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Synaptics may play role in next-gen iPods

post #1 of 29
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Apple Computer may once again tap Synaptics, Inc. to help supply touch interface components for its next-generation iPod digital music players, one analyst says.

The longtime supplier of Apple TrackPad and Click-Wheel technology has had its share of ups and downs in recent years due to inconsistent streaks of business from the iPod maker, historically one of its largest customers.

"Based on recent channel checks, we believe it is probable for Synaptics to resume material volumes as a second source supplier for iPod interfaces in [its first fiscal quarter of 2007]," Cowen and Company analyst Robert Stone told his clients on Monday.

The analyst guesstimates such a deal could add $15M to Synaptics' top line in the second half of 2006 and as much as $24M in 2007.

"Given the importance of iPod for Apple, we have always believed a qualified second source of touch interfaces would lessen the risk of potential production glitches and add upside flexibility," he said.

Although Stone anticipates Apple's next round of iPod updates will be priced lower than existing models, he does not expect a heated price war between the players' component suppliers. Instead, the analyst believes Synaptics will be the beneficiary of a "relatively stable" share of touch interface component orders after Apple begins to ramp production of the players.

"We believe the resumption of iPod business [at Synaptics] will be reflected in guidance, and our best guess at the potential revenue impact suggests 30 percent [or more] upside in the shares relative to the market over the next 12 months," he added.

In an effort to regain tighter control of its intellectual property and component supply, Apple last year turned away from Synaptics as an interface solution designer for the TrackPad technology used in its Mac notebook product lines. Shortly thereafter, Apple attempted a similar move with its sourcing of iPod Click-Wheel components but ultimately recalled Synaptics to help supply parts during the thick of the 2005 holiday shopping season.
post #2 of 29
I sure wish they had gone with Synaptics for the Intel notebooks. It would be GREAT to have a working trackpad driver in Windows.
post #3 of 29
Just give me the damn thing already! I have a 3rd Gen iPod that works just fine but will buy this thing in a heartbeat. Why? Because it'll just be so damn cool!
post #4 of 29
I gotta admit,

It's taking too long to introduce another iPod. Others are starting to catch up in interface designs, extra features, more battery life, etc.

Apple needs to introduce another iPod to stay competitive.

 

 

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post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
I gotta admit,

It's taking too long to introduce another iPod. Others are starting to catch up in interface designs, extra features, more battery life, etc.

Apple needs to introduce another iPod to stay competitive.

Surely when they do (we hope) it'll blow the competition out of the water.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by crees!
Just give me the damn thing already! I have a 3rd Gen iPod that works just fine but will buy this thing in a heartbeat. Why? Because it'll just be so damn cool!

I thought the next iPod wasn't even going to have a clickwheel though. It's supposed to be all screen with a virtual clickwheel. Would Synaptics be the supplier for this new interface or are they just talking about capacity updates to the current model? They must be as there is no way they would cost less.

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     197619842013  

     Where were you when the hammer flew?  

 

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iPhone 5 • iPad 4 • CR48 Chromebook • ThinkPad X220

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post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
I sure wish they had gone with Synaptics for the Intel notebooks. It would be GREAT to have a working trackpad driver in Windows.

The driver supplied via bootcamp doesn't work?
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by mariofreak85
The driver supplied via bootcamp doesn't work?

It works, but it doesn't do anything but the least it could do (no acceleration, scrolling, clicking, dragging, etc). Lacking these things, an external mouse is really neccessary in XP.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
It works, but it doesn't do anything but the least it could do (no acceleration, scrolling, clicking, dragging, etc). Lacking these things, an external mouse is really neccessary in XP.

For clicking and dragging what's the different between using the mouse and the trackpad button? Scrolling / acceleration would be what it wouldn't have.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by crees!
Surely when they do (we hope) it'll blow the competition out of the water.

Yeah, like when Apple took the wraps off of the highly anticipated... boombox. Uh, never mind (in best "Radar O'Reilly" impression)

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by crees!
For clicking and dragging what's the different between using the mouse and the trackpad button? Scrolling / acceleration would be what it wouldn't have.

