Apple Targets Microsoft Office With Free Apps - New York Times

Will Apple enjoy an 'iPad Christmas?' - San Jose Mercury News

NEW YORK -- Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook believes Santa's sleigh will be loaded with iPads this Christmas, but a variety of competing tablets are sure to be along for the ride, too.

Apple's iPad Air, a thinner, lighter and faster-running version of its previous large tablet computers, goes on sale Friday with a starting price of $499. The company also unveiled an updated version of its iPad Mini recently. It goes on sale sometime in November.

Apple is expecting strong sales of both models --so much so that Cook told analysts during the company's most recent earnings conference call that "this is going to be an iPad Christmas" as he predicted year-over-year growth.

But this year the iPad faces its stiffest holiday season competition since its 2010 introduction. While Apple still holds the largest chunk of the growing tablet market, the iPad has been losing market share to quality --and often cheaper-- alternatives that run Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.

According to data released by market research firm IDC on Wednesday, iPads accounted for about 30 percent of the tablets shipped during the July-September quarter, down from about 40 percent in the same period a year ago.

Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director for tablets, noted that Apple faced tough year-ago comparisons because it released a new iPad during the second quarter of 2012, which caused its sales to spike in both the second and third quarters of that year.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics, Apple's closest rival, saw its market share jump to 20 percent from 12 percent a year ago. Smaller tablet makers such as Asus, Lenovo and Acer also saw big increases, though their shares of the market remained in the single digits.

The overall number of tablets shipped in the July-September period jumped 37 percent from a year ago, driven by a surge in Android tablet shipments. At the same time, iPad shipments rose less than 1 percent.

Mainelli said that despite the competition he expects Apple to post a year-over-year increase in iPad sales for the fourth-quarter, predicting that the slimmed down nature of the iPad Air will be a big draw for consumers who complained in the past about the iPad's weight. If Apple does lose market share during the holiday season, Mainelli said, the amount will be tiny and of little consequence to the company's bottom line.

"We're all guilty of this, of looking at Apple's market share and saying: 'Are they in trouble?'" Mainelli said. "But the reality is they're going to have a real good fourth quarter, they're going to have great average selling prices compared to their competitors and that's going to be great for their profits and great for the Street too."

Cook in his comments Monday emphasized that his company isn't just focused on how many iPads it sells in comparison to its rivals, saying that Apple also looks at things like customer loyalty and usage rates.

Mainelli noted that because Apple keeps its prices high, it's much more profitable than other tablet makers who try to boost unit sales by keeping prices low. As a result, Apple makes significantly more on each tablet it sells.

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association, said there should be plenty of demand to go around. His group expects U.S. holiday tablet sales to be up 21 percent from a year ago. According to CEA research, about 26 percent of consumers plan to buy a tablet as a gift this year, roughly the same as last year's 27 percent.

DuBravac noted that the tablet market has fragmented in recent years, much like the personal computer and digital camera markets did as they matured. Consumers can now choose from among a wide variety of prices, sizes and options when shopping for a tablet, which boosts overall interest in the products, he said.

iPad competitors set to hit the market this month include Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 -- 2014 Edition, which is one of the few that costs more than the iPad Air. Its 16 gigabyte version starts at $550. But's Kindle Fire HDX, which like the Samsung tablet runs on the Android operating system, starts at $299.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has put a big marketing push behind its Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets, which start at $449 and $899, respectively. The tablets are aimed at business professionals and could attract buyers who want access to Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office applications, something iPads and Android tablets don't offer.

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Analyst calls on Apple to buy Tesla - Autoblog (blog)

Analyst suggests Apple should buy Tesla

This is the layman's understanding of how the tech world works: come up with an idea; execute idea; start making money; get bought out by Apple, Google or some other wealthy company seeking the Next Big Thing; retire to Fiji at age 23. Occasionally, though, one of those startups grows quickly enough to avoid being bought out by the big boys of Silicon Valley. Tesla is one such startup, and while it's an automaker as much as a tech company, the mingling of both worlds in its business model has helped the company survive since 2003, become publicly traded in 2010 and avoid being bought out by a bigger company (though the personality of its co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, may have something to do with that, too).

This record of independence hasn't stopped the analysts from talking, though. According to CNN Money, Andaan Ahmad, a London-based investment banker with German bank Berenberg, has petitioned Apple CEO Tim Cook to buy out Tesla and bring Elon Musk into the Apple family. On paper, the move would sort of make sense: since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple appears to some to have been sagging, releasing better iterations of its currents products but lacking the big, new, industry-investing widget that makes people go mad. Expanding into the automotive market, a long-rumored destination for Apple, would allow the Cupertino, CA-based brand to stretch its legs in a new direction. As Ahmad notes, Apple needs to go "out of the box" or "the key debate will always be about [Apple's] ability to sustain these abnormal margins in [the] iPhone business."

