Reed Exhibitions has announced that it will not hold Apple Expo Paris in 2009. Apple previously pulled out of the 2008 show, and the future of the show has been in question for several years due to Apple’s diminished presence. The company has not held a keynote presentation at the event since Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller introduced the iMac G5 during his 2004 address. This news follows yesterday’s announcement that the 2009 Macworld Expo would be the company’s last, and serves to further highlight the diminished role of trade shows in Apple’s efforts to inform the public of its product offerings.
Apple today unexpectedly announced that this year’s Macworld Conference & Expo, scheduled for January 5-9, 2009, in San Francisco, will be the company’s last. For the first time since 1997, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will not be giving a keynote presentation to open the show; instead, Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, will deliver the opening address. In the release announcing the change, the company states: “Apple is reaching more people in more ways than ever before, so like many companies, trade shows have become a very minor part of how Apple reaches its customers. The increasing popularity of Apple’s Retail Stores, which more than 3.5 million people visit every week, and the Apple.com website enable Apple to directly reach more than a hundred million customers around the world in innovative new ways. Apple has been steadily scaling back on trade shows in recent years, including NAB, Macworld New York, Macworld Tokyo and Apple Expo in Paris.”
A recently published Apple patent application suggests the company is developing a new system of status indicators for its iPod and iPhone devices. The patent describes a system in which the main backlight of the device sports a semi-transparent area, allowing a low-power, secondary backlight to show through, displaying simple icons to show whether the iPod is playing music, indicate new email or voicemail, missed calls, and so on. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
A U.S. District Judge has ordered newly hired Apple executive Mark Papermaster to stop work immediately because he might be violating a non-compete agreement he signed with IBM. Federal District Judge Kenneth Karas ordered that Papermaster “immediately cease his employment with Apple Inc until further order of this court.” On Tuesday Apple announced Papermaster’s arrival as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, but has since said Papermaster would discontinue work for now. “We will comply with the court’s order but are confident that Mark Papermaster will be able to ultimately join Apple when the dust settles,” an Apple spokesman told Reuters. Papermaster replaces outgoing Apple executive Tony Fadell, who will remain with the company for a time in a limited advisory role.
Tony Fadell, senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, “father of the iPod,” and an executive involved in the development of the iPhone, is leaving the company for personal reasons, Apple has announced. According to the announcement, Fadell will remain at Apple as an advisor to the CEO; his wife Danielle Lambert, vice president of Human Resources, will also be leaving the company. In Fadell’s place, Mark Papermaster, a former IBM executive, will be joining Apple as senior vice president of Devices Hardware Engineering, and will lead Apple’s iPod and iPhone hardware engineering teams. IBM filed a suit against Papermaster last month citing a non-compete clause in an attempt to prevent the well-respected chip designer from joining Apple.
“Mark is a seasoned leader and is going to be an excellent addition to our senior management team,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Tony and Dani have each made important contributions to Apple over the past eight years. We’re sorry to see Dani go, and are looking forward to working with Tony in his new capacity.”
Apple is working on a way to provide wide-area wireless communications to devices offering only short-range communications, according to a new patent application. The application describes a system in which wireless modules, offering both long-range and short-range wireless communication, are embedded in common objects such as cars, purses, t-shirts, tennis shoes, and more, and facilitate connectivity for devices—such as iPods—which offer only short-range communications. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area. [via Unwired View]
In its fourth-quarter 2008 Quarterly Results Conference Call, Apple Inc. executives CEO Steve Jobs, CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning the iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV. At the start of the call, Oppenheimer stated that because deferred iPhone revenue has grown so much — to $5.8 billion at the end of the September quarter, or more than 39% of Apple’s total revenue had it not been deferred — the company will begin providing quarterly non-GAAP info to show how iPhone/Apple TV numbers are used internally, including adjusted sales, the adjusted cost of sale, and adjusted net income.
Apple CFO Tim Cook made several statements regarding the iPod and iPhone, revealing that the latter was shipping to carriers in 51 countries by end of the quarter, with 30,000 points of distribution. He also revealed the company had roughly 2 million iPhones across all of the 51 countries in inventory, and said Apple thinks that’s about right for 4-6 weeks of inventory. Cook declined to give hard numbers on how many of the iPhones went to new users or first-gen owners, saying that information was confidential to Apple’s carrier partners, but added that since the company expanded from six to 51 countries, there were a large amount of iPhones being sold to first-time buyers.
