Nearly doubles rival Samsung's sales, equals all combined competition
Apple's share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, when the iPhone 5s was released.
Certification process blamed
The first home automation products based on Apple's HomeKit platform probably won't ship until spring, sources say. Reports note, for instance, that specifications weren't issued to chipmakers until October, and that the MFI licensing program for HomeKit only began in November. More recently, chipmaker Broadcom has been working with some customers to develop HomeKit devices using an existing chip design, in lieu of it having fully-certified software ready.
Ways to save power can return you to 'all-day' battery life
You've got to hand it to Apple. We were in an Apple Store, trying to decide between an iPhone 6 and a 6 Plus, as you do, and naturally a salesman came over. We mentioned that one thing that's really drawing us to the Plus is the battery life -- and you know what would have then happened in any other store selling any other phone. Of course the salesman would have immediately evangelized that feature. He'd somehow make it sound magical, how long you can go without charging the phone and yet, simultaneously, sold us some extra battery pack. Except this was Apple, and the guy didn't do any of that. Instead he asked us how long we were able to go without recharging our current iPhone, he tested our battery, and then he talked us through how to make it last longer.
Claims company knowingly infringed on two 3D UI patents from 1996
Apple has been named in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday by patent non-practicing entity (NPE, often nicknamed "patent troll") TriDim Innovations. The NPE accuses the iPhone maker of knowingly infringing on a pair of patents from 1996 that covers a 3D workspace user interface, and claims that the company's Cover Flow technology, bought from Steel Skies in 2006, violates the two patents. Time Machine and Mobile Safari in iOS 7 and 8 also use the technology.
Apple leaps ahead of LG in latter's home market
Apple has seen significant surges in the Japanese, Chinese, and South Korean smartphone markets since the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus last September, according to a study by Counterpoint Research. The most significant performance is reportedly in South Korea, where in November Apple leapt from under 15 percent marketshare to 33 percent. That put the company ahead of LG, slotted at just 14 percent, and significantly closer to Samsung, which dropped from 60 to 46 percent. LG and Samsung are both local to Korea, and have traditionally enjoyed a homefield advantage.
Browser layout updated for Material Design, new iPhones
Google has updated the iOS version of Chrome with several major improvements. The most important may be overdue support for the higher resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In parallel, though, the look of the browser has been revised to match Google's Material Design philosophy, which includes touches like "flatter" surfaces and more animation.
Contains more even mix of traditional banks, credit unions
Apple has updated the official roster of financial institutions supporting Apple Pay to include 16 more companies. Unlike an expansion earlier this month, the new one contains a more even mix of traditional banks and credit unions. The full list of additions includes: A+ Federal Credit Union, Amegy Bank of Texas, America First Credit Union, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, California Bank & Trust, Connex Credit Union, Goldenwest FCU, Huntington Bank, KeyPoint Credit Union, Meijer Credit Union, National Bank of Arizona, Nevada State Bank, TCF National Bank, Bank of Greene County, Vectra Bank, and Zions First National Bank.
Catalyst announces new waterproof case for iPhone 6
Waterproof accessories brand, Catalyst, has announced the release of its new iPhone 6 case. Measuring at 11.4mm thick, each case is waterproof up to a depth of five meters (16.4 feet), and is designed to meet or exceed Military Standard 810G for drops and shocks up to 6.6 feet. Both the touchscreen and Touch ID of the iPhone can be utilized while using the new Catalyst case, and its hard-coated optical lens allows for underwater camera usage.
Profits from stolen phones spent on cars, gold, gambling
Last week in Beijing, three men tunneled underground into a warehouse belonging to an Apple distributor and were able to steal 240 of the latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. The incident is just the latest in a series of crimes involving the latest iPhone -- resulting in a nickname for the device that translates "Kidney 6," in reference to a case in 2012 when a 17-year-old allowed one of his kidneys to be removed and sold so he could afford to buy an iPhone and iPad.
Worker morale highest by far at iPhone maker; HP and IBM below average
Financial analyst UBS and its research offshoot UBS Evidence Lab has polled workers at a number of major tech firms, and found Apple and its enterprise partner IBM at opposite ends of queries about the management, values, culture and business outlook for the companies. In the report, Apple was -- by a significant margin -- the leader in all categories, while IBM came in last in all categories among the seven firms surveyed, said analyst Steven Milunovich.
