Tuesday January 27, 2015 2:15 pm PST by Juli Clover
During today's earnings call covering the first fiscal quarter of 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about the sales split between the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. He declined to provide specific numbers on the split, but he did confirm that the iPhone 6 was the most popular device.
"Obviously to sell 74.5 million devices, they were all popular," Cook said. "Both did incredibly well. We're really proud of them, along with the iPhone 5s and 5c."
According to Cook, there was some clear geographical preference for the iPhone 6 vs the iPhone 6 Plus. Some locations skewed higher to iPhone 6 Plus preference, while others preferred the iPhone 6. He didn't specify which regions preferred which devices, but data has suggested Asian countries favored the iPhone 6 Plus.
During the call, Cook also mentioned that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus brought the highest Android switcher rate over the course of the last three years and that there's still a lot of opportunity to see growth as only a "small fraction" of existing iPhone users (in the low teens) have upgraded to a new device. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have brought the highest number of customers new to iPhone than in any prior iPhone launch. "We saw more new customers to iPhone than we've ever seen before," said Cook.
Cook said the company is getting "great feedback" about the quality of the products that they're shipping, and that in emerging markets, iPhone growth was "absolutely stunning." The company is very bullish on the iPhone going forward, expecting to see a lot of new adopters in Q2 2015 as well.
"We believe that it's the best smartphone in the world," said Cook.
Apple managed to reach supply/demand balance on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in January, when shipping dates finally hit 24 hours. Before that, iPhone supplies remained somewhat constrained throughout the holiday season.
Today's earnings report revealed record iPhone sales, at 74.5 million, or 46 percent growth year over year. The iPhone makes up an impressive 69 percent of Apple's revenue, which hit $74.6B during the quarter.
Monday January 26, 2015 5:53 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
A day before the company is set to announce earnings for its first fiscal quarter of 2015, Financial Times highlights a recent report suggesting Apple may report it sold more iPhones in China than in the U.S. for the first time ever.
According to analysts from financial firm UBS, China accounted for 36 percent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared to 24 percent for the U.S. The analysts also compared the numbers to 2013, noting that a year before China accounted for only 22 percent of shipments with the U.S. at 29 percent.
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin concurs with the UBS report, believing around 2 million more iPhones were sold in China than in the U.S. during the quarter. With the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch, he also believes it's just the beginning of the country's fiscal dominance over Apple sales.
“It’s already been a good year, building up to the climax of this quarter,” said Bajarin, referring to Apple’s momentum in the world’s largest smartphone market. “It leads to a lot more optimism for China . . . Their potential headroom in China is higher than it is here [in the US].
They will likely do more in China than US from here on out,” he said. “It certainly shows how important the China market is to Apple’s upside.”
Apple has been emphasizing the importance of China for the company for some time, most recently meeting with the Chinese government to discuss data privacy and security, partnering with popular mobile payment service Alipay, and planning multiple Apple Store openings like the one in Chongqing opening this week.
On the distribution front, 2014 most notably saw a partnership between Apple and the world's largest carrier, China Mobile. The partnership allowed iPhones to be sold in 3,000 more cities where Apple previously had very little presence, undoubtedly aiding the Cupertino-based company rising Chinese in recent quarters.
Sunday January 25, 2015 9:46 pm PST by Richard Padilla
Samsung will be the main supplier of Apple's upcoming A9 chip that will power the next-generation iPhone, reports South Korean newspaper Maeil Business (via Reuters). The newspaper notes that Samsung will supply around 75% of chips for the next iPhone, and that the processors will be produced at the company's factory in Austin, Texas.
Apple's A8 chip
Last month, a report from Korea's ET News said that Samsung had begun work on the processor in Texas. Previous reports noted that Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would be producing the A9 chip, although Samsung was chosen to be the primary supplier in a deal that was said to be worth billions. BusinessKorea reported last month that Apple would be relying more heavily on Samsung for iPhone 6 and Apple Watch components including RAM, NAND flash storage, and batteries.
Apple's A9 chip is expected to power the iPhone 6s and presumably the next-generation iPad Air and iPad mini. Apple is also expected to launch a larger-screened iPad Pro at some point this year, although that device has been rumored to utilize Apple's A8X processor.
