Why Would Apple Buy Loewe…

Submitted by lalit on May 13, 2012 - 5:56pm.

Yesterday, AppleInsider reported that Apple was negotiating to acquire German HDTV maker Loewe for 87.3 million Euros (about $122 million). However, today Loewe’s spokesperson said that there was “absolutely nothing to it”. But there are still rumors that Apple offered a deal to Loewe and their board of directors is yet to decide. Many believe that Apple is interested in Loewe because of their minimalist designs and premium market appeal.

However, we don’t think Apple will buy anyone for design or market appeal. As far as design is concerned, Apple has always depended on their internal design team led by Jonathan Ive. And as for market appeal, there is no bigger brand than Apple today in the world. So, why would they need Loewe?

We believe that if Apple buys Loewe, it will be for intellectual property (IP) and nothing else. Yes, they might use the engineers from Loewe for making Apple’s upcoming HDTV, but that isn’t the main reason for Apple to buy Loewe.

Apple will be entering a very crowded TV market with many big name electronic companies wanting to keep them out, as Apple is known to drain away all the profits from the market they enter. For example, in 2011 Apple took away 80% profit of MP3 player market, over 75% profit of smartphone market and over 80% profit of tablet market. And companies like Samsung, Sony and LG will do anything to keep Apple away from already drying TV market. So, if Apple has some IP backing from an old company like Loewe it will be that much better/easier for them to enter the TV market.


E-Onkyo Brings First True High Definition Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Online Music Service

Submitted by lalit on May 12, 2012 - 9:44am.

Japanese online music store, e-onkyo has announced launch of their online music distribution service that will feature Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound tracks. The service will be launched on May 30, 2012, in Japan and in fall 2012 elsewhere in the world. The service will initially offer 100 album titles (about 1,000 tracks) in lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel surround sound.

Along with lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel surround sound, the music service will also provide consumers with high-quality audio at reduced sizes for faster download. The reduced file size tracks will have 24bit/96kHz audio and they will be around 200MB for five minute track, while the lossless track will have 24bit/192kHz audio with about 800MB file size. Both file sizes will be 5.1-channel Dolby TrueHD.

Shinsuke Yamashita, President and Representative Director, Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, explained: "We are very happy that e-onkyo music will start distribution with Dolby TrueHD lossless audio, thanks to the cooperation of Dolby. The evolution of network audio and PC audio means that users can enjoy high-resolution sound with data volumes greater than those that are possible on a CD. And we are aiming to achieve even further growth in our music distribution business. Through the collaboration between our two companies, we intend to increase our breadth of content and improve the user's listening experience, in a way that only high-quality surround sound distribution can."

The e-onkyo music service featuring Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks will start on May 30, 2012 at 1 PM in Japan. On e-onkyo Dolby TrueHD 5.1 music service albums will start at ¥3,000 (about $35) and single will cost ¥400 (about $5). [Via Engadget]


iOS 6 to bring Apple’s Own Maps App with Incredible 3D Mode

Submitted by lalit on May 11, 2012 - 5:43pm.

Apple currently uses Google Maps data in iOS Maps app, but that it going to change with iOS 6, as Apple is going to bring the complete Maps applications in house. With both user interface and backend support by Apple alone. According to 9to5mac, not only will Apple replace the Google Maps data from the Maps app, but they will also add new features like 3D view, which isn’t present in current app. Mark Gurman wrote:

According to trusted sources, Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application. Apple will drop the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007 in favor for a new Maps app with an Apple backend. The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience.

Signifying the application’s complete re-write is a new logo for iOS Maps: it is basically a redesigned version of the current iOS Maps icon with a view of Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop Campus, but redrawn with a new color scheme. Apple’s replacement for Google Street View will likely also be an in-house solution. C3 Technologies worked on street view capability as shown in the image above.

The most important aspect of the new Maps application is a powerful new 3D mode. The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently and visibly stored in the app. Perhaps under the fold like the current traffic, pin, and map view buttons. This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms.

Check out the video below in which 3D map mode is shown for Hoover Dam, it looks awesome. We have been hearing about Apple developing their own Maps app for quite sometime now so it’s no surprise that we will finally see it in iOS 6. However, based on what we have heard and today’s report from 9to5mac, we think that the Maps app on iOS 6 will be nothing like we have seen before and it will be simply amazing.


