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New Book Explores How the iPhone Contributed to BlackBerry's Downfall

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Over the past several years, BlackBerry has gone from one of the top smartphone manufacturers to a company that's struggling to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive market. BlackBerry is hemorrhaging subscribers and losing revenue quarter after quarter as it attempts to turn the tide by focusing on marketing secure devices and software to its enterprise customers. 

An upcoming book by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, Losing the Signal, explores the events that led to the rise and fall of BlackBerry, and an interesting excerpt was shared by The Wall Street Journal today, covering the iPhone's contributions towards BlackBerry's (then known as RIM) failure. 

As we've previously learned from Google execs, the launch of the iPhone, which stood apart from all other smartphones on the market at the time, took everyone by surprise. Not only was the iPhone incredibly different from its competitors, it also had features that carriers had previously denied other manufacturers like a full web browser and later, an App Store that had no carrier ties. 

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Image via CIO


One of RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis' first comments was "These guys are really, really good," but despite that fact, RIM failed to see the iPhone as a threat due to its lack of security and the fact that it had no keyboard, features RIM execs thought would make it unappealing to RIM's core consumers.

If the iPhone gained traction, RIM's senior executives believed, it would be with consumers who cared more about YouTube and other Internet escapes than efficiency and security. RIM's core business customers valued BlackBerry's secure and efficient communication systems. Offering mobile access to broader Internet content, says Mr. Conlee, "was not a space where we parked our business."

RIM executives did not understand the iPhone and were "incredulous" that people were purchasing it, realizing too late that form had become as important as function in the eyes of consumers. In an effort to combat the threat of the iPhone, RIM teamed up with Verizon to create a competing touch-based phone -- the Storm. 

Verizon pressured RIM into speeding up development on the phone, resulting in a product that was riddled with bugs and issues when it launched in 2008. Despite the flaws, the product was heavily marketed and RIM sold 1 million in two months, leading to a lot of unhappy customers who wanted to return or exchange their devices. 

The Storm was a spectacular failure that impacted RIM's relationship with Verizon, ruined its reputation, and cost upwards of $100 million. After the failure, the company was demoralized and at a crossroads, unsure of where to take the company going forward and how to compete with the iPhone and other smartphones in a landscape that was radically different from what the company knew. 

RIM was unable to fully recover from failure of the Storm and find its footing, eventually leading to the path that it's on today. "The Storm failure made it clear we were not the dominant smartphone company anymore, said RIM co-CEO Jim Balsille. "We're grappling with who we are because we can't be who we used to be anymore, which sucked...It's not clear what the hell to do." 

The full excerpt from the book is worth a read and can be found over at The Wall Street Journal. The book itself is coming out on May 26 and can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $21.

 

Apple Working on Split-Screen Multitasking, Multi-User Support for iPad

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We've had previous rumors suggesting Apple is working on split-screen multitasking capabilities for the iPad, and hints of the feature are buried within iOS 8, but thus far multitasking has not made its way into the hands of customers. In a post covering information on future iPad upgrades, 9to5Mac confirms split-screen multitasking is still in the works and on schedule to be released as part of iOS 9. 

Split-screen multitasking will display two apps side-by-side on the iPad's screen or two views of the same app, allowing users to see multiple documents in Pages at the same time, for example. As was first discovered in code buried within iOS 8, apps will be able to be arranged in multiple views, covering 1/2, 1/3, and 2/3 of the screen in the latest iteration. 

Concept for split-screen multitasking (not based on specific rumors)


9to5Mac warns that though the split-screen multitasking feature is slated for inclusion in iOS 9, it could be removed before the update's debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference if it is not ready in time as it was originally developed for the upcoming "iPad Pro." 9to5Mac previously said the multi-tasking feature would be included in iOS 8. 

Apple is also said to be working on a highly anticipated feature that customers have requested for years -- multi-user login support. This will allow multiple users to have unique profiles on a single iPad, with individual access to apps and documents. Multi-user support will not be ready when iOS 9 launches in the fall, but it could be released later in 2015 alongside the iPad Pro or in 2016. 

Both split-screen multitasking and multi-user login support are features that will be added to Apple's rumored larger-screened 12-inch iPad Pro, which may also include features like a USB-C port, a stylus, and a pressure-sensitive Force Touch display. The tablet, internally numbered "J98" and "J99" to represent Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models, will launch in late 2015, according to the latest rumors. Apple is said to be working to finish software and source hardware components for the device.