On iPods, Cook said that sales were up eight percent for the quarter, but noted that the final weeks of quarter we were running flat year-over-year, adding that it’s difficult to predict whether the usual holiday seasonal lift will follow the pattern that it has before. Cook also hinted at possible iPhone price cuts while outlining Apple’s price drop on the iPod touch, from $299 to $229 on the 8GB model, with $100 off the others, and doubling the memory on the iPod nano while maintaining current price points.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs also made several sweeping statements, regarding the iPhone as both a netbook competitor and in comparison to other cellular handset makers, and the Apple TV. Discussing the pricing of the company’s Mac line relative to the economy, Jobs explained that Apple considers the iPhone as one of the company’s entries into the netbook category, while simultaneously stating that there weren’t many netbooks being sold. When asked about Apple’s decision to produce only one model of phone, Jobs explained that while most companies in the past have chosen to make a great number of different models, as software becomes a differentiating technology in the category, these different models will be unattractive to developers. He said that Apple approaches the market as a software platform company, suggesting that Apple will make very few models in order to make same software available across all phones. Finally, discussing the Apple TV, Jobs again stated that the category was a “hobby,” repeating his prior statement that he doesn’t think anyone has yet succeeded in it, while adding that he thinks it will continue to be a hobby in 2009.
According to sales numbers provided by Apple in its quarterly results releases, the company has now sold more than 174 million iPods, and more than 13 million iPhones. “iPhone had a breakout quarter. Nearly 6.9 million sold, exceeding the 6.1 million shipped during entire lifetime of first-gen iPhone,” said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, speaking during the company’s quarterly results conference call. Oppenheimer added that Apple has already surpassed its goal of 10 million iPhones sold in 2008. The iPhone accounted for $806 million in recognized revenue in the fourth quarter, while Apple increased the number of countries in which the iPhone is sold from 6 to 51. It expects to be in over 70 countries by end of December quarter, with over 30,000 points of distribution around the world.
Discussing its music products and services, Apple noted that the iPod’s marketshare is over 70% in month of September, while it continues to gain share year-over-year in most international markets, including the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia. Customers are “loving” the new fastest way to purchase an iPhone - starting with web at home, it takes only 1 minute more than buying an iPod when you get to the store. The iTunes Store now has 65 million customer accounts, and offers more than 8.5 million titles.
Reporting its fourth-quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 11.05 million iPods during the quarter — more than an eight percent increase compared to the same quarter last year, and slightly more than the 11.011 million sold in Q3. It also sold 6.89 million iPhones in the quarter, up from 1.119 million in the year-ago quarter and an artificially-low 717,000 in Q3 2008. The company posted revenue of $7.9 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.14 billion, or $1.26 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $6.22 billion and net quarterly profit of $904 million, or $1.01 per diluted share in Q4 2007. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were $832 milllion in Q4, up from $601 million in the year-ago quarter and $819 million in Q3. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories.
“Apple just reported one of the best quarters in its history, with a spectacular performance by the iPhone—we sold more phones than RIM,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We don’t yet know how this economic downturn will affect Apple. But we’re armed with the strongest product line in our history, the most talented employees and the best customers in our industry. And $25 billion of cash safely in the bank with zero debt.”
“We’re very pleased to have grown revenue 35 percent and to have generated $9.1 billion in cash in fiscal 2008,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead, visibility is low and forecasting is challenging, and as a result we are going to be prudent in predicting the December quarter. We are providing a wide range for our guidance, targeting revenue of $9.0 to $10.0 billion and earnings per diluted share between $1.06 and $1.35.”
Aside from major product upgrades, Apple today also revealed an update to the iPod classic, announced iPhone Software 2.1, and made several remarks regarding the performance of the iTunes Store and iPod sales.
iPod classic: Apple today updated its iPod classic line, removing both the 80GB and 160GB models and replacing them with a single, thin-bodied 120GB model, which will sell for $249. The new iPod classic offers on-device Genius playlist creation, and compatibility with the newly-announced Apple headphones.
iPod shuffle: Not mentioned during the event, Apple today quietly updated the iPod shuffle, replacing the current colors with more vibrant hues of blue, green, pink, and red (pictured). The silver model remains unchanged, as does the pricing: $49 for 1GB models and $69 for 2GB models. We had previously heard that there were electronic changes being made to the iPod shuffle for this revision; it is currently unclear whether this will result in a different sound profile for the shuffle, or what other changes might have been made.
iPhone: Apple will release iPhone Software 2.1, which debuts on the second-generation iPod touch, as a free update to all iPhone users this Friday. According to Apple, the update fixes lots of bugs, reduces call drops, significantly improves battery life, fixes problems caused by installing lots of apps on the phone, and provides faster backups in iTunes.
iPod: According to Apple, the latest data shows the iPod at 73.4% marketshare in United States. #2 is “other” at 15.4%, followed by Sandisk, and then Microsoft, which holds 2.6% of the market. Over 5,000 iPod accessories are now available, and 90% of all cars in the U.S. offer iPod integration. Cumulative iPod sales are now over 160 million units.
iTunes: The iTunes Store now offers 8.5 million songs, 125,000 podcasts, and 30,000 episodes of TV shows, and boasts 65,000,000 unique accounts.
