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After Apple launches a new product, it often takes a few months before they are able to build up enough stock of defective and returned products to start selling refurbished versions. Apple has apparently collected enough stock of the latest iPad mini and fourth-gen iPad as they are now available through Apple's online store.
Stock of the refurbished products is still constrained. Customers are limited in selection as the WiFi-only iPad mini is only available with 32GB of storage. The WiFi + LTE is available with only 16GB of storage. Moving to the fourth-gen iPad, users can only select 16GB or 32GB versions of the WiFi-only and WiFi+Verizon LTE models.
Furthermore, the discount offered by buying refurbished isn't that great. On the 32GB WiFi iPad mini, users only save $40, or 9 percent. On the 16GB WiFi+LTE, users only save $30, or 6 percent. It's up to you to decide whether these savings are worth buying a refurbished product.
We just can't get enough Apple rumors around here and there seems to be no way to stop them from floating around. The latest rumor out of the rumor mill is that Apple is turning to TSMC for their next processor. According to DigiTime's sources, TSMC will be taping out the processor sometime this month.
We're always a bit wary of what DigiTimes reports, but it does make some sense. We've heard rumors that Apple is looking to move away from rival Samsung's fabs. We've also heard rumors that the next iPhone, the iPhone 5S, could be launching as soon as June. The A7 would likely be ready for commercial products in early 2014, meaning we could see it in the iPhone 6.
TSMC is said to be expanding production capabilities at 14-fab, investing around $16.87 billion. Sources added that this is where they expect the Apple A7 to be produced. We'll keep our eyes out for more A7 news and bring anything worthwhile to your attention.
Since its release, the iPhone has been solely manufactured by Foxconn, but that is about to change with Apple's next-generation iPhone. A well connected KGI Securities analyst named Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple will be splitting the manufacturing of its upcoming iPhone 5S between two companies.
Apple will diversify its manufacturing between Foxconn and Pegatron. While Foxconn will still get a bite of the iPhone pie, Pegatron will handle 75% of the FDD-LTE version of the upcoming entry level iPhone, and 55% of legacy hardware.
In his research notes, which were picked up by website Apple Insider, Ming-Chi also estimated that Apple will ship 35.8 million iPhone 5S handsets in 2013 and 53.4 million entry-level iPhone devices.
BlackBerry might not be doing so well, but when you have a mystery partner snap up a cool one million BB10 devices, you can't help but celebrate. The company announced on Wednesday that an "established" partner had agreed to buy one million BlackBerry 10 devices.
This deal is somewhat of a big deal, as it is the largest-ever single purchase order in BlackBerry's history. The company won't talk about who the partner is exactly, with BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery telling AllThingsD: "We are bound by confidentiality and cannot disclose our partner's name."
Google acquires DNNresearch Inc, will help the company on their speech and image recognition software
Google are looking to give their image and speech recognition software a nice boost, so they've acquired DNNresearch Inc. DNNresearch Inc was a startup out of the University of Toronto's computer science department, and now a part of the Mountain View-based giant.
The startup was founded by University professor Geoffrey Hinton and two of his graduate students last year, with Google interested in the company's research on deep neural networks, which will assist the company on improving their speech and image recognition software. Professor Hinton will now continue his work with the University, as well as continuing his research with Google.
Mega founder and boss, Kim Dotcom, has said that he will never see the inside of a US jail. He was at the South By Southwest conference in Austin this week, through Skype of course, where he talked about his ongoing legal fisticuffs with the US government.
Dotcom has said that he is confident that his upcoming trial will see him victorious, and that serving jail-time in the US just isn't going to happen. He said: "I will never be in a prison in the U.S., I can guarantee you that." He also added that he doesn't expect the Obama Administration to send a drone over his mansion, either.
Samsung's Galaxy S IV is being launched in 24 hours, so it is about time Apple's marketing chief, Paul Schiller, came out on damage control. Because, you know, they make the devices that everyone else copies.
Well, the Apple marketing chief has had some interesting things to say about the Android user experience, and how it is not a pleasant experience. Schiller yet again attacked Android's continued fragmentation problems, describing it as "plain and simple". He took a big jab at Android, saying: "Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone."
That wasn't all, Schiller also attacked Android for a lack of integrated software solutions - something I personally laughed out loud over - where he said:
When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. They don't work seamlessly together.
Google is looking to double the size of its Kirkland, Washington complex. The offices, which are just down the road from Microsoft's headquarters, will play home to more engineers. The current complex comes in at roughly 180,000 square feet. The expanded space will be leased from SRM Development.
SRM Development owns the land next to Google's current space and will start construction on the new buildings in January. The new space is expected to be complete sometime in 2015.
"We are excited to expand our presence in Kirkland, where we have one of the largest engineering offices outside of our headquarters in Mountain View," Google said in a statement.
Google already has more than 1000 employees in Washington state. The Kirkland office is home to the engineering teams responsible for Google+ and Chrome and should remain a purely engineering complex.
The new space will consist of two buildings. Underneath the two stories of office space will be two levels of parking garage. The two buildings will be connected with an atrium.
Western Digital has invested in Skyera, a start-up focusing on all-SSD products for the enterprise market. The investment comes as part of Skyera's Series B round of financing, in which Skyera raised $51 million.
Radoslav Danilak, CEO of Skyera:
The backing of Western Digital has enabled us to ramp our business across marketing, sales and engineering which has been instrumental in creating the industry's most innovative solid-state solution. With our skyHawk family of enterprise solid-state storage systems we are witnessing the next era of solid-state storage and I strongly believe that having a close working relationship with Western Digital, the world's top disk drive vendor, is invaluable as we set out to reshape the storage landscape.
Steve Milligan, president and CEO, Western Digital:
One of our primary goals in developing strategic relationships with technology innovators in the broader storage ecosystem is to enable customers to develop highly optimized storage solutions that meet their changing data management needs. We see companies like Skyera as offering a dramatic improvement over traditional approaches to emerging storage challenges. We will continue to support innovation by collaborating with customers and partners, and investing in companies who are addressing today's most exciting storage opportunities.
For those interested, one of the main employees at Skyera is the engineer behind SandForce SF-1000 and SF-2000.
Andy Rubin has resigned from head of Android development. In his place, Google has appointed Sundar Pichai. Pichai has previously been the senior vice president for Chrome and Apps and is a nine-year veteran of Google. This could indicate that Chrome OS and Android will start to get cozy with each other, something that has previously been predicted.
It would be interesting if Google were able to allow Android apps to run on Chrome OS. It shouldn't be that hard of a task, but Pichai has said that it is much too early to discuss whether this is in the cards.
Sergey and I first heard about Android back in 2004, when Andy Rubin came to visit us at Google. He believed that aligning standards around an open-source operating system would drive innovation across the mobile industry. Most people thought he was nuts. But his insight immediately struck a chord because at the time it was extremely painful developing services for mobile devices. We had a closet full of more than 100 phones and were building our software pretty much device by device. It was nearly impossible for us to make truly great mobile experiences.[/quote]