Posts tagged iPhone
Lurking behind Apple’s dazzling October-December iPhone sales (74.5 million units, up 46% against a year earlier) and financial results (a 30% jump in revenue to $75.6 billion, a 38% jump in net income to $18 billion) was some almost unremarked bad news. Namely, that the iPad is still tanking.
Apple sold just over 21 million iPads during the holiday quarter, a drop of 5 million units compared to the same quarter a year earlier. The once iconic tablet also posted its first full calendar year of decline; Apple sold just 63 million iPads in 2014, the lowest number since the tablet’s launch in 2011 and a 14.6% fall compared to 2013.
Overall tablet sales have slowed dramatically over the past year, but the iPad is faring much worse than the overall market. In November, the research firm IDC predicted that 2014 tablet shipments would rise by 7.2% compared to 2013, but that iPad shipments would fall by 12.7%.
We now know that the iPad did even worse than that, although IDC hasn’t released final 2014 figures yet. For comparison, IDC predicted 16% growth in Android tablet shipments and a 67% rise (from a low base) for Windows tablets.
The Apple Rebuttal
As always, Apple CEO Tim Cook remained upbeat about the iPad despite the poor sales numbers, insisting that he felt it was a product that should be looked at “over the long arc of time” rather than in quarterly segments.
“I see that the first time buyer rates are very high,” he said during the company’s earnings call with analysts. “If you look in developed markets like the U.S., Japan, (and) the U.K., you’d find that 50 percent of people are buying iPad for the first time. In China, it’s over 70 percent. When you have that kind of first time buyer rate, you don’t have a saturated market.”
Cook also theorized that the lifespan of the iPad was playing a part in the decline in sales. “The upgrade cycle is longer, somewhere between an iPhone and a PC,” he said. “There’s probably some level of cannibalization that’s going on, with Mac on one side and iPhone on the other. It’s very hard to tell in the early going.”
According to Apple, the record-setting financial numbers were due to all-time highs in iPhone, Mac, and App Store sales. Sales numbers were up in China, where Apple established two more retail stores in the last quarter. On the conference call, Apple CFO Luca Maestri said Apple planned to have 40 stores open in Greater China by 2016.
China figures to be a key battleground for Apple in the near future, representing a huge market for customers and the base of its largest competitor in the country, Xiaomi.
Photo by TonyV3112 for Shutterstock
View full post on ReadWrite
Apple just removed one of the biggest irritations with its current iPhone software—the amount of free space on your handset required to install updates.
The latest release of its iOS mobile software, version 8.1.3 shrinks that storage requirement, which can vary depending on the specific iPhone or iPad model. Previous versions of iOS 8 forced many users—particularly those with 8GB or 16GB devices—to either delete apps, media or other data to make room, or connect their cables to perform a “tethered” iTunes sync.
iOS 8.1.3 also promises to nix password issues for Messages and FaceTime, a Spotlight glitch that sometimes kept apps out of search results; and problems related to iPad multitasking gestures. The release notes also cover new configuration options for education standardized testing environments.
For the most part, the update looks like a set of bug fixes. The next major version, iOS 8.2, which has entered its fourth beta for developers, will include support for Apple’s upcoming wearable, the Apple Watch. Analysis of that beta version reveals that the software will let Watch users customize watch faces, and include a passcode-protected lockscreen (and auto-unlock in the presence of a companion iPhone), among other things.
iOS 8.1.3 will apply to any device running iOS 8, which includes iPhones 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus; iPads 2 and later; and the iPod Touch, fifth generation.
Photos and screenshots by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
View full post on ReadWrite
On Friday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation released an Android app designed to alert users about new digital-rights campaigns, such as this one against NSA surveillance. iPhone users, however, are out of luck; the EFF refused to release an iOS version of the same app, explaining that it found Apple’s developer-agreement terms “outrageous.”
Among other things, the EFF objects to Apple’s complete control over the availability of apps; they can only be distributed through the company’s app store, and Apple can remotely disable apps on a whim should it choose to. The EFF is also not a fan of Apple’s attempts to prevent developer from talking about the agreement itself.
Corynne McSherry is the intellectual property director at EFF and has worked there since 2006. She specializes in issues dealing with copyright, trademark, and free speech issues, and penned the post by EFF explaining its problems with the Apple terms. While neither Apple’s developer agreement nor EFF’s problems with it are new, McSherry said the issue seemed newly relevant given the organization’s release of the Android app.
