January 27, 2012

Apple reclaims title of world’s largest smartphone maker after blowout quarter

By Josh Ong

Published: 10:50 PM EST (07:50 PM PST)
Apple overtook Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2011 to grab the top spot among global smartphone makers, earning 23.9 percent of the market with sales of 37 million iPhones, according to one set of estimates.

Shortly after rival Samsung officially reported its quarterly results on Thursday, market research firm Strategy Analytics released a report proclaiming Apple the victor in the latest round of the smartphone wars. Apple’s win was supported by just a narrow lead, however, as Samsung shipped an estimated 36.5 million units worldwide in the fourth quarter.

The South Korean consumer electronics maker declined to say how many smartphones it shipped last quarter, but it did note 30 percent growth, roughly in line with analyst expectations. As such, Samsung managed to capture its first crown for annual smartphone shipments with an estimated 97.4 million units, compared to Apple’s 93 million iPhones in 2011.

“With global smartphone shipments nearing half a billion units in 2011, Samsung is now well positioned alongside Apple in a two-horse race at the forefront of one of the world’s largest and most valuable consumer electronics markets,” said Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston.

Nokia took third place with estimated quarterly shipments of 19.6 million, enough for a 12.6 percent market share. The Finnish handset maker has seen its market share plunge during its transition from Symbian to Windows Phone. In the year ago quarter, Nokia shipped 28.3 million smartphones.

Total smartphone shipments for the quarter grew 55 percent year over year to reach a record 155 million, while annual shipments were an estimated 488.5 million units.

Apple first took the top spot among worldwide smartphone makers last June, but without its usual iPhone refresh last summer, it conceded the title to Samsung in the third quarter.

The Cupertino, Calif., company more than made up for the September quarter when it announced on Tuesday impressive results for the December quarter. Apple reported record quarterly revenue of $ 46.33 billion and profits of $ 13.06 billion, driven largely by sales of 37.04 million iPhones.

As Apple and Samsung have become the new smartphone powerhouses, their rivalry has extended to the courtroom. The two are locked in a complicated legal battle with multiple complaints spanning several different countries.

AppleInsider

Sandvox for Mac updated with slide shows and more Lion features

With iWeb slowly fading into obscurity, Mac users who want to generate websites without a lot of trouble have been turning to apps such as Sandvox. The app was updated today to version 2.5, which is free for users version 2.0 and up.

Prominently featured is a slideshow object that lets users drag a collection of photos to the app, with options for timing, transitions and caption control adjustable in the Object inspector. The traditional Photo Grid now supports displayed captions derived from page contents.

The app also has added a reworked publishing engine and better compatibility for .mkv files and Quick Look support. Several Lion-friendly features have been added, including including Resume, Autosave, Versions and Fullscreen mode. Sandvox is not as easy to use as iWeb, but it trades a bit of complexity for far more power and control over the features of your website. It ships with several templates that make site creation fast and easy, or you can modify those templates to fit your needs.

Sandvox is available in the app store for US $ 79.99 or directly from Karelia Software.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

App Store sales result in average revenue gains of 19% for iPad, 22% for iPhone

By Josh Ong

Published: 09:45 PM EST (06:45 PM PST)
App publishers on Apple’s App Store typically see a significant first-day revenue jump of 52 percent for iPad apps and 41 percent for iPhone apps and and 19 percent and 22 percent overall, respectively, when they put their software on sale, according to a new analysis.

Netherlands-based Distimo published the results of a study tracking app sales and spotlights for top 100 apps across the App Store for iPad and iPhone and the Android Market during the fourth quarter of 2011. According to its findings, apps on the Android Market benefited the most from being featured, while App Store apps on average saw a higher jump in revenue on the first day of a sale.

During the first three days after being featured by their respective stores, iPad apps jumped 27 ranks in the top 100, iPhone apps rose 15 spots and Android titles leapt up 42. Over the course of seven days, Android Market offerings had an average gain of +65, compared to +15 for iPhone apps and +28 for those for the iPad.

The study acknowledged that rank jumps correspond to vastly different uptakes in downloads depending on where an app started on the top 100 list, so it included a graph depicting relative rank changes in terms of percentage with a seven-day average. For instance, an app that jumped from 10 to 5 saw a 50 percent increase in rank, while one that went from 50 to 25 counted as a 100% increase.

Distimo found that about one-third of iPad apps jumped 200 percent in ranks while being featured and approximately 50 percent of Android apps gained 100 percent when spotlighted. The report noted that positive effects continued even after the featured period ended, as iPad, iPhone and Android apps were on average up 145 percent, 75 percent and 828 percent, respectively, five days after.