BoA reports 1.1 million cards now signed up for Apple's mobile payments tech
US megabank Bank of America has reported that nearly 800,000 of its customers -- representing 1.1 million credit or debit cards -- have signed up for Apple Pay over the last three months. The bank has recently started advertising the service in TV spots, calling it a "new, easy, secure, smart way to pay" using the Touch ID and other technology built into Apple's latest iPhone models. While no data on the volume of transactions was mentioned, the service continues to grow.
Handles essential security, deployment tasks
JAMF has announced the general release of Bushel, a cloud-based mobile device management platform aimed at Apple devices. Unlike some MDM products, Bushel is aimed at small- to medium-sized organizations. It's in fact free to use for up to three devices, and costs $2 per device per month for every unit beyond that threshold.
Insists patents are non-essential and not infringed
Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sweden's Ericsson, claiming that the latter is asking for excessive royalties for certain LTE patents, Reuters reports. The iPhone maker says that it hasn't infringed on any of the patents, and hence doesn't owe royalties for them - but the company says, nevertheless, that the patents aren't essential to cellular standards. Further, Apple claims that any royalties should be based on the value of the chip that includes the technology, rather than as a percentage of a device's total cost. If the court should find that the Ericsson patents are, in fact, standards-essential and have been infringed, Apple asks that the court assign a reasonable FRAND royalty rate.
Lets users change settings, organize homescreen
A new report claims to have exposed the contents of the official iPhone app for the Apple Watch. Said to be dubbed "Companion" within Apple, the app manages Watch apps and device settings, in addition to handling the Bluetooth pairing process. Users can, for instance, organize the layout of apps on their Watch's homescreen via a simulated version of that interface.
Sensor supplier gave Apple 'sweetheart deal' that hurt profits, suit charges
A new lawsuit filed against gyroscope and accelerometer supplier for Apple, InvenSense, accuses the company of failing to tell investors about the concessions it made to secure a recent deal. InvenSense parts are used in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Executives should have warned investors, the suit alleges, that Apple was given a "sweetheart deal" that would hurt profits. "Instead of revealing the true condition of the company and its prospects, defendants hid those facts from investors and chose to issue strong guidance and paint a picture of a bright future with a new mega-customer," the complaint reads. More seriously, the suit charges that investors were led to buy stock at inflated prices, while insiders sold off $5.3 million in shares.
Pushes video to numerous media streaming platforms
A new port of AllCast, a popular Android app, has just been released for iOS. The title lets users stream personal photo, video, and music libraries to a variety of platforms, not just the Apple TV -- the only format natively supported by Apple. Some compatible targets include Chrome, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, WDTV, Xbox One/Xbox 360, and various platforms compatible with DLNA.
Camera phones, despite limitations, replacing point-and-shoot
Flickr has updated statistics for 2014 in its "Most Popular Camera" and "Most Popular Mobile Camera" categories, with the combined models of iPhone taking second place in the general "camera" category -- beating out DSLR maker Nikon and popular point-and-shoot maker Sony for second place. While Canon remains the most popular overall camera, the built-in cameras on smartphones from Apple and Samsung have -- despite inherent limitations -- steadily risen in popularity.
Sales up in India, Mac sales higher, suppliers announce record earnings
While the idea that Apple probably had another record-breaking holiday quarter (what the company calls fiscal 2015 Q1) is unsurprising to all but selected pundits, a spate of reports released on Monday may be painting a general portrait of not just significant improvement, but more importantly growth in key areas of importance both to investors and analysis as well as to the health of the company. Sales of Macs look to be way up, iOS devices are selling much better in a key foreign market, and Apple's suppliers are flourishing -- all signs that point to better-than-expected quarter.
Public release may run parallel with Apple Watch availability
Apple is now seeding a fourth beta of iOS 8.2 via the company's developer portal, and as an over-the-air update for existing beta users. The build is listed as 12D5461b, and follows a little less than a month after beta 3, which was issued December 18. That build was 12D5452a. Accompanying the beta is a new version of WatchKit, the SDK and framework needed to build Apple Watch support into iOS apps.
Native CarPlay support still rare
The 2016 model of the Chevy Volt will support Apple's CarPlay, at least if an early demonstration version is accurate. The car is on display at this week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and its dash system shows options for both CarPlay and MirrorLink connections. Google's Android Auto is notably absent, but since the 2016 Volt isn't due to go on sale until mid-2015, there may be time to implement it.
