Archive for the ‘iOS Blog’ Category

Apple’s Share of Smartphone Industry Profit Rises to 92%, Despite iPhone Representing Less Than 20% of Sales

Monday, July 13th, 2015

A new report out over the weekend by Canaccord Genuity estimates that Apple has recorded a 92 percent share of the world's entire smartphone market in the first quarter of 2015, which is up from 65 percent a year earlier. The company managed to do so on less than 20 percent of actual smartphone sales, which the Wall Street Journal accounts to the company's "ability to command much higher prices for its phones."

Behind Apple was Samsung with a total of 15 percent of the smartphone market, with the two combining to tally up for more than 100 percent of the industry's profits, "because other makers broke even or lost money, in Canaccord’s calculations." In the early days of the iPhone, Canaccord estimates that Nokia was holding two-thirds of the smartphone industry's profits, but by 2012, Apple and Samsung shared the industry's profits at a nearly exact 50/50 split.

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“The dominance of Apple is something that is very hard to overcome,” said Denny Strigl, former chief operating officer of Verizon Communications Inc. “Apple has to stumble somehow or another, and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Canaccord contributes Apple's bigger-than-ever market dominance to a combination of increased iPhone sales and higher prices for the bigger-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus released last year. A year before, an iPhone sold at an average of $624 -- compared to $185 for Android-running smartphones -- according to data collected by Strategy Analytics. By the end of 2015's first quarter, Apple had sold 43 percent more iPhones than the year before and at a higher price of about $659 thanks to the bigger screened models.

Apple's dominance doesn't seem to be slowing down as we move closer to the launch of the next generation of iPhone, with the company reportedly ordering a record-breaking amount of units for the so-called "iPhone 6s" launch later this year. Its rivals won't be threatening to take any of its market share at the moment, either, with companies like HTC and Samsung reporting quarterly losses and "disappointing profits" and Microsoft just last week laying off 7,800 employees, primarily in its smartphone business.









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12.9-Inch ‘iPad Pro’ Rumored to Launch After Mid-November as Foxconn Prepares Components

Monday, July 13th, 2015

The oft-rumored 12.9-inch "iPad Pro" is expected to launch after mid-November as overseas manufacturer Foxconn prepares to start supplying components for the large-sized tablet in late September, according to the sometimes-reliable Taiwanese blog DigiTimes. Apple reportedly remains cautious about placing orders for the "iPad Pro" from suppliers due to declining iPad sales and weakening demand in the overall tablet market.

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12.9-inch "iPad Pro" dummy model originally shared in February 2015

DigiTimes has a hit-and-miss track record reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, so this latest rumor should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt. Nevertheless, the rumor is consistent with previous reports that widely expect the "iPad Pro" to launch in the second half of this year. Apple has also historically announced new iPad models in October, which lines up with a launch around mid-November.

A related DigiTimes report claims that China-based white-box tablet makers are preparing to capitalize on the "iPad Pro" launch and seasonal shopping trends by releasing tablets in the 10-inch to 15-inch throughout the second half of 2015. The tablet makers are said to be sourcing components from Taiwan-based touch controller IC makers including ITE Tech, Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) and ILi Technology (Ilitek).









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Apple Gives iCloud Customers in Greece 30 Extra Days of Storage Amid Fiscal Crisis

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

icloud_icon_blueDue to capital controls in Greece that prevent residents from making payments abroad due to the country's ongoing financial crisis, many Greek customers have been unable to make purchases through online services such as iTunes and Paypal. The emergency measure has created a problem for iCloud users in Greece, who have been unable to renew their premium storage plan subscriptions since late June.

Bloomberg News shared Apple's email received by its Athens-based staff earlier this week:
“On June 30, we tried to charge your account for your iCloud space of 20GB, but there is a problem with your payment details,” said one e-mail received by Bloomberg News staff based in Athens. “If we don’t manage to renew your subscription, your account will be downgraded to the free 5GB space program.” The user has a standing monthly payment for a 0.99-euro-cent ($1.11) payment for the storage service.
Fortunately, Apple has now sent an email to iCloud customers in Greece (via iPhoneHellas) to inform them that their iCloud storage plans have been extended by an extra 30 days at no additional cost. Apple will not attempt to charge iCloud customers in Greece until 30 days after their original renewal date, which buys some much-needed time for Greek customers while the country attempts to sort out its financial situation.
Dear iCloud customer,

To prevent interruption in your iCloud service during the current fiscal crisis, and to make sure you have access to your content, we’ve extended your iCloud storage plan for an extra 30 days at no additional cost.

We won’t attempt to charge you for your plan until 30 days after your original renewal date. If we are unable to renew your plan, you may need to reduce the amount of iCloud storage you use.

The iCloud Team
Greek customers can also use an iTunes gift card to renew their iCloud storage plans in the meantime.









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MasterCard and MLB Bringing Apple Pay Purchases & Rewards to All-Star Game in Cincinnati

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Fans attending the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati will be able to use Apple Pay for on-site food and merchandise purchases, thanks to a partnership between MasterCard and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. MasterCard hopes it gets fans back to their seats as fast as possible during the week-long festivities, streamlining the sometimes lengthy lines at concession and souvenir stands at such events.