As for app sales, Android Market software experienced gains of just 7 percent on the first day of a sale, compared to 52 percent for the iPad and 41 percent for the iPhone. During the length of the sale, however, Android apps passed up their iOS counterparts in terms of revenue increase. Revenue for Android Market apps went up 29 percent during a sale, while revenues for iPhone and iPad apps went up 22 and 19 percent.

According to the report, some applications actually lost revenue by going on sale. For example, 44 percent of iPhone applications saw a decline in revenue during a sale. The study found that steeper discounts often resulted in higher revenue gains.

“In general, we noticed that the tipping point happened when the price was cut in half or the application was offered in tier 1 ($ 0.99) or tier 2 ($ 1.99),” the report read.

Apple announced this week that it had reached a new milestone of $ 4 billion paid out to App Store developers. The company had previously reported a $ 3 billion figure last October during the iPhone 4S launch. The App Store has grown to 550,000 iOS applications, including over 170,000 specifically for the iPad.

A separate study last month found that among top apps with both iOS and Android versions, iOS apps generate 300 percent more revenue than their Android counterparts.

AppleInsider

Valve debuts free Steam Mobile iPhone app

Valve has released Steam Mobile for iOS, a free app for the iPhone. According to Valve, “With the free Steam app for iOS, you can participate in the Steam community wherever you go. Chat with your Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, read the latest gaming news and stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales.”

That’s the promise of the app, anyway; Steam Mobile has launched in “limited beta,” meaning you first need to input an activation key on your PC or Mac. Entering your username and password into the Steam Mobile app is apparently enough to “express interest” in the beta, but for now that’s pretty much all the app does until you receive an activation key.

It’s interesting that this app was approved; Apple has traditionally frowned on apps that require users to register for access in this manner, so it’s odd to see Valve granted an exception.

Also worth noting is that Steam Mobile will not serve as a front end to Steam selling games for the iPhone. All Steam Mobile will allow you to do is access the community and buy games for your Mac or PC from your iPhone.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Half of the enterprise is issuing Macs, 21% of workers use Apple products

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 07:54 PM EST (04:54 PM PST)
A new study indicates around half of all large companies with 1,000 employees or more are buying Macs, while over a fifth of all “information workers” are now using at least one Apple product to do their work.

Apple’s resurgence among business users was profiled in a report by Forrester analyst Frank Gillett entitled “Apple Infiltrates The Enterprise.”

It further noted that companies buying Macs plan to increase their purchases by 52 percent this year. The study was based on interviews with 3,300 Information Technology decision makers and an additional 10,000 workers across 17 countries.

Forrester charted dynamic growth for Macs among enterprise users, noting that the percentage of companies issuing Macs to their workers has grown from 30 percent in 2009 to 37 percent in 2010 and 46 percent over the last year.

The research firm notes that among companies that deploy Macs, 7 percent of all computers being issued are now Macs.

Adoption by demographic

The firm notes that 15 percent reported using at least one Apple product (such as a Mac, iPad or iPhone), while an additional 6 percent said they used two or more. Eleven percent said they used an iPhone, while 9 percent said they used an iPad and 8 percent reported using a Mac for work.

It also points out that Apple devices in general are most popular among workers with a senior position, higher wages and among younger workers.

“Most of our sample of 10,000 global info workers earns less than $ 50k,” the report stated, “but the adoption rate of Apple products is almost 17% even in the bottom quartile of workers who make less than $ 12k per year.”

AppleInsider

Hands On With the Uber-Useful Launch Center, An Automator For iOS [Macworld 2012]

Here’s a quick look at AppCubby’s $ 0.99 Launch Center app, a very cool and useful app launcher that’s like Automator for iOS.

The app allows you to set up all kinds of actions and schedule them. Version 1.1 adds actions to iOS’s Notification Center. Take checking your Facebook messages, for example. This normally takes several steps: searching for the Facebook app, launching it and finding the messages tab. In Launch Center, you can set it up to check your messages every morning from just one finger-tap on the Notifications screen.

The app can be configured to work with a ton of apps and perform pretty complex actions, like calling your mom every week or adjusting the screen brightness down every night. Today’s update has prope and is already in the App Store’s Top 100. Here’s the app’s creator, David Barnard, showing how it works.

Posted in iOS, News | Tagged: , , , , |

Cult of Mac

Daily iPhone App: Vintage Radio

Vintage Radio is an interesting idea for an iPhone app: It’s a ton of various old-time radio recordings (more than 34,000 mystery, horror, comedy, and other old 1930s and 1940s radio shows), all accessible to stream on demand. The app allows you to browse and search shows, set up and save playlists or even share shows on Facebook and Twitter. The selection is really amazing. I like a lot of old-time radio, and this app does have pretty much everything you need. If you have a lot of long car trips or plane rides, it can really help fill the time.