“We felt like we owed folks an explanation,” she said. According to McSherry, Apple hasn’t budged on the agreement.
“Suffice to say Apple is well-aware of our concerns,” she said. “Apple has made a choice that they don’t want to change that agreement. I think they’re going to change it if they hear from enough people, not just EFF but also developers.”
While the EFF feels the Google developer agreement for Android apps isn’t perfect, it doesn’t make the same “onerous” demands that Apple does. McSherry said that EFF understands many people and developers feel they need to agree to the terms for business reasons, and that the organization doesn’t mean to imply anything negative about anyone that does agree to them. Still, EFF felt it needed to “walk the walk” as far as its espoused beliefs.
“We were not going to put our imprimatur on that agreement,” she said. The EFF currently has a petition asking Apple to make changes.
Apple did not respond to request for comment.
Photo by TonyV3112 for Shutterstock
View full post on ReadWrite
Have your eye on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus? Apple’s made it easy for Android folk to move all of their data from their Galaxy S4, HTC One, etc. to the shiny new iPhones. There is now an official guide to switching from Android to iPhone (if you’re going the opposite way, from iPhone to Android, this is what you need). You can check out the new Apple page for more in-depth instructions, but here is the gist of what you need to know.
Mail and Contacts
Apple’s official mail app supports iCloud, Microsoft exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Outlook, so if you use one of those services, linking up your email account is pretty straightforward. For contacts, you can use an app like Copy My Data (free, iOS andAndroid).
Photos and Videos
For moving photos, we suggest uploading your mobile pictures to a cloud service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Flickr (1TB of free storage!) then downloading the mobile app versions of those storage services on your new iPhone, so you’ll have those pictures on hand without taking up any new space in your iPhone’s camera roll.
Apple suggests you use PhotoSync ($3, iOS and Android). You’ll find those freshly synced photos in the Photos app in Albums. You can also move photos and videos with a computer. Download Android File Transfer then go to Transfer > DCIM > Camera to drag the images from your device to a folder on your computer.
After downloading the images to your computer, plug in your iPhone, open iTunes, select your iPhone, click the Photos tab then select the “Sync Photos from” checkbox, and choose the folder where the photos from your Android phone were saved.
If you use a streaming service like Spotify or Rdio . . . you’re in luck! All of your music will automatically be synced and you don’t need to move a thing. Just head to the App Store and download the apps you need.
To import music from an Android device, use Android File Transfer then select Android File Transfer > Music and select the songs you want, then drag them to a folder on your computer. Disconnect your Android device, plug in your iPhone, then open iTunes.
Go to Library > Music, then drag the music files from your Android device into iTunes. Click iPhone > Music, then sync your library by clicking Sync.
Books and PDFs
If you use Kindle, Nook, or Google Play Books, access them on your iPhone via the iOS app versions of those services! For ePub books and PDFs, use Android File Transfer, then select Android File Transfer > Documents to drag those files onto a folder in your computer. On a Mac, open the iBooks application and drag your book files into “list.” On a PC, open iTunes and drag the files under “Books.”
Connect your iPhone, open iTunes, click on iPhone, select Books, then select the “Sync Books” checkbox.
View full post on ReadWrite
As a woman with tiny hands, making peace with the iPhone 6 Plus took some effort. It’s the largest iPhone ever, and my mitts skew itty bitty. But I got the hang of it, only to land on the receiving end of some weird reactions—some from women, but mostly from men.
Tis the season to check out new gadgets, and some can’t help but stare at my handset, even three months after its launch. I don’t blame them. Big phones have been around for years, though the enormity is completely new for the iPhone and its users.
I get a lot of wide eyes, even looks of disdain at times. The reactions split down the gender line, turning the question of whether to get Apple’s largest phone into a conversation about the politics of gender.
A “Reminder” To Women That They Don’t Count
Go back through the years, and you’ll spot the strange ways the mobile industry catered to the sexes. Don’t forget to guffaw at the lame female-focused HTC Rhyme, with its light-up notification charm, and reminisce with the Palm Pre and its girlfriend, the Palm Pixi.
Well, at least those phone makers were trying. Tech companies have come to consistently let down female users, as sociologist Zeynep Tufekci argued in a Medium post last year. “For most men, it’s just one small, added benefit,” she wrote about growing screen sizes. “For many women, though, it’s a reminder that the tech industry doesn’t always remember or count your existence.”
For her, the issue took on even greater significance: The size of her Nexus 4 actually prevented her from documenting tear gas misuse in Istanbul, Turkey.
