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Samsung Executive Vice President David Eun during a panel at the D: Dive Into Media conference on Monday said its ongoing legal fight with Apple is “a loss” for innovation. And taking another page from Apple’s book, the South Korean giant is plunking money into researching new technologies and better integration of its devices.
In fact, the company is turning the home turf of Apple and Google into a center of its own innovation by announcing the new Samsung Open Innovation Center in Silicon Valley…
The South Korean conglomerate is stepping up its Silicon Valley presence with two new innovation centers set up in temporary digs in the Valley and New York City.
One of them, six miles from Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters and right in the neighborhood of Google’s Mountain View campus, is a 385,000-square foot complex that will house mobile software engineers.
Eun acknowledges that vertically integrated devices that marry the hardware and software to online service is the key to creating a kind of experience tech illiterate users can associate with.
It’s no secret that you have to get the hardware and the software right. It’s not just about putting software onto hardware. It’s about a thoughtful integration between the two.
Steve Jobs often underscored how Apple’s the one place to bring the teams who work on hardware, software, apps, services and design under the same roof to create well-designed consumer gadgets.
Samsung plows an estimated six percent of revenue back into research and development, or more than three times the rate at Apple. The $200 billion giant is the world’s sixth-most profitable company and its phone biz alone now accounts for almost 70 percent of operating profit.
As lucrative as its mobile gadgets are, Samsung has its sights set on the next big thing and life after Apple. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Apple is “already taking steps to distance itself from Samsung”.
It’s estimated that Apple’s purchases of chips, screens and other components are now at roughly half the level a year ago.
According to a source familiar with Apple’s thinking:
Rivalry in smartphones and tablets, and lawsuits in which both insist the other is stealing ideas, are undermining the relationship, the person said.
An analyst told Bloomberg:
Samsung is trying to get ready for a possible breakup with Apple. Samsung will make another big push into tablets, its multiple products driving sales of components and making up for any losses from Apple.
It’s believed Apple is seeking to move the production of iPhone and iPad processors from Samsung’s Austin plant to manufacturing facilities of TSMC, but the switch isn’t without pitfalls, per analyst Marc Newman:
It may take a few more years before they’re entirely separated from Samsung because it’s a severe lock-in, extremely complicated. Samsung is a phenomenal manufacturer and even TSMC, which is also a phenomenal manufacturer, is going to have a lot of trouble to ramp up.
Sensing that TSMC is unable to meet Apple’s demand at the moment, Samsung is withholding investment in new capacity, Bloomberg claims.
Interestingly enough, Seoul-based Maeil Business Newspaper reported this morning that Samsung’s Electronics arm plans to outsource low-end phones to focus on high-end smartphones as it chases profits. Its feature phones account for nearly half its total mobile phone sales volume.
Per Strategy Analytics, Samsung’s smartphone share rose from 19.9 percent in 2011 to 30.4 percent last year, while Apple’s remained at about 19 percent. Samsung’s tablet share climbed from 7.3 percent in 2011 to an IDC-estimated fifteen percent in 2012 (the iPad dipped from 52 to 44 percent).
By the way, Samsung’s presence in the Valley also includes a research and development center and a strategy and innovation center in Menlo Park, California, a San Jose sales and R&D campus, another strategy and innovation center on Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road and semiconductor facilities.
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Update: We’ve added Bloomberg Video below
Ahead of tonight’s airing of the Tim Cook NBC interview at 10 p.m. EST, Bloomberg Businessweek this morning published what it called his “most wide-ranging interview as CEO.” We learned a bit of what to expect from Cook’s NBC interview earlier: Mac production coming stateside in 2013, and an intense focus on Apple TV. However, the Bloomberg piece also offered some interesting tidbits about Cook on a personal level, the recent executive changes, Maps, Jobs, Samsung, and more:
On the departure of Scott Forstall and John Browett:
The key in the change that you’re referencing is my deep belief that collaboration is essential for innovation—and I didn’t just start believing that. I’ve always believed that. It’s always been a core belief at Apple. Steve very deeply believed this…. So the changes—it’s not a matter of going from no collaboration to collaboration. We have an enormous level of collaboration in Apple, but it’s a matter of taking it to another level…. So how do we keep doing that and keep taking it to an even higher level? You have to be an A-plus at collaboration. And so the changes that we made get us to a whole new level of collaboration. We’ve got services all in one place, and the guy that’s running that has incredible skills in services, has an incredible track record, and I’m confident will do fantastic things.
