Tag: apple

Android market share falls

330ogleData from market research company ABI Research indicates that Google’s Android operating system is losing share in the smartphone market.
The data shows that certified Android smartphone shipments fell in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter.
Cerified Android shipments fell to 205 million in the fourth quarter, down from 217.49 million – a drop of around five percent.
The clear winner in the quarter was Apple’s iOS – while it only shipped 74.50 millions during Q4, that was up by 90 percent compared to Q3 2014.
Microsoft also managed to increase its market share in the fourth quarter, rising to 10.70 millions – up 19 percent compared to the third quarter.
Others – by which we can infer operating systems by Blackberry and the like, saw growth decline by 26 percent.

 

Smartphone shipments boom

smartphones-genericOver 375.2 million smartphones shipped during the fourth quarter of 2014 – that’s up by 28.2 percent compared to the same period the year before.
Apple had been the number two vendor in 11 previous quarters before Q4 2014, but, according to IDC, it was close to a tie with Samsung, the market leader.
IDC now predicts that Samsung could well outstrip Samsung during 2015.
It’s not just Apple that is challenging Samsung – as we’ve reported before, is under challenge from small Android OEMs selling products at much lower margins.
Growth in 2013 represented 40.5 percent but according to IDC, “the market clearly still has legs”. It estimates growth will fall to a mid teen figure during 2015.
The top five vendors for the fourth quarter were Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi.  The last showed growth of 178.6 percent during Q4 2014, compared to Q4 2013.

 

Microsoft in big Office give away

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEOSoftware giant Microsoft has decided that people who use Android tablets will be able to download Office applications for nothing from today.
Office includes Excel, Word and Power Point.
Microsoft had already made versions of the software available for people with iPads.
But it has today also released a version of email client Outlook for Apple’s iPads and iPhones.
Microsoft realises that the market is slipping out of its reach and this is a gamble by CEO Satya Nadella to broaden the software offerings on mobile devices.
What it wants to do is to persuade people to upgrade to its fully blown Office 365 which costs about £5 a month if you sign up for it.
Microsoft also released a beta version of the Outlook app for people using the Android operating system.

 

People keep taking the tablets

ipad3Despite reports suggesting that the market for tablets is in decay, fresh data shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
Digitimes Research said that overall global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter last year grew by 16.9 percent to total 74.77 million units, mostly down to Apple and first tier vendors good performances.
But so-called “white box” tablets declined in the fourth quarter.
The survey said these white box tablets, using the Android operating system, offer very slim margins and many vendors have given up on manufacturing.
Apple managed to ship 21.9 million iPads in Q4 2014 and was the largest tablet vendor.
Samsung failed to introduce new tablet products in the second half of last year and so it say some stagnation.
Third in line was Amazon, displacing Lenovo from that position in the marketplace.

 

HP won PC battle in 2014

HPThings went better for the notebook industry last year, according to a report from Taiwanese research house Trendforce.
That was largely due to people replacing Windows XP systems and the market itself promoting low priced notebooks.
The survey said shipments of notebooks in 2014 hit 175.5 million, a year n year growth of 3.6 percent.
The leader in the X86 pack was HP, followed by Lenovo, Dell, Asus and Acer.
But the real stellar performer in 2014 was Apple, because it lowered some prices.  It showed year on year growth of 46.4 percent, and increased its market share to 9.3 percent.
Here, according to Trendforce, are the top runners and riders in the notebook race.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 14.25.58

 

Apple has record breaking results

apple-disney-dreams-snow-white-Favim.com-142405The Tame Apple Press is beside itself with joy as it reported that its favourite company had some rather good results.

Phrases like “smashed Wall Street expectations.” “record sales” and “largest profit in corporate history” were liberally used.

The company sold 74.5 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter ended December  27, while many analysts had expected fewer than 70 million. Revenues rose to $74.6 billion from $57.6 billion a year earlier.

S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt claimed that Apple’s $18 billion profit was the biggest ever reported by a public company, worldwide and Apple’s cash pile is now $178 billion, enough to buy IBM.

The Tame Apple Press were even more excited when Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said the Cupertino, California-based company would release the Apple Watch, in April, nearly two years behind the market.

The press rushed to find analysts who said that Apple was jolly brilliant while Microsoft and IBM had disappointing results.

However, as you might expect there was an element of selective reporting. For example, analysts expected Apple to sell more iPhones in China than the US – it did not. Although sales in China were “up 70 percent on last year” sales behind the bamboo curtain were not that great last year. The Tame Apple Press praised the company’s partnership with China Mobile for being responsible for the increase in sales, ignoring the fact they predicted earlier that China sales would be blistering.

