January 27, 2012

AT&T: Eighty percent of smartphones sold in Q4 2011 were iPhones

Apple sold a blockbuster number of iPhones in Q1 2012, and these extraordinary sales trickled down to its carrier partners. In the US, the biggest beneficiary of this explosion is AT&T which announced it activated 7.6 million iPhones in the just-ending quarter. This number is about 20 percent of Apple’s total iPhone sales for the quarter.

AT&T had its best quarter ever for iPhone and smartphone sales. The carrier sold 9.4 million smartphones, 50 percent more than its previous quarterly record and almost double its Q3 2011 sales. iPhones were the dominant smartphone for the carrier and accounted for 80 percent of its smartphone sales.

The carrier said it had its best-ever quarter for Android sales and doubled what it sold in the same quarter last year. Though strong, Android doesn’t compare to the iPhone on AT&T. We can calculate that the carrier sold 1.8 million or less Android devices, which is a drop in the bucket compared to iPhone sales.

AT&T also thoroughly trounced Verizon which sold 4.3 million iPhones. This lower number may be due, in part, to AT&T’s portfolio, which includes three iPhones- the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4 and the highly discounted iPhone 3GS. Verizon only carries the iPhone 4 and 4S. Those who bought the iPhone 4 when it launched in early 2011 were under contract and would have to break a contract to buy the 4S when it debuted.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Apple maintains dominance of global tablet market with 58% share in Q4 2011

By Josh Ong

Published: 03:00 AM EST (12:00 AM PST)
Shipments of 15.4 million iPads in the fourth quarter of calendar 2011 gave Apple a commanding 58 percent of the market, while Amazon’s Kindle Fire helped heat up Android tablet shipments to a record 39 percent, according to one analysis.

Strategy Analytics released on Thursday the results of its latest research for the tablet market in the December quarter. The data showed global shipments jumped up to an all-time high of 27 million units during the period, up 150 percent from 10.7 million in the year ago quarter.

“Demand for tablets among consumer, business and education users remains strong,” said Peter King, Director at the market research firm, adding that “Apple shrugged off the much-hyped threat from entry-level Android models this quarter.”

Apple stunned Wall Street on Tuesday when it announced record sales of 15.43 million iPads, a 111 percent increase year over year. The analyst consensus leading up to Apple’s announcement of its quarterly results had stood at 13.5 million.

Though some industry watchers had predicted that Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which came out in November, would affect sales of the iPad, Apple executives said there had been no “obvious effect” of the device on sales of its own tablet.

Google’s Android operating system did reach a high last quarter, however, fueled largely by the Fire. The platform’s 10.5 million units represented a 39 percent share of global tablet shipments during the fourth quarter. As such, the firm’s findings show that Android managed to push the iPad below the 60 percent mark as had been previously projected.

“Dozens of Android models distributed across multiple countries by numerous brands such as Amazon, Samsung, Asus and others have been driving volumes,” said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. “Android is so far proving relatively popular with tablet manufacturers despite nagging concerns about fragmentation of Android’s operating system, user-interface and app store ecosystem.”

Amazon said last month that it had sold millions of Kindle Fire units, but declined to provide more specific sales figures. Even without concrete numbers to go off of, analyst believe the Fire jumped quickly into second place in the tablet market in its first quarter of availability.

In third place was Microsoft, which managed a paltry one percent share of the tablet market in the quarter.

“The upcoming release of Windows 8 this year cannot come quickly enough for Microsoft, so its hardware partners can start competing more effectively in the tablet space,” the report read.

Tablet shipments for the whole year reached 66.9 million units, up 260 percent from last year’s 18.6 million unit figure. The firm’s research also showed that consumers are increasingly preferring tablets over netbooks and entry-level notebooks or desktops.

While non-iPad tablets are only now beginning to gain a foothold in the market after several embarrassing flops from early entrants, Apple has watched its touchscreen tablet surpass PC sales. The company sold more iPads in the fourth quarter than estimates say HP, the world’s largest PC maker, sold computers.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this week that he believes the iPad is not threatened by low-end, limited-function tablets and instead poses a threat to PCs.

“There will come a day when the tablet market in units is larger than the PC market,” he predicted.

That day could come sooner than later, as sales of PCs declined by nearly six percent in the fourth quarter, according to research group Gartner, though Apple’s Mac lineup remained impervious and posted more than 20 percent growth.


