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“On non-mobile devices, our lives are quickly shifting from native applications [i.e. coded for a specific computer or smartphone's operating system] to Web applications, but by Apple dominating the consumer smartphone market first, and executing it beautifully, they have started to set some really unhealthy precedents that the rest of the industry is copying while simply trying to keep pace,” said Zeke Shore, the Co-Founder and Creative Director of design firm Type/Code.
Shore is essentially saying that Apple has become the middleman between developers trying to get their product to market and iPhone users.
Developer and blogger Joe Hewitt, the man behind Firefox and the Facebook application for the iPhone, made a similar claim after the release of the iPhone 3GS. Hewitt said Apple needs to eliminate the App Store review process in order to foster more diverse application development.
“There is this thing called the World Wide Web which already works that way, and it has served millions and millions of people quite well for a long time now,” Hewitt wrote on his blog.
He also says Apple does little to actually check apps for bugs, which is already the responsibility of the original developers, and the review process is more about legal compliance and terms of service violations.
“They don’t trust us, and I resent that, because the vast majority of us are trustworthy,” he added.
Since making those comments, Hewitt has quit all of his iPhone development projects and gone back to Web development.
Yet, thanks to its popularity, the iPhone is in little danger of being replaced by a better system. It also does give those willing to cooperate a chance to share, and get paid for, their hard work.
“The app store is definitely a powerful marketing vehicle, and having your app listed in the top 10, or top 100 even, means a … ton of sales to a mass market,” Shore commented.
Apple’s App Store has given the developers who get approved access to 40 million users and the iPhone is a huge platform for anyone trying to make their name in the business. There are currently 500,000 apps for the iPhone, many of them selling for as little as 99 cents.
The minuscule price tag — especially compared to games with sell for as much as $60 for consoles like the Xbox — has made apps accessible to thousands upon thousands of people.
But, some developers have lamented the 99-cent trend, which they feel is skewing new applications toward the quick and cheap.
In an open letter to the late Steve Jobs, software designer Craig Hockenberry said that he loves the competitive atmosphere that the App Store creates, but that he has found it difficult to sell a quality application at $4.99 or even $2.99, when so many go for a fraction of the price.
“We have a lot of great ideas for iPhone applications. Unfortunately, we’re not working on the cooler (and more complex) ideas,” Hockenberry wrote on his blog. “Instead, we’re working on 99¢ titles that have a limited lifespan and broad appeal. Market conditions make ringtone apps most appealing.”
Others, like Angry Birds creator Peter Vesterbacka, love the 99-cent model. Vesterbacka said at the Game Developers Conference in February that the price allows him to constantly update the Angry Birds game with new levels.
There are also deeper issues involved in Apple’s App Store review process, and, although Apple is a corporation it is essentially censoring what users get to see.
“No porn apps might, subjectively, be a reasonable policy, but that gets really fuzzy in more artistic, literary, creative, experimental, political and satirical realms,” Shore said. “Why does Apple get to decide whats OK for me to see?”
Maybe the biggest problem about Apple’s App Store policy is that there is no other way in. If Apple decides something isn’t OK, then users cannot have it, at least not legally. Android and other operating systems also regulate and approve applications, but they also allow users to download any program at their own discretion and peril.
Apple users can get renegade apps, but they first need to “jailbreak” their phone, which voids the warranty. A group of developers who were rejected by Apple opened an unauthorized App Store called Cydia, where one app maker made $19,000 in just two weeks of sales.
Type/Code has not made any native iPhone applications. It is mainly a Web design company, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t open to application development in general.
“We want the Internet to win over native apps,” Shore noted. “Anything that can be a Web app rather than a native app should be, for a couple a reasons: so we have total control over it, so it doesn’t need to approved, so we can roll out fixes and improvements instantly rather needing to be approved again, and so it doesn’t get taxed by 30 percent [by Apple], and more practically, so it doesn’t need to be rebuilt on each platform.”
Does all this mean that Apple should go away? Well, Shore, like 40 million others, owns an iPhone and isn’t going to give it up anytime soon.
“I love Apple products. They are really [deleted] good,” Shore said. “I love that everything I hate about them grew out them putting the user first, by resolving that they would settle for nothing short of perfection for users as a business model, and that great design is what got them to where they are now.
“It’s because they are so good that they can define these dangerous paradigms, and the rest of the industry just follows.”