Unable to blame Apple, Reuters blamed the Chinese economic slow down for the poor Chinese outing and instead claimed that Apple was well positioned to do better next year.

Apple reported net profit of $18.02 billion compared with $13.07 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenue of $67.69 billion.

Cooler heads pointed out that Apple would face problems next year because of the stronger dollar and predicted that things would not be as good. Apple predicted revenue of $52 billion to $55 billion in its fiscal second quarter, compared with Wall Street’s average target of $53.79 billion.

Meanwhile Cook was touting new shiny things to encourage more positive talk about the outfit.  Not only did he promise to release the iWatch which is now so out of date the specs were originally designed on the great pyramid, he talked about Apple’s new mobile payment service, Apple Pay which is, so far, to make much headway.

The largest profit in corporate history was Fannie Mae which made $84 billion in 2013.

Major Apple supplier to slash jobs

foxconn-tvTaiwanese megacompany Foxconn will slash jobs because of falling demand for Apple gear.
That’s according to Reuters, which has spoken to a company representative who confirmed the cuts will come.
The representative who works to the chairman of the board, said labour costs had doubled since 2010.
Foxconn currently hires 1.3 million people and came under fire in 2010 after a number of its workers killed themselves.
The Reuters report said revenue growth for Foxconn fell to 1.3 percent in 2013.
Analysts are predicting that the massive growth in sales of smartphones and tablets is bound to decline as saturation levels increase.
Both Apple and Samsung now face intense competition from own brand Chinese smartphone vendors offering units at rock bottom prices and with rock bottom margins.

Apple’s paws in pie stopped Nexus fingerprint sensor

6a00d8341c630a53ef01348199b317970c-600wiA buyout deal by Apple effectively nixed Motorola’s chance to put a fingerprint sensor under the bonnet of its Nexus 6.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside said that the dimple at the back of the Nexus 6 was originally intended to play host to a fingerprint sensor. After all it had all the technology – it was a pioneer in bringing fingerprint recognition to its Atrix 4G smartphone.

At the time Motorola used Authentec which was purchased by Apple a year later for a price of $356 million.

Authentec was the best supplier around, “the second best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry, and they weren’t there yet”.

Apple’s buy out effectively meant that the Nexus 6 was left without biometric authentication and the world was given the impression that Apple was the first to put the technology on a mainstream phone.

It looks like Motorola made the right move. The HTC One max had the slow and buggy experience that puts users off trying to use the feature.

 

Samsung confirmed as Apple’s main chip supplier

samsung-hqApple and Samsung appear to have buried any hatchets they might have had during the legal battle over the shape of the smartphone.

While the legal battle raised over such crucial matters as whether or not Steve Jobs invented the rounded rectangle, Apple moved away from Samsung as its main producer of chips.  In fact analysts believed that in the long term Samsung would lose any Apple production completely.

According to the Maeil Business Newspaper it seems that Apple has changed its mind and Samsung  is back to being the main supplier of processors powering Apple iPhones.

It looks like Samsung will be responsible for around 75 percent of the chip production for the next iPhone, the South Korean newspaper said.

The newspaper did not say how much the contract is worth and what other company will be supplying Apple. Samsung will make the chips from its factory in Austin, Texas, according to the report.

What appears to have happened is that not only has the row between Samsung and Apple cooled, Jobs’ Mob discovered that Samsung’s rivals, such as TSMC were not up to snuff or had capacity problems.

Apple CEO gets wage rise

Apple's Tim CookThe CEO of Apple’s salary rose by 43 percent last year, the company said.
Tim Cook, a Brit, now only earns $2 million a year, up from a measly $1.4 million before his salary was raised in February 2014.
If you count Cook’s total remuneration it amounts to $9.2 million a year.
Apple also raised other executives’ salary by over 14 percent, the company said.
The executives got their wage increased because Apple compared their salaries to other peoples’ salaries in comparable industries.
If executives at Apple hit their targets, they can earn bonuses worth ip to 400 percent of their salary.
Cook is judged by the company to have hit his targets since he became CEO in August 2011.

 

Blackberry recruits politicos for market share

Samsung Browses BlackberryBlackberry is fighting back against its competitors by asking politicians to step into the apps business.
The company’s CEO John Chen has written to members of the US Congress and is trying to persuade them to force competitors to make their apps available for his company’s own products.
The Canadian company has made its unusual appeal under the banner of net neutrality – a contentious matter in the United States.
Chen wants the politicians to force firms using Apple or Android operations to make their services available to Blackberry users.
Chen believes that the dominance of Apple and Samsung in the mobile market “has created a two tiered wireless broadband” system.
People using iPhones or Android devices can access more content than people using other operating systems, Chen claimed.
“These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticised at the carrier level,” he wrote on his company’s blog.

