Facebook Home will never be available on the iPhone — at least not as we know it on Android. The software that turns every Android phone into a “Facebook Phone” is simply too intrusive to get around Apple’s strict developer guidelines. Facebook brought one of Home’s more intriguing features to the iPhone earlier this week, however, when it updated its app with support for “chat heads,” the small round avatars that pop up on the screen when a Facebook friend messages you. Chat heads obviously only work while iPhone users have Facebook’s app open, but a new jailbreak tweak launching soon bypasses Apple’s restrictions and makes chat heads available on any screen. More →
Half a dozen mainstream news organizations have reported that Apple plans to launch a new entry-level iPhone to compete at the low end, and now the plastic outer shell of the handset may have been pictured for the first time. Case maker Tactus has published a photo of what it claims to be the polycarbonate shell from Apple’s upcoming budget smartphone. It also claims to have some details about the device, which will supposedly feature a smaller 3.5-inch display, an Apple A5 processor and the same 5-megapixel camera as the iPhone 4. Tactus also claims the phone will be available in black, white, blue, red and yellow. Apple’s low-end iPhone is expected to launch around the same time as the iPhone 5S in the late summer or early fall.
Apple’s shares got hammered again on Wednesday and one major reason was the lackluster earnings guidance provided by chip vendor Cirrus Logic, which Apple has long used as a supplier for iPhone audio chips. Barron’s points us to a new note from Needham & Co. analyst Vernon Essi Jr., who claims that one big reason Cirrus will miss consensus on its quarterly revenues is because Apple is “losing its mobility mojo.” In particular, Essi says that the guidance “indicates that the recent fears of Apple’s lackluster iPhone demand in 2013 are warranted” and that sales “are more likely in the 55M range for 1H2013 vs. Street forecasts that are above 60M units.” Earlier this week R.W. Baird analyst William Power projected that iPhone sales were likely to come in lower than previously projected because of increased competition and because Apple may not launch a new version of its iPad, as it has done in previous spring quarters.
Surprise, surprise: Apple may not be eager to let Facebook undercut all the work it’s done over the years to create a tightly controlled user experience. Although Bloomberg has reported that Facebook “is talking to Apple about crafting a version of its new mobile software for the iPhone,” a source within Facebook tells The Next Web that “right now no discussions have taken place to bring Home” to either iOS or Windows Phone. Needless to say, it’s very hard to imagine Apple giving a third-party app such as Home the ability to take over the entire home screen of iOS devices, especially since Home has generated a strong negative early reaction from Android users.
With Apple increasingly unlikely to release a new version of its iPad until the fall, at least one analyst is worried that it will spell trouble for sales of the iPhone 5 this spring. Per Barron’s, R.W. Baird analyst William Power projects “a sharper fall-off in iPhone sales due in part to heightened competition, and the lack of a March/April iPad refresh to depress this year’s sequential comparison relative to a year ago” when Apple released its third-generation tablet. Power’s remarks come amid reports that Foxconn earnings have been hurt by “disappointing” iPhone 5 sales over the past couple of months despite the fact that the iPhone 5 has been the best-selling smartphone in the world since its launch last fall.
Reports suggest Apple will finally make some serious headway in the hugely important China smartphone market this year when China Mobile, the nation’s largest carrier, launches Apple’s next iPhone. According to a recent survey, however, Apple may be poised to lose ground to Samsung in China this year, possibly negating some of the gains it will see if and when China Mobile finally begins carrying the next iPhone. More →
Apple (AAPL) is set to post its results for the second fiscal quarter later this month and sell-side analysts are getting antsy yet again. RBC Capital Markets’ Amit Daryanani on Friday maintained his Outperform rating on Apple shares, but he trimmed his price target to $550 from $600 ahead of what he thinks may be a disappointing quarter for iPhone sales. More →
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White pulled back a bit when he finally trimmed his $1,111 price target on Apple shares this past January, but his current $888 target is still among the highest on the Street. White is obviously thoroughly impressed with Apple’s (AAPL) current lineup and the new products currently in its pipeline — he sees an iPhone 5S coming in multiple colors this summer, as well as an “iTV” and an “iWatch” later this year — but he got the feeling during his current trip to the Far East that it’s time for Apple to embrace the current trend toward larger smartphones. To combat these monstrous Android handsets, White believes Apple needs to launch an “iPhad.” More →
The first photographic evidence of an upcoming new entry-level iPhone from Apple (AAPL) may have just been revealed. Japanese Apple blog Macotakara on Thursday published a photo of a dual-head vibration motor that has not previously been used in any iPhone model. According to “iLab factory,” the source of the image, the part will be included in Apple’s upcoming low-end iPhone. Apple is expected to unveil a new iPhone 5S later this year as well as an entry-level iPhone that the company will use to bolster its market share in emerging regions. The photo of the leaked low-end iPhone part follows below. More →
A recent job posting suggests that Apple (AAPL) is interested in incorporating new display technology in its future products. The company is looking for a display specialist to improve the overall optical performance of its devices and “lead the investigation on emerging display technologies such as high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display.” The employee will also be required to “analyze the trade-offs between design, process, optical performance, and implementation feasibility.” An earlier rumor suggested that Apple was interested in using a curved glass display in its iWatch device. A number of rival companies, such as Samsung (005930) and LG (066570), have been experimenting with flexible touch screens in recent years. Filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have also shown Apple’s interest in flexible display technologies over the past few years.
Yet another report suggests that Apple (AAPL) has excluded Samsung from development of its A7 chipset. According to the Korea Times, the company is being assisted by TSMC in creating its next-generation processor. The move is the latest blow to Samsung (005930), which has seen Apple shift away from using its components in the iPhone and iPad due to increased competition and ongoing legal battles. Samsung is now said to be interested in partnering with NVIDIA (NVDA), in addition to its in-house Exynos brand, to maintain growth in its semiconductor business. An earlier report claimed that risk production of the A7 will begin in May or June, and the chipset will debut in commercial products in early 2014.
While Android has long been the leader in terms of smartphone operating system market share, pundits often claim that extensive vendor and carrier support are more responsible for Android’s proliferation than actual consumer desire. IOS, it is often said, is much simpler and more refined, and is therefore better suited for the mass market. There are certainly solid arguments to be made in both cases, but a new survey suggests that Android isn’t as complicated as many Apple (AAPL) pundits make it out to be. More →
Anticipation reached Apple-like levels head of Samsung’s (005930) Galaxy S4 unveiling last month, and one feature in particular generated a good amount of hype. Though early reports incorrectly stated that “Smart Pause” utilized eye-tracking to automatically pause media when a user looked away from his or her phone, the new feature still achieved the same result using facial recognition technology. While Android fans will have to wait until the end of April at the earliest for the Galaxy S4 to launch before they can check out the new Smart Pause feature, a new free app lets iPhone users enjoy similar functionality today. More →