This week, Bloomberg sparked a number of headlines with reports that iPad mini demand was failing based on supplier Pegatron’s earnings numbers as revealed at an investor conference. Those claims were later refuted by Pegatron CEO Jason Cheng, who argued that Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan had misquoted him to reach his conclusion about iPad mini numbers.
The problem here is one that comes up repeatedly for Apple watchers, namely that of trying to divine from scattered sources what the future holds for the iPhone maker. Reports of slowdowns, layoffs or weak fiscal results from any number of supplier companies, including Pegatron, Foxconn and Sharp have bloggers feverishly pounding keys, predicting dire straits for Apple to come. The problem is, these have never been a very strong indicator of what’s actually going on with Cupertino and its products, and for good reason.
As Fortune’s Phillip Elmer-DeWitt learned from Cheng via email, Pegatron has a wide customer base and never breaks out how each of those are affecting its bottom line or its quarterly financial outlook. Pegatron has its fingers in all kinds of pies, including home video game consoles and e-readers, both of which are currently suffering badly in terms of consumer sales.
Here’s a look back at some equally dire reports from recent memory that also turned out not to have any relation whatsoever to anything Apple was doing, performance-wise.
- Apple’s Q2 Earnings Foreshadowed by Weak Foxconn Results – Disappointing results at Foxconn for its most recent quarterly results were seen as a bad sign for Apple’s progress, but it still filed extremely impressive results, despite a rare year-over-year earnings decline.
- Apple’s Suppliers Experienced A Very Weak February – Supplier reports indicated that Apple was having weak iPad sales, which obviously wasn’t correct as it blew expectations away in terms of sales of its iOS tablet devices.
- Apple iPhone 5 Sales Showing Weakness – Apple was seen as dramatically underperforming relative to Wall Street’s consensus estimates on iPhone sales for Q1 2013, and in fact they exceeded consensus by a fair number (selling 47.8 million iPhones).
- Exclusive: Japan’s Sharp cuts iPad screen output – Sharp shipping woes on iPad panels were seen as an indicator that Apple was having difficulty moving iPads, prompting one analyst firm to predict that Apple would ship only around 8 million iPads in Q1 2013, when in fact they shipped 22.9 million.
In the best of cases, supply chain reports offers some vague insight into the larger picture of Apple’s inventory channels, but when looked to for solid indicators of performance, they’re about as dependable as using a magic 8 ball. The iPad mini, by all reasonable accounts, looks to be a very strong performer for Apple, and it’s very likely we’ll see that trend continue.
“Space,” a great man once said, “is the place.” Over the centuries, the cosmos have inspired mankind’s imagination and innovation, in pursuit of that final frontier. The past few decades, however, have seen a fading of such romantic pursuits, a phenomenon no better illustrated than with the end of NASA’s shuttle program. So, where does that put us in 2013? This month, we travel the country in pursuit of an answer, speaking to some of the top minds in the public and private space games.
We kick things off with a profile of LiftPort, a commercial space endeavor operating out of a small garage in rural Washington State that has been funding its dreams of space elevators through crowdfunded Kickstarter campaigns. Next, we head out to Cape Canaveral in Florida, where Swamp Works has set up shop in an old Apollo training facility. NASA scientists will tell us about some of the organization’s far-out plans for getting to Mars and back and 3D printing structures on lunar and planetary surfaces once we arrive.
NASA’s Tom Rivellini joins us to discuss “seven minutes of terror,” and what it takes to land a rover on the surface of Mars. We’ll also pay a visit to NASA’s Ames facility to discuss why space travel is still important to life on Earth. And while out in the San Francisco Bay Area, we swing by the SETI institute to find out how the organization is actively looking for extraterrestrial life in the universe, including a discussion with SETI founder and developer of the Drake Equation, Frank Drake.