 

Samsung, Apple, take top semi spots

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picApple and Samsung were the biggest buyers of semiconductors in 2014.
Together, they bought $57.9 billion worth of chips last year, up by $3.9 billion in 2013, according to Gartner.
In terms of the total market for semiconductor, both companies’ accounted for 17 percent of the total market.
Gartner said the two firms have been top of the semiconductor consumption market for four years in a row.
That, said analyst Masatsune Yamajo, means decisions they make “have considerable technology and pricing implications for the whole semiconductor industry”.
Samsung was still top buyer but its decision to withdraw from some parts of the PC market as well as losing market share to other vendors meant its growth rate wasn’t as great as in the past.
Gartner estimates that the top 10 companies bought $125.6 billion of semiconductors, accounting for 36.4 percent of the whole market in 2014.
After Samsung and Apple, the remaining eight top ten buyers were HP, Lenovo, Dell, Sony, Huawei, Cisco, LG Electronics and Toshiba.
The entire semiconductor market worldwide amounted to $339.9 billions last year.

 

1.167 billion smartphones sold last year

smartphones-genericChinese vendors managed to sell 453.4 million smartphones in 2014 – and total global shipments of the devices amounted to 1.167 billion units.
That’s a growth rate of 25.9 percent, according to market intelligence company Trendforce.
Samsung continued to be the global leader in smartphone market share in 2014, although its growth rate fell, eroded by the Chinese manufacturers at the lower and mid end of the market, and at the high end of the market by Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple managed to grow by 24.5 percent in 2014, shipping a total of 191.3 million units.
Combined, Apple and Samsung shipped 518 million units.
Apple’s success is attributed to the large size smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus.
LG was the “dark horse”, making progress with its flagship smartphone the G3.

Apple’s Siri in data heist

tim-cook-glareApple’s voice activated personal assistant Siri is being used to steal sensitive information from iOS based smartphones.

Luca Caviglione of the National Research Council of Italy and Wojciech Mazurczy of the Warsaw University of Technology warn that “malicious actors” could use Siri for stealthy data exfiltration by using a method that’s based on steganography, the practice of hiding information.

Clearly the malicious actors are hacked off that people have been stealing their pictures from the iCloud and posting them online and have taken Siri hostage.

iOS malware is also increasingly common, as the popularity of the iPhone is matched by the company’s misplaced belief in its own security vulnerability.

Mazurczy and Caviglione have demonstrated that iOS malware could become difficult to detect.

When users talk to Siri, their voice is processed with the Speex Codec, and the data is transmitted to Apple’s servers where the voice input is translated to text.

Using an attack method called iStegSiri, the “shape” of this traffic embeds sensitive data from the device. This covert channel could be used to send credit card numbers, Apple IDs, passwords, and other sensitive information from the phone to the criminals.

First, a secret message is converted into an audio sequence based on voice and silence alternation. Then, the sound pattern is provided to Siri as input through the internal microphone. Finally, the recipient of the secret message inspects the traffic going to Apple’s servers and extracts the information based on a decoding scheme..

In their experiments, Mazurczy and Caviglione managed to use this method to exfiltrate data at a rate of 0.5 bytes per second. At this speed, it would take roughly 2 minutes to send a 16-digit payment card number to the attacker.

It only works on jail broken devices and attackers somehow need to be able to intercept the modified Siri traffic. However, the researchers highlighted that the purpose of iStegSiri is to help the security community with the detection of malware on the iOS platform.

The researchers told IEEE Spectrum that they have not made specific details on iStegSiri public to prevent cybercriminals from using their work. We guess that Apple have not modified anything in the iOS to stop it happening if someone works it out.

Google to buy Softcard

google-IC Google is having a quiet word with the mobile-payments company Softcard with a view to buying the outfit.

The move would link  Google with the largest US wireless carriers to battle Apple and its much hyped but mostly ignored Apple Pay service.

The deal may be valued below $100 million, the report said citing sources.

Softcard is jointly owned by AT&T, Verizon Communication, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US.

So far it is seen as rumour and speculation and no one is commenting on the record about it.  However, if Google does buy the outfit it will give it significant clout in the payment markets.  However, at the moment most of the focus is on the bigger retailers coming up with payment systems of their own.

The fear with Google or Apple getting their paws on transaction data is that you can be bothered by advertising based on your buying  history, which could be embarrassing if you went to a stripper club once.