Apple’s new multi-touch 3D patent reveals a next-generation approach to gesture control that is featured on the iPad in schematics. But Apple’s new focus on this technology could also involve increasing the screen size of the iPhone 5 as well.
In an article this week, PCWorld took a close look at a fascinating new Apple patent that could dramatically revolutionize the gesturing experience on mobile devices such as the iPad and iPhone. Writer Eric Mack explains: “The focus of the patent is gesturing by making motions with the fingers across a multi-touch screen, but it also mentions 3-D gesturing using a device’s front-facing camera. This could bring technology similar to that employed in the Microsoft Kinect to iOS devices.”
In layman’s terms, Mack associates the new patent to the same investigative tools employed by Tom Cruise’s character in the landmark film The Minority Report. Ever since that film was released, its sci-fi depiction of fluid, holographic-based gesture control has set the bar for what tech users hope the consumer electronics industry will someday develop.
In the patent, Apple is clearly using the iPad as its vehicle for this kind of new technology, most likely imagining that the 9.7-inch screen dimensions of its tablet device. But it would stand to reason that Apple will continue to strive to create parity between the iPad and iPhone — I expect Siri to make its debut on the iPad 3. In the same way, there is no reason to believe that Apple will not equip the iPhone with the same breakthrough gesture controls as the iPad in the years and models to come.
In this way, I can imagine more justification that the iPhone 5 will feature a larger screen.
Many iPhone enthusiasts believe that the long-running larger screen rumor for the iPhone 5 will eventually come true by virtue of users calling for it. I argue, however, that Apple is not committed to increasing the size of the iPhone’s screen simply to compete with the likes of top-tier Android smartphones; they will need a better reason than that to beef up the size of the screen.
But a revolutionary new 3D approach to multi-touch gesturing could be a worthwhile justification.
Bear in mind that this new multi-touch gesturing patent is unlikely to show up on the iPhone 5 — patents can take years to develop and implement. However, if this patent reveals the direction that Apple is moving in from a design perspective, it would stand to reason that bumping up the screen size of the iPhone could be just around the corner.
Apple TV With Siri Gets Legs After ‘Steve Jobs’ Bio
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One of the memes from Walter Isaccson’s authorized
biography “Steve Jobs” is that the late Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)
co-founder claimed to have “finally cracked” the Internet television
This is no small feat, as the high-tech heavyweights
before it have learned. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and others
failed to give it wings, Apple has treated it like a hobby and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)
has grappled to make Google TV mainstream.
So what will an integrated Apple Television experience
look like? No one knows for sure, but the prospect has normally conservative
financial analysts playing a fantastic guessing game covering all
Jefferies Co. analyst Peter Misek, who admitted implementation
details are still vague, is going off of channel checks and evidence culled
from Apple’s patent portfolio, noting:
“We assume the iTV will be integrated,
interoperable with mobile devices, interactive, contain an SSD or HDD, leverage
carrier/MSO relationships with content providers, have a
voice/Siri/gesture/device user interface, and be a gaming platform.”
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has been calling
for a complete Apple TV for the last five years, said the service will work
with iCloud, combining live television with TV recorded in the cloud.
Equities analyst Trip Chowdry went so far as to say the full Apple TV will
resemble Bose VideoWave TV. While that
system has reduced the number of cables to three, Apple HDTV will probably have
only one. Chowdry went so far to so predict Apple HDTV will be
launched in March 2012.
The meme received a big boost this past week when Bloomberg reported that Apple has tabbed iTunes and iPod engineer Jeff Robbin is
leading development of the Apple television set. It’s the first time an
engineer has been associated with the product, a sign that there may be more to
the rumor than vapor trails.
Perhaps the most interesting new twist to the Apple TV Rumor Carousel is the addition of Siri, the virtual personal assistant
the company acquired last year and fashioned into a key application on the
It’s essentially voice-recognition software with context. As Apple’s
latest iPhone 4S commercials will tell anyone who watches and listens, Siri
will tell users about the weather, play music and do several other tasks, all
via spoken signals.
