Outside Apple Store, people excitedly line up to buy iPhone 6. The crowd is remarkably eclectic. Tattoos here. Mohawk there. Someone wearing a prim business suit chats with a burly biker wearing sleeveless T-Shirt. Everyone's clothes beam bright, vibrant colors. Loud laughter and uproarious chatter is everywhere. This is one happy group of buyers.
The store's doors exit onto a green pasture of sheep. Each wears a chain around its neck, with iPhone 6 attached. Cow bells appear on the screens, and clanging sounds against the chirping of birds. One animal looks up: "Baaaaaaa!" Then another, and another. An announcer asks: "Do you really want to be an iSheep?" Then the Android logo and robot flash across the screen.
Perhaps you have seen such statement somewhere on the InterWebs sometime during the last couple of months and increasingly the past few weeks. It's a meme slowly growing -- and for good reasons. While others innovate, Apple iterates and succeeds unblushingly well. The company is mountains more successful today innovating less and taking fewer risks.
Apple is the new Microsoft, where maximizing margins matters more than innovation. Look how much more successful Apple is by being boring and following where innovators lead. Consider today's Strategy Analytics report that puts Apple and Samsung tied for calendar fourth-quarter smartphone shipments. Such scenario was all but unfathomable two quarters earlier. Yet the foundation laid long before Apple cofounder Steve Job's death, when logistics genius and now CEO Tim Cook managed day-to-day operations. Risk-to-innovation defined Jobs' management style. Cook is more tactical.
It seems as though the Apple vs Samsung patent wars will never end. Samsung has asked the US court to toss the $930 million lawsuit that Apple won, claiming that it didn’t plagiarize the iPhone and that the compensation was too high.
Samsung’s lawyer Kathleen Sullivan, argued that the lower court made an error and that the phones have separate distinct features, such as Samsung’s phones not having a 'home' button.
The world's largest smartphone manufacturer is troubled. Overnight, Samsung warned that its third-quarter operating profit could fall as much as 61.8 percent because of weakness in its largest division, mobile, from which phones account for about 60 percent of company profits. Smartphone shipments are up slightly, but the money they generate is down substantially.
For Google, the news is a mixed blessing. In April 2012, I warned that "Google has lost control of Android" -- Samsung's dominance with customized versions of the mobile operating system being major reason. Big G effectively responded by separating core apps and services from Android, spreading them out across versions, and better unifying the user experience. Still, Samsung's TouchWiz UI is the main way tens of millions of people experience Android every day. The South Korean company's problems could eventually be good for Google, but will they benefit Android or pull it down?
Smartphone manufacturers like to attack Apple. Microsoft is currently running a series of ads in which Siri comes off very badly compared with Microsoft’s own voice assistant Cortana, and now Samsung has released a collection of commercials making fun of the recent iPhone 6 reveal.
In the series, titled "It doesn’t take a genius", two tech guys are less than impressed with Apple’s new iPhone 6 which is lacking and dated compared to the Galaxy Note 4. It’s a similar campaign in some ways to the "A fly on the wall in Cupertino" ads that Microsoft ran, and quickly pulled, a year ago. But while those ads were ill judged and unfunny, Samsung gets the humor just right.
Apple and Samsung are reportedly close to reaching an amicable conclusion in a long-winded patent litigation battle after the US firm lost another court case against its rival.
The familiar US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled against Apple's bid to impose a sales ban on some older Samsung smartphones in the US and it follows the decision to drop all suits against each other in a range of different countries in the past few months.
Apple and Samsung have been waging a global patent war since 2011. Apple famously won $1.05 billion in damages in an American court two years ago (a verdict still being challenged by Samsung), but the two companies have been continuing to sue each other since, including fighting a range of infringement cases in nine other countries.
Finally, though, it seems as if peace has broken out between the two smartphone giants, with news today that Apple and Samsung have agreed to end all patent litigation outside the United States.
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear has been handed a rotten assessment by Apple’s gadget-loving co-founder Steve Wozniak.
The man who started up the technology behemoth with Steve Jobs complained that the smartwatch doesn’t offer the convenience he was hoping and within half a day it was up on eBay ready to be sold at a bargain price.
Speaking at a press event as part of Samsung's Business Discovery Day, Jae Shin, the vice president of Samsung's Knox mobile security business group, said that wearable devices will take off with or without Apple's help.
Historically, the hype surrounding the launch of a new Apple product has provided the kick-start for interest in a new type of technology. This has previously been the case for smartphones and tablet computers, thanks to the iPhone and iPad, respectively.