Apple has begun on-site preparations for tomorrow’s “Let’s Rock” special event. The event, scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, is being held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. According to Cult of Mac, the building has already been covered on one side by a large silhouette iPod poster matching the image seen on the event invitation, and Apple security guards have been spotted watching over each of the center’s doors. iLounge will be providing live coverage of the event.
Published today, a report by EETimes traces numerous iPod and iPhone hardware problems to a lack of “attention to the basics” of product design, including “component placement, sealing, USB protection and connector quality, along with batteries and LCDs.” The report spotlights the findings of Rapid Repair, a company specializing in media device repairs, as it has worked through problems with both iPod and iPhone models over the past five years. Amongst the highlights:
* The use of polymer batteries rather than lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries would lead to fewer leakages, while laminated glass is a superior option to both crackable glass and scratchable plastic for covering displays. Fifty percent of the failures Rapid Repair encounters are LCD- or battery-related, with after-market batteries causing more problems than the ones installed initially in the devices.
* Connectors, including headphone jacks and internal sockets for screens and other parts, fail or disconnect over time; internal disconnections can lead to expensive repairs just to reconnect cables. Apple’s contract manufacturers, including Foxconn, may be responsible for choosing the less impressive parts that cause problems.
* According to the company, “many USB power modules fail” in iPods, and units also stop working due to “poorly designed after-market car chargers, liquid intrusion, and hard-drive failures” caused by dropping.
The report recommends the use of superior connectors, recessed displays, and better protection for both the display and storage media, noting that hard drives will continue to remain viable for five years due to improvements in capacity and physical size.
Apple has begun sending out notices to various members of the media inviting them to a special event on September 9, one week from today. The invitation, entitled “Let’s Rock,” looks like an iPod Now Playing screen, with the album art replaced by one of Apple’s common silhouette iPod dancers, and the track information replaced by the event details. The “Let’s Rock” event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco, and is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. iLounge will be on hand at the event to provide coverage.
Apple has sent out an email to MobileMe members announcing a 60-day extension to their subscriptions, which will be added to previously announced 30-day extensions. The email reads: “We have already made many improvements to MobileMe, but we still have many more to make. To recognize our users’ patience, we are giving every MobileMe subscriber as of today a free 60 day extension. This is in addition to the one month extension most subscribers have already received. We are working very hard to make MobileMe a great service we can all be proud of. We know that MobileMe’s launch has not been our finest hour, and we truly appreciate your patience as we turn this around.” The extension applies to all MobileMe subscribers whose account was active as of midnight Pacific Time, August 19.
Apple is widely known for its refusal to talk about future products, notes a recent Washington Post article, but its recent silence in the wake of widespread service problems with existing products such as MobileMe and iPhone may be hurting its relationship with its customers. Technology columnist Rob Pegoraro writes, “Poor communication can sink any gadget, but it’s worse on a Web service such as MobileMe. When these things malfunction, they often do so for reasons beyond our control or even comprehension…. So the companies running these services need to speak up, promptly and with sufficient detail to give users cause for optimism. ‘Trust me’ and ‘We’ll do better’ won’t do—not when users paying $99 a year can see the providers of competing, free services offering far more information to their users.” Pegoraro notes that while Apple’s secrecy on future products is a sound business strategy — one preferable to pre-announcing “vaporware” products that either arrive with significant delay or not at all — the company’s “don’t-look-behind-the-curtain tactics don’t work when customers just want to know that their purchase will work as advertised, or when would-be customers want reassurance that they’re not buying into a failed experiment.”
A recent statement from a third-party iPod and iPhone accessory manufacturer has raised questions regarding the scope and nature of Apple’s Works With iPhone certification, which was until now understood to guarantee that an accessory would be compatible with current and upcoming iPhone hardware. In a press release issued today, however, Altec Lansing announced that its T612 Digital Speaker System for iPhone and iPod has “passed ‘Works with iPhone’ iPhone 3G test requirements for use with Apple’s latest generation iPhone,” noting that the system received certification for the original iPhone in January 2008.