All modern smartphones owe Apple, Jobs a debt of gratitude
Tech memories, sometimes, are the shortest memories of all. Do you remember what "smartphones" were like before the iPhone? Unless you were fairly well-off, you may not have any clear recall of those hazy days of 2007, when the Palm Treo and the BlackBerry ruled the world. Maybe your dad has one in a drawer somewhere -- go find it, power it up, and take a trip back to the Dark Ages (comparatively speaking). Eight years ago today, Steve Jobs blew up Macworld West in San Francisco with an earth-changing announcement.
Tracking data points to spike in Apple testing
Apple's upcoming iOS 8.1.3 update should arrive next week, reports suggest. Sources say that some sort of iOS 8 update, whether beta or public, will go live on Tuesday or Wednesday. Web tracking data at MacRumors, however, shows a sudden spike this week in iOS 8.1.3 devices visiting from Apple's internal networks.
Partner talks, promotional planning in progress
Apple Pay could arrive in Canada in early 2015, possibly as soon as March, sources claim. The people say that Apple is currently in negotiations with partners, and that those partners are already planning marketing and advertising material for March, presumably hinting at a launch target. Some of the sources indicate that Apple is indeed aiming for that month as well.
iOS 8 autocorrect has gone mad
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss the latest changes to auto-correct in iOS 8 after Clinically Insane member "subego" pointed out that it just doesn't "feel coherent like all the previous iterations," going on to say that it has the feeling of different algorithms competing with each other. Forum Regular "Harvey" has some questions about playing music from the cloud.
Only one exception
Almost all models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are now listed as "in stock" -- shipping immediately -- at Apple's US online store, after months of constrained supply versus demand. Those units should also be available for in-store pickup. The one exception to the newfound proliferation is the recently-introduced unlocked SIM-free iPhone 6 Plus, which has a one-day wait for online orders.
Make transferring files from Mac to iPhone as easy as you thought it was
Editor's note: welcome to the first installment of Pointers, a new weekly column that offers tips and tricks for getting more out of your Mac or iOS device -- or, in this case, both. Check back each Thursday for a new useful technique designed to demystify, declutter or de-stress you -- and hopefully add some delight as well.
When you know what's happening, AirDrop is as convenient and simple as Apple made you think it would be. You can transfer anything from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac (or vice versa), without emailing or messaging, without any concern for how many items you can send, without any concern about the size of those files. The first time you try flinging a document from iOS to OS X, though, it is Cotton-Eyed Joe: where did you come from, where did you go? We'll fix that with this handy tip.
Evernote Scramble released, offers uploading to iCloud, business card info to LinkedIn
Evernote has released a new scanning app today, including the ability to scan a document automatically upon launching the app. The app will locate the document in the camera's field of view, and sharpen the image of contents in view of the iOS device. Scans can be uploaded to iCloud or shared via AirDrop, text message or email. Business cards scanned by Evernote Scramble, the app can associate the information with the contact's LinkedIn account. Evernote Scramble is free to download.
Tech requires no built-in batteries
Philips has announced a new set of Lightning headphones, the Fidelio NC1Ls. As with the company's previous Lightning hardware, the NC1Ls include their own 24-bit digital-to-analog converter. New to the product, though, is active noise cancellation -- based on inverting the input from four integrated microphones. Unlike most noise-cancelling headphones, the NC1Ls run on the power of the device they're connected to, eliminating the need for built-in or replaceable batteries (but also introducing additional battery drain on mobile devices).
Brings service to two key credit unions
Via its official list, Apple has confirmed this week's addition of eight new banks to Apple Pay. The new institutions include Security Service Federal Credit Union, Customers Bank, Consumers Credit Union, Virginia Credit Union, Cyprus Federal Credit Union, Fairwinds Credit Union, Mountain America Credit Union, and Partners Federal Credit Union. Of those, the most important may be SSFCU, Partners, and Customers.
Early buggy releases quickly corrected, adoption rates now back to normal growth
Apple updated its developer portal on Wednesday with new statistics on its current mobile operating system, iOS 8. Adoption for the system is up to 68 percent across both iPhones and iPads, up eight percent from approximately six weeks ago. As would be expected, older versions thus continue a decline in popularity, with iOS 7 losing six percentage points and dropping to 29 percent, while iOS 6 and all earlier versions are essentially down to just devices that can not be upgraded beyond that point, holding around four percent share (a drop of one percent from the last report).
