Posts tagged Apple

Apple iPad Sales Continue To Tank, Though The iPhone Is Doing Great

Apple needs a serious update to its iPad line more than ever. True, it announced a perfunctory set of upgrades last week (although that included the utterly minimalist refresh of its iPad mini). But in the wake of miserable iPad sales for its July-September quarter, you have to be wondering if that’s anywhere near enough. 

See also: Don’t Bother Buying The iPad Mini 3

Quarterly iPad sales clocked in at 12.3 million units, a 13% decline over the year-earlier quarter. Over the trailing twelve months—from October 2013 to September 2014, a period that includes Apple’s traditional holiday-quarter bump—sales declined 4.3% to almost 68 million iPads compared to the year-earlier period, when Apple sold 71 million iPads. 

See also: What’s Apple Going To Do With All Those Loose Ends?

It’s hard to escape the impression that the iPad—sandwiched between iPhones with ever-larger screens and ever-lighter MacBook Air notebooks—is in free fall. Because iPad sales are falling in absolute terms while overall tablet sales continue to grow, even if that pace is slowing. Gartner, for instance, estimates that tablet sales will rise 11% in 2014. 

Any way you cut it, falling sales in a growing market is an unhealthy sign. 

Plenty Of Other Good News For Apple

Of course, Apple CEO Tim Cook would rather have everyone focus on its stellar Mac sales, which came in at 5.52 million units this quarter, not to mention its iPhone business, which continues to generate big sales and associated profits for the company. 

In the same July-September quarter, Apple sold 39.3 million iPhones, up 16% from 33.8 million a year earlier. Analysts had expected sales of 38 million units. 

Apple’s quarterly results included 11 days of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales. Apple’s new iPads, however, won’t contribute sales until later in the current quarter.

Given the dismal and declining consumer sales of its iPads now, it’s clear that Apple needs a change in strategy, if it wants to save its tablet business. The company may already have a plan underway: It appears to be aiming the iPad more squarely toward business. 

iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

The company has already announced plans to offer more business-oriented tablet software. If its much-rumored 12.9-inch iPad sees the light of day, it would give business users a laptop-like proportion for the display. 

See also: Apple’s Larger iPad May Be Delayed

Should Apple debut a snap-on keyboard for that monster iPad—which seems like a must for productivity’s sake—the iPad could become a bigger threat to PCs and low-end Macs alike.

Photo by Valery Marchive; product images courtesy of Apple

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SearchCap: Google Penguin 3.0, Apple Spotlight & IAB Digital Advertiser Numbers

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Google Releases Penguin 3.0 — First Penguin Update In Over A Year Google has confirmed to Search Engine Land that it updated its Penguin filter on Friday….

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Where You Can Check Out Apple Pay Today

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users that update to the new iOS 8.1 mobile software, released Monday, will be the first to check out Apple’s new Apple Pay mobile payments system.

The 27 retailers listed on Apple’s site spans hundreds of thousands of locations, which should give curiosity seekers numerous options to road test the new tap-to-pay features. These include:

  • Bloomingdales
  • Chevron
  • Duane Reade
  • Foot Locker (and its House of Hoops, Kids and Lady branches)
  • Macy’s
  • McDonalds
  • Nike
  • Office Depot
  • Panera Bread
  • PetCo
  • Radio Shack
  • Subway
  • Toys ‘R Us
  • Walgreens
  • Whole Foods

One notable omission is Starbucks, an early partner that wound up only being able to offer a watered-down experience using the Apple Pay mobile app. Turns out, those coffee joints don’t have compatible terminals, so don’t bother knocking your device to their barcode scanners.  

See also: PayPal Slams Apple In Full-Page Newspaper Ads

Apple Pay will work at various e-commerce retail sites too. But where’s the fun in that? Chances are, most people will want to roll up to a counter and order a Big Mac by bopping their iPhones to a terminal. It’s like a taste of the future awaits within those combo meals, and with a side of fries to boot. 

Owners of iPhone 5, 5S and 5C will also be able to try out Apple Pay’s tap-to-pay features, but only if they buy the Apple Watch when it comes out early next year. The watch will feature the Near Field Communication chip necessary for tap-to-pay functionality, which those older phones lack. 

