The sexuality of people in the public often comes in for scrutiny. Whether we're talking about Michael Stipe coming out at the same time as REM released Monster, Morrissey using Autobiography to give a beautifully tender glimpse into the loves of his life, Ellen DeGeneres revealing her sexual preferences to Oprah Winfrey, or any one of countless other celebrities who chooses to make their sexuality public, where those in the limelight fit onto the sexual spectrum has long been -- and will undoubtedly continue to be -- of endless interest to people.
Writing in Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook, entirely unprompted, has said that he is gay. For many people this will come as no surprise, for most it will be of no consequence, some will take exception to it. But what's interesting is that, in 2014, a man (or woman, for that matter) proclaiming their sexuality, is news. Tim Cook is currently the top trending topic on Twitter.
When I was a younger man, it was all the rage to replace the stock stereo and speakers in your car with better, third-party options. This enabled you to have more features and increased volume. If you did not have something like an Alpine or JVC deck, you and you car were lame. However, as time marched on, car manufacturers slowly began to improve the stock offerings, and, today, many people are content with the factory audio.
Two tech companies are looking to shake-up the car audio industry -- Apple and Google. Yes, the smartphone wars are advancing from your homes and pockets to your automobiles. Google has Android Auto, while Apple has CarPlay. Even though Android has handily become the dominant force in smartphones, according to a new study, the war for your car is still either company's to win.
For a manufacturer that has only been selling smartphones for a couple of years now, Xiaomi is doing better than expected. The Chinese company, founded in 2012, became the third-largest smartphone vendor in Q3 2013, surpassing the likes of Lenovo, LG and Huawei. Xiaomi is also closing in fast on Apple, which has enjoyed a comfortable lead, in volumes, over its immediate competition.
Xiaomi's shipments have increased by 211.3 percent year-over-year, to 17.3 million units in the past quarter from just 5.6 million units in Q3 2013. That is more than eight times higher than the market average, of 25.2 percent. Meanwhile, Apple's shipments only grew by a mere 16.1 percent, which is well below the market average, to 39.3 million units from 33.8 million units.
Europeans are a conservative bunch when it comes to the form factor of their beloved iPhones, as most of those who purchase one of Apple's new handsets opt for the smaller model. In fact, iPhone 6 is so popular among consumers on the old continent that it outsells the iPhone 6 Plus phablet by a whopping five to one.
The difference in sales is to be expected, given that phablets are still somewhat part of a niche today, and the majority of those who buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus -- that would be existing iPhone users -- are more accustomed to less intimidating dimensions, like those of iPhone 6. However, Apple is right to jump on the phablet bandwagon, considering how big of a role such devices are expected to play in smartphone sales just a few years down the road, and the hit iPhone's market share is taking from Android handsets.
No one can deny that making handsets thinner and thinner is a persistent trend in the mobile device market. Rarely do we see a new, prominent smartphone or tablet being thicker than its predecessor. Manufacturers love to be able to tout during announcements and in ads just how insanely slim their new products are, like this is a feature that us, consumers, are dying to get. (Sadly, sometimes that may be the only thing that such handsets have got going for them.)
Still, if you are one of those who prefer insanely-thin smartphones, Oppo has just the thing for you. The Chinese manufacturer just unveiled "the slimmest phone in the world", called R5, measuring just 4.85 mm thick. To give you an idea of just how thin it is, it shames Apple's new iPhone 6, which comes in at 6.9 mm thick.
One of the main reasons why smartwatches are a tough sell today is battery life. Consumers expect them to work for a very long period of time on a single charge when, in reality, they only last for a day or two. It is no surprise then that, coupled with other issues related to the user experience, most people could not care less about them.
Not even the long-awaited Apple Watch looks like it will be able to match our expectations. When Tim Cook unveiled the device last month he left out details regarding battery life, which we took as a sign that we should not get our hopes up. A statement that Apple's CEO just made at the WSJ.D conference confirms our concerns.
Anyone who has ever used a modern-day Mac will tell you that Apple gets its trackpads right. Sure, they look nice and feel great to the touch, but, most importantly, they are also properly supported in OS X. It offers myriad gestures to help users navigate as efficiently as if they were using a mouse. In fact, the trackpad is designed to feel like an integral part of the system, not as a bolt-on, as there are lots of things that can be done faster with it, like locating a window or opening the notifications panel.
