Monday October 31, 2016 9:14 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
While the iPad Pro lineup has increased Apple's tablet revenue based on higher price points, helping offset a lengthy slide in units sold, the latest data from market research firm IDC claims the iPad Air and iPad mini lines accounted for more than two-thirds of Apple's tablet shipments in the fourth fiscal quarter.
Apple officially reported 9.26 million iPads sold in the quarter, representing late June to late September, but it does not break down its tablet sales by individual model. IDC did not share its methodology behind calculating iPad Pro sales specifically, but vaguely notes that it uses proprietary tools and research processes.
Despite selling some 600,000 fewer iPads compared to the year-ago quarter, Apple's tablet revenue remained flat at just over $4.2 billion in the quarter. The reason: iPad Pros cost more. The higher ASP is important for Apple as the worldwide tablet market continued its slump last quarter.
IDC estimates tablet shipments dropped to an estimated 43 million units in the quarter, marking a 14.7% year-over-year decline. Apple led all vendors with 21.5% market share, up slightly from 19.6% in the year-ago quarter, while Samsung trailed in second with an estimated 6.5 million shipments and 15.1% market share.
Amazon and Chinese competitors Lenovo and Huawei rounded off the top five with an estimated 3.1 million, 2.7 million, and 2.4 million tablet shipments respectively in the quarter. Amazon saw explosive 319.9% growth due to its Amazon Prime Day sale in early July that led to a huge surge in shipments of its Fire tablets.
During its recent earnings call, Apple financial chief Luca Maestri said the company is "highly successful" in the tablet market, with 82% market share of premium tablets priced above $200. Meanwhile, IDC said other vendors are "racing to the bottom" with low-cost, sub-$200 traditional and detachable 2-in-1 tablets.
"The race to the bottom is something we have already experienced with slates and it may prove detrimental to the market in the long run as detachables could easily be seen as disposable devices rather than potential PC replacements," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC.
Monday October 3, 2016 6:03 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple will ship three new iPad Pro models around Spring 2017, including 7.9-inch, 10.1-inch, and 12.9-inch models, according to Japanese blog Mac Otakara.
The report, citing "reliable sources," said the 12.9-inch model will feature a True Tone display like its current 9.7-inch counterpart, using advanced four-channel ambient light sensors to automatically adapt the color and intensity of the display to match the light in the surrounding environment.
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also said to gain the 9.7-inch model's same 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera and True Tone flash.
The smaller 7.9-inch model, which will succeed the iPad mini 4, will likewise include a Smart Connector, True Tone display, four speakers, and a 12-megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with True Tone flash, as Apple works to standardize features across its tablet lineup, according to the report.
All three new iPad Pro models will reportedly gain quad microphones, compared to the current dual setup, and retain 3.5mm headphone jacks.
Today's report mostly corroborates KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who in August said Apple is planning to release three new iPads in 2017. However, his research note claimed the trio of models would include a 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad.
Kuo made no mention of a refreshed 7.9-inch model. It has been speculated the iPad mini could be nearing the end of its line due to Apple's focus on its larger tablet lineup, and the belief that recent 5.5-inch iPhone "Plus" models have helped lessen demand for Apple's smallest tablet, but today's report suggests otherwise.
Wednesday September 7, 2016 1:34 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple has released a selection of new iPhone cases that come in new fall colors. Designed to fit the iPhone 7 with its larger camera and the iPhone 7 Plus with its dual camera setup, the cases are available in the standard leather and silicone materials for each device.
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus cases are not yet available for purchase, but should become available for pre-order on Friday, September 9 when pre-orders begin for the two new smartphones.
To match the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus cases, Apple has also updated its line of Smart Covers and Cases for the iPad, offering them in the same silicone colors.
iPad Smart Covers and cases for the iPad mini 4 and 9.7-inch iPad Pro are now available in 16 different colors as some of the older shades have also stuck around. The new iPad accessories are available for order today and will deliver by September 10.