This launch period will be key for gauging initial interest in Apple Pay, which may offer an inkling of the initiative’s potential longer-term success. However, early numbers probably won’t be available in time for Apple’s earnings call, later today. 

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Apple Capturing Spotlight Search Query Data, Sharing With Bing

An improved Spotlight Search is a central feature of Apple’s new Yosemite operating system for the Mac. As reported when Yosemite was announced in June, Spotlight searches your desktop but also provides web search suggestions from Bing. There are a number of structured data sources such as…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Apple Unveils A New “Retina” Display iMac

Apple announced a new iMac with a 27-inch high-resolution “retina” display on Thursday at its event in Cupertino. The new iMac will cost $2,499 and starts shipping today.

Apple said the new “retina” 5K Display features the world’s highest resolution display, and has 14.7 million pixels on one screen. 

See also: What Apple Announced At Its Thursday iPad Event

Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of marketing, announced the new iMac, and said the desktop computer with a 5210 x 2880 pixel display has seven times more pixels than an HD television. The iMac will also use 30% less energy than its predecessor.

The new iMac comes with a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, an AMD Radeon R9 M290X for improved graphics, better storage with a 1TB Fusion Drive, and 8GB memory.

Lead image courtesy of Apple

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You Actually Can’t Use Apple Pay To Buy A Latte At Starbucks

Starbucks has become practically synonymous with mobile payments, thanks to its innovative app which lets you buy coffee with money stored on a prepaid card.

So people got excited when Apple CEO Tim Cook flashed the Starbucks logo on the screen while talking about Apple Pay at a product-launch event Thursday.

In fact, Apple had previously announced Starbucks as an Apple Pay partner in September. But the details, now that we know more of them, are a little disappointing.

See also: What Apple Announced At Its Thursday iPad Event

You can’t buy a latte with your iPhone 6. Starbucks is only supporting the in-app version of Apple Pay. It will be “primarily for loading and reloading” your Starbucks Card, says Maggie Jantzen, a Starbucks spokesperson. Starbucks stores don’t currently have the NFC technology needed to make use of Apple’s tap-to-pay feature.

Starbucks is not actually a launch partner for Apple Pay. Apple Pay is launching Monday, October 20. But Jantzen says the reloading feature will be available “in the coming months.”

Using Apple Pay this way is actually kind of stupid. Consider these two options:

  • Launch Starbucks app. Go to account settings. Tap to reload card. Select Apple Pay as a payment option. Authenticate with your fingerprint. Tap to verify the transaction. Pay at the register with the Starbucks app.
  • Set your Starbucks Card up for automatic reload. Pay at the register with Starbucks app.

Why would anyone pick the first one?

See also: You Can Start Paying With Apple Pay On Monday

The bottom line: Apple Pay will save you from having to enter in your credit- or debit-card number if you need to reload your Starbucks Card. But you’re far better off just using the Starbucks app and keeping your card on file for automatic reloads. And it changes nothing about how you actually pay for your latte.

Photo by Kayla Kandzorra

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Apple Still Can’t Find Any Women To Share The Stage At Its Big Events

This was the closest we got to a live woman on stage at Apple’s iPad event

Apple has just concluded its big Thursday media event, at which it unveiled new iPads, a new iMac and a few other things. And it once again managed to conduct the entire show without a single female or minority speaker. 

See also: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to Women: Don’t Ask For A Raise, Trust Karma

One of the only women that appeared on stage at the event was in the video demonstration of the new iPad Air’s photography capabilities—and she was taking a photo, turned away from the camera. 

Considering Apple kicked off the event by patting itself on the back for “record” sales of its new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, you’d think the company’s head of retail, Angela Ahrendts, might have made a fitting appearance. Ahrendts might even have had something to say about Apple Pay, the company’s new mobile-payment system, since Apple’s retail empire is an internal customer for both in-app and in-person payments.

No such luck.

Making matters worse, two male developers took to the stage to show off their iPad applications—Pixelmator and Stupeflix. I’m not saying these applications aren’t great, but with 675,000 applications for iPad in the App Store, surely there are some created by developers who could’ve added diversity to this event. (The only two women on stage at any WWDC event in the past were giving app demos, so it makes sense to welcome more.)

Apple, along with other prominent tech companies, has made significant strides to improve diversity in the workplace. In addition to updating its executive profile page to highlight female and minority company leaders, it also released diversity data that suggests it has some work to do.