On Jony Ive and his new role at the company:
Jony [Ive, senior vice president of industrial design], who I think has the best taste of anyone in the world and the best design skills, now has responsibility for the human interface. I mean, look at our products. (Cook reaches for his iPhone.) The face of this is the software, right? And the face of this iPad is the software. So it’s saying, Jony has done a remarkable job leading our hardware design, so let’s also have Jony responsible for the software and the look and feel of the software, not the underlying architecture and so forth, but the look and feel…. I don’t think there’s anybody in the world that has a better taste than he does. So I think he’s very special. He’s an original… I love Jony. He’s an incredible guy, and I have a massive amount of respect for him.
On Bob Mansfield’s new Technologies group:
Cook described the atmosphere in the company’s weekly executive meetings:
We have an executive team meeting. It’s every Monday at 9 a.m. Religiously, all of us are in that meeting. We spend four hours together. We talk about everything in the company that’s important—everything. We go through every product that’s shipping, how it’s doing. We go through every new product that’s on the road map—what’s going on, how the teams are doing, and any key issues there are. We might argue and debate current issues. We might argue and debate future road maps. We may get to a point where we say, “You know, this one we’ve got to go off site and really brainstorm about it in a bigger way.” … Here’s another example. Every Wednesday we’re meeting with product divisions. So a subset of the [executive team] will meet with the Mac division and spend several hours going through Mac. The following Wednesday we’ll spend several hours going through iPhone, and then we’ll go tick-tock, tick-tock again.
When asked if he’s used the Surface or Galaxy tablets:
I have, yes. Both of those—and some others. What I see, for me, is that some of these are confusing, multiple OSs with multiple UIs [user interfaces]. They steer away from simplicity. We think the customer wants all the clutter removed. We want the customer to be at the center of everything. I think when you start toggling back and forth between OSs and UIs, etc.
We set on a course some years ago and began to do that. So it wasn’t a matter of saying, “Strategically it’s important that we not work with company X.” We set out to give the customer something to provide a better experience. And the truth is it didn’t live up to our expectations. We screwed up.
About Apple’s “awkward” relationship with Samsung:
Life is a complex thing sometimes, and yes, it’s awkward. It is awkward. I hate litigation. I absolutely hate it. For us, this is about values. What we would like, in a perfect world, is for everyone to invent their own stuff. We love competition. But we want people to have their own ideas and invent their own stuff. So after lots of trying, we felt we had no other choice. We tried every other avenue, and so we’ll see what happens in the future… We can separate in our minds the different portions of their company. They’re a big company and have different divisions and so forth. So that’s kind of how I try to think about it.
When asked about the story of Jobs telling him to never ask what he would have done:
So I go over to his house, and—I still remember how he started this discussion. He said, “There has never been a professional transition at the CEO level in Apple.”… And as a part of this, I asked him about different scenarios to understand how he wanted to be involved as chairman. He said, “I want to make this clear. I saw what happened when Walt Disney passed away. People looked around, and they kept asking what Walt would have done.” He goes, “The business was paralyzed, and people just sat around in meetings and talked about what Walt would have done.” He goes, “I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what’s right.” He was very clear… He was making this point, and he says, “I hope you listen to my input if I want to input on something.” I said, “Of course.”
You can check out the full 10-page interview on Bloomberg here.
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Fast Company has an extensive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, focusing on what has changed and what has stayed the same since he took over from Steve Jobs. The interview comes a day after FastCo published a sizeable excerpt from the book Becoming Steve Jobs, in which Cook criticized the portrayal of Jobs in Isaacson’s biography.
Cook said that while much has changed, the culture–the fundamental goal of the company–remained the same.
Steve felt that if Apple could do that—make great products and great tools for people—they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.
The company has never tried to be first to market, he said, but rather to “have the patience to get it right” …
Apple took the same approach to the Apple Watch as it took to the iPod, iPhone and iPad, he said.
