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Why do Samsung, HTC, Microsoft Even Bother to Sell Smartphones?

 Android, Apple  Comments Off on Why do Samsung, HTC, Microsoft Even Bother to Sell Smartphones?
Nov 052014
 

Since the fundamental reason a business exists is to make profits (and the more the better), one might ask the question – Why do Samsung, HTC, Microsoft, LG, Blackberry etc even bother to sell smartphones.

A new research report put out by Michael Walkley of research group Canaccord Genuity estimates that Apple took 86% of the profits made by the major handset vendors in the third quarter (July-September) of 2014.

Although Chinese smartphone vendors (peddling Android devices) have been in the news lately because of their low cost and fast processors, Walkley did not include them in his report for want of financial data.

Besides Apple, Samsung and LG were the only prominent handset vendors in positive territory in the third quarter.

“We believe Apple is experiencing a record iPhone 6 upgrade cycle due to very strong replacement sales as well as from high-tier smartphone market share gains from Android,” Walkley wrote in the research note. “We believe these trends should result in very strong (fourth quarter of calendar 2014) smartphone sales and share gains for Apple.”

Samsung – Bad Shape

In contrast to Apple’s go-go quarters, Samsung Electronics is struggling in recent quarters. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:40 am

Ignore the New Cheaper iMac

 Apple  Comments Off on Ignore the New Cheaper iMac
Jun 182014
 

Apple Launches Cheaper iMac
Apple introduced a new entry-level 21.5-inch iMac starting at $1,099 with specs that are nothing to get excited about.

The base configuration has 8GB of RAM, a measly 500GB of storage,  a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, Intel HD Graphics 5000 and comes with OS X Mavericks installed.

There are four USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, a SDXC card slot.

We recommend buyers double the storage for an extra $50. You’ll be surprised at how fast 500GB can fill up. For an additional $250, buyers can get a 1TB Fusion drive or 250GB of flash storage. No, you cannot expand the base 8GB RAM, which should be adequate for light use.

This is obviously not a Mac for gaming or demanding tasks. Its specs make it ideal for activities like web browsing, e-mail, chat and FaceTime conversations.

The new $1,099 iMacs are available today at Apple. But we still don’t see it listed on the Best Buy site.

Ignore the New iMac

Ideally, if you’re in the market for an iMac ignore the new model. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:25 am

Mac App Deals – Diagrammix for $1.99

 Apple, Deals  Comments Off on Mac App Deals – Diagrammix for $1.99
Apr 082014
 

Good apps like Diagrammix for the Mac are not cheap.

Fortunately, I stumbled upon a deal at the Mac App Store for this neat diagram creating app a short while ago.

Diagrammix Drawing Tool for Mac

Diagrammix – Sweet Deal

Diagrammix is on sale today (April 8, 2014) for $1.99 at the Mac App Store.

The app is usually $19.99. So with a discount of $18 you’re getting a good deal.

Diagrammix lets you build attractive diagrams easily by dragging and dropping elements from the palette.

You can use pre-built styles of elements and connectors or create your own styles with custom colors and shapes.

There’s also an option to drag or drop images from other programs into Diagrammix.

Once you’ve completed the diagram, it can be saved in a number of formats including JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PDF or copied to your word processor  via the clipboard.

Diagrammix comes from Moscow software firm Deep Information Technologies (Deep IT), an app developer for the Mac and iOS.

I’ve checked out a couple of “How To” videos on Deep IT’s web site for Diagrammix and the app seems like an easy to use tool.

The app is said to support different kinds of diagrams including flowcharts, data flows, workflows, UML class diagrams, organization charts and structured charts.

Diagrammix provides for in-app purchase of two smart connectors ($4.99) and one vector tool ($4.99).

You can extend the tools by importing sets of shapes from Graffletopia.

As of April 8, 2014, the version of Diagrammix is 2.9.4. The app supports OS X 10.6 or later.

The $1.99 deal ends today (April 8, 2014).

My Purchase

I’m sufficiently impressed with the Diagrammix  app and the company’s videos and support pages that I’ve just purchased a copy of the app for myself for $1.99.

I plan to use the app to create diagrams with attractive apps for my various blogs.

A few minutes back, I downloaded Diagrammix for my Mac (10.8.5) and played with the app for a few minutes.

I’m happy to report that the app works fine.

 Posted by at 12:14 pm

iPhone 5C goes on Discount at Best Buy

 Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on iPhone 5C goes on Discount at Best Buy
Oct 042013
 

In a very unusual development, Apple’s new iPhone 5C plastic smartphone is already being discounted at major retailers.

iPhone 5C being Discounted at Best Buy

$50 Discount on iPhone 5C

Best Buy sent out an e-mail a short while ago offering a $50 discount on the purchase and two-year activation of the new iPhone 5C (16GB model) bringing down the price of the “cheaper” plastic smartphone to $49.99.

The $50 discount is in the form of a Best Buy gift card.

I can’t think of a previous occasion when a new iPhone has been discounted so early in its life-cycle.

Apple launched the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C a fortnight ago on September 20, 2013 in the U.S. and several other countries.

Best Buy’s $50 discount on the iPhone 5C is valid from October 3-7.

The discount is valid for both online and in-store purchases. For online purchases, the gift card can be used only on a future purchase.