See also: White Male “Allies” Have Surprisingly Little To Say About Fixing Sexist Tech Culture

While these efforts will help, if Apple is really serious about improving diversity, it should start at huge events like this. Show people around the world that the people who make Apple products and services look like the people who use Apple products and services.

Lead image courtesy of Apple

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Apple Yanks Fitbit—And Looks Like A Bully For Doing So

ReadWriteBody is an ongoing series where ReadWrite covers networked fitness and the quantified self.

We’re seeing an ugly side of Apple as it pushes deeper into health and fitness.

Apple’s retail stores are reportedly pulling Fitbit fitness trackers from their shelves. And Fitbit’s iOS app isn’t featured in the new “Apps for Health” section of the App Store, where rivals like Jawbone Up and Runtastic Me are now getting placement.

See also: Fitbit Users Are Furious Over Its HealthKit Diss

Some people are pointing to Apple’s upcoming Apple Watch, which will duplicate some features of Fitbit’s devices. But a more likely reason is Fitbit’s refusal, to date, to adopt Apple’s HealthKit software for sharing health data.

When Apple first revealed HealthKit at the Worldwide Developers Conference this summer, Apple executive Craig Federighi cited Fitbit as an example of the devices he hoped would use it. Instead, Fitbit took a wait-and-see stance, even as its users asked the company to support it.

Wait And See—How Apple Reacts

In retrospect, Fitbit looks very smart to avoid HealthKit. The software, and Apple’s accompanying Health app, are extremely buggy and deliver a bad experience for both consumers and developers. Fitbit users would have bombarded that company with complaints about software flaws and a lack of usability. 

See also: Apple’s Health App Is An Embarrassment

This is not theoretical: MyFitnessPal users have complained about HealthKit in large numbers, and MapMyFitness recently advised users reporting bugs that it was experiencing delays in responding to bug reports.

Fitbit has an estimated 70 percent share of the market for these relatively simple devices that track steps and sleep. That would make its burden in supporting HealthKit at this early stage that much higher.

This leaves Apple looking like a bully. Embrace its software, buggy and incomplete though it is—or risk getting left out of its powerful distribution channels, both its retail store chain and its digital App Store.

Fitbit will be okay. It’s sold in some 37,000 retail locations and has a commanding lead in consumer awareness—it’s practically a generic term for “fitness tracker.” But anyone thinking about getting into the health business with Apple should be aware that there’s risk as well as reward.

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3 Ways To Watch As Apple Unveils New iPads And Macs

On Thursday, October 16, Apple may be taking the wraps off its latest tablets and Mac computers—and you can be there to watch the action.

Well, at least virtually. The venue, in Apple’s Infinite Loop campus, can only hold so many people. But the company will be transmitting a live stream of the event proceedings, so you can watch the Apple announcements yourself, straight from the lips of CEO Tim Cook and his merry band of white, male executives

See also: Apple Will Reportedly Announce New iPads On October 16

Apple sent out invitations with the tagline “It’s Been Way Too Long.” What could that mean? What color button-down shirt will Phil Schiller sport this time? How’s Craig Federighi’s magnificent hair holding up? And can Jony Ive raise the bar on product design—and his already high opinion of his own work

Here’s how you can see for yourself:

  1. Apple TV: If you have a second- or third-generation model of Apple’s video-streaming box, and software version 6.2 or later, you’ll be able to pipe the event to your television. Go to the main menu and select the Apple Events channel.
  2. iOS mobile devices: iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches running iOS 6 or later will play the event’s stream using the Safari mobile browser. Just click on the link below. 
  3. Macs: People on Mac desktops and laptops loaded with at least OS X 10.6.8 can tune in through the Safari desktop browser (version 5.1.10 or later).

Here’s the link to Apple’s live events stream. (Pro tip: Bookmark this page, so you can hop right there on any day Apple makes a big announcement.) 

If you can’t stream the event, or your employer won’t let you watch videos at work, don’t fret. ReadWrite has you covered. Here’s what we expect:

Anticipation is high that the team will unveil its newest iPads and Macs, along with more details about OS X Yosemite, the desktop operating software Apple introduced in June. 