Although not expressly discussed in the CNN story, we could also see some big benefits for Tesla. The Palo Alto-based automaker has been locked in a war over direct sales to customers with a number of dealership groups across the country, many of which have particularly powerful political lobbies. If Tesla had the backing of the world's most powerful company, which also has success in the business of upgrading traditional retail experiences, it could help establish the direct-sale model on a wider scale.

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A Recommended Recipe just for you

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Live blog: Apple's Q4 2013 earnings call - 9 to 5 Mac

Apple has announced its earnings for Q4 2013, including $37.5 billion in revenue and sales of 33.8 million iPhones, 14.1 million iPads, and 4.6 million Macs. As usual, Apple will be holding a conference call to discuss the results, provide some additional information, and take questions from analysts. Below, we’ll be holding a live blog of the proceedings:

- $AAPL down over 2% after hours:

- Tim Cook giving introductory remarks: “I’m happy to tell you that Apple’s business is stronger than ever.” Cook talking about integration of hardware, software and service. Cook also discussion “vibrant” developer community. Apple is winning with its products in all the most important ways: customer usage, loyalty, and satisfaction.

- Tim Cook discussing recent announcements: iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina display, iOS 7 redesign, iTunes Radio, iMacs, MacBooks, OS X Mavericks, new iLife/iWork for iOS/OS X.

- Tim Cook says Apple is very pleased with its accomplishments for fiscal 2013, with 150 million iPhone sales and 16 million Macs. Cook going over revenue for iTunes.

- Apple opened or remodeled 49 new stores. 50 million dollars in revenue per store.

- Apple completed 15 strategic acquisitions during the year, one every 3 weeks.

- Apple reviews its capital return program often with its board. Apple is also seeking input from its shareholders.

- Apple is very confident in its future, and Apple sees opportunity in current and new product categories.

- Cook discussing smartphone and tablet growth in the future.

- Apple is proud to be a force for good in the world beyond products: standing up for human rights, helping to eliminate AIDs.

- Apple thanking shareholders for their loyalty, and thanking employees for making products and enriching people’s lives.

- Oppenheimer now on the call. CFO is discussing and reiterating the revenue and product sales stats from the press release.

- iPhone sales ahead of Apple’s expectations. Apple was particularly pleased with sales growth for iPhones in Russia, India, Middle East, and Latin America. Apple iPhone sales remain strong and robust in the United States.

- 14.3 million total iPhones in channel inventory at end of quarter. 4-6 weeks of iPhone channel inventory on a look-forward basis.

- Oppenheimer saying 96% satisfaction rate for the new iPhone, saying that iPhone users spend an average of 53% more time on their phones than Android users.

- Oppenheimer discussing in-house app development for iOS Devices, including companies in China.

- Oppenheimer discussing iPad. “iPad sales exceeded our expectations for the September quarter.” Apple also pleased with strong back-to-school demand. Interest in iPad remains incredibly strong. 99% satisfaction rate for iPad.

- Talking about iPad in the enterprise. Companies around the world are using iPads to reinvent their businesses.

- Oppenheimer discussing iPad usage in school systems.

- Discussing the new features in the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display.

- Apple happy with MacBook Air sales (updated in June). Oppenheimer talking the iMac update in September, and MacBook/Mac Pro updates this month.

- Oppenheimer talking about Mavericks and its new feature (and free).

- Oppenheimer says iOS 7 launch was successful. Going over iOS 7 features. 20 million iTunes Radio unique listeners.

- Oppenheimer talking about security of iOS devices with iOS 7. Especially in businesses/enterprise.

- Oppenheimer now discussing Apple Retail. 8 new stores opened in Q4, 2 remodeled. 416 stores, 162 outside US total.

- Apple retail 2014: 30 new store openings (2/3 outside of the U.S.). Remodel 20 stores during the year.

- Oppenheimer now talking about revenue deferrals for free software.

- $55-$58 billion revenue estimate for Q1 2014.

Q/A has begun:

- Oppenheimer discussing why gross margin is lower this year, even with the new iPhone mix and other new devices.

- Cook asked about innovation, why iPhone 5s has a fingerprint sensor, M7 etc. Cook says these are part of a big, future roadmap.

- Question about iPhone 5c pricing. Cook says iPhone 4s is entry-offer, iPhone 5c is mid-tier, and iPhone 5s is top-tier offering. Apple’s goal overall is to have growth, and Apple is pleased with the iPhone lineup. This is how Apple partly measures success, most important thing is to make a great product. Apple is happy with current iPhone growth. Cook realizes that people believed 5c would be the entry-phone, but that was never Apple’s intention.

- Question about new product categories: Cook says he never said there would be new product categories in fall 2013 and/or first half of 2014.

- Oppenheimer reiterating the revenue and gross margin deferral process. Oppenheimer seems excited about this.

- Gene Munster asking about iPad pricing and growth rates around tablets. Cook enters: Apple believes tablets is a huge opportunity, Apple does believe last week’s announcement was Apple’s largest iPad announcement ever, and will continue to grow. Apple will start iPad sales with the Air on Nov. 1, reiterates iPad mini now at $299, Retina model at $399. “iPad Air is the best iPad we’ve ever done.” Tim Cook says its going to “be an iPad Christmas.” Apple will report it did in January.