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“Nobody wants to be caught in line at concession only to hear the crowd go wild over a play they’ve missed. The ballpark experience is an ideal environment for quick and secure payment options so fans can get through concessions and back to the game quickly,” said Cheryl Guerin, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, MasterCard.

“We’re thrilled to partner with MLBAM to bring contactless acceptance to the 2015 MLB All-Star Week festivities. Through our longstanding relationship with MLB and MLBAM, we are constantly looking for opportunities to create enhanced fan experiences both in-stadium and online, whether that’s through advanced payment capabilities or delivering surprises to fans.”
Any customer using Apple Pay at the T-Mobile All-Star FanFest from July 10th through July 14th or in-stadium at the Great American Ball Park from July 12th through July 14th, will also be eligible for MasterCard's "Priceless Surprises" rewards. This will give customers the chance at winning premium All-Star branded merchandise, autographed memorabilia, prepaid cards, and more. The FanFest begins today in Cincinnati and ends with the 86th MLB All-Star Game on July 14.









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Facebook iOS App Introducing ‘See First’ Option for a More Customizable News Feed

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Facebook's News Feed has gone through a number of changes over the years, with the company attempting to streamline the best way for users to visualize the content they care most about right at the top of the social media site. Today, Facebook hopes to be one step closer to that goal, with the roll out of a new "See First" option to its iOS app that will allow users to choose up to 30 people or fan pages that will automatically appear at the top of their News Feed every time they check the site (via Re/code).

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Photo via The Verge

As Re/code reports, Facebook promises that any pages or people added to a user's See First list won't be used to target customers with ads. In fact, Facebook hopes that the more streamlined experience will encourage users to visit the site more often, and perhaps counterbalance the fact that users may generate less ad income for the company thanks to not needing to scroll through the News Feed for as long anymore.
“It sounds counterintuitive, but the worse we do on rankings, the more we make people try and scroll through, the more likely they are to just go away,” a company spokesperson told Re/code. “If we show you the stuff you really really want first, you’ll come back more often.”
The update will present users with possible suggestions for following pages and people when initially beginning the process to set-up a See First list, and also allow users to unfollow friends and pages from within the app, which you could only do on the web in the past. The update for Facebook [Direct Link] will begin rolling out throughout the day today, with the company promising the same features will be coming to Android and the web sometime soon.









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Facebook iOS App Introducing ‘See First’ Option for a More Customizable News Feed

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Facebook's News Feed has gone through a number of changes over the years, with the company attempting to streamline the best way for users to visualize the content they care most about right at the top of the social media site. Today, Facebook hopes to be one step closer to that goal, with the roll out of a new "See First" option to its iOS app that will allow users to choose up to 30 people or fan pages that will automatically appear at the top of their News Feed every time they check the site (via Re/code).

Facebook_news_feed_screenshots_2.0
Photo via The Verge

As Re/code reports, Facebook promises that any pages or people added to a user's See First list won't be used to target customers with ads. In fact, Facebook hopes that the more streamlined experience will encourage users to visit the site more often, and perhaps counterbalance the fact that users may generate less ad income for the company thanks to not needing to scroll through the News Feed for as long anymore.
“It sounds counterintuitive, but the worse we do on rankings, the more we make people try and scroll through, the more likely they are to just go away,” a company spokesperson told Re/code. “If we show you the stuff you really really want first, you’ll come back more often.”
The update will present users with possible suggestions for following pages and people when initially beginning the process to set-up a See First list, and also allow users to unfollow friends and pages from within the app, which you could only do on the web in the past. The update for Facebook [Direct Link] will begin rolling out throughout the day today, with the company promising the same features will be coming to Android and the web sometime soon.









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Facebook Planning Music Streaming Service to Compete With Apple Music and Others

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

App-Store-Facebook.pngFacebook is in the early stages of planning a dedicated music streaming service, with the intention of competing against the just-released Apple Music along with other industry heavyweights like Spotify and Rdio (via Music Ally).

A few reports earlier in the month tied the company to record labels with the idea of creating an ad-supported native video service, but according to sources speaking to Music Ally off the record, the bigger picture is to build an in-house music streaming service for Facebook users across the globe.
Sources told Music Ally that talks for the music-video side of things are at an advanced stage, with a rollout expected to happen in the next few months.

It’s Facebook’s plans to build on this with a Spotify-style audio streaming service that are making waves within the music industry, even though the launch date and specifics of the business model and payout formula have yet to be nailed down. Sources have told Music Ally that an audio service is very much on Facebook’s roadmap, but that both the social network and rightsholders realise that it has to get the monetised-video service right first.
Given Facebook's history of acquiring various technology companies into itself -- Oculus, Instagram, WhatsApp -- it's easy to see the social media giant doing the same in attempting to build its own streaming service. All the same, Music Ally's sources suggest Facebook wants to "build rather than buy," but at this point nothing is "set in stone."