October 28, 2011 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
The iPhone 5 release date brings a host of new features which bypass the current iPhone 4S offerings, and for once, the new headlining features could consist primarily of the kind of alphanumeric soup which Apple typically leaves to its competitors. The 4S is headlined by the fun and easy Siri digital voice assistant, while the iPhone 4 before it was led by the equally fun and easy FaceTime video chat. But the list of expected features piling up thus far for the iPhone 5 reads quite differently. From 4G LTE to the A6 to NFC, the proposed iPhone 5 roadmap reads like a bunch of code-named nonsense to the typical user who doesn’t follow tech buzzwords. That’s the kind Apple has long sought to avoid. For instance, while the iPhone 4S includes a faster A5 processor, Apple isn’t running ads regarding the merits of the new low-power microprocessing architecture. But with the iPhone 5 looking to be a unique combination of style and brawn, a campaign which Apple explains its alpha-soup features to the public might be just what the doctor ordered…
Thus far ads for 4G LTE networking, mostly run by carriers who have pushed further with their LTE marketing than they have with the building out of their LTE networks, have focused on dry speed tests. They convey the sense that LTE phones are faster, but they don’t show real world ways in which having a faster data network matters (unless you count Verizon’s short-lived campaign which inexplicably showed a user praising a speedier data network while waiting for the fire department to get him out of a burning building). Ads for NFC don’t even exist yet, perhaps partly because the feature isn’t yet ready for prime time, or perhaps because it doesn’t even yet have a real name. Most viewers would mistake “NFC” for a pro football ad, rather than understanding that it’s a digital wallet system which allows you to swipe your phone instead of swiping your credit card. If Apple adds these features to the iPhone 5 it’ll have some explaining to do, as no one else has yet explained to mainstream consumers what these features should mean to them. Just as Apple is doing now with its iPhone 4S ads in which it attempts to show real world examples in which Siri could come in handy, as well as how easy it is to use for users of any technical skill level…
Part of Apple’s strategy is that it takes obtuse features like LTE and NFC and gives them an implementation which is practical and easily manageable. The other part is that it explains the benefits of these features to the public in real world terms as opposed to the geeky, gimmicky ways in which its competitors are still obtusely marketing their products. The iPhone 5 release date may mark the point at which Apple, rather than brushing aside alphanumeric soup features as usual, acts as ambassador by delivering these seemingly geek-leaning features to the public in a way in which they’ll finally embrace it. Here’s more on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
October 29, 2011 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
“Can the iPhone 5 really see its release date as soon as the spring of 2012?” asks one reader optimistically. The answer is a definite maybe, but Apple’s other flagship iProduct launch, the iPad 3, would pull calendar rank. Assuming the iPhone 5 was supposed to be ready this year and the iPhone 4S was a stand-in when Apple had to go to Plan B at the last minute, that means the iPhone 5 is probably ready to be launched at whatever point in 2012 Apple thinks it strategically ideal. The 4S will have to get its day in the sun for awhile. And the fact that it’s sold so well out of the gate certainly eliminates any possibility of the iPhone 5 being rushed out the door in, say, February. If the iPhone 4S keeps selling well, the iPhone 5 can more likely see a release date in the summer (in keeping with Apple’s longtime summer iPhone launch pattern) or in the fall (giving the 4S a full year) of 2012. But the spring 2012 scenario is still possible. Here’s what it would take…
First, you’d have to see a slowdown in iPhone 4S sales. Strong holiday sales would appear to be a given at this point, considering the record breaking early sales levels thus far. But if we get to early 2012 and “We’ve seen this iPhone body style before” fatigue sets in, or if carriers like Verizon, ATT, and Sprint get around to building out more of their 4G LTE networks and the public finally begins caring about next-gen networking technology and begins to ask why the latest iPhone doesn’t offer it (right now, almost no one among the mainstream public cares about 4G LTE, regardless of what the pundits and tech enthusiasts might claim), then iPhone 4S sales could tail off and Apple might be motivated to release the iPhone 5 sooner than later. Part of whether or not that could happen in the spring, let’s say April so it’s not in the same month as the expected March 2012 release date for the iPad 3, depends on what Apple’s original iPhone plan was for this year…
If Apple’s 2011 blueprint always centered around the iPhone 4S and there was never going to be an iPhone 5 this year one way or the other, then that means Apple is more or less on track with its original plan (the unexplained four month delay of the iPhone 4S from its expected summer debut notwithstanding). That would mean Apple is in no hurry to launch an iPhone 5 which it never had pegged until mid 2012 anyway. But if the iPhone 4S was supposed to be the mere sidekick model, with the plan calling for the iPhone 5 to debut at the same time as the 2011 flagship model, that means Apple is off blueprint. It also means the iPhone 5 was almost ready to go this month, and burying it in favor of promoting the iPhone 4S to the new flagship model was never Apple’s goal. If that’s the case then it means the iPhone 5 should be ready to go at just about any time in 2012 Apple wants, and considering that it was supposed to have already been on the market by now, a first-half 2012 launch would be a surprise but not a total shock. But either way, much of it depends on how well the iPhone 4S performs in the interim. It’ll continue to get its day in the sun until that sun goes dim. Either way, expect the iPad 3 release date to arrive first. Here’s more on the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.
Apple will be among a slew of manufacturers launching their first LTE-capable smartphones next year. Apple, RIM, Sony Ericsson and Nokia are all expected to “join the LTE club,” sources told Taiwan-based Digitimes this week.
Those same sources also spilled details on Sprint’s coming LTE network, which CEO Dan Hesse previously said would debut in a handful of markets in mid-2012 and reach 275 million people by 2014. America’s third-largest carrier will reportedly launch 15 LTE devices – a combination of smartphones, tablets, data cards, etc. – at the time or shortly after the network is up and running.
