iNews Review

iPad 2 'Feels Like an Upgrade' from New iPad, Samsung Tops Apple in Smartphone Market, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.05.21

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

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News, Reviews, & Opinion

After New iPad, iPad 2 'Feels Like an Upgrade!'

Scripting.com's Dave Winer says he plunked down his money in March to get the latest and greatest iPad, but reports that while the ultra high-res Retina Display was nice at first, it very quickly became commonplace, the gee-whiz effect fading almost immediately. And while he got the LTE version, but he doesn't really use LTE a lot because he's almost always close enough to WiFi.

And while Winer reports that the New iPad is a great TV companion, he's always running up against the battery issue with all those Retina pixels sucking down the power, and the third-generation iPad's bigger battery takes longer to recharge. He also notes that New iPad is heavier, and it runs hot - not hugely uncomfortable, but noticeable.

Winer says he's started using his old iPad again and has discovered that he likes it better than the swish new Retina unit. In short, it's lighter, the battery lasts longer, and it recharges much more quickly. "Having gotten used to the new iPad, the old one feels like an upgrade!" he declares.

IHS: Apple to Maintain Tablet Dominance in 2012

PR: After suffering a temporary dip in market share in the fourth quarter of 2011, Apple Inc.'s iOS is expected to reassert its commanding leadership of the worldwide tablet space in 2012, according to an IHS iSuppli Worldwide Tablet Market Tracker report from information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS).

After dipping to 55.1% in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to a final estimate, the Apple operating system's share of worldwide tablet sales - a segment including both media tablets and PC-type tablets - is set to recover to 61% for the full year of 2012, about the same portion it had in 2011.

Apple's dominating media tablet market share in the fourth quarter of 2011 had been diminished by a surge in sales of Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet, which is based on Google's Android operating system. This had caused Android's share of the tablet operating system market to climb to 41.1%, up from 31.1% during the third quarter of 2011. However, as Apple reasserts its leadership, Android's share will decline to 38.4% for the full year of 2012.

"The key to Apple's media-tablet success has been its offering of a complete hardware-plus-content ecosystem," says Rhoda Alexander, director for monitors and tablets research at IHS. "The combination of a good-looking device, well-designed applications, video, books and music has provided consumers with an easy-to-use product and an appealing use case. Such an ecosystem took Apple years to put together, starting with the iPod plus iTunes Music Store more than nine years ago, and it's proving to be a challenge for the company's competitors to replicate it."

Further bolstering Apple's commanding position in the market, supply-side sources indicate that the company will deploy a smaller, 7.8" display version of the iPad later this year, although Apple has yet to confirm this. A smaller screen does not necessarily mean a substantially lower price; rather, IHS expects Apple will place continuing emphasis on the quality of the overall tablet experience and the benefits of selecting the company's products.

Growth Tablets

Worldwide Tablet Sales Forecast to 2016Sales of tablets this year - including both media tablets and PC-type tablets - will soar to 126.6 million units, up a remarkable 85% from 68.4 million units in 2011. The impressive performance of tablets this year builds on an even mightier 253% explosion last year from sales of 19.4 million units in 2010. Tablets comprise one of the strongest categories in the consumer electronics market today, with heady growth in the next few years matching the wild exuberance of the cellphone or mobile handset industry in its initial years of market-busting expansion.

Tablet sales will rise another 63% next year, on their way to 360.4 million units by 2016, as shown in the figure below.

Enter the PC Tablet

While media tablets such as the iPad dominate now and throughout the forecast, new ultrabook offerings and the release of Windows 8 later this year will help drive stronger sales in 2013 and beyond of PC-type tablets, IHS predicts. PC tablets will appeal to users wanting the flexibility of a tablet with the versatility of a traditional computer. These devices are able to manage multiple windows and applications including traditional full desktop applications, but can also convert to a slate form with touch capability. The smaller, lighter form of some of the new ultrabook offerings, touch improvements in Windows 8, and more aggressive pricing will help drive growth in this category.

Media tablets are often designated as "consumption-type" products with which users can browse the web, send email, view video, play games or interact with applications.

Within the media tablet space, however, the market is fragmenting into two segments - value products largely serving as "consumption-type" portable media players; and higher-performance units incorporating more complex applications and stronger processors. Much of the growth in the future will come from the value segment, but the performance sector will provide the stronger challenge to traditional PCs in both business and consumer markets.

Overall, the growth last year of media tablets dwarfed that of tablet PCs, and media tablet sales will continue to outperform those of tablet PCs in 2012. By next year, tablet PC growth will accelerate to nearly 160%, compared to a still-robust 60% increase for media tablets.

