Chinese maker Huawei overtakes Microsoft as Lumia sales drop by 50 percent
A new study by Strategy Analytics has confirmed Apple CEO Tim Cook's claim that iPhone sales were up a staggering 35 percent year-over-year, making Apple the smartphone maker with the second-highest mobile phone shipments overall, including "feature phones." The remaining-but-shrinking market for low-end smartphones and feature phones is what keeps Samsung in first, but Apple's marketshare rose to 10.9 percent share, compared to last year's 8.2 percent.
Right to be Forgotten risks serious chilling effect online if performed globally
Google has responded to France's request for the European "Right to be Forgotten" law to be expanded to cover all Google search pages, suggesting it to be a bad idea for Internet users as a whole. French data protection regulator CNIL's formal notice for delisting of requested links has been declared by Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer as a "troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web."
MIB-II infotainment system also supporting Android Auto, VW app suite
As promised roughly a year after CarPlay was unveiled, German car maker Volkswagen is now shipping automobiles that include a next-generation infotainment system called MIB-II that includes support for both CarPlay and Android Auto along with its own proprietary suite of Car-Net apps, the latter of which requires a subscription. The company says that all but its entry-level models will feature the new MIB-II system.
Healthcare, pension cuts at heart of the labor debate
Verizon wireline workers, including telephone, cable, and FiOS service workers have voted to strike along the east coast of the US should the union see the need during the ongoing contract negotiation. Over 86 percent of the 39,000-strong workforce agreed to the strike, which could come as soon as August 1, the day the existing contract expires.
Tablets still reign in enterprise, education, but consumer market lagging
Although Apple CEO Tim Cook remains "bullish" on the future of tablets, Apple and the market generally for tablets is declining as consumers continue to favor large-screen smartphones for tablet-like functions, and as companies struggle to figure out what the replacement cycle for the still-popular devices is or should be, says research firm IDC. According to Apple, it sold 11.2 million iPads (with shipments of 10.9 million) in its fiscal third quarter, down from 13.7 million sold in the previous quarter.
Company redefining 'unlimited' to try to escape fine
AT&T is protesting the $100 million fine it was levied by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for improperly informing unlimited wireless customers of throttling after 5GB of data is consumed in a month. Claiming that the penalty is "an unseemly effort to coerce settlement," AT&T is demanding that the FCC retract the document, and cancel the associated fee, holding AT&T liable for misleading customers.
Finally you won't be forced to have one
If you have signed up for YouTube, if you've got yourself a Gmail account, or if you have sneezed within 17 miles of a Wi-Fi hotspot, you've been given Google+. We'd say whether you wanted it or not, but did anyone actually want it? Now the service continues -- sans Google+ Photos -- but it's no longer going to be rammed in the direction of your throat. You can safely sign up for Google's more useful and popular services, and not automatically get this plastic toy in the bottom of the box.
Numbers during free trial mean little, conversion rate yet to be seen
In only its first month, some 10 million people have signed on to give the subscription-based Apple Music a try during its three-month free trial period, according to music industry sources that allegedly reflect a figure given to them by Apple itself. While the number doesn't mean much during the free trial period, if one assumed that the number of users trying it out will grow over the summer, established rivals may have reason to worry.
Authorized Mobility Resellers to push iPhones in 12 cities
As part of an expanded push in one of its fastest-growing markets that recently saw the company advertising for a senior government manager, the iPhone maker is now in the final stages of executing a plan to increase its available resellers to around 500 outlets. There are currently around 100 resellers already on board, and the company plans to double iPhone sales in each of the next three years.
PCs outsold by iOS devices, AT&T/DirecTV merger, AAPL vs AMZN and more
Another interesting week at MacNN brings us plenty to talk about on Episode 25 of The MacNN Podcast, ranging from the FCC approval of the AT&T/DirecTV deal for no clear reason (but with a bunch of conditions), to our new column "My Stupid Fault." We also include a full report on Apple's fiscal Q3 and the uncalled-for drop in the stock, the results of our testing of Apple's new third-party SSD Trim support, and more.
