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IDC: Apple third largest smartphone maker in Q1 2010

According to the latest data from research firm IDC, Apple was the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer in the first quarter of 2010. Apple’s quarterly shipments more than doubled year-over-year in the period, from 3.8 million in Q1 2009 to 8.8 million in Q1 2010, an increase of 131% that far outpaced overall market growth of 56.7%. Apple’s record shipments were good for 16.1% of the worldwide market, up from 10.9% in the year ago quarter, but still behind leader Nokia’s 39.3% share and BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, whose lead over Apple shrank significantly as it held a 19.4% share of the market. Apple was followed by HTC, with 4.8%, and Motorola with 4.2%.

“2010 looks to be another year of large-scale consumer adoption of converged mobile devices,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team. “Consumers will gravitate to smartphones not just because the devices themselves look ‘cool’ and ‘slick’, but because the overall experience aligns with their individual tastes and demands. Users are seeking – and finding – experiences that are intuitive, seamless, and fun.”

Nintendo preparing for war with Apple

Despite recent statements dismissing Apple’s impact on the company’s business, Nintendo is internally preparing to launch an assault on Apple as the latter’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad begin to eat away at Nintendo’s handheld gaming business. Citing sources close to Nintendo, the Times Online reports that Nintendo president recently told senior executives to treat Apple as the “enemy of the future,” after profits at the Kyoto-based company fell for the first time in six years. According to the report, sources describe a mood of concern at the company, with the hardware and software teams racing to restore the “surprise” the company considers a hallmark of its gaming experiences. The report does not describe what, exactly, Nintendo plans to do about Apple’s encroachment on its business, short of saying that it plans to “unleash the full force of its development and marketing artillery.” [via Mac Rumors]

Nokia sues Apple (again) over iPhone, iPad

Nokia has announced that it is suing Apple in Federal District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five patents held by Nokia. MarketWatch reports that the patents relate to technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission, using location data in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that improve performance and save space. “Nokia has been the leading developer of many key technologies in mobile devices” said Paul Melin, General Manager, Patent Licensing at Nokia. “We have taken this step to protect the results of our pioneering development and to put an end to continued unlawful use of Nokia’s innovation.”

The Finnish company first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by an ITC complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”

The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); it is unclear whether this prior order will have any bearing on this newest lawsuit.

International iBooks roll out to coincide with iPad launch

Apple will be rolling out its iBooks app and iBookstore internationally alongside the iPad’s launch on Friday, May 28. Press releases from the UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan indicate that the iBooks app for iPad, including the iBookstore, will be available as a free download from the App Store on May 28; as with pricing, Apple has yet to update the press websites of many of the other countries slated to launch the iPad on that day. We will be updating this story with further details as they become available.

Update: Apple has confirmed that both Italy and Spain will also be getting iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.

Update x2: France has also been confirmed to receive iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.

Update x3 Germany is now confirmed for the May 28 iBooks launch as well.

Apple reveals international iPad pricing (Updated)

Apple has revealed its pricing for the iPad in a number of the international countries in which the device will launch on May 28. In the UK, the iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for £429 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £499 (inc. VAT) for 32GB, and £599 (inc. VAT) for 64GB, while Wi-Fi + 3G models will be priced at £529 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £599 (inc. VAT) for 32GB and £699 (inc. VAT) for 64GB. In Australia, iPad with Wi-Fi pricing is set at AUS$629 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$759 inc GST for 32GB, and AUS$879 inc GST for 64GB, while Wi-Fi + 3G models will sell for AUS$799 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$928 inc GST for 32GB and AUS$1049 inc GST for 64GB. The company is continuing to update various other countries’ press websites with pricing; we will post details of other countries’ iPad pricing here as they become available.

Update: In Canada, the iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for $549 (CAN) for 16GB, $649 (CAN) for 32GB, $749 (CAN) for 64GB; Wi-Fi + 3G models will sell for $679 (CAN) for 16GB, $779 (CAN) for 32GB and $879 (CAN) for 64GB.

Update x2: Apple has announced its iPad pricing for Italy and Spain. In Italy, pricing will be set at €499 for 16GB, €599 for 32GB, and €699 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, with Wi-Fi + 3G models priced at a €100 premium. In Spain, the iPad will sell for €479 for 16GB, €579 for 32GB, and €679 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, and €579, €679, and €779 for the respective Wi-Fi + 3G models.

Update x3: Pricing for the iPad in France has been announced. The same as Italy, pricing in France will be set at €499 for 16GB, €599 for 32GB, and €699 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, with Wi-Fi + 3G models priced at a €100 premium.

Update x4: German iPad pricing has now been announced. The 16GB Wi-Fi model will sell for €514, the 32GB for €614, and the 64GB model for €714, with Wi-Fi + 3G models again running €100 more.