- Cook asked about the thinking behind making Mavericks, iWork, and iLife free. Cook says Apple wanted to make the free software as being a key element of owning the Mac and iOS Device hardware. Saw iWork was top-selling mobile productivity suite, wanted all customers to have access to latest software so they have the best features. It was a “bold move” to make them free. Cook says Apple wanted to make the software a complete “part of the experience.” Cook thinks it was a “great decision” for customers.

- Cook asked about education and software, Chromebooks, Google Apps, Google taking share in education: Cook says Apple had its best Education quarter ever. Up 8% YOY. iPad up 22% YOY. Mac up 8% YOY. $1 billion in Education revenues in a Quarter for the first time. ChromeBooks are seen in some places, but the vast majority of people are buying Macs/PCs/iPads. Apple share of tablets in education is 94% (unheard of, Cook says).

- Question about the supply-side regarding Touch ID manufacturing, Retina iPad mini manufacturing issues, meeting demand for the holidays for the new devices. Cook says iPhone 5s supply ended quarter with very significant backlog, Apple still has a significant backlog. Apple is very confident in its ability to keep ramping, so Apple is rolling it with more countries (30 last week, 16 next week). Apple is where it wants to be with country reach for iPhone this calendar year. Cook says Retina Mini will start shipping in November, but it is unclear if Apple will have enough for the quarter. Cook thinks Apple will do fairly well with iPads for the holiday season.

- Is Apple in a better shape to avoid supply constraints like last year? Or will Apple see a similar situation. Apple is doing well on supply/demand for the iPhone 5s, though Apple is on backlog. Cook is confident about upcoming ramps and doing well for the quarter. iPad mini Retina will start shipping later this month, but difficult to forecast when supply/demand will balance there. Versus last year, iMac was announced early last year then shipped in December.

- MacBook Pros off to a “huge start.” Cook feels great about Mac and iPad growth. Notes the strong guidance numbers from Oppenheimer earlier.

- Question about iPhone ASPs being down 7% YOY. Due to price-drops in entry level iPhones. Also has to do with currency shifts in emerging markets and places like Australia. Oppenheimer does not want to forecast ASPs for the December quarter.

- How are carriers responding to the pricing strategies of the iPhone. Cook says carriers want to sell as many phones as possible and want people on contracts. Cook does not really see this changing. Some carriers have come up with different sales programs that might appeal to someone who wants to upgrade their phone annually. Those programs in general probably reduce the subsidies for some, but customers may view this as a fair exchange for getting to upgrade often. Other than that, Cook believes Apple and carriers have great relationships.

- Call Over.

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Apple: Some iPhone 5S units have battery issues, will be replaced - San Jose Mercury News

Click photo to enlarge

A customer examines a new iPhone 5s at the Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha, Neb., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, the day the new iPhone 5c and 5s models go on sale. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

CUPERTINO -- Some buyers of Apple's (AAPL) new top-of-the-line iPhone received a battery that cannot hold a charge due to a manufacturing defect, and the company plans to replace the faulty smartphones.

An Apple spokeswoman told The New York Times on Tuesday that "a limited number" of the new devices suffered from the defect, and the company is actively seeking them out.

"We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life," Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer told the Times. "We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: The gold version of the iPhone 5S is displayed at an Apple store on September 20, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images) (Andrew Burton)

While Apple would not estimate how many of the new phones suffer from the malady, the Times theorized that it was just a few thousand. Apple launched the iPhone 5S and 5C last month in the United States, China and several other countries, and sold 9 million smartphones on the opening weekend, with analysts reporting that the more expensive iPhone 5S was more popular in the U.S.

Apple has suffered manufacturing issues in newly launched iPhones in the past: When the iPhone 4 launched in 2010, calls could be dropped when users held the smartphone in a particular way, due to the design of the antenna; Apple eventually offered customers free cases that solved the problem.

"When we fall short, we try harder," then-CEO and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs said after the iPhone 4 controversy. "We pick ourselves up, we figure out what's wrong, and we try harder. And when we succeed, they reward us by staying users."

In addition, many users complained of scratches and scrapes on their iPhone 5 units after that model launched, and the company's Apple Maps effort that debuted on that phone was roundly criticized and led to an apology from CEO Tim Cook.

Battery life has been an issue for a number of Apple customers, with the Cupertino company's new mobile operating system, iOS 7, said to drain battery life faster, especially on older devices.

Apple shares gained $8.19, or 1.6 percent, to $524.87 in Wednesday's morning session on Wall Street.

Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at

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Apple to replace some new iPhones over battery issue - USA TODAY

Apple still tops in tablets, despite dwindling market share - CNET (blog)

Apple's fourth-generation iPad.

Apple's fourth-generation iPad.

Apple shipped enough iPads last quarter to continue its reign as the No. 1 tablet vendor.

For the third quarter, Apple shipped 14.25 million iPads, giving it a market share of 29.7 percent, research firm IHS said on Wednesday. Those numbers were down from the second quarter when shipments totaled 14.62 million and market share rang in at 33.5 percent.

