Apple Sees Decline in China Smartphone Shipments, Oppo Leads: IDC

Corporation (IDC) has revealed.

According to IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, Apple dropped from 58.4 million iPhones in 2015 and Xiaomi from 64 million Mi phones, drops of 23 percent and 36 percent, respectively.

Apple Sees Decline in China Smartphone Shipments, Oppo Leads: IDC

Oppo, which shipped 78.4 million phones – more than double the 35.4 million it shipped in 2015. Huawei came in at second, shipping 76 million phones, while Vivo managed to almost double its shipments, going from 35 million in 2015 to 69 million last year.

“Increased dependence on mobile apps has led to consumers to seek phone upgrades, thus helping drive the large growth in fourth quarter of 2016. In lower tiered cities, there was a similar demand by consumers, which Oppo and Vivo met by aggressively pushing mid-range smartphones in these cities,” said Tay X iaohan, Senior Market Analyst, IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team, in a statement.

Despite the decline, IDC does not believe Chinese vendors have actually eaten away Apple’s market share. Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017.

Apple’s 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone.

“The smartphone market in China saw a 19 percent year-on-year growth and 17 percent quarter-on-quater growth fourth quarter of 2016. For the full year of 2016, the market grew by nine percent with top Chinese smartphone vendors taking up a larger share of the market,” the findings showed.

At present, out of the top three Chinese vendors in China, Huawei is the most successful with half of its shipments coming from markets outside China in fourth quarter of 2016.

Apple edges past Xiaomi to grab No. 6 spot in India’s top 30 cities

Apple edges past Xiaomi to grab No. 6 spot in India's top 30 cities
Apple, which was upstaged by Xiaomi in the world’s largest smartphone market China last year, has struck back in the world’s fastest-growing market.

The maker of the iconic iPhone has grabbed the No. 6 spot in market share in India’s top 30 cities, which make up 51% of the smartphone market, edging past Xiaomi after taking rapid strides in the highly competitive market.

Apple captured the No. 6 slot even in the price-sensitive tier-2 and tier-3 cities, which are the traditional strongholds of Indian vendors, according to data for the October to December 2015 period from US market research firm International Data Corporation, which was reviewed by ET.

Apple topped the premium price segment of $300 (Rs 20,000) and above, with an over 42% share across the 30 cities following the launch of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in the first half of the quarter and subsequent price drops of its earlier 5s, 6 and 6 Plus models, analysts at IDC said.

“Apple leads in top 30 cities in the premium segment, and in tier-2 and 3 cities, it has considerably narrowed the gap with the competition,” said Navkendar Singh, senior research manager at IDC India.

IDC classifies Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru as tier-1cities and the remaining 25, including state capitals, as tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Apple held a 4.6% share in the 30 cities, with Samsung Electronics and Micromax Informatics continuing to be top two players. I

In the tier-2 and 3 cities, Apple was sixth with a 2.8% share. Xiaomi had a 4.5% share in all 30 cities. “Smartphone consumers in tier-2 and tier-3 cities are becoming more aware and demanding devices with latest features, specifications, affordable prices and convenient buying options,” said Jaideep Mehta, managing director for IDC South Asia.

These lower-tier cities make up 21% of the Indian smartphone market, the second-largest after China by unique users, and constitute more than two-thirds of the sub-$100 (Rs 6,800) segment.

Apple, which didn’t consider India a major market until a few years ago, is now placing long-term bets on the country with plans to set up its own stores while offering buybacks, discounts and upgrades to get more users.

Lenovo-Motorola secured the No. 3 spot overall, followed by Intex and Lava. Intex was No. 3 with a 9.1% share in the lower-tier cities, ahead of Lenovo-Motorola and Lava. Apple and Xiaomi were not among IDC’s top-five companies by sales volumes for the entire Indian smartphone market.

iPhone encryption: Turing Award winners side with Apple in fight against FBI

Turing Award winnder Whitman Diffie and Martin Hellman said they are sympathetic to the plight of FBI director James Comey, but said giving the FBI what it wants would unleash "huge" consequences that could not be contained.This year’s $1-million AM Turing Award goes to a pair of cryptographers whose ideas helped make internet commerce possible, and who now argue that giving governments a “back door” into encrypted communications puts everyone at risk.

Whitfield Diffie, a former chief security officer of Sun Microsystems, and Martin Hellman, a professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University, introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures in 1976. The concepts are used today to secure all kinds of communications and financial transactions.

