Siri vs Google search in 1600-question street test, speed test

As noted by Phillip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune, Apple analyst Gene Munster published a note to clients today that contained the results of a Siri vs. Google search 1600-question showdown.

While it is not exactly a test of how well the companies’ various voice services stack up against one another (since Google Search queries were typed-in and not spoken), but it is a good indication of just how viable Siri is as an everyday mobile search product and alternative to Google. In the test, both Google and Siri were asked 800 questions in a quiet location. Another 800 questions were asked among the loud street traffic in Minneapolis. The results, according to Fortune: Read more

Debunked: Apple is not acquiring Loewe, Foxconn CEO denies iTV rumors, Digitimes is ‘wrong most of the time’

Update May 16, 2012: German publication Handelsblatt (via Bloomberg) quoted Chief Executive Officer Oliver Seidl of German TV manufacturer Loewe as saying the company has had “no contact” with Apple regarding an acquisition.

Less than a month after posting a false claim about Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visiting the Valve HQ, ole’ Danny Dilger claimed this weekend that Apple is moving to acquire a German TV manufacturer called “Loewe.” Again, we did not run with the story, because we preferred to mock it instead via Twitter. Not only has that story been debunked, but more allegations about Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou having confirmed an Apple television are now being denied by the company. Oh, and Digitimes’ track record…

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Apple’s iOS chief Scott Forstall cashes in shares worth $38.7M

Following Apple’s CEO Tim Cook selling off approximately 20,000 shares of company stock in March, new filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission discovered by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt show iOS chief Scott Forstall recently sold 64,151 shares worth roughly $38.7 million:

The shares were the remains of a 120,000-share retention bonus that was granted in 2008, vested last month and reduced by 55,849 shares on March 24 to pay taxes. Forstall still holds 2,988 Apple shares worth, at Friday’s closing price, $1.8 million.

Many reported the over 64k shares sold by Forstall represent 95 percent of his current holdings in Apple Inc. However, that is not entirely true, because two new retention bonuses are coming his way in in the years ahead. Those shares could be worth over quarter billion dollars—if Apple continues increasing closer to the $1,000 per share target that many analysts are expecting.

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Apple to blow past HP and become top personal computer vendor on strong holiday sales of Macs, iPhones and iPads

Counting tablet PCs as personal computers, Apple is about to overtake Hewlett-Packard and become the world’s top personal computer vendor. All should be known soon when Apple reveals holiday quarter earnings in a conference call with analysts scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 24.

HP CEO Meg Whitman was first to admit that such a turn of event neither would nor be entirely unsurprising given Apple’s lead in the post-PC world. Whitman said back in November, “It’s possible if you integrate tablets.” Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt wrote that, based on a poll of 42 analysts, iPad sales could hit the 14 million mark, a notable increase over the 11.12 million iPads sold during the September quarter.

Fortune’s estimates range from 11.7 million (Hendi Susanto of Gabelli & Co) to 19.47 million iPads (Alexis Cabot of the Apple Finance Board). According to research firm Gartner, HP shipped 14.7 million PCs in the last quarter, down 16 percent from a year ago.

Now, Apple in this last quarter cleared 4.89 million Macs, and its holiday sales are estimated to exceed 5 million units. Combined, iPad and Mac will have sold over 20 million units during the holiday quarter, enough to give the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology powerhouse a few million units lead over HP, the world’s leading computer vendor.

Estimated unit sales translate into a 17.6-percent market share for Apple versus 13 percent for HP, representing a landmark achievement by any measure. Again, that’s assuming tablets are counted as personal computers. As noted by Asymco’s Horace Dediu, Apple has never held the top spot. Its Apple II system peaked at 15.8 -percent share in 1984 and the Mac peaked at 12 percent in 1992. Interesting that Lenovo CEO praised Apple last week, saying about Android on tablets that “We still need to learn something, we still need to improve something”.

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AAPL passes all-time high of $427 a share, market cap closes in on $400B

An interesting occurrence happened this morning: In a run up to Apple’s Q1 2012 earnings call, and amid a steady flow of 2012 Consumer Electronics Show announcements where Apple traditionally does not exhibit, the company’s share reached an all-time high by passing $427 a share for a market valuation of $398 billion (Exxon Mobile is at $408.86 billion). As noted by Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt, the company passed the $426.70 mark it hit briefly one day in mid-October

Interestingly, several analysts boosted their iPhone estimates for the December quarter. Goldman most notably upped their iPhone estimate to 31 million quarterly units, up from the previous 30.2 million estimate. Needham significantly increased their previous 28 million units projection to 32 million units.

By the way, the Apple iPhone turned 5-years-old today. On this very day five years ago, Steve Jobs took the stage at MacWorld Expo to announce the original iPhone. The rest, as the saying goes, is history…

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Market shifts: Samsung beats iPhone in sales, ZTE passes Apple in global cell phone volume

The third quarter of 2011 marks a shift in the cell phone biz as Samsung takes the smartphone crown from Apple and China’s ZTE rises to become the world’s fourth-largest cell phone vendor by volume and Apple slides to fifth place. The bad news for Cupertino arrives just as the company for the first time in years missed Street expectations after shipping 17.07 million iPhones in the September quarter, a modest 21 percent annual growth and a notable 16 percent quarterly decline in units. As you recall, Apple in the June quarter sold 20.34 million iPhones, allowing them to beat Nokia and Samsung and become the world’s leading smartphone vendor, prompting Samsung to stop divulging smartphone and tablet shipments for competitive reasons.

Everyone was waiting for the new iPhone 4S.

Samsung today posted their quarterly earnings and they passed iPhone by an estimated ten million units. According to Reuters which cited a Strategy Analytics survey, Samsung shipped about 27.8 million smartphones, up nearly four times annually and 44 percent sequentially. This gave Samsung a 23.8 percent global market share in smartphones vs. 14.8 percent for Apple. Such a strong growth is attributed to their Galaxy smartphones, particularly the Galaxy S II model which sold ten million units in the five months since its introduction. Strategy Analytics attributed Samsung’s success to “a blend of elegant hardware designs, popular Android services, memorable sub-brands and extensive global distribution”, adding:

After just one quarter in the top spot, Apple slipped behind Samsung to second position and captured 15 percent share. Apple’s global smartphone growth rate slowed to just 21 percent annually in Q3 2011, its lowest level for two years. We believe Apple’s growth during the third quarter was affected by consumers and operators awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter, volatile economic conditions in several key countries, and tougher competition from Samsung’s popular Galaxy S II model.

Apple also slid to fifth place in Strategy Analytics’s worldwide cell phone rankings as ZTE shipped 18.5 million handsets for a five percent global market share. Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the October 4 iPhone 4S introduction that iPhone had five percent share of the global cell phone market, hinting at Apple’s phone strategy:


via Fortune

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