Posts tagged iOS
Google’s mobile OS scooped up more half of U.S. smartphone sales from mid-November through mid-February, says research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Android has grabbed the lead over iOS in the battle for U.S. smartphone buyers, according to a report out yesterday from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. From mid-November through mid-February, Android increased its share of U.S. smartphone sales to 51.2 percent, up from 45 percent during the same three-month period in 2012. Over the same time, Apple’s iOS dropped to second place as its share of U.S. sales fell to 43.5 percent from 47 percent.
Much of the surge in Android can be attributed to Apple arch-rival Samsung. Prices drops on Samsung phones in the last half of 2012 prompted many smartphone and feature phone users to upgrade to a Samsung device, Kantar said. Overall, many people who opted for a Samsung phone last year gravitated toward one of the company’s flagship devices. Among those who purchased a Samsung phone in the last year, 52 percent chose a Galaxy S3, 21 percent a Galaxy S2, and 5 percent a Galaxy Note 2. Samsung buyers cited the cost of the phone and the carrier brand as key drivers for their purchase.
“Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Samsung smartphone, 19 percent had previously owned a Samsung feature phone, 15 percent owned an HTC smartphone, 14 percent owned an LG featurephone, 10 percent owned a Samsung smartphone, and 9 percent owned a BlackBerry,” Kantar analyst Mary-Ann Parlato said in a statement. “It’s apparent that Samsung is successful at capturing users from across the competitor set and not just gaining from their own loyalists, (albeit loyalty towards Samsung has also grown).”
What of the rest of the smartphone world? Microsoft’s Windows Phone saw an increase in sales share, jumping to 4.1 percent from 2.7 percent a year earlier. Beyond Android, Windows Phone was the only platform to see its share of sales increase, according to the report. BlackBerry continued to see its sales fall, accounting for 0.7 percent of sales — down from 3.6 percent in 2012. Nokia’s Symbian was stuck in last place among the top five, ekeing out just 0.1 percent of U.S. sales from its 0.5 percent a year earlier. Kantar derived its data from more than 240,000 interviews of mobile phone users. The report focused on actual sales rather than market share.
The latest iOS update seems to be creating trouble for a number of users chiming in on Apple’s support forums. Another iOS update, another round of complaints. Released last week, Apple’s iOS 6.1.3 was designed to fix a security hole that let someone access the iPhone by sneaking past the lock screen. But the update also seems to have plagued some users with other problems, according to blog site Gotta Be Mobile. The persistent battery drain rears its ugly head again with iOS 6.1.3. Several people posting on Apple’s Support Communities forum say the battery drains faster after installing the new update. Some have tried the usual fixes, such as turning off notifications and restoring the device to factory settings, but say their battery charge still doesn’t last long.
Battery drain seems to be a constant complaint with every new iOS update. Just how pervasive a problem is it? A significant number of people ran into battery drain woes with iOS 5.0, forcing Apple to release several subsequent updates to try to resolve the problem. Even after those updates, several users said they continued to experience battery drain with each new update. Another iOS 6.1.3 glitch affecting some users is Wi-Fi connectivity. Several Apple forum commenters say their Wi-Fi connections are grayed out or inoperative. This particular issue has been around since iOS 6.0. Some say the problem was fixed with iOS 6.1.2 but came back with 6.1.3, while some say it was resolved with 6.1.3. Apple has acknowledged the problem in the past and offers a support page with suggestions on resolving it. Still one more issue affecting a few people is a battery drain that occurs when connecting to Microsoft Exchange — another problem that’s been around awhile. This one was supposedly fixed with iOS 6.1.2 but still seems to trouble a certain number of people.
The next-generation iPhone should start shipping by the end of June, followed by a low-cost iPhone in the September quarter, says analyst Gene Munster. Apple will likely bring out its next iPhone in late June, projects Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Assuming that forecast comes true, Munster believes Apple will sell 4 million units of the new phone before the month and the quarter are over. That estimate compares with the 5 million iPhone 5 handsets sold during that model’s opening weekend.