IHS blamed the lower shipments on a shift in Apple's iPad launch cycle. In 2012, the company unveiled new tablets in the spring and fall. But 2013 saw a single launch when Apple unveiled the new iPads last week.

"The lack of a second-quarter product release and anticipation of a fourth-quarter product update resulted in tepid year-over-year sales in the third quarter," IHS said in its report.

Sneaking up on Apple's tail was Samsung, which ended the third quarter with 10.7 million tablet shipments and a 22.2 percent market share, according to IHS. Samsung's numbers were up from the second quarter when it shipped 8.6 million tablets and took home a 20 percent slice of the market.

"The erosion in Apple's unit shipment market share was inevitable," IHS director of tablet research Rhoda Alexander said in a statement. "Cheaper almost always wins the volume race, and competitors were quick to adjust pricing when it became clear that it was impossible to achieve anything close to Apple's unit growth at the same price level."

Apple may be losing tablet market share, but the company is still scoring healthy sales on the iPad.

"Interestingly, in an environment where competitors on both the Android and Windows sides of the market are using price cuts as their most powerful marketing tool, Apple actually increased its revenue per iPad unit in the third quarter by $3," Alexander said. "Hardware profit plays a big role in Apple's success, enabling the design, durability, and performance innovations that, in turn, support Apple's premium pricing."

Apple also has the greatest number of tablets in the hands of consumers. Since the launch of the initial iPad in April 2010, Apple has sold 170 million tablets, IHS said. In contrast, Samsung has shipped 54 million tablets since it entered the market in the fourth quarter of 2010.

iPad Air: Thinner, lighter, faster, better

via apple - Google News

Apple censors Lawrence Lessig over warranty information; iOS 7 mess grows - ZDNet

Apple's claim that iCloud can store passwords “only locally” seems to be false - Ars Technica

What Your Favorite Apple Says About You (PHOTOS) - Huffington Post

Apple iPhone 5s battery issue could result in reduced battery life - PCWorld

Apple is reaching out to owners of the iPhone 5s because of a manufacturing issue that could result in reduced battery life.

The problem is only affecting a "very limited" number of iPhone 5s devices, Apple said. In addition to reduced battery life, the issue could also could cause longer charging times.

"We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone," an Apple spokeswoman said via email. Apple didn't elaborate on how many phones were affected and what had caused the problem.

The company, however, isn't alone in struggling with battery-related problems. Earlier this month Samsung Electronics offered some owners of its Galaxy S4 replacement batteries because the existing ones weren't able to stay charged. The company said that a limited number of users were affected, but just like Apple it didn't elaborate on the actual number.

The iPhone 5s was launched on Sept. 10 and has a 64-bit processor, a new 8-megapixel camera and a fingerprint sensor. Apple then managed to sell a record-breaking nine million units of the iPhone 5s and fellow newcomer iPhone 5c three days after their Sept. 20 launch.

During the third quarter Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones, compared to 26.9 million during the same period in 2012. But that wasn't enough to keep up with the overall growth of the smartphone market, so its unit market share dropped from 15.6 percent to 13.4 percent, according to research from Strategy Analytics. All the other vendors in the top five -- Samsung, Huawei Technologies, LG Electronics and Lenovo -- grew their respective share.

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iPad Air Review: Apple's Full-Sized Tablet, No Longer So Full-Sized - TIME

Apple still rules in Japan as carriers battle to sell iPhones - Reuters

Apple's new iPhone 5S is displayed at an Apple shop in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, September 20, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Apple's new iPhone 5S is displayed at an Apple shop in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, September 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino

Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:38am EDT

(Reuters) - Apple Inc's disappointing third quarter was nowhere in evidence in Japan, where sales increased more than 40 percent as the highly anticipated launch of the new iPhone by Japan's biggest mobile firm boosted sales - at rival carriers.

Japan accounted for nearly 10 percent of Apple's global revenue in July-September, its gadget-loving consumers enticed by discounts and cash-backs from carriers under threat as industry leader NTT DoCoMo Inc finally began selling the iPhone after years of foot-dragging.

For Apple, that price competition has helped to cement iPhone's dominance in the market.

"Japan is Apple country," said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based technology consultant. "(It) was positioned as a cool gadget to have, not because of its advanced features - it doesn't have a lot of things feature phones have, no e-Wallet, no digital TV tuner - it's a lifestyle product."

The California-based company is considered well placed to extend its lead in Japan over Samsung Electronics, whose Galaxy smartphones dominate in China and Europe, after DoCoMo's entry helped boost the iPhone's share to a record 34 percent in September, according to Counterpoint Technology Marketing Research.

Ironically, DoCoMo was not the main beneficiary - at least not yet - from its leap into the iPhone market.

The carrier's net subscriptions fell 66,800 in September, its biggest monthly loss ever, while rivals KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp each had net gains of about a quarter of a million, company data showed. The data also showed DoCoMo lost a net 133,100 of its subscribers to rival carriers, while the other two posted net gains.


