iPad Air and iPad mini w/LTE Cellular Launch in China [iOS Blog]

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple has launched TD-LTE capable models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display in China, adding to existing iPad models that support other cellular networks in China.

China iPad LTE

Apple® today announced TD-LTE capable models of iPad Air™ and iPad mini™ with Retina® display, bringing high-speed LTE performance* to iPad® customers in China, are available starting today. The new iPad models give customers the ability to connect to today’s most advanced cellular data networks at blazingly fast speeds, so users can surf the web or download email and apps even faster.

iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display models supporting TD-LTE also accommodate the TD-SCDMA mobile standard, and join existing iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display WLAN + Cellular models in support of Personal Hotspot connectivity and other advanced cellular technology (GSM/EDGE, DC-HSDPA, HSPA+) to provide customers in China fast cellular access in whichever iPad model they choose.

China Mobile began selling the iPhone 5s and 5c on its new 4G/TD-LTE network back in January, with these iPads capable of working on the same higher speed network.

    



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Apple to Announce Q2 2014 Earnings on April 23

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple updated its investor relations page today to note that it will announce its earnings for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2014 on Wednesday, April 23. The earnings release typically occurs just after 4:30 PM Eastern Time following the close of regular stock trading, and the conference call is scheduled to follow at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 PM Pacific.

Q214 Earnings
MacRumors will provide running coverage of the earnings release and conference call.

The release will provide a look into look at sales of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini sales during their second quarter of availability as well as iPhone 5s and 5c sales through the first three months of 2014. Apple reported a record number of iPhone/iPad sales during first quarter of 2014, at 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads.

In its fiscal first-quarter earnings call, Apple guided expected revenue of $42-44 billion and gross margin between 37 and 38 percent. This reflects an expectation of near zero growth from Q2 of fiscal 2013.

    



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Apple’s A7 Processor Truly ‘Desktop Class’, iOS Apps Don’t Take Full Advantage

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

apple_a7Anandtech provides a detailed analysis of Apple’s A7 (ARM-based) mobile processor which was introduced in the iPhone 5s. The latest information and analysis comes from Apple’s own code changes to the LLVM Compiler project.

While Anandtech goes into great detail on the architecture of the A7 chip and how it compares to the A6, they conclude that the A7 chip is indeed — as Apple claimed — “desktop class” and “the rest of the players in the ultra mobile CPU space didn’t aim high enough”. In fact, they found that there are almost no iOS apps that take full advantage of the A7 processor. The processor even seems overpowered for the current devices in both RAM bottlenecks and battery consumption.

Qualcomm chief marketing officer originally described the 64-bit A7 as a “marketing gimmick” but Qualcomm later backtracked on that statement. Another Qualcomm employee then said that the 64-bit Apple chip “hit us in the gut.”

“Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It’s not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won’t benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it’s like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it.”

Any reference to “desktop class” Apple processors may remind readers that there have been recurring rumors that Apple has been testing ARM processor based MacBook Airs. Apple even threatened that they would stop using Intel chips due to concerns over power consumption. AMD or even ARM were speculated to be possible alternatives.

    



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iOS Users Overwhelmingly Prefer Free Games With Advertisements to Paid Titles

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

The majority of iOS users prefer iOS games that are available for free and supported with advertisements, according to a new study conducted by Wild Tangent in collaboration with analytics firm IHS Technology.

The survey, which queried 500 iOS users, saw 86 percent of respondents state that they prefer free games with ads over paid games without ads. Broken down, 70 percent of respondents preferred free games supported by advertising, while 16 percent were in favor of freemium games with the option to pay for levels. Just 14 percent of those surveyed preferred iOS games that required money upfront to download.

gamerpreferences

When asked about their preference for the types of games online gamers preferred, advertising supported games were chosen by the vast majority of those surveyed. 70% of respondents said they preferred free games supported by advertising and 16% preferred freemium games with the option to pay for levels in the game. Only 14% preferred online games they had to pay for to play.

Gamers also prefer advertising models that give them control over their viewing. When asked if they prefer games that let them choose when and how to view ads over those that do not, 71% preferred that level of control.

Gamers also overwhelmingly preferred value exchange ads within freemium games, which allow users to play videos or view other advertisements in exchange for in-game currency or items. The recently released Disco Zoo provides a good example of such a system, rewarding players with in-game Bux for viewing short videos. The addition of free in-game items acquired through advertisements boosted time spent within games by approximately 28 percent.

