MediaFile

Live coverage of the iPad 2 launch

iPad2 invite

Live coverage of the expected announcement of Apple’s iPad 2. The event will begin Wednesday March 2 at 10 a.m. Pacific/ 1 p.m. Eastern.

Will Steve Jobs show up? Will Tim Cook pull off a major Apple launch alone? Is the rumored iPad 3 the one to wait for? How have investors traded on the news of big Apple launches?

Until Apple launched the iPad last January, the market for tablet computers was little more than the junkyard heap of laptops with touchscreens found on eBay.  On Wednesday, Apple aims to secure its dominance in a market it (re)created with the expected launch of the iPad 2. Join our correspondents Gabriel Madway and Alexei Oreskovic at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center and others around Reuters for a live discussion of the biggest tech event this week.

 

 

Verizon iPhone gets dinged by Consumer Reports (Update)

VERIZON/IPHONE“Antennagate” again?

The reception problem that plagued AT&T’s iPhone 4 last summer is also found on the Verizon version of the iPhone, according to Consumer Reports.  The influential nonprofit organization, which publishes guides on everything from cars to TVs, said Friday that holding the Verizon iPhone “in a specific but quite natural way” can cause the phone to drop calls.

Consumer Reports tested the device against five other Verizon smartphones — Samsung Fascinate, Motorola Droid 2 Global, HTC Droid Incredible, LG Ally, and Motorola Droid X — and said “the only phones in which the finger contact caused any meaningful decline in performance was the iPhone 4.”

The Verizon iPhone 4 launched earlier this month, but there has been no hue and cry about its reception, as there was with the AT&T device. “There has been no such outpouring of complaints about the Verizon version of the phone,” Consumer Reports noted. However, the tech blogosphere did take note of the problem when the phone went on sale.

Can Tim Cook fill Steve Jobs’s shoes?

APPLE/IPHONE

Apple COO Tim Cook stepped firmly from behind the tech company’s curtain and onto the center stage that has been the virtual sole  domain of his famously inventive boss, Steve Jobs.

Jobs, Apple’s legendary CEO, is taking an indefinite medical leave and that has many pundits wondering, what’s next?

Jobs is more than just another executive. He is the creative power behind market- and even culture-changing products like the iPod and iPad. Much of Apple’s success can be directly attributed to its charismatic chief.

Apple’s Cook: visionary or able lieutenant?

Apple’s COO and — many say — CEO-in-waiting Tim Cook has presided over a near-doubling of Apple’s margins over the past decade. Known as a supply chain maven and operations specialist, Cook has stepped up to the plate during CEO Steve Jobs’ three medical absences.

On Wednesday, Cook is expected to face questions about the company’s succession plan during Apple’s annual shareholders’ meeting at 1 Infinte Loop.

Here’s a look at how Apple has fared during Cook’s tenure.

(Apple (L-R) COO Tim Cook, CEO Steve Jobs and Robert Mansfield, senior vice president, Mac Hardware Engineering appear onstage during Q&A period at news conference on antenna problems with the iPhone 4 at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, July 16, 2010.)

Obama tech dinner photos offer fodder for Silicon Valley Kremlinologists

ObamaCarIt’s Kremlinology day in Silicon Valley as industry-watchers pore over the details of the two photographs released by the White House of President Obama’s big dinner with the lords of the tech world.

Who sat where, who was drinking what, and what does it all signify, were among the top questions under debate the morning after the commander-in-chief and fourteen guests broke bread at the house of venture capitalist John Doerr.

If proximity to the president is the key measure of clout, then Facebook wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Steve Jobs won top honors, with both executives flanking Obama at the dinner table, as can be seen in this picture.

Wild news on Apple, Google changes? Not if you’re an analyst

It has certainly been an interesting week in Silicon Valley as two of the most closely watched companies in the world shuffled their executive suites. On Monday, Apple announced that its chief executive  and charismatic leader Steve Jobs was taking a temporary medical leave – his third since 2004  — a day before Apple released its quarterly results.  On Thursday, Google reported a stellar Q4 and dropped that Larry Page would be stepping into the role of chief executive, as Eric Schmidt takes up the executive chairman position.