We weren’t first on the MP3 player; we weren’t first on the tablet; we weren’t first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch—the first one that matters.
Cook said he wasn’t concerned that, so far, many people find it hard to see the value of the Apple Watch.
Yes, but people didn’t realize they had to have an iPod, and they really didn’t realize they had to have the iPhone. And the iPad was totally panned. Critics asked, “Why do you need this?” Honestly, I don’t think anything revolutionary that we have done was predicted to be a hit when released. It was only in retrospect that people could see its value. Maybe this will be received the same way.
He admitted that it is harder for Apple to remain nimble, to resist bureaucracy, as the company has grown.
It’s harder, and you are fighting gravity. […] We’ve turned up the volume on collaboration because it’s so clear that in order for us to be incredibly successful we have to be the best collaborators in the world. The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services. It’s that intersection. Without collaboration, you get a Windows product […] That’s what’s now happening in Android land.
Part of the secret, Cook said, was a willingness to move on, to walk away from approaches that are no longer appropriate. Apple has repeatedly done this with legacy technologies.
Apple has always had the discipline to make the bold decision to walk away. We walked away from the floppy disk when that was popular with many users. Instead of doing things in the more traditional way of diversifying and minimizing risk, we took out the optical drive, which some people loved. We changed our connector, even though many people loved the 30-pin connector. Some of these things were not popular for quite a while. But you have to be willing to lose sight of the shore and go. We still do that.
Asked if there were areas in which the company had moved on from Steve’s way of doing things, he said that constant change was Steve’s way of doing things.
We change every day. We changed every day when he was here, and we’ve been changing every day since he’s not been here. But the core, the values in the core remain the same as they were in ’98, as they were in ’05, as they were in ’10. I don’t think the values should change. But everything else can change [and] Steve was the best flipper in the world.
Cook sees the new spaceship campus as essential to Apple’s future.
It’s critical that Apple do everything it can to stay informal. And one of the ways that you stay informal is to be together. One of the ways that you ensure collaboration is to make sure people run into each other—not just at the meetings that are scheduled on your calendar, but all the serendipitous stuff that happens every day in the cafeteria and walking around.
Steve’s office in the current campus building is famously still there, just as he left it. Will there be a Steve Jobs office in the new campus, he was asked?
What we’ll do over time, I don’t know. I didn’t want to move in there. I think he’s an irreplaceable person and so it didn’t feel right . . . for anything to go on in that office. So his computer is still in there as it was, his desk is still in there as it was, he’s got a bunch of books in there. Laurene took some things to the house.
I don’t know. His name should still be on the door. That’s just the way it should be.
While the interview does cover some familiar territory, the whole thing is well worth reading.
Photo: Pete Marovich, Getty Images
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Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
There have been many articles floating around in cyberspace about Apple fearing Samsung, and yet, there are none like the one you are about to read. Most of them will talk about patents; I prefer to talk about facts. Here’s my two cents on this issue.
Samsung Is Bigger Than You Think
Samsung Has A Better Distribution Channel
Apple sells their products through Telcos, Apple Stores the Apple website, and their retail distribution channels. Samsung can sell anywhere they want as long as retailers are willing to take stock. Apple can ban, block and have as many injunctions as they want, but it will not stop Samsung from selling indirectly to consumers. However, if the same ban is applied to Apple, they are in a bad position.
Compared to Apple, Samsung has the ability to quickly expand and saturate the market with their products, bar America – as the telco relationship in the USA require that Samsung create different versions of their phone(s). Apple, on the other hand, sells according to the country tiers. In Malaysia, where I come from, there are “rumours” that refurbished iPhones (instead of new ones) are being circulated to tier 2 countries. This speculation was again emphasized when consumers in China sued Apple for selling refurbished phones.
Samsung also has an existing distribution network from their existing businesses. This is of tremendous value. Unlike Apple, Samsung does not need much in the way of resources to bring their phones and tablets to new markets — unlike Apple. These distribution channels will also be there for the future dissemination of other Samsung products. This means that if they want to, it’s easy for them to market more than just electronics.
