Saturday, December 7, 2013

Apple Barometer Reveals Record November Sales


Apple has just had a bumper November for sales, which saw demand for its products rise 19 to 20 percent month over month. This is much higher than the normal six percent increase in sales during Novembers over the past several years. Sales are usually robust during the month which marks the onset of the holiday shopping season, though demand for Apple products seems to be exceptionally high this year. This prompted Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White to declare this year's performance to be the best so far.

Much of the demand can be attributed to the new range of Apple devices. These include the new iPad Air, which comes with a new design that has made it among the thinnest and lightest tablet in the world, and a new iPad mini with Retina Display that has been in short supply, prompting buyers to lap up the first gen iPad Mini which continues to flourish. The new iPhone, which incorporates a fingerprint scanner, has also been selling in record numbers. The iPhone will get a further boost in sales if the deal with China Mobile to launch the iPhone in that country has indeed gone through as expected.

“With approximately 97 percent of the sales now accounted for in our Apple Barometer, we estimate sales in November rose by approximately 19-20 percent month-over-month, and well above the November average of up 6 percent over the past eight years,” said White. “As such, we believe this November will prove to be the strongest in the history of our Apple Barometer.”

The good performance no doubt will lead to a much better showing during the holiday quarter, even after taking into account a 10 percent drop in sales during December. “If we assume an average MoM sales decline of 10% in December, we estimate our Apple Barometer will grow sales by 28% QoQ in 4Q:13, or more than double the average increase of 13% over the past eight years,” said White in a research note to investors.

Apple’s Barometer is a measure of sales achieved by the company based on data compiled from the Taiwan based companies that supply the components that goes into the making of the Apple devices.

Apple Barometer Reveals Record November Sales is a post from: E-Reader News

The Dual Screen YotaPhone: Not Quite The Magical Device it Promised to be


The YotaPhone breaks a lot of new ground with its dual display design, opening up a lot of new opportunities for users. With a regular LCD display on one side and an e-ink panel of equal size on the other, the YotaPhone could well be the ultimate smartphone device for many out there; well, theoretically at least. The device isn't exactly cheap either, having already gone on sale in select European countries for a cool 499 Euros, though it's not known when it's going to land in the US.

One question that is on top of everyone's mind is whether the YotaPhone is as good as it claims. The device comes close, but leaves some space for improvement. To begin with, the device lacks the sleek shine of many of its ilk. Instead, the YotaPhone comes across as a chubby device with thick bezels that give it somewhat of a budget smartphone look.

The lack of the typical Android set of buttons along the front makes things look clean and interesting, though it also requires the user to use a few swiping actions to get going. A right swipe is needed to reach home, while a left swipe accomplishes what the back button does. To see recent apps, one will have to double tap on the display. Similarly, a swipe down using two fingers will take a screenshot of the display and transfer it to the rear display. The gesture controls might be a little disappointing to Android loyalists, which is further amplified by the fact that the swipe pads can be unresponsive at times.

This takes us straight to the most interesting aspect of the device, the secondary e-ink panel along the rear. Unfortunately, being used to the likes of the Amazon Kindles, the rather low 640 x 360 pixel e-ink panel leaves a lot to be desired. Text can be fuzzy to hardly readable at times on the display that has been fetched from the front LCD panel.

However, reading ebooks can be satisfactory, though not the best. The biggest issue here is that the e-ink panel is bogged with ghost images, with a faint image of the previous display lingering. If that is not enough, the lack of adequate ebook reading apps can be telling. While popular ebook reading apps such as Kindle or Kobo can be downloaded on the device, the same won't work with the e-ink display. Instead, those who'd like to read books will have to make do with the Bookmate app, and it suffers from a very limited collection. There aren’t many apps currently available that can make the most of the e-ink panel, though the notepad that the device comes with can be pretty handy.

These issues only dent the biggest advantage that the e-ink panel has to offer, that of its power saving credentials. The display can hold  an image all day long without draining the battery and the rear e-ink panel can also be handy for checking email, notifications, and incoming messages without having to wake up the phone, thus saving power. The e-ink panel also allows for reading just as comfortably in bright sunlight conditions as it would indoors, adding tremendous flexibility to the device.

As for the front LCD 1,280 x 720 pixel display, things are pretty much the same as can be expected of a device running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean except that its controls require getting used to. The dual core chip rated at 1.7 GHz does a good job at keeping things quick and peppy though it doesn’t have the more advanced quad core chips.

In the end, what can be said is that it’s still a work-in-progress. The YotaPhone needs to be fine-tuned before it can deliver a complete and enriching user experience. While the device as a whole needs a fresh and thorough once over, the rear e-ink panel will definitely benefit from more third party apps being developed to make the most of it, something that is practically non-existent right now. As things stand right now, there isn't much that can be done with the e-ink side of the YotaPhone even though it does have the potential of being a pretty handy ebook reading device.

The Dual Screen YotaPhone: Not Quite The Magical Device it Promised to be is a post from: E-Reader News

Illustration Comparing Tablet Aspect Ratios

Earlier this week a reader sent in an image (thanks, Thys KotzĂ©!) comparing the different aspect ratios for tablets. I thought is was a helpful illustration comparing the common sizes for tablets’ screens so I wanted to share it here (click the image for a larger version). As the illustration notes, most newer Android tablets […]

$20 Off Kobo eReaders and Tablets

Kobo is currently running a sale on most of their ereaders and tablets. The promotion lasts through December 9th so there’s not much time left. If you are looking to get a Kobo device, now would be the time because they don’t go on sale very often. The $20 off deal includes all the newer […]