The analyst expects Apple to sell 30 million iPhones over the June quarter, a 15 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. What will the iPhone 5S offer over its predecessor? Like most analysts and Apple watchers, Munster expects the phone to include a faster processor, better camera, and new software features tied into the hardware. He thinks there’s an “outside chance” the 5S may come with an NFC (near-field communications) chip to open the door for mobile payments.
Apple’s purchase last year of security technology provider AuthenTec could lead to a biometric security feature, aka fingerprint reader, for the 5S. But the analyst thinks such a feature is more likely to debut with the iPhone 6.
A follow-up act from Apple will come in the September quarter when the analyst expects to see the launch of the much-rumored low-cost iPhone. Targeted for emerging markets, a budget iPhone would help Apple tap into a market for low-cost smartphones that would be valued at around $135 billion in total. Munster pegs the unlocked price of a low-cost iPhone at $250.
Finally, Apple could announce its new television sometime in the December quarter, according to Munster, ultimately followed by the announcement of a smartwatch. The analyst doesn’t think either product would generate substantial revenue. But they would show that Apple is still capable of cooking up innovative products, something that would benefit the company and its stock price.
“We believe investors have wondered if Apple can put out new and innovating products without Steve Jobs,” Munster said in an investors note released today. “We believe that ultimately, if Apple is viewed as a company that can innovate, the multiple will improve.”
The startup’s product lets smartphones pinpoint their location using ambient Wi-Fi signals already present in buildings. Apple has acquired WiFiSlam, a company that makes an app that lets smartphones locate themselves indoors using ambient Wi-Fi signals that already exist in buildings.
The deal was reported by The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog, which said Apple confirmed the acquisition but had no further comment other than to say that Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time.” Digits said Apple paid $20 million for WiFiSlam. The WiFiSlam page on AngelList describes the company’s product like so:
Allow your smartphone to pinpoint its location (and the location of your friends) in real-time to 2.5m accuracy using only ambient Wi-Fi signals that are already present in buildings.
We are building the next generation of location-based mobile apps that, for the first time, engage with users at the scale that personal interaction actually takes place. Applications range from step-by-step indoor navigation, to product-level retail customer engagement, to proximity-based social networking.
Digits notes that Google currently offers indoor mapping in airports, shopping centers, sports stadiums, and other locations. It’s not known if WiFiSlam’s technology will somehow be incorporated into Apple’s Maps app. Apple, of course, tossed Google Maps as the default mapping service in iOS and launched its own mapping app, which, on its debut last September, was lambasted for its shortcomings.
Since then, Apple has stayed relatively quiet on improvements to its Maps app. When asked about progress on the software during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company had already made “a number of improvements”including improved satellite and flyover imagery as well as local information for businesses.
Google released its own, standalone maps app for iOS in December. That software wasupdated for the first time in early March, with a quick search tool and integration with Google’s contacts service. WiFiSlam was co-founded by a former Google software engineering intern, Joseph Huang, Digits noted.
Apple will supply the Pentagon with iOS devices as part of a new contract, a new report says. The U.S. Department of Defense plans to purchase more than half a million iOS devices, according to a new report. Citing “well-placed sources,” Electronista says the government plans to purchase 120,000 iPads, 100,000 iPad minis, 200,000 iPod Touches, and 210,000 iPhones as part of an effort to update and mobilize its technologies.
As for the timing of such a deal, Electronista suggests it would happen following the current sequestration. Apple declined to comment on the report, and the Defense Department did not immediately return a request for comment. Last month the Department of Defense announced that it was dropping its exclusive contract with handset maker BlackBerry and opening up its communications networks to others, like Apple and Google.
The Department uses more than 600,000 mobile devices already — 470,000 of which are BlackBerry — with another 41,000 made by Apple and 8,700 running Google’s Androidplatform. Last October the organization said that it plans to ramp that up to 8 million devices. The move, which remains unconfirmed, comes on the heels of the UK government’s electronics clearance unit deeming Blackberry 10 to be not as secure as previous versions of the platform – a blow for the Canadian device maker that first released the software in late January after delays.