Sources have confirmed that Apple is testing jumbo-sized iPads internally codenamed "J98″ and "J99," which are apparently larger versions of the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2, save for additional speaker holes.

Given the large size of the iPad Pro's display, some apps may be redesigned to accommodate the larger screen real estate available on the 12-inch tablet, with Apple rumored to be working on new designs for Siri and Notification Center. Features tailored to the iPad Pro could work in the same way as features tailored to the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a unique layout in landscape mode to account for a larger display size.

 

Universal Releases First Trailer for 'Steve Jobs' Movie

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After filming began earlier in January, and a few photo leaks soon thereafter, not much had been heard surrounding Universal Picture's Steve Jobs movie. Today, however, the studio released the first official trailer for the new movie. 

The trailer is mostly a single shot of Michael Fassbender as Jobs, with cast voice overs providing snippets and teases of conversations regarding Jobs' true legacy at Apple. While it doesn't reveal much that wasn't already known, the one minute teaser provides a handful of closer looks as Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet, and Jeff Daniels as Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Joanna Hoffman, and John Sculley, respectively. 


The movie has faced turmoil over the years as it began development, with multiple actorsup for the titular role and even a change of studios due to scheduling conflicts between Danny Boyle, the film's director, and Sony. This year, as the film's October 9 release date grew nearer, casting calls and set photos began popping up online, even going so far as to offer fans the first glimpse of Fassbender in full costume as Jobs.

   

Next-Generation iPhone Again Rumored to Have 12-Megapixel Camera

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Kevin King, IHS Technology Research Director for China, claimed on Chinese microblogging service Weibo that Apple's next-generation iPhone will feature a 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with smaller pixels (via G4Games), corroborating the same prediction made by well-informed KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this week. 

Apple has used an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera sensor since the iPhone 4s was released in late 2011, so the megapixel bump will be the first in nearly four years if the pair of analysts are correct. Prior to that, the iPhone 4 had a 5-megapixel camera and the iPhone 3GS had a 3-megapixel shooter. Given that megapixels don't always matter, however, software improvements are often more important for image quality. 

Last November, well-known Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball said the next iPhone could have "the biggest camera jump ever" with a dual-lens system that delivers DSLR-quality imagery, but a later report dismissed the rumor since Apple would need to redesign the current chassis of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which is unlikely for this year's refresh based on the history of "S" models. 

Apple's next-generation iPhones are rumored to retain 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, powered by an A9 processor with 2GB of LPDDR4 RAM and featuring Force Touch, improved Touch ID recognition, gesture control support, an additional microphone near the speakers for improved voice quality, a new rose gold color option, internal mechanical design changes and more.

 

Next A9-Based iPhone Predicted to Have 12MP Camera, 2GB RAM, Rose Gold and More, Mass Production in August

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KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a respectable track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, issued a note to investors today that offers eleven predictions for the next-generation iPhone in 2015. Kuo expects the new 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhones to enter mass production in mid-to-late August, and does not believe that a new 4-inch iPhone model will be released in 2015. 

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The main selling point of the so-called "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" will be Force Touch, the pressure-sensitive display technology built into Apple Watch and new MacBook trackpads. Other predicted features for Apple's next iPhone, many of which have already been rumored, include an A9 processor with 2GB of RAM, improved 12-megapixel camera, a new Rose Gold color option, possible sapphire cover lenses and more.

(1) Force Touch will be the biggest upgraded selling point, but also one of the main bottlenecks of the supply chain. Force Touch can enhance user experience due to more input methods and support of handwritten signatures, which is beneficial for expanding in the commercial market; 
(2) Screen will remain at 4.7 and 5.5 inches, with resolution the same as existing models. There will be no new 4-inch model; 
(3) There will be an additional casing color, rose gold, matching the rose gold Apple Watch Edition; 
(4) The camera will have a pixel upgrade, likely to 12 MP; 
(5) One microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality; 
(6) The A9 processor with upgraded 2GB LPDDR4 will be adopted; 
(7) The bending issue will be improved by using different casing materials and internal mechanical design changes; 
(8) If drop test issues can be resolved, the 5.5-inch model will have a limited number of units with sapphire cover lens; 
(9) The recognition rate of Touch ID will be improved further in a bid to promote Apple Pay; 
(10) Gesture control support; and 
(11) It’s expected that mass production will start in mid-to-late August. Total shipments will be 80-90mn in 2015, with a 2:1 ratio of 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models.

Kuo expects total shipments of between 80-90 million iPhones in 2015.

   

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