The PC tablet growth is a form transition within the larger notebook market and does not reflect any cannibalization of the media tablet opportunity. This is because PC tablets will still lag well behind their media tablet counterparts next year, numbering a little over 8 million units compared to more than 197 million units for media tablets.

Samsung Wrests #1 Smartphone Position from Apple

PR: Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached 419.1 million units in the first quarter of 2012, a 2% decline from the first quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. That marks the first time since the second quarter of 2009 that the market exhibited a decline.

"Global sales of mobile devices declined more than expected due to a slowdown in demand from the Asia/Pacific region," comments Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. "The first quarter, traditionally the strongest quarter for Asia which is driven by Chinese New Year, saw a lack of new product launches from leading manufacturers, and users delayed upgrades in the hope of better smartphone deals arriving later in the year."

All vendors were impacted at different levels; however, white-box vendors seem to have suffered the most. While tier one players such as Nokia were negatively impacted on sell-in numbers (sold into retail), white-box vendors were unable to adjust production and were left with a buildup in inventory by the end of the quarter. Gartner expects some of this volume to be sold during the next couple of quarters, because the channel is likely to lower the prices to dispose of the stock.

"The lower results in the first quarter of 2012 have led us to be cautious about sales for the remainder of the year," says Annette Zimmermann, principal research analyst at Gartner. "The continued rollout of third generation (3G)-based smartphones by local and regional manufacturers such as Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo, Yulong and TCL Communication should help spur demand in China. In addition, the arrival of new products in mature markets based on new versions of the Android and Windows Phone operating systems (OSs), and the launch of the Apple iPhone 5 will help drive a stronger second half in Western Europe and North America. However, as we are starting to update our market forecast we feel a downward adjustment to our 2012 figures, in the range of 20 million units, is unavoidable."

Samsung became the world's top mobile handset vendor during the quarter, displacing Nokia which had held the No. 1 spot since 1998. Samsung's mobile phone sales reached 86.6 million units (see Table 1), a 25.9% increase from last year. Samsung took back the world's No. 1 smartphone position from Apple, selling 38 million smartphones worldwide. In addition, Samsung's Android-based smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2012 represented more than 40% of Android-based smartphone sales worldwide; no other vendors achieved more than a 10% share of the market.

Sales of smartphones continued to drive mobile device market growth, reaching 144.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012, up 44.7% year-over-year. This quarter also saw the top two smartphone vendors, Apple and Samsung, raising their combined share to 49.3%, up from 29.3% in the first quarter of 2011, and widening their lead over Nokia which saw its smartphone market share drop to 9.2%.

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales by Vendor 1Q12

Worldwide Mobile Device Sales to End Users by Vendor in 1Q12

Nokia's mobile handset sales reached 83.2 million units, a 22.7% decrease from the first quarter of 2011. Smartphone sales are becoming of paramount importance at a worldwide level. For example, smartphone volumes contributed to approximately 43.9 per cent of overall sales for Samsung as opposed to 16 per cent for Nokia, Mr. Gupta said.

Driven by the continued success of the iPhone 4S, Apple's sales grew 96.2% in the first quarter of 2012 as the new model expanded into new markets and carriers. Sales in China were particularly strong this quarter. With more than 5 million units, China became the second-largest market for Apple after the U.S. On top of the sales through official carriers channels, there was an increase in transshipments from Hong Kong where volume has been growing over the past few quarters to reach a sell-in of more than 3 million units.

"RIM sold 9.9 million mobile handsets in the first quarter of 2012, with its global share declining to 2.4% as competition increased in its international market strongholds. RIM desperately needs to deliver winning BB10 products to retain users and stay competitive. This will be very challenging, because BB10 lacks strong developer support, and a new BB10 device will only be available in the fourth quarter of 2012," said Mr. Gupta.

In the smartphone OS market, Android accounted for more than half of all smartphone sales (56.1%) in the first quarter of 2012 (see Table 2). Gartner analysts said the smartphone market has become highly commoditized and differentiation is becoming a challenge for manufacturers.

This is particularly true for smartphones based on the Android OS, where a strong commoditization trend is at work and most players are finding it hard to break the mould, Mr. Gupta said. At the high end, hardware features coupled with applications and services are helping differentiation, but this is restricted to major players with intellectual property assets. However, in the mid to low-end segment, price is increasingly becoming the sole differentiator. This will only worsen with the entry of new players and the dominance of Chinese manufacturers, leading to increased competition, low profitability and scattered market share.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales by Operating System 1Q12

Additional information can be found in the Gartner report "Market Share: Mobile Devices, Worldwide, 1Q12."

