New 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Kaby Lake and 32GB of Desktop-Class RAM Coming This Year

Jan 17, 2017 - 1:57 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple will release updated Mac notebooks with Intel's next-generation Kaby Lake processors later this year, according to the latest research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo said new 12-inch MacBook models with Kaby Lake processors will enter mass production in the early second quarter, which starts in March, and noted a 16GB of RAM option could be added—presumably as a high-end or built-to-order configuration. The two current 12-inch MacBook configurations include 8GB of RAM.

Likewise, Kuo said new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Kaby Lake processors will start mass production in the early third quarter, which starts in July. The research note did not specify how much RAM these models will have, but 16GB could remain the limit due to the restrictions of current memory designs.

Interestingly, Kuo also mentions a "15-inch MacBook" that will include 32GB of RAM and enter mass production in the early fourth quarter, which starts in September. He said this model will be "the most significantly redesigned product this year," and he believes it will adopt desktop-class RAM to satisfy high-end users.

Given the high-end specifications, it is likely that this 15-inch MacBook would be part of the MacBook Pro lineup, but Kuo did not specify. Beyond faster processors and increased memory, Kuo said most other specifications and the design of all of the notebooks will be similar to equivalent models released in 2016.

Kuo believes the new Kaby Lake notebooks will be power efficient, which may positively affect shipments. He estimates that Mac notebook shipments will resume year-over-year growth at about 10% on the strength of the new models, while shipments will be quicker as production delays affecting 2016 models are resolved.

Kuo also expects Apple to discount the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a standard row of function keys this year as that model gradually replaces the 13-inch MacBook Air in Apple's notebook lineup.

While no release dates were mentioned, Kuo previously said he expects new MacBook Pro models with 32GB of RAM to launch in the second half of 2017.


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Apple negotiating to expand scripted programming in 2017 for Apple Music

Jan 12, 2017 - 2:21 PM - by sparkyscott21

In the wake of "Carpool Karaoke" and "Planet of the Apps," a new report suggests that Apple may be looking at expanding unique scripted content, to draw users to the iTunes and iPhone ecosystems, and boost Apple Music subscriptions

According to the Wall Street Journal, and "people familiar with the matter", Apple is planning to build a "significant new business" in original programming, including serialized drama and feature-length pieces. Reportedly, the content would be made available to subscribers to Apple Music.

The report claims that Apple has been negotiating with producers in recent months to purchase the rights for scripted television, as well as examining marketing executives to see if they were willing to come on board to help promote Apple-distributed content.

According to the Hollywood sources, Apple is seeking to offer the content before the end of 2017.

Potentially holding up any deals, the same Hollywood sources claim that Apple is still working out details of a business strategy built around the content. Apple has reportedly told producers that it would share details on how many people are watching the content, data that Netflix does not reveal.

Apple has three projects underway for unique, if not necessarily scripted, video content.

On Tuesday, the "Carpool Karaoke" spinoff had some details revealed by the producers. The first batch of 16 episodes will features Metallica, John Legend, Alicia Keys, and Ariana Grande in four episodes, with more announcements yet to come.

Apple's "Planet of the Apps" reality show was scheduled to start filming in Los Angeles in late 2016, and continue through early 2017. The show will feature developers cranking out apps for the program, and highlight not only the development process but also any deal-making that goes on between the coders and producers Gwyneth Paltrow,, and Jessica Alba, amongst others.

Few details are known about semi-biographical "Vital Signs," which has been in production for some time. The series is said to be six episodes long, each running for 30 minutes, chronicling Dr. Dre's rise through fictional vignettes.

"The Score" from Vice media debuted in March 2016, and covered local music scenes throughout the world. And the documentary "808: The Movie" premiered on Apple Music in December.


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A 10.5-Inch iPad Pro Could Match the 12.9-Inch Model's Resolution and the iPad Mini's

Jan 12, 2017 - 2:03 PM - by sparkyscott21

A 9.7-inch iPad Pro with a 10.5-inch piece of paper over it

Apple is rumored to be working on a new iPad Pro that adopts an edge-to-edge display, and while it's said to be somewhere around 10 inches, there are a lot of mixed rumors about the specific size of the tablet.

Studio Neat designer Dan Provost yesterday wrote a post on Medium (via Daring Fireball) making the case for a 10.5-inch iPad. His math is solid and his argument makes sense, framing all of the iPad Pro rumors in a new light.

