MediaFile

Missing iPhone saga continues; police said to be involved

iphoneblahSure, it was one of the busiest weeks on the tech earnings calendar, but despite a crush of important indicators about the health of the industry, all anyone seems to care about was that famously wayward iPhone, which caused such a stir earlier in the week.

And just as it seemed the story was about to peter out, there was a report Friday that the police are now investigating the case.

If you’ve been living in a cave for the past week (ignoring David Letterman and publicity-seeking airlines) and missed all the hubbub, here’s the recap: young Apple engineer accidentally leaves a apparent prototype of fourth-generation iPhone in a Silicon Valley bar, where the device is recovered by an unknown individual, who turns around and sells it to gadget site Gizmodo for $5,000. Gizmodo promptly reveals to the world all the glories of the new iPhone, complete with pictures. Apple asks for, and gets, the device back.

Cue raging debate across the Apple-obsessed blogosphere about Gizmodo’s ethics, Apple’s PR strategy, etc, etc…

The latest wrinkle: Cnet, citing an anonymous law enforcement source, reported that Apple has spoken to local police about the matter. The investigation, which Cnet said is believed to headed by a computer crime task force led by the local district attorney’s office, is to determine whether there is enough evidence to file criminal charges — the article cites an 1872 California law under which a person who finds lost property and knows who the owner may be, but keeps it anyway, can be guilty of theft.

Apple’s Jobs: “Butterflies” and more jabs at Google

jobs1The media and industry analysts gathered at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, on Thursday got a heavy dose of commentary from CEO Steve Jobs on a range of subjects, representing probably his biggest mouthful in a single setting since returning from medical leave last summer.

In a session that lasted more than 90-minutes, including Q&A with reporters, a clearly energized Jobs expounded on the iPhone’s new system software, his nerves ahead of the iPad launch, Apple’s new role as a peddler of mobile advertising, and of course Google, the company’s nemesis du jour.

Jobs announced Apple new iAd platform, which thrusts the company into a small but fast-growing market where Google also has designs.  But Jobs made clear that his company had no plans to become a “worldwide ad agency,” and he acknowledged that Apple was indeed pursuing AdMob when Google swooped in to buy the mobile ad firm:

Apple iPhone China debut underwhelms some

Apple’s iPhone launched in China last Friday with plenty of fanfare, but the sales numbers so far appear a little light. China Unicom, the iPhone’s carrier in the country, said Tuesday it has signed up 5,000 iPhone subscribers since the launch, below what some analysts were expecting.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster called the China launch a “disappointment.” He was expecting something in the range of 30,000 units. “We believe that eventually China will emerge as a major market for iPhone sales but it could take a year or two to gain meaningful unit traction as it did in the U.S.,” he wrote in a research note Tuesday.

The iPhone is Apple’s biggest growth story, with more than 30 million units sold worldwide since its launch in 2007. China represents a huge market opportunity for Apple, which is starting with about 1,000 places selling the iPhone.

iPhone shortages “nice problem to have”

Tongues are still wagging about Apple’s blowout quarter, which saw the company brush past Wall Street forecasts, sending its shares north of $200. But as Wall Street waited breathlessly for the latest iPhone numbers, it was the company’s Mac line that stole the headlines, posting blockbuster 17 percent unit growth.

So what was the deal with the iPhone? Unit shipments rose 7 percent to 7.4 million units, far from chopped liver but just below the consensus estimate. What? Apple missed? Well it wasn’t quite that simple. Seems the company simply couldn’t keep up with all the folks clamoring to get their hands on the latest model, the 3G S.

Apple COO TIm Cook called it “a nice problem to have in the scheme of things,” and called 3G S demand “phenomenal.” He said demand simply outstripped supply in most of the countries where it was selling the device.