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To celebrate the brilliant entrepreneurship and inventive genius of Steve Jobs, we dedicate this post to him by showing our tech savvy traveller how having an iPhone in your pocket can save the day. Rest in Peace Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)
“3 Apples changed the world: One seduced Eve, the second awakened Newton and the third was in the hands of Steve Jobs.” – Daniel Neville
Top 5 Best Travel Apps for iPhone
Skype, Skype, Skype. What would we do without you? This is the cheapest way to contact the house-sitter and check whether you remembered to turn the stove off when you’re 8 000 km across the country fraternising with Berbers.
2. World Customs
You don’t want to tick anyone off so after enjoying a meal in a foreign country, you can now browse your iPhone and find out whether you should be burping or farting to show your appreciation for the meal.
This travel app allows you to browse through various cultural customs and make sure you’re in the know with all the cultural do’s and don’ts of the company you find yourself in. Definitely one of the best travel apps for iPhone.
So, the idea of sitting on the loo for three quarters of your trip, because you picked a bad restaurant, doesn’t sound so great. I hear you. With UrbanSpoon you can avoid the dodgy restaurants and with a simple shake of your headset the best local restaurant guide is at your fingertips.
Note to traveller: If you opt for certain Thai or Indian dishes, you’re going to end up on the loo anyway. Not even the best travel apps can save you from that. #FoodThatBurnsTwice
*This application works in selected cities in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Sydney.
4. Next Flight
Okay, so you get halfway to the airport and realise you’ve left grandma behind. So you make a U-turn, pick Gam-Gam and her zimmer frame up, and arrive back at the airport too late. You just missed your flight. Doh!
Next Flight tracks scheduled departures from over 4,200 airports and 1,100 airlines so you can easily find the next available flight so that you don’t miss that amazing African sunset, making Next Flight one of the best travel apps.
No doubt, out of utter excitement, you’ve researched your travel destination to the ends of the earth before your departure, but when you get there you’ll find that there may be an area that you pass through you don’t know much about. HearPlanet to the rescue! Once you’ve installed the app, its like you have your own personal tour guide in your pocket. HearPlanet tells you about nearby attractions and then plays the Wikipedia location description aloud. Awesome! Come to think of it, this is also a great application for travellers with bad vision, but I think their guide dog would probably have trouble navigating their way around the iPhone without opposable thumbs.
So instead of forking out extra cash on a human tour guide, download HearPlant and afford to spend an extra day exploring a stretch of the world.
So you’ve got the iPhone and are keen to download the best travel apps, now all you need to do is book your trip! – Discover Africa
Article source: http://www.iol.co.za/top-5-best-travel-apps-for-iphone-1.1154807
ATT announced on Tuesday the upcoming release of the Motorola Atrix 2 smartphone and four other new Android devices, bringing the wireless carrier’s total Android lineup for the year to 19, seven more than originally planned.
The second-largest wireless operator in the U.S. issued a statement early Tuesday broadcasting the upcoming availability of five new Android phones: Motorola Atrix 2, Samsung DoubleTime, Samsung Captivate Glide, Pantech Pocket and the ATT Avail.
“Committed to serving the growing number of Android fans, ATT now provides more options for customers seeking the Android OS experience at a variety of price points, form factors and through unique services,” the company said.
The Atrix 2, the flagship device of the bunch, is Motorola’s followup to the Atrix 4G released earlier this year. Though the original Atrix garnered significant pre-release interest for its impressive technical specifications and unique accessories, including a laptop dock and media station, sales failed to live up to early expectations.
The second-generation handset “combines “extreme power” with “life of the party” all at an affordable price,”" ATT wrote in its press release. The phone sports a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 4G HSPA+ connectivity, and a 4.3-inch display. Like Apple’s recently-announced iPhone 4S, the Atrix 2 has an 8-megapixel camera and can record video in 1080p HD.
Motorola’s new smartphone will compete with Apple’s iPhone 4S when it goes on sale on Oct. 16, just two days after the launch of the new iPhone. With an aggressive $99 price tag, the Atrix 2 undercuts the iPhone 4S, which starts at $199.
The other four upcoming devices round out ATT’s Android offerings to a total of 19 in 2011, with more planned to come. Prior to the most recent batch of Android phones, ATT had launched 12 Android smartphones and two new Android tablets this year.