As the American tech press turns to San Francisco and Apple's developer conference, the real world looks to Taipei and Computex. There you see the Android Army's march against iOS. ASUS announces new Android tabs, HP takes the wraps off a laptop running the operating system, and Samsung serves up a phablet so large it crosses category boundaries. In literature, they would call this foreshadowing. Do you see how this story will unfold -- as Android manufacturers and Apple engage like factions from the Divergent series.
Android accounted for 39.7 percent of device shipments -- hybrids, PCs, phones, and tablets -- during 2013, according to Gartner. Apple's iOS and OS X: 10.4 percent. Forecast for this year puts Android at 47.2 percent and the fruit-logo platforms at 11.5 percent. That's context for today's announcements from the East and West. As I write, Apple's announcements dribble (iOS 8 and OS X 10.10) out of Worldwide Developer Conference 2014, so this post focuses on what the Android news means.
The more I ponder Apple's Beats acquisition, the less sense it makes. Buying big well-known brands that compete with yours is usually a bad idea -- worse when the acquirer owns no foreign brands. Extinguishing the big name, as Microsoft does with Nokia, is marketing murder. There's no place for the Beats brand in the Apple lexicon. The gun is drawn and ready to fire.
What I do see is another sign that Apple has lost its way. Tim Cook is a very able CEO, but as stated previously he is Star Trek's Spock without Captain Kirk (Steve Jobs). Cook's approach to business logistics, while brilliant, unmakes Apple. Beats is an acquisition that is off-key -- out of tune with the culture that made the fruit-logo company great. As such, on this Thursday in May, comes my confession. I was wrong five years ago in post "Why Apple succeeds, and always will". That company is gone.
Samsung and Apple don’t have to worry about users defecting to each other after a new survey suggested that other manufacturers like HTC and Huawei could take advantage of the gap.
Qriously, a London-based startup, surveyed a sample of 2,440 existing iPhone owners and the same number that own Samsung smartphones in order to ascertain how loyal the two sets of consumers are to the respective brands.
I owned an iPhone 3GS for a couple of years, and loved it. But when the time came to replace it, instead of upgrading to an iPhone 4S, I decided to go for Samsung’s new Galaxy S II instead. The S II’s reviews were glowing -- many calling it an iPhone 5 killer (suggesting it was already way better than whatever Apple did next) -- and having played around with it in store, I was sold. Apple was the past, Samsung was the future, and this was the phone for me.
When the S III came out, I duly upgraded to that -- well, why wouldn’t? I’ll be honest, the beefed up size was a little off-putting at first, but the phone was great; a truly worthy successor. Recently though the device has started to misbehave, turning itself off without warning, and requiring constant charging, clear signs it was time to upgrade again. Going for the Galaxy S4 would have been the obvious choice, or maybe -- like many of my colleagues here at BetaNews -- I could have switched to a Windows Phone. The Lumia 925 is certainly appealing. The truth though is there was only one phone I really, really wanted and yesterday it arrived. A shiny new iPhone 5s in Space Gray.
Today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukah, a rare occurrence they overlap. We reflect on the things we feel -- or should be -- grateful. Ahead of the holiday meal I served up "13 things for which Google gives thanks" and colleagues Wayne Williams and Alan Buckingham "5 things to be thankful for in Windows 8.1" and "5 products I'm thankful for", respectively. I would be remiss ignoring Apple.
The fruit-logo company is unique in techdom, inventing or reinventing several hugely successful product categories. Most companies have one- or two-hit wonders. Apple has a string of smash hits, like the rarest of iconic musicians. The Beatles come to mind, because of their 50th-anniversary and name shared -- you know, Apple Records. The many things for which the company should be thankful are obvious, so let's just dispense with those and get to items other list-makers, if there are any, likely will overlook. I present Apple's thankful things from least to most important.
Sony PlayStation 4 hit the stores and Brian not only took a look at the brand new console, but also cracked open the case and slipped a larger hard drive inside. Brian wasn't alone in his love of the PS4, more than a million people also bought a console on the day of launch. But not everyone was happy as many units were found to suffer from a Blue Light of Death problem that rendered them unusable. Raspberry Pi was also celebrating its sales figures as more than two million were shifted since its launch last year.
In a rare show of unity, Microsoft and Google joined forces to help tackle the problem of online child pornography. At the same time, Microsoft took its Scroogled campaign to a new level by releasing merchandise (although Joe was impressed). Elsewhere online, Twitter introduced Twitter alerts to the UK and Ireland to help provide people with critical information in an emergency.