Zynga Shamelessly Rips-Off Tiny Tower, Apple’s 2011 iPhone Game Of The Year

Zynga Shamelessly Rips-Off Tiny Tower, Apple’s 2011 iPhone Game Of The Year

Zynga Games is a company that has made most of its many millions on games “inspired” by other titles. And by “inspired,” we mean “shamelessly ripped-off.” Mafia Wars was a rip-off of Mob Wars. Words With Friends is a rip-off of Scrabble. Cafe World is a rip-off of Restaurant City. And so on.

So when Zynga came knocking and wanted to buy up NimbleBits, developers of Tiny Tower (which Apple recently named one of their games of the year), it didn’t take a genius to figure out that if the deal didn’t go through, Zynga would rip-off NimbleBit’s games anyway. And — shocker — it turns out that’s just what happened.

Zynga’s look-alike, play-alike game is called Dream Heights, and except for Tiny Tower‘s retro, 8-bit styling, it looks pretty much identical to NimbleBit’s award-winning game. And guess who’s pretty upset about it?

As word leaked to them about Zynga’s typical but ballsy move, NimbleBit’s David Marsh tweeted:

Even when you refuse to go work for Zynga, sometimes you end up doing work for Zynga anyway.

They did go the honest route and try to acquire us first.

Rebuffed, Zynga wasn’t going to let mere decency get in the way of making Tiny Tower their own though, prompting NimbleBit to try to raise awareness of the blatant swipe by releasing the following graphic to Twitter, showing how blatant the rip-off actually is:

Zynga Shamelessly Rips-Off Tiny Tower, Apple’s 2011 iPhone Game Of The Year

Sadly, my guess is that Zynga’s just going to turn a deaf ear to NimbleBit’s complaints. After all, they got away with stealing the idea of Scrabble: they can probably get away with stealing Tiny Tower too.

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

iPhone accounted for more than half of all smartphones sold by Verizon Wireless in Q4 2011

Verizon may tout its 4G LTE network, but its quarterly earnings show that customers want the iPhone and are choosing the 3G phone over its 4G counterparts. It’s not just a small number either; about 55 percent of all smartphones sold in the quarter were iPhones.

The carrier announced that it sold 4.3 million iPhones during the final quarter of 2011. This figure accounts for more than half the 7.7 million smartphones the carrier sold and more than doubles the 1.6 million LTE smartphones the carrier sold in the last three months of the year. It’s also 2 million more than the 2.3 million 4G LTE devices the carrier sold (1.6 M smartphones and 700,000 LTE devices), which is impressive when you consider that it’s the iPhone 4 and 4S versus the 20 LTE devices in Verizon’s lineup.

In its aggressive ad campaign, Samsung may dangle its 4G smartphones in front of Apple fans like a carrot, but these quarterly figures show that customers are just not buying that message.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Mac platform faced 58 malware threats from Q2 to Q4 2011 – report

By Josh Ong

Published: 11:00 PM EST (08:00 PM PST)
Mac OS X endured 58 separate malware attacks from April 2011 to December 2011, a small fraction when compared to Microsoft’s Windows operating system, according to a new summary from a security research firm.

Security lab F-Secure released its 2011 Mac Malware Summary earlier this week, noting that Apple’s platform had faced “several dozen” new threats throughout the year. To calculate the figures, the firm counted unique variants of malware that occurred during the second, third and fourth quarters of 2011.

“We prefer a more conservative approach when counting malware. The more generic and family based, the better,” the report noted.

According to the summary, a total of 58 malicious software variants were detected during the period. Trojan-downloaders made up the bulk of the attacks with 29 variants during the period. Backdoor malware was the second-most common with 15 separate instances detected.

The report pointed out that the number of malware attacks remained small when compared to Windows malware, though it did note that last year’s number was “definitely something” when compared to the number of Mac threats seen in previous years.

June was the busiest month for Mac malware with 12 known threats, followed by October with 11 instances.

“As we correctly predicted back in May, Mac malware has not scaled continuously due to market share, but rather, is more the result of opportunist “bubble economies” that have produced new threats in fits and starts,” researchers said, adding that they expect “more of the same” for 2012.

Last spring, a malware emerged that billed itself as MACDefender anti-virus software. Apple eventually dealt with the issue with a security update. A Russian online payment site was later linked to the MACDefender scam.

