Tech news from around the web:
- Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, has hinted strongly that there could be cheaper iPhone, according to Business Insider. Speaking to Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi, Mr Cook said Apple was doing ‘clever things’ to attack the prepaid market, because he wanted Apple to be ‘for everyone’ not ‘just for the rich’.
Perhaps the only surprising thing about Apple’s long-expected decision to end its US exclusivity with AT&T and bring the iPhone to Verizon Wireless is that it didn’t wait for the No. 1 network’s upgrade to much-faster 4G, which is still in process. The fact that it couldn’t wait shows how badly Apple wants to boost growth both for the gadgets themselves and more fundamentally for its slice of the mobile audience, where Google is pulling ahead. Read more
After more than a year of arguing and pressure from regulators, Apple has finally blessed Google’s official Google Voice application for the iPhone.
Google announced the approval on its blog on Tuesday, touting features including low-cost international calls and free transcription of voicemail messages. Read more
Dell on Tuesday began selling its first US smartphone, a model using an older version of Google’s Android operating system and seen as a lower-end entry that will be followed by more sophisticated models.
The Dell Aero joins a throng of competitors, even among Android phones, which now collectively outsell Apple’s iPhone. Read more
A second credible Taiwanese publication has weighed in with a report that Apple will introduce a 7″-screen iPad mini for the winter holidays.
The Chinese-language account in Economic Daily News, summarised by IDG here, follows a similar DigiTimes article and names multiple suppliers said to have won contracts, though they declined to comment themselves. Read more
Since Apple bought Quattro Wireless last year, it has continued to offer that company’s services placing banner advertisements on smartphones even as it ramped up work on iAds, the fancier iPhone-only marketing with interaction and video.
No more. The former Quattro CEO who is now an Apple VP, Andy Miller, told customers this week that Quattro will stop taking new orders at the end of September and devote all its attention to iAds. Read more
Google’s momentum in smartphones is not likely to stop at just overtaking Apple’s iPhone in terms of global sales, according to analysts from Taipei-based Digitimes Research, who are predicting that Android sales will jump to number two above Research In Motion’s BlackBerry before the end of the year.
Gartner, the research group, last week said Android’s global share in smartphones had jumped from 1.8 per cent a year ago to 17.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2010. This put it ahead of Apple’s iOS operating system, which had a 14.2 per cent share, but still behind RIM’s 18.2 per cent global market share. Read more
‘Place-shifting’ technology, pioneered by companies like Sling Media with its SlingBox and SlingPlayer Mobile service, has proved popular with consumers but has not always lived up to expectations when the content is streamed and the end user device is a smartphone.
Now however AT&T, the US telecommunications group, has rolled out a new free iPhone and Blackberry Torch app that it claims will enable subscribers to its U-verse IPTV service to download and watch select TV episodes on their device over a Wi-Fi network as well as schedule DVR recordings. Read more
If Research in Motion had rolled out the Blackberry Torch a year ago when RIM first began serious work on the device, it would have been a showstopper.
As it was when Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s co-chief executive, unveiled the device at a New York event on Tuesday, there were few if any surprises though some eyebrows were raised by the news that AT&T which already boasts the iPhone in its smarphone portfolio, would be the exclusive network partner in the US. (AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega was on stage at the launch event to say nice things about RIM and the new device.) Read more
More than a hundred innocuous-looking wallpaper applications for Android handsets have been harvesting users’ phone numbers and SIM card information and sending them off to a Website based in China, researchers said Wednesday at the Black Hat tech security conference in Las Vegas.
The wallpapers–background pictures of ponies, basketball scenes and the like–have been downloaded more than a million times, the researchers said in highlighting growing concern about potential for malicious applications on Android, Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones that are rapidly gaining popularity. Read more
Apple had good news and bad news on the iPhone 4 product front today.
The good: As promised, it started letting previous and current buyers choose from a number of free cases, which insulate and protect the antenna that can drop calls when touched with the human hand.
The bad: Apple said unexplained fabrication issues with the white iPhones would delay their release again, until “later this year”. Those devices have “continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected” Apple said in a two-sentence news release–and presumably more challenging than it expected just a month ago, when it promised the models in July. Read more
Apple just called to invite the FT to a press conference “about iPhone 4″ to be held at its Cupertino headquarters on Friday morning at 10 a.m.
The company wouldn’t say anything else, but given the events of the past week, it’s hard to imagine that Apple would be having such a rare audience to announce, say, an upgrade to the FaceTime video calling feature.
No, in the present climate, “about the iPhone 4″ means that Apple finally has something more concrete to say about the reception issues that have been frustrating many buyers of Apple’s latest mobile phone. Read more
Apple’s decision in the past 24 hours to ban links from its customer-support discussion forums to a Consumer Reports post calling for Apple to fix the reception issues in the iPhone 4 predictably backfired today, leading to increased pressure on the company.
With the stock falling 2 per cent on an otherwise buoyant day for the sector, many tech observers and Wall Street analysts said dropped calls in areas of weak reception had been established as an antenna hardware issue and that the easiest solution was to offer the company’s $29 bumpers for free.
That would cost Apple about 1 per cent of its operating profit, estimated Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Read more
The US has moved ahead of Europe and Asia to become a clear leader in the mobile phone industry, according to the chief technology officer of AT&T.
“I get so tired of hearing that [ we are far behind Europe and Asia],” John Donovan told the MobileBeat conference in San Francisco. Read more
(Adds that one Steve Jobs email was faked and that Apple has pledged a software “fix.”)
Apple may see no serious issues with the iPhone 4′s reception, but several plaintiffs’ lawyers have stepped forward to disagree.
Notwithstanding a number of emails from Apple chief executive Steve Jobs urging disgruntled buyers to keep calm and stay tuned–implying a software amelioration is in the works–customer lawsuits seeking class-action status have begun to hit the courts. Read more