No, I mean tap to click and tap-hold to drag. I rarely use the actual button in OS X or on any other Windows laptop.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
I gotta admit,

It's taking too long to introduce another iPod. Others are starting to catch up in interface designs, extra features, more battery life, etc.

Apple needs to introduce another iPod to stay competitive.

Totally!!!

Apple has really slipped up this year. We wouldn't be talking about falling sales, loss of marketshare, competition from MS, if Apple came out with some new models.

They absolutely need a new line-up for the holiday season this year.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
It works, but it doesn't do anything but the least it could do (no acceleration, scrolling, clicking, dragging, etc). Lacking these things, an external mouse is really neccessary in XP.

Some of that is intentional. The supposition is that Apple doesn't want to make the Windows experience TOO enjoyable.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
Yeah, like when Apple took the wraps off of the highly anticipated... boombox. Uh, never mind (in best "Radar O'Reilly" impression)

I have one. It's pretty damn good! I wouldn't replace my five figure system, but it's pretty amazing for what it is. Especially if you remove the decorative front cloth panel.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Apple has really slipped up this year. We wouldn't be talking about falling sales, loss of marketshare, competition from MS, if Apple came out with some new models.

hmmm, i wonder why this could be?...

oh yeah

The Great Transition maybe?? if you think about it, how much stuff have they/still are redesigning to make the transition to the intel chips?

LOADS!!!!!

thats why the new ipods have been semi sidelined. but then, there is a dedicated ipod develpement team, wow, now im arguing with myself, great...
"i find that if you keep talkin', your mouth comes up with stuff..." Karl Pilkington
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"i find that if you keep talkin', your mouth comes up with stuff..." Karl Pilkington
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post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Some of that is intentional. The supposition is that Apple doesn't want to make the Windows experience TOO enjoyable.

I disagree. I think that it's more the fact that they want to have one more thing that makes everyone want Leopard, so they're saving the drivers to be bundled when they let the new cat out of the bag. I'm not complaining either, I think it's a great marketing strategy and will probably buy Leopard the week it comes out. Not having seen Leopard, I guess this is just based on faith, but I'm sure that Steve will prove my faith is not misplaced the week after next (not that I think they'll show any Windows based features then, but a bunch of other really cool features on the OS X side of things).
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Not having seen Leopard, I guess this is just based on faith, but I'm sure that Steve will prove my faith is not misplaced the week after next.

The week after next, are you serious? Man I love trying my best not to pay attention to the WWDC date, current date and doing the math. Two more weeks... I can do this!
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
I disagree. I think that it's more the fact that they want to have one more thing that makes everyone want Leopard, so they're saving the drivers to be bundled when they let the new cat out of the bag. I'm not complaining either, I think it's a great marketing strategy and will probably buy Leopard the week it comes out. Not having seen Leopard, I guess this is just based on faith, but I'm sure that Steve will prove my faith is not misplaced the week after next (not that I think they'll show any Windows based features then, but a bunch of other really cool features on the OS X side of things).

You're making an assumption that they will do that. You don't know they will do that.

What will you say if they don't include them?
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
You're making an assumption that they will do that. You don't know they will do that.

What will you say if they don't include them?

I'll say I was wrong. You're right, it really is just a guess. I'm not sure about any specific drivers being released with Leopard at all. However, I am almost certain that Leopard will at least include some updated drivers for Bootcamp--or else the team that developed Boot Camp beta is no longer working on the project. Here's my predictions though (to be included in final version of Boot Camp, bundled with Leopard):

1. New touchpad driver for notebooks with support for acceleration and clicking at least.

2. New graphics card driver, with support for s-video conversion (currently impossible with the MB and the MBP).

3. A driver to support at least one of the following: IR sensor, iSight, or backlit keyboard. (I know that's kind of vague, but what do you care? This is realy just a guess anyway).
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
I'll say I was wrong. You're right, it really is just a guess. I'm not sure about any specific drivers being released with Leopard at all. However, I am almost certain that Leopard will at least include some updated drivers for Bootcamp--or else the team that developed Boot Camp beta is no longer working on the project. Here's my predictions though (to be included in final version of Boot Camp, bundled with Leopard):

1. New touchpad driver for notebooks with support for acceleration and clicking at least.

2. New graphics card driver, with support for s-video conversion (currently impossible with the MB and the MBP).

3. A driver to support at least one of the following: IR sensor, iSight, or backlit keyboard. (I know that's kind of vague, but what do you care? This is realy just a guess anyway).

It's always interesting to read people's thoughts. It's when they state that Apple WILL do this or that, where it becomes twitchy.

I THINK that it would be a good idea for Apple to support more of their tech in Leopard for a Windows boot. But, as it would have been fairly easy to do so now, for the camera, for example, one has to wonder why they haven't already.

One of those reasons could be that they simply don't want to. Why should Apple want to make Windows too warm and fuzzy? The idea behind letting people use Windows on the Mac at full speed is not to let them continue to do so, with all of the advantages of the machines' more esoteric features, but to make it easier for them to buy a Mac in the first place, as the complaint has always been, that without running Windows on the Mac at close to real speeds, people couldn't take the chance of switching over.

Apple likely wants people to do just that. Buy a Mac, run Windows at close to real speed without any major Windows features missing, but then wants them to feel a need to move over to OS X full time. If all of the features of the OS, and the machines running them, are equally available on Windows as well, there will be less of a need for that to happen.

I think that Apple is keeping some features in reserve for its OS X customers.

But, of course, I could be wrong as well.
post #21 of 29
I don't think there'd be a true advantage for Apple to deliberately keep some drivers (e.g. iSight) away. The iSight has already been hacked to run on Linux, so it's only a matter of time until someone figures out the same for Windows (it's a matter of extracting the firmware).

Therefore, a third-party driver will inevitably pop up, so Apple's "let's make Mac OS X look better" wouldn't have worked out.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
But, of course, I could be wrong as well.

I actually agree with you...

When they want to make something in windows, they need to put developers, testing, money over to that side. As it is, apple works their employees very hard. My friend is SQA at apple and works an insane amount of hours. Apple has so much up it's sleeve it really doesn't make much sense to go back over to windows and create perfect support for it. IMO it should be something to just get you by. Something I'm most excited about is using autocad on the mac. Even though autocad sucks compared to a lot of cad programs now days, it's still the industry standard no matter where you go!

But to get us back on topic...

Someone mentioned above about Synaptics producing just click-wheels for the upgrades... who's to say Synaptics couldn't produce the screen with the integrated click-wheel?

I think it would get Synaptics right back in there with a grand slam!

 

 

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post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
I don't think there'd be a true advantage for Apple to deliberately keep some drivers (e.g. iSight) away. The iSight has already been hacked to run on Linux, so it's only a matter of time until someone figures out the same for Windows (it's a matter of extracting the firmware).

Therefore, a third-party driver will inevitably pop up, so Apple's "let's make Mac OS X look better" wouldn't have worked out.

A hacked solution is never going to become widespread. A few people use it, and that's it!

Many times Apple has been taken to task for not supporting features, or technologies themselves, as this is the ONLY way that it will become widespread.

BootCamp itself, is an example. no matter how popular Parallel's software becomes, or Crossover, neither will ever hope to have the impact of a natively supported technology.

So, if some hack comes out, the techies will use it, and no one else.
post #24 of 29
Well, Parallels is actually very widespread, to the point where Apple even sells it in their retail stores. I do see your point, though, and expected it to come up. But you have to take into account that this could easily be seen as Apple deliberately worsening the Windows experience, and that will give Apple negative press.

Whereas, "you can do everything(!) in Windows with our hardware, but in Mac OS X, you can do it better!" would give positive press.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
Well, Parallels is actually very widespread, to the point where Apple even sells it in their retail stores. I do see your point, though, and expected it to come up. But you have to take into account that this could easily be seen as Apple deliberately worsening the Windows experience, and that will give Apple negative press.

Whereas, "you can do everything(!) in Windows with our hardware, but in Mac OS X, you can do it better!" would give positive press.

It could be true about the negative press, though, so that hasn't happened. I'm not sure that most people will think about it too much, except to notice it.

Remember that Apple could sell 5.5 million, or more machines this year, and 6 to 7 million next year.

All of those will have Boot Camp, or the Leopard equivalent. Compared to how many sales of Parallel's or Crossover's software (or anything else)? 25 thousand? 50 thousand? 100 thousand? 200 thousand? Maybe?
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Remember that Apple could sell 5.5 million, or more machines this year, and 6 to 7 million next year.

I'm more optimistic than that, myself.

Quote:
All of those will have Boot Camp, or the Leopard equivalent.

How so? Boot Camp requires a download plus a firmware update. Hardly something "all of those will have". Leopard won't even be out this year, unless something really unexpected happens.

So, I'm not sure Boot Camp will in fact be that wildly more popular than Parallels.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by Chucker
I'm more optimistic than that, myself.



Inwardly, I am. But I try to force myself to be more conservative.


Quote:
How so? Boot Camp requires a download plus a firmware update. Hardly something "all of those will have". Leopard won't even be out this year, unless something really unexpected happens.

So, I'm not sure Boot Camp will in fact be that wildly more popular than Parallels.

All machines next year, assuming that Leopard will come out in January, as some think, will have it. It's a free download from Apple. The firmware is only need on the earliest machines, and is easy to apply. So, maybe I'm a bit hasty about this years models, but I'll bet that far more people will be using Boot Camp than will be buying Parallel's software this year.

Also, it's very likely that Apple will continue to include this in Leopard, and whatever comes afterwards, likely much improved, or changed.

No matter how you look at it, whatever Apple supplies, it will far outstrip anything anyone else supplies. That's just the way it is.

That's the same thing that the PC industry went to war with MS about. The fact that MS includes software that kills their businesses, such as the browser. At the time, no one thought that Netscape could be dislodged. But it's amazing what free software, especially when included on every machine, can do.

Adobe had the same thing happen to Persuasion. Powerpoint was always considered to be a poor competitor. It could never compete as a stand alone product. Persuasion had outsold them by 3 to 1.

When MS added Powerpoint to Office, it killed Persuasion. Sales tumbled. Adobe stopped upgrading it, and finally discontinued it. I was surprised that it didn't become part of the federal lawsuit.

Whatever Apple's solution is, even if it isn't the best for some, it will be the dominant one. It will define way it is done, and it will make people pay attention to the Mac as a viable solution.

I'm sure that Apple doesn't care that much how people get persuaded to move over, as long as they do. But it requires a built-in solution to do it, even if people later find what they think is a better one, and for some, Parallels is a better one, just as Crossover will be.

EDIT:

I almost forgot to say that in favor of Crossover, for many people it will be the best solution, because as long as it runs their programs it will be the cheapest solution. It will cost $60, but then you don't need Windows at all.

If someone starts with that, they can always buy Windows later, and either use Parallels, or BootCamp.


Oh, and just one more thing ,

Parallels is working on a solution that might or might not work, but looks interesting. If it does work, it will let you use Windows from your BootCamp partition to run in Parallels, best of two worlds.

Keep your fingers crossed!
post #28 of 29
I think that of the 3 things I mentioned, the first two are actually neccessary to offer users the full windows experience. Using the trackpad to to control things in Windows is currently not a workable solution, you have to have an external mouse to get anything done. Also, being able to output your signal to s-video is a fairly standard thing across the laptop world (at least with an adapter). I don't think Apple would leave these two features hobbled. The 3rd item I predicted was really just hoping (hence the vagueness).

Melgross-
you say one has to wonder why they haven't already included these features. What about my proposition, that they would like this to be a selling point for Leopard. I think a lot of users would upgrade just to obtain the very features I predicted. If it makes the difference (between upgrading now or much later) to enough users, that could easily justify the relatively small amount of work it would take to implement these features.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally posted by bdj21ya
Melgross-
you say one has to wonder why they haven't already included these features. What about my proposition, that they would like this to be a selling point for Leopard. I think a lot of users would upgrade just to obtain the very features I predicted. If it makes the difference (between upgrading now or much later) to enough users, that could easily justify the relatively small amount of work it would take to implement these features. [/B]

That's always possible, of course.
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