Internal slides describe performance improvements in next Intel chip generation
Intel's upcoming 14nm Skylake line of processors will be a considerable improvement compared to current-generation Broadwell chips, according to allegedly leaked internal slides. The performance improvements between Broadwell and Skylake will see improvements in many areas, including a 30 percent longer battery life, up to 50-percent better 3D performance, and improved processor performance at lower power, making it especially ideal for notebook-based systems.
Android-based clones sold in US, leading to Chinese government raid
Acting on a tip from US law enforcement, Beijing police raided a factory producing fake iPhones and accessories. Nine suspects have been arrested in the scheme, which produced 41,000 fake phones and could have been worth up to $19 million in counterfeit electronics sales.
Market trial of DOCSIS 3.1 could lead to 10Gbps service launch
Comcast is planning to beat its major competition in the broadband speed arms race, by testing a technology that could offer 10Gbps connections later this year. Faster than the gigabit speeds of Google Fiber and even its own 2Gbps Gigabit Pro service in some areas, Comcast CEO Neil Smit advised that the cable company is going to be performing a market trial in the fourth quarter for DOCSIS 3.1 running at far higher speeds.
Suit alleged that Apple, Nike knew of FuelBand deficiencies, continued to sell
Apple and Nike have come to an agreement, potentially ending the class action suit against the pair about the Nike FuelBand. Suit BC509363 in the Superior Court of California alleged Apple and Nike of misleading customers on the tracking capability and monitoring accuracy of the Nike FuelBand in marketing materials.
Gaming news summary for July 27, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's later-than-scheduled edition, China lifts its console sales ban, Nintendo prepares to remove TVii from the Wii U in the United States, and Steam suffers a rare security lapse via its own support system.
Company must grow FTTP, provide low-income broadband, among others
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has conditionally granted approval of the transfer of control of licenses and authorizations from DirecTV to AT&T. The approval will allow AT&T to acquire DirecTV and merge the two companies into one combined entity.
Wintel installed base still larger, but Apple sees expansion headroom still
Apple reached a new milestone with its most recent quarterly report, according to analyst Benedict Evans, in that the combined sales of iOS devices now match annual sales of all Windows devices made by various manufacturers. While not unexpected, the change demonstrates the changing nature of computing in the 21st century, which has become increasingly mobile-centric and cloud-dependent -- two trends that have had significant ripple effects through the entire PC industry.
Takes second place in profits, added $200B to market value
Fortune has published its annual Global 500 company rankings, again placing Apple at 15th place worldwide, behind mostly oil companies, two car companies, arch-rival Samsung, and the top choice Walmart. The survey, which analyses company performance from March to March for the magazine's "fiscal year" figures, pegged Apple's revenue at $182.8 billion, with profits at $39.5 billion -- up seven and six percent, respectively.
Strategy Analytics estimates first-quarter shipments of four million units
One day after Apple CEO Tim Cook debunked reports that sales of the Apple Watch were slipping by saying in a conference call with analysts that in fact, June sales had outperformed both May and April -- including the original rush of pre-orders, new data from Strategy Analytics claims that not only has Apple handily stolen the crown of top smartwatch seller from Samsung in just its first full quarter, the company has outsold all rivals combined year-to-date.
Existing YouTube stars tapped for new shows, exclusive content
YouTube's upcoming subscription service for normal video clips, alongside the existing version for music videos, will not include content from any major TV networks, a report claims. Instead of offering a more typical video on-demand service, including popular programs available on other paid services, the paid subscription will apparently solely rely on existing YouTube stars and the removal of advertising from its videos in order to attract customers.
Company again accused of failing to take steps to protect customer data
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today asserted that LifeLock violated a 2010 settlement with the agency and 35 state attorneys general by continuing to make deceptive claims about its identity theft protection services, and by failing to take steps required to protect its users' data. In documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, the FTC charged that LifeLock failed to live up to its obligations under the 2010 settlement, and asked the court to impose an order requiring LifeLock to provide full redress to all consumers affected by the company's order violations.
