Recent Articles By Charlotte Henry [RSS]

Smartphone Makers Face Challenges with Global Shipments Down 6%

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iPhone XR smartphone available in several colors

Global shipment of smartphones tumbled in the third fiscal quarter of 2018, IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows. The firm says 355.2 million units were shipped in total during the quarter, a year-on-year decline of 6%. This fall was in large part down to Samsung, whose sales in the quarter dropped 13.4% from the same time last year. Huawei beat Apple for sales this quarter, but researchers said that the holiday period could see Apple return to the top of the pile. IDC believes there could be growth in the smartphone market in 2019. Manufacturers will certainly hope so—Q3 2018 was the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines.

Apple’s newest iPhones helped push third quarter shipments to 46.9 million units, up 0.5% from the 46.7 million units last year. Apple once again launched three new devices at its Fall event, as the new 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max and 5.8-inch iPhone XS were joined by the more affordable iPhone XR in the Apple line-up. The new XS Max and XS continue off the success from last year’s iPhone X but bring a new screen size option with more power and increased performance to the table. And Apple has once again improved the camera, upped the storage, and added a new faster processor via the A12 Bionic chip, which is the first 7-nanometer chip for Apple. Older iPhones, such as the 6S, 7, and 8, all received price cuts late in the quarter, which will balance the iPhone portfolio across all price tiers for the holiday quarter. The older SE and iPhone X from last year have been dropped from the Apple line-up. The fourth quarter will include shipments for the vastly popular iPhone XR, which have not been counted in IDC’s Q3 figures.

Private Messages from 81,000 Hacked Facebook Accounts for Sale

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Facebook in a big pile of money

The BBC Russian Service has learned that at least 81,000 Facebook accounts have been compromised. Private messages have been published online and the perpetrators are trying to sell account login details. Facebook insists that its security has not been comprised and that it was likely the data had been obtained via malicious web browser extensions. The full details of the hack and the BBC’s investigation shed light into how our data is traded online.

The BBC understands many of the users whose details have been compromised are based in Ukraine and Russia. However, some are from the UK, US, Brazil and elsewhere.

The hackers offered to sell access for 10 cents (8p) per account. However, their advert has since been taken offline.

“We have contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores,” said Facebook executive Guy Rosen.

“We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts.”

It’s Not Your Imagination: Smartphone Battery Life is Getting Worse

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iPhone XR in black, blue, and silver

Smartphone users have long insisted that their device’s battery life is getting worse. Now the Washington Post’s Geoffery A. Fowler, along with colleagues at other tech sites, have found that really is the case. Last year’s top smartphones mostly all out performed this year’s versions. One of the exceptions to this was the iPhone XR, which lasted for three hours more than a top-of-the-range iPhone XS.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been performing the same battery test over and over again on 13 phones. With a few notable exceptions, this year’s top models underperformed last year’s. The new iPhone XS died 21 minutes earlier than last year’s iPhone X. Google’s Pixel 3 lasted nearly an hour and a half less than its Pixel 2.

The report confirms that improvements in battery technology just aren’t keeping up with the high resolution OLED screens, processor heavy apps, and how much we use our phones each day. In other words, don’t look for battery life to improve any time soon.

MacBook Air vs. iPad Pro Is a Choice Between the Past and the Future

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2018 MacBook Air features.

The new, more powerful, MacBook Airs and iPad Pros launched at Apple’s “There’s More in the Making” event in Brooklyn on Tuesday gave users a compelling choice – could these be our main machines instead of something we just throw in a backpack?  Vlad Savov outlines the argument well over at The Verge:

In crafting its most compelling iPad and MacBook Air to date, Apple also created a major headache for people like me. I’m a member of that classic Intel ultrabook demographic whose computing needs are light but constant. You won’t catch me doing 3D modeling or 4K video production on my laptop, but I do a litany of small tasks online, in a word processor, or in Adobe’s Lightroom. I’ve been using a MacBook Pro for two years that does most of what I want, but it really doesn’t last long enough. Now, Apple is offering me the much better battery life I need with the high-quality display I desire, but it’s fragmented the choice. Both the new MacBook Air and new iPad Pro could be the ideal computer for me.

A not dissimilar conversation was on TMO Daily Observations in the wake of the event.

New BBC Sounds app launches for iOS

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The BBC has launched a new app, BBC Sounds, that puts all its audio output into one place. The app officially went live on Tuesday and replaces the BBC iPlayer Radio App. Users can now access live radio, previously broadcast shows and podcasts via one app. It will even allow users to access some popular non-BBC podcasts, with more to be added in the coming months. Exclusive music mixes will also be published on the app, alongside archives of BBC radio comedy and drama. App Store: BBC Sounds (free)

New BBC Sounds app launches for iOS