Wednesday September 7, 2016 12:37 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today quietly updated its lineup of older iPads, increasing the minimum storage on the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 4, and the iPad mini 2 and lowering the prices of the maximum storage tier. The iPad Pro has also been updated with new pricing options, with Apple making storage increases more affordable.
The iPad Air 2 is now available in 32 and 128GB configurations, priced at $399 and $499, respectively, for the WiFi only models. Previously, Apple offered a 16GB model for $399 and a 64GB model for $499. Cellular models continue to be priced at $130 more than WiFi models.
The iPad mini 4 is now available in 32GB and 128GB configurations at the same price point as the iPad Air 2, $399 and $499. Apple previously sold a 16GB iPad mini 4 for $399, a 64GB model for $499, and a 128GB model for $599.
The iPad mini 2 is now only available in a 32GB capacity, priced at $269. Apple has done away with the 16GB model and has dropped the price of the new 32GB model to the price the 16GB model used to be sold at.
As for the iPad Pro, Apple has dropped the prices on higher storage tiers by up to $100. Pricing on the iPad Pro is as follows:
Friday August 12, 2016 7:32 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Crashes, and subsequent fatalities, of small private planes have "fallen to the lowest levels in decades" thanks to mobile devices that give pilots "much better weather information" than a few years ago, along with other benefits. These devices mainly include Apple's iPad lineup and, in 2015, helped contribute to the lowest rate of fatal crashes ever recorded by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration: 1.03 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours (via Bloomberg).
As pointed out by John Hansman, an astronautics and aeronautics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the data should be "approached with care," due to the fact that there is far less information and data available on general aviation as opposed to commercial flights. Private airplane flights per year have also decreased, which would help lessen the overall chance for accidents in the first place. Still, the new data collected "jibes with broad new efforts to improve safety in that arena," according to Hansman.
“It’s encouraging,” said Hansman, who has studied private-aircraft safety data. “There are reasons to think it might be accurate. There’s a lot of things happening in the system that are slowly making it better.”
In reaction to these accidents, the FAA and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board moved to bolster each private aircraft pilot's safety levels, leading to the official approval of "weather and other programs for mobile devices." To improve the regulation of these aircrafts, the two administrations also approved ways to make it easier to add safety equipment to planes, including devices that warn of engine failure and the impending loss of control of the plane.
Apple today announced a year-over-year drop in revenue for the second quarter in a row based on flagging iPhone sales, but amid the decline, Apple saw its iPad revenue grow slightly for the first time in 10 quarters. Apple's iPad line brought in $4.9 billion in Q3 2016, up from $4.5 billion in the year-ago quarter.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Cook said he was "encouraged" by the iPad's revenue growth and the 19 percent growth in the services category, which includes Apple Music, the App Store, iTunes, and more.
"There are a number of encouraging signs in the results," Mr. Cook told The Wall Street Journal. "This last quarter was surprising because it was better than we expected from so many different points of view, not just one thing."
While iPad revenue was up based on the higher average selling price of the 9.7 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, overall unit sales continued to decline. Apple sold almost 10 million iPads during the third quarter of 2016, compared to almost 11 million during the third quarter of 2015.
Apple's 9.7-inch iPad Pro starts at $599, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $799, two price points that are much higher than the $499 price Apple's previous iPad models started at.
At today's "Let Us Loop You In" event, Apple debuted the the 4-inch iPhone SE, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, and new Apple Watch bands, plus released new software updates for iOS, OS X, tvOS, and watchOS 2.2.
We've covered all of the main product announcements, but some smaller tidbits of information went largely unnoticed, including the launch of a new 256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro, new iPhone and iPad cases, and details on iPhone and iPad sales. We've rounded up all of these lesser-known details below.
Find something new that should be included on the list? Send us Tips email and we'll add it.
