Today's Comment: Apple unveils IOS 6; AT&T calls for spectrum reform; Dish and Qualcomm ink chipset deal; Sprint no longer Clearwire's majority stakeholder.
- Apple has unveiled the latest version of its operating system, iOS 6, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in California (US).
- More than 200 new features are being introduced, including a new maps service and greater integration with Facebook.
Today we focus on four developments:
- Apple Unveils iOS 6: At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple has unveiled iOS 6, the latest version of its operating system. The update will be available to customers from the third quarter of 2012 and includes 200 new features, such as a new maps service, greater Facebook integration, Passbook, new Siri features and an expansion of iCloud.
- AT&T Calls for Spectrum Reform: In an article with the Wall Street Journal, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson has called for US spectrum reform in order to meet the forthcoming capacity crunch. Stephenson calls for three major changes, in which spectrum holders put the airwaves to work, through licence requirements for instance; quickly get spectrum where consumers need it by simplifying the sale process; and establish a national model for the local approval process required when wireless carriers need to build new mobile infrastructure.
- Dish and Qualcomm Ink Chipset Deal: Dish has announced a collaboration with Qualcomm to enable support of satellite-based communications in Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 platform. This initiative will enable the development of mobile handsets and devices for Dish that can operate in both terrestrial and satellite modes in the 2-GHz/AWS-4 band. Dish has yet to receive regulatory approval for its LTE-Advanced network.
- Sprint No Longer Is Clearwire's Majority Stakeholder: Sprint has said its shareholding in Clearwire has dropped below 50% and has decided to realign its economic and voting rights into the company as a result. Sprint first reduced its stake last year to protect itself against potential bankruptcy from Clearwire.
Alongside its unveiling of iOS 6, Apple announced improvements to its MacBook series, including a new version of Mountain Lion and a new MacBook Pro with a retina display. Apple also released a series of stats about iOS, including:
- the App store has reached 30 billion downloads, earning developers over USD5 billion;
- there are 650,000 apps available, including 225,000 for the iPad;
- Apple has sold more than 365 million iOS devices, as well as having 125 million iCloud users;
- 140 million iOS users use iMessage, sending more than 1 billion messages a day; and
- 80% of iOS devices run iOS 5, compared to just 7% of Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich.
Apple has introduced new capabilities relating to FaceTime, now available over a cellular network, and a wallet service, but the two main changes relate to maps and Facebook. Apple's new maps service will see it ditch Google Maps and instead focus on its own software and application in what is another battle between the two web giants. Google will lose out as iOS remains the bulk of its mobile use and will not be able to use its customers' location for targeted advertising, a gap that Apple will fill. The partnership with Facebook follows the same pattern, despite the difficult relationship between the two companies, but they have a common foe in Google. The integration of the social network with iOS could be another nail in the coffin of Google+, especially the ability to "like" content from the app store and receive recommendations based on personal choices. This is Google's strategy in a nutshell, using its consumers' data to provide them with more relevant services, and it will have to rely on Android more than ever to be able to monetise its services in the mobile space.
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