Apple Inc plans to use a larger screen on the next-generation iPhone and has begun to place orders for the new displays from suppliers in South Korea and Japan, people familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.
The new iPhone screens will measure 4 inches from corner to corner, one source said. That would represent a roughly 30 percent increase in viewing area, assuming Apple keeps other dimensions proportional. Apple has used a 3.5-inch screen since introducing the iPhone in 2007.
Early production of the new screens has begun at three suppliers: Korea’s LG Display Co Ltd, Sharp Corp and Japan Display Inc, a Japanese government-brokered merger combining the screen production of three companies.
It is likely all three of the screen suppliers will get production orders from Apple, which could begin as soon as June. That would allow the new iPhone to go into production as soon as August, if the company follows its own precedent in moving from orders for prototypes for key components to launch.
Apple’s decision to equip the next iPhone with a larger screen represents part of a competitive response to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
Samsung unveiled its top-of-the line Galaxy smartphone with a 4.8-inch touch-screen and a faster processor earlier this month.
With consumers becoming more and more comfortable using smartphones for tasks they once performed on laptops, like watching video, other smartphone manufacturers have also moved toward bigger displays.
AESTHETICS AND DESIGN
A likely shakeup in the design of a larger-screen iPhone could go a long way in boosting its “wow” factor, convincing fans to trade in their old iPhones for new ones, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee.
“Not only do users pay for features, but they also pay for aesthetics and design. That’s as important, or more important, than features,” Wu said. “People love the current design—but it’s 18 months old.”
The latest iPhone 4S was introduced in October of last year and essentially has the same form factor as the iPhone 4, launched in 2010.
Samsung, which this year became the world’s largest cell phone maker, sold 45 million smartphones in the first quarter, and sales of the Galaxy phones outstripped the iPhone.
Apple was not immediately available to comment.
Apple’s move toward a larger display for the next generation iPhone was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to being Apple’s rival, Samsung is also a major components supplier to the U.S. computer, tablet and phone manufacturer.
The share of the production of new screens that go to each of the three manufacturers working with Apple has not been determined, one source said.
Sales of the touch-screen iPhone now account for about one-half of Apple’s total sales, and the phone has been a key source of growth for the company in Asia.
A report in March by a South Korea business newspaper said Apple would use a “retina” display on the next iPhone, the same technology in its latest iPad that enhance image quality.
A judge Tuesday allowed a class-action case to proceed against Apple and six publishing houses alleging a price-fixing scheme for electronic books, citing “ample” indications of a conspiracy.
The suit is separate from a U.S. government complaint last month which makes similar allegations, that Apple colluded with publishers to boost the price of ebooks and wrest control from Amazon.
The evidence presented of an agreement between Apple and the publishers “is unlawful per se because it is, at root, a horizontal price restraint,” Judge Denise Cote of the U.S. District Court in New York said in an opinion, which allows the case to move forward.
The ruling came in response to a request to dismiss the case from Apple, and the publishers—HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, Penguin and Random House.
“There are ample allegations that Apple became an integral member of this conspiracy and well understood that the upshot of its participation would be the elimination of price competition at the retail level, forcing consumers to… ‘pay a little more’ for ebooks,” the judge wrote.
The Justice Department sued Apple and five publishing firms last month alleging a similar conspiracy to raise prices and limit competition for e-books. It immediately announced a partial settlement in the case.
Officials said three of the publishers agreed to end the scheme to force retailers such as Amazon to accept a new pricing plan that ended their ability to offer discounts for electronic books.
Both cases stem from a move by Apple and its late chief executive Steve Jobs to get publishers to move away from a model offered by Amazon—which sold most ebooks for $9.99—to a different system with higher prices.
The move almost instantly raised the prices consumers paid for e-books, to $12.99 or higher.
New documents filed in the government case suggest Jobs played a key role in the conspiracy and told one publisher in an email, “Hold back your books from Amazon” and “Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99.”
With the balmy weather and a relaxing pause from hectic day-to-day life during Golden Week, I’m sure many people have been inspired to start planning some kind of getaway to the countryside when things really heat up.
Many may argue that a trip out of the city for camping, hiking, or even a daytime barbecue, is a time to relax and leave the gadgets at home. For others, however, an escape to the woods is all about flashy new tools. Here’s a round-up of a few toys to make your summer adventures easier, more fun, and safer.
So, you arrive at your campsite around dusk and set up camp. It’s time to get dinner going with a fire, and perhaps sit around listening to music. But how to light the night and charge that iPod? This is where the BioLite CampStove comes in handy. While there are plenty of different kinds of gas camping stoves around — not to mention the comfort of a good old-fashioned campfire — the BioLite CampStove is a safe, clean, easy option with an incredible perk.
First of all, it efficiently burns wood and other bio-matter that can be collected around your site or on a short hike. The BioLite is also quick to light and heats up fast, eliminating the hassle of starting a fire and getting those growling stomachs satisfied faster. It weighs less than 1 kg and folds for easy packing. And if that doesn’t sell the device, here’s that amazing perk: in addition to fueling the cooking fire, the BioLite collects escaping heat and converts it to electricity that can be used to charge your gadgets. This is great for keeping torches lit, and smartphones charged, and comes in handy when you need to use the GPS or look up song lyrics for those campfire sing-a-longs.
UMI USHI Solar charging system
A more conventional, though by no means less ingenious, way to charge the electronic gadgets that — even on camping trips — are such a normal part of life these days, is to use solar power. PANS Ltd. has recently come out with a convenient solar charging system which consists of a panel of solar cells called the UMI USHI Solar Turbo Charge, and the UMI USHI Tablet battery for storing the juice.