256GB 12.9-inch iPad Pro - With the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, Apple introduced a new 256GB storage capacity, which has also been extended to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Apple is selling a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 256GB of storage for $1,079 for Wi-Fi only or $1,229 for Wi-Fi + Cellular.
9.7-inch iPad Pro USB 2 Transfer Speeds - According to the product description for the Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is able to transfer data at USB 3 speeds, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro can only transfer data at USB 2 speeds. That implies the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is not using the same Lightning port as the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which has a Lightning port able to support USB 3.0 transfer speeds.
At USB 2 speeds, iPads and iPhones can transfer data at around 25 to 35 MB/s, while USB 3.0 transfer speeds are much faster –- up to 625MB/s.
New iPhone and iPad case colors - Apple has introduced new spring colors for iPhone and iPad cases. New Silicone case colors for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus include Yellow, Apricot, Light Pink, Lilac, Royal Blue, and Mint. Apple has dropped the following colors: Blue, Turquoise, and Pink.
There are also new Leather Case colors for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, including Marigold, Storm Gray, and Marine Blue. For the iPhone SE, Apple has a Leather Case available in Black and Midnight Blue. Third-party cases available for the iPhone 5/5s also fit the iPhone SE, and Apple has updated product descriptions to note that its collection of third-party cases will fit both devices.
The Silicone Case for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is available for $69, while the Smart Cover is available for $49. Both are available in White, Stone, Yellow, Apricot, Light Pink, Midnight Blue, Lavender, Lilac, Royal Blue, Mint, Charcoal Gray, and Red. Spring colors – Yellow, Apricot, Light Pink, Lilac, Royal Blue, and Mint – are also new for the iPad mini Silicone Case and Smart Cover.
Smart Keyboard for 9.7-inch iPad Pro - Apple’s new 9.7-inch iPad Pro includes a Smart Connector, allowing it to connect to accessories like a new Smart Keyboard. Smart Keyboards are now available in 12.9 and 9.7-inch sizes, with the new 9.7-inch Smart Keyboard priced at $149, $20 less than the $169 price tag of the 12.9-inch Smart Keyboard. The 9.7-inch Smart Keyboard is identical to its larger sibling, available only in charcoal.
Classroom app - For teachers and students, there’s a new Classroom app [Direct Link] that’s available for download today. Classroom is designed to allow teachers to guide students through lessons, watch their progress, and make sure they’re on track. When used in conjunction with Apple’s educational tools, Classroom lets teachers launch the same app or website on every student device at the same time. It also includes options for locking screens into a single app, AirPlaying content to an Apple TV, reset student Apple ID passwords, and more.
Sales numbers - During the event keynote, Apple exec Greg Joswiak announced Apple sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015, which encompasses the iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c. In total, Apple sold 231.5 million iPhones during the year. Apple also announced that it has sold 200 million 9.7-inch iPads since 2010.
True Tone display - Apple has introduced a True Tone display in the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which uses built-in sensors to detect the ambient lighting in the room and adjust the display accordingly. The feature is unique to the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and can be turned off in the Settings app for those who want a display temperature that does not fluctuate.
iPhone 5s - Apple is no longer selling the iPhone 5s in the United States, having discontinued it in favor of the iPhone SE.
iPhone SE Touch ID - The iPhone SE adopts many features from the iPhone 6s, but it does not include the next-generation Touch ID sensor. The iPhone SE continues to use the Touch ID sensor from earlier iPhone models.
Embedded Apple SIM: The 9.7-inch iPad Pro includes an Embedded Apple SIM along with a regular Nano-SIM slot.
For more details on the products and updates Apple announced today, make sure to check out our recap post, which has links to all of today's event coverage.
iOS 9, watchOS 2, and OS X 10.11 El Capitan brought refinements to Apple's operating systems, and the fourth-generation Apple TV came with a brand new operating system, tvOS. 2015 saw a huge number of new products and software updates, and 2016 promises to be just as exciting.
