Product", and "I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong." Jobs emotional response had the intensity of a former but not necessarily reformed intellectual property thief. He stole the essential elements of the Mac UI from Xerox Parc, then lost out to MS Windows lame cribbing of the Mac look and feel.

Multi-touch is probably the single most important innovation that distinguished the iPhone UI from prior touch screen devices like Palm. The smooth action of multiple gestures made the phone a window onto an underlying virtual screen that could be zoomed, pinched and scrolled in a way that acts in a seamless intuitive way.

Apple under Tim Cook is probably not the same company as it was a year ago. The Jobs vendetta may not be part of the corporate policy. Tim spent his early years at IBM which has a corporate culture that was severely shaken and molded by the multi-year anti-trust suit. Could Apple completely shut down Android in the U.S. and risk anti-trust action? Of course. Patents are legal monopolies, and Apple has no obligation to license multi-touch to any other company.

Such a disruption of the whole smartphone industry or as Jobs threatened "I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." could impact the whole supply chain which supplies Apple as well as all of the other smartphone manufacturers. It seems unlikely that Apple could become the only provider of smartphones and tablets in the U.S., but a disruption of the whole industry could wreck the growth curve of the whole industry including Qualcomm for a period of time.

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From: Bill Wolf3/1/2012 11:03:09 AM
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Smartphones Have Led, and Desktops Will Follow

BARCELONA, Spain — These days much of the action in the world of gadgets is happening in smartphones — like their sophisticated design and the apps that run on them. That has left desktop and laptop computers looking a little dull in comparison.

So computers are suddenly getting more phonelike.

Microsoft and Apple are leading the charge in this area. On Wednesday, Microsoft took the wraps off its latest operating system for computers and tablets, Windows 8, which mimics the look and feel of the company’s new software for phones. And Apple recently offered a preview of its next operating system for Macs, incorporating familiar elements from the iPhone and iPad.

“All of the major innovation for PCs is coming from the mobile phone,” said Tim Coulling, an analyst at the research firm Canalys.

The companies hope this strategy will give them added leverage in the market for tablets and smartphones, which is growing to rival the market for personal computers. And it could also help them sell more computers or, in Microsoft’s case, software for computers.

People who buy an iPad or iPhone, for example, might be more inclined to also buy a Mac computer if they work together seamlessly and have features that operate the same way on both devices. For Apple, which still has only a small share of the computer business, that could be a big advantage.

In Microsoft’s case, it needs to defend its traditional dominance of the PC operating system business with software that is versatile enough to also run on tablet computers.

This idea of a “continuum of computing” across various devices has long been “a promise of the future,” said Carolina Milanesi, a research analyst who covers the mobile industry for Gartner. “But now it is critical for success among consumers.”

Apple and Microsoft share an enemy in Google, which has the most popular cellphone operating system in Android but does not have a strong presence in software for computers. Part of Google’s strategy is to make up for that by offering sites and services on the Web that tie in with Android devices. This week the company unveiled a version of its Web browser, Chrome, that lets users synchronize their Web searches between their mobile devices and computers.

In the case of Apple’s next version of its computer operating system, called Mountain Lion, Apple has added several features that were previously mobile-only. It has revamped the Mac’s iChat software to be called Messages and made it work with the iMessage texting software in iPads and iPhones.

Mountain Lion, which is due out this summer, will also include Notification Center, a mobile feature that consolidates the cacophony of incoming e-mail messages, chat messages and online friend requests into a single window pane.

With Windows 8, which became available in a preview version on Wednesday, the inspiration Microsoft is drawing from its Windows Phone software for smartphones is striking. Windows 8 uses the same touch-friendly interface that Microsoft uses in Windows Phone. The interface, known as Metro, features a mosaic of tiles that can be tapped to start up applications, and that often spring to life with photos, e-mails and other new content from the Internet.

Windows 8 is intended to run both on tablet devices operated exclusively through a touchscreen and on more traditional computers controlled mainly by a keyboard and mouse. Microsoft executives have promised that the software works equally well either way.

And Windows 8 users will be able to switch from the Metro interface to a more traditional-looking Windows desktop if they wish. Bill Flora, a former Microsoft designer who was involved in creating Metro, said Microsoft needed to give users both options because it does not want to alienate the vast numbers of people who are used to the traditional Windows appearance.

“It’s such a huge aircraft carrier they are trying to move,” Mr. Flora said. “They want to carry people along rather than make a clean break.”

At Microsoft’s event at a mountaintop hotel here, Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows division, described Windows 8 as a “generational change” in how the company views its suite of products because of the way it creates a “unified OS experience across devices.”

Mr. Sinofsky said it was the company’s hope that the new software would dazzle consumers. “It’s an awesome opportunity for us,” he said.

For Microsoft, which still relies heavily on sales of computer software and has not had a hit phone or tablet, this is not just about design. It may be a matter of survival, and the company’s bold moves indicate how much is at stake, analysts said.

