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Microsoft Office for iPad to launch on Nov. 10


By Neil Hughes

Published: 10:10 AM EST (07:10 AM PST)

A new report has pegged a specific date for the anticipated launch of Microsoft Word for Apple’s iPad: Nov. 10, 2012.

The date was reported on Thursday by The Daily, which said that the development team at Microsoft finished work on the project last month. The design team responsible for Office on iPad was also said to have wrapped their work soon after.

“The app is now in the hands of a usability team that appraises software that utilizes the Metro design language for ‘Metro compliance’ and suggests changes as needed,” reporter Matt Hickey wrote. “When approved by the team, the app likely will go to Apple for app store approval, which could take a couple of weeks.”

While development of the application is apparently near finished, Thursday’s report did not give any indication as to why Microsoft will wait more than five months to release the application on Nov. 10. The story corroborates with a report from last week that claimed Microsoft’s industry leading productivity suite will be coming to the iPad and Android-based tablets in November.

Word first surfaced late last year that Microsoft was working on an iOS version of its Office suite. It was also said that the Redmond, Wash., software company planned to release an updated version of Office for Mac on Apple’s digital distribution Mac App Store.

The Daily first shared what was said to be a picture of Office for iPad in action in February. However, Microsoft quickly responded to the report and portrayed it as “based on inaccurate rumors and speculation.”


AppleInsider also learned last week that Microsoft is also working on a new native iOS application for Outlook Web App, called “OWA Mobile Client for iOS,” that will offer compatibility with Exchange 2012 mailboxes. It, along with a new version of the Lync application for iOS, will reportedly feature Microsoft’s Metro interface, just like Office for iPad is expected to do.

Earlier reports claimed that Office for iPad will allow users to create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. AppleInsider was told last week that Office for iPad will not include dedicated Outlook functionality, as that ability will apparently be restricted to the forthcoming OWA Mobile Client application.

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Mac shipments grow 40% in Asia even without new models from Apple


By Neil Hughes

Published: 12:19 PM EST (09:19 AM PST)

Growth in Mac sales was led by the Asia-Pacific region last quarter, where shipments increased by 40 percent year over year.

Asia-Pacific was highlighted as the primary “bright spot” for the Mac in the last quarter by analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham Company. Shipment growth of 40 percent in the region offset negative year-over-year growth in the U.S. and Europe.

Shipments were down in the U.S. and Europe because Apple didn’t update any of its Mac lineup in the first quarter of calendar 2012. But the lack of new products didn’t hinder growth in Asia-Pacific, where Apple easily outpaced the overall PC market’s year-over-year growth of just 3.6 percent.

The strong performance in Asia-Pacific allowed global Mac shipments to grow 6.9 percent in the March quarter, which meant that Apple once again outpaced overall PC shipment growth. The total worldwide PC market saw its shipments increase 2.2 percent year over year in the March quarter.

Still, with the lack of new products, Apple didn’t beat the overall PC market by as wide of a margin as it did in December, when Mac shipments grew 24.8 percent compared to a 1.7 percent decline in total PC shipments.

“We believe the slowdown (in the March quarter) can be attributed primarily to the absence of any upgrades of Mac models during the quarter, which has typically been a catalyst for shipment growth,” Wolf wrote in a note to investors on Thursday. “However, we expect Apple to upgrade both the iMac and MacBooks in June, in advance of the back-to-school buying season.”


Some rumors have suggested Apple plans to introduce new Macs at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference when it kicks off with a keynote presentation on Monday, June 11. Specifically, Apple is expected to introduce new MacBook Pros with Retina displays and a thinner design inspired by the MacBook Air, as well as new iMacs that could also receive a Retina display upgrade.

The absence of new Macs in the March quarter also didn’t hurt Apple in the business market, where Mac sales grew by 10.4 percent year over year. That easily outpaced Windows, which saw its business sales grow just 0.1 percent.

Wolf also said that the iPad has “undoubtedly” cannibalized sales of the Mac from Apple, particularly in the education market. But given that iPad sales are growing at a rate much faster than Mac sales, he believes the iPad is taking a “much bigger bite” out of Windows-based PC sales.

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Intel launches new low-voltage Ivy Bridge CPUs suited for MacBook Air


By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 02:19 PM EST (11:19 AM PST)

Intel on Thursday announced 14 new Ivy Bridge processors, four of which are ultra-low voltage chips that could find their way into Apple’s updated MacBook Air lineup.

All of the ultra-low voltage lineup has two cores and four threads running at 17 watts thermal power design, along with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000.

Leading off the new batch of Intel’s third-generation processors is the i7-3667U, with a CPU base frequency of 2 gigahertz running as fast as 3.2 gigahertz with Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 Max Frequency, and 4 megabytes of L3 cache. Next down the lists the i7-3517U, which has a base speed of 1.9 gigahertz that ramps up to 3 gigahertz, along with 4 megabytes of L3 cache.

The lower-end Core i5 ultra-low voltage Ivy Bridge CPUs are led by the i5-3427U, which has a base frequency of 1.8 gigahertz that runs as fast as 2.8 gigahertz with Intel Turbo Boost, with 3 megabytes of L3 cache. And the lowest ultra-low voltage CPU announced Thursday is the i5-3317U, with a base frequency of 1.7 gigahertz, max frequency of 2.6 gigahertz, and 3 megabytes of L3 cache.