Tablet Computing in Portrait Mode

Tech.pinions' Ben Bajarin notes that one reason why he's a big fan of Logitech's Ultra-thin Keyboard Cover ($99.99 from Amazon.com) is because it allows him to do computing on his iPad in portrait mode, while many companies who make keyboard accessories assume that you'll only want to use the keyboard in landscape mode.

Bajarin says he's found that his preferred use for docking the iPad and using the keyboard is in portrait mode, and says he's convinced that computing in portrait mode is far superior to landscape mode for many different tasks, contending that portrait mode is by far the best way to browse the Web, since many websites are designed with up-and-down scrolling rather than left-to-right.

He also says he does quite a bit of writing and maintains that using the iPad for writing in portrait mode is a powerful experience because you can see more words on the page than when writing in landscape mode, observing that when you see people using pen and paper today you don't normally see them turning the pad of paper sideways, and that one of his biggest complaints with the iPads virtual keyboard is not that he can't type fast on it, but that he can't use it for any real productive input while in portrait mode, while in landscape mode it takes up nearly half the screen leaving him with very little of the software application to see while typing.

Publisher's note: Back in the day, Apple made a Portrait Display for its Macintosh computers, a vertical monitor with 640 x 870 pixels capable of showing a full page when using a word processor. These were incredibly popular among editors at the publishing house where I worked, because it so perfectly mirrored the printed manuscript pages. There is something very right about writing on a vertical display. dk

Video: 7 Handy iPad Keyboard Tricks

Macworld's Dan Miller notes that as more and more of us use the iPad for regular business chores, we're spending more and more time with its virtual, onscreen keyboard, and there are some tricks that every iPad user should know about to help make iPad's keyboard input more efficient.

I knew about some of these, but most were a revelation to me even after nearly 11 months of pretty intensive iPad keyboarding, once again underscoring how inadequate Apple's features documentation is.

Miller has posted a video with accompanying text transcript of the voice-over.

Wozniak Would Like to See an Apple Without the Walled Garden

WebProNews' Drew Bowling notes that Apple's so-called "walled garden" policy is a continuous point of criticism and reports that even Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak thinks Apple could be just as strong and good if the company relaxed lockdown restrictions on its devices.

The report notes that this sort of philosophical tension dates back to even Apple's early days, with Wozniak pushing for the Apple II to have eight expansion slots, while his cofounding partner Steve Jobs only wanted two slots, arguing that a printer and a modem would be all people needed, and that while the Macintosh engineering group developed a secret test board that could actually expand, when Steve Jobs got wind he cut it off.

However, Bowling suggests that now into the Tim Cook era, a non-walled garden Apple sometime in the future is less inconceivable than it had been during the Jobs years.

Rumor Roundup

Apple Books Half of Mobile DRAM Capacity at Elpida Hiroshima Plant

DigiTimes' Josephine Lien and Jessie Shen report that Apple has recently placed huge orders for mobile DRAM memory with Elpida Memory's 12" plant in Hiroshima, Japan, securing about 50% of the total chips produced at the facility, according to industry sources.

Lien and Shen say Apple reportedly will source mobile DRAM chips from Elpida for upcoming iPad and iPhone model.

Accessories

Kensington KeyFolio Secure Companion for iPad 2 Integrates Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard and ClickSafe Lock

PR: Kensington Computer Products Group has introduced Kensington KeyFolio Secure, a security case for the iPad 2. The new KeyFolio Secure extends Kensington's KeyFolio family of products by incorporating the easy-to-use ClickSafe one-click locking mechanism and built-in security anchor. Kensington KeyFolio SecureNow iPad users can be more productive wherever they use their iPads with a case that features a built-in Bluetooth keyboard, an adjustable stand and advanced protection from damage or theft.

Kensington has a 30-year legacy pioneering the development of physical security for computers. Its award-winning ClickSafe lock designs provide a first line of defense for laptops and tablets. The new security case builds on that legacy, and on the success of Kensington's celebrated line of KeyFolio keyboard cases for tablets. Since the original KeyFolio for iPad debuted in September 2010, Kensington continues to expand its collection to offer enhanced productivity and protection for all types of tablets including the new iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola XOOM and any 10 tablets.

The new KeyFolio Secure Case is optimized for touch typing and features a high-performance removable, wireless Bluetooth keyboard with one-button pairing. The case itself folds flat and protects the iPad from wear and scratches. It includes an adjustable stand to achieve the optimal angles for both viewing and typing.

The built-in ClickSafe lock is engaged with an almost effortless one-click action. Constructed from high carbon steel cables with a corrosion-proof steel lockhead, it delivers strong first-line of defense for devices and data.

