The chief executive of one of Europe’s largest wireless carriers claims the reason sales of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone are slumping is because the price is too high. France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard told Bloomberg that European customers are beginning to focus more on prices and are holding onto their old devices longer than before. He notes that the Apple frenzy isn’t what it use to be and it is becoming more difficult to sell a $600 phone. Richard seemed to suggest that without a low-cost iPhone, the company could continue to lose market share, adding that there “are fewer early adopters, and probably with the next release of the iPhone this will be evident.”
An Apple (AAPL) patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday suggests that the company may be looking to create a navigation system based on panoramic imagery, similar to Google’s (GOOG) “Street View” technology. The “3D Position Tracking for Panoramic Imagery Navigation” patent describes a graphical user interface that utilizes the onboard sensors in the iPhone or iPad to navigate panoramic location data. Unlike the Street View technology found in Google Maps, Apple’s system will use data from the accelerometer, cameras, gyroscope and other sensors to automatically move a user through a street-level image. More →
Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook has already issued two major apologies in his short time as chief executive at Apple, and the latest came earlier this week. In a lengthy letter, Cook apologized to customers in China, where Apple had been accused of intentionally avoiding warranty replacements for iPhones and Mac computers in order to skirt local laws that would require a new full warranty on the replacement products. The CEO admitted no wrongdoing in his apology, but China’s state-run media was instantly swayed and went from being Apple critics to Apple cheerleaders in the blink of an eye. What was so compelling in Cook’s apology that caused China’s Global Times to sing a new tune so quickly? Via Forbes, the complete translation of Tim Cook’s apology letter follows below. More →
If you think that having a large smartphone screen makes you more likely to consume more data, think again. According to a report from Flurry Analytics, smartphones around the size of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone experience the most regular usage among users. Devices with screen sizes between 3.5-inches and 4.9-inches were found to account for 69% of data usage, compared to smaller smartphones such as BlackBerrys (BBRY) at 16% and larger screen handsets, commonly referred to as “phablets,” at 2% of usage. When the data was broken down further, it was discovered that phablets only account for 7% of data on all Android devices, compared to 70% from normal sized devices. The research firm suggests that larger-screened phones are a fad, however with more companies releasing devices with 5-inch or higher displays, usage could increase in the coming years. A second image follows below. More →
While it’s unlikely to ever see the light of day, Apple (AAPL) has apparently been experimenting with a radical new design for the iPhone whose casing looks much more like a fourth-generation iPod nano than a typical smartphone. A recently published patent filing spotted by The Telegraph shows that Apple has been toying around with a device that features a curved display with no side bezels and no buttons anywhere on its case. Apple envisions that the curved display will be made from flexible material that can present “an illusion of depth perception” capable of “mimicking a 3D experience.” Apple also says that users would be able to control the volume on the phone “by holding a finger over the volume indicator” and “expanding the volume control over the entire left side of the device,” thus eliminating any need for a volume button.
T-Mobile will be the last of the big four wireless carriers in the United States to offer the iPhone when it launches in the next month. The company’s new “UNcarrier” initiative could make it an appealing choice for consumers looking for a contract-free plan. Horace Dediu of Asymco estimates that T-Mobile could sell about 3.4 million iPhones in 2013, totaling 10% of its subscriber base. The analyst’s sales numbers are based off trends from AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S), along with the percentage of total subscribers that each operator has been activating. Dediu notes that the sales patterns are consistent across all carriers and that the longer the iPhone is is available, the higher the activation rate. He estimates that iPhone sales across all four major carriers will reach 53 million in 2013, accounting for 17% of 320 million subscribers, an increase from 14% in 2012.
The latest version of iOS is reportedly creating problems for a number of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users. Apple (AAPL) released iOS version 6.1.3 earlier this month to fix a recent vulnerability that allowed unauthorized users to bypass a device’s lock screen — an issue that is ongoing. To make matters worse, some users are now reporting that the latest update is causing the battery to drain faster than before while also hurting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. According to CNET, normal fixes such as restoring the device to its factory settings seem to be unsuccessful in resolving the problem. Battery life issues are not uncommon after iOS updates, as users previously reported similar problems with iOS version 6.1 in February.
A new report suggests that Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is more “vulnerable” to attacks than Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry (BBRY) smartphones. According to a study from SourceFire, the vast majority of all mobile phone vulnerabilities that have been discovered so far have been found in Apple’s smartphones. The firm found 210 vulnerabilities in the iPhone, giving iOS an 81% share of known mobile phone vulnerabilities, while Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices combined to have a 19% market share. More →
Long-suffering T-Mobile customers rejoice — you can finally buy the iPhone 5 from your favorite carrier. T-Mobile on Tuesday announced that it would start selling Apple’s (AAPL) popular iPhone 5 for just $99 starting on April 12th. While there’s no standard two-year service agreement, you will have to pay T-Mobile an extra $20 over a 24-month span to fully pay off the cost of the device. At the same time, such gradual payments should prove to be very attractive to customers especially since they’re letting you pay less up front. Customers also have the option of paying the full price for the device up front and not paying T-Mobile any extra fees afterward. T-Mobile’s full press release is posted below. More →
T-Mobile is expected to unveil additional details about its new contract-free pricing and 4G LTE deployment at a press event in New York City on Tuesday. The latest rumors suggest, however, that the carrier will also discuss its partnership with Apple (AAPL). According to a report from CNET, the iPhone will play “a prominent role” at tomorrow’s “UNcarrier” event. Sources speaking to AllThingsD revealed that the company will showcase a “full lineup” of iPhone devices, although a T-Mobile equipped iPad is not expected to make an appearance. BGR’s live coverage of the event begins at 11:00 a.m. EDT
The buzz around the budget iPhone has grown deafening, with new reports about the device coming out on a weekly basis. This will be a product launch with a unique impact because of two trends that define the current smartphone market. First, the overall smartphone volume growth is projected to slow down from more than 50% in the fourth quarter of 2012 to about 36% in Q4 2013. Second, the Q4 2012 growth rates of the three biggest Asian smartphone vendors have remained superheated, with Samsung (005930) at 76%, Huawei at 89% and Sony (SNE) at 56%. What made this was possible was Apple’s slowdown to 29% growth during the past Christmas season and the notably weak year-on-year numbers from Nokia (NOK), ZTE and BlackBerry (BBRY). More →
Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone contracts with European wireless carriers are receiving scrutiny from European officials who are probing whether they violate antitrust laws. The New York Times reports that the antitrust probe began after “a group of European wireless carriers recently submitted information about their contracts with Apple to the European Commission.” Unnamed sources tell the Times that Apple’s iPhone contracts for smaller carriers are allegedly stricter than contracts for large carriers, which if true would put the smaller carriers at a significant competitive disadvantage. The European Commission says that it’s merely giving the iPhone contracts some scrutiny and that it hasn’t decided to open up a formal antitrust investigation yet.
It looks like Apple (AAPL) will finally break from its historical launch pattern and release two new iPhones in 2013, including the “budget iPhone” that Wall Street has been starting rumors about for at least three years now. Numerous reports from newspapers, blogs and sell-side analysts have insisted that Apple is planning a new entry-level iPhone model that will launch alongside the “iPhone 5S” this coming summer. A recent report from a plugged-in industry watcher suggested the affordable iPhone will be released in the late summer months featuring a plastic case and the same 4-inch Retina display from the iPhone 5, but a new note from RBC Capital claims otherwise. More →