Apple’s Leadership Is Suffering Badly
We all mourn the passing of Steve Jobs. He was a leader unlike any other. Whether you’re an Apple fan or an Android enthusiast, you’ve all felt Steve Job’s effect on the world. With Steve gone, and the iPhone 4S looking really bad at the recent launch, it’s hard to say that Apple will continue to have a strong grip on the industry. Apple’s iOS 5 notifications revamp and Siri were acquired from Nuance and not innovated from scratch. It’s hard to imagine that using this management style will enable them to continue to be competitive. I personally find it a shocker that they didn’t release the rumoured teardrop iPhone 5. It would have been the type of launch the company needed at this point of time – instead of the disappointing iPhone 4S.
This is the time for Samsung to shine. What they do now will undoubtedly lead them to where they will be tomorrow. This is the most crucial period for Samsung in the history of their company, as the true test for the Korean giant has begun. Whether they become the next innovative leader or catalyse their own doom will all depend on what they do in the next year.
Samsung Innovates Faster than Apple
What if your Samsung fridge could tell you to pick up milk (or maybe place an order online)?
What if your Samsung TV could identify your favorite TV programs and record them without asking?
What if your Samsung Home could learn to switch air conditioners and lights off when you leave the house?
What if you could download a recipe from the web, and your kitchen teaches you how to prepare and cook it?
What if your Samsung DSLR camera could share your pictures throughout all your devices?
What if your Samsung DVD/Blu-Ray players knows what you like and sends you recommendations of the latest movies?
What if you could do all the above on non-Samsung devices because of Android?
What if this is Samsung’s future?
I had the chance to try Apple’s new Vision Pro spatial computer at WWDC last week, and I quickly published my first impressions that same day. Over the past week, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the experience and read first impressions from a number of other sources.
How have my thoughts changed? Not really… and I think that says a lot about just how impressive Vision Pro is.Vision Pro demo inside baseball
I was lucky enough to be one of the first five to 10 people in the press to try out Vision Pro. After the WWDC keynote, I went to Steve Jobs Theater, where I snapped some very quick pictures and video of the new 15-inch MacBook Air. After just 15 minutes at Steve Jobs Theater, I met my Apple PR contact, and we took a golf cart ride across campus.
At this point, I still had no idea where exactly I was being taken and what was going to happen next. I knew I had an Apple briefing, but a briefing for what? The new Mac announcements? iOS 17 features?
One thing I neglected to mention in my initial hands-on post was the process of the demo itself. The demo occurred in a private room at the Field House with me and two Apple representatives. There were demo units available to look at inside Steve Jobs Theater and in the common area of the Field House, but (with the exception of Robin Roberts) all demos occurred in private, and pictures and videos were not allowed.
Because I was so early in the hands-on briefing schedule, I left the Field House in my own little bubble. I hadn’t spoken to anyone else about my first impressions or about their first impressions. I was blown away by the Apple Vision demo, but were my thoughts clouded by the general excitement of being at Apple Park and the associated adrenaline rush? Even as a member of the press, it’s hard not to get swept up in the moment.
And after I published my story and others started to publish theirs, it was clear I wasn’t alone in walking away, stunned by what I had experienced.
This is one of the reasons I wrote my story immediately after my Vision Pro demo. I left the Field House, hopped on a golf cart for a ride back to the Apple Park Visitor Center, got in my rental car, and drove back to the hotel to start writing. I didn’t want to see anyone else’s first impressions before I had written and published my own. I was so focused on writing that I had lunch from Lazy Dog delivered to the hotel through DoorDash and made Zac pick it up in the lobby and bring it to my room. I ate half my burger and left the french fries untouched. I did, however, demolish the Diet Coke.
Anyway, I could have waited to publish my story until I had time for my thoughts to fully cement and develop, but I felt I had an obligation to publish something as soon as possible. After all, I was one of the few people who had tried Vision Pro at that point. My plan all along was to publish that story and do a follow-up after a week or so, which is what this story is.
When I talked to Federico Viticci from MacStories later that week, he also echoed the benefits of writing stories like this in a silo. Viticci published his full hands-on today, and it’s just as beautifully written as everything he writes.
After publishing my story on Monday night, I headed back to Apple Park, where I recorded a special episode of 9to5Mac Daily with Zac live from Apple’s special on-campus podcast studio. When we sat down to record, I realized I had largely forgotten Apple’s other announcements that day. Luckily, Zac had prepped some notes.Why 9to5Mac?