Another Mac OS X trojan was discovered posing as a phony Flash Player last September. An updated version of the software even sought to disable Apple’s built-in anti-malware capabilities.

Apple added a daily malware definitions check to Mac OS X last year in order to preempt possible attacks. In some cases, updates to the malware definitions have managed to head off threats before they became functional.

As for the iPhone, iOS remained relatively unaffected by malware last year. Security researchers found Apple’s mobile operating system to be untouched last August, even as threats to Google’s Android mobile operating system grew rapidly.


Apple awarded 676 patents in 2011, ranks 39th among all companies

By Neil Hughes

Published: 11:22 AM EST (08:22 AM PST)
Apple was awarded a total of 676 patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2011, ranking it No. 39 among companies awarded inventions in the U.S.

The No. 1 inventor in America, as it has been for years, was IBM, which was awarded a whopping 6,180 patents in 2011. That was well ahead of the second place finisher Samsung, which won 4,894 inventions outside of its home country of Korea, according to IFI Claims Patent Services.

The gap was even wider between second and third place, where Canon came in with 2,821 patents last year. Another country from Japan, Panasonic, was close behind in fourth with 2,559, while Toshiba took fifth with 2,483 inventions.

Apple’s 676 patents awarded put it ahead of companies like Research in Motion (663 patents, ranked 40), LG Display (643 patents, ranked 41) and Nokia (585 patents, ranked 47).

Companies ahead of Apple in terms of awarded patents were Microsoft, in sixth place, with 2,311 granted by the USPTO last year, Hewlett-Packard with 1,308 patents in 14th place, Intel with 1,244 patents in 16th place, and AT&T, whose 721 patents put it in 35th.

The 676 patents awarded to Apple were an improvement from 2010, when Apple won 563 patented inventions. In that year, Apple was ranked the No. 46 global company in terms of inventions recognized by the USPTO.

IBM and Samsung also held the top to spots in 2010, while Microsoft ranked third that year. Apple’s 2010 patent totals were nearly twice the 289 patents it was awarded in 2009, and significantly higher than the 186 it won in 2008.

Patented inventions have become an increasingly important part of doing business in the mobile technology market, particularly as lawsuits ramp up between smartphone makers. Apple is currently engaged in ongoing patent infringement suits with Samsung, Motorola, and HTC, just to name a few.

As it has done for years, AppleInsider continued its extensive coverage of Apple’s patent applications and awards with the USPTO in 2011. Some of the best from last year are included below.


Apple’s iPhone 4S propels iOS smartphone market share to 43% in Oct., Nov. 2011

By Josh Ong

Published: 02:45 AM EST (11:45 PM PST)
The release of the iPhone 4S has driven significant growth for the iOS platform, with one analysis finding that Apple’s share of U.S. smartphone sales grew from 26 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 43 percent in October and November.

According to research firm The NPD Group’s data, Android smartphone sales dropped off from 60 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 47 percent during the two-month period, as noted by TechCrunch. Research in Motion continued its decline, falling from 8 percent to 6 percent during the same time frame, while Windows Phone remained largely irrelevant with just a few percentage points of market share.

NPD characterized 2011 as the year the smartphone industry came down to a “two-horse race” between iOS and Android. A previous report from the firm had pegged combined iOS and Android smartphone market share in the U.S. at a crushing 82 percent during the third quarter of 2011.

With Apple and Google dominating the market, smartphone penetration continues to increase. According to the firm, smartphones comprised 67 percent of handset sales in October and November, compared to 18 percent for messaging devices and just 15 percent for basic phones.

As for individual phone models, Apple dominated the competition in the first two months of the holiday quarter by taking the top three spots for best-selling handsets. The iPhone 4S was the most popular, followed by the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G took fourth place, followed by the Samsung Galaxy S II. Devices by HTC, Motorola, LG and Samsung rounded out the rest of the top 10.

It’s possible Apple will have caught up to Android even more when the month of December is included in market share calculations. Christmas Day iOS activations appear to have outnumbered Android activations by 1.6 million units, though those numbers include tablets and media players in addition to smartphones.

Google Android boss Andy Rubin revealed last month that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day activations totaled 3.7 million devices, while Flurry Analytics reported that 6.8 million new iOS and Android devices were activated on Christmas Day, implying 353 percent growth compared to earlier in the month.

