Lenovo Passes Apple in U.S. PC Shipments As Worldwide Market Flatlines

Apple saw its U.S. PC marketshare decline to 10.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014, down from 11.5 percent in the year-ago quarter, according to new data released from Gartner. With 1.6 million shipments, it trailed behind HP, Dell, and Lenovo, ranking fourth for the first time in several years.

Lenovo saw the most significant growth at 20.3 percent, while HP and Dell also saw high growth rates of 15.5 percent and 12.3 percent, respectively. Toshiba, with just over a million shipments, also saw growth of 18.5 percent.

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Gartner’s Preliminary U.S. PC Vendor Unit Shipment Estimates for 2Q14 (In Thousands)

“The consumer PC market also started picking up in the U.S. The availability of affordable, thin and light notebooks have drawn consumers’ attention,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Touch enable devices are also widely available with decreasing price premiums compared to a year ago. The price premium is low enough for mainstream consumers to spend the extra money for the additional functionalities,
such as touch.”

Four of the top five vendors in the U.S. market experienced double-digit growth. HP was the market leader, accounting for 27.7 percent of PC shipments.

Overall, U.S. PC shipments totaled 15.9 million, up 7.4 percent year over year, while worldwide PC shipments saw flat growth compared to the year-ago quarter. Shipments totaled 75.8 million units, a 0.1 increase. Though worldwide PC shipments have ceased to decline in 2Q14, interest in low-cost tablets continues to eat into the traditional PC market.

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Apple’s U.S. Market Share Trend: 1Q06-2Q14 (Gartner)
IDC has also released its own estimates of PC shipments for the second quarter of 2014, painting a similar picture. IDC puts Apple’s shipments at 1.6 million and its market share at 10 percent, down from 10.9 percent, a 1.7 percent decline. IDC’s numbers also rank HP, Dell, and Lenovo as the top three vendors in the United States, with all three seeing growth of 15.6, 12.9, and 24.7 percent, respectively.

Unlike Gartner, IDC suggests worldwide PC sales totaled just 74.4 million, a year-over-year decline of 1.7 percent, with U.S. sales up 6.9 percent.

IDC and Gartner did not list Apple’s worldwide market share for the quarter, as usual, because the company does not rank among the top five vendors on a worldwide basis. Apple’s U.S. decline comes even as the company dropped the prices on two of its flagship products in 2014 — both the MacBook Air and the iMac saw price drops, with the former gaining a small spec boost and the latter seeing the introduction of a new low-cost version.

Apple Environmental Report: Carbon Footprint Down 3%, 145 U.S. Stores Now Using 100% Renewable Energy

Apple today released its 2014 Environmental Responsibility Report [PDF], posting the new information on its updated Environmental Initiatives website. The report, which covers fiscal 2013, highlights the progress Apple has made towards its environmental goals, which include reducing climate change by using renewable energy sources, using greener materials, and conserving “precious resources.”

Apple notes that its carbon footprint from energy use has dropped by 31 percent from fiscal 2011 to fiscal 2013, even though energy consumption has increased by 44 percent. The company also recalculated its 2012 emissions and found that its overall carbon footprint shrank by three percent from 2012 to 2013, its first decline.

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Second, while focusing on our climate data, we decided to recalculate our 2012 emissions using our newest methodology — the same model we used to calculate our 2013 numbers. The new analysis shows that our carbon footprint actually shrank by 3 percent from 2012 to 2013. This marked the first time we’ve seen a year-over-year decline since we began tracking the numbers in 2009. While we’re excited about this progress, we know our work is far from done.

145 of Apple’s U.S. retail stores and all of its retail locations in Australia are powered using 100 percent renewable energy and energy efficiency programs implemented in its corporate offices have saved 28.5 million kWh of electricity and 751,000 therms of natural gas.

In addition, with its alternative commute programs for employees, which include a $100 transportation subsidy and biodiesel-powered buses, Apple has been able to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 15,000 vehicles. A large section of the report is also dedicated to the company’s new campus, which “will be the most energy-efficient building of its kind,” powered by 100 percent renewable energy and populated with more than 7,000 trees.

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The report also highlights Apple’s commitment to recycling, its vow to use only clean, safe materials without harmful toxins, and its dedication to creating new products using less materials. Apple has now reached a worldwide recycling rate of 85 percent.

Apple ends the report with a list of challenges that it seeks to overcome, noting that its water consumption increased significantly in 2013 due to the work on its Apple 2 Campus. The company also cites the carbon emissions of its manufacturing partners as an area that it is “committed to addressing.”