A second-generation Apple Watch is in the works and could launch in early 2016, while new flagship iPhones, the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, are coming in late 2016. Those who love smaller devices will be excited to hear a 4-inch iPhone 6c may be coming early in 2016, and Apple's Mac lineup is expected to gain Skylake chip updates.
New software, including iOS 10, OS X 10.12, watchOS 3, and an upgraded version of tvOS are all expected in 2016, and Apple will undoubtedly work on improving services like HomeKit, Apple Pay, and Apple Music.
As we did for 2014 and 2015, we've highlighted Apple's prospective 2016 product plans, outlining what we might see from Apple over the course of the next 12 months based on current rumors, past releases, and logical upgrade choices.
Tuesday November 17, 2015 7:00 am PST by Juli Clover
In its latest display shoot-out, DisplayMate Technologies compared the displays of Apple's current iPad lineup: the 2015 iPad mini 4, the 2015 iPad Pro, and the 2014 iPad Air 2 to see how the three tablets measure up against each other. The iPad mini 4 came out on top in most of DisplayMate's tests, which used a variety of calibrated lab measurements and image/photo viewing tests to compare display quality.
DisplayMate called the iPad mini "unquestionably the best and most accurate LCD tablet display we've ever tested," giving it higher marks than the 2732 x 2048 resolution iPad Pro. The iPad Pro also scored well, earning all "very good" to "excellent" marks on tests, and while the iPad Air 2 did well enough to rank as a top tier display, its performance was somewhat behind the iPad mini 4 and the iPad Pro, unsurprising as it was last updated in the fall of 2014 while the mini and the Pro were both released in the fall of 2015.
All three tablets use the same IPS LCDs, but the iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro have photo aligned LCDs with higher contrast ratios while the iPad mini 4 uses standard mechanical alignment. The iPad Pro also uses a metal oxide TFT backplane for better light throughput and power efficiency, a must for such a large and power hungry display.
Each of the iPads has a similar max brightness, measuring in at 415 cd/m2 (nits) for the iPad Air 2, 424 nits for the iPad Pro, and 450 nits for the iPad mini 4. On maximum contrast ratio, the difference between peak white brightness and the darkest black, all of the iPads had high True Contrast Ratios, but the iPad Pro won at this test. The iPad mini 4 had a True Contrast Ratio of 967, while the iPad Air 2 ranked at 1,064 and the iPad Pro measured in at 1,631, the highest DisplayMate has measured for an LCD tablet display.
On color gamut, the iPad mini had the most accurate score at 101 percent (100 percent is best). The iPad Air 2 had a 105 percent color gamut, while the iPad Pro had a 107 percent color gamut, with the larger two tablets displaying oversaturated blues. On color accuracy, the iPad mini also won, but the iPad Pro was a relatively close second. The iPad Air 2 earned much lower Absolute Color Accuracy marks.
The iPad mini 4 has a very impressive Absolute Color Accuracy with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 1.9 and 4.2 JNCD - tied for first place in Absolute Color Accuracy with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4. The iPad Pro is somewhat less accurate, but still (just barely) Very Good, with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 2.6 and 6.6 JNCD. The iPad Air 2 has noticeably lower Absolute Color Accuracy with Average/Maximum Color Errors of 3.9 and 8.8 JNCD, which are visually noticeable and could be unacceptable for some color critical applications (like medical imaging, high-end digital photography, product sales demonstrations, and advertising proofs, for example).
When it comes to screen reflectance, DisplayMate called all three iPads "unrivaled record holders" for performance in ambient light. The iPad mini had a 2.0 percent Reflectance, while the iPad Air 2 had 2.5 percent and the iPad Pro had 2.6 percent. A test measuring contrast in high ambient light saw the iPad mini perform best, with a Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of 225. Comparatively, the iPad Air 2 scored 166 and the iPad Pro scored 163.
