There’s been some buzz as of late regarding something “big” happening soon at $AAPL. A UPS worker confirmed seeing some packages bound for Cupertino, what it means nobody knows. Upon further investigation, I’ve seen numerous articles about how Apple will become a wireless carrier and sidestep it’s partners $VZ, $S & $T. The concept of Apple providing their own voice & data network isn’t exactly a new idea. Back when the original iPhone was released, Jobs stated that he wanted Apple to focus on what it was good at and partner with AT&T to provide the mobile infrastructure.
Things have changed a bit since 2007. Apple has a massive retail distribution network, over 150 million active credit cards on file and they’re sitting on a ton of cash. They could probably build out a nationwide network if they wanted to sure, but would they be willing to shift the company into the telecom industry? Currently, the carriers are paying much higher subsidies for iPhones than any other devices and the more that are sold, the more infrastructure costs grow. Building out a new 3 or 4th generation network requires extensive capital for switches, towers, cabling etc. With all of the regulatory headwinds that the major carriers face, is it worth it for Apple to take the leap? Would they really burn their past partners who have provided the data backbone for the wildly popular iOS platform? I’m not so sure.
One thing is certain – Apple needs a better strategy for getting people to pay for data on their iPads. According to ABI research, only 25% of iPads sold are 3G/4G capable and of those, only about half are activated on the cellular networks. If Apple were able to re-sell cellular data from major carriers, they would have the ability to deliver better pricing and performance to customers. iPad connectivity would only be focused on the data side rather than voice and it could help Apple get more mobile data subscribers. In the end, there are lots of moving pieces here. Check out the link below for more info on this topic.
Via E-Commerce Times
Image via MacObserver
Everybody loves a little competition. If I had my way, RIM would still be making competitive devices and Windows Phone 7 would be more developed. I have used Blackberry, Android and iOS extensively and after a few months with each end up wanting something different. My second cell phone was a Nokia 3310 and back then, Nokia was the real deal. Can the Lumia 900 rekindle their past as king of the mobile phones?
The once dominant Nokia has had some successes as of late. For example, The Lumia 900 is at the top of the Amazon best seller list above the Nexus and Razr Maxx. Hopefully this will bring more attention to the WP7 platform from developers, hardware manufacturers and most importantly, consumers.
Competition is a good thing, it drives innovation and keeps prices more competitive. As much as Google and Apple have dominated the market, I think there’s a chance for other platforms in the future. If Microsoft can launch it’s tablet OS successfully and attract developers, they may have a fair fight in the mobile battle. Gartner recently predicted that Microsoft will fail with their tablet OS (at least for consumers), but we’ll see. Let’s not forget that Windows Mobile was one of the most advanced mobile platforms before iOS and Android came along, the future is hard to predict with technology as we know.
I’m not sure this Lumia will solve all of Nokia’s problems but it’s certainly a key milestone for them as well as the WP7 platform as a whole. In the meantime, if you’re due for an upgrade, on AT&T and want to try something new, you can go pick one up for free.
The US Government has come to an agreement with major US carriers to establish a cross-organizational database to keep tabs devices that have been lost or stolen. When a customer reports a lost or stolen device, the carriers will update the database and effectively flag that handset. If and when somebody tries to activate a blacklisted device, the carriers will deny voice or data activation. The goal is to dramatically reduce the value of these black market devices and make it harder for thieves to resell them. For some time, Sprint & Verizon have made the effort to share flagged device information but AT&T and Deutch Telecom AG’s T-Mobile USA haven’t. This initiative will tie all their information together for the first time.
I read about this and wondered how big of a deal mobile phone theft is – apparently it’s a problem for many law enforcement agencies. Used iPhones go for several hundred dollars and it’s one of the fastest growing crimes nationwide.
In New York there were more than 26,000 incidents of electronics theft in the first 10 months of 2011—81% involving mobile phones—according to an internal police-department document reported by the New York Daily News.
So far a plan has been agreed to but the project hasn’t been implemented yet. Within 6 months, individual carriers are expected to have their databases ready to share with complete integration within the next year after that. There may be challenges integrating CDMA and GSM standards but we’ll see how the timeline holds.
Considering most people have small amounts of cash on them but expensive smartphones, thieves are stealing electronics more than cash states the WSJ report. With these shared databases and easy to use applications like Find my iPhone, it’s bad news for phone thieves!
The surge in mobile software and other apps has also led to a surge in jobs, almost half a million just in the U.S., estimates a study out today from CEO network TechNet.
All of the must-have applications available on iOS, Android, Blackberry & other smartphone platforms translate to literally thousands of jobs for programmers, designers, managers, marketers etc. The jobs the Technet study looks at a range from development roles at companies who specialize in applications (Zynga) to internal app developers at companies such as Bank Of America.
Check out the size of the “app economy” as well as this awesome infographic about mobile applications:
Via CNET and FrugalDad
I didn’t want to write a lot about the over-covered iPad 3 launch, but I found the energy consumption aspect to be of interest. The “new iPad” may promise similar battery life as the iPad 2, however performing most tasks it uses twice as much energy. Apple increased the size of the batter and due to engineering magic, managed to pack it inside a thin slab along with powerful hardware and an impressive 2048 by 1536 display. The “hot tablet” has been reported to reach external temperatures of 116 degrees Fahrenheit which has drawn some bad press shortly after launch. Apple and experts have downplayed the issue and attributed it to how the device is used which varies greatly from user to user.