Foxconn Chief Says We Are Preparing for Apple iTV

Submitted by lalit on May 11, 2012 - 8:59am.

Terry Gou, Chief of Foxconn, Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner today revealed in a interview with China Daily newspaper that the company was in fact preparing for manufacturing of Apple’s much rumored iTV. China Daily posted the following about iTV:

Gou said Foxconn is making preparations for iTV, Apple Inc's rumored upcoming high-definition television, although development or manufacturing has yet to begin.

iTV reportedly features an aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling.

Foxconn's recent 50-50 joint venture factory with Sharp in Japan is one of the preparations made for the new device, Gou added.

Terry Gou is Chairman of Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn), he isn’t some low level employee at Foxconn factory. So, if he comes out and says that Foxconn is preparing for iTV then we have no doubt that they are, but as you can see from his statement development or manufacturing hasn’t yet started on Foxconn’s side, which would indicate that Apple iTV shipment is still at least 4-6 months away.


Apple 7-inch iPad Coming in October with Retina Display and $200 to $250 Price Point

Submitted by lalit on May 10, 2012 - 1:55pm.

Apple rumor website iMore is reporting that Apple will launch the much rumored iPad mini in October along with the new iPhone. Some of the details that iMore posted about the upcoming iPad mini are very interesting, Rene Ritchie wrote:

Apple will be going forward with the 7-inch iPad, currently targeting an October 2012 release alongside the new iPhone, and -- here's the killer -- at a $200 to $250 price point. According to our source, which has proven reliable in the past, the reason for such aggressive pricing is to do to the tablet market what Apple did to the MP3 market in 2004 with the expansion of the iPod product line -- leave absolutely no space for competitors.

We haven't gotten a firm read on the exact screen dimensions, so we're using 7-inches generically here. Our source has indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical in every way to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down. That seems to include a 2048x1536 resolution display, just like the new iPad. If accurate, that would put the pixel density at around 326 ppi, identical to the iPhone 4S (and higher than the 264 ppi new iPad) retina display. It's hard to imagine a device with a panel like that having a price tag of just $200, especially when the baseline new iPad comes in at $500, but one way Apple will be keeping costs lower is by providing less storage capacity. $200 will get you 8GB. That's identical to the current entry-level iPod touch, which also starts at $200. (And no, Apple won't be replacing the iPod touch with the 7-inch iPad, both devices will remain in the product lineup -- though it'll be interesting to see what happens with iPod touch pricing and storage capacity.)

From what we have heard via our sources Apple isn’t going to use a Retina display on the iPad mini. The cost of production of 7-inch Retina display alone will be more than 1/3 the price of iPad mini. Also price difference between 8GB memory module and 16GB module is less than $5, which won’t make up for higher cost of Retina display (about $60-$70). So we believe that the assumption about Apple keeping the cost lower by using less storage is baseless.


Samsung Unveils Sleek 17-inch Series 7 Chronos Laptop

Submitted by lalit on May 10, 2012 - 12:29pm.

Samsung today announced the newest addition to Series 7 laptop lineup, the new 17-inch Series 7 Chronos laptop. The sleek desktop replacement laptop features 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GPU, 17.3-inch full HD LED display and premium JBL speakers.

"The new Series 7 CHRONOS can truly serve as a desktop replacement, whether it's being used for work or play, because we've integrated so many powerful features into our innovative design and engineering, resulting in the ultimate personal computing experience," said Todd Bouman, vice president of marketing at Samsung Enterprise Business Division. "This product incorporates great features from our award-winning Series 7 CHRONOS line while offering consumers the newest, most powerful components available and a larger screen for a more immersive viewing experience without sacrificing the convenience of a laptop."

The laptop comes with ExpressCache with 8GB flash memory resulting in fast start up time and powerful application launch performance. It also offers up to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge. The 17-inch Series 7 Chronos has been made using brushed aluminum for sleek design, and it is just one inch thick with 6.5 pounds weight.

Samsung 17-inch Series 7 Chronos laptop is available now priced $1,499.


NVIDIA Launches More Affordable GeForce GTX 670 GPU (Reviews added)

Submitted by lalit on May 10, 2012 - 9:18am.