Over the course of the past eight years, Apple has managed to reduce the carbon footprint of its Mac business by 27 percent, thanks to its focus on the environment. In addition to powering many of its retail stores with renewable energy, its data centers are powered with 100 percent renewable energy, as is its existing corporate location in Cupertino thanks to a 2012 energy overhaul.

Earlier this year, in celebration of Earth Day, Apple overhauled its Environmental Responsibility website and launched a “Better” video that explains its environmentally friendly values.

China Mobile Adds One Million iPhone Users in February

China Mobile Chief Executive Li Yue confirmed on Thursday that the carrier added one million new iPhone customers last month following the iPhone’s launch in mid-January, reports the Wall Street Journal. China Mobile released these subscriber figures as part of its annual earnings statement, which also included the carrier’s first profit decline in 14 years.

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To offset increasing competition from rival carriers China Unicom and China Telecom, China Mobile is trying to attract new customers with the combination of its new 4G network and flagship phones like the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c.

“We added 1.34 million new 4G users in February and most of them are iPhone users. We are happy with the progress as we are still building our 4G network and the coverage is only available in some major cities,” China Mobile Chairman Xi Gouhua told The Wall Street Journal.

China is the world’s largest mobile phone market by subscribers, and China Mobile is the country’s largest wireless carrier with 776 million subscribers. Analysts predict the addition of the iPhone to China Mobile’s smartphone lineup could boost iPhone sales by 15 to 30 million units in 2014. Apple sold 51 million iPhones globally in Q1 2014 and has sold 472.3 million smartphones in total as of January 2014.

Samsung Bashes the iPad, Microsoft Surface and Kindle in New Ad

Samsung has released a new anti-Apple advertisement that highlights the perceived shortcomings of the iPad in comparison to Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab Pro and Galaxy Note Pro tablets. Targeting not only Apple, the ad also criticizes Microsoft’s Surface tablet and the Amazon Kindle.

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The ad uses three scenarios to highlight the advantages of the Galaxy Pro series over its competitors. The first is a business conference call, during which the Galaxy owner is able to talk and simultaneously send a report because of the Galaxy’s multitasking feature that allows him to display multiple Android applications at once on the screen. There’s also a slight jab at the Microsoft Surface, which is ridiculed for being “computer-like” because of its keyboard, battery pack and mouse.

The ad then switches to more personal uses of the tablet with a quick dig at Amazon’s Kindle device, which can only read books, while the Galaxy can pull up YouTube videos during a book club meeting. The harshest comment comes at the end when two ladies at a spa are comparing their iPad and Galaxy tablets. The discourse on the lower screen resolution of the iPad (2048-by-1536 resolution) when compared to the Galaxy Pro (2560-by-1600 resolution) ends with a condescending smile from the Galaxy owner when the iPad owner retorts that her iPad has “the retina thingy.”

Samsung has a history of chiding its competitors in commercials, so it’s not surprising to see the Korean company take on the iPad shortly after unveiling its Galaxy Pro series earlier this year.

The Galaxy Note Pro features Samsung’s S-Pen technology, while the Tab Pro is the company’s standard tablet. The Galaxy Note Pro is available in a 12.2-inch size, while the Galaxy Tab Pro ships with 12.2, 10.1 or 8.4-inch displays.

iPhone 6 Said to Adopt ‘Bezel-Free’ Display

Apple’s iPhone 6 will reportedly gain a “bezel-free” display when it launches later this year, according to a report from The Korea Herald focusing on both the next-generation iPhone and Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone.

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Mockup of iPhone 5s compared to larger bezel-free 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 sizes
No significant details about Apple’s plans for the iPhone 6 are shared in the report, with the majority of it focused on the Galaxy S5 and only a few sentences noting that Apple is working on a “similar” prototype with bezel-free display and fingerprint sensor. Samsung will reportedly be using a more standard fingerprint sensor than the display-wide fingerprint scanner or iris scanner that had previously been rumored for the device.

“Scanning fingerprints on the entire screen, which was much talked about recently, will be available in the latter half of this year as there are still technological hurdles to overcome,” [the source] added, hinting that the production yield for the full-screen fingerprint scanner is still far from satisfactory.

The source said that Samsung’s top rival Apple is also testing a similar prototype sporting a bezel-less screen that features a fingerprint scanner.

