Apple seeks expert in WiMAX; impromptu 5th Ave. lineup; more

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Apple is on the hunt for an engineer familiar with WiMAX, Ultra-wideband, and other next-generation wireless technologies. Meanwhile, confusion reigned on Thursday as a lineup appeared at the Fifth Avenue store without warning, Oppenheimer Funds has opened its coverage of Apple, and a thief of 330 iPhones has agreed to surrender to local police.

Apple in job search for WiMAX engineer

A recent search by Apple for a Senior RF System Engineer reveals that the company is "exploring new wireless technologies."

Part of a group dedicated to researching cutting-edge wireless standards and implementing them in Apple devices, the engineer will need to be experienced with "Mobile TV," Ultra-wideband (UWB), and WiMAX, in addition to more ubiquitous standards such as 3G cellular data, Bluetooth, and GPS.

While the group isn't described as committed to using the hardware for any one product, the acknowledgement opens the door to the use of these wireless formats in future devices. WiMAX in particular is supported by Apple's favored chip supplier, Intel, and is soon to be jointly deployed by Clearwire and Sprint in a US-wide network that will offer fourth-generation (4G) wireless Internet access to handhelds and computers.

Intel's upcoming Centrino 2 platform for notebooks has the option of a Wi-Fi and WiMAX combination card, dubbed Echo Peak, that offers both wireless services.

Technologies such as mobile TV and UWB have typically seen more limited uses to date. In the US, both AT&T and Verizon offer digital over-the-air TV broadcasts as subscription services, while UWB is used under the Wireless USB moniker as a means of providing near-USB speeds to supporting peripherals at short range. The feature is currently an option for notebooks from Dell and a handful of other PC makers.

Mystery customer lineup appears at Fifth Avenue Apple store

While Apple's customers are known to go to great lengths to queue up for announced products, an impromptu queue spotted by Engadget on Thursday afternoon has observers scratching their heads.

At least 60 people are said to have waited outside the glass cube despite the lack of any new products or special events — with some mistakenly convinced that a 3G iPhone was ready for them at the other end. Barriers and Apple staff were present to control the lineup.

Representatives from Apple provided the most logical explanation: the store is simply queuing up iPhone customers to manage the risk of overcrowding at the underground location. Despite its reputation, the Fifth Avenue store is not a large store and is known to be full-to-bursting even without additional factors at work, such as ongoing iPhone shortages and the looming Memorial Day weekend.

Still, the line has triggered enough speculation that the founder of the public performance group Improv Everywhere has stepped in to clarify that this isn't an elaborate stunt by the troupe.

Oppenheimer opens coverage on Apple with optimistic look

Adding to the roster of financial institutions tracking Apple's fortunes, OppenheimerFunds on Thursday began its first look at Apple with a positive investors' note that set a target for Apple's share price at $235.

Analyst Yair Reiner argues that most researchers' views of the expected 3G iPhone's impact are overly conservative and that new models for both home and business will help Apple beat its own predictions, boosting iPhone shipments from the officially predicted 10 million in 2008 to 14 million. As many as 28 million handsets could ship in 2009, he says.

Reiner also forecasts the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm claiming a significant share of the market in the long term, reaching five percent by 2012.

The electronics giant is "ideally positioned" to reap the rewards of a shift towards entertainment-oriented PCs and from basic cellphones to all-in-one media computers, the analyst writes.

iPhone thief surrenders

A high-profile inside job at Apple's Salem, New Hampshire Apple store that saw over 330 iPhones stolen has come a step closer to its conclusion, as one of the thieves has given himself in to area police.

Although arrested at the same time as fellow Apple store employee Chris Nashed, Josh Garrard until Wednesday was fighting extradition from his home state of Massachusetts until he chose to surrender in Salem and face criminal charges.

More details have also surfaced regarding the crime in the wake of the original arrest. Garrard and Nashed had already admitted to planning to resell the iPhones but are now known to have been paid by a buyer who purchased the phones at $420 — a heist that resulted in a $138,600 profit at the time.