Apple: Free cases to alleviate iPhone 4 problems

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPhone

CUPERTINO, Calif. – Apple says it will give free protective cases to buyers of its latest iPhone model to alleviate the so-called “death grip” problem: holding the phone with a bare hand can muffle the wireless signal.
Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced the giveaway Friday at the company’s headquarters in California. Those who have already bought the phone and new buyers through Sept. 30 will all be eligible. People who already purchased the $29 “Bumper” cases will be refunded.
Earlier, Jobs declared, “We’re not perfect.”
But he says the problem isn’t widespread. He says just over five out of every thousand users have complained to Apple’s warranty service, and less than 2 percent have returned the device.
Consumer Reports refused to recommend the phone and called on Apple to compensate buyers.

First iPhone 4 Broken After One-Foot Drop

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPhone

This is not a drop test. This is the first iPhone 4 that breaks after a simple accident that anyone may have: A one-foot drop.
The back of it completely shattered. I’m convinced that this will be the first of many broken iPhone 4s. It appears to be functioning correctly but the glass needs to be replaced. At the Genius Bar they said they don’t have any replacement phones or parts yet and we had to make an appt for Friday (they still don’t have any insight into procedures for this situation but said to come in anyway). Hopefully they replace it for free. I’ve dropped my 3g from far higher without causing any breaks. This was the damage after about a foot fall.
I love Apple, I really do, but for a company renown for superb SCM practices, they fell short here… shipping early without procedures and/or parts in stock.
Unlike the drop test, this was a full phone from the factory.
An industry insider recently pointed at the probable causes for easy glass shattering and chipping. While we are investigating his claims, here is one piece of advice: Try not to drop your iPhone in other glass surfaces. That and remember to buy a bumper and/or insurance.

Some iPhone 4 Displays Have Yellow Bands and Spots

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPhone

There is a problem with the iPhone 4′s Retina displays: Some screens have a yellow tint across its surface. 40 cases [Updating Live] and counting. In some, it’s a yellow band. In others, yellow spots.

5 Big Blemishes for the Apple iPhone 4

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPhone

Apple’s (AAPL – News) redesigned iPhone is destined to be a knockout success. The phone scores high on style points with its sleek glass and stainless steel design, and it wins points for its multitasking software and improved screen.
There are, however, a few shortcomings.
The Apple iPhone 4 is set to go on sale Thursday. Judging by the record demand during the pre-sale period, the newest iPhone will make a huge sales splash, especially with old iPhone owners trading up.
All the presales excitement and Apple-driven hype have set expectations very high. But mighty Apple plays to a tough crowd. It’s an affluent group that has been eager to buy the next new thing out of Cupertino, Calif. It’s also a highly discerning group with a refined taste in gadgets, and that makes them a bit fussy.
Here are five bruises on the new Apple iPhone that may engender complaint.
No. 5: A Skimpy Camera
As smartphone challengers like HTC, Motorola (MOT – News) and Nokia (NOK – News) embrace the megapixel race with 8-megapixel and 12-megapixel cameras, Apple’s new iPhone keeps it cheap with a 5-megapixel model.
This will be a bigger point of contention this week when Verizon (VZ – News) and Motorola unveil the Droid X Wednesday, the newest Google (GOOG – News) Android phone, which features an 8-megapixel camera. Android phone giant HTC has also been generous with 8-megapixel cameras in its Droid Incredible and Sprint’s (S – News) EVO.
Meanwhile, Apple, always the laggard in cameras, won’t enter the 8-megapixel class until next year when it debuts a sweet Sony (SNE – News) camera in its 2011 iPhone. But by then, who knows where the rest of the pack will be?
No. 4: No Swype
If you’ve seen Swype or used it, you know why this omission makes the list. Typing on a touchscreen is a challenge as the flat glass surface offers few clues to where your fat fingers are precisely making contact. It’s an error-prone process that gives one a longing for the raised keys of the BlackBerry keyboard from Research In Motion (RIMM – News).
But the Swype keypad software helps tame the new medium. Swype follows the pattern of your finger movements to type words or predict words without the usual hunting and pecking.
Apple did wonders with the touchscreen, but Swype makes it more useful for those among us who like to type.
No. 3: Video Calling
Okay, it’s not totally bait and switch, but Apple’s hot new iPhone video calling feature, FaceTime, comes with lots of asterisks and a limited applicability.
Say you want to video chat with someone using the Apple iPhone 4. That someone has to have a WiFi connection and he has to use the same application on his own iPhone 4. You’re looking at a small club of people — not exactly an application of global Skype-like proportions.
No. 2: iPhone 4 Shortages
Strong demand is only half the story for Apple’s iPhone sales debut. Limited supply is the other. A shortage of in-plane display panels, the crucial part of Apple’s touted retina display screens, has forced Apple’s contract manufacturers to cut production rates in half to 1 million iPhones a month.
This means there won’t be enough iPhones on hand to meet the presumably high demand. Though it’s not a terrible problem to have if you are a gadget maker, sellouts and delivery delays will mar Apple’s big iPhone 4 debut. The frustration could push buyers toward other phones.
No. 1: No Verizon iPhone.
A new iPhone is big. But a new iPhone at Verizon? Much bigger.
Apple’s exclusive partnership with AT&T (T – News) has been a point of discord among iPhone owners and it has tarnished the public perception of both companies. It also has done almost nothing for AT&T’s stock.
Investors have been waiting for the Verizon iPhone. But that’s apparently not going to happen until next year, if ever.
So Apple fans who want the new iPhone have to lock in for another two years with AT&T. This scenario is not particularly pleasant considering that AT&T’s new subscriber plans put penalties on people (like iPhone users) who happen to be heavy data users.