Friday January 23, 2015 7:07 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Both analysts and metrics are suggesting Apple will report record-breaking iPhone sales for the just-ended December 2014 calendar quarter, and new data released today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reveals the Cupertino company may have set a high bar against its competitors, grabbing half of all phone activations in the United States.
While CIRP's survey included only 500 users and thus may include a significant margin of uncertainty, the data shows Apple's U.S. activation market share increasing from 28 percent in the July-September 2014 quarter to 50 percent in the October-December quarter. The significant jump was clearly fueled by strong consumer interest in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
"The strength of the September 2014 launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus fueled Apple’s dominance in US mobile phone sales this quarter," said Josh Lowitz, Partner and CoFounder of CIRP. "Apple had virtually double the sales of Samsung, and five times that of LG. No other brand accounted for as much as 5% of US sales."
CIRP's survey also found that most of the quarter's iPhone purchases (86 percent) came from loyal Apple customers who upgraded from older iPhones. While Apple retained its customer base, Samsung and LG lost customers, with 25% of Samsung owners and 18% of LG owners who activated a new phone switching to an iPhone.
Sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus may continue to be strong in early 2015, with a high numbers of consumers intending to buy an iPhone in the next three months. According to 451 Research’s ChangeWave December survey, more than half of early adopters plan to buy an iPhone when they purchase a new phone in the next 90 days. While the number is down significantly from the previous quarter, it remains high considering the new iPhones have been available for several months already.
"This is the highest level of Apple demand ever recorded in our smartphone survey three months after a major new release," said Andy Golub of 451 Research.
The ongoing demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus reflects growing consumer interest in larger phones with 60 percent of future buyers looking to purchase a 5-inch or larger smartphone. This 2014 figure is a significant jump from the 40 percent ChangeWave recorded in the same quarter of 2013.
Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014 with long lines for the phone and delayed ship times shortly after the phones went on sale, and Apple announced record-breaking sales of 10 million units in the first weekend of availability. Apple will announce the results for its first fiscal quarter of 2015 (fourth calendar quarter of 2014) on Tuesday, January 27. The quarterly earnings statement will be released around 1:30 PM Pacific/4:30 PM Eastern, with a conference call to discuss the report following at 2:00 PM Pacific/5:00 PM Eastern.
Tuesday January 20, 2015 10:59 pm PST by Richard Padilla
Apple's share of the smartphone market in Asia has risen significantly since the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September, according to market research firm Counterpoint (via The Wall Street Journal). The biggest market share gains for the iPhone came in Japan, China, and South Korea, with the iPhone seeing a 33% market share during November in the latter country. This only trailed rival and South Korean company Samsung, which had a 46% market share after holding a 60% market share.
“No foreign brand has gone beyond the 20% market share mark in the history of Korea’s smartphone industry,” said Tom Kang, research director for mobile devices at Counterpoint. “It has always been dominated by the global smartphone leader, Samsung. But iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have made a difference here, denting the competition’s phablet sales.”
Apple's market share in Japan grew to 51% in November, holding a commanding lead over second place Sony which holds 17% market share. In China, Apple held a 12% market share in the smartphone market, which is third place behind Lenovo's 13% market share and upstart manufacturer Xiaomi, which commanded a 18% market share.
In November, data from AppLovin showed that the iPhone 6 Plus was popular with Asian customers, as Japan, Vietnam, China, and the Philippines showed an adoption rate of over 35% for the larger device. Overall, strong sales for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus led to smartphone market share growth for Apple across the world, with analysts attributing the growth to the redesigned bodies and larger screens of both devices.
According to supply chain sources, the LPDDR4 RAM modules for the iPhone 6s will be supplied primarily by Hynix, Samsung, and Micron-Elpida. Elpida reportedly was behind schedule, but the company allegedly improved its manufacturing process to a level that will meet Apple's demand. Micron-Elpida and Hynix were identified in iFixit teardown analyses as the RAM suppliers for Apple's current iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models.
Apple's next-generation iPhone also is rumored to sport the same design as the iPhone 6 with internal improvements such as an A9 processor and a dual-lens DSLR quality camera. Today's report also hints at the adoption of "Force Touch" technology as seen on the Apple Watch to differentiate between quick taps and more forceful presses.
It is not clear, however, how Apple would implement such a system on the iPhone as it would appear to require a major shift in display technology for the device given that the Apple Watch uses a flexible OLED display paired with electrode sensors to support the Force Touch feature.