Over the course of the last several years, freemium games have largely replaced paid titles as the standard in the App Store. As of today, 43 of the top 50 apps listed on the App Store’s Top Grossing chart are freemium gaming titles. Several others are non-gaming apps that offer in-app purchases, and only one paid game, Minecraft – Pocket Edition is ranked as a top grossing app in the number 18 spot.

topgrossingapps
Some of the most popular freemium apps in the App Store, like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga, have generated millions of dollars in revenue. Clash of Clans, for example, is said to earn approximately $1 million per day through add-on content, booster packs, and more, while Candy Crush Saga earns upwards of $834,148. In comparison, Minecraft – Pocket Edition is estimated to be earning $60,000 per day — not exactly small change, but nowhere near the revenue popular freemium games can bring in.

Given the sheer amount of money that freemium and free games supported with advertising make for developers, it is not surprising that the freemium business model has largely taken over the App Store.

According to IHS, by 2017, only 10 percent of mobile and tablet gaming revenue will be generated by paid downloads, with the rest of revenue coming from ad-supported free apps. Today, approximately 15 percent of gaming app revenue comes from paid apps, with 85 percent being generated through in-app purchases.

    



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LaCie Expands ‘Fuel’ Wireless External Hard Drive for iOS/Mac Devices to 2TB [iOS Blog]

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

LaCie today announced a new version of its Fuel external hard drive, which now offers a total of 2TB of storage. First introduced in January during CES, the Fuel is a wireless hard drive designed to work with the iPad, the iPhone, and Mac computers.

laciefuel2tb
It is able to wirelessly stream to any Apple device, serving as a portable storage unit for extensive media libraries. Like the original Fuel, the new expanded Fuel does not require an Internet connection, functioning instead as a Wi-Fi hotspot able to connect to five devices simultaneously. Media on the drive can be accessed via the Seagate Media app, and Dropbox integration is also supported.

With double the capacity than before, LaCie Fuel offers more storage than any 2.5″ wireless hard drive on the market. It is the ideal cable–free, portable solution for movie buffs, photographers and others to gain 2TBs of on–the–go access and storage for iPad® or iPhone® and Mac®.

Back in February, MacRumors went hands-on with the original Fuel, giving a complete rundown on functionality of the hard drive and the Seagate Media app.

The 2TB LaCie Fuel can be preordered through the LaCie website for $249.99 and will begin shipping in April of 2014. The original 1TB LaCie Fuel can also be purchased from the website for $199.99.

    



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Apple to Expand Employee Transportation Program with More Shuttles, Dedicated Transit Center [Mac Blog]

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

appleshuttlecastroTo earn approval for its Apple 2 Campus in Cupertino, Apple agreed to increase the number of employees using transportation like bicycles and shuttles, according to a new report on commuting in Silicon Valley from The Los Angeles Times.

Apple maintains a Transportation Demand Management program that gives 1,600 of its employees free rides to and from work, using environmentally friendly biodiesel that cuts down on the number of employees using cars. The program has a budget of $35 million, which works out to a cost of approximately $21,875 per employee for transportation at the current point in time.

Apple has a Transportation Demand Management program with an annual budget of $35 million and the goal of getting as many employees as possible out of their cars. It runs the company’s fleet of shuttles, all biodiesel, that on average 1,600 employees ride for free each day. The current system provides more than 200 service runs from 55 pickup locations around the Bay Area. Employees can download an app to track the location of the shuttles.

Currently, 28 percent of Apple employees ride bikes, walk, or ride shuttles to work, a number that the company hopes to increase to 34 percent. To boost the number of employees using alternative transportation, Apple plans to add more shuttles and buses.

A dedicated transit center with eight parking pays is also under construction, with an ultimate goal of having as many as 76 buses and shuttles moving through the center with a park time of three minutes or less.

Commuter shuttles from companies like Apple and Google have become a somewhat controversial issue in San Francisco as of late, subject to several protests over the course of the last few months.

Recently, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency approved a proposal that requires commuter shuttle buses from companies like Apple to pay $1 for each stop they make every day, which is expected to earn the city approximately $1.5 million over the course of 18 months. The program is set to begin in July.

    



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Apple to Raise App Store Prices in Australia, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and South Africa [iOS Blog]

March 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

Apple has plans to increase App Store retail prices for several countries over the next 24 hours, citing changes in foreign exchange rates. Prices will go up for the Australian Dollar, Indian Rupee, Indonesian Rupiah, Turkish Lira and South African Rand.

Retail prices for Israeli New Shekels and some pricing tiers for the New Zealand Dollar will be decreased, however.

appstorepriceincrease
According to an email sent out to developers, the new pricing will go into effect within 24 hours. Apple has done price adjustments on App Store and iTunes rates several times in the past, in order to compensate for changes in foreign exchange rates.

(Thanks, Patrick!)

    



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