Region continues to offset normal summer sales doldrums
Although Apple's conference call with analysts on Tuesday was light on new information, a few facts and figures about China -- Apple's fastest-growing sales region by revenue, and currently buying more iPhones than the US -- came to light. In the most recent quarter, Apple's "greater China" revenues (which include Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Taiwan) jumped 112 percent from the year-ago quarter, to $13.2 billion. That's right, more than double. In a year.
Gaming news summary for July 21, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, a thrice-weekly look at the wider world of gaming by the staff of MacNN. In today's edition, Star Wars KOTOR II: The Sith Lords makes its way to Mac ten years after launch, Microsoft faces a class action suit over an Xbox 360 flaw, and an interim patch for Batman: Arkham Knight on PC will be coming next month.
Live, up to the minute breakdown of Tim Cook and company's earnings call
While we're not expecting another question about an Apple television set, that doesn't mean that we can't cover the earnings announcement anyway! Starting at 5:00 EDST, join the MacNN team for a live breakdown of figures given by Cook and company, as well as the follow-up question and answer session. The live page found here is now closed, but still available for perusal.
Restructuring effort at Blackberry prompts more job losses
Two major employers in the tech industry are preparing to make significant cuts to its employee numbers in the near future, according to reports. BlackBerry will be shedding staff as it attempts to turn its financial fortunes around, while Qualcomm is reportedly planning to cull a considerable number of positions as part of a review of its current strategy, with up to ten percent of its workforce potentially facing the sack.
MobileFirst for iOS partnership now offers 32 vertical apps
The partnership between Apple and IBM that targets the enterprise sector continues a steady stream of new app releases, with 10 more announced on Tuesday that brings the total of the year-old partnership to 32 apps for specific industries. The latest batch include apps designed for managers, business travelers, the mortgage industry, government inspectors, and field technicians and professionals, among others.
Hidden fingerprint reader could aid removal of buttons from front of smartphones
Flagship smartphones and tablets of the future may not have a visible fingerprint reader on the front of the device, if a technology from one research firm is adopted by manufacturers. Sonovation has worked out a way to bond the fingerprint sensors directly onto the underside of a smartphone's glass display, potentially allowing for a future removal of visible readers, such as the home button on more recent Touch ID-enabled iOS devices.
Customer retention percentages, growth eclipse T-Mobile's
Reporting second-quarter 2015 results today, Verizon announced double-digit percentage growth in year-over-year quarterly earnings. More importantly, the company posted 1.1 million net retail postpaid connections added with customer "churn," or turnover, of 0.90 percent -- the lowest in three years. Additionally, the wireless division of the company now has 109.5 million total retail connections with 103.7 million total retail postpaid connections.
Amicus curae brief claims verdict will stifle innovation, hurt consumer choice
Silicon Valley powerhouses are giving opinions on the ongoing Apple versus Samsung court battles. In an amicus curae filing, Dell, Ebay, Facebook, Google, and HP are asking the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals that Samsung turning over full profits of some phones found in violation of Apple patents would set a dangerous trend, and threaten the entire industry with waves of patent infringement lawsuits which would stifle innovation, and limit choices for consumers.
Former Fiat Chrysler executive heads to Apple, possibly for rumored car project
Rumors of Apple's electric car have been boosted, courtesy of reports that it is bringing on board a senior executive from one automobile manufacturer, as well as a leading researcher in the field of automated vehicles. Doug Betts, previously the head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, reportedly joins Apple alongside Paul Furgale, a Swiss researcher that is said to be forming a team for a confidential vehicle-related project.