Next up, things get a bit animated with Packing for Mars author Mary Roach, who will discuss the grosser side of manned space travel, while professional prognosticator (and sometimes rock musician) John Roderick kicks off his new reoccurring segment by explaining how space exploration helps him get out of bed in the morning.
We also take a closer look at how the commercial space sector is pushing exploration forward with Google Lunar X Prize senior director, Alexandra Hall, a lunar rover team at Carnegie Mellon, the Space Angels Network VC firm and Laser Motive, which is working on powering crafts through lasers. Then we’ll cap things off by speaking to two former movie costume makers who have launched their own commercial space suit companies. Excited? Take one small step with us after the break.
News of the Blackberry Z10/Q10, plus my hands on assessment of the Samsung Galaxy S III mini. Video Rating: 4 / 5Related Posts:
The latest company to release its quarterly and year-end earnings report is LG, and the good news is that unlike last year’s losses, it has managed to eke out a net profit of $ 80.75 million. Revenues overall were down six percent from last year, but its operating profit moved way up to $ 1.01 billion from $ 342.06 million for 2011. Its TV division also reported record sales and a full year profit of over $ 480 million, while its cellphone division’s revenue for Q4 was the highest of the year as it shipped 8.6 million smartphones. There’s a few more numbers in the press release after the break, we’re still digging through them so check back in a moment for more updates.Show full PR text
LG ANNOUNCES FOURTH-QUARTER AND FULL-YEAR 2012 FINANCIAL RESULTS All Business Units Report Improved 2012 Operating Income from Previous Year
SEOUL, Jan. 30, 2013 – LG Electronics Inc. (LG) today announced consolidated revenues of KRW 50.96 trillion (USD 45.22 billion) and a net profit of KRW 91 billion (USD 80.75 million) for full-year 2012. Despite a 6 percent revenue decrease from 2011, operating profits increased significantly in 2012 to KRW 1.14 trillion (USD 1.01 billion) from KRW 379 billion (USD 342.06 million) in full-year 2011.
Fourth quarter 2012 consolidated revenues were KRW 13.50 trillion (USD 12.37 billion) with an operating profit of KRW 107 billion (USD 98.08 million). Unaudited consolidated financial results for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012 showed a net loss of KRW 468 billion (USD 428.96 million) which reflects a fine related to alleged cathode-ray tube pricing issues imposed by the European Commission in December.
The LG Home Entertainment Company reported record sales of flat-panel TVs with 9.3 million units in the fourth quarter resulting in a 17.4 percent revenue increase quarter-on-quarter to KRW 6.44 trillion (USD 5.91 billion) and full-year operating profit of KRW 542 billion (USD 480.92 million). Revenues from 3D and Smart TVs increased with higher unit sales in the United States, Europe and CIS countries. Although the Home Entertainment Company had the strongest quarter of the year in terms of revenue, profitability declined somewhat due to lower average selling prices and increased competition. LG will continue to aggressively market 3D and Smart TVs and plans to expand its share of the premium TV segment in 2013 with Ultra HD TVs and OLED TVs.
The LG Mobile Communications Company reported a 7 percent unit increase quarter-on-quarter in mobile handset shipments to 15.4 million with more than half of the units coming from smartphones. Smartphone shipments grew 23 percent compared to the previous quarter, increasing to 8.6 million devices from the 7 million in the third quarter. Fourth quarter revenues were the highest of the year, growing 15 percent to KRW 2.81 trillion (USD 2.58 billion) quarter-on-quarter. Sales of premium LTE smartphones such as Optimus G and Vu:2 increased in the fourth quarter, as did the L-series and Google Nexus 4. With more European and emerging markets introducing LTE services this year, LG plans to increase smartphone revenues and market share by launching follow-up devices to Optimus G and the L-series as well as the new F-series.
