Apple Could Drop iPhone to $99, Destroy Competition

Oh those crazy analysts. Always making predictions and playing fast and loose with our emotions. Consider, for instance, the latest tidbit from Needham Research’s Charlie Wolf. According to Wolf, it is well within Apple’s power to offer the 8GB iPhone at the very attractive price point of $99, after contract subsidy.

This would see iPhone pricing on par with Blackberry’s Pearl and Curve, favorite handsets of first-time smartphone owners. Were Apple to offer its own “gateway drug,” so to speak, they could expect to see their sales double or even triple, according to Wolf. Considering the numbers they put up in their most recently disclosed financial reports, this would obviously amount to a substantial market share grab.
The numbers, says Wolf, would enable Apple to still make a 42.3% profit on each handset hold at the $99 price point, owing to the heavy subsidy provided by AT&T in the U.S. and the manufacturing cost of each device as of this past summer. Not to mention the fact that Apple has some breathing room in terms of their cash on hand, as disclosed at the conference call last Tuesday.
$99 dollars enters into impulse buy territory for many consumers, and would also help prepare the company to weather economic woes. Combined with an aggressive promotional campaign, the sub-$100 price point could give traditional handsets like the RAZR a run for their money, as long as consumers are aware of the significant feature upgrade they’re getting for the extra cash. Getting people to turn away from free devices and towards the iPhone would also likely require more decreases in data subscription rates. Or they could market the phone without the data option, and wait for consumers to decide on their own to upgrade their subscription once they realize how much functionality they stand to gain.
If you haven’t already, would you take the plunge for $99?

San Jose Mayor to Cleantech Startups: Call Me!

The mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed, has a message for all the cleantech startups out there — give him a call and let him know what you need. In a video interview with us Reed gives out his digits and tells green companies looking to do business — building plants, establishing headquarters — to come to San Jose and contact the city to see what kind of incentives are available. Reed says the city can move at the speed of business, which was the key to securing the new Tesla plant. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk told us in a previous interview that he was really surprised that the city of San Jose could move so quickly, “almost like a commercial operation.”

Check out our video on how Reed intends to turn San Jose into the cleantech capital of the world, with a Green Vision plan that calls for 25,000 cleantech jobs, reduced per capita energy consumption by 50 percent and 100 percent of the city’s electricity from clean power, all within 15 years.

StatShot: Top BitTorrented Movies and the Cool 100

StatShot is a weekly roundup of numbers you should know. We’ll be adding new data to this regular feature in the coming weeks. If you have a stat you want to share with readers on an ongoing basis, hit the contact button up top and send us a note.

This week, Robert Downey Jr. keeps his Iron fist clenched around the top spot as the most BitTorrented film this week (surprising that The Dark Knight hasn’t nabbed that spot). He’s joined by Jason Statham driving really fast in Death Race and Steve Carrell’s bumbling secret agent Get Smart, both of which are new to the list.

TorrentFreak’s Top Downloaded Movies on BitTorrent As of September 8, 2008
Rank Last Week Title
1 1 Iron Man
2 new Death Race
3 2 The Dark Knight
4 4 You Don’t Mess With the Zohan
5 new Get Smart
6 back Wanted
7 3 Speed Racer
8 6 The Happening
9 7 Hancock
10 9 Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

Read More about StatShot: Top BitTorrented Movies and the Cool 100

Green Mayors Compete for Cleantech as They Join on Climate Change

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed have been battling it out to make their neighboring cities greener than the other’s — every week it seems the Mayors have a new announcement of how they have added green jobs and coaxed a hot cleantech startup to set up shop in their locale. At the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Clean and Green conference where Newsom and Reed met to discuss a regional partnership to fight climate change, they openly discussed the municipal competition, calling it healthy to spur the growing industry.

Newsom said he’s actively watching San Jose’s green moves, “casing their joints,” and checking out the green info on its web site. High-profile green cities are all borrowing each other’s ideas, noted Newsom, pointing out that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has created a similar green taxi program and called for urban wind — just like San Francisco has previously done. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed had similar comments: “We are a little bit competing to be greenest, but it is good to have competition.”