AT&T Gives Up on the iPad 3G Unlimited Data Plan

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: iPad

AT&T announced new data plans for mobile Internet and smartphone tethering. While the company claims the new plans will make “mobile Internet more affordable to more people,” there’s also a glaring downside to the new pricing — no unlimited data plan for iPad customers.
AT&T now offers two mobile data plans: DataPlus, which provides 200 MB of data for $15 per month (additional 200 MB chunks of data also cost $15), and DataPro, which provides 2 GB of data for $25 per month, with every additional GB costing $10. Furthermore, smartphone customers can enable tethering for an additional $20 per month, but only if they use the DataPro plan.
Existing iPad customers, who already have the $29.99 unlimited monthly plan can choose to keep it, or switch to the DataPro plan.
New pricing is good news for smartphone customers, who won’t go bankrupt if they exceed their monthly data limit. But from the iPad user’s perspective, AT&T’s new pricing is a big letdown compared to the previous unlimited data plan. Even the most active iPhone users won’t burn through more than a couple of gigabytes every month, but the iPad is a far more demanding device data-wise, and activities such as Netflix streaming will quickly exceed the limit of AT&T’s DataPro plan. Two gigabytes per month is just not enough data for a device such as the iPad, and we sense that many users will feel let down by AT&T’s new data plans.

Apple’s New Direction: Will the Tablet Replace the PC?

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

Yesterday at the D8 conference in Los Angeles, Steve Jobs laid out his vision of what’s to come. While Apple’s CEO went in-depth on a plethora of interesting subjects (e.g. Adobe Flash, the lost iPhone, iAds), he spent much of the stage time talking about the future of computing, specifically the PC.
Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg of AllThingsD asked Jobs whether the tablet is going to replace the laptop. Jobs’s response was an analogy:
“When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks. But as people moved more towards urban centers, people started to get into cars. I think PCs are going to be like trucks. Less people will need them. And this is going to make some people uneasy.”
That short exchange says a lot about the direction Apple could take computing over the next decade. Apple still sells the Mac and the Macbook, and while the term “PC” is now synonymous with Windows machines, the meaning of PC — personal computer — can also apply to the Mac and Macbook.
Was Apple’s CEO referring to not only Windows PCs, but Macs as well? It’s tough to say for certain, but I think it’s very likely. Jobs clearly thinks PCs are on the way out, in favor of the more portable, less complex tablet and mobile form factors. His iPad has already validated the market for tablets, and we expect many more tablets to enter the market over the next few years.
Apple lost the PC market to Microsoft years ago. If Jobs has his way though, that won’t matter — the market will shift towards mobile computing devices like the iPhone and the iPad, both of which Apple has complete control over. The tech titan doesn’t have full control over the Mac OS or its desktop, which must be frustrating to a man who relishes control.
Will the tablet replace the PC? Not in the next decade, at least. Hell, the Windows XP operating system is still the world’s most popular OS. It takes time for disruptive technologies to take hold.
For now, the tablet will be a complementary device to the PC. The PC has had far more time to be fleshed out and performs countless tasks faster and better than the iPad or any other tablet device on the market. In a decade though, we may be singing a different tune.

