Can’t Innovate? They Sure Can Sell – 9 Million New iPhones Shifted Already

Can’t Innovate? They Sure Can Sell – 9 Million New iPhones Shifted AlreadyOver the past few days, there’s been plenty of debate as to whether Apple had adopted a decidedly BlackBerry-esque marketing plan for the iPhone 5S and 5C. Not only did the Cupertino clan refuse to accept pre-orders this year, but talk of supplies being wipes out just two hours after the new iPhones went on sale smacked of a stock shortage.

And some went so far as to accuse Apple of deliberately stockpiling too few units in order to sell out as early as possible and summarily drive demand even higher. It’s a trick that’s been known to work wonders in the past, but one we all cottoned onto some time ago.

Sadly for Apple’s doubters, humble pie is well and truly on the menu tonight as Cook and Co. have apparently done it again. Not only have the weekend’s official iPhone sales stats silenced the critics, they’ve broken records and astonished the lot of us.

In what CEO Tim Cook has called the firm’s “best iPhone launch yet” a staggering 9 million units have already flown out in just three days. We’ve yet to learn the exact figures in terms of iPhone 5S versus 5C sales, but as the 5S was the first to sell out in most parts it’s largely a given that it will have chalked up the lion’s share for Apple.

Third-party analytical groups have already predicted that the iPhone 5S it outselling the 5C by three to one, which comes as little surprise when factoring in the rather minor price difference between the two.

The number of combined sales represents an all-time record for iPhone sales during an opening weekend, which is to some extent the precise opposite to what had been expected by some of the firm’s less optimistic critics.

“The demand for the new iPhones has been incredible, and while we’ve sold out of our initial supply of iPhone 5S, stores continue to receive new iPhone shipments regularly,” read the statement from Tim Cook earlier today.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience and are working hard to build enough new iPhones for everyone.”

And it doesn’t end there either – we’re also told that iOS 7 is likewise making its way into the record books. Despite having received a somewhat mixed response so far, some 200 million users have already downloaded and installed the latest build of Apple’s iconic OS, making it the fastest upgrade of an OS in the history of mobile technology, so says Apple.

The news has driven Apple’s share values up a solid 4.4%.

BlackBerry Z30 Reveal Generates More Yawning than Yearning – A Bleak Outlook

BlackBerry Z30 Reveal Generates More Yawning than Yearning – A Bleak OutlookBlackBerry has just announced its latest and arguably its greatest handset ever – the long-awaited BlackBerry Z30. So why is it that a product unveiling that should have been one of the most exciting and important of the year has turned out to be as thrilling as day-old toast?

Simple really – as great as the Z30 may once have been, it could be all too late for it to prevent BlackBerry going under once and for all. Call it a bittersweet swansong, if you will.

Speculation had been rife since the arrival of the first BB10 handsets that something bigger and generally beefier would be coming soon. And indeed it was…or is…as the BlackBerry Z30 ups the ante in both size and specification stakes. It boasts an impressive 5-inch 720p HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor clocked at 1.7GHz backed by 2GB of RAM and a superbly capable 2,880mAh battery. Apparently it’s good for up to 25 hours of use from a single charge, but the sad truth is that this is looking like its biggest claim to fame so far.

As impressive as the above spec-sheet sounds in its own right, the problem here is that the Z30 isn’t launching in a vacuum. Quite to the contrary – it’s launching when there’s already a Z10 doing the rounds that’s about 95% identical, albeit with a smaller 4.2-inch screen.

And therein lies the problem. When the majority of big and successful names in the Smartphone world launch a new Phablet or any significantly larger piece of kit, they ensure it has more going for it than girth alone. Take the Samsung Galaxy Note series or the HTC One Max as just two examples – both significantly more capable than their respective flagship Smartphone counterparts.

With the BBZ30 though, no such luck. As such, the only buyers that are going to be interested in the Z30 are those that loved the Z10 but aren’t keen on using it with one hand – a selective target audience at best.

For the rest of us, the Z30 holds no more appeal than the Z10 which has already lost its spark – chances are it won’t help that the Z30 will carry a rather premium price tag.

What’s become painfully clear is that while much credit is very much due for efforts made, BlackBerry 10 just isn’t enough to save the company from a painfully early grave. We all got caught up in the hype surrounding the Z10 and Q10 ahead of their respective launched yet the pair combined weren’t enough to re-float the sinking BB ship.

What chance, therefore, does a BB Z30 have that’s already got more of us yawning than yearning?

Apple Under Fire for Overpriced iPhone 5C of No Interest to Developing Markets

Apple Under Fire for Overpriced iPhone 5C of No Interest to Developing MarketsApple’s efforts to get the iPhone 5C off to a flying start in China turned out to be every bit as disappointing as the device itself.