… as my lungs, eyes and nose burned with the pain of the lachrymatory agent released from multiple capsules that had fallen around me, I started cursing.
I cursed the gendered nature of tech design that has written out women from the group of legitimate users of phones as portable devices to be used on-the-go …
I especially cursed that I could not lift the camera above my head, hold it steadily *and* take a picture—something I had seen countless men with larger hands do all the time.
Her Nexus, which had a 4.7-inch display, would be considered modest now. It’s roughly equivalent to Apple’s “small” iPhone 6, which also disappointed Tufekci. Meanwhile the trend for phablets—or phones with screens sized at 5 inches or more—is still going strong. And so the iPhone 6 Plus and its 5.5 inches of screen has turned Apple, a brand loved by women for years, into a phablet maker.
But The 6 Plus Freaks Out … Men?
CNET trotted out a study earlier this year that indicated women prefer Apple gadgets. So one might assume that if the big bad 6 Plus unnerves anyone, it would be its meek user base of weak-fingered ladies. And yet, most of the negative reactions I’ve gotten came from men.
My iPhone 6 Plus is way too much phone, they tell me (notably, from a distance; many don’t even want to touch it). Strangers stop me to ask about it frequently. When I ask if they’d like to hold it, women tend to accept the offer. Most guys decline. Even my husband, who always inherits my phone after I’ve taken the family upgrade, refuses to have anything to do with my 6 Plus.
I wondered what was going on. Research suggests men are prone to snap judgments, and it’s possible this plays into it, at least for male iPhone users. (Android users of both genders have had phablet options for years.) The purse effect may help explain the difference: Women might be more open to it, since they have a purse to stash bigger devices.
But maybe something else is at play. In an opinion piece over the summer, technology expert and analyst Tim Bajarin noted that “once 5-inch and even larger 6-inch phablets hit the market, they became real hits with women, especially in Asia where women make up the largest demographic of phablet users in the world.”
As an Asian woman, I can attest to the fact that we have some of the smallest hands around. And apparently, in general, we embrace phablets. The reason: Big phones can serve dual needs. As Bajarin wrote:
[F]or many women a phablet really is a cross-over device and serves as their smartphone and mini tablet, so that they only have to carry one device with them instead of two.
As much as I want to buck generalizations, I have to admit that this describes me perfectly too. I haven’t touched my iPad mini in weeks.
The Major Pros And Cons Are Universal
Like Tufekci, I’m a woman who has pined—quite publicly—for a decent compact phone. Now I’m a convert. I figured out how to make Apple’s colossus work in my petite grip, and there’s no going back. I’m spoiled.
I no longer squint to read text on websites that won’t let me zoom in. Videos and photos look glorious on a large screen. For navigation, a big display mounted to the dashboard offers obvious benefits. I also have more room to view any lengthy messages I write, making my phone much more of a productivity tool than any of my previous small phones. I even find Apple Pay kind of fun, now that there’s no threat I’ll drop my phone.
The one benefit that matters most: battery life. A big phone comes with a big power cell. The iPhone 6 Plus can go nearly twice as long as my old iPhone 5S. And when it’s not socially acceptable to have the world’s biggest iPhone sitting out on a table, I can use my smartwatch and my Ringly notifications ring for alerts—neither of which will hammer this magnificent battery.
The 6 Plus has downsides too, of course: It’s expensive, and plenty of apps still haven’t optimized for it, so they look a bit blurry. Then there’s that pesky bending issue—which, even if it’s overblown, still haunts my dreams. But overall, I find the pros far outweigh the cons.
That’s not to say one size fits all. But I wonder, if Tufekci or any of the male naysayers gave a phablet some time, would they find a way to make peace with it too? Because the most important benefits, at least for Apple’s phablet, seem to be pretty gender neutral.
Lead photo and photo of couple by Hadrian courtesy of Shutterstock; Apple Store photo of female shopper amid male shoppers bu Canadapanda courtesy of Shutterstock; all others by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
View full post on ReadWrite
When I held an iPhone 6 Plus for the first time, I laughed. It looked comically huge in my little grip. Now I can’t imagine life without that big screen.
If you’ve dismissed large phones due to their unwieldy size, here’s something to consider: Despite tiny hands and normal-size pockets, I’ve managed just fine with Apple’s “embiggened” new iPhone. No hand cramps. No finger spasms. Believe it or not, I can even use most features with one hand.