Bay Area Mayors to Outline Plan of Attack on Climate Change

On Wednesday morning, Bay Area mayors — Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, Chuck Reed of San Jose and Ron Dellums of Oakland — will meet to discuss how to create “a regional climate compact” at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Clean and Green conference. The group plans to outline efforts to create measurable goals to meet green house reduction standards, and specifically how California can meet the goals of AB 32, which calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Other Bay Area leaders, like Attorney General Jerry Brown, former Congressman Tom Campbell, Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, Bill Watkins of Seagate, Tom Werner of SunPower and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, plan to attend the conference. The goals of the day are to start dialogues on ways to increase public transportation and electric vehicles, establish standards for green building and rooftop solar, and find ways to promote clean power and green jobs. We’ll be adding our coverage throughout the day, so check back here for more:

Plug-In 2008: San Jose Partners With Coulomb’s Smart Charging

Mayors these days never seem to miss a chance to promote their cities’ green jobs. This morning the mayor of San Jose, Chuck Reed, gave a brief opening address at the Plug-In 2008 conference in which he promoted the California city’s cleantech business incentives. He also said that the city has reached an agreement with Campbell, Calif.-based smart charging startup Coulomb Technologies.

Reed said San Jose plans to deploy Coulomb’s smart-charging stations at various locations throughout the city. The “smartlets” will be attached to a street light set-up that will use LED lighting technology and could also collect other data like traffic conditions. (The city of San Francisco made a public call for companies to pitch their electric vehicle charging infrastructure yesterday as well.)

Read More about Plug-In 2008: San Jose Partners With Coulomb’s Smart Charging

United Airlines offers in-flight iPhone and iPod Connectivity

United Airlines is rolling out a new feature for its first-class and business customers. iPhone and iPod users will be able to view their own personalized entertainment when flying internationally.

With my first international flight I traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland. I wish I had the freedom to choose what I wanted. The selections that the airline offered were limited. I’m glad I brought along books to keep me occupied. My last international trip to Stockholm, Sweden I watched the airline choice, Mr. Bean. Although parts of it were entertaining if I could have chosen my entertainment that would not have been on the top of my list.

“Our guests may now watch or listen to what they want, when they want with programming they choose,” says Graham Atkinson, United Airlines – executive vice president and Chief Customer Officer. “United will continue to provide services and technology that makes our customers’ travel experiences more relaxed and enjoyable.”

The first United Airlines flight to offer this feature was flight #936. It left Washington yesterday, June 16, at 5:40 PM and was flying to Zurich. iPod and iPhone users were able to charge their devices through a 30-pin connector at their seats. This enabled them to view their personalized r entertainment on 15.4-inch personal TVs. United Airlines is planning on equipping their entire fleet of international aircrafts with this feature within two years.

“The iPod and iPhone have become essential for millions of travelers around the world,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod and iPhone Product Marketing. “We think United customers are going to love being able to listen or watch personal music and video content on their iPod or iPhone via the in-flight entertainment system, and we can’t wait for United to roll this out to their fleet.”

United Airlines is the first US air carrier to offer this service. Singapore Airlines has the distinction of being the first airline to allow its passengers to connect their iPods and iPhones to its in flight entertainment system on select business class flights on its Airbus A340-500 aircraft.

I like the fact that United Airlines gives flyers the freedom to choose the music and video they want. It would be even better if United Airlines offered this feature on cross-country flights. Would it make me switch airline carriers to take advantage of this offer? No, I’m happy with the airline I use for international travel.

What about you? Would having the ability to choose your entertainment in-flight influence your decision when it comes to selecting an airline?

NewTeeVee Meetup in LA on Monday

You may have noticed the stylings of a new scribe around these parts — Liz Shannon Miller, as she is known. Let’s all give a warm welcome to Liz, NewTeeVee’s reviews editor. Liz, who is based in Los Angeles, has written for Variety and the Daily Reel. And you know I wouldn’t have stood for another Liz around these parts unless she was pretty damn good!

Chris and I are headed to LA next week to meet up with Liz and hopefully lots of NewTeeVee readers and subjects and sources. To kick things off, we’re hosting a meetup at The Cat & Fiddle Pub (6530 Sunset Blvd.) on Monday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. Hope to see you there.

What’s on GigaNET: July 4th Edition

Happy Independence Day to all out US readers. To our international friends, since it is a national holiday, we are taking the day off. I am flying back from Israel, and will be offline for most of today, and regular programming will resume tomorrow afternoon, if I can manage to lick the jetlag.

Meanwhile, here are some stories from our other sites.

* WebWorkerDaily: A Look at Lightning: Mozilla’s Calendar for Thunderbird. Continue reading.
* NewTeeVee: Azureus’ planning a Vuze upgrade, new player. Continue Reading.
* Found+READ: Stop hiring people to do your JOB. Continue Reading.