One thing I’ve been asking myself since last week is why 9to5Mac was included in that very first set of Vision Pro briefings. I have a good relationship with Apple PR, but to try out Vision Pro at the same time as some of the biggest publications and YouTubers in the world was a surprise. There were further sets of briefings later in the day on Monday and on Tuesday.
My assumption is that Apple realizes it needs to reach as wide of an audience as possible, and 9to5Mac is part of that audience. We reach a much different audience than other publications, and Apple seems keen on including our audience in as much Vision Pro coverage as possible.
I’m very intrigued to see how Apple’s strategies ebb and flow over the coming months in the lead-up to Vision Pro’s release in early 2024.The keynote and announcement
Part of this is also due to the fact that Apple has more time to refine and perfect its keynotes now that they are prerecorded and not live. There are no live demos that can fail, presenters can’t misspeak and stumble over their words, and Apple can clearly craft a movie-style narrative.
While there might not be a clear story on who this first version of Vision Pro is for, Apple’s keynote unveiling did a superb job of showing the potential of this technology going into the future.
If there was one moment that fell flat and was the subject of quite a bit of mockery, it’s this shot of the dad wearing Vision Pro to record spatial video and take photos. I get what Apple was going for when it decided to include that, but it stood out as a major “uncanny valley” moment in an otherwise excellent keynote.
Presumably, there’s more coming here at some point in the future. Maybe an upcoming iPhone model will let you shoot spatial videos and photos. Maybe Apple has some impressive machine learning technology that will be able to convert normal videos and photos to spatial format. Either way, I don’t think we’ve heard the full story here just yet.
I rewatched the keynote one more time with my wife yesterday. She was equally as impressed, but two things stuck out to her as someone not immersed in the Apple universe: the Persona feature for FaceTime and the EyeSight feature.
She explained that when she FaceTimes with someone, she wants to see their “real face,” and she wants the other person to see her “real face.” This is a fair criticism and one that I generally agree with.
I don’t know of a solution to this problem, and in fact, it might be an unsolvable problem. In the meantime, Apple can work to make the Persona even more lifelike and realistic because, as I pointed out last week, it still has a ways to go before it’s perfect.Highs and one low
As I’ve thought more about the various demos I saw in my time with Vision Pro, a few things have stood out.
The FaceTime experience – in its current form – was the least impressive. I can absolutely see a use case for productivity and collaboration, but for person-to-person communication between friends and family, I don’t think the current implementation works.
This is largely due to what I mentioned above about the Persona, but there’s also a lack of flexibility when using FaceTime via Vision Pro. You can’t move the camera around to show different things, you can’t flip the camera to show off something around you – like your dog or someone else in the room with you.
But that was the singular low point of my Vision Pro demo. I can’t stop thinking about the other things I got to experience. Apple Immersive Demos transported me into a world of 180-degree 8K video. Imagine Apple TV 4K screen savers, but fully immersive from a first-person point of view.
This sounds creepy, but I also can’t stop thinking about the kid’s birthday party I got to relive using spatial videos. I don’t know who those kids were, but I hope they invite me to next year’s birthday party.
But what stands out most to me a week later are the sports and music videos I got to watch using Vision Pro. That clip of the Suns-Nuggets basketball game has been playing in a loop in my head since last week, as has the clip from the Boston Red Sox game that was shot from Boston’s dugout.
Finally, as a music fanatic, there’s the Alicia Keys video I got experience in immersive virtual reality. I could look to my left and see Alicia Keys playing the piano and look around the rest of the room to see her bandmates playing right along with her. I can’t stop thinking about this and daydreaming about the same experience with other artists.
The other things I tried during my demo were also impressive: Environments, movies (both 2D and 3D), mindfulness, multitasking, and more.On isolation and loneliness
Earlier today, Zac published a piece detailing his concerns about how Vision Pro might exacerbate the feelings of isolation and loneliness that current technology has already perpetuated. While I agree that these are questions that need to be addressed by each Vision Pro user, I think there’s more to the story.
My belief is that Apple doesn’t want you to use Vision Pro as a replacement for in-person experiences and interactions. Its goal is that Vision Pro will be used to expand your interactions with other people and events.