The Samsung Captivate Glide is the other “premium smartphone” of the bunch, featuring a side-slide QWERTY keyboard and a 1GHz. The device boasts a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, 8-megapixel flash camera and 1080p video recording. Samsung’s DoubleTime sports a full flip keyboard, the older Android 2.2 operating system and a white and pink color scheme. Meanwhile, the Pantech Pocket is billed as the ideal device for “customers focused on social entertainment and messaging. Finally, the ATT-branded Avail, produced by ZTE, is a device built for ATT’s GoPhone pre-paid business.
Though ATT was Apple’s original carrier partner for the iPhone in 2007, the carrier made moves to reduce its reliance on Apple ahead of the loss of its exclusive on U.S. iPhone sales in February of this year.
ATT announced late last week that it had received 200,000 preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first 12 hours of availability. Apple offered up a second figure early Monday when it revealed that it had received a total of one million preorders for the iPhone 4S in the first 24 hours. Preorders for the device are backed up, with current shipping estimates of 1-2 weeks on Apple’s website.
Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S last week, showing off new Siri personal assistant voice technology, an improved 8-megapixel camera and the faster A5 processor.
With the iPhone 4S launching this week, Android competitors are preparing their responses. Google and Samsung had sent out invitations for an event next week, presumably to launch the next-generation Nexus Prime smartphone running Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” but the event has been rescheduled, reportedly out of respect for the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Android handset makers are expected to finalize their fall lineups within weeks in order to challenge the iPhone during the holiday season.
More Related Articles in appleinsider.com/articles/11/10/11/att_hedges_iphone_4s_bet_with_5_new_android_devices.html”AppleInsider
Article source: http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/etn/news_content.php?id=1732242
Features you need to know before the release of the iOS 5 on October 12, and iPhone 4S on October 14.. like the Facebook for iPad application.
iOS 5 will arrive this week, October 12, exactly two days before the release date of the iPhone 4S, (and not the iPhone 5). Surprisingly, Facebook catches up with a new iOS application designed for both the iPhone and the iPad.
Facebook for iPad
Surprisingly, Facebook finally releases the Facebook for iPad, the first official Facebook application for Apple’s popular tablet PCs running iOS operating system. However, Facebook’s iTunes page said the application is “iOS 4.0 Tested” and no word yet on its compatibility with iOS 5.
The new Facebook for iPad is also the same app running on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Facebook said, “This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.”
Facebook for iPad was the long-rumored app from the popular social networking site. According to rumors, the Facebook for iPad application had been held ”hostage” due to Apple and Facebook’s rumored feud over Ping.
Facebook’s social networking rival is the baby of the iOS 5, as Apple has implemented a deep Twitter integration with the iOS 5. The “deeper integration” means easier Tweeting and Tweeting while using your iOS 5-equipped device. Apple explained, “iOS 5 makes it even easier to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Sign in once in Settings, and suddenly you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps.
iOS 5 is PC Free
Previous iOS versions, like the iOS 4 pre-installed in the iPhone 4 on its debut last year, require PC or Mac to activate and set up a new iOS device. The PC Free feature of the iOS 5 will allow compatible devices to be activated without the wires. Plus, owners with the iOS 5 can download free iOS software updates directly on the device wirelessly. It is worth noting that new Apple smartphones, iPods or iPads bought after the iOS 5 release are pre-installed with iOS 5.
iOS 5 is actually the update made by Apple to compete against Android, the most popular operating system based on market share. Apparently, notification is one of the strongest features of the Android, and it looks like iOS 5 will equally compete. Apple said, “Notification Center is the best way to stay on top of your life’s breaking news.”
iOS 5′s Notification Center is the collection of “new email, texts, friend requests, and more,” and the new iOS 5 will give the user a better notification while playing or watching a Youtube video.
iPhone 5 not coming this year
I’ve seen a lot of reports about the iPhone 5 from other websites. It is worth noting that the iPhone 4S is not the iPhone 5. iPhone 5 is a device that may (or may not) arrive next year as part of Apple’s yearly device cycle. iPhone 4S is the smartphone that will arrive this year powered by A5 chip and with an 8-megapixel camera and iOS 5 pre-installed.
This report was originally posted on PopHerald.com as iOS 5, iPhone 4S release date fact check: Facebook included?, under Internet and Social Media Category. Tags used: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iOS 5, Facebook. Sources: PopHerald, Apple.