Apple’s latest iOS update puts the whammy on the popular jailbreak tool, so Evasi0n users will probably want to stick with iOS 6.1.2. Apple has finally managed to contain the Evasi0n jailbreak. Released yesterday, iOS 6.1.3 fixes a security bug that allowed someone to sneak past the lock screen and make phone calls, listen to voice mail, and view contact photos.
But the update also patched several holes that Evasi0n exploited to perform an untethered jailbreak on all iOS devices, including the latest iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. People who upgrade to iOS 6.1.3 will no longer be able to use Evasi0n to jailbreak their devices. And once on 6.1.3, newer Apple devices cannot be downgraded to a previous iOS version. But the news isn’t all bad for the jailbreaking community.
Older Apple devices powered by an A4 or earlier processor can still be hacked using the latest version of Redsn0w, according to Redmond Pie. Those include such products as the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, and the fourth-generation iPod Touch. The downside here is that the jailbreak is a tethered one. So if your mobile device powers down, you’ll need to reconnect it to your computer to run the jailbreak again.
In its release notes for iOS 6.1.3, Apple actually credited the Evasi0n team, known as the evad3rs, for uncovering four of the security holes that were patched. News that the latest iOS update puts the kibosh on Evasi0n isn’t a total surprise. A beta of iOS 6.1.3 released late last monthreportedly took down the jailbreaking tool. Evasi0n put up a good fight. The tool survived and thrived through iOS 6.1.1 and 6.1.2 before being felled by yesterday’s update. Evasi0n proved to be perhaps the most popular iOS jailbreak ever released. Following its debut in early February, the tool was downloaded almost 7 million times in less than a week.
With Google Reader on its way out, many users will be in need of a replacement for their RSS subscriptions. Here’s a roundup of what we think are the best alternatives available. Hear that? That’s the sound of millions of news junkies on the Web scrambling to find an alternative to Google Reader. As you may have heard, Google Reader will soon be no more. The search giant has announced that it will shutter its much-maligned — though still widely used — RSS reader, which will, no doubt, leave many users in a tizzy, searching for other ways to subscribe to their favorite RSS feeds. Sure, Google Reader may not have been the most beautifully designed product to come out of Mountain View, Calif., but it sure was convenient. And now that it’s going away, it’s evident just how valuable it has been.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of what we think are the best replacements for the soon-to-be-late Google Reader. Plugged-in types won’t want to miss a beat once Google Reader sees its sunset, so getting familiar with these alternatives now could be key. Ideally, an RSS reader should be available on both mobile devices and desktop computers, so we tried our best to focus on this type of service. That said, we also thought it important to mention a couple of services (at the bottom) that are only available on Android and iOS, simply because we know that they’re viable alternatives, and more people than ever are reading on mobile devices these days anyway. Finally, when you’re ready to make the jump, be sure to check out the Data Liberation Front’s primer on exporting your Reader data using Google Takeout.
iOS | Android | Web
One of Feedly’s most popular features is that it can sync with Google Reader. But since that feature will soon be useless, we need to focus on the rest of what the app brings to the table. Fortunately, Feedly brings a lot. When you first launch Feedly, it offers up a menu of featured sites from all around the Web. These sites cover categories from Design to Android to Apple to Business. You can go through and subscribe to any of these featured sites individually, or you can even subscribe to entire categories of sites with a single click. And of course, you can always search for specific URLs, site names, or topics from within Feedly and subscribe that way, just as you would with Google Reader.