While the carriers battle it out for market share, however, Apple is sitting pretty.

"Japan is already one of the best countries for Apple in terms of iPhone market share before NTT DoCoMo started to sell, and its share could reach half of (all) smartphones, if all the major three carriers continue to sell as they have been doing," said Atsuro Sato, senior research analyst at Gartner, who tied the iPhone's popularity in part to aggressive pricing campaigns.

But it wasn't the 5S, which customers still must wait two weeks to buy in Japan - or four weeks for the gold version - that sold best after the launch.

Those long waits spurred many smartphone buyers to opt for the 'older' iPhone 5, drawn by the deals and discounts that DoCoMo's rivals offered to protect their market share. As a new iPhone vendor, DoCoMo has no older iPhones in stock.

SoftBank, for example, is offering 21,000 yen ($210) in cash back for customers buying the iPhone 5.

Analysts not only see potential for Apple to boost its market share, but also for the smartphone market overall to grow faster than in other developed economies. Its smartphone penetration is still relatively low, at 25 percent against 55 percent in the United States, according to One Mobile Research, a project commissioned by Google Inc.

Cutting-edge features such as streamed TV, animated email and electronic payments were available on Japanese mobile phones well before the advent of smartphones.

The crowded ranks of Japan's smartphone makers have also seen a shakeout in recent months, in part as DoCoMo has focused on a few models for its sales promotions, such as Sony Corp's Xperia handsets. Sony was the second-biggest smartphone maker in Japan in April-June, according to IDC.

For DoCoMo, while the 5S launch caught it flat-footed when stocks ran low and rivals were able to grab business by offering discounted older models, the embrace of the iPhone is beginning to staunch an exodus of customers to rival carriers.

"The iPhone effect is clearly working," NTT DoCoMo's CEO Kaoru Kato said on Friday, when the company announced quarterly earnings. [ID:nXB12WHYU6] "The number of users who have shifted to other carriers has fallen 30 percent from last year."

Kato said the iPhone would help the company reach its full-year handset sales target of 24.5 million, making up the shortfall of the first half, when it shifted 10.5 million units.

($1 = 97.7100 Japanese yen)

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Wagstaff in Singapore and Nobuhiro Kubo in Tokyo; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Ian Geoghegan)

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The house where Steve Jobs built Apple is now a historic landmark - Engadget

The house where Steve Jobs built Apple is now a landmark

It doesn't seem like Patricia Jobs, sister of famed Apple co-founder Steve, is exactly onboard with her family home being designated a "historic resource" by the Los Altos Historical Commission. Not that it matters, anyway. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the decision to preserve the one-story home at 2066 Crist Drive where Jobs got a start building the first Apple computers was made independent of her consent. The distinction, which Patricia can still appeal, also means any renovations/repairs to the home would first have to be reviewed by the commission -- so you can understand why the honor's both a blessing and a curse. Of course, we all now associate Cupertino as the homebase of Apple's current operations. But before Apple could build itself into the consumer tech juggernaut of modern day, and carve out a new spaceship campus, there was just Jobs, a dream and modest home that's now effectively a museum.

[Image credit:

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Apple's stripped-down iWork suite is free, but there's a cost - The Verge

iWork (apple stock)

Apple's iWork productivity suite has never been a world beater. Pitted against the near-omnipresent Microsoft Office and Google’s free web-based solutions and only available on Apple products, iWork's market share pales in comparison to its competitors’. Last week the company made Pages, Keynote, and Numbers free for all existing users, as well as for all new owners of Mac and iOS devices, in a move that was seen by many as an attack on established industry leaders. The new apps feature a fresh layout, iCloud syncing, collaborative editing, and many more oft-requested features. However, a number of Apple watchers and users are complaining that the reworked apps aren’t as feature-rich as their predecessors.

Much of the vitriol is aimed at the new Pages for OS X, Apple's word processor, which lost many features that "power users" were accustomed to. Pierre Igot, who runs the respected Betalogue blog and penned a much-shared series of articles on the changes to Pages, tells The Verge the latest version is "severely crippled." A large source of complaints is a refreshed, "simplified" aesthetic, which leaves users with just a few options in the app's toolbar and removes the customization features that were previously present. The text formatting and settings functions have been shifted from the toolbar to a large, hideable sidebar. "Apple eliminated the Styles drawer, and so this new sidebar also replaces that. As a replacement it’s awful." For sure, it’s a huge interface change that’ll take some getting used to, but interface changes pale in comparison to the surprisingly long list of feature omissions.

Vertical rulers, certain templates, custom autocorrects, duplicate pages, outline views, and more are all missing from the new Pages; the format bar, presenter display options, and many animations and transitions have disappeared from Keynote, and users are similarly upset with a Numbers interface and feature set that focuses on aesthetics over productivity. "People who already use iWork in a serious fashion are being sacrificed in the (vain) hope of recruiting a new set of users," says Igot, "it's very sad and discouraging." Also ruffling feathers is reduced support across the board for AppleScript, an Apple tool that allows you to automate actions throughout OS X and its applications. While unlikely to be missed by many, AppleScript is widely utilized by advanced users like Igot to save time.