Given the gravity of the event, you’d have expected at least a handful of Apple execs to fly over to Beijing, prepare an exciting presentation and generally make the country feel as important as it really is to the brand. But no – instead all that was offered was a painfully half-assed video recording of what had gone on at the launch of the new iPhones in California, followed by a hands-on play period where attendees got a better look at the new devices.

So right off the bat, it’s almost like Apple was flipping the bird at the world’s fastest-growing mobile technology market despite the fact that the firm’s future rests on cracking the Far East.

Sadly however that wasn’t where the disappointment ended as the real kicker of the day was the iPhone 5C itself. Not that it isn’t a handsome or capable device, but this was supposed to be the first truly affordable iPhone 5C designed with developing markets in mind.

So with a purchase price of $735, it’s pretty clear that Apple has its own unique definition of ‘affordable’.

To put it into context, this means that the plastic iPhone 5C that’s been built from the ground up with affordability in mind is only $132 cheaper than the iPhone 5S, which will cost $867 unlocked. And even more bizarrely, the 32GB version of the plastic iPhone 5C costs the same as the 16GB iPhone 5S – has somebody gone stark-raving mad behind the scenes?

No matter which way look at it, both the iPhone 5C and the 5S will hit the Chinese market right at the very top of the top-end Smartphone stakes. Or in other words, nothing has changed at all. Analyst had expected Apple to dole out a $350 iPhone for the lower-reaches of the market or perhaps a mid-range iPhone for no more than $500, which would have been pushing it.

As it turns out, they were way off in both estimates.

It’s early days in the story of the iPhone 5C admittedly, but already the outlook is extremely bleak. The launch of any less-expensive iPhone immediately takes away from the prestige of the iPhone’s badge as a whole, which used to be a status symbol in its own right but is fast heading for cliché territory. Now, all this would have been understandable if the iPhone 5C went on to sell tens of millions of units across developing markets, but with a near-$800 price tag there isn’t a chance in hell that it will.

Instead, Apple could have simply alienated millions of floating voters that will now head over to the Android camp while at the same time lowering the street-cred value of the iPhone name – a double whammy of damage for the price of one.

Comments are starting to pour in from the consumer masses and word on the streets from all sides of the world appear to be in agreement – Apple has well and truly misfired with the iPhone 5C and the backlash won’t be a timid one.

Early Samsung Galaxy S5 Debut Tipped – Why It Might Happen

Early Samsung Galaxy S5 Debut Tipped – Why It Might HappenWould you believe it if you were told that the Samsung Galaxy S5 might be out before the end of the year? We didn’t either, but there certainly seems to be a growing stack of evidence that the S5 will to some extent be pushed forward and make its first appearance earlier than expected.

The argument as far as the rumor-mill goes is a pretty simple one – everyone is already bored with the S4 and so Samsung needs to pull its finger out and get busy with something else…and fast. Which to some extent is to be expected as for all the power and might it packs, the Galaxy S4 just doesn’t exist in the same league as say the LG G2, the HTC One, the Sony Xperia Z and so on and so forth.

Not to put too fine a point on it, Samsung made a bit of a boo-boo coating the best Smartphone they’d ever made in plastic – a bit like hiding your Gucci sweater under a $4.99 coat from the market. Sales of the S4 are steadily heading south and aren’t predicted to hit their former glory ever again, so disappointing as it may be at such an easy stage, it’s already game over.

But it’s not all doom and gloom as word on the grapevine is that the Galaxy S5 is already pretty much finished and ready to go into production. We’re told the assembly lines could be started up as early as November, which therefore means that a 2013 arrival of the thing really isn’t impossible.

If the S5 was expected to be a complete and total overhaul we’d be more skeptical, but all it needs to be is the phone the S4 should have been. Or in other words, it needs to be wrapped in metal, sport Samsung’s eight-core CPU under the hood and maybe just a couple of other minor upgrades. A new OS would also be great, but isn’t of paramount importance.

In any case, it’s been decidedly by analysts across the board that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 simply must be the final top-end device they ever release that’s coated in the glossy cheap stuff or risk being left completely in the dust.

Google Announces Android KitKat, Fuels Nexus 5 and Fragmentation Chatter

Google Announces Android KitKat, Fuels Nexus 5 and Fragmentation ChatterJust when you think you’ve got Google all figured out, they go and produce something from up their sleeve that proves once and for all that you’ve really got no idea…ever. If you’d asked any number of analysts to hedge their bets on one certainty for Google upcoming Android launch roadmap, about 99.9% would have waged every penny on Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie coming next.

