Apple releases iOS 8.1.3 software update w/ stability improvements, reduces space required to update

iOS 8.1.3

Apple released the iOS 8.1.3 software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users today. The update is available over-the-air through the Software Update section of the Settings app. The update includes the usual bug fixes and performances improvements, and notably claims to reduce the amount of free storage required to perform the update. Read more

Anticipated iPhone numbers would see Apple threatening Samsung’s smartphone lead

samsung

If Apple does indeed report iPhone sales in line with analyst expectations of 66.5M units, the company could be closing in on the market share lead Samsung has held in the smartphone market since 2011, reports the WSJ.

Research company Canalys notes that Apple’s anticipated growth in iPhone sales coincides with a dramatic drop in sales of Samsung smartphones.

Samsung’s share has been falling, hurt by lackluster sales of its flagship models and the rise of homegrown brands in fast-growing emerging markets. In the third quarter, Samsung shipped about 78 million smartphones, about 25% share of the global market, down from 34% a year earlier, Canalys said.

While that still leaves Samsung well ahead for now, it’s a trendline which could see Apple regain the lead it once held …  Read more

Review: OtterBox’s Resurgence Power Case ruggedizes and doubles the iPhone 6’s battery

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The OtterBox name is synonymous with ruggedized iPhone cases, but not with battery cases — something the company worked to change with the iPhone 4/4S Defender iON Series, and the iPhone 5/5s Resurgence Power Case. iON aimed to thoroughly protect an iPhone while automating the recharge process, while Resurgence reduced the automation and protection to make daily use easier. At CES this month, OtterBox launched a new version called the Resurgence Power Case for iPhone 6 ($100), and it’s been redesigned with a collection of small but welcome tweaks.

Whether you’ll prefer Resurgence to Incipio’s excellent offGRID Express (review) depends on what you’re looking for — ruggedization or raw power for the dollar. Like many companies, OtterBox is promising to double the iPhone 6’s battery, but it also has some currently unique benefits to offer. Read on for what makes OtterBox’s latest battery case special.

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Apple now selling more iPhones in China than in US, say analysts

apple-china

Tim Cook said in October that it was “just a matter of time” before China overtook the USA as its biggest market, and it seems that time may be arriving sooner than expected – at least as far as the iPhone is concerned. The Financial Times reports that analysts expect tomorrow’s Q1 earnings call to confirm that Apple sold more iPhones in China than in the US.

Analysts at UBS estimate that China accounted for 36 per cent of iPhone shipments in the most recent quarter, compared with 24 per cent for the US. During the same period last year, 29 per cent of units were sold in the US and 22 per cent were in China, UBS said.

The view was supported by Creative Strategies, which forecast that Apple has sold around 2M more iPhones in China than in the US in the final calendar quarter of 2014 (Apple’s financial Q1) …  Read more

Korean report supports KGI prediction that Samsung will make 75% of A9 chips for next iPhone

samsung-Xian-fab.

Korean news site MK Business News (via Reuters) is reporting that Samsung will make 75% of the A9 chip for the next iPhone. This matches an earlier detailed prediction by KGI Research, which stated that the balance of the chips would be made by Global Foundry, and is in line with a statement by Samsung which last year confirmed it as a major supplier of the new chip.

The Samsung-fabbed chips will, says the report, be made in the USA …  Read more

Missouri state rep. proposes law requiring customers to show ID with Apple Pay

tim cook death stare

[Heavy sigh]

Determined to stymie the inevitable flood of fraudulent transactions using Apple Pay and other mobile wallets (/s), one Missouri lawmaker has proposed a new law that would require shoppers to pull out a photo ID and prove they truly are who they say they are before they will be allowed to continue with the process of scanning their unique fingerprint on a high-tech piece of equipment designed specifically for the purpose of verifying their identity without the need for a physical identification card.

From a local report:

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Review: Libratone’s second-generation Loop brings Bluetooth to the AirPlay-only Danish speaker family

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AirPlay isn’t dead as a wireless speaker standard, but it’s not exactly healthy: many models have been discontinued, and new releases have all but stopped. Having previously gone all-in with AirPlay, Danish designer speaker maker Libratone is now rolling out updated versions of its circular Loop, tube-shaped Zipp, and triangular Live systems that augment AirPlay rather than ditching it. The new Libratone Loop ($500) modestly tweaks the prior version to add Bluetooth 4.0 support — a feature that radically increases Loop’s compatibility. Though its high price tag will continue to keep this model out of reach for most consumers, long-awaited and substantial discounts on the prior-generation models (Loop here, Zipp here, Live here) may bolster their appeal.

Having tested the new Loop, my personal feelings are mixed: I applaud Libratone for consistently releasing speakers that look distinctive, working both as design objects and audio systems, but the MSRPs remain somewhat hard to justify given the sonic performance…

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Tim Cook agreed to allow Chinese government to conduct security audits on Apple devices – local media

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Beijing News reports that Tim Cook has agreed to allow China’s State Internet Information Office to carry out security audits of Apple products sold in the country. Cook reportedly made the offer during his meeting with China’s Cyberspace Administration minister Lu Wei in December.

China has long expressed suspicion over the security of Apple products, seemingly resulting from frosty relations with the U.S. Government. A state-run TV station in China described the iPhone as a “national security concern” last July due to its location-tracking capabilities. Apple responded by pointing out that location data is stored on the phone, not on Apple’s servers, and is encrypted …  Read more

You can now unlock Google Docs, Slides and Sheets for iOS with Touch ID

Google is on a roll this week with updating its iOS apps. Yesterday we saw Chrome for iPhone and iPad pick up a big update bringing Material Design to the browser and adopting Handoff support with OS X Yosemite. Following Chrome’s release, Google today shared new versions of its Docs, Slides, and Sheets apps for iPhone and iPad taking advantage of another Apple technology: Touch ID.

Beginning with Docs version 1.2.6448, Slides version 1.0.5754, and Sheets version 1.1.7297, iPhone and iPad users can now lock and unlock each app using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner as an alternative to the passcode lock screen. Read more

Apple grabs 33% smartphone marketshare in South Korea, a historic record for foreign manufacturers in Samsung’s home turf

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Apple’s marketshare in South Korea has skyrocketed in the last quarter, driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to data by Counterpoint. Apple increased its share of sales from 15% to 33%, more than doubling its market power in one quarter.

Historically, Samsung has dominated South Korea, largely due to geographic advantages, but Apple’s gains now threaten the #1 spot. Apple is the first foreign smartphone company ever to surpass 20% marketshare in the region, taking the number 2 spot. Samsung’s marketshare fell from 60% in November to 46% and (now third-place) South Korean LG Electronics fell to 14%.

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