The LG Home Appliance Company posted almost flat revenues year-on-year, with sales of KRW 2.94 trillion (USD 2.7 billion) in the fourth quarter as strong sales in the U.S. and CIS countries were largely offset by sluggish demand in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Profitability was affected by unfavorable foreign exchange rates and increased marketing investments, even though average selling prices for home appliance products rose in the fourth quarter. The company plans to improve its revenue and profitability in 2013 with more competitive products, advanced technologies and a stronger focus on profitable regions.
The LG Air Conditioning & Energy Solutions Company reported sales of KRW 683 billion (USD 626 million) in the fourth quarter, essentially unchanged year-on-year. An operating loss of KRW 11 billion (USD 10.08 million) in the quarter showed improvement from the same period last year due to operational efficiencies. For full-year 2012, the company recorded revenues of KRW 4.35 trillion (USD 3.86 billion) and operating profit of KRW 156 billion (USD 138.42 million). The priority in 2013 will be to introduce more energy-efficient and localized products to bolster revenue growth.
2013 Business Direction For 2012, LG Electronics is targeting a revenue goal of KRW 53.5 trillion with plans to spend KRW 2.5 trillion in capital expenditures.
2012 4Q Exchange Rates Explained Starting from the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company has modified its disclosure of operating profit or loss in accordance with the newly issued Amendments to Korea-International Financial Reporting Standards (K-IFRS) 1001 “Presentation of Financial Statements.” Due to this change, the Company has also reclassified comparative financial data in accordance with the new disclosure requirement. Amounts in Korean won (KRW) are converted into U.S. dollars (USD) at the average rate of the three month period in each corresponding quarter: KRW 1,091 per USD (2012 4Q) and KRW 1,146 per USD (2011 4Q). Average rate of the twelve-month period in 2012 was KRW 1,127 per USD.
Earnings Conference and Conference Call LG Electronics will hold a Korean-language earnings news conference on Jan. 30, 2013 at 16:30 Korea Standard Time at the LG Twin Tower Auditorium (B1 East Tower, 20 Yeouido-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea). An English language conference call will follow on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:00 Korea Standard Time (01:00 GMT/UTC). Participants are instructed to call +82 31 810 3069 and enter the passcode 9084#. The corresponding presentation file will be available for download at the LG Electronics website (www.lg.com/global/ir/reports/earning-release.jsp) at 13:00 on Jan. 30, 2013. Please visit http://pin.teletogether.com/eng/ and pre-register with the passcode provided. For those unable to participate, an audio recording of the news conference will be available for a period of 30 days after the conclusion of the call. To access the recording, dial +82 31 931 3100 and enter the passcode 142680# when prompted.
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Microsoft’s mobile track record has more good points than bad — Windows Mobile helped push the limits of what a phone could do, and Windows Phone is a refreshing competitor in a market currently dominated by two other operating systems.
That said, Microsoft put out some real stinkers too. Wired got its hands on some videos of Microsoft’s infamous Kin handsets undergoing some pre-release testing, and the unlucky saps tasked with playing with the devices revealed what the rest of us would only figure out later: the Kins were just god-awful.
Seriously, it’s worth taking just a few minutes to see how soundly these folks panned Microsoft’s not-so-smartphones. For a pair of devices meant to appeal to the younger set with its focus on social networking, one participant notes that his daughter would probably give a Kin back “very quickly.” Another gentleman notes that he’d have returned either phone had he actually, you know, paid money for them. Perhaps most damning, the touch response on the Kin Two was abysmal enough that one tester stated that using it was a “turn off” compared to his own button-laden phone.
In fairness, these were clearly non-final devices, but flaky hardware and interaction quality weren’t the only things the Kin had going against it. If you’ll recall, the two tween-centric devices launched exclusively with Verizon Wireless and were caught in a sort of no man’s land between feature phones and smartphones — Kins One and Two were saddled with the need for full-blown $ 30 unlimited data plans, making them hard sells to cost-conscious families (especially when devices like the carrier’s immensely-popular Droid line made better use of a data plan than the Kins ever did).