Their award, from the Association for Computing Machinery and mostly funded by Google, is named for British mathematician Alan Turing and is one of the most prestigious prizes in computing.

The honour comes amid a fight between the FBI and Apple, which is resisting government pressure to help the government hack into the iPhone of a gunman in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, in December.

Hellman told The Associated Press that he’s sympathetic to the plight of FBI director James Comey and those investigating the attack in which an Islamic extremist couple killed 14 people before dying in a gun battle with police.

But Hellman said giving the FBI what it wants would unleash “huge” consequences that could not be contained.

“The problem isn’t so much with this first request, it’s the precedent that it would set and the avalanche of requests that would follow,” Hellman said, adding that many likely would come from less democratic governments such as China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Hellman said he will sign onto one of the many “friend of the court” briefs backing Apple in the case. Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter have pledged to participate as well.

Diffie also has advocated against giving “back doors” to law enforcement, co-authoring a paper with other prominent cryptographers last year that urged the US government to carefully consider the risks.

Hellman said the encryption technologies he and Diffie invented didn’t make them popular with the government. Before their research, encryption had mainly been the realm of government entities such as the NSA. Their work allowed it to spread to the private sector.

Apple should not try making a car on its own

US technology giant Apple should collaborate with carmakers to make avehicle and use the expertise already available rather than attempt to do it on its own, Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne said.

A source told Reuters last year that the California-based maker of phones, computers and watches was exploring how to make an entire vehicle, not just designing automotive software or individual components.

Speaking to journalists at the Geneva auto show, Marchionne said there was sufficient capacity available among car makers to deal with Apple’s requirements and it would make more sense for them to partner with a car manufacturer rather than become an actor itself in such a “complex business.”

“If they have any urges to make a car, I’d advise them to lie down and wait until the feeling passes,” Marchionne told journalists. “Illnesses like this come and go, you will recover from them, they’re not lethal.

iPhone encryption: Privacy groups urge US judge to support Apple

The ACLU argued that the FBI's request would undermine the privacy and security of Americans by forcing a private firm to act as its investigative agent.
Digital privacy advocates have called on a US federal judge to approve Apple Inc’srequest not to be compelled to build software to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino attack.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Access Now and the Wickr Foundation laid out arguments in amicus briefs released on Wednesday ahead of a March 22 hearing in which Judge Sheri Pym will review Apple’s appeal of a court order demanding it help unlock a phone used by Rizwan Farook.

Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp and Twitter Inc also plan to file similar briefs, Twitter, Microsoft and people familiar with the plans of the other two companies said last week.

The ACLU argued that the FBI’s request would undermine the privacy and security of Americans by forcing a private firm to act as its investigative agent, seeking information that it does not already possess.

“Law enforcement may not commandeer innocent third parties into becoming its undercover agents, its spies, or its hackers,” according to a draft of the brief obtained by Reuters. Access Now and the Wickr Foundation, which both advise activists on digital privacy, said in a joint brief that complying with the order would undermine human rights around the globe.

“In some countries reliable security tools such as encryption can be the difference between life and death,” their brief says. “The relief sought by the government endangers people globally who depend on robust digital security for their physical safety and wellbeing.”

The U.S. government has said the December 2 attack in San Bernardino, California, was inspired by Islamist militants, and the FBI wants to read the data on Farook’s phone to investigate any links with militant groups. Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others before they themselves were killed in a shootout with police.

Apple’s new San Francisco office could be a tool in tech talent wars

Apple's new San Francisco office appears to be "just a small adaptation" to some tech workers' disdain for the commute of at least 90 minutes to the South Bay, said former company executive Jean-Louis Gassee.From Apple’s earliest days, executives insisted that employees work from its headquarters in sleepy suburban Cupertino.

The thinking, championed by Steve Jobs, was that a centralized campus would put the CEO “within walking distance of everyone,” said Steve Wozniak, who founded the company with Jobs.

That stance may finally be softening as Apple prepares to open chic new offices in San Francisco’s high-rent South of Market neighbourhood, which has spawned scores of promising startups.

Apple’s decision to plant a flag in San Francisco, 46 traffic-choked miles north of its headquarters, comes years after similar moves from rival tech firms such as Google andLinkedIn and marks a turning point in Apple’s willingness to accommodate workers, according to recruiters and former employees.

The move is one sign of the intensifying war for tech talent – and of the overwhelming preference of younger tech workers to live and work in the city, with its vibrant nightlife and public transportation. The two floors Apple has leased in a building mostly occupied by CBS Interactive offer abundant open space and exposed ceilings, the preferred tech aesthetic.

