Archive for December, 2007
On Tuesday January 22, 2008 at 5pm EST after markets close, Apple will webcast its financial quarter (Q1 08) results. Apple has guided analysts revenues of about $9.2 billion with earnings per share ( EPS ) of about $1.42 while analyst estimates for revenue currently range between $9.25-$9.40 billion with earnings of $1.48-$1.57 per share.
Analysts expect Apple to sell between 22 to 25 million iPods, 2.1 to 2.22 million Macs, and 1.8 to 2 million iPhones in this quarter which will signal record iPod sales and growing Mac and iPhone sales.
Also a quick reminder that Macworld Expo & Conference will start at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center January 14-18, 2007. Steve Jobs is due to deliver his opening keynote address on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12pm EST. You will find all the highlights covered right here.
According to the Hollywood magazine Variety, Apple plans to introduce movie rentals as short as 24 hours that become “unplayable” afterwards using a flexible pricing system that will cost $5 each for new releases and $2 each for older titles.
Variety also reports that FOX and Disney are already supporting this plan while Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount could also join iTunes soon. The possible date for the introduction of this new service is cited as next month at Macworld 2008 in San Francisco.
If true, the catalog of titles that those 5 major movie studios bring to the table plus iTunes software’s smooth and integrated downloading experience could spell major trouble for the likes of Blockbuster and Netflix.
Stephen Coleman, chief investment officer at St. Louis-based Daedalus Capital LLC, has again reiterated his prediction that Apple shares will hit $600 in 18 months, only this time the story has been picked up by the NY Post and Bloomberg. He based his prediction on upcoming Apple quarterly financial report which he claims will show record iPod sales and a growing Mac business. Coleman predicts Apple will sell 23 to 25 million iPods and more than 2 million Macs and 2 million iPhones by the end of current quarter. Coleman’s Daedalus Capital LLC owns about $7 million of Apple shares.
If Apple shares were to triple their value in just 18 months, Apple would need to introduce new product lines and break into new markets worldwide.
According to Financial Times, Fox Studio movie rentals on iTunes is a done deal and will be announced at Macworld 2008. The deal “will allow consumers to rent the latest Fox DVD releases” rather than to buy them.
DigiTimes, which tracks daily economic news across southeast Asia, reports that Taiwanese part supplier Innolux is due to supply “Apple with iPhone touch panels in the second quarter of 2008″. This reaffirms that Apple is set to release a second generation/3G iPhone in mid 2008. Balda and Wintek provide the current generation iPhone touch screens.
In yet another interesting article from DigiTimes, LCD panel industry sources predict that “small- to medium-size” touch panel market is expected to be the hot sector in 2008 and Taiwan-based LCD panel manufacturers are “monitoring demand” and considering “combining touch panel functions” in notebooks, handsets and MP3 players.
I’d like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.
And just a quick reminder that I’ll be posting relevant news from the Consumer Electronics Show 2008 ( January 7-10 ) and of course Macworld 2008 keynote address ( January 15 ).
I have been working on gathering more information about a new Apple portable device from several different sources during the past 6 months. I have pieced together the puzzle which portrays a picture of what can be perhaps best described as Apple’s rival product to the Intel Ultra Mobile PC ( UMPC ) initiative which has unsuccessfully tried to marry Microsoft’s Windows OS to a highly portable computing platform.
My strongest piece of evidence came from a trusted tipster about 4 months ago who described an image s(he) had seen of a mysterious touch screen device larger than the iPhone featuring one distinguishing button or depression on each side. At the time, unsure about the actual size of this new device, I reasoned that it could be a new generation of iPhone/iPod Touch or the much rumored Apple tablet. However, the device was later described to have been oriented horizontally on its long end, indicating that it was meant to be gripped with one hand on each side similar to a Sony PSP. This ruled out the Apple tablet which is, more than likely, a significantly larger device. It also ruled out iPod Touch since I have been previously tipped on the forward path of the iPod lineup by different sources, essentially confirming that touch screen iPods will not grow much in screen size.