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The company revealed that it is investing in a wide-reaching 4G LTE network and planning to roll out the service in mid 2012. Although the company didn’t mention anything about the iPhone 5, its investment in 4G technology, coupled with the inclination toward the iPhone brand, does suggest that the year 2012 could possibly witness the iPhone 5, or whatever the name would be, as the Cupertino tech giant’s first LTE smartphone.
Reporters were told at the event that it would take two to three years from now for Sprint to fully enable their 4G network, and its first 4G devices will be dual-mode CDMA/LTE devices. The devices will include both tablets and smartphones that are expected to be available in mid 2012. That would also be the time for Apple Inc.’s 2012 WWDC. Sprint is expecting 15 4G-ready devices in the first wave.
Sprint revealed that over the next 4 years, the cost for the LTE chipset is set to decline and is expected to come in line with price of the current 3G chip sets. This could probably be one of the main reasons why Apple decided not to deploy LTE technology into the iPhone 4S.
The carrier also said that its modified network infrastructure will combine both 3G and 4G network platforms. It is expected to be flexible, with less utility requirement, less of a footprint and, at the same time, at low-cost.
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In this edition of Ask Maggie, I do my best to answer the unanswerable: when will the real iPhone 5 hit the market? I also offer some further explanation for why the iPhone 4S, even though it is the exact same phone sold on every carrier, will not be able to be used on all three U.S. iPhone carriers. In other words, I explain why a
Verizon iPhone 4S won’t work on ATT’s or Sprint’s network, even though it’s the exact same phone.
Ask Maggie is an advice column that answers readers’ wireless and broadband questions. The column now appears twice a week on CNET offering readers a double dosage of Ask Maggie’s advice. If you have a question, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an e-mail at maggie dot reardon at cbs dot com. And please put “Ask Maggie” in the subject header. You can also follow me on Facebook on my Ask Maggie page.
Predictions for the iPhone 5
I still have the iPhone 3GS. I was hoping for the iPhone 5, but no such luck. I know some of the reasons why Apple likely introduced the iPhone 4S instead of the iPhone 5. In your opinion, do you think Apple will release the iPhone 5 in June 2012? I probably can hold out until then t for the iPhone 5. But if it’s going to be September or October, then I’ll go ahead and get the iPhone 4S.
It’s always difficult to predict when Apple, which is one of the most secretive companies, will launch a new model of a popular product, such as the iPhone. And it’s even harder to make such a prediction right after the latest model has been introduced.
Still, “When is the next iPhone coming?” is by far the most frequently asked question that I get. So I will do my best to offer my opinion as you have asked. But please keep in mind this is my personal opinion. I don’t have inside knowledge into Apple’s product launch strategy. I don’t own a crystal ball. And there’s a good chance that I may be wrong.
But I have been covering this beat for a while, and I’ve observed several Apple product launches. So I think I have some valuable insight based on this history. And if you’ve been following my work, I can say that I have a pretty good track record for making certain predictions. I said as far back as February that I didn’t think that a new iPhone model introduced in 2011 would have 4G LTE capability. And I was correct. For some consumers, the lack of 4G LTE is among one of the big disappointments of the iPhone 4S. But I always suspected that introducing a 4G LTE device in 2011 would be too soon for Apple.
So when do I think the new iPhone 5 will be on the market, and what are some of the key features that I think will be a part of this new product?
Let’s start with the new features. I think the new iPhone will likely sport the new teardrop-shape, thinner design that many have talked about for months. There’s been way too much chatter about the new design of this product for Apple to not be pretty far along in some of the new design elements of the device. Plus, a newly designed product fits with Apple’s previous timeline and strategy for product launches. The iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS had the same design, but the 3GS had improved components. And then came the iPhone 4, which had a new design. Now the iPhone 4S will sport the same basic design as the previous generation iPhone 4, but it will have a better camera and faster processor.
In addition to the new design, I also expect the iPhone 5, if that’s what Apple chooses to call the next iPhone, to include the 4G network technology LTE. And I also think it will include Near Field Communications or NFC, a technology that turns iPhones into digital wallets used to store and offer payments for things by touching the device to a special terminal.
NFC makes sense because it’s a feature that Apple’s biggest competitor, Google Android phones, will have. In 2012, every major smartphone manufacturer making devices based on the Google Android OS is expected to have NFC chips in its high-end smartphones. Google will be pushing this technology in a big way over the next year as it tries to promote its Google Wallet application and technology.
