Sunday, August 30, 2015

Slumping PC Sales


When was the last time you were excited about a tablet or PC?

That's an enduring question the consumer electronics industry has to grapple with, and the news isn't getting any better: Research firm IDC on Wednesday forecast that sales of both products will fall faster than previously expected. PC shipments are expected to tumble 8.7 percent this year, and won't stabilize until 2017. Tablets, meanwhile, will see an 8 percent decline in shipments.

The sobering forecast underscores a broader problem in the industry: an overall lack of excitement and enthusiasm in either the tablet or PC markets. Consumers are hanging onto their old PCs and tablets longer -- and why not? There have been few innovations in the tablet business to drive a new purchase, and the 3-year-old Window 8 software for laptops and desktops was never much of a lure. Microsoft's decision to offer free upgrades to its new Windows 10 software, which debuted in late July, meant most consumers didn't need a new device to take advantage of its latest bells and whistles.

The PC business has struggled for years as consumers and businesses spent their money elsewhere, including smartphones. But the market has also been beset by a glut of inventory, a lack of new models and a spike in the currency exchange rate that made the devices even pricier. As a result, IDC said it sees the market slowing further next year before showing a "modest recovery" in 2017

Friday, August 28, 2015

The New Apple iPhone


Apple Inc on Thursday invited journalists to a Sept. 9 event, where it is expected to unveil new iPhones and potentially a new version of its Apple TV set-top box.

The email invitation includes a colorful Apple logo with the sentence "Hey Siri, give us a hint," referring to Apple's popular digital voice assistant.

The company traditionally announces its new iPhones in September.

Apple is widely expected to unveil the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6 Plus S. Typically, the company launches upgraded versions to existing phones under the "S" range.

Media reports have indicated that Apple is preparing for the largest initial production run for its next iPhones by the end of the year.

The new iPhones are also said to feature Force Touch technology, which can distinguish between a light tap and deep press.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How is Win 10 Doing So Far?


After nearly a month since its release, just how well is Windows 10 really doing?

Earlier this week Microsoft revealed that more than 75 million devices are now running Windows 10. That includes more than 90,000 different PC or tablet models - even some devices manufactured as long ago as 2007.

Microsoft has previously said Windows 10 had 14 million downloads in the first 24 hours. Big, big numbers, but how do they stack up compared to previous versions of Windows?

Back in 2012, Microsoft said it sold 40 million Windows licences in the first month that Windows 8 was on sale, and that is had sold four million upgrade licences in the first three days (licences are slightly different to downloads but the best metric we have). In contrast, in 2009 Microsoft sold 60 million Windows 7 licences in the first two months it was on sale

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

PC and Tablet Sales

When was the last time you were excited about a tablet or PC?

That's an enduring question the consumer electronics industry has to grapple with, and the news isn't getting any better: Research firm IDC on Wednesday forecast that sales of both products will fall faster than previously expected. PC shipments are expected to tumble 8.7 percent this year, and won't stabilize until 2017. Tablets, meanwhile, will see an 8 percent decline in shipments.

The sobering forecast underscores a broader problem in the industry: an overall lack of excitement and enthusiasm in either the tablet or PC markets. Consumers are hanging onto their old PCs and tablets longer -- and why not? There have been few innovations in the tablet business to drive a new purchase, and the 3-year-old Window 8 software for laptops and desktops was never much of a lure. Microsoft's decision to offer free upgrades to its new Windows 10 software, which debuted in late July, meant most consumers didn't need a new device to take advantage of its latest bells and whistles.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Reassurance from Apple

Apple Inc's Chief Executive Tim Cook took an unusual step of reassuring shareholders on Monday in comments to CNBC about the iPhone maker's business in China ahead of a dramatic 13 percent drop and rebound in its stock that put it in positive territory.

Chinese consumers are critical to fueling demand for iPhones, and a slump in the country's stock market and Beijing's recent devaluation of the yuan have shaken Apple investors already worried about slowing growth in the world's No. 2 economy.

With Chinese stocks plunging close to 9 percent earlier on Monday, Cook took the rare step of commenting on the health of Apple's business midway through a financial quarter. Before the opening bell on Wall Street, he wrote in an emailed response to questions that iPhone activations in China had accelerated over the past few weeks.

He also said the App Store in China had its best performance of the year over the past two weeks.

Monday, August 24, 2015

2-in-1 Sales


Apple CEO Tim Cook once compared a tablet-laptop combo to mashing up a refrigerator with a toaster. The resulting Frankenstein device would do an equally lousy job of chilling your food and warming it up. That was three years ago.
   
Today, these tablet-laptop hybrids -- which blend the mobility and touchscreen friendliness of a tablet with the capabilities of a PC -- are on track to becoming the fastest-growing computing category. Shipments of so-called 2-in-1 devices like Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, for example, are expected to grow almost fivefold this year. That's thanks in part to attachable or foldable keyboards and more-powerful hardware, such as Intel's Core M microprocessors, that let slimmer, tabletlike devices hit speeds on par with midrange laptops.
   
And tablet sales? The market for large slabs of glass that are used mostly for playing games, reading email and watching videos has begun to slide. Sales of slate-style tablets are expected to fall 8 percent, according to a report from research firm Strategy Analytics. Sales in Apple's iPad business, meanwhile, fell 18 percent year over year in its most recent quarter, the sixth consecutive quarterly decline.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

OneDrive Groups to Die


If you use Microsoft’s OneDrive Groups group-collaboration feature, you’ll need to find something else soon: According to Engadget, Microsoft will shutter OneDrive Groups on October 16th.

Once OneDrive Groups shut down, you will no longer be able to get at files and documents shared with you, so between now and mid-October, you’ll want to move those files to your own OneDrive.

As Engadget notes, Microsoft had already instituted limits on OneDrive Groups—you can only work with existing Groups, and you can’t create new ones or add people to your Groups—but Microsoft’s shutdown announcement marks the official death knell for the service.

If you use Office 365 Groups, you won’t be affected—that feature will live on. But if you rely on OneDrive Groups, similar services from other companies might be worth trying, such as Dropbox’s shared folders feature and Google Drive’s shared documents feature. If you rely on OneDrive Groups, take a look around at your other options and give them a try now, before OneDrive Groups go away for good.