Let's cut to the chase. No, they shouldn't. The iPhone used to be exciting and interesting. It used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives. This is not to say that the popularity of the device in itself makes it less appealing, but it certainly seems to have made Apple lazy. Innovation has gone out of the window. We've had the same design for the handset for what seems like an eternity. It looks as though there might be something of a change in style this time around, but is this really enough to make the iPhone exciting -- or even interesting -- once again?
By far the biggest problem with the iPhone is the lack of choice. While Android users (and even Windows Phone fans) have a huge number of handsets to choose from, the same cannot be said of those sucking on Apple's teat. Things did improve slightly when the 2013 iPhones were released, but you're still stuck, essentially, with two phones to choose from -- the really expensive over-hyped one, or the pale imitation wannabe version. Some choice. To be clear… I've been an iPhone owner. It's a functional phone, but Christ it's dull.
Apple started the 64-bit smartphone craze in September 2013 with iPhone 5s. It was the first 64-bit device of its kind to reach store shelves and, even now, it continues to be unrivaled in this regard by competing flagships. That's because other vendors could only use 32-bit high-end processors from major chip makers like Qualcomm and Nvidia.
While that has yet to change, other 64-bit smartphones, targeting a less demanding crowd, are on their way as, today, Taiwanese maker HTC announces its first 64-bit smartphone, touted to bring "super-fast LTE connectivity at an affordable price point". It's called Desire 510.
In California, a bill has been passed that will require smartphone manufacturers to include a kill switch in their handsets. The bill states that "any smartphone, as defined, that is manufactured on or after July 1, 2015, and sold in California after that date, include a technological solution at the time of sale, which may consist of software, hardware, or both software and hardware, that, once initiated and successfully communicated to the smartphone, can render inoperable the essential features, as defined, of the smartphone to an unauthorized user when the smartphone is not in the possession of an authorized user". It's a lengthy description, but it means the kill switch that many people have been asking for for so long is becoming a reality in another state.
This is not the first time a kill switch bill has been passed -- Minnesota did something similar back in May. The SB 926, Leno Smartphones bill in California is rather more far-reaching and comes partly in response to the statistic that between 30 and 40 percent of robberies in major US cities are smartphone robberies. Once activated, the kill switch will prevent a phone from being registered on a wireless network, and cannot be bypassed even with a hard reset. In the event of theft, a user will also be able to remotely wipe their device to protect any private information they may have stored on it.
Apple launched, almost a week ago, the second public beta build of OX 10.10 Yosemite, which, among other improvements, includes a healthy dose of bug fixes. But, for some reason, the company has not yet addressed a glaring sound problem, where the audio stops working until a restart is performed. It is likely this occurs in the developer-only builds too.
I am not alone in experiencing this problem, as I have seen other OS X 10.10 Yosemite testers reporting the same issue with the built-in audio. In my case, after some testing, it appears that this issue occurs after my 2013 MacBook Air wakes up the built-in and external displays from sleep.
In late-July, Apple launched the public beta testing program for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which it previewed at WWDC 2014. It was the first time the fruit logo company gave its non-developer Mac-toting users the ability to install a pre-release version of its long-lasting operating system. As an early adopter, I was eager to try it out as soon as possible. Sadly, the first public beta, as it was likely to happen, had its kinks.
But Apple has launched the second public beta of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (dubbed Beta 2), which brings with it a number of important changes over its predecessor, including some necessary bug fixes. Maybe the second time's the charm for those of us who ran into trouble with the first public beta.
As thousands of students prepare to return to university over the next few weeks, new research by security ratings company BitSight shows that this is a busy time for hackers too.
The researchers found that Ivy League schools, for example, see a 48 percent increase in the number of malware infections during the academic year from September to May.
Most of us are used to asking Siri where the nearest pizza place or supermarket is. He/she has become an almost indispensable part of some iPhone users' lives. But would you ever ask Siri how to hide a dead body? That's exactly what one Florida man did two years ago.
Pedro Bravo, 20, is currently standing trial accused of kidnapping and strangling his friend Christian Aguilar in September 2012 after an argument started over Aguilar dating Bravo's ex-girlfriend. One of the key pieces of evidence used by the prosecutors is a record of Bravo telling Apple's famous digital assistant: "I need to hide my roommate".
