Apple is edging closer to declaring an all-out war against mega retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and CVS with its payment system. The big shopping chains do not want Apple butting into their customer relationship and have already rejected the use of Apple Pay. Yet despite the stringent opposition from the leading bricks and mortar players, Apple Pay is already more popular than all other NFC solutions combined after only one week of availability. More →
One of the lesser moons of Saturn, Mimas, has been largely viewed as a boring lump of ice. But a new discovery has suddenly turned this moon into hot property: its rotational wobble turns out to be far stronger than expected. Mimas is almost perfectly spherical, so a robust wobble implies that something intriguing is going on below its surface… and that something is very likely to be sloshing. The most likely explanation for the wobble would be an internal ocean starting between 24 and 31 kilometers below the moon’s surface.
This would be something of a puzzle in a moon as small as Mimas — how could a liquid ocean remain warm enough for billions of years? One possibility is that the elliptical orbit of Mimas creates tidal friction strong enough to maintain a warm core. More →
Predicting the behavior of consumers is notoriously tough, but nowhere is it harder than in the rapidly evolving video streaming market. Pretty much nobody expected Netflix’s streaming service to bloom into the huge mainstream success it currently is. A few years ago, many viewed Netflix’s streaming operation as fatally hamstrung by the narrow and often low-quality movie selection. And this autumn, almost nobody predicted just how much a $1 summer price hike would dent the company’s momentum. More →
As it happens, the news about Netflix doing a sequel to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and doing a break-through same-day streaming/movie theater release is far from the only bombshell Netflix is lobbing this month. The “Tiger” project alone has already ruffled movie industry feathers — major chains have instantly decided to blackball the film, preventing it from being screened on their theaters. Doing a streaming video sequel to a property that grossed more than $200 million globally in its theatrical run was already a major provocation to traditional movie industry, but now Netflix has another curve ball.
It has inked an unprecedented four-film package deal with Adam Sandler, arguably the biggest comedy star of late 1990s. More →
The instant sell-outs and rapidly lengthening delivery estimates of the iPhone 6 Plus have led many observers to believe that the most jumbo version of iPhone is capturing a big chunk of the new iPhone sales in North America. But new statistics from Chitika indicate that people may have been jumping the gun because it’s possible that the low early production volumes of iPhone 6 Plus are the reason for its relative scarcity compared to the smaller iPhone 6. More →
Why are you reading a blog focusing on smartphones right now? Why not a transportation blog? Mostly because the pace of technological change in the phone industry has been dazzling over the past 15 years while cars, planes and trains are pretty much what they were 30 years ago. More →
The new BlackBerry Passport has received some notably snarky, even sneering reviews in the United States media. The Wall Street Journal plastered a square of American cheese on top of its display to demonstrate its size. Mashable branded the square build and relatively thin keypad design downright bizarre. But interestingly enough, BlackBerry’s share price ticked up another 2.5% the device’s launch day and it has now doubled from the dark days of December 2013. More →
San Francisco has been the ground zero for mobile apps that help people find car rides, and now the epic battle between Uber and Lyft is burning at its most intense in the Bay Area. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has just come out with statistics that demonstrate how rapidly and deeply the taxi industry has been affected: According to the new SFMTA director Kate Toran, the number of average trips per taxicab in San Francisco has plunged to 504 in this past July from 1,424 in March of 2012. This drop came despite the fact that rides from the airport remain a taxi industry monopoly. More →
It is no shocker people are busting blocks lining up for the new iPhone around the world and that the shipping times for new phones are moving deep into October in many channels — after all, Apple has created a highly unusual, artificial case of pent-up demand by being the last major smartphone vendor to release a phablet. More →
Apple has recently taken a tough line on super-expensive apps. There is BarMax CA, a California bar exam prep app, and a couple of industrial apps like MobiGage and Agro. But the $999 app club has only a couple of members. This week, the exclusive group gained a new member as Vizzywig 4K debuted. This hyper-deluxe iPhone application “captures full 4K resolution photos at the rate of 24 photos per second along with synched audio” rather than capturing video. You can thus get really, really, really nice clips with your iPhone 5s. More →
When Apple announced its first iPad in 2010, the Wall Street consensus expected the price to be above $900. The device that gave birth to the modern tablet industry instead debuted at $500, shocking many observers. Yet despite the notably low initial price, Apple’s iPad sales lost their growth momentum in 2013 and by the beginning of 2014, Apple was reporting declining sell-through volumes. More →
It has been clear for a year that tablet market growth has been slowing down a lot faster than anyone expected. But nevertheless, the latest IDC numbers are a stiff shock. The firm’s previous forecast for 12% tablet sales growth this year was already really low considering how hot the growth was as recently as in 2013, when the segment expanded by more than 50%. But now IDC has cut its projection in half, as the brand-new estimate for 2014 global tablet sales growth is a pitiful 6.5%. What’s even more stunning is that no growth is expected to take place in North America and Europe during this year. More →