It’s Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, which means most of Apple’s competitors are unveiling their upcoming smartphone lineups that will inevitably compete with Apple’s own 2016 lineup.
But while we usually have to wait until the fall for a new iPhone from Apple, this year is different in that Apple’s event planned for early next month will likely see it unveil the much anticipated iPhone 5se, a rare non-flagship and mid-year iPhone upgrade that will be a low to mid-tier smartphone competitor at pricing that will take over the current iPhone 5s lineup around $450 off contract.
Among the announcements: Samsung has officially announced its Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones — both with a similar premium metal and glass design as previous generations but with upgraded internals — while LG showed off its all-new metal modular design for its new flagship LG G5. Also on show this week is a new smartphone flagship from Acer that offers an impressive 1TB of hybrid local/cloud storage, HTC’s One X9, and a trio of Xperia X smartphones from Sony, two with high camera specs including predictive focus.
With the new 12-inch MacBook sporting just a single USB Type-C port, an adapter to get back some USB ports and SD card slots will be necessary for a lot of users. With more and more devices adopting the standard, we’re seeing a lot of USB C accessories announced at CES 2016 this year, many of which are designed specifically with 12-inch MacBook users in mind. So, as we’ve already done for HomeKit and Apple Watch products, below we’re rounding up all of the USB Type-C products for MacBook announced at the show this week.
In addition to hubs, companies are also showing off new portable battery packs, cables, adapters, displays and more, all made possible thanks to USB-C and compatible with the new 12-inch MacBook.
9to5Toys Last Call: Retina iPad mini $320, Acer 27″ 2560×1440 monitor $300, Seagate 5TB HDD $160, more
Today’s can’t miss deals:
Last Call updates:
- New Livescribe Notebook takes ideas from paper to digital in a whole new way
- Diesel clothing & shoes 50% off, watches 20% off, Lord & Taylor gift cards 20% off, more
- Otterbox Reflex Case iPad 2/3/4 $29 shipped (Reg. up to $54)
- Bose SoundTrue on-ear headphones (black) $129 shipped (Reg. $150)
- Logitech Wireless Mouse M525 in Navy and Grey $20 Prime shipped (Reg. $40)
- LG’s new CordZero vacuum has stalking skills that’ll help keep your place clean
- Lexar 32GB TwistTurn USB 2.0 Flash Drive $10 shipped (Reg. $23)
- Monoprice Sale: 10% off sitewide, save on MFi Lightning cables, headphones, more
- GermGuardian HEPA air cleaning system $80 (orig. $150), Neato Signature robo vac $280 (orig. $400), more
Apple iPad mini w/ Retina display 16GB WiFi: $320 shipped (Reg. $399)
- Seagate Expansion 5TB USB 3.0 desktop external hard drive: $160 shipped (orig. $250)
6TB Seagate internal SATA III Hard Drive: $193 shipped (40% off)
LaCie is now shipping the fastest, highest-capacity Thunderbolt 2 storage solution
Small States: Inside the world of Grado headphones, giveaway worth $495 dollars
Other new deals:
- New! iOttie Easy One Touch Car Mount for iPhone & other smartphones $13 (Reg. $25)
- New! Daily Deals: Macbook Air 11.6-inch refurb: $510, JBuds Earbuds: $13, more
- New! New apps & updates: Madden NFL Mobile, Walking Dead Pinball, more
- New! Games/Apps: Rayman Fiesta Run & Smart Alarm Clock $1 ea. (Reg. up to $5), more
- New! JBL Flip 2 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (blue or red) $70 shipped (Reg. $100)
More tech deals still alive:
- Samsung 840 Pro Series SSDs: 256GB $140 (orig. $250)
- Audible Anniv. Sale: 100 top-selling audiobooks for only a couple dollars each
- HDTVs w/Dell eGift Cards: Samsung 65″ HDTV + $250 GC $1,298 ($2,100 value), more
- TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Travel Router $20 Prime shipped (Reg. $53)
- Headphones: Beats Pro over-ears (refurb) $179, Bose OE2 on-ears $90, more
- 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball: $200 shipped (Reg. $250)
- D-Link DHP-309AV Mini Powerline Starter Kit $25 shipped (orig. $80)
- Joy Factory carbon fiber headrest mount for tablets $50 shipped (Reg. $90)
- Garmin nüvi 5″ GPS Nav System w/ lifetime (US) map updates $85 shipped (Reg. $170)
- LifeProof iPad mini waterproof nüüd case $25 (orig. $120), more
- Sol Republic Relays In-Ear Headphones (multiple colors) $60 shipped (Reg. $80)
- Sony PlayStation 24″ 3D 1080p 240Hz (refurb): $100 shipped (Reg $200)
- Two-pack of Kensington ClickSafe $25 (Reg. up to $70)
- Jabra Solemate Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker $50 (orig. $100), more
- Walmart temporarily cuts 16 GB iPhone 5c price to $.97, iPhone 5s now $79
- Apple giving out five Newsstand magazines a day till Aug. 22 in the UK
- Apple cuts prices of all Beats by Dre products by 10% through Aug. 23rd
- The Apple Store now sells an $89 refurbished iPod touch and it may actually be worth your time/money
- JetBlue coupon: 20% off domestic roundtrip flights
- MLB.TV rest of season $12, Katy Perry’s Prism album for free, more
- Pyrex 18-Piece set $25, Dyson DC50 Upright Vac (refurb) $230, more
- $100 StubHub gift card for $85 shipped (15% savings)
New products/ongoing promos:
- Smart buys: our favorite back to school tech essentials
- Mo-Fi: Powered Hi-Fi Headphones with Built-in Amp by Blue