Maker cautions that real experience will vary based on carrier and location
A company called Antenna79 has launched the Reach79, a case claimed to boost cellular signals for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The key is an embedded gold-plated antenna layer, allegedly CETECOM-tested to improve signal strength by an average of 1.6 times, peaking at twice normal levels. Antenna79 suggests this can result not only in better coverage, but faster downloads and improved battery life, since a phone doesn't have to struggle as much to find a connection.
Release date sometime this year
Otterbox-owned LifeProof has announced the fre Power, a battery case for the iPhone 6. The product supplies 2600mAh of power, said to double an iPhone's regular life. More significantly, however, the case safeguards against water, drops, and dust/snow, partly through its shell but also via a built-in screen protector. The case is said to be waterproof at depths of 2m (6.6 feet )for up to an hour, and LifeProof also claims that the case meets milspec standards for shock and impact, protecting against drops up to 6.6 feet. In addition, the ports can be sealed to prevent particles from getting in.
Upgraded thermal imaging for mobile devices
FLIR has introduced a new thermal-imaging accessory for mobile devices, as reported earlier. The new FLIR One attaches via Apple's Lightning port or to an Android device's Micro USB port, rather than integrating the thermal camera into a custom iPhone 5 case. Electronista checked out the upgraded model at CES to see how it stacks up against its predecessor.
2TB encrypted local backup over local network
The IDrive online backup service company today revealed a local network backup peripheral. Presented at the Consumer Electronics Show, the IDrive Wi-Fi local backup drive allows users to backup and restore up to 2TB of their data between devices over a local connection, with data protected by encryption.
Five new cases providing extra power for iPhone 6
Otterbox and Incipio today announced new cases for the iPhone 6 with built-in batteries to boost up time. The new offerings, which join today's announcement of the Mophie's Juice Pack series are the Otterbox Resurgence and the four-model Incipio offGrid series.
Third-party vendors go platform-agnostic
Pioneer and Kenwood have used CES to announce a slate of new headunits, all of which are compatible with both Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto. The Pioneer offerings include the AVIC-8100NEX ($1,400), AVIC-7100NEX ($1,200), and AVH-4100NEX ($700). Each has an external microphone for voice commands, as well as a wired remote and support for HDMI input, Bluetooth, HD Radio, and dual-zone audio/video playback. The 8100 sports a seven-inch capacitive touchscreen, whereas the other two models use lesser resistive touchscreens. The products should ship in March.
Promises up to 12 extra hours of web use
Charging specialist Mophie has launched anticipated Juice Pack battery cases for Apple's latest iPhone models. For the iPhone 6, buyers have access to the Juice Pack Air or the Juice Pack Plus. Both come in black, white, or gold colors. The Air is a $100, 2750mAh model that doubles battery life; the Plus costs $120, and boosts longevity by 120 percent, while also adding an "impact isolation system" that protects against more severe hits.
Patriot releases new USB flash drives, Ignite SATA III SSD
Patriot has announced the launch of a variety of products, including the second generation of its Supersonic Magnum and Rage USB flash drives, as well as the Ignite SATA III SSD. The Supersonic Magnum 2 and Supersonic Rage 2 both include USB 3.0 connectivity. The Magnum 2 will be available in 256GB and 512GB capacities, with read and write speeds reaching 400MB per second and 300MB per second respectively.
Most firms are credit unions
Apple has added another eight banks to the list supporting Apple Pay, sources say. The collection includes Customers Bank -- based in Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey -- and seven credit unions. Those are Security Service Federal Credit Union, Consumers Credit Union, Virginia Credit Union, Cyprus Federal Credit Union, Fairwinds Credit Union, Mountain America Credit Union, and Partners Federal Credit Union.
Previous unlocked phones came with T-Mobile SIM
Apple has begun selling SIM-free versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at its US online store. Unlocked iPhone 6 models have been available since September, but until now came with a T-Mobile SIM inserted. As with the T-Mobile option, a SIM-free iPhone 6 starts at $649 for 16GB, and an equivalent 6 Plus is $749. Costs scale up to $949 for a 128GB Plus.
