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iPad Remains World's Most Popular Tablet as Apple Outsold Samsung and Amazon Combined Last Year

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 16:27
iPad remains the world's most popular tablet by a significant margin, having outsold competing devices from rivals Samsung and Amazon combined last year, according to data shared by research firm IDC today.


Apple sold a total of 43.8 million iPad units in 2017, as confirmed by its quarterly earnings results, while IDC estimates that Samsung and Amazon shipped 24.9 million and 16.7 million tablets respectively on the year. The combined Samsung-Amazon total of 41.6 million tablets is 2.2 million lower than iPad sales.

Apple captured a 26.8 percent share of the tablet market in 2017, meaning that roughly one in every four tablets sold last year was an iPad. Apple's tablet market share rose 2.5 percentage points year-on-year.


Last week, Apple reported revenue of $5.8 billion from iPad sales in the fourth quarter of 2017, representing growth of six percent compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple's average selling price of an iPad was $445, up slightly from $423 in year-ago quarter, suggesting more higher-priced iPad Pro sales.

Apple's growth in iPad sales, albeit relatively flat, contrasted with the overall tablet market's 6.5 percent decline in shipments in 2017 compared to 2016. iPad has been the world's most popular tablet since shortly after it launched.

Shifting focus to this year, Apple is rumored to launch at least one new iPad Pro model with slimmer bezels, no home button, and Face ID. We haven't heard much about the lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad and iPad mini, but each could certainly receive a routine speed bump this year among other upgrades as well.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, iPad mini 4 (2015), iPad (2017)Tag: IDCBuyer's Guide: 10.5" iPad Pro (Neutral), iPad Mini (Don't Buy), 12.9" iPad Pro (Neutral), iPad (Don't Buy)
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NikePlus Members Can Now Earn Apple Music Subscriptions and Exclusive Playlists

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 14:55
NikePlus members can now earn free Apple Music subscriptions and exclusive playlists by completing workouts or purchasing select Nike products.


Nike didn't reveal exactly how to unlock the perks, but by achieving various milestones in the Nike+ Run Club or Nike+ Training Club apps in a given month, NikePlus members can earn rewards such as a free one-month Apple Music subscription or access to exclusive Nike playlists that include high-energy mixes.

Meanwhile, NikePlus Members who purchase Nike's Epic React Flyknit running shoes in its exclusive White Fusion color will unlock up to four months of free access to Apple Music. The shoes are available for $150 starting today exclusively for NikePlus members in the United States, and on February 22 for non-members.

Nike's Epic React Flyknit running shoes in White Fusion colorway
NikePlus membership is free, with registration available on the web and through the Nike, Nike SNKRS, Nike+ Run Club, or Nike+ Training Club apps for iPhone. Apple Music is one of three new so-called NikePlus Unlocks, alongside rewards from fitness class startup ClassPass and meditation app Headspace.

Tags: Apple Music, Nike+
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Apple Partners With Cisco and Others to Make Businesses 'More Resilient' With Cyber Risk Management Solution

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:48
Apple today announced a new cyber risk management solution aimed at the enterprise market and launching with partners Cisco, Aon, and Allianz. Each company is adding their own expertise into the solution, including cyber resilience evaluation services from Aon, the "most secure" technology from Apple and Cisco, and options for enhanced cyber insurance coverage from Allianz.


The goal is said to help businesses better manage and protect themselves from the risk of cyber attacks, like ransomware and other malware-related threats. In the announcement, Apple said that the "low adoption" of cyber insurance amid an increased risk of attacks led to the new partnership, which ultimately aims to help businesses become "more resilient" to these threats.


Businesses taking part in the solution will potentially qualify for lower, "or even no," deductibles in some cases, as well as gain access to "market leading" policy coverage terms. The key elements of the solution include:
- Cyber Resilience Evaluation: Aon cyber security professionals will assess interested customers’ cyber security posture and recommend ways to help improve their cyber security defenses.

