Two of Apple’s component suppliers, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co and Toshiba, have reportedly shut down some of their operations in Japan in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, this could result in shortages of Apple’s iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in March, through the rest of the first quarter, and into June. Toshiba manufactures 40% of the world’s flash memory, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co is believed to be Apple’s go-to company for BT resin — which is used on circuit boards. Munster says Apple’s strategy to buy from multiple component suppliers could help soften the blow. “This strategy has proven to be an effective way for Apple to leverage its balance sheet and its position as one of the largest buyers of many of the components it uses; moreover, this strategy may prove particularly helpful if supply is limited and pricing increases,” wrote Munster. “Finally, we believe Apple buys futures on important components, which will help offset near-term pricing swings. Our conclusion is that Apple is well positioned to suffer proportionally less than its competitors.” Apple’s stock traded down sharply yesterday on the news of an analyst downgrade and potential supply shortages. More →
VUDU has taken a great leap forward, moving from its small lineup of streaming media set-top boxes and its presence on a few home entertainment devices to being the embedded media service of choice for LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. The popular streaming movie service will be installed on select models of broadband TVs and Blu-ray players across all partners, an arrangement that may put millions of VUDU-enabled home entertainment devices into living rooms across America. Customers who purchase a VUDU-spiced HDTV or Blu-ray player will be able to access VUDU’s 3,000 strong on-demand HD movie catalog and its exclusive 1080p HDX formatted feature films. VUDU also announced its new VUDU Apps application platform, a cloud-based application service that allows customers to browse photos, stream video, access social network sites and more from the comfort of their favorite chair. They’ve got over 100 applications in the catalog and they will be available on broadband HDTVs from Mitsubishi, SANYO, Sharp and Toshiba and on broadband Blu-ray players from Toshiba. We need this. Now. More →
Ok, ok… Let’s not get too excited just yet. It still might be a bit early to reach any real conclusions about laser televisions and how desirable they will be once they hit the market en masse. How will lower-end models fare compared to higher-end models? How will size vs. cost pan out? How high will the early adopter tax be? There are plenty more questions that still need to be answered but in the meantime, above is a nice little taste of things to come. Two gadget-loving Texans have pitted the upcoming Mitsubishi LaserVue laser TV against Pioneer’s 60-inch Kuro plasma and yes, things got hot and heavy. The focus of this preliminary match up was color and the laser box had a strong showing. The second pair of images above highlights how vivid the colors are displayed on the LaserVue, particularly the red range. In certain other ranges however, the difference is negligible. The post also notes the tremendous benfits of laser in terms of power consumption, with the LaserVue sipping 135 watts compared to the Kuro’s 524 watts. It’s not all gravy however, as the post also highlights viewing angle as a big advantage of the plasma display – even going as far as to liken the LaserVue’s viewing angle to a DLP set. We can’t wait for the battle between laser and plasma to heat up even more – in the end, more competition means prices drop and consumers win.
[Via Gadget Lab]
As the economy continues to decline and unemployment rates continue to rise, now is a tough time for everyone. Particularly tough perhaps, if a big part of your business involves selling luxury items like HDTVs. In times of economic crisis people most often forgo big ticket items such as plasma and LCD TVs and opt to spend their money on, say, food and fuel. If you’re not one of the unlucky Americans hit hard by the current state of the union however, you might as well take advantage of some serious and wide-spread price dropping. The HDTV price cuts are manufacturer-instigated in most cases so the result will impact retailers across the country. While these new prices at major retailers still might not be the lowest you’ll find on the internet, it’s safe to assume eventually the price drops will be reflected in non-brick and mortar pricing as well. If things like a warranty and knowing for a fact that you won’t be screwed by some shady fly by night website, we say stick to the major shops and enjoy these cuts that bring most price points down to at least near-internet levels. Hit the read link to check out the full list of price drops, which includes 30 different HDTV models. The new pricing ranges from $100 off to $500 off; even up to $700 off taking a few new Best Buy sales into account.