Apple will introduce several major initiatives to ready its retail stores for the Apple Watch’s launch in April, according to sources briefed on the upcoming changes. Starting on April 10th, Apple will allocate 15 minutes per customer for in-store try-on appointments, using 10 or more try-on stations to manage what’s expected to be a steady flow of customers interested in having hands-on time with the Watch. While customers will not necessarily be required to have an appointment, they will be time-limited and guided during the hands-on experience. Additionally, they will be given the opportunity to place a reservation at the time of try-on for a particular model, and make a follow-up appointment to pick the watch up during the April 24th launch date. Stores will also have launch day stock for walk-in appointments.
In a move to boost iPhone sales, Apple will soon introduce a new recycling and trade-in program that will accept non-Apple smartphones, notably including Android and BlackBerry devices, in exchange for gift cards to be used toward the purchase of new iPhones. In continuing to court Android switchers, Apple will use a similar system to the one it uses to repurchase iPhones, whereby Apple Retail Store employees determine trade-in values for devices by considering their cosmetic and functional condition, according to multiple sources…
The Apple Watch was once again shown off at Apple’s “Spring Forward” event on Monday, and many have been left wondering how the device compares to the Android Wear devices currently on the market. Technology has surely evolved a bit since the G Watch was announced, but how much have things changed?
There are several differences between the two platforms, but one that has now been brought to light is the device’s physical dimensions. Looking at Apple’s renders and images makes the device look big, but comparing its actual dimensions to Android Wear devices does the opposite. It’s tiny compared to most of what’s available today.
IDC just released its latest numbers on the top smartphones by operating system showing iOS and Android continue to collectively dominate the market with both experiencing growth during 2014. Together, iOS and Android grabbed 96.3% of all smartphone shipments, which IDC points out is up from 95.6% in 4Q13 and from 93.8% in calendar year 2013.
Six months after buying the subscription music service Beats Music, Apple is actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. Yet to be named, the new service is entirely Apple-designed, yet leverages Beats’ technologies and music content, a collaboration that has thus far led to personnel challenges and delays. Multiple sources within Apple and the music industry have provided the first in-depth details of Apple’s upcoming streaming service, which we share below.
Kantar World Panel’s Carolina Milanesi has crunched the numbers and notes that iOS beat Android in the US in the holiday quarter with a hefty .1% margin — iOS devices accounted for 47.7% of sales, Android devices accounted for 47.6%. Apple’s iOS beat Android in other key markets including Japan and Australia but still trailed in others in Europe and China. Read more
Samsung announced last year that, after negative reviews of the design of its Galaxy S5, its head of mobile design Change Dong-hoon was being replaced by then VP of mobile design Lee Min-hyouck. Today, however, it was revealed that the company is bringing in an outside designer to help refresh its product lineup. A report from the Korea Herald states that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae to be its new head of design. Don-tae would lead design of all Samsung gadgets, including smartphones.
After teasing a super-thin new smartphone earlier this week, smartphone maker (or, maybe more accurately, “smartclone maker”) Xiaomi revealed its 2015 flagship model, the Note. Just to be clear, this is an entirely new device, and doesn’t seem to be related to the company’s existing “Redmi Note” smartphone.
It’s also not related to Samsung’s similarly named devices, though it hardly seems unreasonable to think that Samsung’s execs aren’t exactly pleased with the name. iPhone users may detect quite a bit of irony (karma, perhaps?) watching the Korean company squirm as it gets ripped off by a competitor, though.
The 5.7-inch phone is positioned as an iPhone 6 Plus competitor. It features a 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization—a far cry from Apple’s 8 MP shooter—and a 4 MP front-facing camera.
EFF app for Android
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released an app for Android devices, but announced today that it has no plans to bring the software to Apple’s iOS platform. The reason, the organization said, is that it simply cannot agree to Apple’s developer agreement.
The EFF specifically called out six points in the document that it took issue with, although it noted that there were even more problems it didn’t have the space to mention. The complaints aren’t new—many of them date back to 2010—but it seems the foundation is determined once again to make its points heard.
Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.
Apple and Google are back at it again and attempting to bring a safe and friendly mobile experience to your car. Android Auto and CarPlay are the two company’s re-imagining of mobile user interfaces for the car and both are gearing up for a major rollout over the next year.
Each system is designed to work with its respective native mobile platform, but there are differences between the two that may appeal to different people. Today we’re comparing Apple’s CarPlay to Google’s Android Auto using the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. This car comes packed with both systems, so you won’t have to compromise either way, but there are some important differences between the two…