EXCLUSIVE: Producer Neal Edelstein (Mulholland Dr., The Ring, The Invisible) and his Hooked Digital Media partners have their sights on the future of content consumption. They’re banking on it moving to the micro-screen. Their new digital production shingle will focus solely on making original filmed content designed to be viewed on tablet and mobile devices. The first app, the ghost story Haunting Melissa, launches this spring. Edelstein in 1997 formed The Picture Factory with David Lynch before branching off with his own Macari/Edelstein Filmed Entertainment with Mike Macari. He’ll serve as President of the “next-generation production company”. Aboard as advisors are Myspace co-founder Aber Whitcomb and investor Kevin Washington. “We are not taking movies and stuffing them inside an app; we are crafting stories that embrace app technology and the viewing habits of the new generation of consumers”, Edelstein said in a statement. “Delivery direct to tablet and mobile devices is going to be the most personal form of storytelling”.
They’ll have twice the maximum space of the current fourth-generation iPads, but they’re not for bargain hunters: The Wi-Fi-only model of the new 128GB iPad will carry a suggested retail price of $799, while the ones that also …
That’s a real possibility, and a potential milestone for a three-month period during which the consumer electronics company has declined more than 28% from its 52-week high of $705. Apple‘s down about 1% in early trading today to $506, the lowest it’s been since February. Investors fear that iPhone 5 sales are short of expectations following reports, including several last week, that Apple has cut orders from its suppliers. That’s one reason Citi just downgraded Apple to “neutral” from “buy,” and cut the price target to $575 from $675. Although the reports from suppliers are “inconclusive,” analyst Glen Yeung says that they “bring into question the strength of iPhone 5 and refocus investors onto risks in the Apple story.” The company tried to reassure the market today, disclosing that it has sold more than 2M iPhone 5s in China in the three days after its December 14 launch there. “iPhone 5 will be available in more than 100 countries by the end of December, making it the fastest iPhone rollout ever,” it says.
Watch who comes out ahead in this parody matchup:
UPDATED: Apple‘s new iPad Mini enters the ring against small-sized tablets including Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD. But it doesn’t appear to deliver a knock-out punch. Indeed, the price of Apple shares fell during the roll-out presentation, and are down about 2% in mid-afternoon trading. Apple says the iPad Mini’s 7.9-inch screen compares to the 9.7 inch screen for its larger iPads. The company says the total screen area is 35% larger than the 7-inch screen rivals. But iPad Mini’s screen resolution is 1024 X 768 — which means it’s not as sharp as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. The iPad Mini is 7.2 mm thick, about 25% thinner than the latest iPad. It weights 0.68 pounds. All of the software for the iPad will work on the Mini, unchanged. The iPad Mini has an A5 processor, FaceTime HD camera in front and 5MP iSight camera in back. Beginning November 2, models with 16 GB of storage and communicate via WiFi will sell for $329 (a higher price than the Google and Amazon competitors) with 32GB versions for $429 and 64 GB $529. Two weeks later, iPad Minis with 4G cellular communications will go for $459, $559 and $659.
Meanwhile Apple may infuriate consumers who bought the new iPad introduced in March: The company just announced a fourth-generation model with a more powerful processor and the new Lightning connector. Price starts at $499 with 16GB of storage.