It wasn’t confirmed, but it was as good as guaranteed…or so we thought.

That’s why the arrival of Android KitKat has left so many of us quite shell-shocked and wondering what the heck is really going on. We wondered if it was a joke to begin with but for this isn’t the case, so we’re left to question whether its arrival is a stroke of pure genius or madness.

Any new Android launch is exciting – there’s really no doubt about it. However, you have to wonder whether in the months to come this new variant is only going to make the already OTT fragmentation issue so much worse than it already is. There are millions of Android users the world over still waiting to be give their much-needed Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean updates and Android 4.3 hasn’t even been given any real chance to get moving yet.

So the question is – where’s the sense in putting out KitKat when things are already so messed up? And if Android 5.0 is coming in the near future too, has someone lost their mind?

Probably not – here’s why we think it’s all panning out like this:

Android 4.3 was launched as the new OS to show off all the Google Nexus 2 7 could do. No details were offered as to when or if it would ever make its way to any other devices, but we assumed it might. But on the other hand, say for example the search giant intended to launch the Google Nexus 5 before the end of the year – would it be given the same OS as the Google tablet, or a shiny new OS of its own?

Chances are the answer is the latter – Android KitKat will debut with the next Nexus Smartphone, which may or may not carry the ‘5’ moniker.

Fragmentation-wise, it’s certainly going to be a messy few months ahead for the existing Android crowd and at least some level of backlash is guaranteed. But for those that have been holding out for a new Nexus and to hell with everyone else, it all spells very exciting news indeed!

HTC Executives Arrested on Suspicion of Leaking Trade Secrets

HTC Executives Arrested on Suspicion of Leaking Trade SecretsA trio of design executives from HTC have been arrested and face charges of deliberately leaking trade secrets – news that once again saw the firm’s share prices soaring in the wrong direction. The Taiwanese technology company has been riding a wave of misfortune as of late, with poor device sales leading to distain among the ranks and a series of executive resignations.

Prosecutors in Tapei stated that senior manager of design and innovation Justin Huang, research and development director Wu Chien-Hung and vice president of product design Thomas Chien have all been arrested for the same offences. Huang has been granted police bail, though his two HTC colleagues were held in custody.

Specifics as the charges face by the three have not been confirmed at the time of writing, though it is known that an official complaint which was filed last month by HTC led to the arrests.

HTC’s executive board refused to answer any further questions on the matter, though assured consumers and shareholders alike that the arrests would not have a detrimental impact on the running of the business.

Local media sources have suggested that the accused has intended to establish their own company using technology they apparently stole from HTC.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Confirmed for UK – No Word on US Plans

Sony Xperia Z Ultra Confirmed for UK – No Word on US PlansToday brings fresh talk of the fabled Sony Xperia Z Ultra, which we’re now being told will arrive on September 16th – prime time to give the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 a serious run for its money. Yet to be confirmed by Sony, the 6.4-inch leviathan will certainly be one of the most ambitious devices launched this year so far and could become the new market leader in the oversized phablet segment.

Exciting indeed, but tinged with a little negativity as the September launch date in question only applies to the UK – there’s no word when or if the US arrival of the Ultra will ever take place.

The phablet market has by rights turned out to be one of the most interesting in the history of consumer technology. Having started out as a curiosity that was dubbed little more than a passing fad with no long-term appeal, tens of millions of devices that blur the line between Smartphone and Tablet PC have been sold all over the world. Samsung is of course credited with kicking off the party with the Original Galaxy Note, but since then there has been a steady stream of newcomers heading our way to try and better the Note at its own game.

Most have of course come nowhere near doing so – the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is looking like a prime contender to succeed.

What we’re looking at is a truly gigantic device with a full 1080p HD screen, a quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU under the hood and those amazing dust and water-proof properties that have already become such a hit. It’s stunning to look at, as powerful as anything on the market, larger than life and you can take it in the bath with you! Seriously – does it get any better than this?

Again though, it might be wise not to hold your breath as whether or not the Ultra will ever land in the US we still have no idea.

Hopefully we’ll know more closer to September when the UK gets its hands on their version.

LG G2 Confirmed – Optimus Branding Out, Snapdragon 800 In

LG G2 Confirmed – Optimus Branding Out, Snapdragon 800 InLet’s be honest – it was us that decided the next big Smartphone from LG would be called the Optimus G2. Which of course seemed to be both logical and probable, given the success of the previous Optimus G. But low and behold, here comes another curveball to remind us all of the dangers of making assumptions and thinking we know what the tech-biggies of the world have planned for us.