Then about a month ago, another source revealed that Apple has shown significant interest in a 5.2″ 800 x 480 pixel touch screen design by Balda, a German company and the current iPhone screen supplier, and Wintek, an Asian component supplier. This second piece of evidence reveals the real purpose of this new device, an ultra mobile device occupying a position between the 3.5″ iPhone and the much rumored 7-10 inch Apple tablet. There was also a previous article I wrote which highlighted Apple’s sudden concern for flash memory supplies in 2008, despite industry predictions for next year which emphasize greater production and softer demand. This further confirms that Apple is working on a new device due sometime in 2008 that will put strains on the flash memory supply chain.
One thing not seen by any of my sources is a keyboard: it’s clear Apple will not be using a physical QWERT keyboard for this device, instead relying on its patented multi-touch screen as the sole interface for user input. This may be the reason why some have speculated that Apple may be on the verge of introducing a new generation of its famed Newton PDA. However, I firmly believe that the shrinking market for dedicated PDAs puts those speculations to rest, although various PDA functionalities may in fact be included in the final version of the device.
This new Apple device, which could be an Ultra Mobile Computer, has not been sighted out and about the Apple campus or even in the area normally designated for testing new Apple products, suggesting that it’s still in the software and hardware design period. Once it’s physically spotted outside Apple’s secretive labs, we may see an actual product release of 6-8 months, closely following other new Apple product introductions.
Above is a rendition of this new device based on what we know so far.
The illustration above seems to have unintentionally irked a lot of people. Articles are often accompanied by a picture to make their point more clear to readers. As you read this post, it should become pretty clear that the illustration was meant to compliment the details that were revealed rather than become a focal point of the article. The article reveals hardware details and not the potential styling of this device.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says ITMS movie rentals direct to Apple TV will be announced at Macworld keynote address on January 15, 2008. He expects a software update to Apple TV to enable this service and adds that pricing and DRM-related issues between the movie studios and Apple have been the main obstacles to an agreement.
Phillip Swann of TVPredictions.com, on the other hand, says Apple will dump the model labeled by Steve Jobs himself as a “hobby” by the end of 2008. Swann cites lackluster Apple TV sales of about 400 000 units this year as a factor. Various Apple enthusiasts sites have also reported the possible integration of Apple TV with a large flat panel resulting in a new Apple offering.
I personally think Apple will introduce a vastly improved Apple TV 2.0 in 2008 featuring hardware upgrades like larger onboard storage and more digital connectivity options plus HD content rental on ITMS. Now tell me that wouldn’t turn Apple TV from a hobby into a viable business leg.
Yesterday PopCap Games released its version of Peggle for iPod. This is significant because PopCap is known for making some of the smallest yet addictive online games with rich user interfaces. Sega of America also announced the original Sonic the Hedgehog for iPod. Both games can be downloaded for $4.99 from the iTunes online store in 22 countries. With the iPhone/Touch Software Development Kit ( SDK ) due out in early ’08 and already available to select third party developers, Macworld may give us a taste of what to expect as far as games on iPods particularly on the touch-screen platform.
My trusty iPhone source has once again come through to provide clarity on the Apple iPhone roadmap. In the past week, several analysts have claimed that Apple has pushed 3G iPhone introduction a few months back. Concerns regarding hiccups in the 3G iPhone development voiced by various analysts and echoed by Apple fan sites prompted me to ask my insider about the validity of those claims. I was assured that as things stands now, Apple plans to make the 3G version available in June 2008 with a sneak preview of its software and hardware improvements due at Macworld 2008. Asked about hardware improvements, my source revealed that the top iPhone model will get 16GB of solid state memory and that production for the 8GB version is currently slated to continue although Apple is very concerned about flash memory pricing and availability in 2008. These concerns are potentially due to strains caused by yearly memory upgrade in the iPod lineup and a number of unannounced Apple products that may utilize these chips.
There’s also been some confusion on whether the 3G iPhone can be considered the second generation iPhone or just an upgrade on the current model. My source explained that Apple updates its portable hardware on a yearly basis and from that perspective, it can be considered a second gen product. However, the current iPhone platform is still used to tack on numerous software and hardware improvements.