March 16th Apple Rumblings

 

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With the economy continuing to slump and forecasts continuing to get gloomier, Apple has remained one of the few companies posting positive returns on expectations.  Recently, upbeat news has surfaced about Apple’s new products. However, the company has also announced layoffs.  MacPoker.com takes a look at the rumors flying around the internet with today’s look at confirmed layoffs, a new potential Apple PDA Kindle-type device, and rumors about the upcoming Apple iPhone 3.0 Operating System.

Apple Confirms Layoffs

Last week, Apple confirmed that it has laid off about 50 salespeople.  While the number of people is a very small fraction of the entire Apple workforce, all of the cuts took place in the enterprise division group.  Although Apple has never been a player in the enterprise space and never positioned itself to be one, the recent departure of enterprise executive Al Shipp was the first warning sign that trouble might be ahead for this group within the Apple family.  Many industry analysts are not surprised that Apple decided to reduce this area of its workforce.  Unfortunately, this means that many Mac engineers will be left on their own trying to support Macs at the enterprise workplace in their mainly PC environments.  There are no reports of additional layoffs at Apple.

Apple PDA? But isn’t that the iPhone?

For you Apple nostalgia types, you’ll remember the foray into the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) marketplace with Newton.  Although the Newton never approached the type of success Palm had back in the day, the rumor is that Apple has purchased 10-inch screens from a Taiwanese manufacturer.  The potential product is allegedly a PDA device that will go head-to-head against Amazon’s popular Kindle and tackle the up-for-grabs electronic reader device market.  Could this be a new form of the iPod touch that acts as a PDA and electronic document/book reader?  Only time will tell if the rumors are true. Another potential product that could be created with a 10-inch screen is a mini-sized MacBook “netbook,” which Apple has gone on record denying it will ever manufacture.

iPhone 3.0 Rumors

There’s a report on BoyGeniusReport that discusses rumored iPhone 3.0 technologies – Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Tethering.  MMS would offer iPhone users to text message photos through SMS.  Tethering would allow a user to share their iPhone’s internet connection with a laptop.  Many have questioned the source’s ability to find rumors that actually surface truths, so this one might be more of a wish list.  Another rumor has centered on the expected “Copy and Paste” function with the new update.  According to sources, you can simply double tap on a word and a magnifier bubble will appear with two quotes that you can drag around a selection.  From there, you can copy, paste, or cut.  Finally, there are rumors that a much-improved homepage will be coming with the ability to organize applications into categories. The official Apple preview of the new iPhone 3.0 Operating System occurs on Tuesday.

iTunes 8.1 Released

Apple released iTunes 8.1 on March 11th. It offers improvements and bug fixes, including:

– Supporting synch with the new iPod Shuffle
– Friends to request songs for iTunes DJ
– Improved performance for downloading iTunes Plus songs
– AutoFill for manually managed iPods
– Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus
– Accessibility improvements
– Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls

Final Thoughts

It’s troubling that Apple is cutting its enterprise sales division so deeply and that the executive assigned for this segment of the company has left.  It shows that Apple still can’t penetrate the large-scale business enterprise community.

It will be interesting to see what comes of the 10-inch screens that Apple has reportedly purchased and how the company will put them to use, whether in a Kindle device or a small-sized notebook.

Finally, the upcoming 3.0 release of the iPhone OS is likely to be buzz-worthy. Many are thinking that this release is finally the definitive software for the popular cell phone that gives users all of the features they’ve been pining for since the release of the product years ago.

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