Gartner: iPhone worldwide sales topped Samsung in holiday quarter, but Samsung won the year

iphones

Gartner is out with its latest report tracking smartphone movement during the previous year and more specifically the holiday quarter.

Headlining the report is news that over 1 billion smartphones were sold in 2014, a data point IDC first said was hit in the previous year, adding that two out of three phones sold last year qualified as smartphones.

Gartner’s data shows Apple topped Samsung in worldwide smartphone sales with 74,832,000 units shipped during the holiday quarter, just 1.8 million units more than Samsung, giving Apple 20.4% market share for the quarter, a virtual tie with Samsung’s 19.9%. Read more

Apple hanging billboards on skyscrapers and buildings around the world to showcase iPhone 6 photography

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As part of its Shot on iPhone 6 campaign promoting iPhone photography, Apple is now hanging billboard advertisements around the world. The ads feature the photographs in full bleed with a simple ‘Shot on iPhone 6′ tagline. The posters are going up around the world, including some dramatic large billboards on the side of skyscrapers. Pictured above is one such poster (photo taken by Jimmy Grewal on Twitter) being setup on a skyscraper in Dubai.

In total, the campaign will showcase 77 different individual’s images spanning 24 countries. Users on Twitter have been posting sightings of these ads from all over the world …

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Apple Stores will now allow customers to test in-ear headphones before buying

Apple has always allowed customers to test over-ear headphones

Apple has always allowed customers to test over-ear headphones (Getty)

Apple will begin allowing prospective customers to test out in-ear headphones prior to purchase within Apple Stores, according to several employees. Due to sanitation concerns, Apple has been reluctant to allowing customers to try out in-ear headphones, but a new solution called Demo Kits will solve this problem. Beginning this week, when a customer is interested in purchasing in-ear headphones, an Apple Store employee will have the ability to create a custom Demo Kit that holds up to six different models of in-ear headphones. These kits will include a fresh pair ear tips and alcohol cleaning wipes so that the try on process is sanitary…

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Review: CM4’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Q Card Cases are high-class wallets at affordable prices

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Our editors all have their favorite wallet cases for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Seth’s top pick is Pad & Quill’s Little Pocket Book, Ben’s fondest of Mujjo’s Leather Wallet Case, and up until now, my pick — based more on material quality than practicality — has been Twelve South’s BookBook. Each of these cases picks up where Apple Pay leaves off, carrying a handful of credit cards and a little cash for the (still numerous) times when wireless payments aren’t an option. But most of the cases haven’t properly balanced practicality and protection.

That’s where CM4’s Q Card Cases for iPhone 6 ($32-$40 at Amazon) and iPhone 6 Plus ($32-$40 at Amazon) come in. Their MSRPs are tied with the most affordable wallet cases I’ve previously seen for the new iPhones, combining the slim protectiveness of a TPU iPhone case with the look and feel of a leather wallet. While the standard $40 cases use realistic-looking faux leathers, CM4’s Limited Edition versions use genuine leather and pack-in simple plastic screen protectors for $60 each (iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus). Below, you’ll see why it’s hard to go wrong with any of the Q Card Cases…

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Review: Anker’s 2nd Gen Astro E7 triples any iPad Air’s run time with an insane 25,600mAh of power

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There are hundreds of external battery packs out there, and most of them are highly similar to one another: cosmetics aside, their capacities, features, and pricing tend to be predictable. Anker’s 2nd Gen Astro E7 ($80) is a complete outlier. It has the highest capacity of any external battery pack I’ve ever tested, yet it’s priced competitively with products that deliver half as much juice.

If you have an iPad or plan to carry your iPhone around without access to wall power, Astro E7 is as close to a must-have battery as I’ve seen. Delivered in efficiently designed, eco-friendly packaging, it quickly earned a place in my personal travel bag, for reasons I’ll explain below.

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NYT: Apple Watch includes ‘Power Reserve’ mode, shows only the time but conserves battery life

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The New York Times has published a piece about the culmination of the Watch project, as Apple transitions from product development stages to production and marketing to consumers. The piece reiterates that Apple was working on a vast array of health tracking sensors that were later dropped, which 9to5Mac covered extensively at the time.