As Apple’s Silicon Valley rivals dangled perks to woo workers in the latest tech boom, theiPhone maker mostly held firm – the company still does not offer free lunch, and it was among the last companies to operate shuttles to and from the city.

Those company-paid charter buses to the valley appeased workers for a time, but the novelty has faded, said recruiter Andy Price of executive search firm SPMB.

With rising competition for talent from a new wave of private companies with sky-high valuations – such as Uber and Airbnb – Apple must do more, recruiters and former employees say.

“Apple’s attitude has always been that you have the privilege of working for Apple, and if you don’t want to do it, there’s someone around the corner who does,” said Matt MacInnis, a former Apple employee who worked on the company’s education business and is now CEO of Inkling, an enterprise technology company.

Now, MacInnis said, “they have to compete.”

Apple spokesman Colin Johnson declined to comment.

Urban outpost

Apple’s footprint in San Francisco until now has come largely through acquisitions of companies already based there, including Beats Music and Topsy Labs, a social media analytics firm.

After Apple acquired Topsy in 2013, workers were surprised that the company did not move those employees to the valley, a former Apple employee said. Topsy’s space was large enough for about 75 workers, but other Apple employees soon began dropping in to work from the city, crowding the office.

The iPhone maker’s new office will be in about 76,000 square feet of rented space at 235 Second St.

Apple’s presence in San Francisco will remain modest, especially compared to rival Silicon Valley firms such as Google and LinkedIn. The new office is big enough for about 500 workers.

Apple has said that it had more than 25,000 employees in the Santa Clara Valley, where it is headquartered.

Apple could opt to move some employees already in San Francisco into the new space, such as those from Topsy or Beats. The company has advertised for a variety of jobs in the city for workers in machine learning and big data — two of Topsy’s specialties — and digital music, Beats’ domain.

The space is currently under construction, suggesting Apple might be ready to move in late summer, real estate experts say.

Demand for desks there could be intense. After established tech firms open up shop in San Francisco, they often have more workers wanting space there than they can accommodate, said broker John Lewerenz of real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Google has struggled to keep workers from swarming its San Francisco office, particularly on Fridays. The company quickly leases additional floors in its main San Francisco building when they are vacated by other tenants, Lewerenz said.

Commuting and recruiting

Apple’s new San Francisco office appears to be “just a small adaptation” to some tech workers’ disdain for the commute of at least 90 minutes to the South Bay, said former company executive Jean-Louis Gassee.

But some former employees say an official Apple office of any size in San Francisco was once unthinkable – even though the city is home to 14% of its workforce, second only to San Jose, according to a 2013 company report.

Apple’s stance on centralization turns off some job seekers, said recruiter Amish Shah, founder of Millennium Search, who has run across some candidates who rule out the company because of the commute. Younger tech workers, he said, put a high premium on quality of life.

San Francisco residents now have more options to dodge the commute with a growing number of tech companies in the city, recruiters say.

“If companies want to stay competitive and have a shot at hiring the best available talent, they’re going to have to be flexible,” said Jose Benitez Cong, a former Apple recruiter who is now launching a startup.

Before leaving Apple in 2009, MacInnis spent three hours a day commuting from San Francisco to Apple headquarters. Now he uses Inkling’s location in the city to his advantage, systematically recruiting San Francisco residents tired of long commutes to the valley.

Russ Heddleston, co-founder and CEO of document sharing company DocSend, says he has also found an edge by planting his startup in San Francisco. He previously commuted to the valley to work for Facebook, a notable exception to the trend toward satellite offices in San Francisco.

“They have the social clout to get people to commute,” he said. “But if they weren’t as cool, could they afford to have their office in San Jose and get talent to come in? It’s a real problem.”

Suburban sprawl

Another factor may be that the company has little room left to grow in Cupertino: It occupies about 70% of the office space in the city of about 60,000, said Angela Tsui, the city’s economic development manager.

The sheer size of Apple’s work force has prompted the company to grab space in neighbouring towns such as Sunnyvale and North San Jose.

The diffuse office structure has dimmed the allure of commuting to the South Bay, said one former employee, who requested anonymity to protect professional relationships.
“The old appeal was if you were an engineer at the mother ship, you could go to the cafeteria, and there’s Steve Jobs ordering sushi,” he said. “Those days are gone now.”
In Wozniak’s view, spreading out the teams could infuse new creativity into the company. In a recent interview, he recalled being a lonely voice of dissent on the company’s philosophy of centralization.
“I was the executive who always opposed that,” he said. “I felt that you should distribute your divisions… and let the teams think more independently.”

