Apple Roundup: The iPad HD, The Rising Price Of iOS Apps, Smartphone Wars With HTC

iPad

iPad HD Rumor Strikes Again

This is a rumor that just won't die: There's new word that Apple will add another iPad to the lineup at the end of the third quarter or start of the fourth, timing it alongside the rumored launch date for the iPhone 5 and the arrival of iOS5. The latest predictions are for an updated iPad with a retina display measuring something like 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, or twice the current iPad's display. The supposed "iPad HD" may be a premium device, akin to the Mac Pro, which is aimed at graphics professionals and is priced higher to cover component costs.

These rumors were largely discounted because of the faster processor/GPU combination, and associated boost in on-die RAM, needed to push high-resolution video that would surpasses even HDTV, onto the tablet. There would also be concerns about battery life, and the rise in price. But if Apple really is planning to try this, it could easily have designed a new product with a heftier mass, better GPU, and larger battery to cope.

Sales--and Prices--Of iOS Apps Increase

We've looked at the rise of the iOS App Store countless times--most recently the surprising growth it showed over recent months, particularly when it comes to iPad apps. But new analysis has revealed some truly fascinating data: Piper Jaffray is now predicting the average iOS user will download 83 apps during 2011, up from 51 in 2010, a 61% increase. The firm's analysis also shows that the average price of apps downloaded in 2011 is up 14% on the average for last year--reversing a decline of roughly the same magnitude between 2009 and 2010.

The iPad is likely behind at least some of the price increases, since iPad apps do seem to cost slightly more, thanks to their more involved content. It's also possible the App Store is "growing up," and as it matures, developers are delivering more and more quality content for the platform, along with higher price tags.

This is yet another sign that Android and WebOS could lose their competitive edge: Developers already know iOS is where the money is, and now there seems to be more of it to go around.

Apple Tries To Block HTC Phones

As if the ongoing Apple-Samsung IP lawsuit isn't enough, Apple's now escalating its protracted battle with HTC. Apple is said to be requesting an import ban on HTC products into the U.S. on the grounds that HTC's smartphones violate numerous Apple patents.

Apple had previously pressed legal action against HTC, targeting specific Android phones that it claimed were illegally exploiting Apple-protected inventions, which was seen as a shot across Google's bow.

Antitrust Concerns About Nortel Patent Purchase

Despite a previous regulatory go-ahead, antitrust investigators are now said to be examining the Apple-led consortium that successfully purchased Nortel's patent portfolio. The concern seems to be that Google may be facing an unfair mass of competitors, which could result in higher fees for Google's "free" Android OS.

Maybe the antitrust folk should ponder exactly how serious Google was in its bidding for Nortel's patent treasure-trove: Bidding Pi in dollars doesn't seem necessarily very business-minded to us...

[Image: Flickr user earlysound]

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

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