All of Intel’s Ivy Bridge “Ultra Processors” have support for PCIe Generation 3, as well as Intel’s Secure Key, OS Guard, AES/TXT/vPro and Virtualization technology.

Ivy Bridge 1

The MacBook Air lineup was last updated nearly a year ago, in July of 2011. The notebooks were equipped with Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors, and gained backlit keyboards and Thunderbolt ports.

Also announced by Intel on Thursday were a handful of dual-core traditional mobile chips that could find their way into other products in Apple’s Mac lineup, specifically the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, or the Mac mini. The Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors run at 35W TDP, feature four threads, include Intel HD Graphics 4000, and range in speed from 3.1 gigahertz to 3.6 gigahertz with Intel Turbo Boost.

Ivy Bridge 2

Intel launched its first batch of Ivy Bridge processors in late April, declaring them the “world’s first 22-nanometer product.” A total of 13 high-end quad-core chips were released in the first round, and it’s believed some of them could make their way into Apple’s updated MacBook Pro lineup.

Rumors have suggested that Apple plans to launch new Macs at its forthcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, which will kick off on June 11. Some reports have indicated that Apple will unveil new MacBook Pros and iMacs at the event, but little has been said of an impending MacBook Air refresh.

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Leap estimated to pay Apple $150 subsidy for contract-free $500 iPhone 4S


By Neil Hughes

Published: 03:11 PM EST (12:11 PM PST)

For customers who buy a $500 contract-free iPhone 4S through carrier Cricket Communications, its parent company, Leap Wireless, is likely to still pay a subsidy of about $150 to achieve that price.

Currently, a contract-free 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S through the Apple Store or ATT costs $649. That lead analyst Brian Marshall with ISI Group to estimate that Leap is subsidizing the phone by about $150 to offer it at a contract-free price of $500.

Of course traditional carriers like ATT, Verizon and Sprint offer much heavier subsidies to get the price of the 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S down to $199, but that price comes with a two-year service agreement. Cricket Communications is a prepaid carrier that advertises “unlimited” service at a price of $55 per month.

Though the $500 iPhone 4S through Cricket carriers a higher up-front cost, Marshall estimates the carrier’s relatively inexpensive $55-per-month plan will allow customers to break even in about six months when compared to a traditional carrier’s $199 subsidized price and higher monthly payments.

For example, comparable voice and data plans from ATT and Verizon can cost a single user more than $100 per month, so a savings of $50 per month with Cricket would amount to $300 in savings in the first six months. That $300 amount also happens to be the price difference between a 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S at Cricket versus traditional U.S. carriers.

Cricket 2

Because of the low-priced monthly prepaid plan, Marshall believes the iPhone on Cricket could gain traction among customers, “depending on quality of service.” If so, it would represent sales in a new, previously untapped market for Apple.

Leap announced earlier Thursday that Cricket would begin offering the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 starting June 22. The relatively small carrier with 6.2 million customers offers “unlimited” data plans under a “fair usage policy” that allots 2.3 gigabytes of data per month.

Cricket’s voice and data services operate on a 3G CDMA network, like Verizon and Sprint. Its parent company, Leap, owns the seventh-largest wireless telecom network in the U.S., and offers coverage in all 50 states.

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Video shows taller front panel allegedly for Apple’s next iPhone


By Katie Marsal

Published: 03:27 PM EST (12:27 PM PST)

A new video purports to show the front panel of Apple’s next-generation iPhone, with space for a screen length appreciably greater than previous-generation models.

The video, posted on Thursday by Japanese site Macotakara, shows a component claimed to be the glass front panel from Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone. When placed atop a current iPhone, the panel shows a component noticeably longer long enough so that the hole for the forward-facing FaceTime camera sticks above the current iPhone.

The larger surface area for the screen on the glass panel suggests the new display would be long enough to pass the earpiece on current iPhone models.

The video even suggests that the next iPhone’s screen could be even wider than current models, as the front glass panel features a slightly greater distance in that direction as well. However, the larger width of the new screen shown is not as pronounced as the greater length.

Like other claimed iPhone component leaks that have surfaced this week, the front panel pictured in the new video shows a relocated FaceTime camera placed above the earpiece, rather than to the left of it. That’s consistent with a schematic picture that appeared online on Wednesday.

Rumors of an elongated form factor for the new iPhone were also bolstered with another alleged component that appeared on the Web on Tuesday, purporting to show the back panel of a prototype of Apple’s next iPhone. That component featured a mostly aluminum back with what appears to be glass at the top and bottom of the device.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal joined a number of mainstream media organizations in reporting that Apple has been ordering 4-inch screens for Apple’s next iPhone. The new, larger displays are believed to be manufactured by LG Display, Sharp, and Japan Display Inc., and would be a departure from the 3.5-inch diagonal screen that has been found on every iPhone model to date.

While the iPhone’s screen has remained the same size, many of Apple’s Android-based competitors have adopted larger screen sizes. For example, Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, launched this week in Europe, features a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display more than an inch larger than Apple’s iPhone.

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