WWDC 2010 sells out in eight days

Apple’s 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference has sold out in only eight days, according to an update on the event’s dedicated website. Dates for the conference, to be held June 7-11 in its traditional venue of Moscone West in San Francisco, CA, were announced on April 28; John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that last year’s event took a month to sell out, despite the fact that it included a number of Mac OS X and IT sessions that are not being offered at this year’s WWDC. In addition to providing developer sessions, Apple has for the past three years used the event’s keynote address as a venue for iPhone-related announcements, revealing the launch date for the original iPhone in 2007, introducing the iPhone 3G at the 2008 event, and unveiling the iPhone 3GS in 2009.

iPad to launch in nine more countries May 28

Apple has announced that the iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, May 28. Both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available; online pre-orders will begin on Monday, May 10. The iPad was originally set to roll out internationally at the end of April, but “surprisingly strong US demand” forced Apple to push it back. In addition to the nine countries listed above, Apple also plans to release iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. It will announce availability, local pricing and pre-order plans for these nine additional countries at a later date.

Warner Music CEO Bronfman offers praise for Apple

Speaking during the company’s recent Q2 conference call, Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr made a number of comments praising Apple for its iTunes Store and devices. “The flight to iTunes and iPhone continues,” Bronfman Jr. said, according to a paidContent report. “Apple has proved to be the most adept software and hardware manufacturer out there in delivering content to consumers in a seamless and very attractive consumer experience. No-one’s gotten very rich betting against Steve Jobs - and I don’t want to be the first to do it.”

Bronfman, whose WMG benefitted from Apple’s acquisition of music streaming service Lala as a prior investor, also deflected questions on whether the move suggests an upcoming iTunes subscription service. “Apple is not currently a retailer involved in an access or subscription model,” he said. “I’d probably like not to speculate on what Apple’s plans are - it’s really interesting technology that it acquired in the Lala acquisition. That’s a question that Apple management should answer.”

Apple awarded patent for iPhone 3G, 3GS design

Apple has been awarded a U.S. patent for the ornamental design of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Filed on June 5, 2008, patent number D615,083 lists both Apple CEO Steve Jobs and senior vice president of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive as inventors. Possible examples for the “electronic device” are listed as a “computer, a portable or hand-held electronic device, media player (e.g., music, video and/or game player), media storage device, a personal digital assistant, a communication device (e.g., cellular phone), and/or the like.” [via GoRumors]

Apple releases iPhone OS SDK 4 beta 3

Apple has released the third version of iPhone OS 4 and its accompanying Software Development Kit (SDK) for the iPhone and iPod touch. As with prior beta releases, a main Xcode and SDK beta is available for download, as are pre-release builds of the iPhone OS 4 software for the iPhone 3G and 3GS, and the second- and third-generation iPod touch. Changes made in the latest beta have yet to be revealed. Both the new SDK and pre-release builds are available now for download by registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.

Apple facing yet another patent lawsuit over iPhone

Apple has become the target of yet another patent infringement lawsuit over the iPhone. The Loop reports that California-based NetAirus Technologies has filed a patent infringement suit against the iPhone-maker, claiming that the iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS infringe on NetAirus’ patent for a “Wireless Handset Communication System.” The suit claims that the entire concept behind the iPhone is infringing, instead of focusing on one or more of the device’s attributes. The patent in question describes a “small light weight modular microcomputer based computer and communications systems, designed for both portability and desktop uses,” featuring several functions similar to the iPhone’s, including “bi-directional realtime communications of voice, audio, text, graphics and video data,” a “telephone-like handset,” and a “relative large flat panel display device assembly.” NetAirus is seeking a ruling that forces Apple to halt production of the iPhone, as well as cash damages.

Apple to face antitrust probe over app restrictions?

Apple may be facing an antitrust inquiry over the company’s recent decision to ban apps made with cross-platform development tools from the App Store. Citing a person familiar with the matter, the New York Post reports that the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission are in negotiations over which body will oversee the inquiry into Apple’s policy, with the decision only “days away.” According to the report, the inquiry will focus on whether or not the policy stifles competition by forcing developers to choose between building apps that only run on iPhone OS devices or apps that are able to run on a variety of competing operating systems, including those from Google, Microsoft, and Research In Motion. The report also points out that the launch of an inquiry does not mean action will be taken against Apple, instead serving to determine whether a full-scale investigation will be needed; Apple could be subpoenaed for further information should an investigation be necessary.

Apple announces one million iPads sold

Apple has announced that it sold its one millionth iPad on Friday, 28 days after the device’s introduction on April 3. In addition to unit purchases, iPad users have already downloaded over 12 million apps from the App Store and over 1.5 million ebooks from the iBookstore. Notably, the announcement also reveals that there are now over 5,000 apps for the iPad in the App Store. “One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.”

Apple posts details of iPad 3G data account setup

Apple has posted a new support document detailing the process for setting up a cellular data account on the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. According to the document, users simply tap a “View Account” options within a new Cellular Data menu inside the Settings app to get started. Users will then be prompted to enter their information, including first and last name, telephone number, email address and a password for the new AT&T account, and billing information, select a data plan. A Terms of Service page will then be displayed, and once accepted, a payment summary screen appears for final confirmation. Once submitted, a congratulations screen appears, followed by a pop-up notification once the connection has been activated. The page notes that the process is managed by AT&T, and users should contact AT&T if they have have questions, concerns, or problems.

iPad 3G launch: Apple Stores closed from 4-5 p.m.