Podcast audience overwhelmingly on iOS, use default player
A new report by audio platform Clammr that pushes the notion that podcast listening is on the verge of breaking into the mainstream of American culture (due to popular podcasts such as Marc Maron's WTF and Welcome to Nightvale) reports that the vast majority (66 percent) of podcast listeners are on mobile devices, and that 82 percent of that audience are using iOS devices -- with 78 percent using the default Apple player.
Traditional promotion has been MIA so far this year, revamp may be in cards
Traditionally, Apple launches a Back To School promotion in the first week of July (or first week in January for Australia and New Zealand) that offers extra incentives, such as iTunes Gift Cards, on top of the usual educational discounts on hardware ranging from Macs to iPods. The program has not appeared this year, with no reply from Apple to inquiries about the state of the promotion -- but a weekly video to Apple Store staff from retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts hints that a rethink on the Back To School idea is coming.
Loss of 911 service for three hours last year prompts fine, compliance plan
T-Mobile has agreed to pay a fine relating to two 911 service outages that took place last year, with the settlement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) costing the carrier $17.5 million. The two outages, said to be separate but related, prevented all T-Mobile customers from being able to call the emergency services for a total of three hours on August 8, potentially putting citizens at risk by being unable to get help quickly.
Holiday buildup for Microsoft, Sony will help -- but not enough
At the end of last week, chip manufacturer AMD announced revenue for the second quarter of 2015 of $942 million, an operating loss of $137 million, and a net loss of $181 million, or $0.23 per share. Despite claiming that the company is on track, AMD CEO and President Dr. Lisa Su pointed responsibility for the worsening financial condition of the company on "near-term challenges in our PC processor business due to lower than expected consumer demand."
Shareholders also suspicious of new moves that could foreclose on furnaces
On Friday, Apple filed an objection in bankruptcy court to a new financing plan brought forward by GT Advanced Technologies, its former partner in sapphire glass production. The new financing report from GT Advanced claims that it has to collect enough insurance money over a fire that damaged the plant Apple owns in May, to cover a $95 million loan agreement for repairs. Apple says that GT Advanced is trying to weasel out of its obligations.
Using smaller companies to bid said to have violated spirit of spectrum auction rules
Dish Network may have to pay the full price for its bids in January's AWS-3 spectrum auction after all, a report claims. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is said to be close to ruling over whether or not Dish is entitled to $3.3 billion in discounts for its $13.3 billion in spectrum bids, as it "violated the broad spirit of the auction's rules" by using two smaller companies instead of bidding directly.
Apple's not done the very best of jobs with iTunes
The smart money said if anything were going to go wrong, it would be Beats 1: something live is automatically the most likely to fall over in some way. If someone had already taken that bet, you'd settle for guessing that massive demand would overload the streaming servers. Yet instead, the bit of the Music app and Apple Music launch that caused problems -- and continues to cause them -- is good old iTunes for OS X. We've had iTunes for nearly 15 years, and every thing else in Apple Music for a fortnight but it's iTunes for the Mac that has fallen down and can't seem to get up.
New e-SIM cards lets users switch carriers without changing SIMs
A new form of SIM card may be used in a future iPhone, if reports Apple is working with a mobile telecoms industry association are correct. Apple is reportedly working with the GSMA and a group of other companies in the mobile device market, including Samsung, in adopting electronic SIM cards (e-SIMs), which could allow for users to switch between carriers quickly and easily, without resorting to changing the physical SIM card.
HSBC confirms it will allow its UK customers to use Apple Pay in near future
HSBC will be joining the ranks of other financial institutions in supporting Apple Pay in the United Kingdom in the coming weeks. While the British arm of HSBC is slow to join the rest of the banks in providing customers the ability to use Apple Pay with their account, one major supermarket in the country has spoken up, claiming Apple Pay will be usable in all of its stores and petrol stations across the UK.
NFC-based contactless systems common at gas stations outside US
Chevron has initiated outdoor, direct-at-pump payments for NFC contactless systems -- including Apple Pay -- for at least one station in San Ramon, California, and promised that a second location in Cupertino -- home of Apple -- is coming soon. The company tweeted the news in response to a customer question asking whether any stations took Apple Pay at the pump. A number of Chevron and Texaco stations support Apple Pay, but only at the cash register in-store.