I understand that it's the dog days of summer, when news is light, readers vacation, and writers struggle to produce current content. So I'll forgive colleague Mihaita Bamburic, for his misguided attack against Surface Pro 3. He asserts that Microsoft markets the computer to the "wrong crowd". If that would be tech writers, he gets a nod. Otherwise, I shake my head and point a finger.
I've read this misguided diatribe before, from tech reviewers switching to the Microsoft PC from an Apple, but never expected it from him. As someone who has bought and paid for MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3, I say that Microsoft's marketing is spot on target. The problem isn't the potential consumer buyer but geek writers, particularly those already using Macs.
Microsoft will have a hard time convincing consumers who wish to buy Apple's MacBook Air to get Surface Pro 3 instead. That is not because the former is the better purchase, but because these devices aim to please two different crowds. You're either a Mac or a PC, as the old Apple commercials would say today.
I believe that Microsoft does not realize that it is pitching Surface Pro 3 to the wrong crowd. Swaying would-be MacBook Air owners in the hybrid's direction is not a simple matter of touting feature benefits, as in Surface Pro 3 can be more and do more than MacBook Air. People have to be convinced that those features are things they want; just because they are offered does not automatically mean that they will immediately gravitate towards the device that has them. Yes, some do not want more just because they can get more. And, would-be MacBook Air users do not want more. It's more likely that would-be Surface Pro 3 users do.
China has stepped up its tough stance on foreign technology suppliers with reports it has banned government purchases of Apple products.
Apple has so far declined to comment on reports that China’s government has banned its agencies from buying Apple products including iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
Smartphone makers would do well to take into account the results of a new poll from price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com which found that just 3 percent of Smartphone users are interested in quirky or unique features, such as Amazon’s Fire phone’s face tracking.
While gimmicks like that might help differentiate one device from another, what most smartphone users want is a phone that is easy to use and doesn’t require constant charging -- and preferably with built-in fingerprint scanning security.
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.
While it can never be faulted for being slow, Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone 8.1 still has some catching up to do with rival browsers from competing platforms, mostly regarding the way it displays some websites. My biggest gripe is that it quite often shows the desktop-optimized versions, when it should load the mobile-friendly versions instead (not the dated ones, mind you, like it does so frequently now).
Fortunately, those problems appear to be fixed in the version of Internet Explorer 11 found in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. "Based on your feedback, we pursued a web experience for IE users consistent with what is available on iOS and Android devices -- even where this meant we would be adding non-standard web platform features", says Microsoft. "We believe that this is a more pragmatic approach to running today's less-standardized mobile web".
Microsoft, it is time to reconsider your Windows Phone plans. The tiled smartphone operating system's market share came in at a tiny 2.7 percent in Q2 2014, dropping from the 3.8 percent it claimed in the same period of last year. As a result, Windows Phone saw a 28.94 percent decrease year-over-year in market share, caused by low shipments of only 8.0 million units in the second quarter of the year, 0.9 million units less than in Q2 2013 when its shipments were at the 8.9 million units mark.
The data is from a new report issued by research firm Strategy Analytics, which adds "Windows Phone continued to struggle in the United States and China", the first two largest smartphone markets worldwide. There, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech places the platform at 3.8 percent and 0.9 percent market share, respectively. That is lower than in other markets such as Australia, where Windows Phone was able to reach 5.3 percent market in Q2 2014, as well as some parts of Europe.
The competition is heating up in the smartphone space, as, in Q3 2014, a dozen vendors have what it takes to shake up the top five smartphone makers list, according to a new report from research firm IDC. Judging by the standing from Q2 2014, the likely players in danger of losing their spots are Huawei, Lenovo and LG.
Samsung and Apple continue to be in a position of strength, with the two being responsible for 25.2 percent (74.3 million) and 11.9 percent (35.1 million), respectively, of the 295.3 million smartphones shipped in the quarter that ended June 30. That said, both lost market share compared to Q2 2013, when they claimed 32.3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, thanks to shipments of 77.3 million and 31.2 million units, respectively.