Oh Microsoft, is it really so hard to spend a portion of your record revenue and obscene profits on humorous advertisements? Apparently so, because the company's latest attempt to poke fun at the competition once again fell flat, only this time the ads missed the mark so badly Microsoft mercifully yanked them off the web only hours after posting them. The ads were supposed to poke fun at Apple's iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S launch, a pair of relatively easy targets. Instead, they came off as trying too hard, leaving that uncomfortable feeling in your gut when you're embarrassed for someone.
The trouble with being a mega-company like Apple is that the bar is eventually too high. It certainly seemed that way when Apple unveiled the iPhone 5, a modest upgrade to the iPhone 4S, though at least it introduced a much needed bump in screen size. Yesterday, however, rumors of an even larger size iPhone were debunked when Apple trotted out a pair of new iPhone models still featuring a 4-inch display. A day later, the company's stock is taking a beating.
Android's lead over iOS is diminishing in the U.S.
No matter where you pull your data from, it all points to Google's Android platform being the most popular mobile operating system on the planet, and usually by a wide margin. However, things get a little more interesting when you zone in on specific territories, including the United States where iOS appears to be quickly gaining ground on Android. The gap between the two is now less than 8 percent on smartphone devices, according to data derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA.
Newly released data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) suggests that the lack of a new iPad model from Apple is the primary reason why tablet shipments declined in the second quarter of 2013. According to IDC's figures, worldwide tablet shipments "finally experienced a sequential decline," dropping 9.7 percent in the most recent quarter. At the same time, the 45.1 million tablets shipped in Q2 represents a 59.6 percent jump from the same quarter a year ago.
Google Play Store continues to play catch-up in revenue
Android users should find cause to celebrate about their OS of choice. Forbes reports (via App Annie stats) that the Google Play Store has, after a long haul, overtaken iOS in app downloads. This unexpected turn of events seems to have been bolstered by quite the large rush in Android app downloads by Japan and South Korea, as well as downloads in India and Russia during the second quarter of 2013.
Small tablets gave overall sales a big boost last quarter
The tablet buying frenzy may have started with Apple's 9.7-inch iPad, but these days, consumers are more interested in slates with smaller screen sizes. According to Canalys, 68 percent of tablets shipped in the second quarter of 2013 had a screen size smaller than 9 inches, a buying a habit that may have helped Android nab a majority 53 percent share of the market compared to Apple's 43 percent.
High prices used to hold back the all-in-one (AIO) form factor, and to make matters worse, they've never been known for being easy to service and/or upgrade at home. All of that is starting to change, and when you throw Microsoft's touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system into the mix, AIO systems suddenly seem a lot more appealing than they once were, resulting in a boost in global shipments.
Apple recently pulled the plug on its developer portal after an "intruder attempted to secure personal information" from the site, the Cupertino company indicated in an email and in a message on its website. The company went on to say that while sensitive information was encrypted and cannot be accessed, it couldn't rule out the possibility that some developers' names, mailing addresses, and/or email addresses may have been accessed, and indeed they were.
Clearly the mainstream shopper is infatuated with mobile devices, hence the immense popularity of smartphones, tablets, and dedicated e-reader gadgets. If you're wondering what innovations are around the bend, look no further than your wrist. Apple is planning to launch a smart watch (iWatch), Samsung is working on one as well, and Sony is already there. Now we hear that Microsoft will compete for your time as well.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cole has found Apple guilty of colluding with five major U.S. publishers to drive up prices of electronic books (e-books), saying that the company played a "central role" in the conspiracy. Damages will be determined at a new hearing in which Apple could end up owing millions of dollars, though in the meantime, the Cupertino company maintains its innocence and plans to appeal the ruling.