If you’re wondering what dark magic this is, let me fill you in on my secret: A couple of cheap add-ons have made all the difference, transforming the super-sized phone from ridiculous gizmo to one of the most useful, usable Apple mobile devices I’ve ever relied on.
The Add-On That Makes The 6 Plus Sing In My Hands
The iPhone ditched its squarish design, going for a super-slim profile with rounded sides that feel good, but make the iPhone 6 Plus a dicey proposition. Perhaps more than other huge smartphones, this potentially delicate device feels like it could slip easily out of my hands. Having butter fingers really doesn’t help.
I took the plunge anyway, and I’m glad I did. My own clumsiness and an upsetting phone-snatching incident this summer put me on the hunt for a phone case with finger loops. What I found was even better. Meet the Bunker Ring.
This is no cockamamie thumb extender. The Bunker Ring (available on Amazon for $16) is a simple metal loop that attaches to your phone. The add-on can rotate 360-degrees, double as a kickstand and be reused on different devices.
Initially, I doubted the grip of the tacky material that adheres it, but after several weeks now, I can attest that it hangs on for dear life. (It’s actually rated for 8 to 9 pounds of weight.) But if it ever starts to feel wiggly, just pull it off and rinse it under water. There’s no actual glue or adhesive, so water won’t ruin it, and it won’t damage your phone’s finish. Just let it dry, and it’s sticky again, ready to be reapplied.
Concerned about the holding power being too good—Would pulling it off bend my device?—I picked up an inexpensive phone case and tacked it to that instead.
Even less expensive options exist, of course, but for an item that holds up my very expensive phone, I didn’t want to go too cheap.
A Bunker Crop Of Goodness
With my gear complete, the 6 Plus has taken on new life for me. I can reach up to the top …
… down to the bottom …
… and all the way to the left.
No need for that weird workaround Apple calls “Reachability,” which lowers the screen so users can touch the tippy top. I kept setting it off accidentally, which had me rushing to shut it down. Now I don’t ever have to trifle with it again.
With the ring on the back, the phone feels more stable in my hand. My fingers can stretch to reach buttons or inputs without any phone-teetering now. I can hold the device above my head to snap photos, reach most controls on the opposite side of the screen, as well as do some basic texting.
“Basic” is the operative word, though. The shift key and numbers button on the lower, far left side still remains out of reach. So if I need to text more than “lol,” “ok,” “c u” or “be right there,” the effort may require my other hand.
This hasn’t been a huge problem. I use a smartphone with one hand much less often than I realized. And when my hands are full, I tend to dictate to Siri anyway. Your mileage may vary.
The iPhone 6 Plus: 6 Weeks Later
More than a month in, and I’ve noticed changes in my habits. I’ve barely touched my iPad mini (which may partially explain the downturn in Apple’s tablet business). I watch a lot more video on my phone now, and I tend to reach for the Plus for viewing photos, documents and websites.
Through all that usage, I have yet to drop my device. Apparel makers want to help too; they’re already redesigning pockets to fit large phones. But there’s one scenario I haven’t solved yet: taking it on a bike ride. Massive arm bands for the 6 Plus are nothing short of ridiculous.
The holster might be a bit pricey, and I could question the value of a smartphone that requires add-ons to make it functional. But then I remind myself of one thing: With the 6 Plus—or, for that matter, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Nexus 6—I don’t need a tablet anymore. If the 6 Plus can save a bit of money, why not dedicate a fraction of those savings to accessories?
Product photos courtesy of related companies; all others by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
View full post on ReadWrite
Airplanes, brace yourselves: Apple’s giving 23,000 of its mammoth smartphones to flight attendants at United Airlines.
Next spring, the United flight crews who satisfy our cravings for snacks or miniature wine bottles will use the iPhone 6 Plus to charge us for those treats. The devices will also keep them connected, at least on the ground, where attendants can use the phones to check their emails and manuals.
It’s striking that an industry that forced passengers to shut off their phones for years has been increasingly stepping onto the mobile bandwagon. In 2012, American Airlines announced plans to pass out Galaxy Notes to 17,000 of its flight attendants.
Almost as if the Android versus iPhone wars have taken to the air, United chose the rival iOS mobile device, and plans to expand its crews’ usage, eventually letting them use the big smartphones to report cabin issues or use apps designed as customer service tools.
The Planes vs. Phones Smackdown
Phones on planes have become a hot-button topic, and in a variety of ways.