Unfortunately, Vintage Radio’s biggest problem might be a dealbreaker. The app uses a very confusing subscription model to make money. Basically, you buy the app for $ 3.99, and get access to a certain amount of the shows for that price. After that, you have to pay a subscription to listen to more shows — about $ 1.99 a month, or a little cheaper if you subscribe for a longer period. I also ran into some issue with the app where I only got a certain number of plays on it, and it’s not entirely clear when you browse which shows are paid or free.

Even paying the subcription is probably cheaper than actually buying all of these shows. Even if you have to pay the subscription fee, if you actually spend a year listening to these recordings, it’s probably worth it. Vintage Radio is a nice idea that’s not implemented well, but if you’re a fan of old-time radio, it’s definitely worth a look.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Motorola posts $80M quarterly loss, sells only 200K tablets

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 07:15 PM EST (04:15 PM PST)
Motorola Mobility’s fiscal year ended on a sour note with poor tablet and smartphone sales leading to a Q4 2011 loss of $ 80 million, which was further exacerbated by merger costs associated with a planned Google takeover.

In posting its fourth quarter and full-year results for 2011 on Thursday, the RAZR smartphone maker reported that despite a slight increase in yearly revenue, low device sales and high operating costs ultimately led to a decline in earnings from the year ago quarter.

Year-to-year revenue increased to $ 3.4 billion in 2011, however the fourth quarter saw a precipitous decline in earnings compared to 2010, with a net loss of $ 80 million compared to $ 80 million in gains in the quarter one year prior. The disappointing report can be blamed on costs associated with Motorola’s merger with Google, but relatively stagnant device sales during the usually lucrative holiday season are also telling.

Most notably, the company sold 200,000 Xoom and Xyboard tablets in the last quarter, which brought the yearly total to one million. In comparison, Apple sold over 15 million iPads in the last quarter alone as it continues its stranglehold on the global tablet market.

Also contributing to the poor quarterly showing was the company’s mobile devices unit which posted a $ 70 million net operating loss. The division’s smartphone sales fared a bit better than the tablets numbers, with the 5.3 million units moved in quarter four accounting for almost 30 percent of the 18.7 million total for the year. Combined with feature phone sales, Motorola was able to sell 42.4 million in 2011.

Google is planning to take over Motorola in a proposed $ 12.5 billion deal that would give the internet monolith access to a treasure trove of telecom patents to help bolster its Android mobile OS.

AppleInsider

Whale Trail Developer Reveals What It Takes To Hit The Jackpot On iOS And Android [Interview]

Whale Trail Developer Reveals What It Takes To Hit The Jackpot On iOS And Android [Interview]

Whale Trail is a popular sidescroller that originated from the Apple App Store. The game can best be described as Tiny Wings meets Angry Birds on acid. Whale Trail is a colorful, charming, quirky and addictive game — not to mention one of my personal favorites.

As we’ve already told you, Whale Trail recently launched on the Android Marketplace. I got to sit down with the head of the company behind Whale Trail to talk about the pros and cons between developing for Android and iOS. 

Mills (better known as the “CHIEF WONKA” of ustwo™) was kind enough to chat with me about Whale Trail’s success. He also gave his take on the pros and cons of Android and iOS development. Coming from the perspective of a dev that has made it big on both platforms, we figured that he would have some interesting things to share.

Before you jump into the interview, make sure to check out this whacky video from last October to get a taste of what ustwo™ is like:

CoA: Why go Android? Have you guys been planning on releasing in the Market since Whale Trail launched in the App Store?

CHIEF WONKA:

Mobile game development is unquestionably the most exciting arena to be in right now, and the lure of the golden treacle that awaits you IF you smash it, is enough to make a man go clinically mad.

Apart from an elite few, the chance of your title on a single platform hitting the jackpot is unlikely. On top of that, good games cost money to make. We originally invested £150,000 ($ 196,635) worth of ustwo™ manpower to bring it to market. Once launched on iOS and having proved it had legs, we had the confidence to make the move to Android.

Android has always been part of our studio vision; with a 50/50 split of Android and iOS developers in house, we don’t really see them as two separate platforms… instead we focus on making games and entertainment. If the platform has power potential, we will dive right in.

We had originally planned to release Whale Trail on both platforms at the same time, but in the end, due to major overruns in the iOS development process, it wasn’t possible. It was a real blow at the time as we were confident that the game was good enough to peak the interest of the big websites, with any noise generated benefiting downloads on both platforms.

Focusing on iOS for launch, we decided to sell at a premium of 69p ($ 0.99). We thought we had a good chance of being promoted from the get go by Apple as they regularly promote quality original titles, and that’s exactly what happened. Whale Trail was “Game of the Week” in 78 countries around the world, meaning that combined with the huge PR push, we had over 32,000 downloads over the launch weekend. Apple promotion was a game changer for us, giving us a huge head start. It was also unbelievable to know that Apple had so much faith in us.