More than just an RSS reader, though, Feedly comes with a built-in “Save for Later” feature and a History function, so you can go back and see what you recently read. It even lets you share items via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Overall, Feedly is one of the best RSS readers out there. It performs well and looks slick on both iOS and Android. And for desktops, it is available via Firefox or Chrome browser plug-ins.
iOS | Android | Web
Taptu gives you a visual interface for browsing news feeds, a lot like Pulse (see below), and also lets you add your personal Twitter and Facebook feeds for easy access. But the DJ aspect of the app is that you can customize your feeds exactly the way you want them. The app comes with several premade Taptu-curated news categories, but it’s just as easy to strike out on your own with the feeds you already love. Build a stream from scratch using the Add Streams button, where you’ll find tons of feeds from popular publications. You also can search by category, or simply perform a search to gather all the feeds that relate to a specific keyword. In our experience, Taptu was a little laggy when scrolling through stories from within the app, but you have the option to switch to a Web version of a story that is much smoother. At any rate, Taptu is great for finding and tuning your feeds and makes for a great way to tailor your news to your specs.
iOS | Android | Web
Pulse News gives you all the news from your favorite feeds with an intuitive interface for touch screens. News sites are laid out vertically so you can swipe up and down to the latest news from all sites quickly, or you can swipe horizontally to read more stories from the same site. If you want to switch categories, you can touch the menu button and choose from a list or you can use a search field to find sites by keyword. The app comes preloaded with several popular Web sites you can add to your Pulse home screen.
The layout of this app is especially intuitive, making it easy for people unfamiliar with newsreaders to get started quickly. Your Pulse home screen is completely customizable, so you can reorder your feed list to show your most-read sites first. You can also add Facebook to your feed if you want to see the latest stories from your friends. If you want a slick and elegant way to quickly read news stories from all your favorite Web sites, Pulse takes only a little bit of setup to have the latest headlines laid out for you when you launch.
iOS | Android
Flipboard is already an immensely popular newsreader and social-network hub, but it has no desktop or browser-based component. Still, if you have an iOS or Android device, Flipboard is an excellent option because you can organize the info you want to look at and then flip through it like a magazine. All you need to do is create an account with Flipboard, then sign in to your Facebook, Google+, and Twitter accounts to be fully socially connected.
Once you’re all signed in, Flipboard presents you with an intuitive layout of your social networks and some default news categories to browse. Touching a panel lets you browse through any of the default categories; touching and holding a panel lets you delete it and replace it with whatever RSS feed you might want. You can customize your Flipboard by browsing through several categories like News, Technology, Business, and Entertainment, then adding popular sites to your Flipboard like BBC News, the Guardian, The Economist, and Salon. Flipboard’s strength is in its magazine-like layout, but there’s an enormous amount of content to choose from, making it possible to customize it with exactly the types of stories you want.
Google Currents (free)
iOS | Android
Never heard of this one? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Google Currents was officially unveiled in December 2011 on both Android and iOS, and was framed as a sort of hybrid magazine viewer and RSS reader in one. Relatively few people jumped on its bandwagon then, and still today it has yet to gain widespread traction on either mobile platform. Regardless of its usage statistics, though, Google Currents is still useful, especially now that Google Reader will be going away.
Similar to Flipboard, Google Currents employs a magazine-style interface with large images and paginated posts. It may not be most intuitive app in the world, but it looks sleek and works well. It lets you subscribe to and download app-optimized editions of publications like Forbes and CNET, and you can subscribe to any RSS-enabled sites you like, just like with Google Reader. There’s even a Breaking News feature that instantly pulls up the latest news stories within a given category. While Google Currents may not be the biggest name on our list (even though it is, in fact, made by Google), there’s no doubt that this app has potential. And with its sibling Google Reader soon biting the dust, it may even be poised for a huge upswing in popularity.
The iPhone and the iPad have grown more popular with the enterprise crowd at the expense of Android devices, according to an Egnyte report. The iPhone and iPad continue to outshine Android devices among businesses both large and small, says a report from cloud storage company Egnyte. Among the 100,000 Egnyte customers tracked for the new report, iOS has carved out an increasingly higher share while Android’s slice has dipped of late. Egnyte sells online storage, file sharing, and other cloud-based services to businesses of all sizes. As such, the company is able to determine which mobile operating systems its customers use to access its services, which it did so for this latest report.