NFC was rumored to be in the iPhone schedule for launch this fall. But it didn’t materialize. That’s why I think it will likely be in the next iteration of the device. In some ways, it has to be in order to keep up with a slew of new Google Android devices.
The same is true of the faster 4G network technology called LTE. Over the next year, LTE will become a significant feature in most high-end smartphones. In order for the iPhone to continue to compete in these markets and against manufacturers using the Google Android operating system, Apple will need a product that can also offer 4G speeds.
While ATT claims that its version of the iPhone 4S will operate on a “4G” network, this claim is a stretch of the truth. The 4G ATT refers to is for its HSDPA technology or a technology it calls HSPA+. But the chip inside the iPhone 4S doesn’t support the fastest available speeds, which can go up to 21MBps. Instead, it only supports the 14Mbps spec. This coupled with the fact that ATT has still not upgraded all of its markets with sufficient backhaul infrastructure, means that it will be likely for most consumers to notice a supposed speed boost.
So this leads me into the timing of a new iPhone launch. Because I think that Apple will want to include LTE in the next iteration of the product and because I expect LTE technology to get cheaper and more power efficient over the next six months, I think it’s very possible that an iPhone 5 with LTE could be released in June. It might be a stretch to expect a device before then. But it’s not impossible.
Still, June or July would make sense for several reasons. For one, customers who bought the iPhone 4 when it first launched would be ready for their two-year upgrade from carriers. Also, I believe that LTE carrier deployments will be a lot further along by June. And I think that the technology will have advanced enough that Apple would feel comfortable adding it in their phones.
The current implementation of LTE technology is too bulky for the iPhone’s design. But Qualcomm is expected to have an integrated LTE chip that will fit Apple’s iPhone specifications by the second quarter 2012. So new devices could be launched midyear using these chips.
Apple can’t afford to wait too long to introduce a 4G LTE version of its phone, but you must also remember that the company is typically not the first to launch devices with cutting edge network technology. The first iPhone in 2007 only operated on a 2.5G network, despite the fact that other vendors had already been making 3G devices. By 2008, when the iPhone 3G was launched, 3G network service was deployed more fully. The technology had matured a bit and Apple put it in the iPhone 3G.
The same is true today with 4G LTE. Carrier are just now building out the networks, so 4G LTE coverage is not ubiquitous. Verizon Wireless is by far the furthest along in its deployment. ATT is moving slowly down this path. Sprint recently announced details of its plans to launch an LTE network as well. It expects to begin offering its first wave of LTE-enabled products next summer.
Of course, there’s a chance that Apple pushes the launch back a couple of months. I’ll be the first to admit that I did not expect Apple to push back the iPhone 4S launch to October. So as I mentioned in my disclaimer, I could be wrong, even though all signs for me point to a summer launch for iPhone 5.
That said, if you currently have an iPhone 3GS, and your contract has already expired, there’s nothing wrong with upgrading to the iPhone 4S now. It’s a good phone with plenty of enhancements over the 3GS version of the device. As I wrote in this column on Friday, you could sell your iPhone 4S when a new iPhone 5 comes out, whether that is in June or October 2012.
I hope that was helpful advice.
iPhone 4S carrier confusion
I am still confused about the unlocked iPhone 4S and using an iPhone 4S on any carrier network. If I buy an iPhone 4S now, and I use it on Verizon’s network. After my contract ends in two years, can I use that same device on Sprint? And then would I also be able to switch it to ATT?
When I go to buy an iPhone 4S will there be phones for all three different carriers? Or will I buy one iPhone 4S that can be activated on any of these networks.
Confused in Michigan
Dear Confused in Michigan,
I have some bad news for you. Even though the iPhone 4S has the exact same components and radios on all three U.S wireless operators, the phone will be locked to specific carriers via software.
Typically, the hardware differs on phones offered by different carriers. For instance, a GSM carrier wouldn’t include a CDMA radio in its device. So it would be impossible for an ATT phone to operate on a Sprint Nextel or Verizon Wireless network, since those carriers use CMDA. But to make manufacturing easier and less expensive for Apple, it is making the iPhone 4S with the same design and components for each of the major U.S wireless carriers. The dual-mode CDMA/GSM chip means that carriers like Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel, which operate on CDMA can use the same device as one made for ATT, a GSM carrier.