Demand for iPhone outstrips supply

Setting aside some relatively impressive Mac sales, Apple’s iPhone was the true star of the company’s earnings drama on Tuesday–though the the device might be a little tough for some folks to to get their hands on in the near term.******Apple said it can’t meet current demand for the iPhone 3GS, which launched last month. The 3GS is available in 18 countries and is being rolled out this summer to another 80-plus countries.******Overall, the company sold 5.2 million iPhones in the June quarter, ahead of many analysts estimates. That total includes sales of the reduced-price $99 iPhone 3G.******Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said “the iPhone 3GS is constrained in virtually every country we’re shipping it in. So the demand has been very robust.”******He later added: “I don’t want to predict today when supply and demand will balance. I know that it will not balance in the short-term. And I don’t want to give a prediction because as you can guess, it’s very difficult to gauge the demand without having the supply there to find out what it is… In terms of affecting the country roll out, I believe the vast majority of the countries that we are selling the 3G in will be selling a 3GS by the end of the fiscal quarter. So it may move the date by a few weeks here or there.”******Cook also delivered some interesting factoids on iPhone adoption by large corporations. He said close to 20 percent of the Fortune 100 have bought at least 10,000 units or more.******But Cook stuck to the company line on AT&T, the exclusive iPhone carrier in the U.S. (“I think it’s an excellent relationship and we’re very happy with it”), and provided no new details on when the iPhone might launch in China.

Updated-Apple boasts 1.5 billion App downloads

(Updated to reflect that Apple was referring to application downloads, not application sales.  Many iPhone apps are free.)

Apple Inc impressed the tech world with the rapid take off of its applications store, announcing on April 24th that it had sold 1 billion apps downloads in just 9 months to users of its iPhone and its iPod Touch.

That was just for starters. Now it says it has sold seen another half a billion apps downloaded in around a third of that time, showing that its growth is speeding up despite the fact that its rivals have all opened their own apps stores.

App developers appear to be taking notice too as Apple says it now has 65,000 apps available in its store ready for download to the 40 million iPod Touch and iPhone devices it has sold.

Apple reports some iPhone 3GS shortages

Haven’t got your hands on Apple’s new iPhone 3GS yet? In certain parts of the U.S., you may have to wait just a bit longer. Apple says retail stores in some states (such as Utah, Oregon, Alabama) and certain cities are sold out of the new device, which went on sale on June 19.

The full breakdown by location can be found here. The company notes that “shipments of iPhone 3GS arrive most days” and availability is updated hourly. The device can also be purchased at AT&T, Wal-Mart and Best Buy stores.

The news provides further evidence of healthy demand for Apple’s third-generation iPhone. The company sold more than a million of the devices in the first three days alone.

IPhone fans turn out early

It may not have been quite the crush of last year’s iPhone release or the first launch in 2007, but the new iPhone 3GS still saw its fair share of hardy, early arrivers and Apple enthusiasts on Friday.

The lines at the Apple store in downtown San Francisco saw a mix of men and women, young and old, some first-time buyers and plenty of upgraders.

It was the third launch day for Daniel Agonafer, who has bought a total of six iPhones, distributing some of them to various relatives. An admitted iPhone addict, Agonafer was in line at least 30 minutes ahead of the store’s 7 a.m. opening. He said he waited five hours on launch day last summer to get his hands on the the 3G version. But on Friday, he was on his way, iPhone in hand, before 8 a.m.

Braving stormy weather for iPhone: well, sorta

Braving a downpour at Apple’s New York flagship store in midtown, three college students were already lined up waiting to be first to nab the new iPhone 3GS when it goes on sale on Friday.******Oddly enough, none of the trio planned to buy an IPhone: two already had the iPhone 3G, and the other was saving up for a Palm Pre. Hunkered under broad umbrellas graciously supplied by Apple, they were holding a place for another buddy, Sidney Sanmartine — who was still at work. He owned the original iPhone from 2007, and is eligible for the lower priced upgrade.******”It’s more evolutionary than revolutionary,” said Matt Dodd, 18. “But for the kid who’s getting it, it’s a big deal — he’s going from 2G to 3G.”******Perhaps by 7 a.m. Friday, the line will look as long (and dry) as it did about a year ago when the iPhone 3G debuted. Until then, Keith Hobin, the lone rain-soaked student/shopper left when his two buddies took a break, seems pretty upbeat. (Only 15 hours to go…)******