- TiVo targets cord cutters with new Roamio OTA DVR
- LG announces availability details for “the world’s first OLED TV with 4K resolution”
- Strap a GoPro to your pooch, plus Incase now protects action cameras
- Reversible USB Lightning cable available for purchase
- Satechi’s latest wireless keyboard can sync with up to five Bluetooth devices at once
- Sony aims to up your tennis game with new racket sensor
- Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK available for $179 w/ 10% discount & $200 in content
Ever since the Mac Pro was released in December, we’ve faced an onslaught of 4k displays. We reviewed Seiki’s budget offering last year, and while we liked it overall, it did have more than its fair share of set backs. For instance, you could only use the full 4k resolution at 30Hz, which meant that there would be noticeable lag when using the display as a monitor. Despite the low refresh rate, the display was still a great deal at its then $450 price point (now down to $390) and truly got us excited for the potential of 4k. At CES this year, we also saw a variety of 4k displays, some of which were priced for budget-minded customers, and some of which were high-end. Noticeably missing from CES, however, was Apple’s frenemy supplier/competitor Samsung.
Samsung, at the end of May, unveiled its take on an affordable 4k display. Samsung’s U28D590D is a 28-inch 4k monitor that supports full 4k resolution at 60Hz via a DisplayPort 1.2 connection. There are also two HDMI ports, but they’ll only do 4k at 30Hz, like the Seiki. The big selling point of the Samsung monitor, aside from doing 4k at 60Hz, is that it costs just $646 on Amazon. This puts it far below any currently available 4k monitor with 60Hz capabilities. I purchased the Samsung U28D590D on Amazon while it was priced at $666 and have been using it as my primary display for the past week. How does it compare to the Seiki? Is 4k all it’s hyped up to be? Let’s discuss.
Strategy Analytics reported its tablet figures for 2013 and unsurprisingly, iPad remains in first place with 33.9% marketshare. Marketshare growth has dipped slightly, however, year-on-year as iPad accounted for 35.7% of tablet sales in Q4 2012.
In terms of unit growth, Apple rose 14% compared with the year-ago quarter. The second-place position goes to Samsung, with 17.7% marketshare (although this means annual growth was more than 80%). Apple sold just under double Samsung’s shipments for the period, so even though Apple’s growth has slowed, there is still a significant gap between first and second place.
Following its string of ads pinning up Windows 8 tablets against the full-sized iPad, Microsoft has just posted a new ad that pits the 8.1-inch Acer Iconia W3 against Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad mini. The point of this ad is to demonstrate that Windows 8 can even handle Microsoft Word documents and powerful gaming even at the small screen…
Apple acquired Authentec in July. It is a company that held the rights to fingerprint-reading technology since 2010, but the tech was originally developed by a company called UPEK. According to a report from ArsTechnica, citing several security researchers, a product that uses the fingerprint technology now owned by Apple, UPEK Protector Suite, has been exposed as a serious security threat for Windows users:
Security consultants have independently confirmed a serious security weakness that makes it trivial for hackers with physical control of many computers sold by Dell, Acer, and at least 14 other manufacturers to quickly recover Windows account passwords…The weakness came to light no later than September, but Apple has yet to acknowledge it or warn end users how to work around it. No one has accused Apple of being responsible for the underlying design of fingerprint-reading software.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index is out today with its September report for appliances, computers, televisions and video players/recorders. Not surprisingly, Apple is able to maintain its lead among personal computers despite a drop of 1-point to 86 over previous reports. While the report noted Apple continued to lead the category by a margin of 5- to- 9 points, Apple’s lead is slightly smaller than previously, according to the report, “due to an across-the-board customer satisfaction increase for Windows-based computers.” Apple’s score comes as the PC industry as a whole gains 2.6-points and hit all-time high satisfaction score of 80.
Skipping past HP, Acer and Toshiba, the aggregate of smaller PC makers (including tablet producers Samsung and Amazon) improves customer satisfaction by 4% to 80 while simultaneously gaining market share at a pace that outstrips even Apple… “What may be occurring is that the defection of the least satisfied customers of traditional PC brands such as Dell, HP and Acer to Apple and other smaller tablet makers actually may be boosting customer satisfaction for all,” says Fornell. “The companies that lose market share will maintain their most loyal and happy customers, while those who migrate to other companies in search of new products are more pleased as well.”
Apple’s iPad set a shipment record in Q2 2012, which led to a “better-than-anticipated” quarter for the entire tablet market, according to the latest data from IDC.