Though Apple’s older iPhone models have continued to sell well, pent up demand for the iPhone 4S is likely the largest growth factor for iOS in the smartphone market. After reaching a peak in the second quarter of calendar 2011, iPhone sales actually declined sequentially in the third quarter of the year as customers held off on purchasing new handsets in anticipation of a refresh.

Apple is widely expected to report soaring iPhone sales when it announces its December quarter results on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The consensus estimate among a poll of professional analysts stands at 29.74 million, while the average forecast among independent analysts and bloggers is 33.4 million units.

The iPhone’s growth momentum could also carry into 2012, as a recent survey of North American consumers revealed that 54 percent plan on buying an iPhone.


Apple Reveals CEO Tim Cook’s 2011 Salary And More In 2012 Proxy Statement

Apple Reveals CEO Tim Cook’s 2011 Salary And More In 2012 Proxy Statement

Apple has posted its 2012 proxy statement for investors. In the document, Apple reveals the compensation that its executives earned last year alongside more background information.

Notable facts from the document include CEO Tim Cook’s 2011 compensation, totaling an impressive $ 376,180,000.

Apple Reveals CEO Tim Cook’s 2011 Salary And More In 2012 Proxy Statement

Apple today announced that its 2012 proxy materials are now available a www.apple.com/investor under the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Notice and Access rules. As a result of the Notice and Access rules, Apple is able to significantly reduce the environmental impact of producing and delivering printed materials.

Apple shareholders can still receive a printed copy of the proxy materials free of charge by following the instructions provided at www.apple.com/investor or in the Notice of Internet Availability of Proxy Materials that will be mailed to individuals who were Apple shareholders as of December 27, 2011. Apple’s 2011 Form 10-K was filed on October 26, 2011 and may also be viewed at www.apple.com/investor.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced iPad 2 which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

The proxy statement also reveals that Steve Jobs was credited his annual $ 1 salary in 2011:

As of the end of 2011, Mr. Jobs owned approximately 5.5 million shares of the Company’s common stock. Since rejoining the Company in 1997, Mr. Jobs had not sold any of his shares of the Company’s stock. Mr. Jobs held no unvested equity awards. The Company recognized that Mr. Jobs’s level of stock ownership significantly aligned his interests with shareholders’ interests.

Tim Cook was recently awarded a comfortable stock bonus as the company’s new CEO:

Mr. Cook. In connection with Mr. Cook’s appointment as CEO and as noted above, the Board granted Mr. Cook 1,000,000 RSUs as a promotion and retention award. Fifty percent (50%) of Mr. Cook’s award is scheduled to vest on August 24, 2016 (five years after the award date) and fifty percent (50%) of Mr. Cook’s award is scheduled to vest on August 24, 2021 (ten years after the award date), subject to Mr. Cook’s continued employment with the Company through the applicable vesting date.

Cult of Mac

SoundHound’s most ID’d songs in 2011

SoundHound is a music search and discovery tool for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The app has 50 million worldwide users and boasts of over four million music searches per day. The company recently released its Top Ten Identified songs and at the top of the charts was Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. The sleeper hit from the Indie band mixes sullen lyrics about teenage homicide with an upbeat, bouncy music track. Following behind Pumped Up Kicks is Someone Like You by Adele, a ballad about a broken relationship from the English singer-songwriter.

You can check out the remaining top ten in the press release below, and grab SoundHound’s free app or ad-free paid version (US$ 6.99) from the iOS App store to start contributing to the best of 2012 list.

Show full PR text

SoundHound’s Top 10 Most ID’d Songs in 2011

As we welcome 2012 and all the fantastic new music it will bring, we at SoundHound thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the musical highlights of 2011-by compiling a list of the top 10 songs that you, our users, most frequently identified using SoundHound’s blazing fast music recognition. SoundHound users ID’d well over 1 billion songs in 2011! The most ID’d song was-drum roll, please-”Pumped Up Kicks,” by indie pop band Foster the People. This track alone was ID’d 1.25 million times in 2011.

