RIM on the Decline, iPhone 5 Rumors & Microsoft’s Flash Dance

Mac OS KenWhat do you get when you mix Research In Motion, iPhone 5 rumors, Samsung’s patent fight with Apple, and Microsoft dissing Flash? A big old mess that needs sorting out, and that’s just what Mac OS Ken’s Ken Ray does.

RIM Shot
Research in Motion announced some pretty dismal numbers late last week, and one analyst says the next iPhone is only gonna make things worse for the Canadian phone and kind-of-sort-of tablet-maker.

I say “kind-of-sort-of tablet-maker” because, last quarter they were only able to ship 200,000 of their PlayBook tablets. Well, they were probably able to ship more. There just wasn’t the need because there just wasn’t the demand.

Now Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White says if there is a new iPhone announced in the next couple of weeks it will “steamroll” RIM’s brand new BlackBerry 7 lineup.

Cool as BlackBerry 7 and its associated hardware may be, AppleInsider has White saying RIM’s refresh is too little, too late, and will do nothing to slow the iThings. In fact, he says he sees iPhone momentum going “off the charts” next month, when Apple’s expected to release its next communicator.

RIM’s PlayBook, meanwhile, is… how best to put this… White thinks the PlayBook is going to live in the country where it can run and play with HP’s TouchPad.

As for RIM’s near future, the Ticonderogan thinks it’s not pretty. Quoting his note: “Having repeatedly provided an overly optimistic outlook and the iPhone 5 poised to launch soon, we believe RIMM will again come up short.”

Ah, well. Buck up little camper. Maybe you’ll get two new iPhones instead. No, wait. That doesn’t help RIM at all.

Fortune has JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz joining a few others on Wall Street and expecting two new models of iPhone when Apple finally announces the next iPhone. Or iPhones. Maybe.

According to the Moskowitz missive:

We now expect two new iPhones. Our research indicates that there will be an iPhone 5 based on a lighter, thinner form factor that is GSM + CDMA capable, i.e., a ‘world-mode’ smartphone. A second device (4-plus) based on the current iPhone 4 but with some minor improvements could target the midrange and focus on China. As for the current iPhone 4, we expect it to subsume 3GS as the lower-end offering.

So this year’s model, last year’s model, and that thing somewhere between this year’s and last year’s models.

While the thing in the middle may see a worldwide release, it’s main target may be China. Quoting his note again:

Our research indicates Apple could release an iPhone 4-plus, targeting one or more China network carriers. While we think a China-focused iPhone could be in the works, it is not likely to be exclusive to the region. There could be other use cases, particularly in the midrange. Either way, the size of the China opportunity overcomes any potential drawbacks of making a specially-designed device for a few wireless carriers in one region, in our view. In China, Apple currently sells its iPhone 4 only through China Unicom.

Apple added a boatload of carriers in the June quarter. 42 of them, according to Moskowitz. A feat they’re not likely to repeat any time soon. And yet the carriers they could add may bring equally impressive results.

“If penetrated,” writes the analyst, “China Mobile and China Telecom with approximately 600 million and 100 million subscribers, alongside Sprint and T-Mobile USA with 52 million and 33 million subscribers, stand to have an effect tantamount to the big increase in the number of carriers exhibited in the June quarter. In other words, we believe that investors should start to prepare for more positive surprises related to the quarterly run rate of iPhones in the near- to mid-term. In summary, we would expect such a big bang if Apple introduces two new iPhones this fall and penetrates the untapped U.S. and China carriers.”

Sounds pretty neat. Still, I can’t help wondering is this something Moskowitz has heard through supply chains and back channels will happen, or something he and his Wall Street peeps think should happen? See also iPhone nano, share buy-backs, dividend payments, Apple TVs and so on.

Hey speaking of Apple TV, I got to be on the most recent MacJury podcast! Host Chuck Joiner invited The Mac Observer’s John Martellaro, GigaOm’s Weldon Dodd and me to spend a bit of time arguing for and against the idea of an Apple TV TV. You’ll NEVER guess on which side I landed, though there were good points made on all sides.

You can find the show on iTunes and at the MacJury Web site… serving Truth, Justice, and the Macintosh Way.

And apparently TVs.

Are We There Yet?
The seemingly interminable wait for an announcement around the next iPhone is finally starting to look terminable.