Global tablet shipments hit 25 million units, with a 66.2-percent year-over-year increase, while Apple jumped from 11.8 million units shipped in Q1 2012 to 17 million for Q2.
“Apple built upon its strong March iPad launch and ended the quarter with its best-ever shipment total for the iPad, outrunning even the impressive shipment record it set in the fourth quarter of last year,” said Research Director Tom Mainelli.
Four of the top five worldwide vendors also eyed shipment increases year-over-year and solid growth in Q2. Samsung sits at second place with 2.4 million units shipped, which is an increase from 1.1 million units in Q2 2011, and ASUS notably almost tripled its amount of units shipped from a year ago. Interestingly, shipments of the Google/ASUS-branded Nexus 7 are not a part of these totals.
This article is cross-posted at 9to5Google.
Research firm Gartner just released its estimates for PC shipments in the Western Europe region during the holiday quarter, and only Apple and Asus made any meaningful progress, with Apple recording the strongest gains in France and the United Kingdom.
While the Mac maker remained absent from the Top 5 rankings in Western Europe and Germany, it was a sole first-tier PC brand to grow sales in the United Kingdom during the holiday quarter. Specifically, Apple’s Mac business in the country grew 17.2 percent, enough to rank fourth with a 9.1 percent market share.
Everyone else’s business shrunk: Hewlett-Packard (No. 1) was down 27 percent, Dell (No. 4) declined by a whopping 32.2-percent, Toshiba (No. 3) fell 5.4-percent and Acer (No. 5) was by far the biggest loser with a 62.4-percent year-over-year decline. The same story is in France where Apple placed No. 5 by growing 15.3-percent for an 8.2-percent market share. Only Asus (No. 2) grew slightly faster than Apple at 17.4-percent, while shipments of PC desktops and notebooks from HP, Acer, and Dell plummeted.
If you include the iPad, Apple easily beats its rivals to the PC punch across the board.
More notes and charts are after the break.
Shipments of notebook and desktop PCs in the United Kingdom. Source: Gartner, February 2012
The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.
If Consumer Electronic Show announcements are an indication, 2012 will be the year Thunderbolt technology picks up significant steam as this year saw a limited uptake stemming from exclusive industry support by early adopter Apple, which rolled out Thunderbolt across its MacBook Air, iMac and Mac mini range.
First up, Belkin is out with a Thunderbolt-enabled dock that allows your MacBook Air to connect to a wide range of peripherals using just one Thunderbolt cable. Akin to its IDF prototype device, the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock provides a selection of ports that mirror the new 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt display.
According to Belkin, which previewed the stylish port replicator at CES 2012 yesterday, it will feature a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, one HDMI port, 3.5mm audio port, three USB 2.0 jacks and two Thunderbolt ports —one upstream and one downstream. If it came with USB3.0, it would be a must-have. The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock will be available in September 2012 for $299.
Next up, the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, pictured below. It is first bus-powered Thunderbolt drive that does not need a separate power brick. CNET explained it is quite a feat considering that 10 volts of power of the Thunderbolt interface is shared by the interface itself plus the cable, which has active parts. Sporting a 2.5-inch 128 GB or 256GB SSD unit capped at SATA3 speeds of 6Gbps, the drive will be available in February for approximately $400 or $600, respectively.
Elgato also promised a thinner and short Thunderbolt cable that will be more suitable for this thin external drive than Apple’s standard $49 Thunderbolt cable. Go past the fold for much more Thunderbolt gear unveiled at CES 2012.
DigiTimes reports, based on “sources in the upstream supply chain”, that a next-generation MacBook Pro with a Retina-capable display sporting a 2880-by-1800 resolution could arrive in the second quarter of 2012:
While the prevailing MacBook models have displays with resolutions ranging from 1680 by 1050 to 1280 by 800, the ultra-high resolution for the new MacBook Pro will further differentiate Apple’s products from other brands, commented the sources.
The report continues asserting that Acer and Asustek Computer also plan to launch high-end Ultrabook models sporting the 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution displays versus the 1366-by-768 displays typically found on today’s Ultrabooks. The rumor might make sense as Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge platform natively supports displays with up to a 4096-by-4096 pixel resolution and is capable of decoding multiple 4K video streams at once. Lion also added support for 3200-by-2000 wallpapers, doubling icon resolution to 1024-by-1024 pixels and enabling HiDPI display modes.
Acer CEO J.T. Wang: Microsoft putting 'troublesome' restrictions on Tablets, controlling whole process
More trouble in Microsoft land as Bloomberg reports that Microsoft device manufacturers are complaining about the software giant’s meddling in their affairs:
Microsoft Corp. is putting “troublesome” restrictions on makers of processors used to run the coming Windows tablet-computer operating system, Acer Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang said.
“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,” Wang said at the Computex trade show in Taipei without identifying the restrictions. Chip suppliers and PC makers “all feel it’s very troublesome,” he said.
Can you even imagine a PC manufacturer standing up to Microsoft publicly in a pre-iPad world? While Acer is moving to Google for many of their tablet products, and even ChromeOS for one of their notebooks, Acer is still one of the three biggest Windows PC manufacturers on the planet and of course is expected to make Windows 8 slates…