Due to the inclusion of the metal oxide backplane in the iPad Pro, it earned the award for most power efficient. The backplane increases light throughput and the iPad Pro's display uses a lower refresh rate when there are static images on the screen.
While the iPad mini 4 is the best iPad display based on DisplayMate's test, the site calls all of the iPads in Apple's current lineup "unrivaled" when it comes to screen Reflectance, giving them an edge over competing tablets. Due to their low Reflectance, the iPads have "by far" the highest image Contrast in ambient light and the highest Contrast Rating for High Ambient Light of all current tablets.
The full results of the display shoot-out, available from DisplayMate, are well worth checking out for those interested in getting an in-depth look at how the displays of the iPad mini 4, iPad Pro, and iPad Air 2 compare.
Friday October 30, 2015 2:30 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Beginning on November 1, Walmart will begin offering Apple's 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 at a significant discount, selling it for $199 instead of $268. $199 is a solid deal and one of the lowest prices we've seen on the iPad mini 2, which was the first of Apple's iPad mini line to ship with a Retina display.
Compared to the current-generation iPad mini 4, the iPad mini 2 has a slower processor, less RAM, and it lacks Touch ID, but it's still a very capable device with an A7 processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera, and 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera. It's also thicker and heavier than the newest iPad mini.
We'll likely see similar deals on the iPad mini 2 during the month of November due to Black Friday, but for now, Walmart's discount is one of the best deals to be had. Walmart will be selling the 16GB iPad mini 2 for $199 for approximately 90 days, the standard amount of time Walmart price rollbacks generally last.
Wednesday October 28, 2015 7:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
T-Mobile has announced that the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 are now available through its JUMP! On Demand upgrade program, enabling qualified customers to purchase either tablet on an 18-month lease and upgrade to a newer tablet up to three times per year. The program breaks down the price of each iPad into equal monthly payments starting at $22/month with $0 due upfront.
iPad Air 2
16GB: $26/month, $0 due upfront
64GB: $25/month, $99.99 due upfront
128GB: $24/month, $199.99 due upfront
iPad mini 4
16GB: $22/month, $0 due upfront
64GB: $21/month, $99.99 due upfront
128GB: $19/month, $199.99 due upfront
The limited time offer is available by calling T-Mobile at 1-877-500-6055 or visiting a participating T-Mobile store in the U.S. At the end of the 18-month lease, the iPad must be returned in working order, or the customer can pay off the remaining balance to keep it. If a customer cancels wireless service during a lease, remaining payments on the iPad become due. See T-Mobile's tablet plans.
Monday September 21, 2015 6:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
DisplayMate has tested the iPad mini 4 display and found that its colors and color accuracy are on par with the iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with an improved 101% color gamut. All previous iPad mini models had 62% color gamut with poorer color saturation, according to the company's analysis.
iPad mini 4 also has a record-low 2% screen reflectance, compared to 6.5% reflectance for the iPad mini 3 and and 9% reflectance for the original iPad mini. This gives the iPad mini 4 a contrasting rating in high ambient light of 225, which in layman's terms means the tablet has improved readability in real-world viewing conditions.
DisplayMate Technologies President Ray Soneira:
But in terms of real-world viewing conditions, the record low 2.0% screen Reflectance actually makes a bigger visual difference for the image colors and image contrast that you actually see because ambient light washes out and degrades the displayed images and reduces screen readability - so [the iPad mini 4's] record low Reflectance actually makes a bigger difference!
DisplayMate says the iPad mini 4 has between 2.5x and 3.5x higher contrast in ambient light than the iPad mini 3 and most other tablets, which mainly fall in the range of 5.0% to 6.5% screen reflectance. iPad Air 2 was the previous record holder with 2.5% screen reflectance, but the iPad mini 4 was 36% better per this test.
DisplayMate will provide in-depth analysis of the iPad mini 4 display when the iPad Pro launches in November.
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