It was relatively early in 2011 that both the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD and Jim Dalrymple’s The Loop issued posts saying that, from what each had heard, there would be no iPhone released in the summer of 2011.

And then there wasn’t.

Both tend to be pretty reliable when it comes to Apple leaks — did I say leaks? I meant rumors — and so it seems to me that what both posted on Wednesday should carry a decent amount of weight.

“Tuesday, Oct. 4,” begins John Paczkowski’s AllThingsD piece. “That’s the day Apple is currently expected to hold its next big media event, according to sources close to the situation, where the tech giant will unveil the next iteration of its popular iPhone.”

Skipping down the page: “While Apple could certainly change its plans anytime, sources said that the Oct. 4 date has been selected by the company to showcase the iPhone 5. Sources added that the plan is now to make the new device available for purchase within a few weeks after the announcement.”

The sources also say that this will be new Apple CEO Tim Cook’s show, despite his never before having run an event like it for Apple, though he’s expected to have help from such Apple execs as “Big” Phil Schiller, Scott “the Phone” Forstall and Eddy “the Stuff” Cue.

Dalrymple’s take on the whole thing: “Yep.”

It’s worth noting again: they were both right early in the year about there being no new iPhone this past summer.

Expect invitations to go out sometime next week.

Nuke and Pave
From Germany to Australia… to the future!

AppleInsider has Samsung telling the Korea Times that it will take legal action against Apple just as soon as it tries to sell the next iPhone there.

The piece has an anonymous senior exec for Samsung saying,

Just after the arrival of the iPhone 5 here, Samsung plans to take Apple to court here for its violation of Samsung’s wireless technology related patents. For as long as Apple does not drop mobile telecommunications functions, it would be impossible for it to sell its i-branded products without using our patents. We will stick to a strong stance against Apple during the lingering legal fights.

I think we should all bow our heads for one moment and give thanks that neither of these companies makes weapons.

He Also Invented Punctuation
Quite possibly the most overblown iPhone talk yesterday came compliments of former U.S. Vice President, current Apple board member, and secret identity of Captain Planet Al Gore.

Wired says the distinguished gentleman from Tennessee spoke this week at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit. It was there that he reportedly confirmed at least one new iPhone for next month, though some think he confirmed more than one.

What Gore is quoted as saying is this: “Not to mention the new iPhones coming out next month.”

“Based on Gore’s statement,” says Wired, “it sounds pretty certain that we’ll be seeing multiple iPhone models.”

The magazine seems to be supporting the multiple iPhone interpretation with the assertion of an editor of Stuff magazine who was on the scene, and says Gore’s reference was to more than one iPhone.

And I’m still having trouble believing.

Here’s the thing: If I say to you, “Not to mention the cars in the shop until next week…” do you assume I have more than one car in the shop until next week, or that my one car IS in the shop until next week?

The problem with punctuation — hyphen — in my opinion — hyphen — is that it is usually silent — period.

Did Al Gore intend to say “not to mention multiple new iPhones coming out next month,” or “Not to mention the new iPhone is coming out next month…” spelled iPhone-apostrophe-s?

In other news, I’m either splitting hairs or hares.

Not necessarily much meat on either.

Al Gore Either Says “New iPhone’s Coming Out Next Month” or “New iPhones Coming Out Next Month”

We Don’t Need No Stinking Flash
And to wrap up the week, another big tech player is putting Flash on an ice floe. Wired says Microsoft’s new Windows 8 Metro user interface for mobile devices will not support Adobe Flash or other plug-ins, choosing instead to employ HTML5.

Internet Explorer team leader Dean Hachamovitch says running IE without Flash or other plug-ins “improves battery life as well as security, reliability, and privacy for consumers.”

Man, that sounds familiar. I’m trying to think who said it.

Remember when what was going to kill the iPad was that other tablets could view Flash, which everybody wanted because they were used to it on the desktop? And now the people who power most of the desktops on the planet are backing away from the technology for mobiles.

In a blogpost Thursday, Hachamovitch wrote, “Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI.”

Adobe tried to strike a note of non-concern telling Wired, “We expect Windows desktop to continue to be extremely popular for years to come and that it will support Flash just fine, including rich web-based games and premium videos that require Flash.”

I’ll be curious to see how long that remains true.