People who can’t live without a smartphone may be surprised to learn that they’ve been in the minority until this year, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center‘s Internet & American Life Project. About 56% of the 1,127 adults questioned in May said that they own a computer-like, Web connected phone, up from 46% in a similar study last year. Pew says that another 35% in the new survey own a conventional mobile phone, and 9% don’t own a cell phone. As you’d expect, young adults are most likely to own smartphones: About 81% of 25-to-34 year olds have one; the number drops below half the population at age 55 and older. About 39% of those between 55 and 64 own one, sliding to 18% for those 65 and older. When it comes to smartphone operating systems, Google and Apple successfully held off threats from Blackberry and Microsoft: Among all cell phone owners 28% have a smartphone powered by Android (up from 20% last year) while 25% have an iPhone (up from 19%). Another 4% use Blackberry (down from 6%) and 1% are on Windows (down from 2%). But researchers found distinct differences in preference by demo. For example, Android beats Apple among those 54 and younger while Apple wins among college grads and in homes with incomes above $75,000 a year.
For those of you who can’t get enough iPhone news: The new model will be “similar in size and shape to [the] current one” and will go into production this quarter The Wall Street Journal reports citing …
We’ve been waiting to see what YouTube would do since last month when Apple said that the license had expired for it to offer the Google-owned video service pre-loaded into iPhones and iPads. And here’s the answer: …
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.
You can see this from the 6.6% drop in Research in Motion’s stock price today — and the mostly hostile comments over at our sister site, BGR.com. Instead of giving a rebate to millions of people affected by last week’s switching problems, RIM said today that it will let them download a dozen premium games and apps that it values at more than $100, and have a month of free Technical Support. “We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience,” co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said. “We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”
Talk about raining on Apple’s parade. America’s favorite tech company seemed ready for another great news day today: It says that it sold more than 4M new iPhone 4S’ this past weekend in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK. Not a bad follow-up to Friday, when Apple shares hit their highest-ever price — $422.00 — and a promising lead-in to tomorrow, when Apple’s expected to announce a big increase in 3Q revenues and profits. But before you become too giddy, consider what BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis says today in a report downgrading Apple to “hold” from “buy.” Following the 31% increase in the company’s stock price in 2011, “the company has to constantly set records just to meet expectations.” And he says investors may be disappointed tomorrow. iPhone sales in 3Q will reflect “a phone that was at the end of its refresh cycle, not the start of a new one — as has been the case in September quarters in the years past.”
UPDATE: The question about whether Apple devices can show UltraViolet films is complicated, it seems. The folks at Warner Bros say that iPhones and iPads can handle them – but not through the traditional channel, the iTunes Store. Users must download an app to also register with Flixster, a site that Time Warner owns. Movies can be streamed, but not downloaded yet. Sony’s likely to have a similar work-around for its Dec. 2 release of UltraViolet-enabled Blu-ray discs for Friends With Benefits and The Smurfs.
PREVIOUS, 10:50 AM: There’s still a fair amount of skepticism about the entertainment industry’s long-awaited UltraViolet program today as it kicks off with Warner Bros’ home video release of Horrible Bosses — to be followed on Friday by The Green Lantern. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of Bosses will be first that make it possible for buyers to watch it on mobile devices from UltraViolet’s Internet cloud. Studios and consumer electronics companies have a lot at stake in promoting the “buy once, play anywhere” concept. It’s part of a process to slow the stomach-churning decline in home video sales. Consumers will spend about $16.9B on home video this year, down from $24.4B in 2004, SNL Kagan says. If UltraViolet catches on, then it also could give studios a lot of flexibility to control the way their films are presented and handled as consumers begin to abandon discs and just rely on digital streams and downloads.
The problem? UltraViolet movies won’t play on Apple gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad. The initiative also won’t include movies from Disney, which is preparing its own cloud-based system called Disney Studio All Access. “Not only is the ecosystem not fully launched, with a common downloadable file format a ways off, but there has been no consumer education on the technological transition from a pre-UV world to the new UV ecosystem,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says.
UPDATE: Apple just wrapped up its press conference announcing the upgraded iPhone. Better hardware, new operating system, and available on Sprint as well as AT&T and Verizon — but not the revolutionary iPhone 5 that some predicted. Available Oct. 14, wireless subscribers will be able to score a 64 gig version of the iPhone 4S for $399, a 32 GB model for $299, and 16 GB for $199. But the price for the 8 GB iPhone 4 has been cut to $99 while the 3GS is free. The 4S will look a lot like previous iPhones but will have a dual core processor that handles graphics about seven times faster — good news for gamers. It will be a world phone, capable of handling wireless calls transmitted via GSM or CDMA technologies. The camera has been upgraded: 8 megapixels with more sensitive light processing and face detection. The company also talked up the speed; just a half-second lag between shots. It will handle 1080p high-definition video with image stabilization. Apple’s also excited about a new feature called Siri: It will answer verbal inquiries about, say, the weather, stock prices, and restaurant reviews — and handle tasks such as making appointments in your calendar. As expected, the company said that it will launch its iCloud service on Oct. 12. No talk about Facebook integration. Investors apparently expected more: The value of Apple shares declined during the presentation and are down about 4.7% about an hour before the end of the trading day.
PREVIOUS 2:10 AM: Super-secretive Apple e-mailed “Let’s Talk iPhone” invitations to a 10 AM PT media event at its headquarters in Cupertino this morning. But it’s the first major product unveiling that won’t be introduced by Steve Jobs. Instead, his successor Tim Cook is expected to present what may be the iPhone 5 and/or the iPhone 4S and/or Apple’s latest iOS mobile software — iOS 5. According to The AP, the latest iPhone will include wireless device setup and content syncing, a better 8-megapixel camera, as well as email and Web-browsing apps. But the new smartphone isn’t expected to look much different from the iPhone 4, though it could be thinner and have a bigger screen. Deadline’s sibling site BGR.com says some industry watchers had hoped for a brand new teardrop-shaped iPhone 5 with larger display, insanely thin design, and more. Now it’s looking like Apple might be set to introduce an upgraded iPhone 4 instead. Bummer, right? Not if Apple’s iPhone 4S is a pretty substantial bump as opposed to just an incremental update, as many are speculating. Some even think Apple is set to unveil about a dozen various iPhone models this week, ranging from a modest update on the cheap to a teardrop-shaped overhaul that will feature a 4-inch display and a unibody aluminum design.