The same cannot be said about Windows PC trackpads. They truly feel like bolt-ons. And it is not because they are poorly put together, but rather because the drivers never seem to be good enough to reveal the trackpads' true potential. Microsoft, however, wants to change that in Windows 10, as the upcoming operating system will support Mac-like trackpad gestures. Finally.
Just a few days ago Microsoft released its financial data for Q1 2015 (yeah, the timescale is weird) and we learned a little about where the company's money is coming from. According to data compiled by FactSet and published by USA Today Microsoft is in fact the tenth most profitable company in the world.
The list has been put together by taking into account companies' "net income before discontinued operations and extraordinary items for their latest fiscal year", and it finds Microsoft in interesting company. Sandwiched between oil giant BP and banking behemoth Wells Fargo & Company, Microsoft just managed to sneak into the top ten with $86.8 billion in revenue.
On May 15, 2001, while previewing the first Apple Store to analysts and journalists, then CEO Steve Jobs boasted: "Apple has about 5 percent market share today", but the remainder "don't even consider us". Jobs exaggerated, and not for the first time, seeing as how Mac global share was more like 2 percent. But the ambition, to use the retail shops to "double our market share", was achievable. Three years following his death, with 10-percent long ago reached in the United States, something more startling occurred: During calendar Q3 2014, Apple moved into fifth place for global PC shipments, according to IDC. The question is why?
I have wondered for weeks, and waited until Apple's quarterly earnings report before writing an analysis. By my math, the average selling price of Macs was about $1,200 -- that in a PC market where sales are sluggish, at best, except below $300 selling price. Yet, according to financial disclosures, Apple shipped a record 5.5 million Macs, with units up 21 percent annually and 25 percent sequentially and generating $6.625 billion revenue; that's an increase of 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively, for the same time periods. Who in the hell is buying these things, and for so much money? The answer may surprise you.
Another day, another iPhone scandal. It seems like we can’t go through one news cycle without something to blame Apple for. While yes, the iPhone is nowhere near perfect, at times the level of negative press has bordered on ridiculousness.
My patience with these iScandals reached its breaking point this weekend. Here on BetaNews we covered the latest media-created iPhone flaw, which apparently is called "dyegate". The gist is this: a small minority of users complain that their iPhones are being stained by the dye from their jeans. That’s right: it is Apple’s fault that the consumer purchased a cheap pair of jeans that weren’t correctly pre-washed at the factory to prevent these dye bleeding issues.
Apple's latest flagship smartphone has caused consumers quite a few headaches (literally, in some cases).
The handset, which doesn't come cheap, is prone to bending and tearing out people's hair, leading to the creation of the vastly amusing '#bendgate' and '#hairgate' scandals. Now, however, it's all about '#dyegate'.
Christian Bale has been confirmed to play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming feature film based on Walter Isaacson's biography of the late technology icon.
Oscar winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin revealed the news during a Bloomberg television interview with Emily Chang yesterday.
Apple's 'Apple Pay' function, tying Touch ID with mobile payments, was perhaps the most important announcement to come from the 9/9 event, and one that signifies the company's first legitimate claim to consumer identity.
This pits Apple not just against payment providers such as PayPal, but against companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon as an identity provider. Combining Apple Pay with Passbook effectively digitises a user's entire wallet, and with that their identity as a consumer. It's essentially putting your 'identity' into one 'pocketable' device.
When Apple announced its new iPads last week it was, unsurprisingly, iPad Air 2 that got the most focus. It’s Apple’s flagship (and most expensive) tablet after all, and received the greatest improvements.
The iPad mini 3 had little new to offer, and so was presented almost as an afterthought. Rather curiously, Apple is now selling three generations of the mini at varying price points, but new sales data suggests the smaller tablet is falling out of favor with consumers.
Still in buoyant mood after the launch of the iPhone 6, Apple Watch, and iPad Air 2 -- even the Mac mini -- Apple gave its Q4 2014 earnings call yesterday. CEO Tim Cook announced that the company generated $42.1 billion in revenue in the quarter and a net profit of $8.5 billion, up from $37.5 billion and $7.5 billion for the same period last year. Referring to the "biggest iPhone launch ever", Cook explained that Apple is due to enter the holiday season with its "strongest product lineup ever".
He explained that 60 percent of the quarter's revenue came from international sales, and sales have gone up in just about every area of the company with the exception of iPad and iPod sales. The iPhone remains the biggest seller (some 39.272 million units, up 16.2 percent), and Mac sales are also strong (5.52 million units, up 20.7 percent).