Today's Earnings Call
Later today Apple will reveal its most recent quarterly finances, and the industry is aquiver with anticipation. Speculation on the stock markets has seen Apple's price soar over recent days. It's all with the expectation that having finally solved its iPad 2 supply chain issues, and boosted by iPhone sales on Verizon as well as improving Mac sales, Apple may post highly promising revenues.
It's already near a market capitalization of around $350 billion, with Exxon (the world's richest company) hovering just above $400 billion. If Apple's trajectory continues, there's a growing feeling the firm may become the largest firm in history, and the first to top a market cap of $1 trillion.
OS X Lion Tomorrow?
We know Apple's latest and greatest upgrade to its Mac operating system, OS X Lion, is imminent and Apple's long promised a "July" launch date. There's now a feeling and some evidence it'll hit the shelves tomorrow, July 20 That's because marketing materials have hit Apple Stores and there's an overnight effort by employees scheduled for tonight to install them—and Golden Master copies of the new OS have also been deployed to stores for in-store demonstration Macs.
Schmidt Lashes Out At Apple Suits
Google's Eric Schmidt has spoken up publicly about Apple's numerous lawsuits, with particular reference to the recent patent victory over HTC. Schmidt, speaking at Google's Mobile Revolution conference, noted that "the big news in the past year has been the explosion of Google Android handsets and this means our competitors are responding" before defending Google by saying "we have not done anything wrong and these lawsuits are just inspired by our success." Then came the slight against Apple in particular: "They are not responding with innovation, they're responding with lawsuits."
Schmidt seems to have conveniently forgotten that the ITC ruled HTC—using Android—did indeed violate Apple patents, so his firm could be seen as guilty of copying, and is therefore in the wrong, and is thus not innovating. And there's also the fact Apple created the whole modern smartphone genre, which Google then moved into afterwards, and that Google's being directly sued by PayPal for stealing its coding secrets. Schmidt's slipperiness on the subject may be related to the fact that Apple's patent win may result in royalty fees for Android handsets—thus mashing Google's "free" OS model.
NPD is predicting that Apple will report sales of Macs have reached 4.2 million for the last quarter, which would equal a year-on-year gain of 12%, the best-selling quarter for the iconic computer in Apple's history.
The likelihood is that many of these sales are of the new solid-state-only MacBook Air machines, which seem to have really caught the public's imagination (and inspired very near clones from big-name manufacturers), thanks to their slender design and the lack of a spinning hard drive.
We suspect Apple's been holding off on releasing new Macs until OS X Lion was ready—if that's now scheduled for July 20th then we may expect a slew of new machines at the same time. Early indications are that the upgraded MacBook Airs may also hit tomorrow, sporting faster Intel processors, enlarged entry-level SSD's of 128GB, and 4GB of RAM as standard.
These machines, if Apple keeps the price at a $999 for the entry level or—just possibly—drops it slightly, will quite definitely boost Apple's Mac sales yet more.
Apple "Close" To China Mobile Deal
The Wall Street Journal, which seems to be Apple's favored "leaky" news outlet, is reporting Apple's "closer" to sealing a deal with China Mobile, the nation's biggest provider. This would give it access to 600 million subscribers and, knowing how fervent Chinese Apple buyers can be, a huge boost to profits. The paper also confirms that acting CEO Tim Cook was personally present at some previous negotiations.
iPad HD Again
Those Apple "iPad HD" rumors keep swirling, with hints Apple's testing high-resolution displays at 2048 by 1536 pixels (two times the current resolution) made by LG and Samsung, and even DaringFireball's John Gruber—usually a very reliable source—is stating this as fact.
[Image: Flickr user tecfan]