Chinese media sources on Thursday reported that mass production of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 was underway, confirming earlier rumours that the device would enter production this month. The new reports were first picked up by GforGames.
And considering the increasing number of leaks depicting various 4.7-inch iPhone 6 components, we think it’s safe to assume that the aforementioned smartphone is currently being manufactured. Nevertheless, the source suggests that Apple’s supply chain is currently facing yield issues, but thankfully, the situation should improve in August.
Judging by recent reports, it appears that the 4.7-inch model is on track for a fall launch as previously rumoured. The question, however, lies with the other variant of the iPhone 6 – a 5.5-inch model that has reportedly seen its production delayed due to production difficulties.
Last month, highly reliable Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo had reiterated in a research note that Apple would be incorporating Touch ID into its next-generation iPad Air and iPad Mini, claiming that shipments of the fingerprint sensor would hit 120 million units this year.
Today, Chinese media reports have corroborated Kuo’s claims, adding that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC), Apple’s primary supplier of Touch ID sensors, has expanded its 8-inch chip fabrication plant to meet the increased production load (via G for Games).
Earlier today the Chinese media has reported that, last week, TSMC has expanded its 8-inch chip plant where the Touch ID sensors are and will be assembled. This isn’t the first time we learn that TSMC is invested not only in the creation of Apple’s next-gen A8 chip, but also in assembling the Touch ID modules, as back in May we’ve learned that the semiconductor manufacturer and Apple have already agreed on using the 8-inch facility for the creation of the fingerprint scanner, as opposed to a 12-inch facility.
Apple announced in a press release today that it will be teaming up with Japan’s largest carrier, NTT Docomo to offer the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display beginning June 10.
“With the addition of iPad alongside iPhone, we now offer the complete lineup of Japan’s most popular mobile devices on the nation’s most reliable LTE network,” said Kaoru Kato, President and CEO of NTT DOCOMO, INC. “We know our customers will enjoy using iPad Air and iPad mini, and anticipate that new customers will look to experience these amazing devices on our high-quality network with our new billing plan.”
The two companies signed a landmark deal last year to offer the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in Japan, which led to a significant boost in Apple’s market share in the country. Apple is presumably hoping for a similar result with the iPad this time round.
Apple will incorporate Touch ID into all new models of iPhone and iPad, according to a new research note by renowned Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo (via Appleinsider). As a result, Touch ID shipments are expected to increase almost fourfold to 120 million units this year.
According to noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is planning to embed Touch ID in every non-iPod iOS device launched this year, including both iPhone 6 versions, the second-generation iPad Air and refreshed iPad mini with Retina display.
The fingerprint sensor technology was introduced with the iPhone 5s last year and has since been exclusive to the device. Apple updated both its 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad Mini product lines subsequently, but chose to leave the feature out presumably due to limited production quantities.
iOS 8 will reportedly feature split-screen multi-tasking for iPads, claims 9to5Mac, citing sources with knowledge of the software’s development. The feature is designed for iPads with 9.7-inch screens – currently the iPad Air and iPad with Retina Display – and might not work with the smaller iPad Mini.
The feature, which will only work in landscape mode, will allow users to open and run two applications side-by-side, and even allow for interaction between apps. Support for split-screen multi-tasking has been one of the most requested features for the iPad, with users even creating mockup concepts of how they envision it to work.
The report notes that Apple’s decision to introduce the feature for its iPads indicates that the company is taking a leaf out of rival Microsoft’s book. Microsoft has a similar ‘snap’ multi-tasking feature for its Surface tablets, and the Redmont company had previously taken a dig at the iPad’s ‘inability’ to multi-task via its comparison ads.
During its recent earnings announcement, Apple reported that shipment of iPads had slipped from the year-ago quarter to 16.35 million units. A new report by research firm IDC reiterates this but notes that worldwide tablet shipment also experienced slower growth in the first quarter of 2014.
Shipments of tablets worldwide topped 50.4 million units in Q1 2014, which represents a 3.9% growth from the year-ago quarter, and a 35.7% decline from the holiday quarter. Despite the 16% decline in shipments, Apple still maintains its lead in the tablet market among other manufacturers. The company’s 32.5% market share in Q1, although representing a 7.7% decline from the same quarter last year, is still a healthy 10.2% ahead of Samsung, which saw its market share increase by almost 5% in the same period.
Online advertising network Chitika Insights published a new report this week, highlighting its findings on tablet usage in North America. According to the report, the iPad remains the firm market leader, accounting for over three-quarters of all US and Canadian web traffic.
Chitika’s report is based on ‘tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian tablet-based online ad impressions running through the Chitika Ad Network’, with data collected during the period of April 1 to April 7 this year.
According to its results and findings, Chitika states that the iPad accounted for 77% of all web traffic in the US and Canada. Although this represented a year-on-year decline, the report noted that the current market share is ‘very notable in the context of the North American tablet market’, which has been growing throughout 2013.
While it is uncertain if Apple can reverse the tide and grow its domestic tablet usage share in the coming months, it is clear that iPad users remain the most active aggregate tablet user base by a wide margin, with that likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future.
The report also notes that Samsung’s market share has grown ‘significantly’ over the past year, with its 8.3% market share in April 2014 representing a 75% year-on-year increase.
Remarkably, Samsung also exhibited the largest year-over-year share gain (+2.2 percentage points) last time around, and considering this latest progress, it is reasonable to assume that Samsung’s long-standing effort to break in to the North American tablet marketplace is paying dividends.
Yesterday, Apple announced during its second-quarter earnings call that iPad sales had registered a year-on-year decline, with CEO Tim Cook attributing the trend to changes in channel inventory. Despite the negative results, Cook mentioned that ‘high customer satisfaction levels’ and ‘substantial usage levels’ among iPad owners make him highly confident of the product’s prospects.
Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed concerns regarding the state of the iPad during the company’s earnings call last night, sharing insight on the company’s sales expectations for the product, the launch of Microsoft Office for iPad and how the device measures up against its competitors.
Apple sold 16.35 million iPads during the last quarter, falling short of the 19.3 million consensus estimate from analysts last week. However, Cook attributes the decline to two factors: a significant increase in channel inventory during the year-ago quarter and a substantial backlog of iPad Mini orders in the quarter ended December 2012 that only shipped in the March 2013 quarter.
Cook emphasised that the iPad is ‘absolutely the fastest growing product in Apple’s history’ and that it was ‘instantly a hit in three of our key markets, consumer to business including enterprise, and education’. He also revealed that 98% of the Fortune 500 are deploying iPads for use in their businesses.