Five stories that caught our eye this morning include Apple's new Beijing Store opening tomorrow, Apple's legal loss in the UK and Sharp's IGZO display is now in the market and it certainly has a bright future. To round off our report we point to Microsoft slapping their long standing hardware partners and Google takes another crack at cheap notebooks for everyone.
1. New Apple Store Opening in Beijing
Apple will be opening its third store in Beijing on Saturday in the city's Wangfujing shopping area which is a well-known tourist area. The new Apple Store will be the largest in Asia. The store has a three-level architecture and will employ 300.
2. Apple Loses UK Tablet Design Appeal versus Samsung
Apple has lost its appeal against Samsung in a UK ruling that stated that Samsung had not infringed Apple's design rights. Three judges were involved in the Court of Appeal review of the case. One of the judges stated "Because this case (and parallel cases in other countries) has generated much publicity, it will avoid confusion to say what this case is about and not about," wrote Sir Robin Jacob.
"It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple's iPad. Infringement of a registered design does not involve any question of whether there was copying: the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design according to the tests laid down in the law. So this case is all about, and only about, Apple's registered design and the Samsung products."
In addition, Sir Robin wrote that Samsung's designs were "altogether busier" with a more varied use of colour on the devices' rear and their inclusion of a thicker section to house a camera.
Earlier this week, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a new iPad design patent; I guess it's too little too late.
Now for the part that's going to sting Apple and delight Samsung. According to the report, "Apple still needs to run ads saying Samsung had not infringed its rights."
Apple had previously been ordered to place a notice stating that Samsung didn't coy their designs and add a link to the original judgement on sites such as Daily Mail, Financial Times, T3 Magazine and other publications to "correct the damaging impression" that Samsung was a copycat. Yet considering that Apple won their case against Samsung in California, it would appear that the statement would be restricted to Apple's UK homepage. I'm still not sure Apple will go along with that, but time will tell if Apple is forced to eat crow. For more on this latest news, review the full BBC report.
3. Sharp's IGZO Display Outshines Apple's Retina
In June we reported that Sharp planned to start volume production of an LCD panel using the new IGZO TFT within fiscal 2012. Sharp documents reveal that they actually began production of their new smartphone displays in their Mie Plant No. 3 beginning on October first.
Sharp's new IGZO display offers 25-40% higher resolution than comparable devices from Samsung, Apple, Nokia and LG. Apple's new iPhone 5 offers 326 pixels per inch at 1136-by-640-pixel resolution while the new IGZO display offers an industry leading 440 pixels per inch on a five inch display at 1080 x 1,920 pixel resolution.
Other advantages of the new IGZO display include a power savings by its use of fewer LED backlights and the larger tablet sized display provides superior touch technologies that make it easier to write notes with a stylus. The new tablet sized displays were first revealed at a news conference this past June. The stylus angle is an intriguing one because of Apple's many standing patents for a next generation iPen. Whether they take advantage of this new display for writing with a new iPen is another matter.
The rumors of Apple considering the new display began to surface in December 2011. Sharp has previously said at least one of its customers also planned to incorporate the innovation in its devices, which could point to Apple who wants to move production away from Samsung. The displays weren't ready in time for Apple's 2012 product scheduling and will remain a question mark until Apple actually debuts it on a product. As we all know by now, Apple won't be pre-announcing any move on this front until it's debuting on a new product.
The new Sharp Aquos Pad is the first tablet sized design for their IGZO technology.
The first company to use the new IGZO display for a smartphone for the holiday season is HTC. They're calling it the J butterfly.
4. Google Unveils $249 ChromeOS Laptop
In February we reported that "Google Patent Clearly Eying the Desktop Market for Android," which covered a trackpad for a notebook and beyond. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that on Thursday, Google unveiled a $249 Samsung Electronics Co. laptop powered by ChromeOS, an operating system based on the browser that will be able to access websites and Web apps such as Gmail, Google Docs and certain games. Google calls it the laptop For Everyone.
5. Microsoft Slaps Long Standing PC Partners with Firm Vision for Own Hardware Business
Microsoft's Surface RT tablets for sale at US$499-699 are expected to put large competitive pressure on Widows 8 tablets from Acer, Asustek Computer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, ZTE and other vendors because features and positioning are similar but Surface RT has a price advantage, according to Taiwan-based notebook supply chain makers.
DigiTimes is reporting that their sources from "notebook players also pointed out that through their negotiations with Microsoft during the past few months, they can see that the software designer is firm about establishing its own hardware business and will no longer be concerned about its downstream partners' thoughts or complaints."
Why oh why did HP dump WebOS as they did prematurely. Here's to hoping that when HP releases a Haswell CPU based tablet late next year that they'll re-introduce WebOS as a secondary OS. Intel's Haswell processor will support multiple operating systems. If HP's CEO Meg Whitman is listening: If you want to show the market that HP can still actually matter in the tablet world, then you have to bring WebOS back as a secondary OS on your late 2013 tablets. Although that's as likely to happen as me winning a million dollar lottery this weekend, I'll hope against all hope that HP has a strategy for the tablet market that will help to differentiate their offerings from the Window cloners. Time will tell.
Lastly, it should be pointed out for those Macites that may have to adopt a Windows 8 Tablet to stay on top of their work projects, Microsoft's RT tablet won't allow you to run apps like iTunes or any other Windows based app outside of Microsoft's basics. So if you want to be able to play your iTunes on a Microsoft based tablet, then you'll have to opt for one of the Windows 8 tablets available from the list of OEMs that are noted at the beginning of this segment. For more on this, check out a new article out by Time.