Change the rules of the game and you change the hierarchy. Two days ago research company Gartner released its latest report on the state of smartphone market which, based on sales, places Windows Phone in fourth place, just behind BlackBerry in terms of share. Today, IDC also released its latest report for Q1 2013, that measures shipments, and the two smartphone operating systems trade places -- Windows Phone now surpasses BlackBerry for the third spot in the charts.
That switch means Microsoft and Nokia have a reason to celebrate, in spite of numerous barbs coming from pundits. "Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia", says IDC's Kevin Restivo. But the research company suggests that the operating system still has a long way to go: "Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS".
Music Piracy is now dead. Apple iTunes is now obsolete. Spotify, Pandora, Slacker -- yesterday’s news. This is all because of Google Play Music All Access. It will change the way you listen to music. It will change your life. You will subscribe. Resistance is futile. This is the future of music.
The idea of a music streaming service is not new. However, a music streaming service by the most important and influential tech company is. On May 15, 2013, Google unveiled its new music streaming service, named Google Play Music All Access. Other than the ridiculously long name (I will just call it All Access for the rest of the article), the service is near-perfect.
I'm not sure who does whom the bigger favor -- Apple or T-Mobile USA. The nation's fourth-largest carrier started selling iPhone 5 in stores April 12 (preorders a week earlier) and today reports 500,000 sold to date. T-Mobile also added 100,000 previous iPhone owners (presumably the majority from AT&T based on network types). The carrier also sells iPhone 4 and 4S but kept the big news to the 5.
Half-million new iPhones sales is just what Apple needs, too, with the U.S. smartphone market rapidly saturating. Apple is the country's leader, with 39 percent subscriber share in March, according to comScore. Samsung follows with 21.7 percent share. T-Mobile's contribution is sure to lift iPhone against rivals, when April numbers release.
Yesterday (yeah, yeah, I'm late), Google released a stunning new version of Gmail for iPad and iPhone. I tried to write this story several times on May 6, but the newsroom was short-staffed, keeping me extra busy. Vacations, bank holiday in United Kingdom and Orthodox Easter Monday just about emptied BetaNews. So, please, pardon this belated story about the great Google escape.
What a wild one, too. Control-freak Apple uses Safari to keep developers like Google in check. Especially such a rival that invades iOS with a remarkably rich set of apps tightly tied to myriad web services. So Gmail's sudden liberation is quite surprising. Links now go to installed Google apps -- gasp, Chrome, Maps and YouTube -- rather than opening Safari. Chrome linkage really is a shocker, and all the more so with Google kissing WebKit to the wind in favor of its own browsing engine. Expect it in the Chrome stable channel soon.
Android may rule the roost when it comes to the mobile market these days, but Apple is certainly not faring poorly with its iPhone offering. Whenever its App Store hits a new milestone the company always makes a big production of it, for both celebration, as well as publicity.
In January of 2011 the Store hit 10 billion app downloads, a milestone that took nearly three years to achieve. However, adoption increased and, in little more than a year (March of 2012), 25 billion apps downloaded was the new cause for celebration. Now, again in just over a year, that number has been doubled.
I used to think my iPod touch was the bee’s knees when it came to digital music players. Exposure to true audiophile-friendly models from the likes of Cowon and Colorfly, coupled with listening to FLAC tracks on my budget Sony Xperia phone taught me better, and for a while I was incredibly frustrated with the shortcomings of Apple’s supposedly market-leading player.
I’ve since discovered that most of that frustration can be targeted at the frankly rubbish Music app that ships with iOS. And now I’m ready to embrace decent sounding music on my iPod touch thanks to a fabulous app called Accudio Free 1.0.0.
You will reads lots of dribble today about Samsung first quarter phone gains compared to Apple. Most will ignore something fundamental to the numbers: What they represent. IDC and Strategy Analytics separately put out data, for shipments, which mean handsets going to carriers, dealers and other sellers. That's very different from sales to businesses and consumers, Gartner's measure and the more accurate one (that data isn't ready yet).
For few quarters is the difference between shipments and sales likely to be so pronounced, actually even more so in Q2. Apple comes off its second full quarter of iPhone 5 sales and global distribution, and so shipments into the channel, nearly complete. Meanwhile, Samsung ramps up for Galaxy S4's launch, while achieving full global availability for the S III. Second quarter is the more likely bloodbath for Apple, but actual sales will foreshadow much. Still, shipments hint something now, and iPhone faces serious challenges.
Today's closing bell brings answer to a question oft-asked over the past two weeks: "Will Apple profits fall for the first time in about a decade?" Not since 2003, when the fruit-logo company recovered from economic woes that sapped global PC shipments everywhere, has profit receded. Now we know.