- Cyber Insurance: Customers using Cisco Ransomware Defense, and/or qualified Apple products can be eligible for the Allianz-developed enhanced cyber insurance offering, acknowledging the superior level of security afforded to businesses by Cisco and Apple technology.

- Incident Response Services: Organizations will have access to Cisco and Aon’s Incident Response teams in the event of a malware attack. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the partnership will help make cyber insurance "more accessible" for the businesses that partake in the solution. In total, Apple's iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices are said to be the tools supported under the new insurance.
“The choice of technology providers plays a critical role in any company’s defense against cyber attacks. That’s why, from the beginning, Apple has built products from the ground up with security in mind, and one of the many reasons why businesses around the world are choosing our products to power their enterprise," said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

“iPhone, iPad and Mac are the best tools for work, offering the world’s best user experience and the strongest security. We’re thrilled that insurance industry leaders recognize that Apple products provide superior cyber protection, and that we have the opportunity to help make enhanced cyber insurance more accessible to our customers.” Cisco has launched a new website with more information about the cyber risk solution. For business interested, Apple said that the solution is available starting today.

Tag: Cisco
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DigiTimes Predicts Apple's First New Products of 2018 Could Debut Starting in March Like Last Year

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:20
Apple refreshes much of its product lineup on an annual basis, and a new report reveals when that process may begin this year.


Taiwanese website DigiTimes first claims some suppliers are poised to benefit from new or increased orders from Apple to help produce next-generation iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch models at some point in 2018:Although some Taiwan makers in the iPhone X supply chain have been affected by Apple's move to scale back shipments of the device, some others including Career Technology, E&R Engineering, ShunSin Technology and Superior Plating Technology (SPT) are poised to benefit from new or increased orders from the client to support production of its next-generation iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch models in 2018, according to industry sources.The report then replaces Apple Watch with MacBook in the sentence, and says the new products are slated for debut starting in March:These makers have cutting-edge technologies or have newly tapped into the supply chains of Apple's consumer devices. Among them, SPT, which boasts pearl bright nickel processing technology, is ready to enjoy sizeable orders from Apple, which will incorporate the technology to process adapters for its new-generation iPhone, iPad and MacBook devices, slated for debut starting in March 2018.As a boilerplate disclaimer, DigiTimes does not have a perfect track record. The publication has shared inaccurate information about both what is coming and when on Apple's roadmap, including last year's prediction that Apple would unveil its 10.5-inch iPad Pro at an April event that never transpired.

The timeframe could simply be a guess based on Apple's new product releases last year. In 2017, the company announced a lower-cost 9.7-inch iPad in March by way of press release, alongside (PRODUCT)RED edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models, and larger 32GB and 128GB storage capacities for iPhone SE.

If the report is accurate, the iPad lineup is likely the most ideal candidate for product refreshes as early as March. The launch of new iPhone and Apple Watch models now seems tied together in September, while Apple hasn't unveiled new notebooks in March since the Early 2015 model 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Tag: digitimes.com
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Broadcom Increases Acquisition Offer for Chipmaker Qualcomm to $121 Billion

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:12
Broadcom is reportedly moving forward with its attempt to purchase chipmaker Qualcomm, by increasing its bid for the company to about $121 billion and $82 per share, described as a "final offer." The new offer comes three months after Broadcom's first bid for Qualcomm, originally valued at about $105 billion ($70 per share), plus $25 billion of net debt (via Bloomberg).

If the acquisition goes through it would still be considered the "largest-ever technology deal," although Qualcomm's board previously rejected the first offer and is said to have "dug in" against threats of potential hostile takeovers. With the increased offer, Broadcom now hopes to put pressure back on Qualcomm to accept the deal and "improve prospects" for Broadcom CEO Hock Tan to be nominated to Qualcomm's board should the deal go through.


Broadcom Ltd. has raised its bid for Qualcomm Inc. to about $121 billion, in an attempt to force what could be the largest-ever technology deal. The new offer of $82 a Qualcomm share will be Broadcom’s final offer, according to a statement Monday. The deal would take the form of $60 in cash and the remainder in Broadcom shares.