Wednesday January 14, 2015 6:42 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Microsoft today announced the release of an updated version of its Skype iOS client app bringing a few tweaks to the dial pad and chat picker alongside a new pre-release feedback program.
The first major user interface overhaul focuses on the dial pad, streamlining the process by automatically detecting matching numbers as soon as the user begins inputting a phone number. The update to the new chat picker further expedites the process of starting a chat or a call, letting users scroll through a quick list of their contacts, making them all a tap away from a video call or voice chat.
Perhaps most interesting in the 5.9 update, however, is Microsoft's introduction of the new pre-release program for the iOS Skype app. The company states it is currently looking for "enthusiastic Skype users" who can provide feedback on the chat program's iOS app to "shape and enhance" the program in the future.
Those willing to sign up will gain access to early versions of Skype for iOS in the future, provided they agree to update the company with "regular feedback" as each update is rolled out to them. Applicants must also be 18 years or older with a valid email address and Skype or Microsoft account.
You can help us shape your skype experience by:
-Trying out some new or upgraded features (don't worry we'll let you know what's new) and tell us about your experience after doing so
-Giving us feedback and suggestions on what you would like to see in the app in the future
-Letting us know of any issues that you run into while using this previewed version
The new version 5.9 is available now, and those interested in the pre-release program, which the company promises has limited availability, can sign up on Skype's official website. Skype for iPhone is available for free from the App Store. [Direct Link]
Called the Apple Watch "Companion," the app is described as housing both settings for the Apple Watch itself and settings for various Apple Watch applications. As we learned from the WatchKit SDK included in the first iOS 8.2 beta, initial Apple Watch apps will be extensions of existing iPhone apps and will be reliant on the iPhone to function.
According to screenshots of the app running on an iPhone, the Apple Watch will be able to send reminders to stand up every hour, progress reports on activity at selected intervals, and notifications for goal completions such as reaching a daily Move, Exercise, or Stand goal.
The Apple Watch will also be able to send notifications for achievements, such as when a personal activity milestone is met, and there's an option for a Weekly Summary, which will give users a brief recap of how much they moved during the previous week.
In addition to various fitness-related alerts, there are sections in the app to turn on push alerts from the iPhone for Timers and Alarms, get a notification alert in the form of a red dot on the Apple Watch face, and specify acronyms for various cities in the World Clock. All of these aforementioned settings and notifications can be controlled within the "Companion" app.
There's also an interesting feature that lets users choose a one to four letter monogram that will appear on the Apple Watch's Color watch face, which is described as a "Complication." First introduced in new marketing earlier this year, Apple Watch Complications are special functions that are displayed within various watch faces, such as stock quotes, weather, and more, like the monogram. With this enabled, the Apple Watch face will display a user's initials.
Apps displayed on the Apple Watch home screen in a cluster pattern will be able to be organized and rearranged within the Apple Watch Companion app on the iPhone. Because there's no keyboard, there are tools within the Companion app that suggest the Apple Watch will use voice-based communications for messages and other text-based entry forms.
Like the iPhone and the iPad, the Apple Watch will include an option for a passcode that's used to verify Apple Pay payments. As has been detailed in the past, the Apple Watch will require users to enter a passcode when putting the watch on for the first time, and it will make sure that skin contact is maintained to prevent unauthorized Apple Pay payments with the device.
The Companion app also appears to confirm that the Apple Watch will indeed feature its own storage and the ability to play songs stored directly on the device, as the About Screen lists storage capacity, songs, and photos stored on the Apple Watch.
As the launch of the Apple Watch approaches, details on the device are beginning to leak out, but there are still several unknown elements. For example, there's no solid word on how long the battery will last, aside from Apple CEO Tim Cook's suggestion that users will need to charge it on a nightly basis, and we have no word on pricing, aside from the entry-level $349 Sport model. There's also no clear cut launch date in place, but the most recent rumors have suggested that the device could be released in March.
There are a few other minor details that can be gleaned about the Apple Watch based on the Companion app screenshots, and a full range of images is hosted over at 9to5Mac. Other details include stock selections, the use of the Taptic Engine for Maps directions, various Accessibility features, and more.
Tuesday January 13, 2015 9:42 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple sensor supplier InvenSense is facing a class-action lawsuit filed by investors accusing the company of defrauding investors by not revealing the true terms of its deals with Apple and Samsung, reports Silicon Beat. InvenSense recently joined Apple's supply chain, producing gyroscopes and accelerometers for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
In the lawsuit, investors accuse InvenSense CEO Alan Krock of providing misleading guidance when he discussed a large new customer during the company's earnings conference call in July 2014.