Last November, Bloomberg reported that the iPhone 6 was planned to feature a larger display with “glass that curves downward at the edges”, perhaps alluding to a bezel-less design in which the edge of the device is formed by the display glass itself rather than a separate bezel. A report last month from The Wall Street Journal claimed that the iPhone 6 “won’t include a curved display”, but it is possible that both reports could be correct if the design were to include a flat display panel fused to glass (or sapphire) cover that curved at the edges.

iPhone and iPad Dominate Mobile Web Share Throughout Holidays

Apple’s iPhone was the only smartphone to gain mobile web traffic share in North America during the holidays, according to a new report from analytics firm Chitika, suggesting that the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c were popular with consumers over the holiday season.

The iPhone saw a 1.8 percent jump in web traffic from the period between December 20 and December 29, while other smartphone manufacturers experienced no gains or a slight loss in traffic share. Overall, the iPhone has a 54.3 percent share of total mobile web traffic, far above its closest competitor Samsung, which has a 23.7 percent share.

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Despite its minor share loss, the iPad remains the most popular tablet, comprising 76.1 percent of all mobile web traffic in North America. Apple’s closest competitor, Amazon, has a 9.4 percent share, while Microsoft and Samsung come in at 2.3 and 5.9 percent.

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Mobile web traffic usage numbers have changed little over the course of the last year, with iOS devices continuing to dominate Android devices. In a report from late 2012, Chitika noted that iOS had an overall usage share of 67 percent, while Android had a 33 percent share.

Apple’s mobile web traffic dominance was also confirmed by a recent report from IBM, indicating the majority of online shopping from mobile devices during the Christmas holiday was done by iOS users rather than Android users. 23 percent of total online sales on Christmas in the U.S. were made from iOS devices, while just 4.6 percent were made from Android devices.

To gather its data, Chitika used its Chitika network ad impressions, analyzing data from millions of smartphone and tablet users in both the United States and Canada. An ad impression was measured each time an individual user loaded a page containing Chitika ad code, giving an impression of overall web usage rather than a measurement of unique users.

13-Inch 2013 MacBook Air Gets Up to 15 Hours of Battery Life With Mavericks

In his lengthy and ultra-detailed review of Mavericks, John Siracusa of Ars Technica conducts battery benchmark tests to measure Mavericks’ power saving features on both a 2007 MacBook Pro and a 2013 13.3-inch MacBook Air.

While both systems saw notable battery gains going from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, the 2013 MacBook Air in particular saw impressive improvements of up to 30 percent, lasting for more than 15 hours in some instances.

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For his battery tests, which were conducted using OS X 10.8.5 and the GM build of Mavericks, Siracusa created a light Web browsing and text-editing automation script, including websites that used Flash. In his tests, battery life varied significantly, but provided, on average, an increase of two hours of work time.

I suspect the aggressiveness of the auto-playing Flash ads that happen to be on specific websites on a particular day may partly explain the huge variability in Mountain Lion’s numbers. Some of the lower-scoring Mountain Lion trials may have also had the bad luck to coincide with energy-intensive periodic jobs-jobs that are prevented from running on Mavericks due to AC power or battery-level restrictions as part of centralized task scheduling.

These tests may or may not be representative of how you use your Mac, but regardless, it’s clear that Apple’s efforts have not been in vain. Mavericks really does consume less energy than Mountain Lion when performing the same tasks.

Since its debut at WWDC, Apple has touted the power saving features bundled into Mavericks, poising improved battery life as the keystone of the operating system. Mavericks is designed to cut down on CPU activity using Timer Coalescing, Compressed Memory, and App Nap.

While Timer Coalescing bundles low-level operations into a single batch action that reduces CPU utilization by up to 72 percent, App Nap cuts down on the power usage of apps that are not running in the foreground, reducing their overall power draw by up to 23 percent. Compressed Memory also works in conjunction with these two features, compacting the least used processes so less time is spent reading and writing virtual memory swap files on disk, which improves power consumption.

There’s also a new power saving feature built directly into Safari, called Power Saver. With Power Saver, Safari intelligently detects plug-in content playing in the margins of a website and pauses it, preserving battery life.

During Apple’s October 22 event, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi also highlighted Mavericks’ battery saving capabilities on the new 13-inch MacBook Air, noting that the operating system provides an extra hour of web browsing and an hour and a half of extra video time.

Mavericks is available for free from the Mac App Store and is a one-step update for all Mac users running OS X Snow Leopard and above. It can be installed on most computers produced after 2007. As of this morning, total Mavericks adoption hovered at approximately seven percent.