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Apple, Blackberry spar over smartphone sales, tablets

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 19, 2010
Canada's Research In Motion fired back at Apple's Steve Jobs on Tuesday over his claims that the iPhone is outselling the Blackberry and that seven-inch tablet computers have no future.

"We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple," RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie said in a blog post responding to the comments made on Monday by Jobs.

"For those of us who live outside of Apple's distortion field, we know that seven-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market," Balsillie said after Jobs dismissed seven-inch tablets as too small.

Blackberry is developing a touchscreen tablet computer called the PlayBook which features a seven-inch (18-centimeter) screen in a bid to challenge Apple's iPad, which features a nearly 10-inch (25-centimeter) screen.

Jobs, speaking to financial analysts during a conference call on Monday, dismissed seven-inch tablets as "tweeners," saying they were "too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."

He suggested makers of seven-inch screens "include sandpaper so users can sand down their fingers" to be able to tap onscreen keys.

Balsillie struck back with criticism of Apple's refusal to allow Adobe's Flash video to play on the iPad.

"We know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real Web experience," he said.

"We also know that while Apple's attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of websites that use Flash."

During his earnings call, Jobs also said that the iPhone "handily" outsold BlackBerry during the quarter and he didn't see the RIM handsets catching up any time soon.

Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones during the quarter, up 91 percent from a year ago.

"RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 to 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter," Balsillie said.

"Apple's preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM's August-ending quarter doesn't tell the whole story because it doesn't take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger," he said.

"As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story," the RIM co-CEO said.

earlier related report
Apple debuts iPad-inspired MacBook Air notebooks
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 20, 2010 - Apple on Wednesday released a sleek new MacBook Air notebook computer inspired by its winning iPad tablet devices.

"We asked ourselves what would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up," Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said as he unveiled two new laptop models. "This is the result."

A MacBook Air with a 13.3-inch (33.8-centimeter) screen and measuring just 0.68 inches (1.73 cms) at its thickest point and its 11.6-inch (29.5-cm) "younger brother" went on sale Wednesday.

They cost between 999 dollars and 1,599 dollars.

The laptop computers dumped hard drives or optical drives in favor of solid state drives that Jobs touted as faster, lighter and smaller.

The Apple chief executive showed off the new laptop computers at a special event devoted to the latest improvements to Apple's line of Macintosh computer hardware and software.

The invitation-only gathering at Apple's campus in Cupertino, California, was streamed live online but only to devices made by the company. It was only the second time that Apple webcast its notoriously exclusive press events.

Jobs said the theme was "Back to the Mac" with the company using lessons learned from successes with iPad tablet computers and iPhone smartphones to improve Macintosh machines.

A Mac App Store devoted to third-party software programs will open within 90 days and be built into the next-generation operating system, called Lion, which will be released for the computers in the middle of next year.

"Apple is smart to launch the App Store for Macs with apps that sync with iPads and iPhones," said Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps.

"In doing so, Apple is trying to maximize the value consumers get from buying more than one Apple device."

The new Macintosh operating system is being designed to be more compatible with multi-touch controls that have proven to be hits on iPads, iPhones and iPods.

"Multi-touch gestures have become really important and we think they can be really important on the Mac too," Jobs said. "Apps are important on the iPhone and iPad, and we think they can be important on the Mac too."

Extensive user testing has shown that giving Macintosh computers touchscreens would be a lousy idea because such controls on vertical surfaces are "ergonomically terrible," Jobs said.

Multi-touch controls for Macintosh machines will use touch pads.

Apple was also adding FaceTime software to Macintosh machines so people using the computers could make video calls to iPhone 4 or iPod Touch devices and vice versa, according to Jobs.

A beta version of FaceTime for Macintosh was released on Wednesday.

"Now, tens of millions of Mac users will be able to FaceTime with iPhone 4 and iPod Touches," Jobs said.

Apple also showed off improved versions of its popular iLike, iMovie, and Garage Band software tailored for tasks such as photo, video, and music editing on Macintosh computers.

Apple reported selling 13.7 million Macintosh computers in its recently ended fiscal year, and said that nearly 50 million of the machines are being used by people around the world.

Macintosh sales accounted for about a third of Apple's revenue, or 22 billion dollars, in the past year, according to chief operating officer Tim Cook.

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Tech giants Samsung and Apple more friends than rivals
Hong Kong (AFP) Oct 21, 2010
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