In September we posted a report titled "Samsung weeps as iPhone 6 Mania Rocks around the Globe." There was just something in the air about the iPhone 6 that was different from some previous models. In part it was the introduction of Apple's first Phablet taking on Samsung's Galaxy Note. Apple was taking the battle to Samsung and there was electricity in the air as the battle began. On January 9 we posted a report from Kantar that told us tells us that the iPhone 6 had won the war by a wide margin in the U.S. Today, the news is even sweeter: Apple's iPhone 6 is the first smartphone by a foreign company to ever go beyond 20% market share in South Korea. In fact Apple smashed that record by a wide margin by taking Samsung's Galaxy smartphone line-up head on.
In October we reported that "Google and Facebook Handily Outspent Apple on Lobbying." Google spent $3.94 million between July and September while Facebook spent $2.45 million. Considering Apple's sheer size and importance in the tech sector, it was strange to find that Apple had only spent a little over a million in that same quarter for lobbying. In November we learned that Apple was stepping up their politics and hired a new DC lobbyist. Today we learned that Apple got more involved with various agencies in Washington D.C. in December. Specifically, Apple wanted to ensure that their products such as the Apple Watch wouldn't get snared in any last minute red tape regarding the addition of new medical sensors.
Apple's iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus ran over Samsung's Galaxy and Galaxy Note products this past Christmas. And although Samsung will be focusing a lot of their energy on taking the smartphone war to China's Xiaomi in the year ahead, the upcoming Galaxy S6 is squarely aimed at striking back at the iPhone. The new Galaxy S6 is reportedly packing heavy specs as a counter attack against Apple's iPhone in the hopes of stopping their market share and profits from bleeding any further.
In a report that we posted in September we learned that Samsung smartphone sensor technology had been dragged down by technological and legal problems. The legal issue revolved around smartphones integrating biometric sensors having to be clearly labelled as medical devices. At the time we wondered if this same problem could catch up with Apple's iDevices. Today the FDA released a draft relating to "General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices." The Draft Guidance is for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff. On the surface it appears that simple heath sensors found in iDevices and the future Apple Watch are likely to be cleared by the FDA as not having to be labeled medical devices like is the case in Korea. Secondly, the FDA documents states that their guidance documents "do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities."
Shortly after Apple introduced their new Apple Watch, the knives came out. One of the leading Swiss watch companies headed by Jean-Claude Biver lashed out at the Apple Watch for being too feminine amongst other things. Of course what he didn't reveal at that time was that his company was secretly racing to come up with a smartwatch that would eventually compete with Apple. In December we reported on the rumor that Intel may provide the chip to power Tag Heuer's first smartwatch in 2015. Today a new report covers some of Jean-Claude Biver most recent insights into the Tag Heuer smartwatch.
On December 4, 2014, we reported that the US Patent & Trademark Office had published a patent application from Apple that revealed a new stylus invention relating to an advanced signal detection and demodulation architecture. We noted in that report, that for a company that supposedly has no interest in a stylus it was amazing that this year alone they had applied for ten new pen-related patents. We noted that it was evident that Apple had plans of introducing a next-gen smart pen at some point in the future, it was only a matter of time. Closing out 2014 Apple was granted a patent for an iPen that could also Work with Paper. Today to a new rumor has surfaced that an iPen or Apple Pen is being aimed for release with Apple's large 12 or 12.9 inch iPad as an accessory sometime in the first half of 2015. How elaborate Apple's first digital pen could be is unknown at this time as Apple has a huge body of intellectual property on this area of technology as noted in our smart pen archives. One example below illustrates a smart pen that could work with a new iPad menu system and gesturing.
There's been a propaganda war going on over who will produce Apple's next generation processors. Every time that there's a report that TSMC will retain Apple's chip business, a counter report is soon to follow stating the contrary. In late December it was reported that GlobalFoundries was experiencing tooling delays. So today, to counter that report, magically Samsung will gain 70% of Apple's A9 business with GlobalFoundries only being used as Samsung's "backup fab." How convenient is a report like that to skirt the issues surrounding GlobalFoundries. Tailor made wouldn't you say? Nonetheless, the latest rumor gives Apple's business to Samsung until there's another one to contradict it.
We posted an extensive report in November titled "Google Glass, a Failure until Further Notice." The report showed how developers were losing interest in the project and how the press kept hammering the project of late. The UK Guardian titled one report "Google Glass, a fascinating failure" and John Dvorak wrote a piece called "Rest in Peace, Google Glass: 2012-2014." In a second report on Google Glass back in December titled "Intel Processors will Power Google Glass in 2015," we noted that Google Glass was likely to shift gears away from being a consumer product to one primarily used in various specific industries. Today, Wall Street Journal's Alistair Barr continues with a new report on Google Glass 2.0 that confirms this direction for Google Glass. (View the Wall Street Journal video above by clicking on the arrow)
Last month we reported that Samsung and LG were getting really nervous that they'd be forced to delay their next generation smartphone models due to overheating problems with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. While Qualcomm played up their 810 processor at CES, behind the scenes there was still worry about overheating issues. In a new report published today there are claims that Samsung has had to make a decision and dump the Qualcomm chip in favor of their own design in order to launch the Galaxy S6 on schedule. How will such a drastic move play out in the market and more importantly Samsung's bottom line is unknown at this time.
Almost a year ago we reported on Samsung's embarrassing misstep trying to introduce their Tizen OS with Docomo jumping off the Tizen bandwagon at the last moment and instead focused on Apple's iPhone. In September Samsung vowed to advance Tizen OS in smartphones, wearables and beyond yet once again in December embarrassingly dropped the ball by being a no show at a Tizen event in India. In an effort to make up for that gaffe, Samsung officially launched their first Tizen OS based phone in India earlier today.
According to a Yonhap report, Samsung on Tuesday revealed their plans to launch its slimmest smartphone later this month at home and in major emerging countries to bolster low-end sector amid the rise of Chinese rivals eating into its shares. That translates to rivals such as Xiaomi – not Apple and their higher-end iPhone 6.
Today the leading producer of global patent databases, analytic solutions and innovative web services released its annual tabulation of the top U.S. patent recipients for 2014. Another banner year for the patent world, 2014 saw annual U.S. patent grants increase by more than 8 percent reaching an all-time high of 300,678 and surpassing the 300,000 mark for the first time.
Samsung tried to put a spin on their Q4 financials by saying that operating profit was up 28% from the previous quarter which was one of their worst of the year, falling 60%. In reality year-over-year profits fell 37%. And this baloney about Samsung's numbers beating analyst's expectations has a context; it's because analysts lowered expectations due to their disastrous Q3. Yet there was one bright spot to be found in Samsung's stats and that was in their chip business. Today supply chain rumors are flying high claiming that Samsung has landed Apple Watch chip orders.