Today in Tech: Apple boosts processors, drops prices on Retina MacBooks
Also: Why Apple’s alleged iWatch doesn’t scare Pebble; AOL buys gdgt blog.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now starts at $1,499 for 128GB of flash, and $1,699 for a new 2.6 GHz processor and 256GB of flash. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now features a faster 2.4 GHz quad-core processor, and the top-of-the-line 15-inch notebook comes with a new 2.7 GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of memory. Apple today also announced that the 13-inch MacBook Air with 256GB of flash has a new lower price of $1,399.
What Tim Cook didn’t say [FORTUNE]
For example, Cook said nothing in his appearance Tuesday morning at a Goldman Sachs conference in San Francisco about whether or not Apple will produce less expensive iPhones or a version with a larger screen. That’s consistent, of course, with historic Apple behavior. Steve Jobs never foreshadowed future products. Heck, he’d outright lie, calling a suggestion for a new gadget “stupid” — months before Apple introduced the product. Cook doesn’t strike me as the lying type. So instead he reminded people that Apple started selling iPods at $399 and eventually made a $49 iPod Shuffle. Not a cheaper product. A good product that cost less. Interpretation: Of course Apple will make less expensive iPhones.
Apple iWatch doesn’t scare Pebble [CNNMONEY]
A smart watch from Apple, however, could be a game-changer. The New York Times strengthened the iWatch rumors on Sunday, reporting that Apple is working on an iOS-powered smart watch that features a curved glass display.
“It’s pretty cool that so many people are interested,” Migicovsky says. “When I started working on a watch five years ago, I was a kid at the University of Waterloo soldering things together. And then to see The New York Times writing a story a month about smart watches, that is awesome.”
It seems poetic that the future of a company so deeply embedded in the Internet’s past would hinge upon amassing properties that so vehemently chronicle its future. The deal will see Ryan Block take on a bigger role at AOL, where we have heard from sources that he will become head of product for AOL Tech Media. He will report to Jay Kirsch and will take some of the learnings, technology, and sensibility — and staff — that he and Rojas have brought to gdgt and apply them across AOL’s portfolio of tech sites.
“The last time the worldwide mobile phone market declined was in 2009,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market this year.”
Demand for feature phones remained weak in 2012 and in the fourth quarter. Feature phone sales totaled 264.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, down 19.3% year-on-year. Gartner analysts expect feature phones sales to continue to fall in 2013. Gartner predicts that sales of worldwide smartphone sales to end users will be close to 1 billion units in 2013, and overall mobile phone sales to end users are estimated to reach 1.9 billion units.
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