Fortune polls Wall Street and indie analysts for latest guesstimate
As it does every quarter, a collection of analysts from traditional Wall Street as well as independent firms have been rounded up by Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt to put together a consensus estimate on Apple's iPhone sales for the fiscal third quarter for the company, which ended on June 30. While results will be officially reported by Apple in a week's time, the consensus already sets a record-breaking 49.4 million units marker for the quarter.
NatWest, RBS, Santander among first banks supporting Apple Pay in UK launch
Just as previously rumored, Apple Pay has gone live in the United Kingdom, approximately nine months after it first launched in the United States. Usable with existing contactless payment systems in more than 250,000 retailers across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, the service includes support for quite a few banks and financial institutions in the country, though there are a few notable banks missing from the initial launch list.
Samsung profits wither, all other players take steep losses
Even thought it is thought to account for only a fifth of all smartphone shipments, a new report from Canaccord Genuity on Monday says that Apple's iPhone line now takes a whopping 92 percent of all the profits made in the industry. The new figure is up substantially from a year ago, and in likely equal parts reflects the ongoing popularity of the company's iPhone 6 line along with Samsung's recent financial problems.
Stream offers broadcast TV, but only on home Xfinity connection
Comcast is finally joining the ranks of PlayStation Vue and Sling TV, in providing an Internet television subscription independent of a main cable subscription. Titled Stream, the service will offer customers live TV broadcasts to watch on their choice of device, including desktops, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones, though unlike its main competitors, there appear to be a few snags that may cause some potential customers to look elsewhere.
App Store charges for Apple Music competitors queried by regulator
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is allegedly looking into how Apple treats competitors of its Apple Music service in the App Store. Industry sources of Reuters claim the regulator is making queries about how other music streaming services, such as Spotify and Rhapsody, are represented in the App Store and if Apple is breaking antitrust law, as well as other restrictions on how app creators must behave in order to remain listed in the marketplace.
Bank had faced customer defections, publicity backlash over resistance
After becoming best known for being the only major UK bank not to support the forthcoming rollout of Apple Pay support in the UK in favor of its own, much more awkward "bPay" solution, Barclays has apparently done an about-face and announced that it will provide "imminent" support of Apple Pay in the UK in the near future. The mobile payments system, anticipated to formally go live on Thursday, will still face some limitations.
Researchers used silicon-germanium to reach 7nm production milestone
IBM has reached a new milestone in the processor manufacturing industry, by producing the first chips using a 7nm process. The new chips will be able to fit more than 20 billion transistors onto a chip the size of a fingernail, far more than possible using current 14nm and upcoming 10nm production processes, with the potential for the chips to not only be more powerful, but also more efficient than those of previous processor generations.
Gartner disagrees, claims US Mac sales down from year-ago quarter
The latest estimates for retail sales and marketshare from industry analyst firm IDC claim that Mac sales have risen significantly, even in the face of an overall and deepening industry slump in traditional notebook and desktop PCs. For the June quarter that ended at the end of last month, IDC estimates that Mac shipments were up 16.1 percent worldwide from the year-ago quarter while the PC market generally saw an 11.8 percent contraction year-over-year. Apple was the only major computer maker to show a gain in the report.
If you don't want yours, can I have it? Mine got taken away
Looks like I picked a good week to attempt giving up my Apple Watch. It's not going well, thank you for asking. Once again, this week we finally have "absolute proof" that nobody is buying the Apple Watch, and anyway nobody has found a use for one, so there. Once more unto the breach.
Users who obtained the OS illicitly may be out of luck
Apple has launched a new program to reinstall earlier versions of watchOS who have upgraded to the Apple Watch 2.0 beta. The procedure, posted on a developer-only page, requires the user to ship the device back to Apple and wait "up to three business days" for return.