Blocks hacking tool just one day after release, locks accounts if iDict is attempted
Apple appears to have fixed a flaw in its password security just one day after a hacker announced a new tool that could conceivably breach the existing protection against "brute force" attacks on accounts by taking advantage of an exception. On January 1, a new tool called iDict emerged in a rough state that could bypass repeated password-attempt blocking due to an exception made for iPhones. On January 2, Apple closed that exception and began locking accounts iDict was being used against.
IK Multimedia's new portable groove controller
When it comes to mobile music products, IK Multimedia has positioned itself as one of the top suppliers. Right from the early days of iOS, the company has remained at the forefront of the iOS music creation market with products like the original iRig and iRig Mic. As iOS has developed and become more powerful, so has the line-up of iRig products -- its latest introduction, iRig Pads, brings musicians a full-featured 16-pad MIDI groove controller. Is the iRig Pads worthy of the space in your bag for creating a mobile loop workstation? We put the hardware through its paces in our full review.
Company trying to push iCloud subscriptions, plaintiffs suggest
A new lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California on Tuesday, accuses Apple of failing to inform people how much space iOS 8 will consume on a device, while simultaneously prompting them to buy online storage via iCloud. Specifically the suit claims that iOS 8 can occupy as much as 23.1 percent of device memory, but that not many people realize this when making a purchase. The plaintiffs are seeking damages, as well as changes by Apple to comply with state law. The case is being pursued as a class action.
Affected people forced to get replacement devices
A number of iPhone 6 owners are complaining that they have been unable to add their cards back to Apple Pay after restoring iOS. The problem -- described in Apple's support forums -- can manifest whether restoring from a backup or starting fresh, and so far the only solution involves getting a replacement phone from Apple. Genius Bar technicians appear to be offering replacements to most affected people, whether in the form of a refurbished or genuinely new device.
PayPal, Bitcoin could be other options
New York City is considering upgrading its options for paying parking tickets to include more modern platforms, such as Apple Pay, according to MarketWatch. The focal point would be a new mobile app allowing people to scan a ticket and then use Apple Pay, or other options such as PayPal or potentially Bitcoin. The same app would give drivers the choice to schedule a hearing instead.
Slim margins, heavy advertising impact profits for otherwise-popular devices
In a blog post of all the notable developments in the mobile market for 2014, industry analyst Chetan Sharma includes a number of observations about Android hardware and its profit margins. The primary one is that the Android device manufacturer community suffered its "most significant ever" drop in profits during 2014, with earnings having dropped 50 percent from expected levels across 2014.
Cellphone makers asked to make data more secure regardless
Taiwan's National Communications Commission has issued a report clearing a variety of companies of breaking local data privacy laws, according to Reuters. The organization says that all 12 of the previously-implicated cellphone brands -- including Apple, Huawei, Samsung, LG, Sony, ZTE, and Xiaomi -- are in the clear, despite Xiaomi being the impetus for the investigation. In August, Xiaomi apologized and promised to make changes after a Finnish security firm discovered Xiaomi software was collecting address book data without permission.
App currently in TestFlight
VLC -- a popular multi-platform video player -- should be returning to the App Store early next year, says the lead developer on the iOS project, Felix Paul Kuehne. The title disappeared from the store nearly four months ago, shortly after the release of iOS 8. At the time, it was only said that the development team was "working with Apple on a solution" to bring the app back. In December, however a semi-public v2.4.0 beta was released via TestFlight, and indeed a second beta is now available.
Make OS X's phone call feature the must-have it should be
A stand-out, landmark, must-have feature of OS X Yosemite is how you can now make phone calls from your Mac. We knew it wouldn't be quite as easy as it sounds and we were fine with having to set it up, we were fine with having to have an iPhone for it to work. We've been less fine since, because it's proved too fiddly. DockPhone, an app that promises to simply the process somewhat, is not perfect either -- but it's so very good that it caused us to start using the feature more than we have since it launched.
Top activated device was iPhone 6; rivals far behind, many not even a factor
Mobile analytics firm Flurry posted new data on the holiday buying season on Monday, and summarized its findings on global mobile devices purchases for Christmas in a single sentence: "It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies -- he prefers Apples." On a worldwide scale, 51.3 percent of mobile activations between December 19 and Christmas Day were Apple devices, outstripping the combined might of all competitors and leaving each individual company -- even Samsung -- far behind.