Sure looks that way based on the company’s press invitation to an October 23 meeting at San Jose’s California Theater. Per usual, Apple‘s keeping everything secret. But the note says that “We’ve got a little more to show you.” …
The business media rumor mill can be put to rest. Microsoft made it official today with the unveiling of its Microsoft Surface Windows 8 tablet. Windows president Steve Sinofsky said today at …
Apple-mania will fade at some point. But not yet. The company’s stock was up 2.7% today to close at $601.10 — its highest closing price ever, and up 81.8% over the last 12 months. Much of today’s bump …
It could be a fascinating anti-trust case according the details reported by The Wall Street Journal. The paper says that the Justice Department is gearing up to sue Apple and five top publishers — Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins — for conspiring to fix e-book prices around 2010 when the tech company introduced its iPad. The group allegedly wanted to end Amazon’s practice of selling e-books for a deeply discounted $9.99, part of the company’s strategy to promote sales of its Kindle e-readers. Hoping to loosen Amazon’s grip on the market, and help its new iPad, Apple encouraged publishers to stop selling books wholesale — which enabled retailers to set the selling price– and to adopt a so-called “agency model.” That empowers publishers to set the sales price, and pay retailers a fee of about 30%. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he told publishers “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want any way.” He added that
We may have to wait for Apple to unveil its much-rumored and allegedly revolutionary television set, or even the next iteration of the iPhone, in order to see how the tech giant hopes to rock the infotainment world. That’s because, at first glance, Hollywood execs and analysts say that the new iPad is virtually a non-event: It says more about Apple’s desire to protect its share of tablet sales from rivals including Amazon and Samsung — or upcoming devices built around Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system — than it does about any plan to shake up media. “There’s nothing game-changing” about it, says one Hollywood exec. To be sure, people say that iPad’s new HD screen and 4G broadband should improve the video-watching experience for consumers. The enhancements also will help iPad to remain the supplemental device of choice. “It will accelerate the development of the dual screen world, and the end of the set-top box” as pay TV providers try to shift TV control capabilities to tablets, says independent analyst Chris Dixon. But the updated tablet is still dinged as being
UPDATE, 11:39 AM: The event is over to introduce what Apple CEO Tim Cook simply calls “the new iPad.” It will be available March 16. The Wi-Fi only version with 16 GB of memory will cost $499, same as the iPad2 — and models that accommodate its new 4G LTE capability on Verizon or AT&T will start at $629. Add $100 to each price to move up to 32 GB and another C-note for 64 GB of memory. No word on how much data plans will cost. The iPad2 will continue to be sold — and for $100 less (i.e. $399 with 16 GB of memory).
The battery on the new iPad will run 10 hours, but 9 hours on 4G. Users can dictate text and commands. The company says it will have a sharp Retina Display, with 3.1M pixels — more than an HDTV. It also will have more power than the current iPad: it will run on an A5X quad core graphics processor. Execs talked up the iPad’s new power to create and manipulate photos. It will have a 5 mega-pixel iSight camera on back, with auto exposure, auto-focus, and face detection. It also can record video in HD and will have software stabilization. The iMovie application gets an update: users can create trailers in addition to movies. New iPhoto application allows users to edit images and transmit them directly to other devices. It will accommodate photos up to 19 mega-pixels. With a new journal feature, users can mix photos with text, maps, and calendars. CEO Tim Cook says the company has sold 15.4M iPads. “We set out to create not just a new product, but a new category.”
He also said that the company will revamp its Apple TV with a new user interface. The updated device will be available next week and cost $99. Also, movies and TV shows in the iTunes store will be available in 1080P HD quality. Users can re-download content.
Apple CEO Tim Cook vigorously defended his company today from charges that it has enabled the Chinese companies that produce iPhones, iPads and other products to mistreat workers with low pay, long hours, and unsafe conditions. “No one in our industry is doing more to improve working conditions than Apple,” he told the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. “We care about every worker.” Although he says “the supply chain is complex” he adds that every worker has a right to competitive wages as well as fair and safe working conditions. “Apple suppliers must live up to this in order to do business with Apple,” he says. He added that hiring of children is “extremely rare in our supply chain, but our objective is to eliminate it totally.” He called use of child labor “a firing offense.” Apple also says it has found violations to its rule capping work at 60 hours a week but has begun to “manage working hours on a very micro basis….We can do better and we’re taking the unprecedented step of reporting this monthly on our website so its transparent.”
UPDATE, 3:05 PM: Everyone wants to know what’s up with Apple’s plan to introduce its own TV set, but CEO Tim Cook offered no updates in a conference call with analysts. He’s still upbeat about the Apple TV box, which ports Internet video to TV sets, but refers to it as a “hobby.” He’s unconcerned about the growing competition to the iPad from new tablets. His view is that people who are interested in the iPad won’t settle for devices with fewer functions. Even the Amazon Kindle Fire, one of the hottest-selling electronic products this past holiday season, has had no “obvious impact” on iPad sales. Indeed, Cook says that the iPad probably cannibalizes more Windows PCs. On the iPhone 4S, Cook says that Apple “made a very bold bet as to what the demand would be, and we were short of supplies throughout the quarter.” He adds that the company is still short in some countries. “We could not be happier.” It was just introduced in China and “the demand there has been staggering.” The company expects fiscal 2Q revenues to come in at $32.5B with earnings of about $8.50 a share.
PREVIOUS, 1:40 PM: Shares are trading +7% after hours following an amazing report for the last three months of 2011: Apple revenues came in at $46.3B, up 73.3% vs the same period last year — and well ahead of the $38.9B that analysts expected. And the company had $13.1B in net income, up 117.6%. Here, too, the results at $13.87 a share were well ahead of the $10.08 consensus estimate.