"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 states.
Investors believed the new customer to be Apple and increased their stock holdings based on this assumption. During this buying frenzy, InvenSense insiders reportedly sold off their shares, making more than $5.3 million at a time when the price of InvenSense's stock was climbing.
Investors were surprised when InvenSense's gross margins dropped 11 percentage points in the following quarter despite this supposed lucrative Apple contract, and the company's share price quickly fell 20 percent. Plaintiffs in the case assert this decline in the company's financial state was the result of overly generous supplier deals with Apple and Samsung, as well as manufacturing problems that delayed component shipments. The company's failure to disclose these "sweetheart deals" is the basis for the class-action lawsuit.
InvenSense isn't the first supplier to face financial troubles after inking a deal with Apple. Materials manufacturer GT Advanced last year filed for bankruptcy following a failed manufacturer agreement with Apple to supply sapphire for future Apple devices.
Last month, shipping estimates for the 16/64GB iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus improved drastically, with estimates improving to 3 to 5 days in early December and jumping to 1 to 3 day and 1 day estimates later in the month. The larger-capacity 128GB devices were somewhat constrained throughout the month, with estimates remaining at 7 to 10 days and jumping to 3 to 5 days in December.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have experienced severely constrained supplies since their launch in September, with Apple working to improve available supply. Apple was even said to be delaying mass production on its larger-screen iPad Pro to puts its efforts towards the iPhone 6 Plus.
Thursday January 8, 2015 8:54 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Earlier this week, mobile accessory manufacturer ibattz turned a few heads at the Consumer Electronics Show with a new external battery charger called the ASAP Fast Charge Power Bank that the company claims can fully charge an iPhone 6 from 0 to 100 percent in just 15 minutes. (See update at bottom of this article for correction.)
Available in two sizes of 5,600 mAh and 11,200 mAh, the new charging banks are the company's fastest to date. By using lithium polymer batteries and replacing the traditional 5V 1A input with a 20V 2A upgrade, the company says the ASAP charging banks can reach a recharge speed of up to four times faster than traditional external battery packs.
No specifications have been given on the charge time for any device besides the iPhone 6, and no pricing or tentative launch date has been announced by the company.
Though the company has a decent track record with its existing lineup of other power bank and battery case devices, hands-on time with the device will be needed to test the company's latest claims. Users will also want to weigh potential long-term negative effects from charging their phone batteries so quickly in deciding whether ibattz's new power banks will be a worthwhile investment.
Update: ibattz has clarified to MacRumors that the power bank itself can charge in 15 minutes, with charging of an iPhone from the bank taking about an hour. The company has not yet updated its press release to correct the error.
Wednesday January 7, 2015 6:53 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
The latest smartphone sales data released today from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech highlights good news for Apple on the strength of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch, with Apple gaining share year-over-year in every country surveyed except for Japan.
The report, focusing on the September-November 2014 period, points out that Android market share dropped in most European markets and saw its first decline in the U.S. since September 2013. In the surveyed period, Apple reached 42.5 percent of UK sales, up 12.2 percentage points from the same time in 2013.
In the U.S., the Cupertino-based company's share of smartphone sales grew 4.3 points to reach 47.4 percent of the market, an unsurprising performance given the strong early sales of the company's latest iPhones. More data from Apple on October-December iPhone sales will be announced later this month when the company releases its quarterly earnings report.
Apple's strong performance is being attributed in part to enthusiasm for the redesigned bodies and larger screens of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with the iPhone 6 leading the smartphone pack during the time period.
“The iPhone 6 was the best selling phone in the three months through November 2014, capturing 19% of smartphone sales”, said Milanesi. Verizon and AT&T made up 57% of iOS sales while Verizon and T-Mobile were the top two carriers for Android accounting for 33.7% of all Android smartphones sold.
Despite declines in many markets, Android remains the dominant platform in Europe with 69.9 percent of the market, although that number is down 3.2 percentage points from the same period in 2013. Kantar also notes that customers switching from Android to iOS remained at a steady 18 percent from 2013 to 2014, suggesting Apple's larger-screened phones have yet to represent significant motivation for switchers.
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