Here’s the Top 10:

1. “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People

2. “Someone Like You” by Adele

3. “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO

4. “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Black Eyed Peas

5. “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele

6. “Mr. Saxobeat” by Alexandra Stan

7. “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar & Lucenzo

8. “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars

9. “Hello” (Single Edit) by Martin Solveig & Dragonette

10. “Down On Me” (featuring 50 Cent) by Jeremih

Thank you to our users who ID’d these and millions of other great songs in 2011. We look forward to helping you ID many, many more in 2012.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

TUAW Best of 2011 wrap-up and editor picks

It’s January 6th, 2012, and today marks the end of the TUAW Best of 2011 awards. This was a massive undertaking, with 25 separate categories all requiring their own nominations and voting from our readers. We’ve learned some lessons for next year’s event — start earlier, watch for astroturfing in the nominations, drop some unpopular categories — and the Best of 2012 will be even better.

The editorial staff here at TUAW agreed with many of the reader picks, but we had our own opinions on some others. We want to thank all of the thousands of TUAW readers who took time to consider their favorite accessories and apps, nominate them for an award, and then vote in the competition.

Without further ado, here’s the full list of winners as well as our picks for the TUAW Best of 2011:

Mac Categories in the TUAW Best of 2011

Best Mac Hardware from Apple: 13″ MacBook Air
Editor picks: 13″ and 11″ MacBook Air, 13″ MacBook Pro

Best Mac Peripheral or Accessory: OWC Data Doubler and OWC Mercury 6G SSD
Editor picks: Magic Trackpad, OWC Mercury Extreme Pro SSD

Best Mac Utility App: Alfred
Editor picks: Growl, 1Password, Grand Perspective

Best Mac Productivity App: Evernote
Editor picks: OmniFocus, Scrivener, Evernote

Best Mac Game App: Machinarium
Editor picks: Civilization V, Full Deck Solitaire

Best Mac Music App: Reaper
Editor picks: Simplify, Rdio, djay, Capo, GarageBand, iTunes

Best Mac Photo App: Flare
Editor picks: Pixelmator, Aperture, Adobe PhotoShop, FotoMagico

Best Mac Video App: Final Cut Pro X
Editor picks: Wirecast, Video Monkey

iPhone Categories in the TUAW Best of 2011

Best iPhone Accessory: Apple TV (2nd Generation)
Editor picks: Mophie Juice Pack Air, Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation, iChair

Best iPhone Game App: Jetpack Joyride
Editor picks: iMAME, Infinity Blade 2, Mage Gauntlet, Dungeon Raid, Jetpack Joyride

Best iPhone Photo App: 360 Panorama
Editor picks: Camera+, Instagram

Best iPhone Video App: iMovie
Editor picks: FiLMiC Pro, Reeli

Best iPhone Social Networking App: Tweetbot
Editor picks: Tweetbot, Instagram, Twitter

Best iPhone Productivity App: Dropbox
Editor picks: Siri, CardMunch, CalenGoo, OmniFocus, Mint, 2Do, Reminders

Best iPhone Utility App: 1Password Pro
Editor picks: LastPass, Groceries, Grocery IQ, Find My Friends, 1Password Pro, TripIt

Best iPhone Navigation App: Navigon
Editor picks: Navigon, Waze, MotionX GPS Drive

Best iPhone Music App: Spotify
Editor picks: Guitar Toolkit, Radio Paradise, Pandora, Shoutcast, Rdio

iPad Categories in the TUAW Best of 2011

Best iPad Case: DODOcase
Editor picks: Apple Smart Cover, AViiQ Smart Case,Twelve South BookBook, ModulR System, OtterBox Defender

Best iPad Accessory: BubCap
Editor picks: Apple TV, iCade, Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation

Best iPad Game App: Osmos for iPad
Editor picks: Battleship, Anomaly Warzone Earth HD, Jetpack Joyride, Sword & Sworcery, Scribblenauts Redux

Best iPad Photography App: flickr hd
Editor picks: iStopMotion for iPad, Photogene, PhotoSync, Snapseed, iMovie

Best iPad Social Networking App: Skype for iPad
Editor picks: Twitter, FaceTime, Skype, Zite

Best iPad Productivity App: OmniFocus for iPad
Editor picks: OmniFocus for iPad, 2Do, Pages, Pocket Informant HD, Evernote

Best iPad Utility App: 1Password Pro
Editor picks: AirPort Utility, Skitch, Air Display, Codea

Best iPad Music App: GarageBand
Editor picks: Planetary, 5-0 Radio HD

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog