Apple Inc took the wraps off an 8-inch tablet on Tuesday in its biggest product move since the debut of the iPad two years ago, launching a smaller version of the gadget into a market staked out by Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc.
The 7.9 inch “iPad mini” marks Apple’s first foray into the smaller-tablet segment. Apple also announced a fourth-generation full-sized iPad with improvements in graphics and processing speeds, just two days before Microsoft is due to show off its own “Surface” tablet.
Apple hopes to beat back their charge onto its home turf of consumer electronics hardware, while safeguarding its lead in the larger 10-inch tablet space that even deep-pocketed rivals like Samsung Electronics have found tough to penetrate.
Chief Executive Tim Cook kicked off Tuesday’s event, held at the opulent California Theater in San Jose, by touting the just-launched iPhone 5 as the fastest-selling smartphone in history. He added that there are now 200 million devices running iOS6, the fastest upgrade rate he has seen since the mobile software was launched about a month ago.
FLASH: Apple has sent out invitations for a special event on October 23. Watch Reuters.com for more.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc will no longer sell Amazon.com Inc’s Kindle products, making a bet that consumers are more interested in other gadgets.
The retailer said the decision was consistent with its overall merchandising strategy. While Wal-Mart dwarfs other retailers in overall sales, it trails Amazon and others in online sales and has been trying to beef up its Internet business.
Consumers who buy Kindle tablets such as the new Kindle Fire HD can shop on the devices for more than just digital books, pushing Amazon into heightened competition with stores.
“We have recently made the business decision to not carry Amazon tablets and eReaders beyond our existing inventory and purchase commitments,” Wal-Mart said in a memo sent to store managers on Wednesday. “This includes all Amazon Kindle models current and recently announced.”
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed the decision and said the company would continue to sell “a broad assortment” of other tablets, eReaders and accessories. Amazon declined to comment.
EXCLUSIVE: Wal-Mart stops selling Amazon Kindles
Google Inc’s Motorola Mobility unveiled three smartphones to help compete with bigger rivals Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co for the holiday shopping season.
Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile provider, will sell all three devices - the Droid Razr HD, the Droid Razr Maxx HD and the Droid Razr M - the companies said on Wednesday.
The smartphones will use Google’s Android software. Motorola showed off the phones at a press event in New York, its first big media gathering since Google bought Motorola in May. Google has said that the handset maker will remain a separate subsidiary and will make fewer phones than before.
The unveiling was part of a flurry of mobile device launches ahead of the holiday season throughout the industry. Earlier on Wednesday, Nokia Oyj and Microsoft Corp unveiled their flagship phone, the Lumia 920, which uses the latest Windows Phone operating software. Nokia did not announce any wireless operator partners for its device.
Amazon.com Inc is expected to unwrap new Kindle Fire tablets on Thursday, and Apple is expected to unveil the latest version of its seminal iPhone on September 12.
Apple Inc distributed invitations to an event in San Francisco on September 12, setting the stage for what is widely expected to be the release of its latest iPhone.
The invitation offers a clue that the fifth version of the popular iPhone could be in the pipeline. The invitation says “It’s almost here.”
A large number 12 on the invite, corresponding to the date of the event, casts a shadow of a number 5.The event will take place at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the site where Apple has unveiled various past products such as the iPad.
Photo: People attend the annual Apple Expo at the CNIT center at La Defense in Paris September 15, 1995. [Reuters/Mal Langsdon]
The website of a Moscow court that convicted three members of punk band Pussy Riot to two years in jail each for belting out a profanity-laced anti-Kremlin song inside a cathedral was hacked on Tuesday.
A slogan denouncing President Vladimir Putin was posted on the site as was an appeal for the trio’s release along with a video clip of one of the band’s latest anti-Putin songs and a clip by Bulgarian singer Azis, local media reported.
The hack attack - claimed by AnonymousRussia, which says it is affiliated with hacking activist group Anonymous - comes amid a chorus of criticism of the sentences, which Western governments and singers said were disproportionate and opponents of Putin called part of a crackdown on dissent.
A screenshot posted by opposition activist Ilya Yashin on Twitter showed the court’s web page topped by an inscription reading: “Putin’s thieving gang is plundering our country! Wake up, comrades!”
Another caption called for the release of the band’s jailed members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30.
The site of Moscow’s Khamovniki district court hamovnichesky.msk.sudrf.ru/ was operating normally by noon (0800 GMT) but its hacked version was on display for several hours on Tuesday morning.
Darya Lyakh, a spokeswoman for the court, said a department of the Supreme Court had asked federal investigators to look into the hacking attack.
At least one company benefited from Olympics fans in the United States who tried to circumvent NBC’s television coverage during the London Games.
AnchorFree, the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup released data to Reuters on Monday showing a major bump in users who installed a product that gives U.S. users an anonymous IP address in the United Kingdom.
Presumably the people who signed up for the product, called ExpatShield, used it to watch BBC’s online streams of the Olympics.
According to the data, the number of installs of the free software surged 1,153 percent in the United States during the games.
The company, which recorded an average of 220 installs a day before the Olympics, saw the number of installs increase to 2,753 installs during the 17-day event.
Its daily number of users also quadrupled to 8,121 compared to 2,040 average users before the Olympics. The peak day was on July 31 when 10,105 users logged in to catch the U.S. women take gold in the gymnastics team final while in swimming, South Africa’s Chad le Clos edged out Michael Phelps in the 200 meter butterfly.