Broadcom’s hostile bid for the larger San Diego-based company is the latest and most audacious move by Tan in a string of deals that have made his company one of the world’s largest suppliers of semiconductors. He wants Qualcomm for its leading smartphone modem chip division, an example of what he calls a “franchise” that will continue to dominate.
If completed, Broadcom would become the third-largest chipmaker in the world, behind Intel and Samsung Electronics, and the combined Broadcom-Qualcomm business would "instantly become" the default provider of certain components required to build more than one billion smartphones sold every year. The acquisition would eclipse Dell's $67 billion purchase of EMC in 2015, considered at the time the biggest in the technology industry.

Qualcomm is said to be pushing back against such acquisition offers because it see its own future to be "much brighter as a standalone company," further stating that it's "on the cusp" of entering new product markets. At the same time, Qualcomm has been in a legal battle with Apple for over a year now, after Apple accused Qualcomm of charging unfair royalties for "technologies they have nothing to do with" and failing to pay for quarterly rebates.

Throughout the lawsuits, Apple eventually considered removing Qualcomm modems from its devices altogether moving forward, and the latest report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pointed towards Intel-only modems for the 2018 iPhones.

Tags: Qualcomm, Broadcom
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Apple's UK HomePod Shipping Estimates Slip to Feb 13 But Pre-Order Stock Still Available for Friday's Launch at Authorized Resellers

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:57
Apple's HomePod pre-launch stock showed the first signs of dwindling supply on Monday. Customers in the U.K. placing new pre-orders on the company's regional online store can now expect deliveries of Apple's smart speaker to arrive no earlier than Tuesday, February 13, three days after the official launch day this Friday.


In the United States and Australia, where HomePod is also launching this week, shipping estimates for the smart speaker in both White and Space Gray colors are still listed as Friday, February 9.

Despite the slip in Apple's delivery date, U.K. residents can still get hold of a HomePod on launch day by pre-ordering online from authorized Apple resellers. At the time of writing, stock is listed as available at Argos, EE, and Currys PC World. John Lewis will also be accepting HomePod pre-orders from 8pm GMT on Wednesday, February 7.

Last week, Apple's first batch of pre-order customers began receiving notifications from their banks about being charged for their orders, with many located in the U.K. Apple began taking orders for the HomePod on January 26 in the United States ($349), U.K. (£319), and Australia ($499). Later this spring, the HomePod will also launch in France and Germany.

Related Roundup: HomePodBuyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)
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Apple Says It's 'Looking Into' Limited Reports of Incoming Call Delays on iPhone X

Sun, 02/04/2018 - 20:41
Apple is "looking into" a limited number of reports from users experiencing delays with incoming phone calls on the iPhone X, the company said in a statement, after the issues were highlighted by the Financial Times today.


The report, which links to a few discussions on the Apple Support Communities, notes that hundreds of customers have complained that the iPhone X's display experiences delays in turning on for up to 10 seconds during incoming phone calls, preventing these users from tapping the Accept or Decline buttons.

Indian blog PiunikaWeb rounded up similar complaints on the Apple Support Communities in January, but it appears affected iPhone X owners have been experiencing this issue since shortly after the device launched in November.

Based on what we've read, it appears that affected iPhone X units begin ringing when they receive a phone call, but the display does not turn on to show the caller ID or answer button for several seconds—sometimes even longer than 10 seconds—which typically results in the call being missed.

The issue doesn't appear to be fixed in the latest iOS 11.2.5 software update, and based on the complaints, it would appear that all versions back to at least iOS 11.2 are affected. Earlier versions of iOS 11 could be affected too.

MacRumors hasn't been able to reproduce this issue, and we've seen only a handful of comments on our discussion forums related to the matter, but we did find a dozen more complaints from users across Twitter and Reddit. We've reached out to Apple to ask for an update when it has more information to share.