Big news, right? So it’s surprising then that analysts who have the opportunity to quiz management during earnings calls failed to mention anything about the changes. Not one analyst asked about the C-suite during the Google and Apple calls. Google even made its three top executives, Schmidt, Page and Sergey Brin available for short period on Thursday’s call. The three analysts in the queue pitched questions about the following subjects:  Google’s real estate purchase in New York,  government outreach and social networking plans.

What did not happen at the Verizon iPhone launch

USA/After years of rumors and breathless anticipation, Apple’s iPhone is finally coming to the network of Verizon Wireless. But because Verizon is launching a version of the device that has been available from rival AT&T for more than half a year, there was little new technology on display to excite the gadget geeks and Apple fanboys.

And the show failed to deliver on some of the more intriguing rumors that have been kicking around about the event, which was announced suddenly last Friday and thus managed to steal plenty of thunder from the Consumer Electronics Shows in Las Vegas, where most tech reporters were camped out.

Here’s a quick rundown of what did NOT happen on Tuesday

    No white iPhone – Like a Yeti, the white iPhone seems to exist only in legend. The company has repeatedly delayed the launch of the device, saying at last check it was due this spring. No one is sure exactly why the White iPhone is proving so difficult to produce. But some had expected (or perhaps hoped) to see it appear Tuesday as part of the Verizon announcement, but it was not to be. No LTE – Verizon has launched a new high-speed wireless network in markets covering 110 million people with a new technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE), and has promised 10 new gadgets using that network by mid-year. But the iPhone 4 is apparently not one of them. “Clearly some people wanted LTE,” said Gleacher & Co analyst Brian Marshall. No Steve Jobs – No one was quite sure whether the Apple CEO himself would appear on stage at a Verizon-staged event. Some in the Apple blogosphere were skeptical, and they proved correct. It was Tim Cook, Apple’s COO — certainly no slouch, but not someone who commands the sort of spotlight that’s Apple’s head honcho does. For those accustomed to Apple-hosted events, Jobs’ absence was felt: “This was not a Jobs-worthy event. But I thought for sure they’d throw them a bone with a white iPhone,” joked BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis

Verizon’s iPhone antenna ‘death grip’ proof?

vzapplOn the face of it, the iPhone 4 unveiled by Verizon Wireless on Tuesday is pretty much the same device that AT&T has been selling. It costs the same, and features essentially the same bells and whistles — with the nice addition of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, that allows up to five other devices to share its wireless signal.

But the blogosphere quickly picked up on one intriguing change in Verizon’s iPhone: the all-important antenna, which wraps around the device. You can see some pics from Gizmodo here, highlighting the differences between iPhones offered by Verizon and AT&T.

You will recall that the antenna for AT&T’s iPhone was the source of quite the uproar last summer, when some users complained of poor reception and dropped calls when holding the device a certain way.  The issue unexpectedly snowballed, giving rise to such memorable phrases as “Antennagate” and “iPhone 4 death grip.” Of course, none of it seemed to dent iPhone sales.

Apple secrets at center of insider trading case

APPLE/The blockbuster insider trading case that shook Silicon Valley and Wall Street on Thursday likely gave Steve Jobs, Apple’s famously secretive CEO, a healthy case of heartburn this morning.

Four people were arrested on charges of leaking tech secrets to hedge funds–including details about Apple’s iPad months before Jobs took the tablet computer onstage with him to formally show off to the world.

According to the complaint, in October of last year, Walter Shimoon — who worked for Apple supplier Flextronics — was recorded in a phone conversation leaking information that tech geeks around the world lust for.

A “completely new” iPad, says Jobs, for the holidays

APPLE/The iPad will have just a smattering of competition for the holiday season, but nonetheless, Steve Jobs says he is basically reinventing Apple’s tablet as consumers prepare to hit the stores over the next five weeks.

Apple on Monday announced the latest software update for the iPad, bringing multitasking, AirPrint and a few other goodies to the touchscreen tablet.  While these features are certainly nice (they came to the iPhone earlier this year), Jobs took it a bit further. And he of course didn’t pass up an opportunity to smack his tablet rivals, which include Samsung and Research in Motion.

“iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season,” Jobs said in a news release. “Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit.”