We’ve just been credited with the first official statement on the device from the horse’s mouth and it turns out we’ll be seeing the LG G2 later this year – the Optimus branding apparently being ousted.

The date to mark in your calendar is August 7th, which is when LG has confirmed it will official unveil the G2 in all its mighty glory. And as expected, LG is confident as hell that the G2 will redefine what it means to be high-end in a market that’s becoming more and more crowded by the day.

“Our vision is to make LG’s newest G devices synonymous with excellence, raising the bar even further for the ultimate in user experience,” according to the statement from LG boss CEO Jong-seok Park.

“The new G2 will build upon the excellent reputation established by previous G Series products.”

Teasers have been plentiful and the rumor mill has been obsessed with the G2 for quite some time, which of course means we’ve already drawn quite a few conclusions as to what to expect from it. Unsurprisingly, the picture is a pretty impressive one.

The LG G2 will in all likelihood be another 5-inch 1080p HD device, which in this case will sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU under the hood backed by up to 3GB of RAM. If so, it will at the time be the fastest Smartphone in the history of history…probably.

There will also be a 13-megapixel camera to the rear and most likely Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, unless Android Key Lime Pie makes a surprise appearance in the meantime.

Nokia Lumia 1020 – More Than a Toy for Shutterbugs

Nokia Lumia 1020 – More Than a Toy for ShutterbugsAfter what felt like an eternity of rumor-mongering, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is finally with us and has put to rest a great deal of speculation. Now confirmed for a launch on the AT&T networks on July 26th, the phone that’s destined to set the bar impossibly high in camera stakes is already a pretty hot commodity across the US.

If you’re already aware of the Lumia 1020, chances are the feature that comes to mind right away is that mind-blowing 41-megapixel primary camera. And rightly so – this is after all getting on for three or four times more than any of its closest rivals serve up.

But is the Lumia 1020 a one-trick pony designed for shutterbugs only? Apparently not, as despite being confirmed for a rather painful $299.999 on-contract price, critics speak of a device where the camera is really only the start a story.

Under the hood lies a dual-core processor backed by a full 2GB of RAM and the 1020 comes running Windows Phone 8 right out of the box. It’s also graced with a 4.5-inch 720 p HD touchscreen to the front, which is by rights about as good as it gets in the world of Windows Phone so far.

The list of camera-centric features the 1020 boasts is simply off the scale – there are more filters, gadgets and goodies than you’ll ever get bored of playing with. But in terms of overall performance there’s really nothing but positives to say about the device as a whole. It’s fast, fluid and sexy as hell – there’s no denying that Nokia really has the market licked when it comes to Smartphones that look the part.

So does it manage to justify that $299.99 sticker price? Well, if you’re looking for the best Windows Phone on the market today in terms of the overall package, the answer is probably. If snaps are your thing, the answer is a huge yes.

New MacBook Pro Spotted Online with Intel Core i5 “Haswell” CPU

New MacBook Pro Spotted Online with Intel Core i5 “Haswell” CPUTo say that Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference was a bit of a let-down this year might be a little severe, but on the other hand we can’t deny it wasn’t quite as exciting as expected. And it wasn’t a case of the products on-show being anything but stunning, but rather the sad case of several products we were banking on not showing up at all.

The star of the show turned out to be the new range of MacBook Air laptops with Intel Haswell CPUs under the hood. As expected, the inclusion of these new chips didn’t have the biggest effect on the performance of the machines, but did have a quite astonishing effect on their respective battery lives. All in all, the new Air range is every bit as impressive as we’d hoped, but this still doesn’t answer the question as to what on Earth happened to the absent 2013 MacBook Pro?

Well, chances are Apple won’t be serving up any answer in the near future, but the good news is there’s always the rumor-mill to help fill in the blanks. There are plenty of theories as to when the new range might be coming and in what forms, but it’s only when we hear of thinks like Geekbench benchmark that we start to get really excited.

And that’s what this week brings – an apparent sighting of a 2013 MacBook Pro with Haswell-GT3 processor by at least one plucky party.

It’s hardly a smoking gun admittedly, but by reading between the lines we do get the impression that the MacBook Pro this year will be following in the same footsteps as the MacBook Air. It managed to hit a score of 12,497 on the Geekbench site – not a far cry from the official score the outgoing MacBook Pro achieved.

As such, it’s looking like all that Haswell goodness will once again be used in the name of battery life rather than raw power. It’s already been suggested that with enough tweaking, a MacBook Pro could potentially serve up more power, a Retina display panel and battery life that keeps the thing going for a full day.

Other than that, it’s all the usual hearsay until we hear the official details from Apple – watch this space for further updates over the course of the summer.