Apple forecast monster revenues of $37bn for Q1 2012 at its last quarterly results call. Expect that lofty figure to be surpassed. The company has an $81bn cash stockpile, but could it pass $100bn in 2012?
Apple's coffers will be boosted by sales buoyed by huge pent-up demand for a new iPhone and strong sales of iOS devices over Christmas. Over 1.2 billion apps were downloaded in a single week in the last days of December, according to analytics firm Flurry, as millions of users tried out new iOS and Android devices.
Equally predictable is that despite the record-breaking revenues, Apple will forecast its traditionally conservative figures for the second quarter and the stock price will drop. Don't hold your breath for a special dividend for investors either.
Prediction 2. iPhone 5
Is a pattern emerging? iPhone 3G in 2008, iPhone 3GS in 2009, iPhone 4 in 2010 and iPhone 4S in 2011. It's possible to make a reasonably safe guess that the handset nomenclature goes through a major iteration every two years and a minor iteration every year in between.
Standard US mobile contracts are now two years long, which means 2012 will probably be the year of the iPhone 5. Will Apple revert to the summer release date it used for everything except the iPhone 4S or will it revert to an autumn release in September or October? Read more...
Lotus Notes creator and former Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie is coming back with a startup named Cocomo that seems to be focused on mobile communication.
After waiting out his non-compete agreement with Microsoft that expired at the end of 2011, Ozzie opened a Twitter account (@rozzie) yesterday and emailed Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner, who wrote about the exchange.
Ozzie says the company is recruiting, but it won't be ready to say what they're working on for months, according to Kirsner.
So far Cocomo is looking to hire a user experience/user interface designer to fit with the development team they already have in place. The job posting says "a handful of us are just starting work on a new communications product for this new world. ...We aspire to deliver compelling tools for social interaction that people will use, value and love." Read more...
Early this year, the U.S. Congress appears likely to move forward with two controversial copyright enforcement bills, even with vocal and widespread opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act in the Internet community.
The two bills, SOPA and PIPA for short, appear headed toward approval this year, unless opponents can change the minds of many lawmakers. Dozens of lawmakers have voiced support for the bills, despite reports from digital rights group Fight for the Future that more than 1 million people have sent email messages to Congress in opposition.
The U.S. Senate is expected to begin floor debate on PIPA shortly after senators return to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 23, and supporters appear to have the votes to override a threatened filibuster by Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, and a handful of other lawmakers.
Both bills have strong support in Congress and among some segments of U.S. industry. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Motion Picture Association of America, two powerful trade and lobbying groups, are among the 400-plus organizations supporting the bills. Other supporters include the National Football League, Time Warner, L'Oreal, and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Several supporters of the two bills declined to make predictions, but it's hard to ignore the numbers in Congress so far. Read more...
iPhone 4S users consume twice as much data as iPhone 4 users, signaling that operators will have to continue to battle with growing data volumes, according to a report published by network management software vendor Arieso.
Apple's iPhone has put some operator networks under immense pressure since the first version arrived, as users download more data than their networks can handle. The iPhone 4S takes data consumption to new levels, according to Arieso's report, which looks at usage patterns of at least 1,000 phones of each model, the company's CTO Michael Flanagan said.
The latest addition to the iPhone family is the champion among smartphones when it comes to data usage. Owners of the iPhone 4S download almost three times as much data as users of the iPhone 3G, which Arieso uses as the benchmark, and twice as much as the iPhone 4, whose users were the most demanding in last year's survey.
Reasons for the growing data volume include the addition of Siri and iCloud, according to Flanagan. Read more...
An electronic ballot scanning device slated for use in the upcoming presidential elections, misreads ballots, fails to log critical events and is prone to freezes and sudden lockups, the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission has found.
The little noticed EAC report on the DS200 Precinct Count Optical Scanner in the Unity 126.96.36.199 voting system built by Election Systems & Software (ES&S) was released late last month.
The 141-page Formal Investigative Report (download pdf) highlights multiple "substantial anomalies" in the DS200, including intermittent screen freezes, system lockups and shutdowns, and failure to log all normal and abnormal system events.
For example, the DS200 in some cases failed to log events such as a vote being cast, when its touch-screen is calibrated or when the system is powered on or off, the EAC said.
In addition, the EAC report said the system failed to read votes correctly when a 17-inch ballot was inserted at an angle. The voter's intended mark was either registered as a different selection or the vote was not registered at all, the EAC noted.
The tests also showed one DS200 system accepting a filled-in ballot without incrementing the public counter or without counting any of the marks. In that instance, the EAC found two ballots in the DS200 ballot bin, but only one was counted. Read more...
Bookseller Barnes & Noble is considering spinning off its Nook digital business to help it grow, following strong growth in sales of the Nook reader and tablet and digital content in the nine-week holiday period ending Dec. 31.
Competition from the likes of Amazon.com, and investments in advertising and international business for the Nook may however be putting pressure on the company's margins.
Barnes & Noble said Thursday it has decided to "pursue strategic exploratory work" to separate its Nook digital business, to capitalize on its rapid growth and its favorable position in the expanding market for digital content.
"We see substantial value in what we've built with our Nook business in only two years, and we believe it's the right time to investigate our options to unlock that value," Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said in a statement.
Barnes & Noble expects its Nook business will be about US$1.5 billion this fiscal year. It expects the business to continue to grow rapidly backed by continued growth in the U.S., and the opportunity to grow the Nook business internationally in the next 12 months. The company is already in discussions with strategic partners including publishers, retailers, and technology companies in international markets to expand the Nook business abroad. Read more...
Sprint Nextel will launch LTE in the first half of this year, most likely beginning in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, Texas, and Atlanta, the company announced on Thursday.
Those cities are expected to be the first to get LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and upgrades to Sprint's 3G network, CEO Dan Hesse announced at the Citigroup Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco, Sprint said. All told, Sprint expects to launch LTE in 11 markets by the middle of this year, Hesse said.
The initial rollouts would put Sprint right in the face of AT&T, which it has bitterly fought over the latter's failed bid to acquire T-Mobile USA. AT&T is based in Dallas, and its wireless arm, AT&T Mobility, operates out of Atlanta.
Sprint was the first major U.S. carrier with a 4G network when it rolled out a WiMax network with partner Clearwire in 2008, but it will be deploying LTE later than rivals Verizon and AT&T. Sprint has said that its LTE network would launch and reach approximately 275 million U.S. residents by early 2014. Sprint is still on track to meet its rollout targets, Hesse said. Read more...
Google said Thursday that TV heavyweights Samsung and LG will launch sets that run its Google TV platform, with new models to be showcased at the International Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas.
The U.S. search giant has so far failed to impress the industry with the Internet TV platform it launched in 2010. The interface was seen as too confusing for lay users, and Google suffered setbacks as key supplier Logitech pulled its support after losing over US$100 million, and the major U.S. networks blocked video streaming from their websites.
But with televisions sets now seen as the last frontier for Internet content, after computers, phones and tablets, Google has steadily improved its Android-based platform. Google TV got a major software overhaul in October, and the company has continued to market it to hardware and component makers. Read more...