Quick Hits 7/23

New Macs?-

Looks like Apple is about to refresh both the iMac and possibly Mac Pro lineups in the next month. None of the current rumors indicate a massive change in enclosure or a huge change in the strategy with the two platforms.

iMac may see adoption of some new ports (USB 3.0/Firewire 1600-3200) and new features (1080p Input via HDMI so you can hook up a Blu-Ray player to an iMac?). Some question as to what Intel hardware will end up being used in the iMac, in fact there maybe several different processor configurations.

The Mac Pro is overdue for a new enclosure with the current gigantic cheese grater being 3 or4 years old. However, Apple sells so few of them (compared to their other product lines), is there really a need for a new enclosure? If new data ports make it to the iMac, then those ports will be on the Mac Pro. Expect Apple to try and get the latest greatest fastest Intel iron into the machine with as many multi-cores as possible.

Verizon v AT&T-

Both carriers announced significant growth in their wireless divisions. AT&T added 1.6 million new customers including 3.2 million iPhone activations (including iPhone 4 upgrades in June, AT&T probably had a huge chunk of the over 1.7 million iPhone 4 solds in June). In addition, AT&T announced activation of 500,00 3G iPads. MoD will admit to being very surprised by this number. That’s 500,000 out of 2 million sold in May/June were 3g devices. That’s a pretty impressive number for both AT&T and Apple. More leverage for Apple in negotiating great terms for their devices, even after Apple eventually extends the iPhone to other carriers (there are no real issues in regards AT&T as a data network provider).

Verizon also experienced a growth quarter for their wireless business but added less new customers at only 1.4 million. To date, Verizon unlike AT&T has not broken down how many high end Android phone activations occurred in the quarter so it’s hard to compare how Android is doing directly against the iPhone. AT&T successful numbers and some frank comments by Verizon recently concerning the impact of the iPhone again bring up the question of when Verizon and Apple will stop dancing and finally sign an agreement. Potentially anywhere from 14 to 16 million potential iPhone customers sitting on Verizon’s network.

iPad Sales Estimates Going Crazy-

Almost every tech analyst and pundit is going crazy trying to guesstimate how many iPads Apple will sell. Most pundits completely underestimated the demand and interest in the device, and some like Forester are having to explain how they could be so wrong (Forester predicted only 3.5 million US sales for all of 2010).  iSuppli went a little nutty predicting 36 million iPads sold in 2011 and 50 million iPads sold in 2012. In addition, not only is Apple selling every iPad that they can make, but just like with the iPod, Apple may end up cornering the market on the key components for touchscreen slates, making it hard for competitors to really compete with Apple on price and availability. LG has already announced that they are having a hard time meeting Apple demand and are talking about increasing production facilities. This is the exact same phenomena that we saw with the iPod. Apple was able to be extremely aggressive in pricing while keeping high margins against their competitors due to their ability to be the dominate customer for certain parts. And this is all before the iPad is going to get a significant boost with iOS 4 features such as multi-tasking, more advanced email handling, application folders, among a host of other improvements.

Mysterious Bluetooth Touchpad Approved by FCC –

About a month ago before the WorldWide Developers Conference, Engadget got photos of a wireless touchpad peripheral that would seem to add multi-touch capabilities for desktops. Here’s a photo from Engadget of it.

This week this device rumored to be called the Magic Trackpad went to the FCC for approval. Since it’s a bluetooth device, Apple needs FCC approval for it. The images included in the FCC submission could not be any more vague/generic. It’s easy to project Apple releasing this device at the same time as the new iMac/Mac Pro, creating a new class of wireless peripheral. The release of this device also would open the door for Apple to radically increase the level of multi-touch interaction in the base Mac OS. Is this device just one step towards the grand integrated iOS future that MoD suggested is coming?

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