Encryption case: Microsoft, Google & other tech giants rally behind Apple

The rare display of unity and support from Apple's sometime-rivals showed the breadth of Silicon Valley's opposition to the government's anti-encryption effort.
Tech industry leaders including Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc, Microsoft Corp , AT&T and more than two dozen other Internet and technology companies filed legal briefs on Thursday asking a judge to support Apple Inc in its encryption battle with the US government.

The rare display of unity and support from Apple’s sometime-rivals showed the breadth of Silicon Valley’s opposition to the government’s anti-encryption effort.

Apple’s battle became public last month when the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a court order requiring the company to write new software to disable passcode protection and allow access to an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December killings in San Bernardino, California.

Apple pushed back, arguing that such a move would set a dangerous precedent and threaten customer security, and asked that the order be vacated. The clash has intensified a long-running debate over how much law enforcement and intelligence officials should be able to monitor digital communications.

Apple’s industry allies, along with several privacy advocates, filed amicus briefs — a form of comment from outside groups common in complex cases — to U.S. District Judge Sheri Pym, in Riverside, California, who had set a Thursday deadline.

Six relatives of San Bernardino attack victims on Thursday weighed in with their own amicus brief opposing Apple. Three California law enforcement groups, three federal law enforcement groups and the San Bernardino district attorney also filed in favor of the government.

The companies backing Apple largely echo the iPhone maker’s main argument, that the 1789 All Writs Act at the heart of the government’s case cannot be used to force companies to create new technology.

One amicus filing, from a group of 17 Internet companies including Twitter Inc and LinkedIn Corp, asserted that Congress has already passed laws that establish what companies could be obliged to do for the government, and that the court case amounted to an “end run” around those laws.

Apple, and some of the other briefs, did not go quite that far, but also asserted that Congress, not the courts, needed to address the issue. Congress has struggled without success for years to address law-enforcement concerns about encryption.

The victims’ families argued that Apple’s arguments were misplaced because the government had a valid warrant, and “one does not enjoy the privacy to commit a crime.” The families also asserted that Apple “routinely modifies its systems” to comply with Chinese government directives.

Apple has also advanced a free speech argument, on the grounds that computer code is a form of expression and cannot be coerced. The families pushed back against that defense: “This is the electronic equivalent of unlocking a door — no expression is involved at all,” they said.

The San Bernardino District Attorney’s summary argument, contained in its application to file an amicus brief, alleges the iPhone might have been “used as a weapon to introduce a lying dormant cyber pathogen that endangers San Bernardino County’s infrastructure.” The court document contained no evidence to support the claim.

TWO BIG COALITIONS

The tech and Internet industries largely coalesced around two filings. One includes market leaders Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon.com and Cisco Systems, along with smaller, younger companies such as Mozilla, Snapchat, Slack and Dropbox.

That group noted that Congress passed the All Writs Act more than 200 years ago, and said the Justice Department’s effort to use the law to force engineers to disable security protections relies on a “boundless” interpretation of the law that is not supported by any precedent.

The brief also advanced constitutional arguments, saying the order violated free speech, the separation of power and due process.

The second industry coalition, which includes Twitter, eBay Inc and LinkedIn, contended in its filing that the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994, along with other statutes, has already made it clear what the companies could or could not be forced to do.

CALEA requires telephone companies to allow interception of communications, but notably excludes “information service” companies from such mandates. Apple said it was rightly considered an information company in this context.

AT&T’s filing, by contrast, called for a “new legislation solution” that “applies equally to all holders of personal information,” an apparent reference to the exemption for information providers in CALEA.

Semiconductor maker Intel Corp filed a brief of its own in support of Apple.

“We believe that tech companies need to have the ability to build and design their products as needed, and that means that we can’t have the government mandating how we build and design our products,” Chris Young, senior vice president and general manager for the company’s Intel Security Group, said in an interview.

The Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society filed a separate brief on Thursday on behalf of a group of well-known experts on iPhone security and encryption, including Charlie Miller, Dino Dai Zovi, Bruce Schneier and Jonathan Zdziarski.

Privacy advocacy groups the American Civil Liberties Union, Access Now and the Wickr Foundation filed briefs on Wednesday in support of Apple.
Salihin Kondoker, whose wife, Anies Kondoker, was injured in the San Bernardino attack, also wrote on Apple’s behalf, saying he shared the company’s fear that the software the government wants Apple to create to unlock the phone could be used to break into millions of other phones.
Law enforcement officials have said that Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, were inspired by Islamist militants when they shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others on December 2 at a holiday party in San Bernardino. Farook and Malik were later killed in a shootout with police, and the FBI said it wants to read the data on Farook’s work phone to investigate any links with militant groups.