“Microsoft can’t compete with Apple using the old version of Windows, so they had to redesign from the ground up,” said Chetan Sharma, an independent wireless analyst.

Apple has 64 percent of the global market for tablets, and Android claims 32 percent, while Microsoft has less than 2 percent, according to recent data from Canalys. When it comes to smartphones, Microsoft has just 1.5 percent, while Apple has 19 percent and Android claims close to half the market.

“The PC is less relevant, and that means so is Windows,” said Michael Gartenberg, an industry analyst with Gartner. “Microsoft has to think about what that means for their future.”

For both Apple and Microsoft, tying together computers and mobile devices sets them up to charge monthly subscriptions for cloud-based services, like data storage, music or movies, that work across devices. “It’s no longer about one screen but access to the collection of services through a collection of screens,” Mr. Gartenberg said.

Down the road, the additional consumer data collected through these services could open up other business opportunities, like offering more precisely targeted ads or mobile coupons.

“They could tie desktop commerce to mobile and tablet commerce,” Mr. Sharma said. “It offers a better understanding of consumer behavior and when to show an ad on a desktop or a mobile device.”

Mr. Sharma added that a broad reach across mobile devices and computers could give these companies better bargaining power when striking deals with content companies for new services.

Both companies have also borrowed the concept of online app stores from the mobile side to create equivalent services for the computer operating systems. These are centralized online services where users browse, buy and download applications. Apple started its Mac App Store over a year ago; Microsoft opened what it calls the Windows Store on Wednesday.

Nick Wingfield reported from Seattle.

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From: Bill Wolf3/1/2012 11:18:25 AM
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Windows 8 on Intel is unlike ARM in crucial way, Microsoft confirms
Brooke Crothers
by Brooke Crothers February 29, 2012 8:55 PM PST

Again, the way the differences were presented by Sinofsky and Angiulo they almost seemed like an afterthought. But if you're one of probably millions of consumers that expect to run Windows 7 apps (and older apps) on your new Windows 8 tablet, then Intel-based tablets and PCs are your only option. Not a trivial point.

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To: Eric Martin who wrote (110053)3/1/2012 11:20:29 AM
From: Art Bechhoefer
   of 147206
Re: Apple patent for multi-touch screen may or may not be disruptive. Is it axiomatic that every new device like a smartphone or tablet should have a multi-touch screen? Might there be a better way to navigate and select options?

The trend, as shown by a new Apple system for the Macintosh, as well as new features designed into Microsoft's Windows 8, is to make smartphone and tablet features standard on laptops or ultrabooks. This doesn't necessarily mean that laptops will end up up with multi-touch screens, or even that acceptable tablets will incorporate that feature.

My own preference continues to be a good keyboard, suitable for touch typing (which I learned 65 years ago) and a screen size large enough to read without eye strain. I use a smartphone (Motorola, Sprint) and manage to put up with the touch features and small type size, but it's certainly far from my preference.


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To: Bill Wolf who wrote (110055)3/1/2012 11:24:46 AM
From: slacker711
   of 147206
One thing that worries me about Windows on ARM is that I have yet to hear any real predictions on the ASP or the extended battery life for an ARM tablet/laptop versus an Intel tablet/laptop. We are going to need to see significant differentiation to make up for the various drawbacks in terms of apps and drivers.


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To: ryhack who wrote (110046)3/1/2012 11:37:51 AM
From: ryhack
5 Recommendations   of 147206

Stamina more important than speed in mobile devices - Qualcomm

By Lewis Dowling, Total Telecom, in Barcelona
Thursday 01 March 2012

Chip maker develops optimisation techniques to boost performance of smartphone processors.

When it comes to mobile devices, the speed of the processor is less important than the ability to achieve a sustained high level of performance, Qualcomm said this week.

At a Mobile World Congress characterised by multiple quad-core processor device launches, the chip maker noted that with optimisation techniques at the software level dual-core processors can run for longer at top speed than a quad-core.

?[It's] not just how fast can this device run, but how long,? said Rob Chandhok, SVP of software strategy at Qualcomm, on Tuesday.

Chandhok insisted that Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 chip architecture - including single, dual, and quad-core CPU versions - is more efficient than its closest competitors, and can run for longer.

?Performance over a sustained period of time? is much more important than the GHz figure, he said, demonstrating that the Snapdragon processor inside a smartphone produces less heat in 20 minutes of usage than those of two unnamed competitors.

Qualcomm has a number of software optimisation techniques that it says enable it to get the best performance out of its processors.

Once these techniques have been applied, typically the S4 processor is around 30% faster than an equivalent processor, the company said. A browser can run between 30% and 40% faster, while for video applications the frames per second can be increased to around 50 from 17.

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From: Bill Wolf3/1/2012 12:13:32 PM
   of 147206
Verizon Making Big LTE Push This Year
Trefis Team

Verizon may have been the first to launch its 4G LTE network more than a year ago, but customers have yet to take to the new high-speed technology.