Competition in the music streaming business is beginning to heat up with the launch of Apple Music. Just yesterday, Spotify began encouraging customers to cancel their subscriptions made through the App Store and to sign up again on its website to save $3.









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T-Mobile Now Offers Unlimited Talk, Text and 4G LTE Data in Canada and Mexico at No Additional Charge [iOS Blog]

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

TMobile Mobile Without BordersT-Mobile has announced a new "Un-carrier" move called "Mobile Without Borders" that enables customers with Simple Choice postpaid and prepaid plans to send and receive unlimited phone calls, text messages and use 4G LTE data in Canada and Mexico at no additional cost. The extended three-country plan will be available starting July 15 in select Canadian and Mexican markets.

T-Mobile customers with Simple Choice plans will be able to make unlimited calls to and from the United States to any number, including landlines and mobile phones, in Mexico and Canada, alongside unlimited text messaging and the full monthly allotment of 4G LTE data they would normally have in the U.S. at no extra charge. Music Freedom is included while roaming in Canada or Mexico.


Canadian and Mexican residents looking to take advantage of this T-Mobile promotion are out of luck, as Simple Choice customers must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on T-Mobile's network in the U.S. The carrier also warns that Simple Choice plans are not intended for extended international usage. Data Stash will be available for use while in Canada or Mexico later this year.

Coverage in Canada includes Banff National Park, Bay of Fundy, Brampton, Burnaby, Calgary, Edmonton, Gatineau, Halifax, Hamilton, Kitchener, Laval, London, Longueuil, Markham, Mississauga, Montreal, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Quebec City, Regina, Richmond, Saskatoon, St Johns, Surrey, Toronto, Vancouver, Vaughan, Victoria, Whistler, Windsor and Winnipeg. Coverage in Mexico includes 117 markets.

Mobile Without Borders T-Mobile Chart
Starting next Wednesday, customers that sign up for a new Simple Choice postpaid or prepaid plan will automatically be enrolled in the Mobile Without Borders program. Existing Simple Choice customers can opt-in online, by phone or at a T-Mobile store for free. T-Mobile customers on promotional or legacy plans can add Mobile Without Borders for $10 per month. Mobile Without Borders business plans are also available.









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Fleksy Keyboard Goes Permanently Free, Adds Improved GIF and Sticker Browsing [iOS Blog]

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Third-party keyboard developer Fleksy today announced its popular keyboard app on iOS and Android will be going free on a permanent basis, increasing the potential customer base for full basic keyboard functionality while continuing to offer additional premium content such as themes and extension slots for in-app purchase. Fleksy has generally sold for $0.99 in the App Store, although it has occasionally been free for short periods of time.
By making the keyboard available for free, Fleksy is able to serve a much larger and more diverse set of users. With this increased user base, Fleksy will be focused on delivering new and exciting product improvements across all languages.

“We want every smartphone user to have the opportunity to experience fast, expressive, and intuitive typing,” said Fleksy’s Co-Founder and CEO, Kosta Eleftheriou. “We believe the best way to do this is to make the app free for everyone.”
To thank users who previously paid for the app, Fleksy will be offering a set of free themes and extension slots that typically cost $8.

fleksy_highlights
In addition to the shift to a freemium model, Fleksy is also rolling out improvements to GIFs and stickers, building on a feature introduced in April. With the new "Highlights" view, users will be able to easily access relevant GIFs and stickers all in one place by searching and tapping on auto-suggested hashtag topics.

Like many third-party keyboards, Fleksy requires users grant "full access" to the keyboard, a capability that makes some users wary as Apple warns it allows keyboards to log keystrokes and send them back to remote servers. In a support document, Fleksy outlines the keyboard features such as language packs and personalization (as well as GIFs and stickers) that require full access to function, and the company outlines its privacy promises regarding the data it can collect and how it protects that data.

Fleksy Keyboard goes free on the App Store today. [Direct Link]









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Withings’ Activité and Activité Pop Updated With Swim Tracking Capabilities [iOS Blog]

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Withings' Activité and Activité Pop are two of only a handful of activity trackers on the market that are entirely waterproof, and as of today, the two devices are able to be used to track swimming. Swim detection is a feature that Withings has long promised and will be a welcome addition for customers who bought the activity trackers to track their swim movements.

withingsactiviteswimming

Following today's firmware update, Activité fitness trackers will be able to automatically detect swim motions, recording a swimming session as a workout as the device does for other activities like running. Activity and workout information is then available for viewing within the accompanying Withings Health Mate app.
Activité Pop automatically recognizes swim. Just put it on, dive in and the watch will log your full session and record calories burned.
Both of the Withings activity trackers are water resistant down to 50 meters, or 164 feet, a feature that many of the popular activity trackers on the market cannot match.

Even Apple's own Apple Watch is not rated for swimming, but several people have opted to test the waterproofing of the device and have found that it does seem to be able to be used in the water with no consequence. Still, Apple does not recommend that it be used when swimming or showering, unlike the Activité, which can be used reliably in both situations.

Withings' Activité and Activité Pop can be purchased from the Withings website for $450 and $149.95, respectively.









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