Personally, I would never choose to watch a concert via Vision Pro if I also had the choice of going to that same concert in-person. But I would absolutely use Vision Pro to watch concerts I wouldn’t otherwise have the ability to see. I would also use it to rewatch and relive concerts that I’d seen in person but wanted to experience again.
Alternatively, look at the productivity example. Vision Pro can open the door to far more immersive collaboration than currently available if you’re a remote worker. Maybe you’re traveling, but the rest of your team is back at the office. You can join in via Vision Pro and be fully immersed in that experience.
What Vision Pro can do is give you the ability to experience things that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience.
The world has evolved a lot since the first iPhone was introduced. There are robust features for managing and limiting things like screen time, which weren’t available for the first 11 versions of iOS. As a society, we know more about how to handle technology now than we did in 2007. It’ll be up to each user to set those limits.TikTok memes and “real” people
Vision Pro is already having a viral “moment” on TikTok, where users are faking a VR world to imagine themselves watching some of their favorite content – and jokingly watching some of the most iconic memes.
To me, this shows how much interest there is in Vision Pro. I’m particularly fond of the video showing off watching Taylor Swift’s Eras tour using Vision Pro. Something like that would be enough to push a lot of people over the edge when deciding whether or not to buy.
Here are some links:Q&A
The Vision Pro displays run at 90Hz with HDR support.
The version of Vision Pro that I wore during the demo had a head strap on the top, which isn’t shown in any of Apple’s marketing materials. My belief is that this was used during the demos for added support because Apple didn’t have every size of the Light Seal available for testers. Whether the final version of Vision Pro that ships has that top head strap remains to be seen.
Third-party app developers will not have the ability to integrate with the Vision Pro’s cameras.
Comfort, fit, and sweat
As I wrote in my piece last week, I found Vision Pro to be comfortable to wear, but I only wore it for 30 minutes. That could change when you wear it for multiple hours at a time.
I did not get sweaty at all while wearing Vision Pro. And that’s saying something as I had just been baking in the sun at Apple Park for nearly an hour.
What will the buying process be for Vision Pro? What about outside the US?
I asked Apple about this, but the company didn’t have much to share. All we know is that Vision Pro will be available online and in Apple Stores in the United States next year. The company believes that its retail experience will be a key aspect of Vision Pro education, fitting, and demos.
Michael Steeber has a great piece speculating on how Apple Stores might present Apple Vision Pro in his Tabletops newsletter.
More details on the battery pack?
How natural is the gesture and eye control?
Very, very natural. I remain impressed with the accuracy of the gestures. The eye control works great as well. I think this will be a revolutionary way of interacting with software, just like multitouch was on the iPhone.
Is it a feasible replacement for large TVs?
Yes, but with the major caveat that it’s only one person watching at a time. And that’s a pretty big caveat.
Is it worth $3,500?
That’s for you to decide, but I plan on buying one based on my experience last week.
How stable was the placement of windows?
Everything was stable and consistent. I could place windows and then look around in other directions, and everything stayed exactly how I had arranged it. Things like furniture and people did not get in the way.
You can also use the Digital Crown to re-center your point of view at any time.
Can it replace a laptop?
Maybe? I’d want to spend more time with it before making a conclusion there either way. The real benefit is using it as an external display for an existing Mac – including a headless Mac such as a Mac mini or Mac Studio.
Is the mixed reality resolution good enough to make you think you’re actually looking at the world?
Yes, the two 4K displays combined with the incredibly low latency make for a superb experience. It does not at all look like you’re looking through a screen showing the outside world. There is no “screen door effect” whatsoever. This includes your peripheral vision as well.
How did what you saw during the demo compare to what Apple showed during the keynote?
It was spot on. Apple explained to me that everything we saw in the keynote was 100% real and not edited or crafted just for the sake of the keynote.
Was it annoying looking side to side to look at different windows/screens?
You also have full control over how close the windows appear in your field of view. I would imagine that moving windows closer and further back could help mitigate some of this.Will Vision Pro be a “hit” product?