The Solar Turbo Charge comes with a case that can be secured to a car window or other smooth surface using suction cups or can be set upright on its stand, facing the sun. On its back, it has a pouch to hold the Tablet battery pack. Small devices such as phones, smartphones, tablets and mobile game consoles can all be charged directly from the panel during daylight, but the Tablet battery would certainly come in handy for storing power and charging up at night.
The Tablet has two different models, the 5500 and the 2800 (storing 5,500 and 2,800 mAh [milliamps hours] respectively). They come with a selection of adaptors for all makes of Japanese mobile phones and can charge other gadgets using a USB. Both Tablet models have a maximum output of 5V/1A. The 5500 can handle two devices at a time with double USB ports while the 2800 has one. Both Tablets come in either blue and white or black and pink, and have four LED indicators to verify the state of the current charge. Marketed as an essential addition to any disaster kit, it will hopefully get more use during leisure time.
A new concept in camping innovation recently garnered a red dot design award. Called the Pin Light it was created by Kim Jung Su, Kim Dong Hwan, Yoon Ji Soo and Yoon Jae Sun. The design combines the function of tent stakes with the added feature of solar-powered lighting. As anyone who has ever been camping knows, cables and stakes are a serious hazard on a dark and crowded campsite. If the Pin Light does make it to market, I imagine that they will need to be made of a super durable material, or should only be used on grass and other soft surfaces as a mallet swing to the solar panel and light seems likely to reduce it to a mere stake. Pin Light stakes would come in very useful at large events where masses of tents in close proximity make it both difficult to find your own, as well treacherous to navigate between tents without getting clotheslined. Here’s hoping we see this in stores soon.
Mixing photo-sharing with foodie fanaticism, the Singapore-based social food journal Burpple.com has launched its iPhone app after a few weeks in open beta. The app styles itself as a great way to remember, organize, and explore food moments with your friends, and encourages users to snap images of their ready-to-savor cuisine.
At the centre of the Burpple app is the journal element, for saving your foodie photos into customizable ‘boxes’ that you can assign a theme and name, such as ‘home-cooked.’ In addition, looking back through your archive of images in the app, it can recall where and when you ate that. Plus, the ‘reburp’ feature allows users to share their digital dining experience with friends, or even to sort of retweet what a friend had if you find their photo so amazing. Backing all that up is the more practical aspect of giving you trustworthy eating-out recommendations (or cook-at-home recipes) from your social media circle – making it a lot more direct than digging around inFoursquare or Google Places or something.
Despite mixing that kind of utility with an Instagram-esque funkiness, the startup has a lot of culinary competition to counter, especially from U.S.-based apps like Epicurious or Foodspotting. Perhaps early-stage buzz within smartphone-toting Singaporeans can give an initial boost in user numbers and stickiness to Burpple, allied with local knowledge of the food culture – such as with Burpple’s recent social marketing campaign that was oriented around kopi – aka: coffee – made in the Singapore style. But Burpple’s aim is international, and the startup says that its open beta saw folks in more than 39 countries start using the app.
Elisha Ong, co-founder of Burpple, says that the app is experiencing the kind of growth seen by Instagram and Pinterest shortly after their inceptions, and that the food journal app similarly “transcends cultures and geographical boundaries.”
The other co-founder, Dixon Chan, adds:
One in four smartphone users in the world take pictures of their meals everyday. These photos that would potentially tell great gastronomical adventures are often left dormant in our smartphones or get drowned out on generic social media. Burpple aims to solve that.
On the road to this official launch, the startup has been incubated at the government-backed Plug-in@Blk 71, and then received a S$50,000 grant under the Spring young entrepreneurs scheme. Just last week, it was revealed that Burpple had formed a strategic partnership with its compatriot restaurant reservation service Chope.
Get the sweet-looking Burpple for iPhone app, now updated to v1.1 and ready to hit the streets, from the iTunes Store.
The latest phone in Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy line, which has emerged as the biggest competitor to Apple’s iPhone, will go on sale in Europe on May 29 and in the U.S. this summer, the company said Thursday.
The Korean company showed off the phone at an event in London. It has a high-definition touch screen that’s nearly twice the size of the iPhone’s, but it’s thinner and lighter than Apple Inc’s phone.
Samsung said the phone will go on sale in 145 countries with 296 phone companies, making it the company’s biggest launch so far.
In the U.S., Japan and Korea, the phone will use fourth-generation, or 4G, networks for faster data downloads. Samsung didn’t say which carriers would sell it, but the previous Galaxy model was sold by all four national U.S. wireless carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
Like previous Galaxy phones, the new S III will run Google Inc’s Android software. The processor, or “brains” of the device, will be upgraded to include four computing cores. The iPhone and most other high-end phones are “dual-core,” but there are some quad-core devices on sale already.
The added computing power will be put to use in the S III’s expanded voice-command features. When the phone screen is off, owners will be able to “wake” it up by saying “Hi, Galaxy.” They can then give further spoken commands. When Apple launched the iPhone 4S last year, it also made advances in voice recognition a central selling point.
Samsung doesn’t release phone shipment figures, but most analysts believe its smartphones outsold Apple and its 35.1 million iPhones in the January-to-March period. Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley believes Apple and Samsung together accounted for virtually all the profits in the phone industry in the first quarter, with three-quarters going to Apple by virtue of its singular focus on the high-priced iPhone.