Developers have been working on Yosemite for months, so hopefully the public will finally get an official release date too. For people who use both iPhones and Macs, this will be of special interest, since some key syncing features between the phone and computer hinge on both running the latest software. iOS 8 went out to iPhone users last month.

See also: Apple’s Larger iPad May Be Delayed, Sources Say

Ideally, the latest version of OS X will arrive on or before October 20. That’s when iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners can expect iOS 8.1, the next big mobile software update.

So mark your calendars: The action begins at 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) on Thursday October 16. 

Lead photo by sp.VVK for Shutterstock; invite image via Apple

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To Apple, Copying Is Always “Stealing”—Unless It’s Doing The Copying

Jony Ive, Apple vice president of design, at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit

You know that saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery? It’s total hogwash, at least according to Apple’s Jony Ive.

At the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Thursday, the typically reclusive, but recently chatty Sir Ive fielded a question about tech maker Xiaomi and its rather Applesque product design: “I don’t see it as flattery,” said the executive, who’s responsible for the design of the company’s popular range of devices. “I actually see it as theft.” 

He was careful to say that those sentiments weren’t specifically aimed at the Chinese company, which denies replicating Apple’s look, but at any competitor that rips off his company’s products. 

Well, that’s nothing new. Apple has a long history of hating copycats—even as it’s built its own hugely successful business in part on designs and features that originated elsewhere.

See also: Apple Sends iPad Event Invitations For October 16

Hey, You Stole My Look

Xiaomi, a Chinese tech juggernaut, released the Mi Pad tablet—which is all Android on the inside, but rather Apple-like on the outside.

There’s a fine line between drawing inspiration from someone else’s work and Xeroxing their design blueprints. (There’s also a distinction between copying something and actually stealing it, in a literal sense. But let’s not split hairs.) 

Photographers, artists, musicians and fashion designers have known that for a long time. That’s why many professionals protect their works, to stop knock-offs from cutting off their livelihoods. Likewise for tech companies, imitators who swipe features and product designs can represent real threats.

For Apple, it’s a touchy subject that goes way back. 

It’s no secret that deceased co-founder Steve Jobs thought Microsoft’s Windows operating system copied the “look and feel” of Apple’s Mac desktop software. Walter Isaacson’s biography on Jobs laid bare his frustration—especially in this passage, excerpted by Fortune, chronicling a face-to-face encounter between his subject and Microsoft’s Bill Gates in 1983:

Their meeting was in Jobs’s conference room, where Gates found himself surrounded by ten Apple employees who were eager to watch their boss assail him. Jobs didn’t disappoint his troops. “You’re ripping us off!” he shouted. “I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!” Gates just sat there coolly, looking Steve in the eye, before hurling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”

Today, the name of Apple’s blame game appears to be the same, only now one of the players has changed. Apple’s public enemy number one is Samsung. The iPhone maker alleges that the South Korean electronics giant’s Galaxy line of Android smartphones infringed on several of its mobile tech patents. 

See also: 8 Things New iOS 8 Users Should Do First

Apple, which won some rulings earlier this year, may be feeling pretty righteous these days. But if you listen closely, you might hear a *fwump* somewhere far off in the distance. It’s the sound of numerous Android fans slapping their foreheads. 

People In Sapphire Glass Houses … 

Plenty of Android fans think the iPhone’s software is the copycat, not the other way around.

They point to features that Google’s mobile operating system has offered years before Apple’s iOS software—including swipe-down notifications and multitasking (so apps can run in the background).

With iOS 8, iPhones have have even more Android-like features. These include predictive text, replaceable keyboards, voice-activated voice command and widgets—those software panels that display bits of live, updated information without forcing the user to actually launch an app. 

Alternative keyboard app Swype, a long-time Android favorite, running on iOS 8. 

Perhaps the most glaring example is Apple’s new mobile hardware. With the new 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the company has its very first phablet, a category of giant smartphones that Samsung’s first Note originated and made popular. 

Although those big devices can’t seem to save the South Korean tech company’s suffering mobile division now, that hasn’t stopped Apple from taking the phablet ball and running with it—all the way to the bank

Lead screenshot via Dailymotion video by Vanity Fair; Mi Pad graphic courtesy of Xiaomi; Bill Gates/Steve Jobs photo by Kay Kim

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