After the initial iOS launch, we focused on re-working the game by adding a new challenge mode (having listened to user feedback) and the move to Android. In the future we will make sure we launch on both platforms at the same time. Double trouble is the ultimate and the only way to achieve pure power.

CoA: How has Whale Trail fared on the Android Market? Are you impressed by the numbers? How do the initial results compare to the game’s success in the App Store?

CHIEF WONKA:

It’s going to be very difficult to compare fairly as we launched on iOS with huge word of mouth buzz, global Apple support, and almost every gaming website press coverage. If we’re lucky enough to get quality Google promotion, then a more realistic comparison could be made. So far we’ve been massively impressed with the release on the Android Market and within 48 hours we’ve received over 2,500 downloads at 69p ($ 0.99) and an average 4.5 rating.

The pickup has been amazing and this is a green light for us. This tells us that quality games have a massive chance of doing well. Within that same 48 hours we were the 8th best-selling new release. If we can get into a prime visible slot, we have a very good chance of taking steps towards recouping our investment.

CoA: What’s been your favorite platform to develop for so far? Are there aspects of Android development that make it a better experience in certain ways, or does iOS take the cake?

CHIEF WONKA:

What has fascinated me is the strict divide that occurs between iOS and Android users in the tech community. Most people are either in one camp or the other, almost like rival gangs who won’t stray from their turf. But, this is slowly changing as people begin to push their own boundaries driven by the thought of what else is out there.

As a developer I can say for us, up until recently, that Apple’s App Store was a more appealing place to sell premium apps. I suppose in a way the process seemed simpler and more straightforward at the time. However, with more and more Android handsets being sold, increasing the size and demand of the market, as well as an improved storefront that rivals the App Store in many ways, Android is now a publishing force to be reckoned with… so much so in fact… I’d like to think all future ustwo™ app launches will launch on both platforms simultaneously.

In terms of client work, we’re totally platform agnostic, offering solutions to clients based on their business needs. But for our own IP app releases that come out of ustwo’s CWA department – Content With Attitude, our focus has been on iOS because of the small size and specialism of the team. In the last couple of years the app market has very much been shaped by huge levels of press interest and it’s been undeniable that iOS has been the poster boy platform, meaning more developer interest in it. A downside of this ‘attention’ is that now it’s harder than ever to get your product out there and in front of users due to intense competition.

For us, the press interest has been great for the studio. Many of our products have been labelled as succailures (successful failures), simply because they haven’t sold in their millions but have generated a lot of mainstream media interest which in turn has helped raise the profile of the studio.

On a different note, I’ve been massively impressed with the Top New Chart on the Android market. The seven-day rolling chart made up of the last month’s releases is great for developers as it helps with discoverability, as newly launched app don’t need to compete with established winners to get standout. It’s this that has helped take Whale Trail to no.5 in new releases within the first 5 days, and an overall position of no.62 with only word of mouth and PR driving downloads.

CoA: Anything else you’d like to say about the future of Whale Trail? We’re all ears.

CHIEF WONKA:

In a matter of weeks we’re excited to announce that we’ll be bringing Whale Trail to the NOOK Color and NOOK tablet. We see a huge opportunity to sell massive volumes there, as the curation of apps is absolute quality and the competition is far less in terms of volume.

Overall we’re now selling around 1,350 Whale Trails a day, which we’re happy with. We’re seeing over 1,000 hits to our Gruff Rhys music video and 2,000 hits a day for our Whale Trail trailers. We’re currently finalizing our latest update for both platforms, which will include an updated ‘endless mode’ with more power ups and another 32 levels. And this time we’re taking users to the dark side.

Whale Trail can be downloaded for $ 0.99 in the Android Market and $ 0.99 in the Apple App Store.

(Via Cult of Android.)

Cult of Mac

Lingual adds Siri language translation to jailbroken iPhones

Now that we can jailbreak the iPhone 4S, jailbreak developers can finally use Siri in their tweaks. One such tweak is Lingual which adds language translation to our favorite voice assistant. The tweak, available from the Big Boss repository in Cydia, lets you say “Siri, What is how are you in Spanish” and Siri will respond with “Cómo estás.”

The tweak uses the Bing API to handle all the translation requests and, as a result, can support more than 30 languages. It’s based on the AssistantExtensions platform and will install that tweak along with Lingual. AssistantExtensions is an architecture that makes it easy to create Siri extensions like Lingual. It’s free and has both tutorials and templates to get you started.

If you have a jailbroken iPhone 4S and give Lingual a try, let us know what you think in the comments. I played around with Lingual and it works reasonably well. It’s accuracy is based on Bing so the translation sometimes is hit or miss, but the tweak itself is stable.

[Via The Verge]



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog