Apple’s iPhone keeps raking in the cash and the rumors, Foxconn is getting high tech, South Korea hits Apple with a fine (sort of), and EA’s founder sees doom in Apple’s future. Did we mention one school is failing the incentive test by handing out Galaxy Tabs? We practically had to tie down Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray this week.
Apple’s Big Ol’ iPhone Money Bags
It looks like we’re going to have to retrain ourselves in thinking about how much Apple makes in the phone business. While I was stunned when Apple was shown to be taking in half of the profits of the entire cellphone business, I now find myself forced to be flabbergasted by the latest figures from Asymco.
AppleInsider has the mobility experts saying that the Cupertino-company now takes in 66 percent — a full two-thirds — of the profits made in selling cellphones, both smart and dumb.
By the firm’s figuring, there are really just four companies taking in profits from cellphones: Apple with its stunning 66 percent, Samsung with a distant second 15 percent, Research In Motion with a third-place 11 percent, and HTC with a fourth-place, 7.4 percent share.
On top of that, Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG all lost money selling phones in the second quarter of calendar year 2011.
Foxconn I, Robot
How does Foxconn plan to handle all of the problems it has with its workers? Get rid of the workers.
CNET says the builder of gadgets for such companies as HP, Dell, and Apple plans to replace some of its workers with robots. The news agency Xinhua says Terry Gou, founder and chairman of Foxconn, told employees at a dance last Friday that replacing parts of the workforce with about a million robots will help improve efficiency and fight rising labor costs.
So enjoy the dance!
Foxconn currently employs somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.2 million people, and that it’s unknown how many of those will be made redundant by the soulless machine building machines.
Hey who’s gonna build the robots? Boy that’ll be bittersweet, huh?
Sometimes it feels like we are just completely boned.
Now back to our program.
iPhone 5 Rumor-palooza!
AllThingsD has secret sources who say everybody else’s secret sources are full of it. The iPhone 5, says AllThingsD’s guys or gals or both, will not hit in September. Rather, it will see the light of day in October.
Reports that AT&T is blacking out employee leave in the second half of September may be true, but it’s not for the iPhone according to one of the site’s sources, who says, “I don’t know why AT&T’s calling for all hands on deck those weeks, but it’s not for an iPhone launch.”
While all of AllThingsD’s sources say October, not one can give a hard date, though some say the launch will be closer to the end of the month than the beginning.
One analyst says the secret sources who say the analysts who say the next iPhone will be pushed of until October are full of it… are full of it. Everyone and his cat has come to accept as fact the thought that the next iPhone will actually hit next month when we’ll sing bah-di-yah, and AppleInsider has RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky saying everyone and his cat are correct.
At least he thinks they are.
Three key reasons pop for Abramsky:
First, build data from the overseas supply chain still indicate production of a fifth-gen iPhone cranking up in this month and next, putting that phone on track for a September launch.
Second, there are the comments from Apple execs on the last earnings about a major product transition starting at the end of September.
And third, there are the rumors of vacation blackouts for AT&T retail workers at the end of September.
One point not mentioned by Abramsky that was seen as support for his argument by Electronista: the fact that iPhone 4 is currently available at a discount at both Radio Shack and Target.
Quoting Electronista, “Third-party retailers rarely drop prices on Apple products until a new device is on the horizon, when it becomes important to clear out old stock as quickly as possible.”
And as quickly as possible would seem to point to a September launch, not October.
Hey, as long as we’re relying on rumor as proof, how about something that sounds like a scene out of a James Bond movie.
Apple has sent prototype fifth-generation iPhones locked inside highly secure boxes to its carrier partners for network testing, according to a new rumor.
Writing for The Guardian out of the UK, Charles Arthur says his carrier sources — anonymous, of course — tell him that the boxes in which the new iPhone hardware is encased have been transported to carriers for testing, which is an important step in the release cycle.
Quoting Arthur’s piece,
The next iPhones go for their testing inside locked and sealed boxes so that the carriers can carry out checks on their network compatibility in their labs. It’s very high security, as you could guess; my understanding is that barely anyone inside the carriers gets to open those boxes, and even when they do the hardware is encased in a dummy body which means there’s no clue to what the actual phone will do.
We don’t know what it’s going to do or look like. We just know it will be wildly different than the current iPhone 4. No, of course we don’t know that. We just know that we’re hearing other rumors indicating that.
AppleInsider has Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu saying the coming change could be bigger than what has been expected by most. For a good bit of the year, reports and speculation have indicated more under the hood changes than anything else… sort of like the subtle changes between iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.
But now the Wuiner says his firm is picking up that the iPhone refresh in the Fall “could be a bigger upgrade than we expected. We believe this keeps the iPhone fresh and competitive and helps maintain its leadership position,” despite the lack of 4G which he’s still not expecting for the next device.
What’s the supply chain telling him to expect? “A slightly larger display than the current 3.5-inch screen found on the iPhone 4,” which kind of makes me wanna stop reading right there. He’s also expecting the inclusion of the A5 processor, which makes a world of sense.
He also expects the next device to be thinner, which certainly would be the kind of thing Apple would wanna do — see also iPad 2 versus iPad — and MacBook Air versus almost everything else.
You can’t be too thin or too powerful.
May I just say again how funny it would be to me if there were no new iPhone this year?
They sold more iPhones last quarter than they’ve ever sold in any quarter before, and they’re sitting on a powder keg that’s lit to blow, where powder equals iOS 5 and iCloud. Those things together will make the over a year-old iPhone like a newborn in your pocket. Okay that sounds bad but you know what I mean.
Yes, I think there will be a new iPhone. But it would be funny if there weren’t.
Indie Legal Defense, Go!
Independent App Developers Unite! That seems to be the rallying cry of the Appsterdam Legal Defense Team. Ars Technica says Appsterdam is the brainchild of famed iOS developer Mike Lee, who wants the defense team to fight the likes of Lodsys and other patent trolls.
Lee says Appsterdam is being set up with the help of intellectual property attorney Michael McCoy. Quoting Lee:
We will let the patent trolls know: if you attack one indie, you attack all indies, and we will file every motion we can against you, we will attack your patents, and we will show you for the mafioso thugs you are. Legal action will be the start of our three-pronged attack. Next we’ll take the fight to Washington, raising a wall of legislation against future attacks.
Apple has, of course, filed with the court to intervene on behalf of iOS app developers in their cases against Lodsys. But Lee says this is bigger than one case and bigger than one platform.
“This is bigger than just Apple platforms,” says Lee. “Apple has the luxury and history of moving very slowly—they accepted a 60 day discovery, for example. Dozens of app makers could be destroyed by then.”
Galaxy Tab: The New Detention
The University of Southern Mississippi is getting with the future. Well, one version of it, anyway.TechCrunch says the home of the Golden Eagles announced this week that it will outfit its Honors College students with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 “to extend access to educational content.”
1,000 Galaxy Tabs will serve as the starting off point for the pilot program. They’ll be used by specially selected Honors College students, McNair Scholars, Southern Style students and Gulf Coast students.
TechCrunch says “the slates will come loaded with Blackboard Mobile, giving students access to the course syllabi, content, e-texbooks, grades, schedules, and emergency notifications…”
No word on why The University of Southern Mississippi hates the selected Honors College students, McNair Scholars, Southern Style students and Gulf Coast students as much as they apparently do.
Wrist Slapping 101
And now, an absolutely crazy story.
The Korean Communications Commission — sort of like the FCC for South Korea — has fined Apple over the location logging issues for which Apple took serious flack earlier this year. Same goes for Google and its Android operating system.
Electronista has the KCC saying that both iPhones and Androids left vulnerabilities that could let an outsider track the location of a phone, and thus that phone’s owner. The commission has required both operating systems to encrypt location info stored on phones, something Apple did with iOS update 4.3,3 — and that Google has done, well, maybe sometime in the future.
None of this is the crazy part of the story. The crazy part is the fine imposed: three million won, which sounds like a lot… but is in fact $2,828.
The KCC says it let the companies off easy, and that it could have frozen businesses or taken three percent of location revenue from Apple, which actually would have been less than the $2,800 since Apple doesn’t make a directly correlative dollar amount from location positioning. Still, there’s a difference between letting them off easy and having them not even notice you’ve done anything, right?
A number of Mac OS Ken listeners could probably pay Apple’s $2,800 fine and not feel it. And they don’t have $76 billion in cash, which Apple does.
I’m not saying I want Apple to meet with a seriously severe punishment, but the KCC’s fine looks from the outside like throwing a pebble underhanded at an elephant.
Maybe the KCC wants to let the courts do their thing. Apple was forced earlier this year to pay one South Korean iPhone user $925 over the location logging fiasco, though it may now face a $25.5 million class-action suit, spearheaded by the same law firm that won the $925 case.
And finally this week, the head of Digital Chocolate is predicting the end of days for Apple and its current tech dominance… soon!
The website Industry Gamers has the Electronic Arts founder arguing: “If you look at any institution in history — look at the Roman Empire — anything in history, and what it looks like when it’s peaking…” that’s not a complete sentence.
Let’s try this one: “Look at Apple, and how can you say it’s not peaking? The CEO is still alive, let’s start there. They invented this tablet thing that’s going to be really big. They’ve done really well by reinventing the phone. They breathed new life into the Mac. They’ve got this super-high marketing. All these things are about as good as they ever can be – how much better can it really get?
“The thing is, it may take another year or two before it starts to decline, but it has to — everything does. Everything revolves so much around Steve, and no matter how good his lieutenants are, they’re not Steve. None of us is going to live forever, though I hope he lives for a really long time.”
Sounds like it doesn’t it?
Hawkins seems to have a bone to pick with Apple, namely its love of the walled garden.
The Digital Chocolatier says his company’s “games will always be in the App Store. But,” he says,
I think it would be an incredibly positive thing for the industry if Apple decided to support all of the web standards, because then Apple could be the best about everything. Right now they make a conscious choice. They want you to be in the App Store rather than the browser, so they cripple the browser.
“They’ve created this outlet and they had to have an excuse to keep you there, so they’re like, ‘Oh it’s nothing against Flash; we just prefer HTML5’. Well, Flash can actually make a really good game, and with HTML5 you can’t do that. But give HTML5 another few years to mature, and that could solve the problem. Or Apple could be more generous about deciding to support more de facto standards like Flash, or at least let it run its course.
So, Apple is headed for a fall soon unless it does things the way Hawkins wants it to do, in which case it can be the best for who knows how long.
In truth it boils down to this:
Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
So read the words of the poet Robert Frost, and I think I know what he means, Pony Boy. I’m sorry, you don’t mind if I call you Pony Boy, do you?
To quote another great America poem, You Look Mahvalous by Billy Crystal, “Nothing lasts forever darling, but it’s not the end of the world.”
Then again nobody, including Hawkins, saw Apple turing the game space on its head. So who knows how long this will last.
People pulling for Apple might be tempted to quote Neil Young’s “Long May You Run,” or BTO’s “You Aint Seen Nothin’ Yet…” though I’ll settle for quoting Stephen Colbert. Moving on…
Nation… I’m done quoting Stephen Colbert.