iPad Sales Show Little Sign of Slowing

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad

Sales of Apple’s tablet are on pace to surpass even the most optimistic predictions put out before its launch.
Even the most die-hard Apple fans need to admit the company’s sales of the iPad are somewhat surprising. It took the company four weeks to sell one million units, and another four weeks to sell an additional million.
This torrid pace would put it on par to possibly surpass even the rosiest predictions put out by analysts before the device’s launch in April of this year. It now puts into doubt whether Apple will really need to make adjustments to the price of the device, which it had said it would be willing to do in order to ensure the device meets its sales goals.
If it’s selling well now and hard to keep in stock, why make less of a profit now? May not be great for us consumers, but it is surely good for Apple’s investors.
Apple’s iPad successes make the current tiff between Microsoft and Google somewhat amusing. For those that missed it, Microsoft’s Steve Guggenheimer told the Wall Street Journal that manufacturer’s current apparent preference for Android on tablets was nothing more than a red herring, and that the company would lead the market overall in due time.
Kind of funny for two companies squabbling over products which for the most part haven’t even shipped yet, no? On top of that, I’d argue that Microsoft should be worrying about surpassing Apple in the space, not Google.
I am definitely interested to see how Apple does once Microsoft and Google have their own tablet devices on the market and in front of the customer. I believe that the iPad’s success has a lot to do with the popularity of the iPhone-a “halo effect” of a different kind if you will-and the device really does not have any competition at this point.
With alternatives on the market, and quite possibly at a lower price, will Apple’s name be enough to carry the day? I guess we’ll be finding out.

Survey Says: iPad Is Killing Netbooks

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPad, Technology

A new survey shows consumers are “overwhelmingly leaning” toward the iPad instead of netbooks, and cheap laptops are also taking a toll on netbook sales. The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, was commissioned by consumer electronics site Retrevo.
Apple’s iPad has proven popular with shoppers, as more than one million devices have already been sold. That popularity is hurting netbook sales, says the survey, as the iPad offers many of the same advantages that netbooks offer over a traditional laptop, such as higher portability and longer battery life.
The Retrevo survey asked consumers whether they are planning on buying an iPad or a netbook: 78 percent said they would be choosing an iPad, while only 22 percent would choose a netbook.
Respondents were asked whether they held off on buying a netbook after Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in January. 30 percent answered that they did, and consequently bought an iPad, while 40 percent did hold back but eventually bought a netbook instead. 30 percent of respondents said they did not hold back and just bought a netbook.
Regular laptops are still popular with U.S. consumers, the survey shows, especially the cheap lower-end models. 65 percent said they would go for a laptop instead of a netbook when faced with the choice this year.
Those who preferred netbooks over laptops or iPads said that the main feature that attracted them to a netbook was the smaller footprint of the machines (55 percent), while 20 percent considered price, and 19 percent considered battery life as the main trait.
Analysts say however, that the iPad won’t cripple sales of netbooks, at least not this year, mainly because the $200 or so gap in pricing between the two types of devices. Jeff Orr, an analyst with ABI Research, reportedly said earlier this month that just one percent of potential netbook buyers would be impacted by tablets, like the iPad.

Google Buys Simplify Media To Power Music Syncing For New iTunes Competitor

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Google

Google just announced that it bought Simplify Media, a startup that offers software that lets you share your iTunes music across platforms, including the web.
The software lets you share your photos and music using programs like iTunes, iPhoto and Windows Media player. According to the startup’s site Simplify Media “connects people directly with their content, without the hassles of synching or uploading all their files. Simplify users can also share their personal media with family and close friends in a private, secure group.”
It appears that that deal may have taken place in March, when the company announced a “new direction” on its blog, discontinuing its software to users and removing its iPhone app from Apple’s App store.
Google VP Vic Gundotra said that Simplify’s technology will be used to offer a desktop app that will give you access to all of your (DRM-free) media on your Android devices remotely, using Google’s new iTunes competitor on the web.

