Apple to "Talk iPhone" on October 4
-- Apple has announced it will host a special event October 4 to "talk iPhone." The event will take place at the Apple campus in Cupertino, California and will begin at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
As is usually the case with Apple events, analysts put out their best guesses about the products that will be unveiled. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said he doesn't think Apple will unveil a low-priced iPhone that carriers could use to offer unsubsidized iPhones to price-sensitive customers. "Rather, we expect Apple to continue with a lead device (iPhone 5) that carriers sell subsidized for $199/$299 along with a previous generation device (iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S) for $99," he wrote in a note to investors.
Munster also expects Verizon demand to be strong ("we believe many Verizon subs have been waiting for the next iPhone") and says one unannounced feature to iOS 5 may be voice-recognition technology ("leveraging Apple's Apr-10 acquisition of Siri, a voice recognition app and service"). Piper Jaffray has a price target on Apple of $607. Apple closed at $399.26 on Tuesday.
Maybe the iPhone will get a unibody design like other Apple products. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said he expects "an iPhone 5 with aluminum uni-body construction, better camera and slightly larger screen size as well as a cost-down iPhone 4, or iPhone 4S." Apple uses a unibody design in its Macbook Air and Macbook Pro computers.
This news comes a day after reports that Apple has reduced its orders for iPad parts for the fourth quarter by 25 percent. Many onlookers took the news as a sign that demand for the iPad is waning. But that's not the case, according to other analysts. UBS analyst Maynard Um said, "Our extensive checks among the global tech team suggest this is limited to components that could have yield and production issues," said Um, adding that it's possible "Apple over-ordered" some iPad 2 components.
Not even all analysts at JP Morgan were in agreement. A second research note said the first alert "is not the view of the US IT Hardware team" and JP Morgan's estimate for Apple remain unchanged.
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Amazon to Debut Tablet PC Next Week
-- Amazon is expected to debut the company's very own tablet PC at an event in New York next Wednesday. "Wednesday is tablet day," BGC partners analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters.
The device has a 7" color screen, looks like the BlackBerry PlayBook, will cost $250 and is "going to be a big deal," reports a TechCrunch writer who got some hands-on time with the device. Amazon's content stores are "just one click away" and the look and feel of the user interface are said to be unique to Amazon.
The success of the Amazon's tablet has implications for music and media companies. In music, the tablet could provide a boost to Amazon's Cloud Player and Cloud Drive, the company's cloud-based music storage system, and provide greater competition to Apple's iTunes. Amazon's own Kindle e-book store should benefit as well -- in fact, the company has already signed up three publishers to sell ebooks for the device, MediaMemo reported Monday.
"While we believe Amazon has the opportunity to take share of the tablet market, we believe the bigger opportunity remains on the content side," Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente told the Financial Times.
British ISPs to Restrict Website Access
-- British ISPs are agreeing in principle to restricting access to websites in response to "hastily obtained court orders," according to a report at The Register. One source described the process as a "voluntary solution" that will not come with a signing ceremony or even a press release. Other sources told The Register there will likely be more litigation before a voluntary solution is adopted.
Why would ISPs agree to deal with court orders that have been turned around in a short period of time? The Register points to the high cost of the Newzbin 2 case, which resulted in a court ordering BT to block links to Newzbin 2, a members-only site that aggregates a large quantity of copyright material for downloading by Newzbin 2 members. (The Register)
EMI, Shine Form Worldwide Music-Rights Partnership
Shine Group and EMI Music Publishing announced yesterday that they have reached agreement for EMI to represent owned music from Shine Group programs globally. EMI will now manage the Shine Group library of owned composed music, administering and collecting performance royalties for wholly and part-owned music compositions on behalf of all Shine Group companies including Reveille in the US, Metronome Group, Shine Australia, Shine France and Shine Germany.
The companies will also work to create a joint venture production music library, commissioning and producing content to be used both in Shine and third-party productions. An example will arrive later this month, when NBC's television series "The Biggest Loser," produced by Reveille, will relaunch with a new theme song, performed by Train. The song was written by Jerry Becker and Train lead singer Pat Monahan, whose song catalog is represented by EMI Music Publishing. (Press release)