News Roundup: Leopard - Is May 11 the Big Day? Plus, iPhone Rival Insists Keypad Is King, and More

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News Roundup: Leopard - Is May 11 the Big Day? Plus, iPhone Rival Insists Keypad Is King, and More

Mark your calendars for Friday, May 11: Well, you know, if you want to believe yet another rumor. The website "Switch to a Mac" does some serious analysis - with a dash of prognostication - to conclude that Apple will release Leopard on May 11. Why not during WWDC, as others have predicted? "I don't think such a move would be strategic because it would be in the best interest of Apple, the Apple community, and Apple investors to allow the Mac user base to have 'hands on' experience prior to WWDC."


On the topic of dates to prepare for, Piper Jaffray analysts told Avid shareholders to look forward to April 15 (and not because it's You-Know-What Day). PJ is predicting that Apple will make a Final Cut Pro-related announcement at the NAB conference.


Smartphone maker says keypad is king: A Sony Ericsson exec is standing by the idea that mobile phones need a physical keypad - a feature that, as we all know, the iPhone lacks. (The software-based QWERTY keyboard doesn't count.) "Consumers are more willing to dial a number with the keyboard than they are to do it with a touchscreen," Gilles Oriol, product marketing manager for Western Europe at SonyEricsson, told the BBC's website. And for good measure: "The point about a touchscreen is that it affects battery time. You need a powerful battery because to use the touchscreen means it remains on all the time."


Speaking of, there's speculation that Synaptics of Santa Clara, California, will supply the touchscreens for the iPhone. Synaptics won't confirm the rumor, natch.


And if you have been trying to figure out how to get out of your current wireless service plan so you can switch to Cingular when you buy an iPhone, here's an idea.


We're No. 34! Apple ranks 34th in the BusinessWeek Fifty, the magazine's list of the 50 most influential companies in a variety of industries. ( is 11th. Adobe took the 19th slot. And Microsoft sits all the way down on the 63rd rung. That's more than 50, you say? BW added 25 more, just for fun. No. 1? Oh, you know…Google. Are you surprised?)


But rather than get bogged down in numbers, Roughly Drafted submits an argument for ignoring (or at least taking with a grain of salt) those pesky market share statistics.


The college kids (and SMBs) love their Macs: A Pennsylvania liberal arts college is ditching plans to buy new PCs and will opt for Macs instead. The reason? It's a money-saver. That's because the college can buy fewer machines to accommodate the need to run Windows (via Boot Camp) and Mac software. In a similar vein, lower prices and Intel chips are two of three reasons small business owners are taking a serious look at the Mac platform.


Righting customer service wrongs in China: After many complaints from Chinese consumers about shoddy after-sales service for iPods, Apple says it will do what it can to fix the problems. If we were Apple, we'd get right on that. With a population of 1.3 billion and a rapidly rising middle class, China seems ripe to become a huge market for Apple. If they could just address the problem of piracy...


From the "Omigod it's finally happened" department: A Microsoftie admits that piracy benefits the company. Jeff Raikes, prez of Microsoft's business division, told those gathered at a Morgan Stanley tech conference: "Our number-one goal is that we want people to use our product. If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else," he said. "And that's because we understand that in the long run the fundamental asset is the install base of people who are using our products."


Stuff to do this weekend: Reach out and touch someone on your Mac. (Also try Camfrog for this purpose.) Check out Miglia's TVMax+, a digital hub that works with the iPod, Apple TV, and your Mac to allow you to watch TV on any screen in the house. Make some yogurt. Or, better yet, locate a live music show in your area.




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