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Samsung overtakes Apple as world’s most profitable mobile phone maker

Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Apple's iPhone 5

Apple has lost its status as the world’s most profitable maker of mobile phones, with strong demand for Samsung’s Galaxy handsets pushing the South Korean multinational into the financial lead for the first time.

The California company made an estimated $3.2bn (£2.1bn) profit from iPhone sales in the second quarter of the year, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics, a marked drop from $4.6bn a year ago and less than Samsung’s estimated $5.2bn haul from both its basic models and smartphones in the same period.

While the high-priced iPhone was the engine that propelled Apple to become the world’s most valuable company, its customers are no longer bent on owning the latest model.

Healthy demand for the three-year-old iPhone 4, which is cheaper than the latest iPhone 5, has reduced the average selling price of its blockbuster device.

As smartphone ownership trickles down the income brackets in both western and emerging markets, Apple’s margins have taken a hit. The company’s latest financial results showed that the average selling price of an iPhone has fallen to $581, down from $613 in the first quarter.

The same trend has squeezed Samsung’s handset profits, which are down from an estimated $5.6bn in the second quarter of 2012, but the strong performance of its flagship Galaxy S4 has, at least for now, put an end to Apple’s four-year reign as the world’s most profitable phone-maker.  Read More

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Samsung finds itself on the wrong end of the Apple trial with spilled evidence

Earlier today it was revealed that evidence Samsung spilled to the press in their trial against Appleregarding supposed Sony pre-cursors to the iPhone was not supposed to be seen. Federal Judge Lucy Koh had previously blocked said evidence from the trial altogether, and both Apple and the judge have since earlier today come down on Samsung demanding an explanation for Samsung releasing documents to news outlets. Samsung is now on the hot-seat speaking on why they found transmitting these documents to the public “entirely consistent with this Court’s statements” – these statements saying that, “workings of litigation must be open to public view.”

 

What appears very much to be happening here is a war of public opinion rather than an effort on Samsung’s part to influence the jury. While the documents are not allowed to be shown in the actual court proceedings, they do appear to be “public” as Samsung suggests, as they were part of pretrial filings. This all may have been alright, to a degree, save for the comments included with the emails sent out to the press with the images:

“The Judge’s exclusion of evidence on independent creation meant that even though Apple was allowed to inaccurately argue to the jury that the F700 was an iPhone copy, Samsung was not allowed to tell the jury the full story and show the pre-iPhone design for that and other phones that were in development at Samsung in 2006, before the iPhone. Fundamental fairness requires that the jury decide the case based on all the evidence.” – Samsung PR message to the press

With such a statement, Samsung will have a hard time convincing the judge that they did not in one way or another intend for the evidence to reach the jury, or at least to influence the media and the public to push for the evidence to be seen with their point of view. Apple’s counsel William Lee found the letter Samsung gave to the court today in explanation of their actions to be unsatisfactory. According to Josh Lowensohn of CNET, Lee noted the following:  Read More

iPhone 5 Speculation Drives Apple Earnings Down

PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the All Things D conference in Los Angeles.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the All Things D conference in Los Angeles. (Joanna Stern / ABC News)

Apple’s third quarter earnings, released this afternoon, were below analysts’ predictions.

While the quarter is usually one of the slower ones for the tech giant, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer admitted that speculation surrounding the next iPhone — what many are calling theiPhone 5 — has affected sales of current iPhones.

Apple said it sold 26 million iPhones, down from 35.1 million in the previous quarter. Presumably, people put off purchases of phones, waiting for a newer model.

“We’re reading the same speculation about a new iPhone as you are, and we think this has caused some delay in purchasing,” Oppenheimer said.

Of course he was referring to the flood of rumors about the next iPhone, including the ones that say the next version will have a larger and thinner display, a new dock connector, and a faster processor and graphics.

The topic of the rumors came up numerous times on the earnings call with analysts. But no matter how hard analysts pushed, Cook and Oppenheimer would not talk about their product plans for the remainder of the year.  Read More

Next iPhone to Slim Down


People familiar with the matter are telling the WSJ’s Juro Osawa that Apple’s next iPhone model could be thinner and lighter than Samsung’s OLED-screen smartphones. What other features will Apple offer to try to stay on top?

Apple Inc.’s AAPL +0.00% next iPhone, currently being manufactured by Asian component makers, will use a new technology that makes the smartphone’s screen thinner, people familiar with the matter said, as the U.S. technology giant strives to improve technological features amid intensifying competition from Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.39% and other rivals.

Japanese liquid-crystal-display makersSharp Corp. 6753.TO -5.69% and Japan Display Inc.—a new company that combined three Japanese electronics makers’ display units—as well as South Korea’s LG Display Co. LPL +1.13% are currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone using so-called in-cell technology, the people said.

The technology integrates touch sensors into the LCD, making it unnecessary to have a separate touch-screen layer. The absence of the layer, usually about half-a-millimeter thick, not only makes the whole screen thinner, but improves the quality of displayed images, said   Read More

Apple wants to make products in U.S., but that’s not so easy

Let’s make the iPhone in the good ol’ U. S. of A. Who’s with me?

There are few Americans who don’t like the idea of an all-American iPhone, iPad or MacBook. “Designed in California,” sure — but why not made there, too?

During the D: All Things Digital conference this week, Apple chief executive Tim Cook suggestedthat he wanted his celebrated tech company to make more components, and perhaps assemble them, here in the U.S.

But it’s not that easy.

Cook knows it. As a longtime operations guy, there are probably few things the man knows better than a supply chain. When he says the semiconductor industry is good in the U.S., it’s good. When he says there aren’t high-tech manufacturing skills in the U.S., he’s probably right. But actions speak louder than words, and there are good reasons why Apple no longer makes its millions upon millions of products stateside — because it just doesn’t make good business sense otherwise.

We’ve seen this film before. Before founder Steve Jobs died, he made headlines for the same reason, as the national economy crumbled beneath Apple.  Read More

Next iPhone may be housed in ‘Liquidmetal’

Liquidmetal would make the outer surface of the iPhone

After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design — and possibly new materials — in its sixth-generation smartphone.

And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon.

Korea IT News reported Wednesday that the iPhone 5 is likely to be housed in Liquidmetal, the commercial name for an alloy of titanium, zirconium, nickel, copper and other metals. It would make the outer surface of the phone “smooth like liquid,” according to the report.

“The next iPhone needs to truly stand out from the crowd,” Canalys analyst Chris Jones told Wired via email. “A change in materials is a likely way to differentiate its form factor.”

Liquidmetal was discovered at the California Institute of Technology in 1992. It’s a class of patented amorphous metal alloys (basically metallic glass) with unique properties including high strength, high wear resistance against scratching and denting, and a good strength-to-weight ratio. Apple was granted rights to use it in August of 2010.  Read More

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