As described by TechCrunch, early data from Egnyte for the first quarter of 2013 showed a48 percent share for the iPhone, 30 percent for the iPad, and 22 percent for Android (both phones and tablets). Though preliminary, those figures show a gain for Apple and a decline for Android from last year. In 2012, Egnyte’s data revealed a 42 percent share for the iPhone, 27 percent for the iPad, and 30 percent for Android phones and tablets. Other mobile operating systems combined eked out just 1 percent.
And for the second half of 2011, the data uncovered a 28 percent share for the iPhone, 40 percent for the iPad, 30 percent for Android, and 2 percent for other mobile platforms. Over time, the iPhone is the clear winner in the bunch, jumping in usage from a little more than a quarter of all Egnyte customers tracked to almost half. At the same time, the iPad saw its usage drop, while Android remained steady until just this year.
Engyte’s data doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. The report doesn’t specifically refer to BlackBerry devices, which typically have been popular among enterprise users. Rather, the data focuses more on the battle between iOS and Android. ”Apple seems to have at least temporarily won the hearts and minds of business users with its products accounting for about 70 percent of our traffic,” Egnyte told TechCrunch.
Both companies will add wireless charging capabilities to their new smartphones this year, says DigiTimes. Owners of the iPhone 5S or Galaxy S4 will be able to charge their phones wirelessly, claim the folks at DigiTimes. Based on “industry sources,” Taiwan-based DigiTimes said today that the next-generation iPhone will use wireless charging technology developed by Apple. But the sources couldn’t say whether the phone would be built with the wireless charging feature or rely on an attached accessory.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is expected to support the Qi wireless charging technology, which already is used by Nokia and other mobile vendors. The S4 may not include the capability itself but instead require users to buy a back cover that can access a charging pad. DigiTimes has a history of hits and misses as far as reliability goes, so this report should be taken with a grain of salt. Apple, at least, doesn’t seem to be sold on the idea of wireless charging.
In an interview with AllThingsD last September, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller questioned the convenience of wireless charging systems since they still need to be plugged into a wall outlet. In contrast, the current USB cables can be plugged into computers, outlets, and even on airplanes, he added. ”Having to create another device you have to plug into the wall is actually, for most situations, more complicated,” Schiller told AllThingsD. For those enamored with wireless charging, third-party products like the Powermat andEnergizer Qi already provide the technology for many smartphones and other devices.
Google’s Chromebook Pixel has two killer features that MacBooks don’t. Maybe it’s time for Apple to rethink the MacBook concept. Thank you, Google. For obsoleting my MacBook. Question: What two killer hardware features are missing on MacBooks? My answer: a touch screen and 4G. What a coincidence. Just what Google is offering on the Chromebook Pixel. And in a package that comes close to matching the MacBook’s aesthetics. Not everyone may agree with that. Take the laptop flat-earthers. They will say touch is stupid (or “pointless” as one columnist said) on a laptop. Yeah right, just like the mouse was a stupid idea.
Then there’s Apple’s your-arm-wants-to-fall-off on vertical touch surfaces excuse. That will eventually give way to a touch-screen MacBook of some sort. You heard it here first. The point is, Google knows (they’re not stupid) that touch is important on a laptop. As does Microsoft (Windows 8 and Surface). That leaves Apple in Luddite land. 4G: And some might say that a Chromebook needs 4G more than a MacBook because the Chromebook is so immersed in the cloud. Hmm, my MacBook spends lots of time in the cloud too. And the last time I used it on the road, I was constantly hauling out my Verizon MiFi or running down my iPhone’s battery with the Personal Hotspot. Come on, LTE belongs in a laptop.
And the operating system? I believe that cool hardware is the first step in luring consumers to a new operating environment. While Chrome OS is still a work in progress (and lacks key features that many users need), with the success of Android, I do think it’s possible that an improved Chrome OS combined with a second-generation Chromebook Pixel could reel in more consumers. Google certainly has my attention.