7 Reasons Apple Shareholders Should Be Cautious

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Technology

Apple (NYSE: AAPL – News) investors could be excused for feeling on top of the world. Another blowout quarter has sent the stock booming to another all-time high. The iPad seems to be a success. Everything the company touches seems to turn to gold.
Savor the moment, by all means. But don’t get complacent. If you’re an Apple shareholder, here are seven things to be concerned about—and one thing you can do about it.
1. Apple’s good — but not that good. It’s just that the competition is so bad. Nokia (NYSE: NOK – News), Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT – News), Samsung, Palm (NasdaqGS: PALM – News): From smartphones to Internet tablets to computers, it’s hard to believe so many big companies have blown it so badly. And they’ve committed mainly unforced errors, such as terrible user interfaces. I bought a non-iPod MP3 player the other day. It’s great … except making playlists is nearly impossible.
As long as the competition acts like this, Apple will keep winning. But its success owes less to the genius of Apple than the incompetence of everyone else. And that’s something you can’t control.
2. Apple fatigue. Was anything so ridiculous as the coverage of the new iPad? A computer company launched a new computer. Time and Newsweek put it on the cover, for heaven’s sake, complete with fawning copy from the likes of Stephen Fry. A lot of people are getting absolutely fed up with this circus. Fashions come, but fashions go. Is Apple becoming overexposed? Right now Steve Jobs could sell his old underwear for $200 a pair (the “iPants”), and the sheep would line up at your local Apple store. If this mania lasts, it will be a first in human history.
3. The share price. At $260, Apple’s stock price has more than doubled in a year. Amateur investors say, “It’s going up.” Present tense. Serious investors say, more accurately: “It has gone up.” Past tense. No one knows the future. And the more it rises, the less attractive it gets. It’s now 20 times annual cash flow and 5 and a half times annual sales. At $235 billion, the company is being valued at more than Sony (NYSE: SNE – News), Research In Motion (NasdaqGS: RIMM – News), Dell (NasdaqGS: DELL – News), Motorola (NYSE: MOT – News), Nokia, HTC (Taiwan 2498.TW – News), SanDisk (NasdaqGS: SNDK – News) and Palm … put together. That assumes a lot.
4. Steve Jobs’s ego. I don’t care how much of a genius he is: Nobody is perfect. Yet Mr. Jobs has been subject to extravagant cheerleading, and it’s not as if he was overendowed with a sense of humility to begin with. Bottom line: If and when he makes mistakes, who is going to stop him? A small but telling example: One thing keeping Apple from lots of extra iPhone sales to business users is that Mr. Jobs, for some reason, has a thing against keyboards. There’s no business reason for it. It’s a silly, unforced error.
5. The cellular networks. At what point will they stop giving away the store? Right now they’re paying most of the cost of each new iPhone, and under-charging for the data plans too. That’s great for customers and great for Apple, and bad for the networks. The iPhone is an expensive data hog that soaks up airtime, and there’s always a risk the networks will start playing tougher. Verizon, which lost out to AT&T three years ago for the right to carry the iPhone in the US, doesn’t seem to be suffering as a result. Its investors have done no worse than those of AT&T. And its data traffic just jumped 20%, even without the Apple phone.
6. Apple backlash. As the competition forfeits game after game, Apple is starting to dominate industries from cell phones and games to music and media. Now it looks like it wants to dominate ebooks too. But if Ken Auletta’s account in the latest New Yorker is correct, Apple’s game plan to defeat Amazon means teaming up with book publishers—and that may mean higher book prices for consumers. How will consumers react? And what will that do for Apple’s “friendly,” rebel image? Anyway, you can’t play the underdog when you’re the third-biggest company in the world by market value. Apple is already worth more than General Electric (NYSE: GE – News), Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT – News), Chevron (NYSE: CVX – News) or Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG – News). It is worth nearly as much as Microsoft. At some point it starts to look like the Big Brother it once vilified. It may even look like the new Microsoft.
7. Steve Jobs’s health. This is the “ick” issue. But Apple cheerleaders can’t have it both ways. They can’t hail Steve Jobs as a visionary genius and the world’s greatest CEO, and then say it’s none of shareholders’ business whether he will still be running the company in three years’ time. It’s only a year since he had a liver transplant, and investors can hardly feel confident they got all the relevant information clearly and early. We all hope Mr. Jobs enjoys the best of health and lives to a ripe old age. But he still looks worryingly thin. This is something for investors to keep an eye on.
Some of these are issues that could erupt into problems quickly. Others, if they do emerge, would take more time. But if you’re a nervous Apple investor, what are your alternatives? Sure you could sell some stock and take your profits. But if you don’t want to get off this train quite yet, here’s another idea: You could buy some insurance using “put” options. These pay out if the stock falls. So for $19 you can buy $200 puts, good until January 2012. These will limit your downside on the stock to $200. But if Apple keeps booming upwards, all you can lose is the $19.

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