After launching the two top-of-the-line GeForce GTX 600 series GPUs in past two months, NVIDIA today launched the more affordable third GPU based on the new 28nm Kepler architecture, the GeForce GTX 670. The new card has 1344 NVIDIA CUDA cores in place of 1536 on big brother GTX 680 and 2GB of GDDR5 graphics memory. The card supports NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision and SLI technology.

According to NVIDIA, GTX 670 outpaces the closest competitive product in gaming performance by upwards of 45 percent, while consuming 18 percent less power. NVIDIA also claims “the GeForce GTX 670 ties the competition's much higher-priced flagship product on 25 of the world's most popular games and benchmarks, a testament to the overall performance efficiency of the Kepler architecture.” And many reviewers agree with NVIDIA on these points.

The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 GPU is available now, priced $399 from the world's leading add-in card suppliers, including ASUS, EVGA, Gainward, Gigabyte, Inno3D, KFA2, MSI, Palit, Point of View, PNY, and Zotac.

AnandTech, PCWorld, Tom’s Hardware, Neoseeker and Hot Hardware have posted reviews of the new NVIDIA GTX 670. And they all say one thing in common “Ultimately, we feel that the new GeForce GTX 670 is another strong offering from NVIDIA. The card offers all of the features of the higher-end GeForce GTX 680 and 90+% of the performance, but at a lower price. Hopefully NVIDIA’s availability issues are rectified soon, because we suspect many of you are going to want to score on of these puppies.”


HTC Evo 4G LTE Coming to Sprint on May 18th

Submitted by lalit on May 9, 2012 - 11:15am.

Last month, Sprint introduced the new HTC Evo 4G LTE featuring 4.7-inch screen, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and LTE support. However, Sprint didn’t provide launch date for the handset. Today the company came out clean with the exact launch date and pricing for the new handset. The HTC Evo 4G LTE will start shipping on May 18th, 2012. It will cost $199.99 with new line of service or eligible upgrade and two year service agreement. Pre-order began May 7th on Sprint’s website.


Sony Introduces Xperia GX and Xperia SX – The First Sony LTE Smartphones for Japan

Submitted by lalit on May 9, 2012 - 8:56am.

Sony today announced two new Xperia Android smartphones designed specifically for the Japanese market – the Xperia GX and Xperia SX. Both Xperia GX and Xperia SX are the first Sony smartphones with 4G LTE support with download speeds of up to 75mbps. These handsets also come with 1.5GHz dual core processors, Reality Display powered by the Mobile BRAVIA Engine, full HD video and Sony Exmor R camera.

Key features of Xperia GX are:

  • 4.6” Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine for razor-sharp clarity.
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor for faster performance.
  • 16GB internal flash storage.
  • 13MP camera with Sony Exmor R for mobile, HD video recording, and Sony technology to take 3D panoramic images.
  • Launching on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • Available in white and black.

Key features of Xperia SX are:

  • World’s lightest LTE smartphone, weighing only 95g.
  • 3.7” Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA Engine.
  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor for faster performance.
  • 8GB internal flash storage.
  • 8MP camera with Sony Exmor R for mobile, HD video recording, and Sony technology to take 3D panoramic images.
  • Japanese specific features such as infrared port data exchange, mobile wallet and mobile TV.
  • Launching on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.
  • Available in black and white

Sony Xperia GX and Xperia SX will be available in Japan this summer. No word on pricing yet.

Apple Places Next Generation iPhone Manufacturing Orders

Submitted by lalit on May 9, 2012 - 7:16am.

Digitimes is reporting that Apple has placed manufacturing orders for next generation iPhone and a new 10-inch iPad model to Pegatron technology. Monica Chen posted:

Pegatron Technology reportedly has landed orders for a new-generation iPhone to be launched in September and a 10-inch iPad to be launched in the fourth quarter, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Pegatron is currently an OEM for the iPhone 4S and new iPad.

Pegatron has already finished expanding its equipment and labor force for Apple's orders.

Pegatron first got iPhone manufacturing orders from Apple when CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon was launch. Since then Pegatron has become Apple’s second major manufacturing partner after Foxconn. So it’s very likely that they will be playing a role in manufacturing of next generation iPhone. However, we haven’t heard anything about a 10-inch iPad that will be launched in Q4 2012. Also, it’s very unlikely that Apple will launch a 10-inch model when they are already shipping two 9.7-inch models, as the difference in screen size is very little to justify a completely new product.