When introducing the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in 2015, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller explained that Apple settled on that size because the width of the tablet matched the height of the existing 9.7-inch iPad. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro, he said, was similar to having two 9.7-inch iPads side-by-side.

Provost takes this concept and applies it to the iPad mini. The width of a 10.5-inch iPad would match the height of the iPad mini screen, and furthermore, a 10.5-inch iPad would use the same resolution as the 12.9-inch model, with the same pixel density as the iPad mini.

"The math works out perfectly. This new 10.5" iPad would have the exact same resolution as the 12.9" iPad Pro (2732 x 2048), but the same pixel density of the iPad mini (326 ppi instead of 264 ppi). Crunch the numbers, do a little Pythagorean Theorem, and you end up with a screen 10.5" diagonal (10.47" to be precise, but none of Apple's stated screen sizes are exact). In terms of physcial dimensions, the width of this 10.5" screen would be exactly the same as the height of the iPad mini screen."

Existing rumors all agree that the upcoming iPad Pro will be in the neighborhood of 10 inches, but we've heard everything from 10.1 inches to 10.9 inches, suggesting Apple could be testing multiple prototypes.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo originally suggested the tablet would be 10.5 inches, but recently revised his statement to say that it could be anywhere from 10 inches to 10.5 inches.

Japanese site Mac Otakara has released two separate reports, one mentioning a 10.1-inch tablet and the other suggesting the display will measure in at 10.9 inches, while rumors from the Taiwanese supply chain suggest a 10.5-inch display.

While we can't yet say for certain the iPad Pro will feature a 10.5-inch display, it's the size that makes the most sense and fits well into Apple's lineup.

The upcoming iPad Pro is said to be a new flagship model that will be sold alongside the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. It's said to feature an edge-to-edge display with no Home button and a small top bezel.


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Apple Plans to Launch Original TV Shows Comparable to 'Westworld' and 'Stranger Thing

Jan 12, 2017 - 1:58 PM - by sparkyscott21

Apple is building a "significant" business centered around creating original, scripted television shows and possibly even movies, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal. The content would be made available on Apple Music, falling in line with previous reports and accompanying already-announced projects for the music streaming service, including Carpool Karaoke and Vital Signs.

Apple executives have told Hollywood that the new original content will launch by the end of 2017, according to the new report. In terms of specific genres, HBO's Westworld and Netflix's Stranger Things were both used as comparisons for what Apple is aiming to produce on Apple Music. These proposed series and movies "don’t have any particular relationship to music," unlike Carpool Karaoke and Vital Signs.

Rumors about Apple meeting with Hollywood executives to create original TV shows for Apple Music or iTunes have existed since last year, and now Apple is even looking into producing original films for the service, "though those plans are more preliminary," according to people familiar with the matter.

The company is said to have been in talks with producers over the past few months about purchasing the rights to scripted television programs, as well as seeking out marketing people to come on board and promote the new content. The move is looked at as a way for Apple to gain an edge in its competition against Spotify, rather than become a streaming contender alongside Netflix and Amazon Prime.

"Because it is looking at just a handful of carefully selected shows, and potentially films, it doesn’t appear Apple is preparing to spend the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars it would need to spend annually to become a direct competitor to Netflix Inc., Inc.’s Prime Video or premium cable networks.

Rather, it would escalate the arms race between Apple Music and Spotify, which both offer essentially the same catalog of tens of millions of songs, by adding other content that could distinguish Apple’s service."

Although most of Apple's plans are still steeped in secrecy, the company has reportedly told producers an advantage it hopes to offer is that it would share its viewer and demographic data on the people who watch the new shows. Netflix has remained infamously private about the specific number of viewers who watch its streaming shows, making it hard to tell what is a successful launch or not, "which has been a source of contention among some in Hollywood."

Last Summer, Eddy Cue said that Apple is "not in the business of trying to create TV shows" when asked about the future of the company and its past relationships with Hollywood, where it once spoke with network programmers to get a live-streaming TV bundle launched before ultimately shelving the plans. At the time, Cue said that Apple would "help" producers whenever it had the chance and that any TV project would serve as "complimentary to the things we're doing at Apple Music."

