Apple often acquires small startup companies very quietly and without any formal announcement to bolster its own services, and a new report from TechCrunch claims that the company acquired Ottocat in late-2013. Ottocat was a startup that focused on developing a system to organize and discover apps based on increasingly specific subcategories. Apple currently uses this technology to power the “Explore” tab in the App Store, as seen above.
Bloomberg reports that Samsung has signed on to provide A9 chips to Apple for the next-generation iPhone. Apple moved to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 2013 for its processors, looking to reduce its reliance on Samsung, who is a major competitor in the smartphone space and a legal foe. With that said, it was reported last September that Samsung was still supplying 40 percent of the A8 chips found in the iPhone 6 despite Apple’s attempt to part ways.
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.
Following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s announcement last month that the company would soon begin providing diversity data, today the company is releasing its first report. While disclosing numbers on the gender and ethnicity of its employees, CEO Tim Cook has also published a letter alongside the report on the company’s website (full version below).
In the letter, Cook highlights some of the progress the company has made in recent years, but also notes that he’s “not satisfied with the numbers” and that Apple plans to do more to improve them. Read more
Apple’s next two iPhone models will be named iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, according to a report from Japan-based Macotakara. With repeated reports and rumors of the next-generation iPhone retaining the same design as the iPhone 5, the “iPhone 5S” name has long been claimed and regarded as the name of the new flagship iPhone. Apple’s iPhone 4S and iPhone 3GS retained the designs of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3G, respectively.
However, because of Apple’s surprise naming scheme for the third-generation iPad (The new iPad), an outright claim of the name “iPhone 5S” may be important to some interested in the upcoming device.
As for the “iPhone 5C,” this name gained attention when purported packaging materials for the upcoming, lower-cost, plastic iPhone surfaced in photos online. It is unclear what the “C” in “5C” could stand for, but speculation and logic points to the “C” standing for “color.” Like recent iPod touch models, this plastic iPhone is rumored to come in a series of colors…
Research firm comScore is out with its usual monthly report that ranks the top smartphone OEMs and platforms for the three-month period ending in February. Apple continues to grow its lead this month as top OEM in the U.S., jumping 3.9-percent from November to 38.9-percent of the market and increasing its lead on the second biggest OEM by subscribers, Samsung:
Samsung ranked second with 21.3 percent market share (up 1 percentage point), followed by HTC with 9.3 percent share, Motorola with 8.4 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.
It’s important to point out that the shipped vs. sold argument doesn’t apply to comScore’s results, as its data comes from surveys tracking smartphone subscribers and usage and not sales or units shipped. Google grabs the spot as top smartphone platform at the end of February, but Apple continues to close the gap capturing 38.9-percent of the market (up from 35 percent) compared to Google’s 51.7-percent (down from 53.7-percent): Read more
We’ve seen predictions for an Apple HDTV and a revamped Apple TV experience come and go over the last couple of years. Analysts have predicted several times since as far back as 2011 that we’d see Apple introduce its own full-fledged TV set by the end of the year, and the most vocal analyst, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, was still calling for a full HDTV by the end of the year with an innovative new remote control last we checked in. Today, in a note that sounds like it should have been scheduled for an April 1 release, another analyst has backed Munster’s claims that Apple will launch a full TV set (not a set-top box) in the second half of 2013.
Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White issued a note to clients today, following checks with supply chain sources in Asia (via BGR), claiming Apple’s “iTV” project will launch this year in 50- to 60-inch variants and come with a ring-shaped motion controller dubbed, get this, “iRing”:
The “iTV” ecosystem represents a major innovation for the $100 billion LCD TV industry that will revolutionize the TV experience forever, in our view. First of all, we believe “iTV” will be 60-inches in size (but could also include 50-55 inch options). Secondly, we believe Apple will release a miniature device called “iRing” that will be placed on a user’s finger and act as a navigation pointer for “iTV”, enhancing the motion detection experience and negating some of the functionality found in a remote.
White continued by saying Apple will include a “mini iTV” with iTV that will allow users to have a second-screen experience on a smaller, iPad-sized display: Read more
Research firm IDC is out today with its latest report on the smart-connected device market, and it includes worldwide shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, smartphones, and tablets. IDC predicted the market in total grew 29.1-percent year over year in 2012, crossing 1 billion units shipped and hitting a total value of $576.9 billion. According to the report, Apple significantly closed the gap on Samsung during the last quarter of the year. It jumped from 15.1-percent in Q3 to 20.3-percent of unit shipments in Q4 2012. That brings the company up right behind market leader Samsung, which dropped slightly from 21.8-percent to 21.2-percent in the fourth quarter:
Looking specifically at the results for the fourth quarter of 2012 (4Q12), combined shipments of desktop PCs, notebook PCs, tablets, and smartphones was nearly 378 million and revenues were more than $168 billion. In terms of market share, Apple significantly closed the gap with market leader Samsung in the quarter, as the combination of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad Mini brought Apple up to 20.3% unit shipment share versus 21.2% for Samsung.
Not surprisingly, Apple dominated Samsung when it came to revenue share. It took in 30.7-percent of the market compared to just 20.4-percent for Samsung by revenue:
On a revenue basis for the fourth quarter, Apple continued to dominate with 30.7% share versus 20.4% share for Samsung.
Apple’s increase is likely thanks to strong iPad and iPad mini sales, as growth in the market was “largely driven by 78.4-percent year-over-year growth in tablet shipments.” IDC expected tablet shipments to outgrow desktop PCs by the end of this year, while the tablet market could surpass the portable PC market in 2014 and provide Apple with even more opportunity to outgrow Samsung for total connected smart device shipments this year and next: Read more