According to Apple, Works With iPhone certification is supposed to be issued only after special radio interference and electrical testing have been conducted by an independent lab, and the company requires developers to purchase and integrate a special Apple authentication chip into their devices. However, readers and iLounge editors have confirmed that the iPhone 3G triggers Apple’s “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone” nag screen when used with at least two previously WWi-certified products, a screen that should not appear when connecting to any WWi accessory. One of these products, the iHome iP99 Alarm Clock Radio, displays the nag screen but otherwise continues to operate as noted in our earlier review, the other, XtremeMac’s InCharge Auto, also displays the screen yet continues to charge the iPhone 3G. Additional WWi accessories we have tested from JBL, Altec Lansing, and Belkin continue to work as they did with the original iPhone.
There have also been a number of products released with the Works With iPhone badge despite deviations from the radio or electrical standards originally understood to be required for certification. It remains unclear what, if any, changes Apple has made to the certification program for the iPhone 3G, or how many previously released WWi products may be incompatible with the iPhone 3G.
In its third-quarter 2008 Quarterly Results Conference Call, Apple Inc. executives CFO Peter Oppenheimer and COO Tim Cook made several comments concerning its music-related products, which accounted for 33% of the company’s total revenue growth in the third fiscal quarter. iPod sales grew 10 percent in the U.S. during the quarter, and 15 percent internationally. The iTunes Movie Rental service now offers over 2200 films — 450 in HD — and the App Store is up to 25 million downloads and 900 applications, with 20 percent free to download, and 90 percent priced at less than $10.
Both Cook and Oppenheimer repeatedly made reference to a future product transition, expected to take place in the September quarter, which will bring down the company’s average margin to 31.5 percent; the pair also said Apple would be “delivering state-of-the-art new products at prices our competitors can’t match.” It was not revealed whether the product transition in question will be iPod or Mac related. Speaking on iPhone production capability and recent sellouts, Cook said that the company was shipping units as fast as it can, adding that “[w]e are confident enough about the production ramp that we will be launching in about 20 additional countries on August 22,” bringing the total number of countries where the iPhone is available to over 40, a number which Apple has stated will grow to at least 70 by the end of the year.
Reporting its third quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 11.011 million iPods during the quarter — a 12 percent increase in units and seven percent revenue growth compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, it sold 717,000 iPhones in the quarter despite limited stock, compared to 270,000 in Q3 2007. The company posted revenue of $7.46 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.07 billion, or $1.19 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million, or $.92 per diluted share in Q3 2007.
Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 35% over last year’s quarter and down slightly from the second quarter of 2008, to $819 million total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. Following plans it outlined in its Q2 2008 Conference Call, Apple is deferring all iPhone revenue until after the launch date of iPhone Software 2.0, which was released after the quarter’s end.
“We’re proud to report the best June quarter for both revenue and earnings in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We set a new record for Mac sales, we think we have a real winner with our new iPhone 3G, and we’re busy finishing several more wonderful new products to launch in the coming months.”
“We’re extremely pleased with the growth of our business and the generation of almost $5.4 billion in cash in the first three quarters of fiscal 2008,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, we expect revenue of about $7.8 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $1.00.”
Motorola has filed suit against a former executive for allegedly violating a no-compete agreement and threatening to reveal its trade secrets by taking a job with Apple as vice president of global iPhone sales. According to the suit, Michael Fenger accepted “millions of dollars in cash, restricted stock units, and stock options” in exchange for agreeing not to join a competitor for two years following his departure from Motorola. The suit also states that Fenger hired away two high-level Motorola employees who have knowledge of the company’s trade secrets and customer relationships. Fenger, who oversaw mobile devices in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for Motorola, joined Apple less than a month after leaving Motorola, said the lawsuit. Motorola is asking the court to stop Fenger from working for Apple for two years and to bar him from soliciting or hiring Motorola employees or disclosing Motorola’s confidential information, and is also demanding damages and repayment of stock options given to Fenger in exchange for the non-compete agreement.
The U.S. Department of Justice has ended its two-year criminal investigation into backdated stock options at Apple, and has decided not to bring charges against the company, or any current or former executives, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Lawyers representing two subjects of the investigation said they had been notified that the criminal inquiry is over. “We were always confident that after a full and fair review of the facts, there could be no other outcome,” said Cris Arguedas, a lawyer for Apple’s former general counsel, Nancy Heinen. Heinen is still involved in a civil case brought against her and former Apple CFO Fred Anderson by the Securities and Exchange Commission over stock options awarded to CEO Steve Jobs. Anderson settled his civil case last year, and paid about $3.5 million in fees without admitting to any wrongdoing.