... [Read More]
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Average iPhone price higher in US than many other countries, survey finds

Jan 11, 2017 - 2:21 PM - by sparkyscott21

Americans are paying more for their iPhones than citizens of 38 other countries, according to a study into the average cost of electronics around the world, with a difference between the U.S. and the cheapest country's prices found to be more than $220.

According to research from Latin America retailer Linio, the US has the 39th cheapest average iPhone cost, $625.88, out of the 71 countries studied. By comparison, Canada is in 14th place with $555.25, the United Kingdom is ranked in 12th with $542.29, and Australia in 20th place with $574.50.

The cheapest location to buy an iPhone on the list is Angola, with an average iPhone price of $401.94, followed by Japan and China at $413.58 and $470.74 respectively.

It isn't entirely clear how each average price was compiled for the list, as the study doesn't specify if it is derived from all iPhone models available in each region, or if it is one model that is compared across the board. This is also true for other areas the survey covers, with some items being somewhat specific, such as an Apple Watch or a PlayStation 4, and others with a more generic type such as an "Android Phone" or a multifunction printer.

The retailer's commentary on the findings notes how taxes and inflation have a "huge influence" on each price. Middle East countries were considered the cheapest to buy hardware that, despite having a relatively high cost of living in the region, typically levy very low rates of sales tax on consumer products.

This influence is demonstrated clearly at the bottom of the list, with countries including Belarus and Venezuela suffering from high inflation and restrictions on importing goods. According to the survey, it costs $97,813.82 on average to acquire an iPhone in Venezuela, with a MacBook selling for in excess of $176,000.

Despite the high cost of an iPhone relative to other areas, the United States is placed 8th overall, taking into account the comparisons with other products. It ranks 21st for the average cost of a MacBook at $1,241.63, and is in 15th place for the Apple Watch, with an average price of $288.34.


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iPhone Captured 31% of Smartphone Sales in the U.S. Ahead of Holiday Season

Jan 11, 2017 - 2:04 PM - by sparkyscott21

The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone 6s were the "three most popular smartphones" in the United States in the three month period ending November 2016, when users were purchasing early holiday gifts for friends and family members. According to new data collected by Kantar Worldpanel, the three Apple iPhones captured a total 31.3 percent of smartphone sales in the U.S., while Samsung accounted for 28.9 percent of smartphone sales during the three month period.

In the U.S., iOS grew 6.4 percent in the same three month period, rising to a 43.5 percent share of the market. Android dropped 5.1 percent, but still sits atop Apple with a 55.3 percent share of the market. As Kantar noted, the data marks the sixth consecutive decline for Android in the U.S.

Kantar's data shows that iOS made gains across most regions around the world in the same September to November period, despite a few losses in Germany and China. Apple's mobile operating system saw the biggest year-over-year increase in Great Britain, where it jumped 9.1 percent to account for 48.3 percent of the smartphone market in the country. Both Android and iOS increased their presence across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Great Britain, "largely due to the decline of Windows," according to Kantar.

“In the EU5 countries, Android accounted for 72.4% of smartphone sales during this period, with iOS at 24.6%, a strong year-on-year uptick for both ecosystems as Windows’ share declined to 2.8%.

For Android, this represented a 2.8 percentage point decline from the October period, while strong sales of iPhone 7 boosted iOS,” explained Dominic Sunnebo, Business Unit Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe. “The holiday period is always strong for Apple, but it remains to be seen if demand for the latest devices will level out in the first quarter of 2017.”

Despite dropping 5.4 percent in China from the year-ago quarter, Kantar pointed out that iOS market share did in fact increase slightly (by 2.8 percent) from the previous three-month period thanks to the launch of the iPhone 7, which became the best-selling device in Urban China. "Local brands continued to dominate the market," according to Kantar analyst Tamsin Timpson, and Android accounts for a massive 79.9 percent of the smartphone market in the country in comparison to Apple's 19.9 percent presence.

Despite Apple's iOS growth in places like Australia, Japan, and even the U.S., recent reports surrounding the company's manufacturing partner Foxconn have pointed towards "lukewarm" demand for the iPhone 7 as a major cause for the assembler's first-ever profit decline. Apple reportedly shipped 207 million iPhones in 2016, down from 236 million in 2015, but many hope the company can turn around from its own revenue downturn with a profitable 2017 and a major redesign for the "iPhone 8."


... [Read More]
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