In theory, this means you could buy an iPhone 4S, use it on Verizon for a couple of years and then use it on Sprint’s network or ATT’s network later. But unfortunately, that only works in the theoretical world. Wireless carriers will do all they can to maintain control of you as a customer and to ensure that you only use a device bought for their network on their network. That’s why they each put software locks on all their devices to ensure that you can’t buy a phone from one carrier, quit that service, and use it on another carrier’s network.
This means that when Apple begins selling devices on Friday, the Verizon iPhone 4S will only operate on Verizon. And the Sprint iPhone 4S will only work on Sprint. ATT’s iPhone 4S will only be used for ATT.
Apple and ATT are selling unlocked versions of the iPhone, but the unlocked version only works with ATT or another GSM carrier, such as T-Mobile USA or overseas GSM carriers. The phone won’t have the software lock. This means that the SIM card, which is used on every GSM device to provide network access, can be popped out and replaced with another carrier’s network SIM card.
But keep in mind if you buy an unlocked iPhone 4S, T-Mobile and ATT use different frequencies to deliver 3G and HSPA+ services. So if you use the iPhone 4S on T-Mobile, it will only operate on a 2.5G network.
Since CDMA phones used on Sprint’s and Verizon’s networks do not have SIM cards, they are much more difficult to unlock and swap for use on other networks. To unlock and switch service on a Verizon or Sprint CDMA phone, you’d have to get a software unlock code from the carrier to unlock the device. And then you would have to ask the carrier on whose network you wish to use, to activate service on that network for your iPhone 4S.
It wouldn’t be impossible to do this. And there have been instances where someone has used an unlocked CDMA phone from one carrier and activated it on another CDMA network. But it’s not common. Because the iPhone is such a popular device, it’s very unlikely that either Verizon or Sprint would allow customers to unlock and/or activate these iPhones on their networks.
Of course, I am sure that someone will figure out how to provide unlock codes and software for people wishing to circumvent the carriers. But this is not likely something that will be easy or accessible for average consumers. My colleague Kent German, section editor at CNET Reviews, said this process would likely involve several steps. He also pointed out that unlocking a phone is not the same as “jailbreaking” a device. And the software used for “jailbreaking,” which basically allows you to download apps that aren’t approved by Apple and are not in the official Apple App store, won’t necessarily unlock the device.
The bottom line is this: Even though the iPhone 4S is technically identical on all three carriers, don’t buy one from one carrier and expect to take your phone to a competing carrier if you get fed up with their service. It won’t be something that can be done easily. And you probably won’t get much help or support from either carrier.
Sorry to deliver the disappointing news. Good luck!
Sprint shares, which fell 19.9% Friday following a disastrous meeting with analysts in which the company warned it would need more capital to completes its build-out plans for adding 4G services using the LTE standard, is down again Monday, as the Street heaps scorn on the meeting and the company’s prospects. At least five analysts cut their ratings on the company this morning.
In addition to the unexpected need for more capital, the Street was grumpy over the lack of clarity of the costs involved in the company’s roll-out of the Apple iPhone, and there remains serious confusion about what the company’s position is on Clearwire; Sprint remains the largest investors in the broadband wireless company, but seems to be backing away from its relationship as fast as it can. The combination of factors has left the Street much more wary on the prospects for the company.
- J.P. Morgan analyst Philip Cusick cut his rating on the stock to Neutral from Overweight. “Sprint has gone for us from a rebounding top-line story to one more about long-term network-vision driven technology changes and cost cutting, topped with a fear of cash burn amid a tight capital market,” he writes in a research note. “While subscriber numbers will likely improve from here driven by the iPhone, we believe that as long as Sprint is burning cash and both it and ecosystem partners need additional capital, it will be tough for the stock to work.” He notes that the $10 billion the company expects to spend through 2013 to build the LTE network is well above the $7 billion he had estimated.
- Deutsche Bank analyst Brett Feldman cut his rating to Hold from Buy, with a new target of $3, down from $6. Feldman says the meeting Friday “left us with too many unanswered questions about critical issues,” including the company’s 4G spectrum strategy and the fate of its relationship with Clearwire, its funding plans for its Network Vision 4G buildout, and the financial impact of the addition of the iPhone. “We believe the shares will remain range-bound until visibility improves.”