Speaking at an investor conference Monday, Verizon Wireless’ CFO Fran Shammo said that only about 5% of its total customer base use an LTE smartphone right now.

Verizon is currently well ahead of AT&T and Sprint in terms of LTE deployment with coverage in 196 markets across the U.S. It has also been actively promoting its LTE technology through the launch of cheaper smartphones and plans, and we believe LTE adoption rates are only going to pick up from here.

LTE still in its infancy; To come of age in 2012

LTE, as a nascent technology, has had numerous shortcomings. Current smartphones that support LTE are not only pricier than their 3G counterparts but also bulkier and highly power-inefficient. This is because the the chipset technology had not matured enough to provide integrated cellular modems with LTE capabilities.

Moreover, the chipsets were built on a 40nm manufacturing process that made power-efficient designs with LTE difficult. In addition, Verizon’s LTE technology has been plagued by numerous outages, the latest of which occurred only last week. [2]

But with the launch of Qualcomm’s latest integrated baseband chipsets last week, the answer to the first two problems has finally arrived. Not only are the baseband chipsets integrated on the core Snapdragon processor but are also built on a 28nm manufacturing process that conserves space and power, thereby removing two of the most significant bottlenecks that could have come in the way of mass 4G adoption. (see Qualcomm Gives The Wireless Industry A Reason To Celebrate)

Verizon is also slowly bringing down the prices of its LTE smartphones as an increasing number of customers adopt LTE. The latest Droid 4 offering from Verizon is available for only $199. In addition, the wireless carrier is currently promoting an LTE data plan that offers twice the usual monthly data allotment for half the price. [1]

Promotions and better chipsets aside, Verizon will now have to fix the bugs that have been causing the frequent LTE outages. Unmitigated problems with the LTE network will hinder widespread adoption as well as tarnish Verizon’s long-standing 3G reputation. However, we see the recent outages as initial hiccups inherent in any early stage adoption of a nascent technology. Thankfully, the outages haven’t come at a time Verizon’s LTE network is being used widely, giving Verizon enough time to identify and sort out the issues.

High network costs to be offset by higher ARPUs

Verizon has been aggressively spending on its LTE infrastructure, rapidly rolling it out in new markets to maintain its lead over rivals AT&T and Sprint as well as making sure the outages do not recur. Its capital expenditures have been rising over the last few years, owing to the rapid deployment of LTE as well as 3G network upgrades, and we do not see it coming down anytime soon. It will therefore be looking forward to an increased adoption of its LTE network as a way of recovering at least part of the huge capital expenses it has incurred.

The launch of the iPhone 5 with LTE capabilities later this year will help further drive 3G adoption. Although the iPhone 5 may be available on competing LTE networks as well, Verizon’s greater LTE coverage should help it attract more iPhone buyers. Higher LTE speeds will see subscribers increasingly using data-intensive applications on their smartphones. This will drive data revenues, thereby increasing ARPU levels for Verizon over the coming years.

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From: Bill Wolf3/1/2012 12:42:56 PM
   of 147206
Foss Patents

Apple wins German injunction against Motorola over photo gallery patent

I just attended, at the Munich I Regional Court, the public pronouncement of a decision on another Apple v. Motorola lawsuit in Germany. Presiding Judge Dr. Peter Guntz announced that Apple has won an injunction against all Motorola Mobility devices that implement EP2059868 on a "portable electronic device for photo management". This patent was derived from the overscroll bounce patent I once dubbed "Apple's favorite make-Android-awkward patent".

I expected this outcome in light of the trial I attended in December.

If Apple enforces the ruling, it can even require Motorola to destroy any infringing products in its possession in Germany and recall, at MMI's expense, any infringing products from German retailers in order to have them destroyed as well.

Motorola Mobility will undoubtedly be able to keep selling its products in Germany by modifying its operating software. Samsung is now also steering clear of infringement of a preliminary injunction ordered by a Dutch court over the same patent in August. There is a certain difference between the infringement findings of the two courts, but the fact of the matter is that Motorola will keep selling devices that will continue to have a photo gallery, though any workaround will definitely degrade the user experience. As a Samsung customer affected by an update following the Dutch injunction, I have experienced this myself.

While Apple won with respect to all of the accused products (including two smartphones as well as the Xoom tablet) in the form in which they were sold at the relevant time (and any future products that would have the same infringement pattern), Motorola successfully defended itself against Apple's infringement contentions relating to the zoomed-out mode of the Android photo gallery. It appears to me that the court could also have come down on Apple's side on this one because the outcome-determinative claim constructive issue was whether the edge of a photo is displayed if only a column of a width of a single pixel is visible (which means that formally it is displayed, but in practical terms it is not discernible by the user, a reason for which Apple might as well have won on this one or might win on appeal).

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