Customers buying the iPhone 5C at a Best Buy store can get the $50 discount immediately and apply it to the purchase of the smartphone.

The discount on the iPhone 5C has led to an odd situation where the older iPhone 5 ($99 with two-year contract) is now costlier than the newer iPhone 5C.

Miscalculating Demand?

The easy availability of the iPhone 5C and the widespread shortage of iPhone 5s at major stores in the U.S. (including at the Apple stores) suggests Apple may have miscalculated demand for both smartphones – Overestimated demand for the iPhone 5C and underestimated demand for the iPhone 5s.

I won’t be surprised if excess inventory of the iPhone 5C leads to those smartphones soon being offered free with two-year contracts.

iPhone 5C is available in five colors – Green, blue, pink, yellow and white.

 Posted by at 2:27 pm

How to Enter the Mac Universe

 Apple  Comments Off on How to Enter the Mac Universe
Sep 152013
 

A Mac mini is a good way to dip your toes into the Mac universe if you’re considering abandoning the familiar terrain of the Windows world.

In the U.S., the entry-level Mac mini computer costs between $569-$599 (depending on where you buy) and comes with 500GB of storage, 4GB of Memory and an SD card reader.

You can buy the Mac Mini at the Apple Store or Best Buy (cheaper here).

Although a sleek device, the Mac mini is a bare bones computer that does not come with basics like a keyboard, mouse, monitor or DVD drive.

So be prepared to plunk down more money on top of what you paid for the computer.

But the Mac mini does have the advantages of built-in wireless networking and Bluetooth.

Mac Mini - Starting into the Mac UniverseMac mini – Sleek Looks & Fine Performance

 

Mac Mini - Rear ViewRear View of Mac mini

Here are some add-ons your Mac mini must have before it can be up and running:

* Keyboard – Apple’s wireless keyboard ($70)
* Mouse – Apple’s wireless MagicMouse or Magic Trackpad ($70 each)
* Monitor – If you’re using a Windows PC, then you already have a monitor. You can use the same monitor with the Mac mini. Otherwise, be prepared to fork out about $90 for a new 20-inch monitor.

So at the minimum, your Mac mini will set you back by $740 (assuming you already have a monitor).

Since there are few viruses or malware for the Mac, you can skip on the anti-virus and Internet Security programs that are a must for any Windows PC (there’s a savings of $20 a year).

Optional Items

The absence of a disc drive in the Mac mini might give pause those new to the Mac world, but not to worry.

I recommend the MiniStack Max, a 4-in-1 device that includes an external hard drive (good for backing up the Mac mini), optical drive, SD card reader and USB hub with USB 3.0 & 2.0, FireWire 800 and eSATA ports.

For $230, you can get a MiniStack Max with a DVD/CD writer, 500GB storage, SD card reader and USB hub. If you’re willing to pay more, you can get a Blu-ray drive and extra storage.

The MiniStack Max (see below) is built to sit neatly atop your Mac mini.

miniStack MAXMiniStack Max (Rear View) – Good Companion for Mac mini

Mac Apps

Mac users have the advantage and convenience of the Mac App Store, where there are several thousand applications, both free and priced, in a plethora of categories.

While there are a gazillion apps in the Mac App Store, here are some apps I suggest you keep on top of your list for the new Mac mini:

* Pixelmator ($14.99), a graphics app good enough for most users
* Pages ($19.99), a decent word processor from Apple
* Quadranto ($6.99), a task manager formerly known as Eisenpower
* Skype (free download but not in the Mac App Store) for video and voice calls

I defected from my Windows ghetto to the Mac world nearly two years back.

Forget any regrets! It’s been utter joy these last 21-months!

 Posted by at 8:58 pm

Apple Pushes Out OS X 10.8.5 Update

 Apple  Comments Off on Apple Pushes Out OS X 10.8.5 Update
Sep 122013
 

Close on the heels of its OS X Mavericks (version 10.9) launch, Apple has put out an update to its Mountain Lion operating system.

The 10.8.5 update is supposed to boost the stability, compatibility and security of Mac systems running Mountain Lion.

The update features a bunch of improvements:

* Fixes an issue that may prevent Mail from displaying messages
* Improves AFP file transfer performance over 802.11ac Wi-Fi
* Resolves an issue that may prevent a screen saver from starting automatically
* Improves Xsan reliability
* Improves reliability when transferring large files over Ethernet
* Improves performance when authenticating to an Open Directory server
* Addresses an issue that prevented a smart card from unlocking preference panes in System Preferences
* Contains the improvements included in MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0

Just to be on the safe side, backup your system via Time Machine.

In case something goes wrong, you’ll be able to restore your precious data from Time Capsule or whatever backup device you use.

Also, do not interrupt the installation process once it’s started.

How to Update

To update, go to Apple menu () and click on Software Update. That should take you to the Mac App Store where you will be presented all updates.

After the update has been downloaded, you’ll be required to restart your computer for the installation to be complete.

To check if the update has been installed, go to Apple menu () and click on About this Mac. If the installation has gone through correctly, it should show OS X Version 10.8.5.

Ars Technica reports that installation of the update has significantly improved file transfer speeds.

Meanwhile, Apple released Developer Preview 7 of OS X Mavericks on September 3.

Mavericks, which Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, is slated for launch this fall.

 Posted by at 10:48 pm