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Weekly Recap; 3G Network Issues, Best Buy, R&D Building Scare, Air Rumors, Booming Market Cap

On-Going Connection Issues; Hardware or Network to Blame?

infineon 3G chipsetMany iPhone owners have been reporting very spotty experiences with AT&T’s 3G network while using Apple’s new iPhone 3G. We’ve previously reported about the one bar blues, and the ongoing trouble with AT&T’s network. So it comes as no surprise that the issue is more widespread than initially expected.

Nomura analyst Richard Windsor explains that “Some iPhone users are having trouble getting a 3G connection and hanging on to it. Hiccups reportedly include a high incidence of dropped calls, switching onto the slower EDGE network while the device is stationary and loss of reception while in good coverage. We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain Infineon is the 3G supplier,” MarketWatch reports.

While the debate rolls on, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel as Apple is reportedly working on a software update for the iPhone 3G that will address major global concerns regarding poor 3G network reception.

Reports suggest that Apple customer service reps are telling consumers who are encountering problems to shut off the 3G feature. “I’m so sick of hearing people say ‘turn off 3G,’” laments an iPhone 3G owner identified as jazzwill, whose remarks are among 926 replies to a post on Apple’s Web site entitled “iPhone 3G Reception Problems? You’re Not Alone.” “Uh, why pay an extra $10 [for AT&T's iPhone plan] and get a new phone that is advertised to ‘just work’ then???

Best Buy to Start Selling iPhone 3G

Best Buy is reported to officially have officially signed a deal to be selling the iPhone 3G in all of its U.S. retail stores beginning September 7th, 2008. The retail giant has announced today that all 965 of their stores will carry the mobile device beginning September 7th. It will become the only other U.S. retailer of the handset other than AT&T and Apple stores.

Apparently the deal could not have come at a more opportune time for the nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer, as they have recently posted slipping sales figures due to declining discretionary consumer purchases. A September sales boost could help the retailer glide into the ever important holiday season.

Jeff Dudash, a Best Buy spokesperson, has noted that the company has been working tirelessly with Apple to come to an arrangement. As many of you may have been aware, the two companies have enjoyed a partnership since the fall of 2006, when Best Buy began testing out an Apple center concept within 50 stores. After proving fruitful, the company expanded their Apple sector to reach 600 of their retail outlets.

Beefed Up MacBook Air Coming Soon?

A recent rumor that is said to have been confirmed by PhoneNews is suggesting that Apple is prepping a revised MacBook Air that will tout faster speeds and a storage upgrade.

The new proposed MBA will substitute the current 65 nanometer processor for a standard Penryn-class Core 2 Duo. The switch will allegedly allow the chip to push 2.0 GHz and “potentially beyond.” However, this will inevitably create a power drain, that Apple will combat with a higher capacity battery. PhoneNews has confirmed the new MBA will require a 60W power adapter to provide for adequate charging.

If proven accurate, the refreshed MBA will sport a storage upgrade, as falling 1.8″ hard drive costs would allow Apple to equip the system with a 120 GB disk and an optional 160 GB model. Although capacities have not been mentioned, a solid-sate drive will be an option with this version and pricing is claimed to remain the same even after the recent drop. It makes sense that the only revision to Apple’s ultra-portable would take place internally…faster and more storage. This, however will not be the case with the rest of Apple’s MacBook line, as we anticipate external upgrades as well.

Fire Engulfs R&D Building at Apple’s Cupertino Campus

A three alarm fire, rang out late last night at Apple’s main campus in Cupertino California. More than 60 firefighters from the Santa Clara and San Jose and Los ALtos Fire Departments arrived at the scene after receiving reports of a potential fire on the roof of the building at 20605 Valley Green Drive. Upon arrival emergency crews were met with copious amounts of smoke billowing from the building.

Also known as Valley Green Six, the building is believed to be one of the more prominent on the campus, as it has been housing to several hardware-based research and development projects.

Apple Surpasses Google’s Market Cap.

“Apple’s current market cap: $159.37 billion. Google’s: $157.56 billion,” John Paczkowski for Digital Daily.

It was pointed out (via MacDailyNews) that at 1pm Eastern on August 13, Apple’s market value stood at $157,012,662,240 versus Google’s $156,392,862,560.

Additionally, MDN put together a list of some other notable technology companies and there market value:

• Microsoft (MSFT) – $255,648,204,000
• IBM (IBM) – $169,964,678,000
• Apple (AAPL) – $157,012,662,240
• Google (GOOG) – $156,392,862,560
• Cisco (CSCO) – $142,125,692,160
• Intel (INTC) – $135,658,860,000
• Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) – $111,866,423,760
• Nokia (NOK) – $97,746,699,520
• Research In Motion (RIMM) – $71,143,935,000
• Disney (DIS) – $59,257,501,500
• Dell (DELL) – $50,483,256,060
• Sony (SNE) – $38,423,938,420
• Amazon (AMZN) – $36,292,728,410
• Yahoo! (YHOO) – $28,020,673,800
• Adobe (ADBE) – $24,198,781,026
• Motorola (MOT) – $22,415,964,785
• RealNetworks (RNWK) – $1,002,688,900
• Palm (PALM) – $839,364,300

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