As the story goes, the Kins went on to sell tremendously poorly, prompting Microsoft to officially pull the plug on their curious little phones after only two months… until Verizon started selling them again sans data plans. It’s perhaps no surprise then that Verizon Wireless seemed to remain wary of Microsoft’s future efforts. Until now, the carrier only had a single Windows Phone device among its ranks. To Microsoft’s credit, they switched gears quite nicely and Windows Phone is generally a joy to use, but it’s worth remembering that the company’s mobile push wasn’t without its very prominent misses.Related Posts:
With certain exceptions, HBO has developed a reputation for being protective of where and how its content goes digital. That makes Louis CK’s plans for a 2013 comedy special a slight jolt to the system, even though it’s not his first digital release linked to the channel. While HBO will get a first crack at airing the show, which will be recorded during Louis’ ongoing tour, the comedian now plans to post the production online a few months afterwards using the same successful formula that has become his calling card: $ 5, no DRM and no region restrictions. The offering doesn’t overhaul the industry, but it undoubtedly wrests control from the network as soon as the download link goes live. Think of Louis as making a small crack in cable TV’s content wall.
It can be tough to shake the notion that art and technology are conflicting forces — that is, until you’re confronted by a concept that lives at the crossroads of these seemingly dissonant concepts. For this latest episode of the Engadget Show, we set up shop right there, in order to explore what it means when technology itself is a work of art. We’re starting things off at the New Museum on the Bowery in Manhattan, where Tim and Brian will be diving deep into the “Ghosts in the Machine” exhibition, to check out pieces like Stan VanDerBeek’s Movie-Drome, a dome dreamed up in the mid-60s that foresaw a world in which the viewer is bombarded by visual stimuli. We’ll also discuss how the museum is harnessing the power of the web to open its offerings up well beyond its gallery doors.
We speak to the founder and principle players of comedy performance art group Improv Everywhere about the role technology has played in the rise of the group and some of its most famous (and infamous) pranks. As ever, we’re breaking out the Gadget Table to discuss the month’s latest and greatest (and not-so-greatest), including the iPhone 5, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1, before Brian heads out to the private (annex) library of comedian-turned-deranged-billionaire John Hodgman to discuss how technology is impacting the publishing industry.
While we’re at it, we’ll be speaking with the producer and director of the classic film Baraka and its newly released spiritual sequel, Samsara and paying a visit to the gang at Breakfast New York, who have worked with the likes of Google and Conan O’Brien to turn advertising into art. All that and the introduction of our latest feature “Ask @hodgman.” Welcome to the new Engadget Show.
After a few humid and sweaty days in Tokyo, TGS 2012 is drawing to a close. While the public days continue through the weekend, us media types are headed back to our respective homelands until next September. The lasting impression from the week — aside from eating massive amounts of gyoza — will undoubtedly be the news Sony dropped the day before the show started at its own press event. A new, even slimmer PS3 is on the way and two new colors for the PS Vita were outed — at least for Japan. On the show floor, though, we encountered some peripherals well-suited for other gaming tech like Nintendo’s 3DS XL, Xbox 360 and PC rigs. You can peek at those for yourself in the Sony Tokyo Game Show gallery that follows and relive all the action in the wrap-up that lies just beyond the break. Also, don’t forget to check out our pals over at Joystiq for more coverage from this week’s happenings.
Gallery: Tokyo Game Show 2012 wrap-up
This week Japan’s capital city welcomes gamers from around the globe for some show and tell with the country’s finest at TGS. As for us, we’re particularly anxious to see what Sony may have in store. Will we see another PS3 redesign? Perhaps some buzz about it’s next-gen console? Will we see some energized color options for the PS Vita? We’re eager to find out. Worried you’re too far away to be in the loop with the happenings here? Fret not! We’ve got you covered on all of the proceedings at Makuhari Messe, so keep your peepers locked here for all of the latest news over the next few days.
Sean Buckley contributed to this report.