Many airlines slowly began easing restrictions, acquiescing to passenger demand by permitting gadgets to operate in “airplane mode,” which shuts off all wireless signals. Some allow controlled Wi-Fi through expensive third-party carriers like GoGo Inflight Internet. The Federal Communications Commission still hasn’t officially ended its ban on cell phone calls inflight, though it has been mulling it over for about a year.
In a twist on the “planes vs. phones” tussle, the Wall Street Journal reported last month that a covert program by the U.S. Marshals Service used planes with high-tech gear to surveil nearby cell phones. The law enforcement organization reportedly outfitted Cessna aircraft with “dirtboxes,’’ or devices that impersonate cellular towers, so nearby phones would hop on the signal and report their location and other identifying information.
Photo courtesy of United Airlines
View full post on ReadWrite
iPhone and Mac users, brace yourself for change: Google’s tenure as the Safari default search engine for Apple’s phones, tablets and computers will expire next year, sources tell The Information. If true, the sudden opening could set off a mad scramble to lay claim to all of your Web searches.
The unnamed sources told The Information’s Amir Efrati that Yahoo and Microsoft have already started courting Apple’s Eddy Cue, its senior vice president of Internet products and services, as they vie for the much-coveted spot.
It’s all too easy to believe it’s true. There’s no love lost between bitter rivals Google and Apple, with the latter taking (sometimes painful) steps to inch further away from the services of the Mountain View, Calif.–based tech giant over the years.
Back in 2012, Apple kicked YouTube and Google Maps off the iPhone when it demoted them from default-app status. It replaced Google’s map app with its own flawed Maps iOS app—to much initial hilarity—and then ultimately allowed both Google Maps and YouTube to return via the App Store as third-party downloads.
Earlier this year, the iPhone maker crowned Microsoft’s Bing as the engine powering its mobile and desktop Spotlight search. (Prior to that, Spotlight kicked users over to Safari, which defaults to Google.) Meanwhile, Yahoo showed some signs of life this week, inking a new deal with Mozilla to install Yahoo as the default search tool in Firefox.
Efrati notes that, while Web searches on mobile devices may be waning as developers try alternative modes of search and discovery in apps, Safari searches on iPhones are still lucrative:
Searches on Apple devices are more valuable than on Android because Apple owners are wealthier and spend more money.
Some executives in the search industry estimate that Apple receives more than $1 billion annually from its undisclosed share of Google Search revenue on Safari, a sign that it is also a windfall for Google.
Apple, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft would not comment on the story.
Given that Apple already uses Bing in other parts of its ecosystem, there’s a good chance it may partner with it again. If not, well, Microsoft could still benefit, as Bing actually powers Yahoo searches, at least on the desktop. (Apparently, Yahoo mobile searches may be another story.) Both search tools are already options in Safari’s settings, along with privacy-minded search engine DuckDuckGo.
In any case, Apple would probably love to send those dollars to anyone but Google, which makes most of its money from search. But the change could be bracing for iPhone users. Google has been a fixture in mobile Safari since the device’s launch in 2007.
Images by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
View full post on ReadWrite
Apple mobile software updates have been a dicey proposition lately, so you might be inclined to skip the minor follow-up to last month’s big iOS 8.1 release. Unless, that is, you have an older iPhone or iPad.
Apple promises to boost performance for the earliest gadgets with the A5 processor and iOS 8—specifically the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The fifth-generation iPod touch and the first iPad mini also use the A5 chip, though Apple didn’t call them out explicitly. But it’s possible they might see some improvements as well.
See also: Apple Really Needs To Get It Together
Developers have been working with an early beta version for a few weeks now, and by all accounts, the software appears to be pretty stable. So if you still have PTSD over the world of hurt iOS 8.0.1 wreaked, take heart—at the very least, this one shouldn’t cripple your phone.
The caveat, as with most iOS software updates, is for jailbreakers. If you hacked your iPhone using the Pangu tool to gain access to system-level resources or ability to install unauthorized software, or plan to some time soon, you may want to hold off on iOS 8.1.1 for now. The update will kill the Pangu jailbreak.
As for everyone else, the release notes for version 8.1.1 boast “bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.”
The new update follows last month’s introduction of iOS 8.1, which launched Apple Pay and the iCloud Photo Library public beta.
You can download and install the software directly on your handset over Wi-Fi through Settings > General > Software Update, or perform the update by connecting to iTunes on your desktop.
Lead photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite
View full post on ReadWrite
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.
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.
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
View full post on ReadWrite