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Apple Preparing New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015

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Apple Preparing New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015

Bloomberg L.P. , a privately held financial software, data and media company headquartered in New York City reported this morning that Apple Inc.’s suppliers are preparing to manufacture the company’s largest-ever iPad, with production scheduled to commence by the first quarter of next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Apple Preparing New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015

The new iPad will have a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public. Apple currently produces iPads with 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch displays. The Cupertino, California-based company has been working with suppliers for at least a year to develop a new range of larger touch-screen devices, said the people.

Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment.

Apple Preparing New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is working to shake up the iPad line. Sales of the tablets, which are Apple’s second-biggest product by revenue after the iPhone, have declined for two straight quarters amid a lack of new models and as consumers have instead gravitated to smartphones with bigger screens. Apple’s suppliers recently started manufacturing an updated 9.7-inch screen iPad, and were also set to enter production of a new version of the iPad mini, people familiar with the plans have said, with the devices set to be available later this year in time for the holiday season.

Apple Preparing New 12.9-Inch IPad for Early 2015

Photographer: Andrew Harrer /Bloomberg

 

Tablet Growth

Apple is also increasing the screen size of the iPhone, people with knowledge of the plans have said. The company is holding an event on Sept. 9 to debut new bigger-display iPhones, the people have said. Those smartphones went into mass production in July, Bloomberg News reported in June. The iPhones will come in two new models: one with a 4.7-inch screen and another with a 5.5-inch screen, the people have said.

Shares of South Korea’s LG Display Co. and Taiwan’s AU Optronics Corp. climbed to their highest levels since 2012 in Asia trading. LG Display rose 1.4 percent to close at 35,200 won in Seoul. Innolux Corp. climbed its 6.8 percent daily limit to close at NT$15 in Taipei and AUO climbed 6.6 percent to NT$14.65.

  • Apple is working on a bigger-screen iPad even as much of the growth in tablets has recently come from low-end, smaller-screen models. That helped Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system become the top tablet operating system last year, with 62 percent of the market, according to researcher Gartner Inc. IPads that use Apple’s iOS mobile software had a 36 percent market share at the end of 2013, down from 53 percent a year earlier, according to the researcher.

IBM Partnership

Potential customers for larger-screen iPads are businesses, where the device could take on more tasks of a traditional laptop computer. In July, Apple unveiled a partnership with International Business Machines Corp., and Cook said part of the pact’s rationale was to sell to corporations so they could “be a catalyst for future iPad growth.”

Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at researcher IDC, said while tablet sales growth has slowed, he projects businesses, schools and governments will become bigger buyers of the devices. Those groups accounted for 16 percent of tablet sales in the second quarter this year, up from 13 percent a year earlier, he estimated.

“We’re expecting larger tablets to do better” in the enterprise market, Ubrani said in an interview.

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AWS launches Amazon Honeycode, a no-code mobile and web app builder

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AWS today announced the beta launch of Amazon Honeycode, a new, fully managed low-code/no-code development tool that aims to make it easy for anybody in a company to build their own applications. All of this, of course, is backed by a database in AWS and a web-based, drag-and-drop interface builder.

Developers can build applications for up to 20 users for free. After that, they pay per user and for the storage their applications take up.

“Customers have told us that the need for custom applications far outstrips the capacity of developers to create them,” said AWS VP Larry Augustin in the announcement. “Now with Amazon Honeycode, almost anyone can create powerful custom mobile and web applications without the need to write code.”

Like similar tools, Honeycode provides users with a set of templates for common use cases like to-do list applications, customer trackers, surveys, schedules and inventory management. Traditionally, AWS argues, a lot of businesses have relied on shared spreadsheets to do these things.

“Customers try to solve for the static nature of spreadsheets by emailing them back and forth, but all of the emailing just compounds the inefficiency because email is slow, doesn’t scale, and introduces versioning and data syncing errors,” the company notes in today’s announcement. “As a result, people often prefer having custom applications built, but the demand for custom programming often outstrips developer capacity, creating a situation where teams either need to wait for developers to free up or have to hire expensive consultants to build applications.”

It’s no surprise then that Honeycode uses a spreadsheet view as its core data interface, which makes sense, given how familiar virtually every potential user is with this concept. To manipulate data, users can work with standard spreadsheet-style formulas, which seems to be about the closest the service gets to actual programming. ‘Builders,” as AWS calls Honeycode users, can also set up notifications, reminders and approval workflows within the service.