This is, of course, the multibillion-dollar question. After all, Apple has spent nearly a decade researching and developing this product. And to be extra clear, this is the first version. There are still years and years of R&D to be done to truly make the mixed reality products that Apple thinks will change the world.
After reading those stories and watching the videos, it was immediately clear, just hours after Apple’s keynote, that there was a general consensus: Vision Pro’s technology is incredible, though there are questions about who the product is for and what the most common use cases will end up being. The answers to those questions will emerge over the coming months.
One Vision Pro hands-on story that I’ve found perplexing comes from the New York Times. Brian Chen had the chance to try Vision Pro at WWDC and seemingly came away with an entirely different impression than everyone else, saying, “there wasn’t much new to see here.”
Vision Pro in and of itself almost certainly won’t be a mainstream hit. The $3,500 price tag alone puts it out of reach for the average consumer. The key, however, will be that Apple use Vision Pro and visionOS to build a platform on which developers and content creators can build.
In the meantime, we can speculate while also marveling at the pure technological feat that is Vision Pro.More reading
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Apple gobbled up Huawei and Samsung in Q4 2023
Global smartphone vendor shipments and marketshare in the fourth quarter of 2023 showed Apple stepping up in a big way. There’s been a three-way battle going on in the global smartphone market for several years – after Apple and Samsung dominated the market for over half a decade, Huawei came up and put the battle back in the hearts of the brands. For several quarters, it’d been Samsung out ahead by millions of units shipped and a couple percentage points of the total market’s shipments – but now Apple’s suddenly back on top.
The fourth quarter of the year is generally a high point for Apple. They’ve released their new phones in September/October for a number of years. These three months represent the period in which it makes the most sense for Apple to ship the most phones.* That didn’t necessarily mean they beat their competitors in the past.
In Q4 of 2023, per the Strategy Analytics report, Apple had 17.5% of the market (re: global smartphone shipments). They ended up accounting for 14.4% of the market through the entire year of 2023 – basically tying the percentage for Huawei for the year (also 14.4%). Again looking at Strategy Analytic’s reported shipment numbers, Huawei’s Q4 for 2023 took 3rd place at 16.1% of the market, while Samsung won the 3-month period with 18.4% of all global smartphone shipments.
The “gobbling” mentioned in the title refers to the difference between Q3 2023 and Q4 2023 for smartphone shipments. In 2023, Samsung went from 21.3% to 18.4%, Huawei went from 18.2% to 15%, and Apple went from 12.4% to 18.9%!
If we look at the rest of the market going from Q3 to Q4 in 2023, we see Xiaomi going from 8.8% to (not changing) 8.8%, and OPPO going from 8% to 8.1%. The rest of the market (Other) went from 31.1% to 30.8%. So while OPPO took .1% of the “Other”, the other .2% went to Apple – the rest came from Samsung and Huawei.
Apple took 6.3% away from Samsung and Huawei from Q3 to Q4. Apple took 2.9% away from Samsung, and a 3.2% away from Huawei – with around .2% left for error. *NOTE: This is the quarter in which Apple released the first iPhone “PRO” (that’s the iPhone 11 Pro).
When we look at the bigger picture, as Strategy Analytics shows in total year’s global smartphone shipments from these three top brands, Apple remains in 3rd place. For the full year, 2023, Apple had 14% of the global smartphone market for unit shipments, Huawei had 17%, and Samsung had 20.9%.
Compared to the entirety of the year 2023, we see that it’s actually Huawei that’s ramping up unit shipments the most. In 2023, Huawei shipped 205.8 million smartphones, where in 2023, Huawei shipped 240.5 million smartphones (globally). Samsung went from 291.3 to 295.1, and Apple went from 206.3 to 197.4 (million units shipped, globally, 2023 and 2023 respectively).
At this point it’s important to point out that another very important angle on all of this is the amount of profit-per-device a company makes. That’s where things get truly bonkers in this realm.
ALSO, for the full year: Xiaomi’s full year for 2023 showed they commanded 8.3% of the market for smartphone shipments, then in 2023 they went up to 8.8%. OPPO had 8.1% in 2023 – and 8.1% again in 2023. The biggest change for the full year between 2023 and 2023 was the “Other” category which accounted for 34.4% of the market in 2023, then 31.1% in 2023.
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