However, the post includes one new piece of information about a previously-unannounced mode called ‘Power Reserve’. According to the report, users will be to enable a special low-power state that conserves battery life. In this mode, users will be able to see the time but cannot interact with the ‘smarter’ watch features like other apps. It is likely that other power-sapping features, like the constant connection to an iPhone for notifications, will also be disabled in this mode…

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Apple Watch makes UK fashion magazine debut with three-page feature in Style

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Following from features in fashion magazines in France and Germany, the Apple Watch has made its UK editorial debut in Sunday’s publication of Style. Although the Watch is not on the cover of the issue I received, there are four covers circulating — one of them features the Apple Watch as the cover photo. Regardless of whether you get a copy of the magazine with the special cover or not, inside the Watch gets three pages of press coverage.

The main picture features Guinevere Van Seenus wearing a 38mm Apple Watch Sport with Space Grey case and black sport band. The written accompaniment says that the Apple Watch does not convey ‘power, status and discernment’ like a Rolex can but holds back no punches in saying it will ‘wipe the floor with existing smartwatch manufacturers and give mid-market watchmakers a fright’. The magazine compliments Jony Ive in particular, for the design.

Jony Ive has got the tone of the Apple Watch just right. It looks elegant but not standoffish, and as well as the 18 variations of the regular version, there are the 10 Sport options, which come with a lightweight case, strengthened glass and a rubber strap, plus the more expensive Edition range (six models), made from 18ct gold.

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Apple constructing outdoor building next to Yerba Buena, likely demo area for Watch event on March 9th

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We have received images of a white building under construction behind the Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, the venue for Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ event on March 9th. The tipster said that security guards are patrolling the scene, wearing ‘Apple Security’ shirts, confirming the connection between the building and Apple.

Apple built a similar external structure for the Apple Watch’s original unveiling in September, which acted as a demo hall for the products (iPhone 6 and Apple Watch) that Apple had announced at the event prior. Given the similarities, it is likely that this is the purpose of this new building as well.

It is worth noting, however, that in the past Apple has simply used side rooms inside Yerba Buena for its demo areas. Unlike the Flint Center, previous events show that there is space for indoor demos if Apple wanted to use it.

More images after the break …

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Tim Cook says terrorism should not scare people into giving up their privacy

Tim Cook White House Summit on Cybersecurity

In the second half of The Telegraph’s interview with Tim Cook, Apple CEO Tim Cook has reaffirmed his position on privacy. Cook says that whilst currently consumers do not understand the ramifications of sharing their data with third-parties, “one day they will”.

Moreover, Cook openly objects to governments that say data sharing is required to combat crime and terrorism. There has been pressure for tech companies to offer back-doors into encryption mechanisms, but a clear implication of this interview is that Apple will strongly oppose this view. Cook describes privacy as a ‘basic human right’. Read more

Ericsson asks ITC to block iPhones from U.S. market in patent negotiating tactic

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Ericsson, an early pioneer in cellphone technology, has upped the ante in a patent dispute with Apple by asking the U.S. International Trade Commission to block the import of iPhones into the country.

Ericsson owns patents to a number of fundamental technologies used in all cellphones, including LTE, and Apple had been paying royalties for these up until mid-January when the license fell due for renewal, reports Bloomberg …  Read more

Sesame is a $99 smart lock that lets you unlock your current deadbolt from your iPhone

Sesame iPhone smart lock

Note: Kickstarter currently appears to be down possibly because of a certain new smartwatch

The iPhone-connected smart lock market is getting a new player today as Candy House introduces a new, competitively priced device called Sesame—a play on the phrase “open sesame”—that retrofits your existing deadbolt lock with modern smarts.

While current smart lock options carry higher price tags and require replacing existing hardware, Sesame starts at $99 ($89 early bird special) and adds smart lock features to most existing door locks. Check below for an excellent video demo and more info: Read more

Results: 60% want Apple to thicken the next iPhone to improve battery life

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A recent poll of over 3,100 9to5Mac readers indicates that most are not satisfied with current-generation iPhone battery life. Over 90% of respondents said that they want to see Apple improve iPhone battery life, versus less than 7% saying that “iPhone battery life and battery cases are good enough as-is.”

The split in responses interestingly suggests that Apple can safely stop prioritizing thinness over superior battery performance. A solid majority of over 60% of respondents said that Apple should thicken the next iPhone to improve its battery life, which is especially noteworthy given that there were other poll options. Over 31% said that Apple should achieve whatever battery improvements it can by improving the iPhone’s chips, while just under 2% said that Apple should instead focus on improving battery cases.

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