Apple has updated its individual retail store web pages to indicate that its U.S.-based stores will be closed later today from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time to prepare for the launch of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, which will go on sale when the stores reopen at 5:00 p.m. Unlike the launch of the iPad with Wi-Fi, no advance reservations were taken for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, so purchasing will most likely be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Checks with several Apple Store locations around the country conducted by iLounge showed that stores are expecting “big” crowds for the launch.

Apple now largest cell phone maker in U.S.

Apple has passed Motorola to become the largest cell phone maker in the United States by unit volume. Reporting its first quarter fiscal results, Motorola revealed that it sold 8.5 million phones in the quarter, less than the 8.75 million iPhones sold by Apple over the same period. Motorola’s numbers have fallen greatly from the 46.1 million phones it sold in the first quarter of 2006 when the company’s RAZR was still popular. The company has more recently been focusing its efforts on the smartphone market, where the company’s Droid handset, which runs Google’s Android operating system, has served as the basis for an ongoing anti-iPhone Verizon ad campaign.

Apple to shut down Lala on May 31

Lala.com, the music streaming service Apple purchased last December, will be shutting down on May 31. Around the time of Apple’s acquisition, it was said the company wanted to use Lala’s technology and streaming expertise to offer a streaming service on iTunes in addition to the its normal purchase and download model. According to the site, Lala users will receive iTunes credit for all money spent purchasing web songs, wallet balances, and unredeemed gift cards. Lala launched in June 2006 as a CD trading service before re-focusing on digital music uploads and streaming the next year. [via Engadget]

Steve Jobs pens ‘Thoughts on Flash’ open letter

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted an open letter entitled “Thoughts on Flash,” in which he explains the company’s motivation for leaving Adobe’s Flash off of its iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices. Jobs divides his explanation into six key factors, including Flash’s proprietary nature, the fact that the vast majority of web video is now accessible without Flash, reliability, security, and performance issues, battery life concerns, Flash’s reliance on mouse-dependent interface elements, and the fact that Adobe wants to allow its developers to use Flash for creating cross-platform applications that will run on Apple’s platform, as well as on competitors’ devices, without exploiting any platform’s unique and innovative features. The crux of the letter is an attack on Flash as a battery-hogging middleware solution that is no longer necessary or desirable in an age of advanced mobile devices.

Jobs makes several scathing comments in the letter, claiming that Flash is the leading cause of Mac crashes, that Adobe was the slowest major third-party developer to adopt important changes to Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, and that the company has promised but repeatedly failed to deliver an optimized mobile version of Flash. The letter also sheds new light on Apple’s App Store business, including the statement that “[t]here are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world,” and noting that there are now more than 200,000 apps available in the App Store. In closing, Jobs says, “[n]ew open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”

Apple to charge $1 million for iAd deals?

Apple plans to charge close to $1 million for ads on its new iAd network, according to a new report. Citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has indicated it may charge as much as $10 million to be part of the initial group of advertisers on the service. Ad executives told the paper they are used to paying between $100,000 and $200,000 for similar mobile deals. Along with the lofty price tag, Apple is also making demands for greater control over advertisers’ marketing campaigns, at least initially. “It’s a hefty sum,” said Phuc Truong, managing director at Mobext, a mobile marketing business whose clients include Sears, Choice Hotels, Amtrak and Volvo. “What Apple is trying to do is certainly above and beyond what’s been done in the past.”

Despite the pricing, ad executives at agencies across the U.S. have met with Apple in recent weeks to listen to the company’s pitch for iAd. Discussions over possible deals are said to be ongoing, but several ad executives said they are beginning to look at potential creative ideas for iAd campaigns. “It was very easy to think about the several minutes of interaction time consumers can spend with the ad. It’s incredibly attractive,” said Baba Shetty, chief media officer at Boston-based ad agency Hill Holiday. Apple’s demands for creative approval, and that it build the ads itself during the first few months, are giving some agencies pause, however. “As a creative director, I can completely understand that they created this new baby and they want to make sure it gets born looking gorgeous,” said Lars Bastholm, chief digital creative officer at WPP’s Ogilvy. “But as a creative director, I don’t feel completely comfortable letting Apple do the creative.” According to the report, marketers will be able to target ads to users based on past download preferences from the iTunes Store, and by location; Apple is planning to charge one cent each time a consumer sees a banner ad, with a $2 charge if the user taps on the banner.

Apple purchases voice-based service Siri

Apple has acquired the voice-based personal assistance and search service Siri, according to a newly-published FTC document (PDF Link). Business Insider reports that a Siri representative has confirmed the purchase, but would not comment on the financial aspects of the deal. Siri describes itself as a voice-based personal assistant, that can “help you find and plan things to do,” such as finding a dinner spot, telling you what’s playing at a local music venue, or getting tickets to a movie. The company describes the service as “young” and says it “may be awkward at times,” but also says it “will improve quickly by getting to know you better and understanding a broader set of tasks.” The current version service, which is currently only available in the U.S., is built to run on the iPhone 3GS and iPod touch. The Siri Assistant app is available now as a free download from the App Store.

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