There are comparisons to be drawn between the reworked iWork suite and Final Cut Pro X, the 2011 refresh of Apple's professional video-editing software. With the move to X, Apple completely reworked the app's interface and functionality, producing something that was more akin to its consumer-friendly iMovie software than a professional editing tool and upsetting pro users in the process. Over time, Apple has slowly added missing functionality back into Final Cut Pro X, and some have suggested the company will take the same approach here. Only Apple knows if that will happen or not.

Another major issue is compatibility between the new iWork and iWork ‘09. Apple has a long list of changes and errors that will occur when importing and exporting documents. While the compatibility issues won't affect, for example, those who use Pages as a simple writing tool, they will pose problems for anyone attempting to move rich documents created in Pages '09 to the latest version. There are also problems with backwards compatibility: in some cases, almost as soon as you open a document in one of the new apps, it will no longer work in the iWork ‘09 version of the app. There are steps you can take to revert the file and restore compatibility, but they won’t be immediately obvious to the average user.

So why did Apple apparently cast aside the wishes of its most-avid users when rewriting iWork? According to user-experience consultant Nigel Warren, the answer is iOS. Apple introduced iWork for iOS alongside the iPad in 2010, but there have always been compatibility issues when importing complex documents to iOS. "From my experience in designing software, if you’re going to create something that’s truly compatible across platforms, then you really need to have feature parity," Warren tells The Verge. "You just need to make sure that you’re using the same data format … the old versions [of iWork for iOS and OS X] would convert from one to another and couldn’t just operate with the same files. It caused all sorts of problems."

There’s no doubting that with the omission of many unsupported features, Apple now has better feature parity between the Mac, iOS, and all-new web-based versions of its software. But when will those features come back? "I think if anybody’s watched Apple over the years and seen their recent patterns, there have been multiple cases where they’ve done a reboot, and it just takes time to build back to where they were," says Warren. "I use iWork, and it’s painful to lose features ... but I think there’s a lot of people that are reading it as a sign that Apple doesn’t care about pro users anymore, and that seems wrong to me."

So where does Apple go from here? It’s essentially turned iWork for Mac into iWork for iOS, sacrificing the needs of its pro users in hope of capturing the attention of the millions of iOS and Mac users that don't currently use iWork. In the meantime, Apple is giving new users coming to OS X from iOS an entirely free and cross-compatible productivity suite, which by all accounts will probably suffice for the average user. It’s also ensured that existing users who upgrade their apps will be able to continue using the ‘09 version by automatically keeping a copy of it in a backup folder. Of course, new converts to OS X and those who have yet to try iWork won’t have the benefit of a full-featured suite, as only the latest version is available from the Mac App Store.

Is that an ideal situation? Clearly not. iWork users were hoping for a powerful new app, and now must choose to update to an app that doesn’t fulfill their needs or continue with an almost-five-year-old app. Explaining his decision to stick with iWork ‘09, Igot evokes Steve Jobs’ famous "cars and trucks" analogy, noting that "there is simply no way that you can force truck drivers to use the same controls as car drivers — truck drivers have unique needs that require a different system."

Apple’s decision to risk upsetting established users when refreshing its software is certainly a gamble, but in the long run it could turn out to be the right choice. It’ll take some time to restore lost functionality and turn the iWork suite into a true Office and Google Docs competitor, but Apple has at least put all of its devices on level footing. The company can now take its time to improve the functionality of its iWork suite, while existing users can use iWork ‘09 just as they have done for the past four years and switch over when the features they care about come back. Once Apple adds key features back into iWork, says Warren, "they’ll be in a stronger position, because they’ll be there with cross-compatibility." And in the meantime? "I’ll probably just keep on using the old version."

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Apple shares steady as worries about margins ease - Reuters

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage about the new iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage about the new iPad during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith

Tue Oct 29, 2013 10:22am EDT

(Reuters) - Apple Inc's shares rose slightly on Tuesday after the iPhone maker clarified its margin outlook by saying it would defer $900 million of revenue during the key Christmas holiday period, prompting analysts to raise price targets on the stock.

Apple shares were up about 0.5 percent in early trading after dropping as much as 5 percent in extended trading on Monday when the company reported fourth-quarter results.

"We think that the stock initially exhibited weakness after the report partly due to concerns about the first-quarter gross margin guidance (36.5-37.5 percent)," FBN Securities analyst Shebly Seyrafi said in a research note.

Investors had hoped for better gross margins as a result of higher sales of the more expensive iPhone 5S.

Apple later said it expected $900 million from deferred revenue in the first quarter related to its recent announcement of free software upgrades for Macs. This, analysts said, had the effect of masking improving gross margins.

Seyrafi said that without the revenue deferral, the gross margin guidance would have been 38.1-39.1 percent, higher than the market average estimate of 37.9 percent.

At least 12 brokerages raised their price targets on Apple's stock, to between $519 and $620. The stock was trading around $532 just after the opening on Tuesday.

Analysts generally echoed Chief Executive Tim Cook's prediction of a "really great" holiday season and an "iPad Christmas."

Goldman Sachs analysts said the margin outlook was the first tangible sign that Apple's current iOS products could produce a far-healthier margin profile, with both the iPhone 5S and cheaper 5C having steady gross margins in the low 50 percent range.

Apple last week unveiled thinner full-sized iPads, named iPad Air, and an iPad Mini with a higher resolution retina display, as well as faster Mac computers.

Sales of these products will also help margins in the current quarter, analysts said.

The December quarter is crucial for Apple as its new iPads go up against Inc's Kindle Fire, and its new iPhones compete with lower-cost gadgets made by Samsung Electronics and other companies using Google Inc's Android software.

Apple also last week took a poke at Microsoft Corp, whose business depends on sales of Windows and Office licenses, saying it would give away software upgrades for the Mac operating system and iWork software suite.

Apple said on Monday that because of its decision to offer much of its Mac software for free, it would defer a greater portion of its hardware sales in the current quarter.

Apple also said it expected revenue of between $55 billion and $58 billion for the December quarter, above the average analyst estimate of $55.65 billion.

"We think the stage has been set for Apple to deliver a series of beat-and-raise events," J.P. Morgan analysts said, recommending that investors to take advantage of any near-term weakness in Apple shares.

The addition of China's largest mobile phone operator China Mobile Ltd as an official iPhone carrier, the anticipated launch of a large screen iPhone, and launch of new products like smartwatches will also benefit Apple in 2014, analysts said.

Apple's sales in China, its second-largest market, increased 6 percent year-on-year in the September quarter.

Apple said it sold 33.8 million iPhones and 14.1 million iPads in the latest quarter, roughly in line with market expectations.

"Apple is now one of few companies in our space that is growing in China and not adversely impacted by the cloud," Barclays analysts said.

"At this point, we believe focus will turn to a potential expansion in Asia with China Mobile and even a potential increase to its capital return program in (2014)."

(Reporting by Soham Chatterjee; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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Apple's results disappoint ahead of holiday quarter - Reuters

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage during an Apple event in San Francisco, California in this October 22, 2013, file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks on stage during an Apple event in San Francisco, California in this October 22, 2013, file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Robert Galbraith/Files

Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:17pm EDT

(Reuters) - Apple Inc's profit and margins slid despite selling 33.8 million iPhones in its September quarter, and greater China revenue climbed just 6 percent even though two smartphone models hit store shelves in its second-largest market last month.

The unremarkable quarterly numbers prompted some disappointed investors to cash in recent gains in the stock, which slid 5 percent at one stage after-hours on Monday.

Wall Street had hoped for a stronger beat on quarterly sales after the company predicted in September that its revenue and margins would come in at the high end of its own forecasts.

Chief Executive Tim Cook predicted a "really great" holiday season: a crucial time for Apple as its new iPads go up against Inc's Kindle Fire and its new iPhones compete with lower-cost gadgets made by Samsung Electronics and other rivals using Google Inc's Android software.

Sources have said demand for Apple's $100 cheaper, brightly hued iPhone 5C lagged sales for the top-tier 5S, spurring concerns about the iPhone's market positioning and its ability to compete with a growing profusion of lower-cost rivals. The iPhone 5C is available in the United States starting at $99 with a contract, or $549 for an unlocked model with no contract.

In particular, some investors worry Apple may have missed a chance to jumpstart sales and fend off Samsung in China with an even more affordable phone. The company has ceded ground steadily to Samsung and homegrown competition like Huawei and Lenovo, but needs to stake out a bigger spot in the world's top cellular market to rekindle growth.

Revenue from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan climbed just 6 percent to $5.7 billion in the quarter, despite the 5C and 5S going on sale in September. The previous-generation iPhone 5 began selling in the country only in December, meaning comparisons should have benefited from a more typical year-ago quarter, analysts said.

Sales grew by about 24 percent from the previous quarter, or by about $1.1 billion. But that lagged the roughly $1.4 billion that Apple managed to tack on in the December quarter of 2012.

"It does raise the question, how well is Apple doing really, in China?" said JMP Securities analyst Alex Gauna.

"Apple is a very healthy company," he added. But "if you look at the last few quarters, and even with the guide, it's not much of a growth company."

Cook told analysts on a conference call that results from China were "pretty good" but acknowledged room for improvement.

"We obviously want to do better," he said.


Cook did not address the overall popularity of the 5C on his call with analysts but mentioned there was "a very significant backlog" for the more expensive 5S.

The world's most valuable tech company said on Monday it expected revenue of $55 billion to $58 billion this quarter, outpacing Wall Street's forecast for about $55.65 billion.

Gross profit margin for the fourth quarter ended September was 37 percent, down from 40 percent a year ago as intense competition from the likes of Samsung took a toll. That was roughly level with analysts' average 36.9 percent forecast.

"We would have expected higher gross margins," said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. "With the higher price phones and clear preference toward the 5S, we were all expecting more of a gross margin boost for the December quarter."

Shares in Apple, which have gained 17 percent since its upbeat forecast last month, slid as much as 5 percent on Monday before recovering after Cook said the company will continue studying its capital-return program, addressing recent demands by investors to share more of its cash hoard.

The stock was down 1.2 percent at about $523.43 after hours.

Beyond the holiday quarter, some investors still hold out hope that the company that upended the cellphone industry and popularized tablet computing can again dream up a revolutionary device, returning Apple to the stellar growth of past years.

The company is increasingly hard-pressed to fend off rivals. Strategy Analytics estimated on Monday that Apple's market share slipped to 13.4 percent in the calendar third quarter from 15.6 percent previously, while Samsung led with 35.2 percent.

As growth tapers off, some shareholders have become increasingly aggressive at seeking a bigger return of cash - the company ended the September quarter with $146.8 billion in cash plus short-term and long-term marketable securities.

Billionaire Carl Icahn, who owns 4.7 million Apple shares, has led the charge, demanding the company initiate a tender offer to buy back $150 billion of its stock.

Cook told analysts the company will continue to seek shareholder input on its capital return program, and will announce any changes in the first part of the new calendar year.

Apple said it sold 33.8 million iPhones last quarter, roughly in line with expectations for 33 million to 36 million.

It sold 14.1 million iPads during the quarter, up very slightly from 14 million in the year-ago quarter, and moved 4.6 million of its Mac computers, down from 4.9 million a year ago.

Revenue was $37.5 billion, ahead of Wall Street's average forecast of $36.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Earnings per share slid for the third straight quarter to $8.26, but ahead of analysts' average estimate of $7.94.

"They had already preannounced and people got euphoric in recent weeks. It wasn't a massive blowout," said Shannon Cross of Cross Research.

(Editing by Edwin Chan, Bernard Orr, Phil Berlowitz and Richard Chang)

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Apple Just Answered A Lot of Key Questions About Its Future - Yahoo Finance (blog)

Apple reported solid quarterly results yesterday.

The results weren't fantastic. They didn't blow anyone's mind.

But they were solid. And this performance, plus Apple's (AAPL) commentary on its earnings call, helped answer some questions that Apple investors and fans have been asking over the course of this year.

Related: Apple Could Have the Same Problem Steve Jobs Warned About 30 Years Ago

First, Apple announced — in its own Apple way — that it will be launching at least one new product category next year:

"In terms of new product categories," Apple CEO Tim Cook said, referring to products the company might roll out in 2014, "...I think no one has a set of skills like us and we obviously believe that we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today."

That's as close as Apple is likely every going to get to saying that it will be launching at least one new product category next year. The betting is that this new category will either be an Apple television set ("iTV"?) or Apple smartwatch (or, in a dream world for Apple fans, both). When, exactly, this product category will launch and whether it will be hot enough to contribute materially to Apple's growth are still topics of fierce debate.

Second, Apple demonstrated that its iPhone business is still quite healthy, especially in the United States. iPhone sales exceeded expectations, with nearly 34 million sold versus the 31 million consensus estimate. The iPhone is by far Apple's most important and profitable product, and this performance eased fears that Apple has lost its edge in smartphones and that it will be forced to slash prices to stay competitive. (Apple is indeed cutting prices — the average selling price of iPhones dropped sharply in the quarter, but this is the result of Apple offering cheaper models of phones, not slashing prices on its flagship.)

Third, Apple explicitly addressed the "cash question" -- the demand by one very vocal new investor, Carl Icahn, that Apple borrow $150 billion and use it to buy back $150 billion-worth of stock, thus "returning cash to shareholders."

Icahn's argument is that this one-time bonanza will unlock the value trapped in Apple's massive $147 billion cash balance and result in an immediate boost in Apple's share price. Other Apple investors, however, myself included, think that borrowing $150 billion would be a terrible idea, regardless of its impact on Apple's share price. We would rather see Apple increase its buyback and/or dividends over time, rather than loading itself up with debt and buying back stock in one huge lump sum.

(Apple's cash balance is stored overseas, so Apple can't use the cash to buy back the $150 billion of stock without paying huge taxes on the "repatriation." Thus Icahn's suggestion that the company borrow it.)

Related: Apple, Twitter and Tech's Middle-Aged White Guy Problem

Apple did not say exactly what it planned to do on the buyback question. But it did say that, if it chooses to do something different with its cash, it will make this decision early next year. Apple also noted that it is currently returning all of the cash it generates in the United States to shareholders. The entire $147 billion on its balance sheet, meanwhile, is overseas.)

So Icahn has prompted Apple to publicly respond to his demands. And Apple, meanwhile, has politely put the famous activist investor off, at least for several more months.

Bottom line, Apple answered a lot of important questions on yesterday's call. We still don't know the answer to the most critical questions — when, exactly, the new product categories will launch and how attractive they will be — but we'll probably get those answers within the next year.

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