The statistics behind the increased battery size are interesting to say the least. In tests performed by Anandtech and Displaymate, the impressive display increases power draw from 2.7 watts on the iPad 2 to 7 watts on the new iPad. That’s not all:
In other types of tests conducted by various tech publications, the new iPad consistently performs more poorly than the iPad 2. Anandtech, for instance, found that the new iPad draws 4.58 watts while surfing the Web over Wi-Fi while the iPad 2 draws a mere 2.48 watts. DisplayMate found that the new iPad at maximum brightness sitting idle draws 7.32 watts. The iPad 2? Only 3.47 watts. CNET found that the iPad 2 draws 1.76 watts at 150 candelas per square meter (cd/m2) brightness for 720p video playback. The new iPad draws 3.32 watts. These results show that there is approximately a doubling of power consumption, yet the new iPad’s battery increased in size only 70%, from 25 watt hours to 42.5 watt hours.
As a happy iPad 2 owner, I am not compelled to upgrade at this point. The battery and heat issues, larger form factor and in my opinion, unneeded specifications, it isn’t worth it. The 2nd generation iPad has cameras for Facetime and can handle any GPU-intensive task I throw at it with ease. The battery life is great and it’s my best friend while traveling (on business at least). I am intrigued by the high resolution of the new model but for such a small screen, I think the original resolution does the job just fine. When apps have been reported to be twice the size for the retina-display based iPad and Apple still offers 16GB in the $500 wifi model, I think it’s a touch decision. My personal recommendation is for original iPad or non-iPad owners to get the new model and those with the 2nd generation to wait for next March. The $400 base-model iPad 2’s Apple sells directly are also worth looking at for those on a budget who don’t need all the bells and whistles.
2011: the year Smartphones supplanted computers, at least according to the bundle of spreadsheets that just arrived from Canalys Research. Vendors shipped (shipped, not sold) 488 million of the devices, compared to 414.6 million “PCs,” which erroneously includes Tablet PCs of all shapes and sizes. Looking at Smartphones exclusively (IDC’s numbers from yesterday concerned all mobile handsets), Appleremains king of the hill having shipped 93.1million iPhones. Samsung is close behind, with 91.9 million and Nokia is kicking along in third with 19.6 million. For all of the doomsaying around RIM, it’s nestled in fourth, although Canalys chose not to include its numbers. Framing the research as “PCs versus Smartphones” isn’t the wisest, given the fragmentation and hybridization prevalent in the market today. Drilling down into those numbers, we learn that 63.2 million tablets were pushed out last year, cannibalizing netbook shipments (dropping 34.5 percent in a year), but desktop and laptop movements remained relatively stable. We’ve included the full report and the most relevant table of data for your perusal and insight (hint: there’s no points for saying netbooks are on the way out).
We have seen this coming for a while, however the numbers have finally been proven by Canalys. In 2011, more tablet & smartphone mobile devices were shipped than PC’s with Apple’s explosive iPhone popularity leading the pack. Personally, I have noticed a huge increase in mobile-optimized websites from just a few years ago and it makes sense – even looking at web analytics reports from over the years shows mobile views on an upswing. I mentioned the need for Facebook & other social networking giants to start taking mobile advertising seriously, and this is why. These social media platforms weren’t designed with mobility in mind therefore need to play catch-up and figure out how to create revenue from this growing market.
Image Via Engadget
There has been a lot of buzz recently regarding RIM’s flagship devices going the way of the Walkman or VCR – with Blackberry device sales plummeting in the US as well as repeatedly not meeting earnings estimates, RIM certainly looks to be in trouble. Recently, RIM’s board appointed a new CEO – Thorsten Heins to help clean up the mess. The new captain seems optimistic and has stated an interesting point at a press conference yesterday:
While RIM is growing in other countries, Heins conceded that its U.S. business is in need of a major revival after losing out to rivals like Apple Inc’s iPhone at U.S. service providers and corporations, where it once had a clear advantage among employees heavily dependent on its email service.
“In general I wouldn’t consider RIM as a turnaround candidate. It is a turnaround candidate in the U.S.,” he said. “We lost market share in this market quite substantially. That is something that we have to address.”
Most of the (negative) attention RIM has received lately is mostly US-centric, where we are seeing competitors such as Google and Apple’s handset sales skyrocketing. What I find interesting is in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Blackberry handset sales are actually growing quickly, even compared to it’s primary competitors. Take a look at the graphic below which shows growth in Indonesia vs. the US over the past several years. Competitor’s handsets such as the iPhone have high-end internals such as hi-res cameras, hi-res displays, dual-core processors etc. and the margins are much tighter in countries with reduced buying power. The other thing to think about is infrastructure – developing nations do not have the extensive mobile broadband networks that we do in the US and Blackberry handsets use far less data than Google or Apple-based smartphones.
In summary, I think RIM has lots of work to do to attempt to regain market share in the US but they are certainly not dead and will be around for some time. Many enterprises (specifically in the Financial/Insurance industries) are still heavily reliant on RIM’s handsets and the security that goes with them. There was also an interesting point in the Reuters article stating only 20% of US Blackberry customers are using the latest handsets, so this will certainly be a goal for them in terms of refreshing devices and making sure it’s customers are on the latest software versions.