Apple is likely collecting data from affected customers so that its engineers can investigate the matter, as it routinely does with any potential hardware or software issues, so contact Apple Support if you are affected. The issue likely can and will be addressed in a future software update.

Apple has dealt with a number of iPhone X hardware and software issues in recent months, some more widespread than others, including a defect causing green lines to appear on some displays, temporary unresponsiveness in cold temperatures, and the rear-facing camera failing to autofocus.

Last week, reports broke that Apple has decided to delay some new features planned for iOS 12 until next year so that it can double down on the performance and quality of the iPhone and iPad operating system in the near term.

Related Roundup: iPhone XTag: Apple Support CommunitiesBuyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
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Apple Music Now Has 36 Million Subscribers, Could Eclipse Spotify in United States This Year

Sun, 02/04/2018 - 18:27
Apple Music now has 36 million paying subscribers around the world, an increase from well over 30 million reported last September.


Apple confirmed the updated total to The Wall Street Journal, which today reported that Apple Music is growing at a faster pace than Spotify in the United States, and could soon eclipse the service in popularity in the country.Apple's subscriber-account base in the U.S. has been growing about 5% monthly, versus Spotify's 2% clip, according to the people familiar with the numbers. Assuming those growth rates continue, Apple will overtake Spotify in accounts this summer.On a worldwide scale, Spotify maintains a sizeable lead over Apple Music. The streaming music service revealed that it has 70 million paying subscribers a month ago, making it nearly twice as large as Apple Music. Spotify also has a free, ad-supported tier, giving it over 140 million listeners overall around the world.

Spotify expanded to the United States in 2011, while Apple Music simultaneously launched in over 100 countries in 2015. In terms of paid subscriptions, both services offer individual plans for $9.99 per month, student plans for $4.99 per month, and family plans sharable with up to six people for $14.99 per month.

Apple Music has the benefit of being preinstalled on hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPads. It's also available on Mac, PC, Android, Apple Watch, Apple TV, vehicles equipped with CarPlay, Sonos, and HomePod.

Tags: Spotify, Apple Music
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KGI Expects Intel to Be Exclusive Supplier of Modems in 2018 iPhones

Sun, 02/04/2018 - 16:49
Intel could be the exclusive supplier of LTE modems for all new iPhones launched in 2018, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.


The key takeaway of the research note, obtained by MacRumors:We expect Intel to be the exclusive supplier of baseband chip for 2H18 new iPhone models, while Qualcomm may not have a share of the orders at all.Kuo previously expected Intel to supply 70 percent of the modems, with Qualcomm providing the remaining 30 percent of orders, but he now believes Intel will be the sole supplier given several competitive advantages.

First and foremost, Intel's latest XMM 7560 modem [PDF] supports both GSM and CDMA, meaning that Apple could release a single iPhone model that works across AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Intel modems previously lacked CDMA, meaning Apple could never fully ditch Qualcomm for all iPhone models.

Apple is also embroiled in a major lawsuit with Qualcomm over anticompetitive licensing practices, and Kuo believes the iPhone maker switching to Intel as its exclusive modem supplier will place added pressure on Qualcomm.

Kuo added that it's too early to tell if Intel will be able to maintain its position of exclusivity in the future, as Apple typically prefers to diversify its supply chain. He adds that Apple may give orders to Qualcomm again in exchange for concessions in the ongoing lawsuit between the two companies.

In order to make up for the lost iPhone business, Kuo expects Qualcomm will be more aggressive in securing orders from Chinese smartphone makers. However, he believes these Chinese companies don't want a monopolized market, so Qualcomm's ability to gain market share in the country may be limited.

Kuo also reiterated that LTE transmission speeds will increase significantly in new iPhone models released in the second half of 2018.

In a previous research note from November, Kuo highlighted that Intel's XMM 7560 modem supports 4x4 MIMO technology, compared to only 2x2 MIMO in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. The faster LTE speeds will also be made possible by an upgraded antenna design in the next iPhones.

