Apple’s products will likely never have the top market share for very long, especially in a world where low-cost Android vendors can pop out super-cheap smartphones and tablets and sell them close to zero margins. Apple knows this all too well which is why it doesn’t particularly care much about what its market share is. What does Apple care about, then? Per AppleInsider, Needham & Co analyst Charlie Wolf writes in a research note that Apple would much rather have a smaller, more engaged user base that will deliver more revenue to app developers than a larger user base that doesn’t use their devices as much and that delivers less revenue to developers. More →
Is a la carte cable really a “farce” as 21st Century Fox CEO Chase Carey claims? Well we’re about to find out because our neighbors to the north are doing us the favor of giving it a try. Per The Hollywood Reporter, TV subscribers in Ontario this week will be able to buy channels a la carte from IPTV startup VMedia, whose UChoose Store will charge subscribers around $2.12 per month for each channel they subscribe to. Subscribers will also have the option of buying small bundles of 6 channels that will cost $1.65 each per month or 12 channels that will cost $1.41 each per month. More →
It seems that everyone hates cable bundles these days, including the creators of South Park who recently ridiculed cable companies as nipple-rubbing monopolist greedheads intent on shaking consumers down for every last dime. But there are two groups that still think bundles are terrific: The cable companies themselves and the entertainment studios that benefit from consumers subsidizing content they’ll never watch with their monthly cable bills. Multichannel reports that 21st Century Fox CEO Chase Carey recently lashed out at cable critics and said that bundles were good for most consumers even if they didn’t know it. More →
When the Federal Aviation Administration this year announced plans to lift restrictions on the in-flight use of personal electronics, many people cheered. But when word got out that the FAA and the Federal Communications Commission were also considering allowing cell phone calls during flights, many of those cheers turned to loud boos. The Washington Post reports that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is insisting that the plan to ease restrictions on in-flight calls is a good idea even as he acknowledges its potential shortcomings. More →
It seems that learning about a dead teenage Pegatron worker has got Apple’s attention. Bloomberg reports that Apple has sent a medical team over to China to inspect a Pegatron factory to make sure that working conditions at the plant are not leading to a rash of worker deaths. Pegatron this week acknowledged that “several” of its young workers, including 15-year-old Shi Zhaokun, have died in recent months although the company insists that the deaths were unrelated to conditions in its factory. In a statement sent to Bloomberg, Apple said that while Pegatron has “found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones,” which is why it’s sending its own team to evaluate the situation. Pegatron, which has been largely responsible for manufacturing the iPhone 5c, has come under constant criticism from labor activists who say that the manufacturer provides even worse working conditions than Foxconn.
The iPhone is staging a major comeback in China… and that’s before Apple has sold even one smartphone through the country’s largest wireless carrier. New data from Counterpoint Research show that Apple’s iPhone has seen a major resurgence in China over the past couple of months as its market share in the country has jumped from under 5% in September 2013 to around 12% in October 2013. This surge in iPhone sales, which unsurprisingly coincided with the launch of the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c, vaulted Apple from sixth place all the way up to third place in just the span of a month. More →
Earlier this week we brought you the harrowing tale of a man who tried to get his burnt Galaxy S4 replaced but was told by Samsung that he needed to keep quiet about it before they’d send him a new device. wp-Hub points out that Nokia has now graciously/opportunistically offered to fill the hole left by the man’s scorched Galaxy S4 smartphone by offering him a free Lumia device with no strings attached, which is probably the strategy that Samsung should have used instead of sending him a letter asking him to take down his YouTube video of the burnt Galaxy S4. Nokia says it wants to send the man a Lumia so he can “experience how customer service should really work.”
The Start menu really does look like it’ll be making a comeback in the next version of Windows. ZDNet confirms a report from Paul Thurrott earlier this week that Microsoft plans to bring back the Start menu to a future version of Windows 8. ZDNet doesn’t yet know whether the Start menu will come in a Windows 8.1-style update or whether it will be part of the larger “Threshold” update that’s on track to release in early 2015. All the same, ZDNet says that the Start menu is definitely on Microsoft’s radar especially because it doesn’t want Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to hold off on upgrading their PCs to Windows 8 because they’re worried about the new platform’s learning curve. More →
Under constant pressure and foot-stamping from copyright holders, Google has implemented a new system within YouTube that automatically flags videos that may contain copyrighted material. The trouble, as Computer and Video Games reports, is that the new system is flagging a lot of gamers’ “Let’s Play” videos where they give multipart walkthroughs of popular video games overlapped with their own commentary. While such videos may technically violate gaming companies’ intellectual property rights, game publishers have long tolerated and even encouraged them since they’re great ways to promote games online.
If nothing else, Google Fiber has helped create a more competitive broadband landscape in the limited markets where it’s launched. AT&T on Wednesday announced that it’s now offering U-Verse subscribers in Austin, Texas a new service called GigaPower that can deliver peak speeds of 300Mbps. AT&T also says that it will bump up speeds to a full 1Gbps sometime next year and that it won’t charge users any more per month when it implements this dramatic speed boost. More →
Apple faces some major obstacles in its ambitions to conquer China — it’s had to deal with both Samsung spamming out gadgets left and right and also upstart Chinese vendors such as Xiaomi that have been pumping out smartphones with strong specs at dirt-cheap prices. And now it looks like Xiaomi is planning on cutting into Apple’s tablet business as well because Nowhereelse.fr has spotted leaked pictures posted on Chinese social networking website Weibo that purportedly show the Xiaomi MiPad, a new tablet that the Chinese vendor will probably sell for the same stunningly low prices that it’s used to make its smartphones such a success in its homeland. More →
Whatever else you might think about Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft, there’s no doubt that he’s helped the company maintain its position as an absolute cash cow with a thriving enterprise software and services business. In an interview with Fortune, the outgoing Microsoft chief distills his philosophy as CEO into five simple words repeated three times: “How do you make money? How do you make money? How do you make money?” More →
It’s been a few months since we’ve had an Apple-related labor rights controversy but the death of a teenage Pegatron worker seems to have done the trick. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that iPhone 5c manufacturer Pegatron has come under fire after one of its workers, 15-year-old Shi Zhaokun, died of pneumonia this past October. Pegatron claimed that its workplace environment wasn’t responsible for the young worker’s death even as it acknowledged that “several other young workers at the factory had also died in the past few months,” The Sydney Morning Herald says. Activist group China Labor Watch isn’t buying into Pegatron’s explanation, however, and says that “considering the sudden deaths of five people and the similar reason of the deaths, we believe there should be some relations between the tragedy and the working conditions in the factory.”