AWS says these databases can easily scale up to 100,000 rows per workbook. With this, AWS argues, users can then focus on building their applications without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure.

As of now, it doesn’t look like users will be able to bring in any outside data sources, though that may still be on the company’s roadmap. On the other hand, these kinds of integrations would also complicate the process of building an app and it looks like AWS is trying to keep things simple for now.

Honeycode currently only runs in the AWS US West region in Oregon but is coming to other regions soon.

Among Honeycode’s first customers are SmugMug and Slack.

“We’re excited about the opportunity that Amazon Honeycode creates for teams to build apps to drive and adapt to today’s ever-changing business landscape,” said Brad Armstrong, VP of Business and Corporate Development at Slack in today’s release. “We see Amazon Honeycode as a great complement and extension to Slack and are excited about the opportunity to work together to create ways for our joint customers to work more efficiently and to do more with their data than ever before.”

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Slack announces Connect, an improved way for companies to talk to one another

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Virtual events are the new norm for product rollouts in 2020, with Slack taking to the internet earlier today to talk about a new part of its service called Slack Connect.

On the heels of Apple’s lengthy and pretty good virtual WWDC that took place earlier this week, Slack’s event, part experiment and part press conference, was called to detail the firm’s new Slack Connect capability, which will allow companies to better link together and communicate inside of their Slack instance than what was possible with its shared channels feature. The product was described inside of a business-to-business context, including examples about companies needing to chat with agencies and other external vendors.

In its most basic form, Slack is well-known for internal chat functionality, helping teams talk amongst themselves. Slack Connect appears to be a progression past that idea, pushing internal communications tooling to allow companies to plug their private comms into the private comms of other orgs, linking them for simple communication while keeping the entire affair secure.

Slack Connect, a evolution past what shared channels offered, includes better security tooling and the ability to share channels across 20 orgs. The enterprise SaaS company is also working to give Connect-using companies “the ability to form DM connections independent of channels,” the company told TechCrunch.

The product could slim down email usage; if Slack Connect can let many orgs chat amongst themselves, perhaps fewer emails will be needed to keep different companies in sync. That said, Slack is hardly a quiet product. During his part of the presentation, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield noted that the service sees up to 65 million messages sent each second at peak times.

According to the CEO, Slack Connect has been piloted for a few months, and is now available for paid plans.

Slack shares are off 3.8% today, before the news came out. Its broader company cohort (SaaS) are also down today, along with the market more broadly; investors don’t appear to have reacted to this piece of news, at least yet.

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Apple has acquired Fleetsmith, a startup that helps IT manage Apple devices remotely

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At a time when IT has to help employees set up and manage devices remotely, a service that simplifies those processes could certainly come in handy. Apple recognized that, and acquired Fleetsmith today, a startup that helps companies do precisely that with Apple devices.

While Apple didn’t publicize the acquisition, it has confirmed the deal with TechCrunch, while Fleetsmith announced the deal in a company blog post. Neither company was sharing the purchase price.

The startup has built technology that takes advantage of Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, allowing IT departments to bring devices online as soon as the employee takes it out of the box and powers it up.

At the time of its $30 million Series B funding last year, CEO Zack Blum explained the company’s core value proposition: “From a customer perspective, they can ship devices directly to their employees. The employee unwraps it, connects to Wi-Fi and the device is enrolled automatically in Fleetsmith,” Blum explained at that time.

Over time, the company has layered on other useful pieces beyond automating device registration, like updating devices automatically with OS and security updates, while letting IT see a dashboard of the status of all devices under management, all in a pretty slick interface.

While Apple will in all likelihood continue to work with Jamf, the leader in the Apple device management space, this acquisition gives the company a remote management option at a time when it’s essential with so many employees working from home.

Fleetsmith, which has raised more than $40 million from investors, like Menlo Ventures, Tiger Global Management, Upfront Ventures and Harrison Metal, will continue to sell the product through the company website, according to the blog post.

The founders put a happy face on the deal, as founders tend to do. “We’re thrilled to join Apple. Our shared values of putting the customer at the center of everything we do without sacrificing privacy and security, means we can truly meet our mission, delivering Fleetsmith to businesses and institutions of all sizes, around the world,” they wrote.

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