- Collins Stewart analyst Greg Miller cut his rating to Hold from Buy. “After upgrading the stock only two months ago, we are returning to a Neutral rating after the details of the Network Vision plan call for substantially higher cap-ex, lower wireless service margins and significantly higher cash consumption while at the same time effectively abandoning a 4G platform it had touted for years as an industry leader,” he writes. “We no longer look for margins to rebound sooner with higher spending.”
- Kaufman Bros. analyst Ben Abramovitz cut his rating to Hold from Buy, as well. “We continue to believe that Clearwire will remain a part of Sprint’s 4G strategy for capacity, but that management is playing a reckless game of chicken in their deviation from the existing strategy,” he writes. “We believe the major revisions have brought into question management’s ability to remain focused on driving shareholder value, and has increased the potential for lawsuits stemming from their relationship with Clearwire.”
- Raymond James analyst Ric Prentiss cut his rating to Outperform, from Strong Buy; he cut his target to $3, from $6. He notes that higher-than-expected capital spending, an accelerating of the decommissioning of the iDEN network, a reduction in the use of Clearwire’s network and the costs associated with selling the iPhone will stress the company’s balance sheet for the next couple of years. “We expect Sprint will draw down its existing revolver in the near-term and then access the debt markets in the next six months,” he writes.
Sprint this morning is down 17 cents, or 7.1%, to $2.24.
Regardless of the hubbub, Apple (AAPL) is clearly late with its iPhone 5 Launch. Many people expected that the Oct 4th keynote was supposed to herald the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, yet we only received the latter. Apple’s iPhone 4S is a solid phone but it is clearly not the ground breaking mobile phone that can fend off the myriad of sophisticated high-end Android devices that tout 3D cameras, 3D displays, much larger AMOLED screens etc. This is undoubtedly a drag for Apple as it will lead to the loss of some of its high end customers. However, it’s very encouraging to see Tim Cook’s intent on capturing the rest of that 95% of the mobile phone market with continuing software support and distribution of older generation iPhones. This will help to reach the massive population of low-end users at home and abroad.
Instead of creating multiple models to target different price points, Apple just has one model and sells the older generation iPhones at the lower price points. This will extend the product life of every single generation of iPhones and minimizes the RD, and production retooling costs for Apple. Brilliant.
Technologically, Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) high-end Android phones are almost a generation ahead of Apple’s iPhone 4S. I won’t go into detail about Samsung products but based on hardware specifications alone, the new Samsung Note, and Samsung Galaxy S 2 HD LTE are both faster, have higher resolution, larger and lighter than the iPhone 4S. To Apple’s solace, hardware is not everything, and housing such cutting-edge hardware can actually thin out margins.
Effectively, what has happened is that Apple is missing a leading edge flagship model and is forced to compete at a lower price range. Fortunately, the company is looking forward to lowering the barrier of entry in order to access a much larger population of users internationally. Previously, Apple has never had a low-end iPhone in its lineup. Now with iPhone 4 at $99 and iPhone 3GS for free (with two year contracts), it is now offering the best deals around at multiple price points.
While the media is focused on the loss of technology lead, the smart money will focus on the fast and cost effective roll out of lower end iPhones to open up a huge mid to low end mobile phone market for Apple. Consequently, this event has caused me to be increasingly bullish on the next few quarters for AAPL but it dampens my 3-5 year outlook for Apple as their technology lead is heavily under siege.
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.
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How Steve Jobs and Apple created a brand that birthed from design, starting with the company’s first computers — powerful through a simplistic, graceful look which birthed the products originally as a must-have by all graphic designers. It was so much more than the product’s capabilities.
One need only to look at other instances of the power of design to understand how his relentless pursuit of simple, elegant product clarity gave Apple that “thing” to become a great consumer product company.
Take the Toyota Prius as an example. The world’s first mass hybrid car was a hit that remains today as the definition of a hybrid because Toyota went the extra mile when designing and launching the product in the 1990s to give the Prius something more than just an efficient gasoline-electric engine.
Had the company’s patented hybrid engine been launched into the body of its top-selling Corolla, it wouldn’t have turned out that way. But Toyota understood that it need a new, sleek body for the Prius — one that revealed to consumers that they didn’t have to sacrifice space, comfort or elegance to have a small, efficient car.
For Toyota, the design of the Prius gave it a game-changer — far above the functionality and capability of the hybrid engine Toyota designed.
We can look back before that to find other examples. Among the most striking belongs to John Deere, arguably the world’s greatest agriculture products company. John Deere has that “thing,” and it too breeds from design. Consider that the company had been around for decades until the 1950s, when it enlisted the help of industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss.