A recent study showed that 79% of business executives polled always use their iPads when they are on the road, and more than half use it for business communication.

"As tablet devices proliferate and are used in both professional and personal environments, its important for people to protect both the device and the valuable data it holds, says George Foot, Vice President of Marketing and Development at Kensington. "Whether you rely on a laptop or a tablet computer, Kensington continues its innovative development of accessories that increase security and productivity."

The Kensington KeyFolio Secure Features:

  • Security case holds iPad 2 in place
  • Folds flat for in-case use and protects your tablet from wear and scratches
  • Tactile keyboard with high-performance keys optimized for touch typist
  • Convenient loop to hold your stylus or pen
  • Easy port access to all iPad controls and 30-pin connector

Kensington KeyFolio Secure Security Case for iPad 2, Bluetooth Keyboard & ClickSafe Lock (K67746US) sells for $129.99.

3 New Colors Available for Ipevo's PadPillow Tablet and Ebook Reader Pillow Stand

PR: The Ipevo PadPillow family of products has just added three new members. Ipevo, has announced three new colors for their popular soft pillow stand: Lemongrass, Honeysuckle, and Tangerine. These colors join three existing colors - Steve's Blue Jeans, Light Khaki and Charcoal - for a total of six different color options. The new colors are now available through Ipevo's online store.

PadPillow is a triangular soft body pillow designed to conform to the user's body, ensuring long-term comfort for extended reading or tablet computing sessions. PadPillow is made from a soft foam inside of a 100% soft denim cover. It can be used on the lap while seated or reclining, and it can also be used on a wide variety of surfaces carpet, fabric, bedding, etc. where traditional rigid stands cannot.

PadPillow is a versatile stand which can be used with the new iPad 3 or any generation of iPad, other tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, ebook readers including different models of Kindle and Nook, and even traditional magazines.

PadPillow features two hinged sections. The hinges can be brought together for a compact stand, or they can be separated which provides additional area for a Bluetooth keyboard.

"PadPillow is the unique pillow stand that conforms to your body, and we wanted to better conform to our customers' personal styles and preferences by offering three new colors," says Royce Hong, CEO and Big Head of Design of Ipevo. "PadPillow has been enthusiastically embraced as a better way to read, surf, work and play away from the desk, and we're excited to give our customers a few more ways to express their individuality."

Ipevo's PadPillow Pillow Stand in Lemongrass (yellow-green), Honeysuckle (pink) and Tangerine (orange), along with Steve's Blue Jeans, Light Khaki, and Charcoal Gray, are all now available at a price of $34 each through Ipevo's online store.

OtterBox iProtection for iPad, Now with Color

PR: OtterBox made protection for Apple devices popular; now the leading case company makes it colorful. Introducing iProtection for the iPad in color. Defender Series cases for the new iPad and iPad 2 are available for preorder on OtterBox.com in five combinations:

  • Hornet: yellow polycarbonate with black silicone
  • Deep sea: blue polycarbonate with black silicone
  • Alpenglow: pink polycarbonate with gray silicone
  • Crevasse: white polycarbonate with gray silicone
  • Sea green: teal polycarbonate with gray silicone

The OtterBox Defender Series case for new iPad and iPad 2 features a built-in screen protector to avoid scratches and smudges on the high-resolution screen; a high-impact inner polycarbonate shell with a foam interior to provide additional shock absorption and scratch resistance; a robust silicone for durability and impact absorption, as well as textures and styling, in combination with quality materials, to create an overly-attractive, and now vibrant, protective solution. (Note: Defender Series case does not protect against water. Will provide some added protection against drop, bump and shock.)

The precision design of the OtterBox iPad case ensures all features and functions are accessible with the case on so users can stay protected while connected. A shield stand is provided to act as a protective screen cover when not in use. This piece doubles as a stand for typing or viewing in both landscape and portrait mode. Magnets on the shield stand activate device sleep mode when the cover is installed while in transport.

iPad users can email, browse, shop, read, watch and game in color with OtterBox iProtection.

Environmental Protection:

  • Drop and shock: protects device against drop, shock and bump
  • Dust intrusion: dust does not enter in a sufficient quantity to interfere with satisfactory operation of device
  • Water protection: not tested or recommended for water protection
  • Dimensions
    • case only: 9.90" (251.47mm) x 7.73" (196.64mm) x 0.72" (18.36mm)
    • case and shield stand: 10.26" (260.55mm) x 8.08" (205.13mm) x 1.14" (18.36mm)
  • Approximate Weight (case only): 15.84 oz (449.06 g)

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