Earlier this week, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled that the government had overstepped its authority by seeking similar assistance from Apple in a drug case.

Here’s why iPhone ads always show 9:41 as the time

Apple's former VP of software Scott Forstall says: "When the big image of the product appears on screen, we want the time shown to be close to the actual time on the audience's watches. But we know we won't hit 40 minutes exactly." Therefore, the company shows 9:41 as the time.
There’s a reason for everything at Apple. And that even includes the time displayed on the devices in promotional materials. It even extends to print ads and television commercials.

That time used to be 9:42. You could see it across various commercials, print ads, and even on Apple’s site itself. The explanation was simple: That’s the time in the morning that Steve Jobsannounced the very first iPhone in 2007. Around 42 minutes into his keynote address, he said, “Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone.”

And a picture of the iPhone, displaying the time 9:42, popped up on the screen behind him.

But that all changed in 2010, when the very first iPad was released. When that was revealed, it displayed a different time: 9:41.

If you check Apple’s site right now, the time set on the devices is always 9:41. And not just on iPhones. Macs, too.

But why did the time change? It’s all very simple, according to former iOS chief Scott Forstall, who happened to divulge the secret to Australia-based app developer Jon Manning of Secret Lab.
“We design the keynotes so that the big reveal of the product happens around 40 minutes into the presentation,” Forestall said. “When the big image of the product appears on screen, we want the time shown to be close to the actual time on the audience’s watches. But we know we won’t hit 40 minutes exactly.”
They made the iPhone time be 9:42 and were pretty accurate. Very accurate, in fact. Jobs announced the phone at exactly 9:42, according to Engadget’s live blog of the event.
So for the iPad they decided to go with 9:41, for no real reason at all. “And there you are — the secret of the magic time,” Forstall told Manning.

iPhones with iOS 9.3 to warn users if bosses are watching them

Apple is adding new features to its iPhone to help people know if they’re being spied on.

Phones running the as yet unreleased version of iOS, 9.3, will receive an alert if their employers are spying on them, according to a post by Reddit user MaGNeTiX.

The latest beta shows a small message on phones that are being managed under Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, which allows companies to deploy and manage a large number of phones and keep them secured.

“This iPhone is managed by your organization,” a message on the handset’s lock screen reads. The about page offers more information about the tracking, making clear that company’s IT departments can monitor and locate devices that are being managed using thesoftware.

The feature doesn’t appear to offer any way to know whether a handset is being watched at any particular moment, and no way of altering those settings, which must be done by the device’s owner. But it helps remind users that their personal information might not be secure if their handsets are owned by their employer.

The company is engaged in a number of battles over privacy — most prominently with the FBI in the US, where it is fighting in court over whether it can be compelled to unlock a phone. The new update doesn’t seem to be linked to any of those discussions but comes at a time of increased scrutiny of Apple’s security policies.

The FBI case revolves around an iPhone that was owned by the government and given to one of the San Bernardino shooters as an employee. But the government did not install any such software, despite having paid for it, according to previous reports.

The feature was discovered in a beta version of Apple’s iOS software, which means that Apple could remove it before the full version is released to the public.

Apple says it helped in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight 370

Apple says it helped in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight 370
Apple assisted investigators in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 plane, Apple lawyer Bruce Sewell said Tuesday.
Sewell was testifying before a House committee hearing on encryption and security when he was asked about a hypothetical scenario involving an encrypted iPhone that had information about a nuclear bomb on.

Apple’s SVP of legal and government affairs said that the company had an array of options at its disposal to help investigations — bringing up Malaysia Airlines flight 370 as an example.
The plane disappeared while en route to Beijing in March 2014, and has been the subject of intense media speculation. Some wreckage has been discovered, but the majority of the plane remains missing.
“When the Malaysia Airline[s] plane went down, within one hour of that plane being declared missing, we had Apple operators cooperating with telephone providers all over the world, with the airlines and with the FBI to try to find a ping, to try to find some way we could locate where that plane was,” Sewell said.
Apple is currently at the centre of heated debate over smartphone security and encryption. The FBI is trying to force the Cupertino company to build a tool to help it unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters – but Apple is refusing, arguing that creating the tool would be dangerous, and set a worrying precedent.