Related Roundup: 2018 iPhonesTags: Intel, KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, Qualcomm
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Chinese Counterfeiter Busted for Selling $1.1M of Fake iPhones and iPads

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 02:40
A Chinese counterfeiter who participated in a scheme to traffic and smuggle counterfeit products mimicking Apple's iPhones and iPads today pled guilty to trafficking and conspiracy charges, according to a press release shared on the website of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Jianhua "Jeff" Li, working through a company called Dream Digitals, conspired with several other individuals to smuggle more than 40,000 fake iPads, iPhones, and accessories into the United States from China from 2009 to 2014. The electronic devices in question included labels and packaging bearing counterfeit Apple trademarks.


To get the counterfeit products into the country, Li shipped the devices separately from the counterfeit trademarks. Fake devices were sent all over the United States, and proceeds from the sales were funneled into bank accounts in Florida and New Jersey.

Li, who was officially charged with one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and labels and to smuggle goods into the United States and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, received payments totaling more than $1.1 million from U.S. accounts.

Li could be facing several years in prison for his crime. A co-conspirator, Rosario LaMarca, was sentenced to 37 months in prison back in July, while two others Li worked with, Roberto Volpe and Andreina Becerra, are awaiting sentencing.
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Apple Employees to Receive 50% Off HomePod

Sat, 02/03/2018 - 01:15
Apple employees will be able to purchase one of Apple's new HomePod speakers at a significant discount, with Apple dropping the price by 50 percent for its staff members. Several Apple employees have taken to Twitter to share news of Apple's generosity, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has confirmed the discount.

In the United States, the HomePod is priced at $349, so employees will be able to purchase it at a discounted rate of around $175.


By offering the HomePod to employees at a reduced rate, Apple will ensure that some of its retail staff get hands-on real-world experience with the new speaker, allowing them to better assist customers with the device.

Apple also provides these kinds of discounts as a thank you to employees for all of their hard work, as a new product launch often entails a redecorating, training, and other behind-the-scenes efforts.

Apple offered a similar discount program for the Apple Watch when it launched in 2015, allowing employees to purchase any stainless steel or Sport Apple Watch model for personal use at a 50 percent discount.

The HomePod is available for purchase now from the online Apple Store, and it will officially launch on Friday, February 9.
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Apple Launches Official Repair Program for iPhone 7 Models Affected by 'No Service' Issue

Fri, 02/02/2018 - 22:32
Apple today launched a repair program for iPhone 7 devices that are impacted by an ongoing bug that causes them to have no available service even when cellular coverage is available. Apple says the problem is caused by a component that has failed on the main logic board.

The problem affects "a small percentage" of iPhone 7 devices, causing them to display a "No Service" message instead of properly connecting to an available cellular network.


Customers who are experiencing this issue will receive a free device repair from Apple, and those who have already paid for repairs are eligible for reimbursement. Apple will be emailing customers who may have previously paid for a repair related to this problem to offer a refund.

According to Apple, affected units were manufactured between September 2016 and February 2018 and were sold in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macao, and the United States. Model numbers that are impacted by the hardware failure include A1660, A1780, and A779, and customers can see if they are affected by checking the model number on the back of their device.

We first heard hints of this bug in September of 2016, when Apple launched an investigation into iPhone 7 devices that were displaying a "No Service" message after customers activated and then disabled Airplane Mode.

Apple's repair program is only available for the iPhone 7, and Apple will examine all iPhones prior to service to verify that the iPhone in question is impacted by the bug and eligible for repair. Apple says that devices with other damage, such as a cracked screen, will need to have those problems addressed before the "No Service" bug can be fixed.

Customers who are in need of a repair should contact an Authorized Apple Service Provider, visit an Apple retail store, or get in touch with Apple support. Apple will be sending all iPhone 7 models in need of repair to an Apple Repair Center.

The new iPhone 7 repair program covers affected iPhone 7 devices for two years after the first retail sale of the unit.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7Buyer's Guide: iPhone 8 (Neutral)
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