News Notes 14-02-2012

More from Apple

The fanbois are buzzing about the possible specifications of the eagerly awaited release of the Apple iPad v3. This is widely tipped to be in March or April of this year, with a formal announcement due next month, most likely timed to coincide with the expected release of the next version of its mobile devices operating system iOS v5.1. Buyers can expect a machine with a quad-core A6 processor, rumoured to be based on the latest ARM designs such as Nvidia’s Tegra3; which will be manufactured in South Korea by Samsung, despite the ongoing legal battles between the two companies. Also rumoured to be included are a 2048 x 1536 9.7″ display, bigger battery and (allegedly) up to 128gb of storage. Also said to be included is an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip; if this last turns out to be true then it will open up interesting networking possibilities – if it is also included in the forthcoming iPhone 5 then it would be possible to remote control any Apple device from any piece of NFC-enabled Apple kit.

The news went down well with Wall Street, which sent the Cupertino Cult’s share price briefly above $500 yesterday; continuing the phenomenal growth in the company’s value – its market capitalisation is now standing at almost $500bn. Its revenues last year (108bn) exceeded the entire GDP of Bangladesh, and it’s net income of 26bn exceeds the GDP of Latvia, and indeed of no fewer than 188 other countries recognised by the UN. Now easily the biggest company in the US, and probably the World, it has left behind its nearest rival, the energy giant Exxon Mobil, currently worth a mere $450bn; if it carries on growing into the Chinese market the way it has, it could well be the first company in history to reach a market cap of $1 trillion. Not bad for an outfit that just 10 years ago was worth a paltry $9bn and whose shares traded at around $6 each – but that was back in the days when Apple was a still a “computer” company – before the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

There is a cloud on the horizon, though. The story I reported yesterday, about seizures of iPads in China over a trademark dispute appears to have gained legs today. The Chinese company Proview, the owners of the “iPad” trademark, have applied to China’s customs authority to embargo the movement of iPads in and out of China until the dispute is resolved; since the iPad is manufactured in China by companies like Foxconn that would mean that Apple would be unable to ship its latest product. Apple’s view continues to be that it does not dispute Proview’s ownership of the iPad trademark (which the company registered in 2001), but that it legitimately bought the rights to use the name in a range of countries (including China) in 2010 from a subsidiary, Proview Taipei. They say that it is Proview who are now reneging on the deal. The fact that compensation of $38m dollars is at stake at a time when a critical product release is coming up is, I suspect, not unrelated to the current situation.

Watch this space.

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