For fiscal Q2, Apple reported $43.6 billion revenue and net profits of $9.5 billion, or $10.06 a share. Gross margin: 37.5 percent. A year earlier, the company reported revenue of $39.2 billion and $11.6 billion net quarterly profit, or $12.30 per share.
Last night, I rushed off to the local mall intent on seeing movie "Oblivion", but the 6:45 p.m. show was sold out. So I walked around and spent time inside Apple and Microsoft retail shops. At Apple Store, I had two objectives: finding out the cost of replacing a shattered iPhone 5 screen (not available, refurb phone is $229 option) and observing how the company sells T-Mobile models alongside those from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Pink's unlocked phone costs less upfront compared to Blue, Red and Yellow and is financed for 24 months. Apple presents T-Mobile iPhone 5 as costing considerably more.
Apple Store provides product information on iPads, which is a subtle way of promoting the devices. The marketing page presents 16GB iPhone 5 as selling "from $199" for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon and "from $649" for T-Mobile, which is technically true but also misleading. The $199 represents the big three's upfront price. T-Mobile asks about half as much, $99.99, upfront. But Apple lists T-Mobile's price as $450 more. Who wants to pay $649 when the others charge $199?
Eight days ago, iPhone 5 debuted at T-Mobile. I should have watched more carefully. The carrier also has iPhone 4 and 4S, and that surprises me. I wondered if Apple Store would carry Pink's variants, too, given the comparatively low starting price. Yes is the answer, and cleverly.
From AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, the 16GB iPhone 5 is $199 upfront with 2-year contractual commitment. T-Mobile's handset sells for $99.99 down plus 24 $20-month payments, no contract required. Surely, the three big carriers would gripe if Apple listed their phones alongside T-Mobile's for twice the upfront price. Solution: The fruit-logo company sells Pink unlocked for full price and T-Mobile SIM. But typical of Apple, expect no bargain. T-Mobile sells the phone for $579.99. Apple asks $640.
Facebook has released Facebook for iOS 6.0, a major update for its iPhone and iPad app. The major new feature in version 6 is the introduction of "chat heads", which allow users to chat from anywhere in the app -- this feature isn’t yet universally available, but should be rolled out to all users "soon", according to Facebook.
Chat heads are small circular icons representing both individual chatters and Facebook Messages. The chat head appears automatically when receiving a message, or can be manually set up by tapping the contact’s name in the contacts list.
SugarSync, Inc has released SugarSync for iOS 4.0, a major new release for iPad and iPhone owners wishing access to their SugarSync cloud storage on the move. Version 4.0 features a major redesign designed to simplify syncing and sharing, plus integrates with other apps through the "Open in" feature.
The update also adds support for Device Filtering, a feature recently introduced in the SugarSync 2.0.9 desktop app for Windows and Mac, along with Cloud Search, and promises future support for folder labels.
Little over two weeks ago, with much fanfare, T-Mobile announced that the iPhone 5 officially arrives in its smartphone portfolio. And, today, after a week of pre-orders, the Apple-branded handset finally goes on sale at the fourth-largest US mobile operator.
T-Mobile is the last of the four major mobile networks in the US to get the iPhone 5, after AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. Also, the iPhone 5 is the first fruit-branded smartphone to officially reach the "un-carrier" -- as T-Mobile likes to call itself -- little short of six years after the first iteration came to market.
First in a series. If there is one company that clearly doesn't care about the corporate world, it is Apple. As iOS continues to forge flagship status as Apple's core offering, OS X gets second-class-citizen treatment in every possible way from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. While the enterprise reluctantly builds out BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives to support usage of Apple devices at the workplace, this is a far stretch from openly embracing iOS or OS X as viable corporate platforms. Apple's presence in the boardroom is due to bottom-up organic acceptance as opposed to top-down purposeful planning.
By even conservative estimates, the enterprise IT market is massive, and growing steadily as the recession continues to recede. IDC recently pinned US corporate IT spending for 2013 at $474 billion, a 6 percent increase over the previous year. And globally, Gartner says that this figure is closer to $2.679 trillion, which represents a 2.5 percent year over year bump. Yet while Apple's sales in phones and tablets continues to stay consistently solid, the company's attitude towards enterprise hasn't changed one bit. For lack of a better description, top Apple executives just "don't care".
If neither Papa Sangre nor The Nightjar mean anything to you, you’re missing out on some real iOS gaming greatness. Both are audio-only adventures for iOS from British developer Somethin’ Else. You don’t need any major gaming prowess to play them -- just a good pair of headphones and the ability to listen (which a lot of women will say rules out most men then).
The two very immersive games follow a similar style. You use the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad’s screen to walk forward, and swipe to turn left or right, listening for sound clues to ensure you’re headed in the correct direction -- towards something to collect or an exit, or away from some form of nasty scurrying around in the darkness.