The company understood that a tractor should be functional, able to handle demands of the field better than competitive products. But John Deere also understand that design should be an important elements of its products, enlisting the help of Dreyfuss, a noted industrial engineer from New York.
When Deere moved from two-cylinder tractors in 1960, its new generation of power was captured in sleek new design. The new product had more power, yes, but it also had a elegant design. Dreyfuss designed John Deere’s new four-cylinder tractor with a body which concealed the engine with one, sleek green metal hood.
It contributed “to the visual impression that the vehicle was in the process of pulling, reinforcing the added power.” The tractor’s new body had no visible seams or screws. It had a modified seat, and a smooth, powerful feel. When the tractor was first unveiled at a Neiman Marcus department store in 1960, John Deere was a formidable player among agriculture product companies in the world — but it wasn’t the player.
The new tractor with the Dreyfuss touch of design changed that. Decades later, John Deere remains the industry leader, just as Toyota remains the leader in hybrid engine vehicles in many respects, and just as Apple is clearly established as the leader in consumer tech products with its global-leading iPhone smartphone, iPad tablet, iPod and Mac computers.
That’s also why we can expect that Apple will release a new iPhone 5 with a total new design sooner than many observers now expect. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Already there’s been rumors that the iPhone 5, whenever it is unveiled, will feature a new metal form that better fits the hand, and perhaps a larger screen even.
Because Steve Jobs and Apple are about design from the beginning, it will happen. It’s all about staying ahead of the curve, in more ways than product functionality. Jobs were obsessed with that quest, and so is Apple. It’s a signature reason for the success of the company, and its products.
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The Galaxy S Stratosphere smartphone goes on sale Thursday as the first device with a physical Qwerty keyboard to run on Verizon’s Wireless 4G LTE network.
The Samsung Galaxy S-class device runs Android 2.3 and will sell for $149.99 after rebate and a two-year agreement with Verizon, both companies announced. A minimum $40 monthly voice plan plus a $30 monthly 2GB data plan are also required.
Verizon sells several touchscreen-only LTE smartphones. Smartphones with physical keyboards are generally aimed at business users — an area where Research in Motion BlackBerry devices have prevailed.
It is significant that Verizon didn’t turn to a BlackBerry LTE first instead of one by Samsung, which has become the largest maker of smartphones and cell phones sold in the U.S.
The Stratosphere has both a five-row physical keyboard and a 4-in. Super Amoled touchscreen as well as business features such as Cisco AnyConnect 2.1 SSL VPN security.
With access to an Verizon’s LTE network, which offers data downloads up to 12 Mbps, Verizon said the VPN can be accessed with “no waiting.”
Speed in the Stratosphere will also be enhanced with a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, although dual core processors are now being launched in many phones including the coming Apple iPhone 4S, available Friday, and the recently-announced Samsung Galaxy S II devices.
A front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera in the Stratosphere supports video chat, while a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera is provided.
Also, Stratosphere has business support for Exchange ActiveSync for workers to connect to Exchange Server for access to pushed email, calendar and contacts. Also supported: Sybase Afaria Mobile Device Management; encryption of the device and storage card; and complex passwords.
Samsung and Google were expected to unveil the Nexus Prime, or a smartphone with a similar name, running Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the next-generation OS, on Tuesday at the CTIA conference. Many widely predicted that would be a Verizon exclusive.
However the companies said they are postponing the event indefinitely out of respect for those mourning the loss of Steve Jobs. “We believe this is not the right time to announce a new product as the world expresses tribute to Steve Job’s passing,” Google said last week.
Samsung last week took on the new iPhone 4S by issuing a chart comparing its recently-launched Galaxy S II to the new Apple device just hours after its introduction and just hours before Jobs’ death was announced .
The only carrier without the Galaxy S II has been Verizon, and the Nexus Prime has been seen as the device expected to fill that gap. A notable difference with the Galaxy S II smartphones (in two versions) and the iPhone 4S is that they all have dual core processors. While the Stratosphere’s is fast, its processor has only a single core.
Meanwhile, the public is clearly responding to the iPhone 4S, with pre-order supplies exhausted at Verizon, ATT and Apple. The first devices that have been successfully ordered already ship on Oct. 14, one day after Verizon starts selling the Stratosphere.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt’s RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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