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Apple net profit soars on record iPhone-Macintosh sales

Plastic Logic to unveil first e-reader in January
Plastic Logic, a US company whose planned electronic reader has attracted a lot of media buzz, said Monday that it will announce the availability and pricing of the device for business professionals in January. The Mountain View, California-based firm said it will unveil the details about its first e-reader, to be called the "QUE," at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 7. Another US company, Spring Design Inc. announced plans meanwhile to release an e-reader known as "Alex" powered by Google open-source Android software. The Fremont, California-based Spring said it was currently in discussions with major content partners and planned to release the device later this year. The Alex features dual screens - a main electronic paper display screen and a secondary color liquid crystal display (LCD) screen for Web browsing. The announcements by Plastic Logic and Spring Design came one day ahead of the expected entry into the increasingly crowded e-reader field of US bookstore giant Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble has called a press conference in New York on Tuesday. It has declined to reveal what it will be about but there has been widespread speculation in technology blogs that the company plans to unveil an e-reader. Barnes and Noble is also a content provider to Plastic Logic. Plastic Logic said the "QUE" will be aimed at business professionals as opposed to current models such as Amazon's Kindle and others that target casual and leisure readers. "In addition to connecting its users with their business and professional newspapers, books and periodicals, QUE supports the document formats business users need (including PDF, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents) and features powerful tools for interacting with and managing the content," it said. The QUE is thin - less than one-third of an inch (0.85 centimeters) thick - lightweight and wireless-enabled, and has a bigger screen than most current e-readers. Other companies offering e-readers include Japan's Sony, Britain's Interead, and Dutch company IREX Technologies. Apple is also rumored to be coming out with a portable tablet computer early next year that may double as an e-reader. Forrester Research estimates that three million e-readers will be sold in the United States this year, up from a previous forecast of two million units, and for e-reader sales to double to six million units next year.

Samsung to help build 2.2 bln dlr China LCD plant
South Korea's Samsung Electronics said Friday it will set up a joint venture to build a liquid crystal display (LCD) plant costing about 2.6 trillion won (2.23 billion dollars) in eastern China. Samsung, the world's biggest supplier of LCD panels, said in a statement it will spend 925.2 billion won on the 7.5th-generation plant in Suzhou. The firm declined to give financial details, name its partner or say how big a stake it would hold. "Everything regarding the financial details will be available only when both the Korean and Chinese governments approve the plan," spokesman James Chung told Dow Jones Newswires. The company has chosen China to exploit demand there for televisions with screens larger than 40 inches, Chung said. A so-called 7.5th-generation plant can make panels bigger than 40 inches while 8th-generation factories can produce panels bigger than 50 inches. Earlier this week rival LG Display announced a joint venture for a planned four billion dollar 8th-generation LCD plant in China, which is seen as a major growth market for LCD makers.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 19, 2009
Apple posted stellar quarterly profit but could have its fortunes tested when Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system and a heralded Droid smart phone debut this month.

Apple on Monday reported quarterly net profit of 1.67 billion dollars on record sales of iPhones and Macintosh computers.

Apple recorded 9.87 billion dollars in revenue during the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, which ended September 26, compared with 7.9 billion dollars in revenue in the same period last year.

Apple's quarterly profit amounted to 1.82 dollars per share, a jump from the same quarter last year when it reported profit of 1.14 billion dollars, or 1.26 dollars per share.

"We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "We've got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010."

Rumors of Apple gadgets being readied for market include an "iTablet" computing device akin to a magazine-sized iPhone that could be used for reading digitized books as well as watching videos or surfing the Internet.

Apple reported that it sold 3.05 million Macintosh computers during the quarter, a 17 percent increase from the same period last year.

The Cupertino, California-base company saw sales of its popular iPhone smartphones climb seven percent to 7.4 million while sales of iPods sagged eight percent to 10.2 million units.

"It just turned out to be a stunning quarter," said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley. "With Windows 7 stalled the PC (personal computer) side of the market and Apple got a free ride back to school."

Microsoft launches its new Windows 7 operating system on Thursday, about two months after Apple's Snow Leopard operating system hit the market.

Many people considering buying new computers have likely put off getting PCs to wait for the latest software, leaving Apple ample time to entice those customers with Macintosh machines.

Apple retail stores brought in record-high revenue during the recently-ended quarter, and about half of the people buying Macintosh computers were reportedly getting the Apple made machines for the first time.

"When Windows 7 hits on Thursday, Apple is going to get hit with a tsunami and it will be tough in the face of a feeding frenzy on the PC side," Enderle said.

With Windows 7 launching after the back-to-school computer shopping season and at the cusp of the year-end holiday season, hardware makers will "hit the ground running" with well-equipped PCs at tempting prices, Enderle said.

"There are some incredible deals (computer makers) will be offering," Enderle said. "That will soak up a lot of money. Apple is going to look pretty pricey."

Apple's revenue for the full fiscal year grew 12 percent and net profit rose by 18 percent despite "extraordinarily challenging times," according to Apple chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer.

Apple has teamed with China Unicom to start selling iPhone 3G S smartphones in the China on October 30.

"We are eager to get started," Apple chief operating officer Tim Cook said of selling iPhones in China. "It is a huge market."

Apple could "take it in the shorts" if a Droid mobile telephone due to hit the US market at the end of this month lives up to the hype ricocheting about the Internet, according to Enderle.

Motorola is making the Droid smartphones, which are based on Google-backed open-source Android operating software and linked to telecom service from Verizon.

Cook said Apple isn't worried about the growing ranks of smartphones trying to dethrone the iPhone in the market.

"We have significant momentum, and look at the ecosystem with iTunes and the App Store," Cook said.

"I think people are really just trying to catch up with the first iPhone launched two years ago, and we've long since moved beyond that."

Apple projected its earnings in the current quarter to range from 1.70 dollars to 1.78 dollars per share based on expected earnings of from 11.3 billion dollars to 11.6 billion dollars.

"We are shipping the best products we ever have in Apple's history and customers have clearly responded," Oppenheimer said.

"We look forward to delivering new exciting products. We are very enthusiastic about the year ahead."

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E-reader sales soaring but Apple captures the buzz
Washington (AFP) Oct 8, 2009
Sales of electronic book readers are booming, companies are jostling for a share of the fledgling market and Amazon's going global with the Kindle. So why is all the buzz about Apple? Because the California company behind the Macintosh computer, iPhone and iPod is rumored to be coming out with a portable tablet computer early next year that may double as an e-reader. ... read more

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