iTV/N92/Liquid Steel Macs and iPhones?

What does the title mean?

The AppleTV rumor has now become an iTV rumor according to Engadget (the source of the initial rumor). Depressingly Engadget is now talking about the device only being 720p (understandable due to bandwidth reasons streaming 1080p content is just not feasible, but you’d like the device to support 1080p at the very least for future capability). Engadget also talked about a fall release. Could iTV be one of the devices released at the upcoming consumer event? This rumor seems to be move about 4 or 5 months early. Christmas buying season is the natural launch for this device, but Apple just seems overloaded to be ready to ship another iOS device this year with the necessary software for application development. And apps is exactly what iTV needs to take it beyond the limited scope of the current AppleTV (Hulu/Netflix/Weather/Grubhub/ESPN are just some of the obvious ones). Engadget is poised for a real coup if this rumor bears out, and have a great source at Apple. Engadget will have scooped just about about everyone. The only thing missing in every rumor on this product is any prediction/content on how the device would be controlled remotely.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball has an insanely high batting average when it comes to Apple rumors. Some competing sites believe that Apple is using Gruber to leak information. When MoD saw an article called N92, our initial thought was a review of the latest gear from Nokia. Instead Gruber drops all kinds of Verizon iPhone knowledge out there. So the weight of supplier rumors (referenced in our 8/9 article) is also indicative to Gruber that Apple appears ready to release the Verizon iPhone. Gruber posits that there’s simply no way Apple can prep the 2 to 3 million devices needed at launch under a complete veil of secrecy, especially when new chip sets are needed for CDMA. Gruber adds to the rumor mill that the Verizon iPhone code named N92 has moved to the next level of design/development, and it’s now realistically a couple of months away from being ready. Combined with the supplier based rumors, and the Verizon iPhone rumor is going to be in overdrive for the next 4 months perhaps reaching iPad proportions.

The other weird story this week was Apple’s deal for exclusive access to Liquidmetal Technologies advanced “amorphous” metal alloys. Here’s the science fiction like description of the abilities of Liquidmetal’s new metals (from the MacRumors article on the topic )

“According to Liquidmetal’s description of its technology, the company has developed new metal alloys exhibiting an ‘amorphous’ molecular structure differing from the crystalline structures of traditional metals.
This amorphous atomic structure leads to a unique set of characteristic properties for the family of Liquidmetal alloys.
These characteristic properties are:
– High Yield Strength
– High Hardness
– Superior Strength/Weight Ratio
– Superior Elastic Limit
– High Corrosion Resistance
– High Wear-Resistance
– Unique Acoustical Properties”

Now Apple has exclusive access to this material in the Consumer Electronics space. The properties sound completely in the wheelhouse for Apple’s industrial design group to create awesome products with features that other vendors cannot match. Lighter, stronger, more durable materials for iPhones, laptops, iMacs. In addition, it may allow for Apple to create cheaper, easier to assemble unibody designs for all kinds of products in their portfolio. While it does sound a little Terminator 3 like, these new materials are already being used today in a number of products including defense projects. It’s scifi, but it’s shipping scifi. This is exactly the kind of strategic use of Apple’s vast war chest (40+ billion dollars) that Wall Street should love. Gaining exclusive access to a potential difference maker in design and functionality for their products. Weight/durability advantages in the production of Apple mobile/portable products could be significant reason why Apple stays ahead of their competitors. (the only more important advantage would be exclusive access to a superior battery technology).

  1. August 22nd, 2010

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