There are now 35 LTE networks around the world, and that number is expected to be in the triple-digits by the end of next year as carriers race to meet consumers’ needs for speed.
News that Apple will finally produce an LTE-capable iPhone next year can’t come as a big surprise, but it’s certainly something that fans of the device have been waiting for. Insiders have said that up until now, Apple hasn’t felt any urgent need to jump on the 4G bandwagon since a large percentage of smartphone owners either don’t know what it is or can’t define it. But the time seems right as Verizon Wireless will have the lion’s share of the U.S. covered with its LTE network next year, ATT’s will grow to reach tens of millions of potential customers, and Sprint’s will make its debut.
While Digitimes isn’t always on the mark with its long-term predictions, this forecast backs up what China Mobile’s chairman said in an interview with Reuters earlier this week. He said his company is in talks with Apple about an iPhone based on TD-LTE, China’s homegrown 4G technology.
So when we exactly will we see an LTE iPhone? Some analysts are already predicting it will be introduced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference next June, but it’s simply too early to tell; however, odds on sometime in 2012 are looking pretty good.
Sprint reported mixed third quarter results on Wednesday, as solid earnings were overshadowed by disappointing postpaid subscriber additions and further details about the costly iPhone contract with Apple.
Fourth-quarter subscriber numbers will be very important for Sprint, as it is the first quarter in which the iPhone was available to the company’s subscribers.
Earnings Solid Financially but Operating Metrics Disappoint
Sprint’s Q3 earnings were generally good from a financial standpoint, as revenue and EBITDA grew 2% and 5% year-over-year, respectively, while the reported net loss improved from ($911 million) in Q3 2010 to ($301 million) this quarter.
The company’s capital expenditures have continued to escalate as it focuses on its network modernization project and improving data capacity in advance of the iPhone launch.
Most disappointing to investors, however, was the continued loss of postpaid subscribers, the customers who are on long-term contracts and therefore most highly valued. Management still expects a net gain for 2011, but given that the company has lost 259k net postpaid subscribers so far this year, management must be counting on the iPhone to reduce churn as well as bring in a significant number of new customers. 
We will be looking closely at the company’s Q4 results as a barometer of just how much of an impact the iPhone could have on its customer base and believe it will need to have a significant immediate effect in order to justify the massive upfront commitment that Sprint has made.
Clearwire Relationship Clarified
One key issue about which Sprint’s management has been reticent was the company’s LTE plan and, more specifically, its relationship with 4G partner Clearwire. Sprint had previously announced plans to roll out its own 4G network, which sent Clearwire’s stock plummeting.
That issue was clarified on Wednesday’s earnings call as CEO Dan Hesse announced that the company has come to an agreement with Clearwire to help roll out Clearwire’s own LTE network that Sprint’s subscribers will be able to use.  This led to a significant rally in Clearwire’s stock, but still leaves open the question of why Sprint has multiple LTE plans given its projected liquidity situation.
We have a $4.73 price estimate for Sprint’s stock, which is almost 80% higher than the market price. We are in the process of updating our numbers for earnings.
October 28, 2011 by Beatweek
by Timmy Falcon
The iPhone 4S is, in more ways than one, a surrogate to the iPhone 5. The “real thing” wasn’t ready this year, either by design or by default – and whether Apple had originally been planning for the 5 to drop this year or not, the public was certainly expecting it. The “iPhone 5″ envisioned in the minds of the public generally consisted of a faster A5 processor and the new iOS 5 operating system, in whatever new body style each user might have cooked up in their own mind. As it turns out, the iPhone 4S has arrived fitting the general description of the iPhone 5 in terms of features, with the only letdown being that it retains the same old suspiciously familiar body style that’s been around since the summer of 2010. The initial backlash against the 4S, based primarily on that same-old body style and the fact that it didn’t have a “5″ in its name, was predictable. The swiftness with which the 4S backlash transformed into excitement and record-breaking sales in the millions may well have been predictable as well. After all, the iPhone 4S ultimately stole the thunder of the iPhone 5 by stealing its known feature set and adding some goodies in for good measure…
“We want an iPhone 5 on Sprint” was the rallying cry of those who had stuck with the smaller carrier even as ATT and more recently Verizon offered the iPhone to their respective customer bases. The iPhone 5 didn’t arrive on Sprint this year, but the iPhone 4S did. Problem solved. “We want the iOS 5 software features shown off at WWDC but we want them to run on suitably fast iPhone 5 hardware,” others insisted. Instead they got their iOS 5 on faster hardware; it merely didn’t look new. “We want a better iPhone camera with faster shutter speed,” yet another segment demanded. They got what they wanted as well. It merely turns out that it took a minute for each group to figure out that the iPhone 4S offered most of what they had been hoping for out of their proposed iPhone 5. The fact that Siri got thrown in with the 4S for good measure is merely a bonus. As such the iPhone 4S is indeed merely a surrogate attempting to channel what the public had been expecting from the iPhone 5 this year – but it’s a successful one at that.